“In the ministry of healing, the physician is to be a coworker with Christ. The Savior ministered to both the soul and the body. The gospel which He taught was a message of spiritual life and of physical restoration.” –Ellen White, MH 111
Considering the high cost of training health professionals, the question is asked, “Why does the Seventh-day Adventist Church engage in medical education?” It is expensive, but the reason the Church currently has six medical schools, more than 70 schools of nursing, five dental schools, and numerous professional schools is to train Christian medical missionaries in the pattern and mold of the Chief Physician, Jesus Christ. The Seventh-day Adventist Church does not pursue the education of health professionals as a “franchise.” It is not education for education’s sake. It exists so that health professionals may minister to patients wholistic, touching body, mind, and spirit.
It was a joy to witness the “White Coat Ceremony” of our first cohort of students at the Adventist University of the Philippines in 2015. It was a wonderful privilege to attend the inauguration and investiture of the first graduating class of the Benjamin S. Carson School of Medicine at Babcock University in Nigeria in February of 2017. The Adventist University of Central Africa is hard at work planning, building, and staffing a school of medicine based in Kigali, Rwanda. This will be the second Seventh-day Adventist school of medicine on the continent of Africa, servicing this vast region. Many Adventist young people would love to serve as physicians, but they face difficulties and obstacles that preclude them from doing so. In secular universities classes and qualifying examinations that are held on Sabbath are frequent challenges to Adventists. Having our own schools eliminates this problem.
New schools are in the planning stages. At the same time our flagship school, Loma Linda University, is in the midst of rebuilding its adult and children’s hospitals at great expense. Why would the church want to take on such expensive projects in the current economic climate? There simply is no choice if we want to continue the healing ministry God has set before us. The California building regulations require all hospitals to conform to earthquake specifications; those that do not comply must cease operations. Through a series of what we believe have been divinely-guided events, the bonds and mortgage were confirmed and raised, and the building program is underway. We are grateful and humbled by God’s leading and provision, despite the many difficulties encountered.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church engages in educating health professionals to equip workers to meet the wholistic needs of a broken planet that longs to experience the touch of the healing ministry of Jesus. You can support this work by your prayers, your means, and by becoming one of the teachers or administrators who trains Christian health professionals. As people’s lives are touched, they may also experience the healing of their souls! What a privilege, and what a responsibility it is to follow in the footsteps of the Great Physician.