We have been watching the latest campaign of a large “church” in southern California with some mild interest. It seems that the church no longer exists to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified (if it ever did), but is now a one-stop shop for living your best life now. You can visit the web site and look long and hard without finding any reference to the saving work of Jesus Christ, but you can find much about living healthier.
As I’ve watched this play out, I’m reminded of a quote from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Dr. Lloyd-Jones was a medical doctor who left the medical profession to become the pastor of a mission church in Port Talbot, Wales. Here is what he said about the experience of leaving the medical profession.
It is not often that I make any kind of personal reference from this pulpit but I feel this morning that I must speak of an experience which bears on this very subject. When I came here, people said to me: ‘Why give up good work – a good profession – after all, the medical profession, why give that up? If you had been a bookie, for instance, and wanted to give that up to preach the gospel, we should understand and agree with you and say that you were doing a grand thing. But medicine – a good profession, healing the sick and relieving pain!’ One man even said this, ‘If you were a solicitor [lawyer] and gave it up, I’d give you a pat on the back, but to give up medicine!’
‘Ah well!’ I felt like saying to them, ‘if you knew more about the work of a doctor, you would understand. We but spend most of our time rendering people fit to go back to their sin!’ I saw men on their sick beds, I spoke to them of their immortal souls, they promised grand things. Then they got better and back they went to their old sin! I saw I was helping these men to sin and I decided that I would do no more of it. I want to heal souls. If a man has a diseased body and his soul is all right, he is all right to the end; but a man with a healthy body and a diseased soul is all right for sixty years or so and then he has to face an eternity of hell. Ah, yes! we have sometimes to give up those which are good for that which is the best of all – the joy of salvation and newness of life.
– pg 80, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The First Forty Years, 1899-1939, by Iain Murray