Christian Medial Fellowship
Printed from:
CMF on Facebook CMF on Twitter CMF on YouTube RSS Get in Touch with CMF
menu resources
ss nucleus - winter 2007,  God, Medicine and Miracles: the spiritual factor in healing (Book Review)

God, Medicine and Miracles: the spiritual factor in healing (Book Review)

God, Medicine and Miracles: the spiritual factor in healing - Daniel E Fountain - Shaw Books 1999 - £7.25 Pb - 272pp - ISBN 0877883211

I still remember opening my first medical textbook. I also remember getting stuck on the first sentence of the opening page, a question: 'what is health?' It's pretty relevant to everyone studying medicine, and if you want to know what the Bible has to say on it then this is a book for you.

The central idea is that humans are more than just bodies that need fixing. True healing addresses our psychological and spiritual problems as well as poisoning pathogens or cutting out cancer. Doctors must work alongside a pastoral care team to enable complete healing to occur – not the kind of healing that sends a patient home physically cured, but just as spiritually sick as before.

The author worked as a medical missionary in the Congo for 35 years, specialising in the treatment of AIDS. Focussing on the patient as a whole person allowed him to diagnose the disease and yet still offer hope. This edition of Nucleus includes an article on spirituality in psychiatry, looking at some of the research done on the effects of religion on health and healing. We as Christians don't just offer some fuzzy idea of 'spirituality' – we have something far more powerful to share with our patients: spiritual truth.

The book is easy to read, chatty in style and well punctuated with stories. It is assumes no specialist knowledge and is as relevant to patients or their families as it is to doctors. It seems in places to be rather lacking in evidence. From looking at 'Peace of mind makes the body healthy, but jealousy is like a cancer' (Pr 14:30 – Today's English Version), the author argues that psychological and spiritual well-being creates 'a favourable internal environment that enables us to cope at maximum efficiency' with disease. Spiritual peace promotes physical healing. He offers vague explanations in terms of the effects of neuropeptides on the immune system, which are unlikely to convince the sceptic. However, the book really turns some questions on their head. Why are we sceptical about the role of faith in healing? Is healing really only about applying physical cures to relieve organic diseases?

I read this book expecting it to be about miraculous cures in an extraordinary sense: cancers vanishing, paralytics dancing and the blind selling off their guide dogs on eBay. Instead, it tells us of the miracle Jesus is working in each of us, and hopefully in our patients too; a miracle of salvation, forgiveness, peace and healing, that begins now and is perfected in eternity.

Reviewed by:
David Randall
Clinical student at Bart's & the London medical school

Christian Medical Fellowship:
uniting & equipping Christian doctors & nurses
Contact Phone020 7234 9660
Contact Address6 Marshalsea Road, London SE1 1HL
© 2024 Christian Medical Fellowship. A company limited by guarantee.
Registered in England no. 6949436. Registered Charity no. 1131658.
Design: S2 Design & Advertising Ltd   
Technical: ctrlcube