Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.
Colossians 4:14 (NIV)
The same person whom God inspired to write both the gospel which we call “Luke” and the book which we call “Acts” was a medical doctor. Luke was also a Christian missionary who accompanied the apostle Paul on several mission trips. Praise God for medical doctors who are trained in the best medical practices and technologies available in every new generation. The God of the Bible is pleased to work through people, like Dr Luke, who are able to apply, in a loving and responsible manner, the latest advancements in medical science.
Our senses are sometimes dull to the wonders and miracles of modern science and technology. What a wonder that today I can pick up a palm-sized phone and within seconds speak to my daughter who is thousands of miles away on the other side of the planet (and I can even see her face as she talks)! What a miracle that doctors today almost routinely cut open the chest of an 80-year-old, and give him a new pumping heart!
Of course, we know that modern science and technology—especially in this Internet age—keeps advancing and changing so rapidly. The famous quote (or misquote) of Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the 1980s, that “640kB computer memory should be more than enough for anybody in our lifetime”, is well-known. (Gates himself denies ever saying this, but in any case, there are several quotes from computer experts in the 80s who expressed similar sentiments.1) Science and technology, as with many other fields, change rapidly. We praise God for what we do have, and thank God for those who have been called to apply and develop even more miracles for the next generation.
Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, also had this attitude towards medical science and technology in his 18th century world. In addition to many writings on different books of the Bible, he also compiled and published a book of practical home-made remedies for illnesses. The graphic novel on Wesley’s life makes a brief reference to this book, Primitive Physick: An Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases.2 In compiling these remedies, Wesley cited well-known doctors at the time. Although the medical world would very quickly change its mind on the efficacy of several of those remedies, I think we can applaud Wesley’s willingness to bring God’s love and hope to his neighbours by working with the best available medicines and technologies of his age (which even included an appropriate dose of electricity as therapy for several conditions). Wesley’s booklet also repeatedly, and responsibly, stressed the importance of seeing a physician for serious ailments.
Let us take time this month to pray, with thanksgiving to God, for all who work responsibly in the fields of science, technology and the digital universe. May their labours bring blessings to our world and glory to God, whether they know God or not!
The whole earth is full of his glory!
2 There are many spelling variants of ‘physick’, including ‘physic’
Bishop Dr Gordon Wong was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2020.
He served as President of the Trinity Annual Conference from 2012-2020.