Ministry to the Cities


Chapter 9—Christ-Centered Health Ministry*


Health Ministry to Be Starting Point.—Medical missionary work has been presented as the entering wedge of present truth. It is by this work that hearts are reached, and those once prejudiced are softened and subdued. This is the work that is to be done today.—Letter 110, 1902 (Manuscript Releases 4:374). MTC 123.1

Health Evangelism Opens Doors for Sharing the Gospel.—The evangelization of the world is the work that God has given to those who go forth in His name. They are to be colaborers with Christ, revealing to those ready to perish His tender, pitying love. God calls for thousands to work for Him, not by preaching to those who know the truth, going over and over the same ground, but by warning those who have never heard the last message of mercy. Work, with a heart filled with an earnest longing for souls. Do medical missionary work. Thus you will gain access to the hearts of the people. The way will be prepared for more decided proclamation of the truth. You will find that relieving their physical suffering gives an opportunity to minister to their spiritual needs. MTC 123.2

The Lord will give you success in this work, for the gospel is the power of God unto salvation when it is interwoven with the practical life, when it is lived and practiced. The union of Christlike work for the body and Christlike work for the soul is the true interpretation of the gospel.—A Call to Medical Evangelism and Health Education, 7. MTC 123.3

All in Need to Be Helped by Health Evangelism.—He [the Lord] sees in our cities many who have been blessed with a large share of mental and physical capabilities swept into the whirlpool of temptation. They must be reached. This is where health reform has been made the entering wedge. By this work many have been reached that would not otherwise have been reached. Men and women of strong, noble sentiments and deep sympathies have been aroused to do something, while priest and Levite have passed by on the other side. ... MTC 124.1

There is a work to be done in the cities of America that is very different from the work that has been done. ... Not only are those who are in respectable grades of society to be worked for, [but] the fallen and degraded are to be gathered in. It is in the highways and hedges that souls will be found who need to be saved. Many are mentally blind, mentally wounded. There are those who have had educational privileges, who have valuable, receptive faculties, who have yielded to temptation. These are to be sought out. Some are in possession of more than ordinary talents, but they are dead in trespasses and sins, and they must be labored for.—Manuscript 33, 1899. MTC 124.2

Christian Help Work to Bless Others.—You [Dr. J. H. Kellogg] speak of the work that is being done in Chicago. I am in full sympathy with the work that is being done there. I believe in helping along every line in which it is possible to help, following the steps of Christ. Those who take hold of this Christian help work who will consecrate themselves to God will find that He will be a present help to them in every hour of need. I know that the Lord will use those who will submit themselves to Him, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, they will be enabled to do the work that needs to be done.—Letter 43, 1895 (Manuscript Releases 4:131). MTC 124.3

Health Ministry Prepares Way for Reception of Truth.—The right hand is used to open doors through which the body may find entrance. This is the part the medical missionary work is to act. It is to largely prepare the way for the reception of the truth for this time. A body without hands is useless. In giving honor to the body, honor must also be given to the helping hands, which are agencies of such importance that without them the body can do nothing. Therefore the body which treats indifferently the right hand, refusing its aid, is able to accomplish nothing.—Manuscript 55, 1901 (Medical Ministry, 238). MTC 125.1

Health Evangelism Work Necessary to Advance God's Work.—Medical missionary work is the right hand of the gospel. It is necessary to the advancement of the cause of God. As through it men and women are led to see the importance of right habits of living, the saving power of the truth will be made known. Every city is to be entered by workers trained to do medical missionary work. As the right hand of the third angel's message, God's methods of treating disease will open doors for the entrance of present truth.—Testimonies For The Church 7:59. (1902) MTC 125.2

Diseased Souls to Be Reached Through Health Evangelism.—I can see in the Lord's providence that the medical missionary work is to be a great entering wedge, whereby the diseased soul may be reached.—Letter 36, 1893 (Counsels on Health, 535). MTC 125.3

