Centennial Moments: The Ministry of Healing
The story of Loma Linda would not be complete without mentioning the book Ministry of Healing. This modest volume, written a century ago, contains in a nutshell the core of an Adventist philosophy of health. The author, Ellen G. White, dedicated the book to the “physicians and nurses of every land” who were co-workers with Christ in the ministry of healing. She intended to produce a book which presented Jesus Christ as the “master physician” who stands as the true head of the medical profession.
The book Ministry of Healing was so important to early Loma Linda administrators that a copy was placed in each patient’s room. The author was instrumental in founding Loma Linda Sanitarium, and used all profits from the book to help relieve the debts of Adventist sanitariums including that of Loma Linda. The desperately needed funds helped to get Loma Linda Sanitarium on its feet financially. Students took the book door to door in an effort to help raise funds and reduce institutional debt.
In a nutshell, this book is about how to live a healthy, happy, and more productive life. The first half of the book contains devotional material about the healing ministry of Christ. Jesus is presented as a “master healer” who devoted more time to healing than to any other activity. And when Christ healed people, he healed them not only physically, but spiritually, too. Jesus is someone whom each person can come to for spiritual well-being. This holistic approach that incorporates the mental, physical, and spiritual is the foundation for an Adventist philosophy of health and healing.
Another important part of Ministry of Healing is the importance the author gave to medical missionary work. As Christian medical practitioners, clinicians have a responsibility to improve the lives of other people. This includes both the rich and the poor. Medical missionaries furthermore understand that sin is the true cause of disease and suffering, and that ultimately Jesus Christ is the solution to suffering humanity. As a result, all medical personnel have a responsibility to heal patients and to teach them how to live better and more productive lives.
“The true core of Loma Linda and its complex of institutions and services, embodied by its motto ‘To Make Man Whole,’ comes directly from the philosophical approach articulated in Ministry of Healing. The foundational nature and true timelessness of these concepts have served us well for the past century and will continue their significance into the future,” says Richard H. Hart, MD, DrPH, chancellor of the University.
Loma Linda University and Medical Center recognize not only our own centennial, but that of this book, which comprises so much of what this institution is all about. Today the book has been put into modern English and complimentary copies are available to the first 50 people to stop by the Heritage Room in the Del E. Webb Memorial Library with the coupon that accompanies this article.