The discussion opened this evening with a query as to whether any of the attendees have been asked by their patients, friends or relatives who know they are christians for the name of a christian physician of some particular specialty so they could see them for their particular problem. This happens to many of us occasionally. We spent some time talking about why these patients might prefer a christian doctor and what their expectations might be. It was generally agreed that these patients are looking for someone who they believe they will have an additional bond with, someone who will understand them better because of their shared belief in Christ. It was also agreed that it is not for some mistaken belief that non-christians are somehow not as good doctors as christians. Clearly there are many outstanding doctors who do not profess a faith in Jesus Christ.
But this does raise some interesting questions: If we, as Christian doctors, attribute all of our ability, knowledge, and guidance of our lives to the one true God, then why aren’t we better than our non-christian colleagues? Likewise, if the non-christian physician does not have those benefits how come they are so good at what they do?
The first question can be answered simply by looking at the impact that sin continues to play in our lives despite our faith. We spent some time discussing where our sinful nature interferes with our desire to do the best for our patients.
An answer to the second question lies with the understanding that all people regardless of their level of faith in God are loved by God and blessed by Him to various degrees. We christians have received the Grace of Salvation due to our belief in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. But all people have been showered with Common Grace from God. Two readings from scripture were shared – Psalms 19:1-4 and Romans 2:14-15. We talked about the implications of these readings which demonstrate that God’s marvelous creation was made for all people and that this creation is a witness of his glory and power that is evident to all people and can not be denied. We know that God’s law is written on all people’s hearts whether they believe in Jesus or not. This primordial knowledge of God is evidence of the common grace that is given to everyone.
It is not necessary for a physician to be a christian to be blessed through common grace with abilities and gifts by God. Evidence of this is in the Bible. In Exodus 31:1-6 God tells Moses that He has imbued certain workman with special talents to build the Ark of the Covenant. In Isaiah 28:24-29 it tells us the knowledge of how to plant and farm (the most common occupation of biblical times) is given directly from God. In fact in James 1:17 it declares that all good things come from God. Clearly Go is working in the lives of our non-christian partners and colleagues to use the gifts they are given to do their work just as he does in our lives. The difference is we recognize and acknowledge from whence the ability comes. We finished our discussion talking about how we this willingness to acknowledge God’s role in our work lives has impacted us as physicians.