Call the Doctor

Today’s guest post comes from Danny Cheever, one of an excellent class of students from Bethel Seminary who recently studied the intersection between theology and science.

On April 2nd, Texas Senator Ted Cruz told a group of Liberty University students “Religious liberty has never been more under attack”.  He spoke of the biblical call for Christians towards “action; not just sitting quietly and hiding our faith under a bushel”, in regards to the topic he was speaking on. The topic in discussion was President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA).  This piece of legislature, to Sen. Cruz, is the greatest current attack on Christian’s religious liberty.  A liberty he equates to a right to one’s property, namely tax money that would be used to fund the ACA. [1]

Let’s assume that Sen. Cruz using Jesus’ words in Mark 4:21-22 for inspiration, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket (bushel as translated in the KJV), or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.”  Jesus is reminding the nation of Israel its call from the Lord, to be His image-bearers on earth, to bring the justice, mercy, and Shalom peace to the world.

Sen. Cruz goes on to use a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “So am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my hometown, to tie together his opinion, that to carry the gospel and let his light shine meant opposing health care reform.  He believes this is the case, because he believes that taxing good Christians to fund the health care of others is an affront on liberty, specifically religious (Christian) liberty.

What’s ironic is that Sen. Cruz quotes Dr. King to drive home his point about the evil of socialized health, yet if he were a more astute student of Dr. King, he might discover the great civil and spiritual leader had more to say on this issue:

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”[2]

To Dr. King, providing health care for all was a matter of biblical justice and mercy.

Dr. Chris R. Armstrong makes an interesting point about how the Christian church has historically viewed health care, specifically for providing a Kingdom-minded sense of justice and mercy to caring for the poor and sick.  In the Roman and pagan culture surrounding the early church, mercy and compassion were not seen as virtues.  Mercy only helped the weak and helpless, which held society back.

So it was the Christians in this society who stepped forward, compelled by the love and grace of the Good News of Christ’s Kingdom, to provide medical care for the poor and helpless, the ones who could not afford it themselves.  To the early church, justice in the form of health care was a natural component of the Gospel.[3]  It was the pagans who believed proper health care was only for those who earned it.  An argument could perhaps be made that the opposite seems to be the case in America today.

The point of all this is, rather than get into an argument over the correct way to view health care in our society, a more modest goal may be to see a shift in the conversation surrounding health care, if only among Christians, to one centered on the ideas of, 1) the Kingdom of God 2) humans as God’s image-bearers.  Maybe what Christ has to say about this new, glorious Kingdom will point us towards a certain side on this issue.  Maybe it won’t.  But it’s a much better lens to view this issue through than one of personal property rights.


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