World Open to Health Evangelism.—Medical missionary work brings to humanity the gospel of release from suffering. It is the pioneer work of the gospel. It is the gospel practiced, the compassion of Christ revealed. Of this work there is great need, and the world is open for it. God grant that the importance of medical missionary work shall be understood, and that new fields may be immediately entered.—Manuscript 55, 1901 (Medical Ministry, 239). MTC 125.4


Wherever Churches Are Established, Health Ministry Work to Be Started.—The question has been asked, did you not give Dr. [J. H.] Kellogg encouragement after he had entered into this work? I answer, I did; for I had been instructed that a work of this character should be done by all our churches; that a deep interest should be taken in this very line of work; that according to the light which the Lord had been pleased to give me, this line of work should have been taken hold of with resolution by our ministers, not to create a large center in one place, but to establish the work in many cities and to arouse the people to give of the Lord's money for the work in behalf of suffering humanity. MTC 126.1

The Lord gave me light that in every place where a church was established, medical missionary work was to be done. But there was in the Battle Creek church a great deal of selfishness. Those at the very heart of the work indulged their own wishes in a way that dishonored God. Dr. Kellogg was not sustained in the health reform work, the importance of which had been kept before the church for thirty years. This work was hindered because of the feelings and prejudices of some in Battle Creek who were not disposed to conform their course of action to the Word of God regarding health reform principles.—Manuscript 175, 1898 (Battle Creek Letters, 11). MTC 126.2

Every Church Is to Serve Those in Need.—The work of gathering in the needy, the oppressed, the suffering, the destitute, is the very work which every church that believes the truth for this time should long since have been doing. We are to show the tender sympathy of the Samaritan ..., feeding the hungry, bringing the poor that are cast out to our homes, gathering from God every day grace and strength that will enable us to reach to the very depths of human misery and help those who cannot possibly help themselves. In doing this work we have a favorable opportunity to set forth Christ the Crucified One.—Testimonies For The Church 6:276. (1900) MTC 126.3

Wisdom Needed.—Those who will enter our large cities to labor as medical evangelists must begin their work in a very wise way. Angels of God will make the impression, and under the hallowed influence of the Holy Spirit, hearts will be touched. The words of the speaker bringing the form of sound doctrine into actual contact with the hearer will result in the saving of souls.—Letter 4, 1910 (A Call to Medical Evangelism and Health Education, 42). MTC 127.1

All Called to Have Part.—Medical missionary work is the helping hand of God. This work must be done. It is needed in new fields, and in fields where the work was started years ago. Since this work is the helping hand of God and the entering wedge of the gospel, we want you [church members] to understand that you are to have a part in it. It is not to be divorced from the gospel. Every soul before me this morning should be filled with the true medical missionary spirit.—The General Conference Bulletin, April 7, 1903, p. 105 (The Review and Herald, April 14, 1903). MTC 127.2

Expansion of Health Evangelism Work Needed.—We thank the Lord for the medical missionary work that has already been done, but there is a large army of workers that is to engage in the same class of labor in different locations in cities, and the byways and hedges. There is more enlightenment to be given to those who are perishing in their sins. There will be very singular cases brought to notice who need not only the necessities of physical wants supplied, which is as essential as the first work, but to be brought into connection with sanitariums and homes that can present pure, correct principles for medical restoration. There are many who will catch hold of the hand stretched out to save them.—Letter 83, 1897. MTC 127.3


Health Ministry Work to Point Sick to Christ.—We should ever remember that the object of the medical missionary work is to point sin-sick men and women to the Man of Calvary, who taketh away the sin of the world. By beholding Him, they will be changed into His likeness. We are to encourage the sick and suffering to look to Jesus and live. Let the workers keep Christ, the Great Physician, constantly before those to whom disease of body and soul has brought discouragement. Point them to the One who can heal both physical and spiritual disease. ... MTC 127.4

God often reaches hearts through our efforts to relieve physical suffering. MTC 128.1

Medical missionary work is the pioneer work of the gospel. ... MTC 128.2

In almost every community there are large numbers who do not listen to the preaching of God's word or attend any religious service. If they are [to be] reached by the gospel, it must be carried to their homes. Often the relief of their physical needs is the only avenue by which they can be approached. ... Unselfish love, manifested in acts of disinterested kindness, will make it easier for these suffering ones to believe in the love of Christ. ... MTC 128.3

