As I’m sure many of you have seen in the headlines, there have been a plethora of cases lately where the parent chooses to withhold critical medical care from their child due to religious beliefs. These have mainly ended with tragedy.
How should we feel about such cases? On the one hand, as Christians, we have a concern for the removal of our freedom to practice our faith. On the flip side, the lack of concern by the parents for the well-being of their children is entirely disturbing.
Al Mohler has written an excellent article about what happens ‘When Medicine and Faith Collide.’ For a summary conclusion, read below, but know that it’s worth reading the whole thing.
As a Christian theologian, my concern is also directed to those who oppose medical treatment on what are claimed as biblical grounds. The Bible never commands any refusal of legitimate medical treatment. I am unspeakably thankful for modern medicine, for antibiotics and anesthesia and chemotherapy and dialysis and diagnostics. The list goes on and on. There is no Christian prohibition against legitimate medical treatment. I believe that God heals, that we should pray for healing in Christ’s name, and that our lives are in God’s hands. I believe that all healing comes ultimately from God, but that He has given us the blessings of medicine for the alleviation of much suffering and the treatment of disease. There is no conflict here.
There are serious issues of medical ethics in the case of some treatments, even as there are excruciating dilemmas that confront physicians, patients, and parents. Those must be acknowledged, but they are not the issues at stake in these cases.
In these cases I advise what the great Reformer Martin Luther advised — take your medicine and put your trust in God. For parents, this means to give your child the best care that modern medicine can offer, and to entrust your precious child to God and to God alone.