The Ministry of Healing

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The Ministry of Healing

The Ministry of Healing

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When human strength fails, men feel their need of divine help. And never does our merciful God turn from the soul that in sincerity seeks Him for help. Men need to learn that the blessings of obedience, in their fullness, can be theirs only as they receive the grace of Christ. It is His grace that gives man power to obey the laws of God. It is this that enables him to break the bondage of evil habit. This is the only power that can make him and keep him steadfast in the right path. MH 115.1 Ellen White began writing on the subject of health after she received her first comprehensive health vision June 5, 1863. In 1864 she published a short booklet entitled An Appeal to Mothers and a chapter on “Health” in Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4. 2 A year later, in 1865, she also contributed a six-part article, “Disease and Its Causes,” for the book, Health, or How to Live, edited by James White. 3 The book was the first major publication on health by the new denomination. Beyond giving general instructions on healthful living, these three works helped Seventh-day Adventists to make a fundamental shift in their thinking on the subject of health. Instead of ignoring the topic, Adventists would make it an integral part of their overall mission to the world.

Often His incessant labor and the conflict with the enmity and false teaching of the rabbis left Him so utterly wearied that His mother and brothers, and even His disciples, feared that His life would be sacrificed. But as He returned from the hours of prayer that closed the toilsome day, they marked the look of peace upon His face, the freshness and life and power that seemed to pervade His whole being. From hours spent alone with God He came forth, morning by morning, to bring the light of heaven to men. MH 55.2 The childhood of Jesus, spent in poverty, had been uncorrupted by the artificial habits of a corrupt age. Working at the carpenter's bench, bearing the burdens of home life, learning the lessons of obedience and toil, He found recreation amidst the scenes of nature, gathering knowledge as He sought to understand nature's mysteries. He studied the word of God, and His hours of greatest happiness were found when He could turn aside from the scene of His labors to go into the fields, to meditate in the quiet valleys, to hold communion with God on the mountainside or amid the trees of the forest. The early morning often found Him in some secluded place, meditating, searching the Scriptures, or in prayer. With the voice of singing He welcomed the morning light. With songs of thanksgiving He cheered His hours of labor and brought heaven's gladness to the toilworn and disheartened. MH 52.1 Near Bethsaida, at the northern end of the Sea of Galilee, was a lonely region, beautiful with the fresh green of spring, that offered a welcome retreat to Jesus and His disciples. For this place they set out, going in their boat across the lake. Here they could rest, apart from the confusion of the multitude. Here the disciples could listen to the words of Christ, undisturbed by the retorts and accusations of the Pharisees. Here they hoped to enjoy a short season of fellowship in the society of their Lord. MH 56.2

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On April 11, 1905, Ellen White reported that she had “just finished reading over the proofs of ‘Ministry of Healing’” with the hope that the book would be out for the upcoming General Conference session in Washington, D. C. in May. 8 The volume, however, did not come off the press until later that year. The disciples who were associated with Him in His work, Jesus often released for a season, that they might visit their homes and rest; but in vain were their efforts to draw Him away from His labors. All day He ministered to the throngs that came to Him, and at eventide, or in the early morning, He went away to the sanctuary of the mountains for communion with His Father. MH 55.1 Meanwhile, the General Conference expressed its gratitude and appreciation to Ellen White for her plan to donate the profits from the sale of the book to relieve the debts accrued by the Seventh-day Adventist medical institutions. It also agreed to bear some of the initial publication expenses and made a special effort to promote its sale and distribution. 9 The Saviour's life on earth was a life of communion with nature and with God. In this communion He revealed for us the secret of a life of power. MH 51.1