As they see one with no inducement of earthly praise or compensation come into their homes, ministering to the sick, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, comforting the sad, and tenderly pointing all to Him of whose love and pity the human worker is but the messenger—as they see this, their hearts are touched. Gratitude springs up. Faith is kindled. They see that God cares for them, and they are prepared to listen as His word is opened.—The Ministry of Healing, 144, 145. (1905) MTC 128.4


Health Evangelism Workers to Represent Christ's Character.—The medical missionary work is of divine origin, and has a most glorious mission to fulfill. In all its bearings it is to be in conformity with Christ's work. Those who are workers together with God will just as surely represent the character of Christ as Christ represented the character of His Father while in this world.—Manuscript 130, 1902 (Medical Ministry, 24). MTC 128.5

Call to Be Christians Both in Profession and Practice.—Study the life and character of Christ, and seek to imitate His example. The unconsecrated course of some of those who claim to be believers in the third angel's message has resulted in driving some of the poor sheep into the desert; and who is it that has manifested a shepherd's care for the lost and wandering? Is it not time to be Christians in practice as well as profession? What benevolence, what compassion, what tender sympathy, Jesus has manifested toward suffering humanity! The heart that beats in unison with His great heart of infinite love will give sympathy to every needy soul, and will make it manifest that he has the mind of Christ. “A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench.” Every suffering soul has a claim upon the sympathy of others, and those who are imbued with the love of Christ, filled with His pity, tenderness, and compassion, will respond to every appeal to their sympathy. They will not say, when an appeal is made to them in behalf of those who are perishing out of Christ, “This does not concern me.” They will not act the part of the elder brother, but will manifest personal interest and sympathy. They will follow the example of their Master, and will go out to seek and to save that which was lost, obeying the Saviour's words when He said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Every soul who attempts to retrace his wanderings and return to God needs the help of those who have a tender, pitying heart of Christlike love.—The Review and Herald, October 16, 1894. MTC 129.1

Unselfish Deeds Are Strongest Argument for Christianity.—The truth expressed in living, unselfish deeds is the strongest argument for Christianity. Relieving the sick and helping the distressed is working in Christ's lines, and demonstrates most powerful gospel truths representing Christ's mission and work upon the earth. The knowledge of the art of relieving suffering humanity opens doors without number through which the truth can find lodgment in the heart, and souls are saved unto life, eternal life.—Letter 36, 1893 (Manuscript Releases 2:240). MTC 129.2


Medical Work to Accompany Gospel Ministry.—In our large cities the medical missionary work must go hand in hand with the gospel ministry. It will open doors for the entrance of truth.—Manuscript 117, 1901 (Evangelism, 387). MTC 130.1

Medical Work Not to Be Separated From Ministerial Work.—Of late [1899] a great interest has been aroused for the poor and outcast classes; a great work has been entered upon for the uplifting of the fallen and degraded. This in itself is a good work. We should ever have the spirit of Christ, and we are to do the same class of work that He did for suffering humanity. The Lord has a work to be done for the outcasts. There is no question but that it is the duty of some to labor among them, and try to save the souls that are perishing. This will have its place in connection with the proclamation of the third angel's message and the reception of Bible truth.—Manuscript 3, 1899 (Evangelism, 548). MTC 130.2

Satan Tries to Divide Medical and Ministerial Work.—The medical missionary work is not to be carried forward as something apart from the work of the gospel ministry. The Lord's people are to be one. There is to be no separation in His work. Time and means are being absorbed in a work which is carried forward too earnestly in one direction. The Lord has not appointed this. He sent out His twelve apostles and afterward the Seventy to preach the word to the people, and He gave them power to heal the sick and to cast out devils in His name. The two lines of work must not be separated. Satan will invent every possible scheme to separate those whom God is seeking to make one. We must not be misled by his devices. The medical missionary work is to be connected with the third angel's message as the hand is connected with the body; and the education of students in medical missionary lines is not complete unless they are trained to work in connection with the church and the ministry.—Manuscript 3, 1899 (Counsels on Health, 557). MTC 130.3

