Loma Linda Messages


Extracts with Explanatory Notes on the Training of Medical Students

(Sept. 1907)

In all the instruction given through the Spirit of Prophecy regarding the training of medical students, the necessity of spiritual consecration and of faithfulness in Bible study is constantly emphasized. The students are directed to search the Scriptures, and to establish themselves thoroughly on all phases of the third angel's message. LLM 247.1

In a manuscript dated August 1885, and published in a leaflet entitled, “Counsel to Physicians and Medical Students,” the spiritual side of the training of our youth is constantly kept uppermost. Note the following: MS-2a-1885 July 27, 1885. LLM 247.2

“We greatly need godly physicians; we need men who have high and holy principles. I have been shown that young men will accept the responsibility of obtaining a medical education, and enter upon their course of study, designing to be right and maintain their Christian principles; but do they do this? No, they fall into temptation, and evil influences affect their morals. Among our own people who profess to believe the most solemn truths ever committed to mortals, there is a tarnishing of virtue, a sacrificing of principle. They do not, like Joseph and Daniel, preserve their integrity of morals, much less their Christian principles. The habits and customs of associates who claim to be respectable men and women have a molding influence upon them. Not only the youth, but those of mature age are inclined to conform to the worldling's standard in order not to be considered singular.” LLM 247.3

This was written about ten years before the founding of the American Medical College. The perils to be met by the youth in a worldly medical school were described in the following words: LLM 247.4

“We are in need of physicians; but the plan of sending young men to a medical college to learn to treat the sick, is questionable; for many of them have no root in themselves, and as in sending out children to the other colleges in our land, they are brought in contact with every class of minds, and are thrown into a sink of iniquity, the companionship of skeptics, infidels and the profligate; where not one out of one hundred escape from being contaminated. They do not come forth like Joseph and Daniel uncorrupted, firm as a rock to principles... LLM 247.5

“These students who intend to deal with suffering humanity will find no graduating place this side of heaven. Every bit of knowledge that is termed science should be acquired, while the seeker daily acknowledges that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Every item of experience and everything that can strengthen the mind, should be cultivated to the utmost of their power, while at the same time they should seek God for His wisdom from above, (lest) they become an easy prey for the deceptive power of Satan.” And again, LLM 247.6

“I wish I could set before the medical student the true responsibility which rests upon him in his work. There is not one in one hundred who has a just sense of his position, his work, his accountability to God, and how much God will do for him if he will make Him his trust. The very first lesson that he should learn is dependence upon God. Make God your counselor at every step. The worldly and the nominal Christian may insinuate that in order for you to be successful you must be a policy man—you must at times depart from the strictest rectitude; but be not deceived, be not deluded... Throw not open the door for the enemy to take possession of the citadel of the soul... LLM 248.1

Like Enoch, the physician should be a man that walks with God. This will be to him an antidote to all the delusive, pernicious sentiments which make so many infidel physicians, or skeptics. The true antidote is truth, the truth of God revealed in His word, practised in the life, and constantly guiding in all that concerns the interests of others. Having the soul thus barricaded with heavenly principles you may humbly yet confidently say, I will not fear the face of man. God is not unmindful of your struggles, of your conflicts to maintain the truth and obtain a personal daily experience in walking in the ways of truth. When you appreciate every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, as revealed in His Word, higher than worldly policy, you will be guided into every good and holy way... LLM 248.2

“Let not medical students be deceived by the wiles of the devil, or by any of his cunning pretexts which so many adopt to beguile and ensnare, by practices of the ungodly. Cling closely to your Bibles. Inquire, What saith the Lord? He has spoken and told me how to ennoble and purify my life. This light I will follow. The Majesty of truth I will respect and honor... LLM 248.3

“It is the privilege of every student to enter college with the same fixed, determined principle that Daniel had when he entered the courts of Babylon, and to preserve his integrity untarnished. You all need a living religion, that you may stand as God's witnesses...” LLM 248.4

These words were written at a time when there was no medical school operated by Seventh-day Adventists—ten years before the founding of the American Medical Missionary College; and at that time, when the only way for our youth to obtain a medical education was to enter a worldly college. Students were assured that so long as they chose to cling closely to their Bibles, and obey God, they would be kept from contamination while studying science in these medical schools. LLM 248.5

This instruction is very similar to that found in “Testimonies for the Church 5:583, 584, where we read: LLM 248.6

