Shepherding Believers to be Godly Theologians
Words to Pastors, Church Leaders, Biblical Counselors, and Christian Physicians
Introduction: The series: Shepherding Believers to be Godly Theologians unpacks biblical truth for the purpose of developing godly theologians. God has called believers to be godly theologians in all areas of life including stewardship of his body.
I. Goal of shepherding believers to be godly theologians
A. Helping the sheep be God’s kind of theologian: disciple, counselee and patient.
B. Helping a sheep who is a physician be God’s kind of physician.
II. Most importantly, the Bible speaks clearly, authoritatively, necessarily, and sufficiently about relationships and in particular those related to the giving and to the receiving of medical care. it is to be rightly interpreted and the standard for shepherding believers to be godly theologians.
A. Just as there is a godly and ungodly way to grieve (1 Thessalonians 4:13), there is a godly and ungodly way to give and to receive medical care.
B. There is a biblical way to practice medicine.
C. There is a biblical way to be a patient.
III. How can it be (the doctrine of two ways)?
A. Everyone is a theologian and a relational being.
B. As a result, every person has a vertical relationship (to God) and a horizontal relationship (to others and to God and His providential ordering of his or her life).
C. He lives out of an identity. He sets an agenda and pursues it.
D. Man is a created being, the image of God as a whole person – wanting, thinking, and doing.
1. As a whole person, he is duplex:
a. He has a body (outer man: he is a physical, material being); but he is not only body.
b. He has a soul (inner man: he is a spiritual being); but he is not only inner man (other terms the Bible uses for the inner man are heart and mind).
2. Therefore, in every situation (which is in fact God’s providence), the doctor and patient are theologians. The issue is which kind.
3. The Bible is our source for the answer.
IV. As a duplex being man is a sensual being: he perceives through his senses and hew interprets the information through a grid. This basic anthropology must be understood for shepherding believers to be godly theologians
A. He “gathers” or takes in information via the senses.
B. Everyone lives out of an identity and has an interpretative grid.
C. Man interprets information in both the inner man (heart/mind) and the outer man (brain).
D. He acts according to his evaluation via his interpretive grid. Basically, there are two grids captured in Proverbs 3:5-8.
1. Saving faith and the application of biblical principles to all of life including the medical area.
2. Feelings, reason unaided by biblical truth, and/or experiences.
V. Helps for the pastor (these helps apply to the counselor and doctor) for shepherding believers to be godly theologians.
A. A pastor is not simply a spiritual mechanic in regard to the sheep (neither is the counselor in regard to the counselee.
B. The doctor is simply a body mechanic.
C. Function as a learner: never assume you understand what the person is saying, thinking, or meaning. Clarify by way of summary.
D. Be willing to ask questions with an inside-out focus.
1. The person invariably begins with feelings – be wary.
2. Feelings are invariably linked to the person’s thinking and wanting. Learn them.
E. Ask yourself and teach the sheep: what biblical truth does he and you need that fits him in his situation?
F. Remember the “put off”-“put on” principle: people change and get victory in the concrete.
G. Believers are the most changed people in the world so are to be the most changing people: physical problems are the context of heart exposure.
1. Be specific in terms of change and include thinking, wanting, and doing. Feelings follow.
2. Move to the goal of helping him please God – the best goal this side of heaven.
VI. The pastor, physician, and patient must think whole-person” and in the duplex for shepherding believers to be godly theologians
A. The goal for all three is pleasing God and the method is ministering biblical truth to the sheep/person in both a vertical and horizontal reference.
B. Develop thinking as a “whole person” and man as a duplex being based on the biblical premise that the outer and inner man are linked.
C. Wanting, thinking, feeling and doing are linked.
1. The inner man affects the function of the outer man: inner-man activity of thinking and wanting affects a person’s feelings and activity.
2. The outer man affects the function of the inner man
a. In one sense, the outer man-inner man connection depends on how and which part of the body is affected.
b. Most people think and are most familiar to with “body’ problems: what is wrong with my body? What follows is the desire, even demand, to fix me/it. Give me relief.
c. A “brain problem” is a potentially-loaded term and requires:
1) Serious biblical thinking
2) Biblically-directed medical considerations
3) Appropriate application of biblical truth by all involved
VII. Biblically-speaking, pastors, physicians, and patients are not to be spiritual or body mechanics. They are to be whole-person oriented, using biblical principles as their guide for shepherding believers to be godly theologians
A. Man is a whole person, a duplex being, God’s image – all of him
B. His situation in life is God’s providential ordering of it.
1. It is the context for the person to demonstrate the significance/influence/impact of his relationship to God in Christ.