Ministers and Physicians to Work Together in City Evangelism.—In this effort in behalf of the cities, all classes of laborers may cooperate to advantage. Especially valuable is the help that the physician may render as an evangelist. If ministers and physicians will plan to unite in an effort to reach the honest- hearted ones in the cities, the physicians, as well as the ministers, will be placed on vantage ground. As they labor in humility, God will open the way before them, and many will receive a saving knowledge of the truth.—North Pacific Union Gleaner, April 13, 1910. MTC 131.1


Physicians Symbolize Ministry of Gospel.—The work which He [Christ] gave to our physicians was to symbolize to the world the ministry of the gospel in medical missionary work.—Testimonies For The Church 6:246. (1900) MTC 131.2

Physicians to Present Message From Medical Perspective.—Those who are Christian physicians may do a precious work for God as medical missionaries. Too often so many things engage the minds of physicians that they are kept from the work that God would have them do as evangelists. Let the medical workers present the important truths of the third angel's message from the physician's viewpoint. Physicians of consecration and talent can secure a hearing in large cities at times when other men would fail. As physicians unite with ministers in proclaiming the gospel in the great cities of the land, their combined labors will result in influencing many minds in favor of the truth for this time.—The Review and Herald, April 7, 1910 (Medical Ministry, 248). MTC 131.3


Medical Work Not to Be Exalted Above Ministerial Work.—You [Dr. J. H. Kellogg] cannot properly build up and manage the medical missionary work while giving it the prominence which you have thought that it should maintain. By representing the gospel ministry as inferior to the medical missionary work, you have placed a wrong mold upon that work. ... MTC 132.1

Not once or twice, but many times, the ministers have been presented to me as sitting before you in meetings; and you have made charges against them that have brought no credit to yourself. The impression left upon minds has been that you regarded your judgment as superior to that of others. But should your methods be followed by your brethren, in all things, they would not be walking in the way of the Lord. MTC 132.2

Your speaking of the ministers before your classes, and exalting the medical missionary work above the work of the ministry, is bringing in a state of things that is not in harmony with the third angel's message. I was shown that angels veiled their faces when they heard your words in regard to God's servants. These men have been given a work to do for God, and many of them are doing this work just as faithfully as you are doing your work. Some are laboring under more discouraging circumstances, because they have not the advantages and facilities which you possess for the prosecution of their work. MTC 132.3

The swaying of things so heavily in one line is not after the Lord's plan. ... MTC 132.4

The medical missionary work must be as closely connected with the work of the gospel ministry as the hand and arm are connected with the body. You need the gospel ministry to give prominence and stability to the medical missionary work; and the ministry needs the medical missionary work to demonstrate the practical working of the gospel. The Lord would have His work carried forward symmetrically and harmoniously. His message must be carried to all parts of the world. There is a large vineyard to be worked. The wise husbandman works the vineyard so that every part produces fruit. MTC 132.5

Read the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah. This chapter will tell us what is the work before us. “The Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” MTC 133.1

Please consider what this ... verse means, “And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.” ... MTC 133.2

The Lord moves in straight lines, and He will have each part of His work united with the other.—Letter 135, 1899 (portion in Manuscript Releases 4:131, 132). MTC 133.3

Health Reform Unwisely Presented Creates Prejudices.—Health reform, wisely treated, will prove an entering wedge where the truth may follow with marked success. But to present health reform unwisely, making that subject the burden of the message, has served to create prejudice with unbelievers and to bar the way to the truth, leaving the impression that we are extremists. Now, the Lord would have us wise and understanding as to what is His will. We must not give occasion for us to be regarded [as] extremists. This will place us and the truth God has given us to bear to the people at a great disadvantage. Through weaving in unconsecrated self, that which we are ever to present as a blessing becomes a stumbling block.—Manuscript 5, 1881 (Manuscript Releases 2:105). MTC 133.4


