Two hours south of this rural community we call home, one of our town’s own, a 12 year old boy named Zachary, makes local, national and international news as he remains in a coma in the intensive care unit of a Miami hospital – the victim of a rare and usually fatal brain infection called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. Joined by compassionate people worldwide, our small community has come together to raise support for Zachary’s family, and more importantly, to unite with them in prayer – believing God for a miracle for Zachary*.
Rapid and ongoing advancements in the field of medicine have certainly increased the chances of survival for patients like Zachary, but as author Christopher Bogosh states in his book, Compassionate Jesus – Rethinking the Christian’s Approach to Modern Medicine, as a result of these advancements, “… modern medicine has developed its own distinctive character and philosophical approach to illness, disease, and death.”(p. 8). Bogosh argues that it's an approach that conflicts with a Christian worldview.
Bogosh suggests that…”With all things in the world, Christians need to ‘walk circumspectly’ (Eph. 5:15) and not be led astray through ‘philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8). This is no less true when Christians engage the world of modern medicine.” (p. 7)
Bogosh offers his unique experience and insights to the discussion of health care in both the medical field – from his training as a medic in the Army to a career in intensive care nursing, as well as a degree in theology and a call to the pastorate that led to a ministry in hospice and palliative care. It’s this experience that inspired the biblical model for health care that he encourages Christians to consider.
“Jesus has a lot to say about the way we understand and use medical science, and from His teaching we are able to develop a compassionate health-care model rooted in His redemptive work that is relevant today – a model based on assumptions radically different from those of modern medicine.” Compassionate Jesus p. 8-9
In the light of Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” Bogosh challenges Christians to consider two important questions: (1) Are we living for Christ in the midst of a medical crisis? (2) Do we see our death as great gain as we look in hope to Christ? He concludes that how we answer those questions will determine how we use modern medical science, how we will cope with our own medical crisis, and how we will provide compassionate care for others.
As a former RN with thirteen years of experience in a variety of medical settings – from hospital intensive care to outpatient hemodialysis centers, a fulltime caregiver of my elderly bedridden mother in our home prior to her death, and a long-time consumer of modern medicine as a patient with chronic auto-immune diseases, I was both inspired and encouraged by Compassionate Jesus, and I highly recommend it for its ease in reading (even for those without a medical background), biblical foundation with multiple scriptural references, and valuable information on the history of health care and the philosophy of modern medicine and medical science.
Compassionate Jesus is 160 pages, including an introduction, five chapters, a conclusion and suggestions for further reading. Chapter titles include: God’s Plan and Compassionate Health Care, The Science of Hope, Medical Science: Biblically Informed, God’s Medicine: Prayer in the Spirit, and Hospice Butterflies.
I was provided with a free digital copy of Compassionate Jesus by Cross-Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest opinion.