The next major theme is the concept of “wholeness.” Ellen White views health comprehensively, including its physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. As she put it: “Our Saviour’s words, ‘Come unto Me, . . . and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28), are a prescription for the healing of physical, mental, and spiritual ills.” 18 The spiritual aspect of health became and still is a unique Adventist concept of healthful living. According to the Adventist philosophy of health, healing must include a spiritual component since a human being is seen as a whole person. The lungs should be allowed the greatest freedom possible. Their capacity is developed by free action; it diminishes if they are cramped and compressed. Hence the ill effects of the practice so common, especially in sedentary pursuits, of stooping at one's work. In this position it is impossible to breathe deeply. Superficial breathing soon becomes a habit, and the lungs lose their power to expand. A similar effect is produced by tight lacing. Sufficient room is not given to the lower part of the chest; the abdominal muscles, which were designed to aid in breathing, do not have full play, and the lungs are restricted in their action. MH 272.2What is the condition in the world today? Is not faith in the Bible as effectually destroyed by the higher criticism and speculation of today as it was by tradition and rabbinism in the days of Christ? Have not greed and ambition and love of pleasure as strong a hold on men's hearts now as they had then? In the professedly Christian world, even in the professed churches of Christ, how few are governed by Christian principles. In business, social, domestic, even religious circles, how few make the teachings of Christ the rule of daily living. Is it not true that “justice standeth afar off: ... equity cannot enter.... And he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey”? Isaiah 59:14, 15. MH 142.3 This is the high duty and precious privilege of the medical missionary. And personal ministry often prepares the way for this. God often reaches hearts through our efforts to relieve physical suffering. MHH 74.1 Campbell, Michael W. “Ministry of Healing.” In The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia, ed. by Denis Fortin and Jerry Moon. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2013. Varied were the circumstances and needs of those who besought His aid, and none who came to Him went away unhelped. From Him flowed a stream of healing power, and in body and mind and soul men were made whole. MH 17.2

The Saviour is willing to help all who call upon Him for wisdom and clearness of thought. And who needs wisdom and clearness of thought more than does the physician, upon whose decisions so much depends? Let the one who is trying to prolong life look in faith to Christ to direct his every movement. The Saviour will give him tact and skill in dealing with difficult cases. MH 117.5 While He ministered to the poor, Jesus studied also to find ways of reaching the rich. He sought the acquaintance of the wealthy and cultured Pharisee, the Jewish nobleman, and the Roman ruler. He accepted their invitations, attended their feasts, made Himself familiar with their interests and occupations, that He might gain access to their hearts, and reveal to them the imperishable riches. MH 24.2 The book was an immediate success. Within two months The Ministry of Healing needed reprinting. The Review and Herald Publishing also produced its own edition. Printing plates were made available for the Southern Publishing Association in Nashville, Tennessee, the Echo Publishing Company in Melbourne, Australia, and the International Tract Society in London, England. 13 Major Themes In all things He brought His wishes into strict abeyance to His mission. He glorified His life by making everything in it subordinate to the will of His Father. When in His youth His mother, finding Him in the school of the rabbis, said, “Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us?” He answered,—and His answer is the keynote of His lifework,—“How is it that ye sought Me? wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?” Luke 2:48, 49. MH 19.1 Only a short time did Jesus have alone with His beloved ones, but how precious to them were those few moments. They talked together regarding the work of the gospel and the possibility of making their labor more effective in reaching the people. As Jesus opened to them the treasures of truth, they were vitalized by divine power and inspired with hope and courage. MH 56.3

The words spoken to Israel are true today of those who recover health of body or health of soul. “I am the Lord that healeth thee.” Exodus 15:26. MH 113.2 Into the medical missionary work should be brought a deep yearning for souls. To the physician equally with the gospel minister is committed the highest trust ever committed to man. Whether he realizes it or not, every physician is entrusted with the cure of souls. MH 119.4 William C. White to Maggie H. Bree, May 22, 1934, WDF 51-C, Heritage Research Center, Loma Linda University (LLU). ↩

Satanic agencies took possession of men. The bodies of human beings, made for the dwelling place of God, became the habitation of demons. The senses, the nerves, the organs of men were worked by supernatural agencies in the indulgence of the vilest lust. The very stamp of demons was impressed upon the countenances of men. Human faces reflected the expression of the legions of evil with which men were possessed. MH 142.2 What a busy life He led! Day by day He might have been seen entering the humble abodes of want and sorrow, speaking hope to the downcast and peace to the distressed. Gracious, tenderhearted, pitiful, He went about lifting up the bowed-down and comforting the sorrowful. Wherever He went, He carried blessing. MH 24.1 The world needs today what it needed nineteen hundred years ago—a revelation of Christ. A great work of reform is demanded, and it is only through the grace of Christ that the work of restoration, physical, mental, and spiritual, can be accomplished. MH 143.2 Only He who reads the heart can know with what trembling and terror many patients consent to an operation under the surgeon's hand. They realize their peril. While they may have confidence in the physician's skill they know that it is not infallible. But as they see the physician bowed in prayer, asking help from God, they are inspired with confidence. Gratitude and trust open the heart to the healing power of God, the energies of the whole being are vitalized, and the life forces triumph. MH 118.4


E. R. Palmer, “Relief for Our Sanitariums,” ARH, September 7, 1905, 18; idem, “Ministry of Healing,” ARH, September 14, 1905, 20, 21. ↩

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