Those With Addictions Need to Be Helped.—Every true reform has its place in the work of the gospel and tends to the uplifting of the soul to a new and nobler life. ... MTC 133.5

There is everywhere a work to be done for those who through intemperance have fallen. ... Through intemperate habits they bring upon themselves disease, and through greed to obtain money for sinful indulgence they fall into dishonest practices. Health and character are ruined. Aliens from God, outcasts from society, these poor souls feel that they are without hope either for this life or for the life to come. The hearts of the parents are broken. Men speak of these erring ones as hopeless; but not so does God regard them. He understands all the circumstances that have made them what they are, and He looks upon them with pity. This is a class that demand help. Never give them occasion to say, “No man cares for my soul.” ... MTC 134.1

Often in helping the intemperate we must, as Christ so often did, give first attention to their physical condition. ... In every city a place should be provided where the slaves of evil habit may receive help to break the chains that bind them. ... MTC 134.2

The self-indulgent must be led to see and feel that great moral renovation is necessary if they would be men. ... MTC 134.3

The tempted one needs to understand the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man—the power of decision, of choice. ... MTC 134.4

Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in the life. By yielding up the will to Christ, we ally ourselves with divine power. We receive strength from above to hold us steadfast. A pure and noble life, a life of victory over appetite and lust, is possible to everyone who will unite his weak, wavering human will to the omnipotent, unwavering will of God.—The Ministry of Healing, 171-176. (1905) MTC 134.5

Temperance Work* to Be Emphasized.—God wants us to stand where we can warn the people. He desires us to take up the temperance question. By wrong habits of eating and drinking, men are destroying what power they have for thought and intelligence. We do not need to take an ax and break into their saloons. We have a stronger weapon than this—the word of the living God. That will cleave its way through the hellish shadow which Satan seeks to cast athwart their pathway. God is mighty and powerful. He will speak to their hearts. We have seen Him doing this.—The General Conference Bulletin, April 23, 1901, p. 424 (Evangelism, 587, 588; Temperance, 235). MTC 134.6

Temperance Work to Be Revived.—Consider how the evil of intemperance is at work in our cities. Do we not know that the liquor sold in the saloons of our land is drugged with the most poisonous substances?* We read of one and another who has taken life while under the influence of liquor—liquor that has robbed them of their reason. We need to have a knowledge of these things, that we may work intelligently to help others. The temperance cause needs to be revived as it has not yet been. We need to preach the gospel, that men and women may understand how to obey the word of God. It is the word of the living God that will bring men and women into right relation to Him; it will make impressions on heart and mind and character. Let every one of us be aroused to do the work that is waiting to be done—the work that Christ did when He was in the world. By beholding the works of Christ, humanity will take hold upon divinity. There the appeal to souls is made, and He never turns one away. Whatever may be the position in life, whatever the past may have been, He will still receive.—The Review and Herald, January 14, 1909. MTC 135.1

Temperance Includes All Aspects of Healthful Living.—In the advocacy of the cause of temperance, our efforts are to be multiplied. The subject of Christian temperance should find a place in our sermons in every city where we labor. Health reform in all its bearings is to be presented before the people, and special efforts made to instruct the youth, the middle-aged, and the aged in the principles of Christian living.—Manuscript 61, 1909 (Temperance, 239). MTC 135.2

Youth to Advance Temperance Ministry.—There is no class of persons capable of accomplishing more in the warfare against intemperance than are God-fearing youth. In this age the young men in our cities should unite as an army, firmly and decidedly to set themselves against every form of selfish, health-destroying indulgence. What a power they might be for good! How many they might save from becoming demoralized in the halls and gardens fitted up with music and other attractions to allure the youth! ... MTC 136.1

The young men and young women who claim to believe the truth for this time can please Jesus only by uniting in an effort to meet the evils that have, with seductive influence, crept in upon society. They should do all they can to stay the tide of intemperance now spreading with demoralizing power over the land. Realizing that intemperance has open, avowed supporters, those who honor God take their position firmly against this tide of evil by which both men and women are being swiftly carried to perdition.—Youth's Instructor, July 16, 1903 (Temperance, 235). MTC 136.2