2. It is the context for the person’s development of a God-honoring relationship to Christ.
VIII. The goal for every believer is to please God. He does that by becoming more like Christ.
A. This includes the pastor, the doctor, and the patient.
B. The believer is the most changed person.
C. He is to be the most changing person.
D. He does that by bringing biblical principles to bear on physical/body problems and getting victory in the problem.
E. Victory is defined as:
1. Being controlled and directed by biblical principle rather than the desire for relief.
2. Pleasing God rather than self in the situation
3. Using the situation/condition to develop Christlikeness
4. Victory may not include “cure” of or even relief from the body problem.
IX. The leader is to teach and model for all the sheep the above principles for shepherding believers to be godly theologians.
A. This can be summarized under the heading of stewardship:
B. Honor God by functioning as God’s kind of steward publicly and privately, from the pulpit and at home. So, too, the is the counselor and doctor.
C. Stewardship involves every aspect of man as God’s image: thinking, wanting, and doing.
D. The leader/teacher (pastor, counselor, doctor) is to teach biblical stewardship:
1. It is much more than tithing and giving:
2. It is a whole-person activity.
3. Teaching of biblical principles re: the whole person is the key.
E. The leader/teacher helps the patient/counsel/disciple/sheep regarding:
1. The patient’s physician and his relationship to him:
a. Is the doctor a Christian?
b. If he is, what does that mean for both patient and doctor?
c. Does the doctor bring biblical principles to bear on the patient in his problem?
d. If so how and in what ways?
2. Help the patient determine the doctor’s goal in caring for him.
3. Help the patient determine how the physician’s practice of medicine differs from the unbeliever.
4. Help the person evaluate the medical diagnosis and treatment.
a. Determine basis of the diagnosis.
b. Inquire regarding the solution, if any, and its basis.
E. The leader/teacher helps the physician regarding:
1. Understanding that the discipline of medicine at its core is pagan.
2. Understanding that the problem is not science but the scientist as he evaluates “facts” (no fact is neutral – it is interpreted according to truth or falsehood).
3. Biblical skepticism regarding medicine and its practice but:
a. Take doctors under your wing.
b. Find a learner. You be a learner.
c. Teach them from the Bible as you partner with them.
d. Find one that is theologically sound or is willing to be.
e. Help him “see” the better way: pleasing God in the midst of God’s hard providence as God’s and the patient’s tool for their growth. This includes the doctor and patient.
f. Help him “see” that the consistent, humble application of biblical principles re: the whole person is the “best” care he can give his patients.
F. Doctors may be a valuable ally or an effective enemy.
G. Be aware of prayer meetings: gear requests toward wisdom issues: growth in Christ.
X. Going to the doctor
A. The patient should go to the doctor, not to get, but to please God as a good steward.
B. Too few visits to the doctor may be poor stewardship.
C. Too many visits to the doctor may be poor stewardship.
D. The same applies to exercise and medications: too much and too little.
XI. The doctor cares for the patient, not to cure/”heal,” but to please God. However, this fact does not play a role in the practice of medicine. It is important to note this fact for shepherding believers to be godly theologians. They must ask questions.
A. He does that by bringing biblical truth to bear on himself and the patient.
1. The physical condition of the patient does not alter the essence of biblical truth but it may change how/in what way biblical truth is ministered.
2. He must apply proper theology to the inner and outer man.
3. He needs to know theology and medicine well.
4. He must have confidence in the Word AND in his use of that Word.
B. He uses his Bible as his guide: it won’t tell him the specifics of diagnosis and treatment.
C. The Bible will help direct the physician and the patient in the Truth/truth which is real freedom.
D. He should develop a biblical skepticism for medicine: its approach to people, its goals, its agenda, its philosophy and its practice.
The material may not be reproduced in any form without the author’s written permission: Jimhalla@yahoo.com