This edition of Nucleus focuses on healing brokenness. It should come as no surprise to medical students that much about our world is not as it should be. Anyone working in medicine sees the effects of disease every day; the shaking hands of the Parkinson's sufferer, the look of despair in the eyes of the patient who is severely depressed. Wider problems in society are also obvious. Apparently self-inflicted diseases are common, as are assaults. Some find themselves without hope because of loneliness or poverty, and not only become depressed, but often succumb to physical disease as well.
Tim Keller's Generous Justice (reviewed page 35) looks at the response of Christians to problems in society – particularly those stemming from poverty. It is a timely reminder that the gospel is the only answer, but that sharing the gospel effectively will involve engaging with the society around us.
Sometimes our medicine will make a big contribution to wider society. A small number of today's Nucleus readers will go on to make important discoveries, and many more will become trusted doctors, supporting families sometimes through several generations. But medical care can go only so far. 'Whole Person Medicine' aims to extend some of our care beyond the purely physical, encouraging us to look towards psychological and social causes of disease. But even this only extends so far. Holistic medicine often does encourage spirituality (as indeed does even the new GMC Good Medical Practice – see news review on page 6), but rarely does it mention Jesus.
To better explore true whole person medicine, we've taken the unusual step of republishing a previous CMF article: Medicine and 'The Whole Man', by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones (page 8). Lloyd-Jones argues with great clarity that it is only through being Christ centred that we will genuinely practise whole person medicine.
Medical work in the UK is not only about individual doctors and their teams, but also about the National Health Service in which virtually all medical student training is undertaken, and in which most doctors work. The recent report on events at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust is a stark reminder that even this most trusted of UK institutions (the NHS was once described by former Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson as 'the nearest thing the English have to a religion') can fail, and that we cannot have ultimate confidence in it. Work as for the Lord (page 24) argues that only recognition of human sin, and trust in the gospel, can ultimately prevent something similar happening again.
Living and speaking for Jesus isn't usually the easy option. David Livingstone (page 30) faced great hardship in his work. Yet often living and speaking for Jesus is the only option. Not just the only option if we want to see society change, but the only option for Christians who are living in the light of what Jesus has done for them. I hope that these articles will strengthen your belief, and help you to live in the light of the gospel in all that you do.