Widows, Orphans, Elderly, Helpless, and the Sick All Need Assistance.—When all has been done that can be done in helping the poor to help themselves, there still remain the widow and the fatherless, the aged, the helpless, and the sick, that claim sympathy and care. Never should these be neglected. They are committed by God Himself to the mercy, the love, and the tender care of all whom He has made His stewards.—The Ministry of Healing, 201. (1905) MTC 136.3

Orphans and Elderly to Be Helped.—God calls upon us to supply to these children, so far as we can, the want of a father's care. Instead of standing aloof, complaining of their faults, and of the trouble they may cause, help them in every way possible. Seek to aid the careworn mother. Lighten her burdens. MTC 136.4

Then there are the multitudes of children who have been wholly deprived of the guidance of parents and the subduing influence of a Christian home. Let Christians open their hearts and homes to these helpless ones. The work that God has committed to them as an individual duty should not be turned over to some benevolent institution or left to the chances of the world's charity. If the children have no relatives able to give them care, let the members of the church provide homes for them. He who made us ordained that we should be associated in families, and the child nature will develop best in the loving atmosphere of a Christian home. ... MTC 137.1

The aged also need the helpful influences of the family. In the home of brethren and sisters in Christ can most nearly be made up to them the loss of their own home. ... Make them feel that their help is valued, that there is something yet for them to do in ministering to others, and it will cheer their hearts and give interest to their lives. MTC 137.2

So far as possible let those whose whitening heads and failing steps show that they are drawing near to the grave remain among friends and familiar associations. ... MTC 137.3

Whenever they are able to do so, it should be the privilege of the members of every family to minister to their own kindred. When this cannot be, the work belongs to the church, and it should be accepted both as a privilege and as a duty. All who possess Christ's spirit will have a tender regard for the feeble and the aged.—The Ministry of Healing, 203, 204. (1905) MTC 137.4


Although Work of Salvation Army Not Ours, We Should Not Condemn Them.—The enemy is determined to mix error with truth. To do this he uses the opportunity given him by the debased class for whom so much labor and money are expended, the class whose appetites have been perverted through indulgence, whose souls have been abused, whose characters are misshapen and deformed, whose habits and desires are groveling, who think habitually upon evil. Such ones can be transformed in character; but how few there are with whom the work is thorough and lasting! MTC 137.5

Some will be sanctified through the truth; but many make a superficial change in their habits and practices, and then suppose that they are Christians. They are received into church fellowship, but they are a great trouble and a great care. Through them Satan tries to sow in the church the seeds of jealousy, dishonesty, criticism, and accusing. Thus he tries to corrupt the other members of the church. The disposition that has mastered them from childhood, that led them to break away from all restraint and brought them down to degradation, still controls them. They are reported to be rescued, but too often time shows that the work done for them did not make them submissive children of God. At every supposed slight, resentful feelings rise. They cherish bitterness, wrath, malice. By their words and spirit they show that they have not been born again. Their tendencies are downward, tending to sensuality. They are untrustworthy, unthankful, unholy. Thus it is with all who have not been soundly converted. Every one of these marred characters, untransformed, becomes an efficient worker for Satan, creating dissension and strife. MTC 138.1

The Lord has marked out our way of working. As a people we are not to imitate and fall in with Salvation Army methods. This is not the work that the Lord has given us to do. Neither is it our work to condemn them and speak harsh words against them. There are precious, self-sacrificing souls in the Salvation Army. We are to treat them kindly. There are in the Army honest souls, who are sincerely serving the Lord and who will see greater light, advancing to the acceptance of all truth. The Salvation Army workers are trying to save the neglected, downtrodden ones. Discourage them not. Let them do that class of work by their own methods and in their own way. But the Lord has plainly pointed out the work that Seventh-day Adventists are to do. Camp meetings and tent meetings are to be held. The truth for this time is to be proclaimed. A decided testimony is to be borne. And the discourses are to be so simple that children can understand them.—Testimonies For The Church 8:184, 185. (1904) MTC 138.2