The Need for a Comprehensive Means of Evaluation.
Chapter 2 of Dr. Neil Anderson and Dr. Michael Jacobson’s book, The Biblical Guide to Alternative Medicine
(This is a summary of the author’s views. Where I disagree, I try to highlight my disagreement and the reasons for it. Just because I agree in these areas, does not mean that I agree in other areas. I share this chapter for the very fact that their approach is the best one I have seen for evaluating medical approaches by a Biblical worldview.)
Those whose health creates suffering face serious challenges when simple therapies fail. When they began to search out for help, they may become bewildered by the options. Various specialists offer various recommendations. If the sufferer expands their search to alternative medicine, the variety and number of options multiply further. How does one make objective and wise decisions in the midst of suffering and in the light of truth?
We need a process of evaluation which can guide our decisions. Waiting until the pain or distress has arrived before settling evaluative principles leaves one open to poor decisions. The authors lay out a 5 step grid of discernment for Christians seeking to make wise choices regarding health care. They base their grid on Biblical truth.
It begins with evaluating a medical philosophy’s history. Looking at historical roots allows us to understand how it was developed and what ideas influenced it. It then proceeds to evaluating through a grid of faith. We must understand what are the foundational worldviews underlying the approach.
Next comes the wholistic grid. A proper approach must address the person as a whole rather than fragments of the whole. Then comes the grid of science. God created the universe with fixed laws and principles. A medical approach which denies natural law should be distrusted.
Finally, the grid of spiritual discernment must be addressed. The Holy Spirit must guide the patient in determining whether a medical approach violates Biblical truth or not.
Each of these grids should be considered, although the authors do not assert that all except the last must be passed before someone partakes of a given therapy. I would add that any therapy must align with God’s revelation, both the special revelation of Scripture and the general revelation of creation, providence, and order He established.
The authors emphasize several points. The church and Christian physicians need to dialogue about these issues. The Church must not side with a medical worldview solely because it is the most prevalent at the time. Competence must not be sacrificed for the sake of spiritual agreement. No perfectly wholistic doctor exists. God does not promise we won’t have physical suffering for sinful choices.