Why the “W” in Biblically “Wholistic” Healthcare?

Most who read this blog post have asked themselves “What does he mean by “Biblically Wholistic healthcare?” or “How is this different than other healthcare?” Don’t feel bad that you have not heard this phrase before. I have chosen this phrase after much deliberation and prayer over several years. It is meant to express as succinctly as possible what I believe God intended for Christian healthcare to look like. That prayer and deliberation led me to summarize this vision into a previously unknown phrase, “Biblically Wholistic Healthcare”: a new phrase for a fresh definition.

Hopefully, your curiosity has been piqued by my attempt at creating a new phrase and a new understanding of healthcare. If so, then you will appreciate the coming series of blog posts which will elucidate the principles underlying “Biblically Wholistic Healthcare”. Today I will only touch upon the high points, preparing you for a deeper consideration of each principle in days to come. The other foundational principle of the practice, Direct Pay Care, will not be addressed in this series.

The first principle begins with the verse Colossians 3:23 under the tag-line “Wholistic healthcare for the glory of God.” Colossians 3:23 reads “Whatever you you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” (ESV). Though I cannot claim perfection in this goal, I aim to bring glory to God through how I care for patients. Ultimately, in aiming for this goal, the best care is provided to patients because I serve a higher standard than “do no harm” or “patient centered care”.

The second principle is closely linked to the first. As the website reads, “Covenantal medicine means that your physician commits to care for you with the utmost wisdom and skill, avoiding conflict of interest.” I have done everything possible to avoid financial conflicts of interest that might adversely influence my care of patients. Inherent in “covenantal medicine” is again a higher standard because God is watching over each interaction, holding the doctor to a standard above the Hippocratic Oath.

The third principle builds further on the first two by approaching the care of persons as the Bible does – wholistically – in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Men and women are “wholes” of body, spirit, mind, and relationships. While each aspect of the person may not be addressed equally at every single visit, over time each part plays a role in restoring or maintaining a person’s health.

The fourth principle, determining medical choices by Biblical principles, means that I have taken time to understand the worldviews behind different therapies and will guide patients away from those therapies which otherwise risk spiritual harm. A purely pragmatic approach of doing anything that works for health may involve patients in anti-Christian worldviews. I can’t do that if I know God is watching.

The fifth and sixth principles are interrelated. Integrative medicine and functional medicine provide the medical or scientific sides to my approach. Practicing integrative medicine means utilization of both conventional and natural therapies to facilitate the body’s God-given ability to heal. Functional medicine, as a whole, includes many concepts, but my focus resides in the goal of getting at root causes of illness (often more than one). Rather than just treating symptoms, I work to trace the disease process to its root causes and address those problems whenever possible – rather than just treat the downstream effects.

Finally, the seventh principle personalizes patient care. Each person is a unique whole made by God. Their genetics, their health history, their desires, their lives… everything is unique. Treating patients as statistics will not bring about full restoration of health for God’s glory. Treating people as individuals has greater hope for such restoration.

Together, these principles form the backbone of “Biblically Wholistic Care”. Further posts will slow down and explain each of these principles further. Eventually, I will even explain why I chose to spell “wholistic” with a “w” and not “holistic” like most do. Stay tuned for more.

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