We would that there were strong young men, rooted and grounded in the faith, who had such a living connection with God that they could, if so counseled by our leading brethren, enter the higher colleges in our land, where they would have a wider field for study and observation. Association with different classes of minds, an acquaintance with the workings and results of popular methods of education, and a knowledge of theology as taught in the leading institutions of learning, would be of great value to such workers, preparing them to labor for the educated classes and to meet the prevailing errors of our times. Such was the method pursued by the ancient Waldenses; and, if true to God, our youth like theirs, might do a good work, even while gaining their education, in sowing the seeds of truth in other minds.” LLM 248.7

About the time this was written—early in the eighties, it was also written (Testimonies for the Church 5:446-8) that: LLM 249.1

“Painstaking effort should be made to induce suitable men to qualify themselves for this work—the work of a physician. They should be men whose characters are based upon the broad principles of the word of God—men who possess a natural energy, force, and perseverance that will enable them to reach a high standard of excellence... LLM 249.2

“In this age there is danger for every one who shall enter upon the study of medicine. Often his instructors are worldly-wise men and his fellowstudents infidels, who have no thought of God, and he is in danger of being influenced by these irreligious associations. Nevertheless, some have gone through the medical course, and have remained true to principle. They would not continue their studies on the Sabbath; and they have proved that men may become qualified for the duties of a physician, and not disappoint the expectations of those who furnished them the means to obtain an education. Like Daniel, they have honored God, and He has kept them... LLM 249.3

“The young physician has access to the God of Daniel. Through divine grace and power, he may become as efficient in his calling as Daniel was in his exalted position. But it is a mistake to make a scientific preparation the all-important thing, while religious principles, that lie at the very foundation of a successful practice, are neglected... The man who is closely connected with the great Physician of soul and body, has the resources of heaven and earth at his command, and he can work with a wisdom and unerring precision, that the godless man can not possess.” LLM 249.4

In a letter dated February 19, 1893, over two years before the American Medical Missionary College was established, it was stated that, K-35-1893 (similar wording) LLM 249.5

Devoted persons, both men and women, are wanted now to go forth as medical missionaries. Let them cultivate their physical and mental powers and their piety to the utmost. Every effort should be made to send forth intelligent workers. The same grace that came from Jesus Christ to Paul and Apollos, which caused them to be distinguished for their spiritual excellencies, can be received, now; and will bring into working order many devoted missionaries. LLM 249.6

In October of the same year, two years before the AMMC was opened, there was written the following: LLM 250.1

“God will surely advance the humble, trustful, praying whole-souled medical missionary, as He advanced Daniel and his fellows.” LLM 250.2

A study of the Testimonies sent from Australia to Battle Creek during the time when the AMMC was being founded and placed in running order, reveals the fact that while Sister White rejoiced to know that our youth would no longer be exposed to the perils of the worldly medical schools, yet she repeatedly brought to view the importance of daily Bible Study—in connection with the study of science. LLM 250.3

December 1, 1895, a few weeks after the founding of the AMMC these words were written (as published in Testimonies for the Church 8:156-7.): LLM 250.4

“If the medical students will study the Word of God diligently, they will be far better prepared to understand their other studies, for enlightenment always comes with an earnest study of the Word of God. Let our medical missionary workers understand that the more they become acquainted with Bible history, the better prepared they will be to do their work. LLM 250.5

“The students in our schools should aspire to higher knowledge. Nothing will so help to give them a retentive memory as the study of the Scriptures. Nothing will so help them in gaining a knowledge of their other studies... LLM 250.6

“Faithful teachers should be placed in charge of the Bible classes,—teachers who will strive to make the students understand their lessons, not by explaining everything to them, but by requiring them to explain clearly every passage they read. Let these teachers remember that little good will be accomplished by skimming over the surface of the Word. Thoughtful investigation and earnest, taxing study are required in order for this Word to be understood... LLM 250.7

“The Bible is the great lesson-book for the student in our school... Those who consult the divine Oracle will have light. In the Bible every duty is made plain... Every lesson reveals to us the Father and the Son. The Word is able to make all wise unto salvation. In the Word the science of salvation is plainly revealed. Search the Scriptures; for they are the voice of God speaking to the soul. LLM 250.8

In 1898, when God's purpose in the training of our youth for service as physicians was being lost sight of, a communication was written under date of February 3, 1898, cautioning against the tendency to separate the medical work from the evangelical line of work. Extracts from this Testimony, as printed in Testimonies for the Church 8:158-162, clearly point out conditions then existing: LLM 250.9

“Remember, my brother, that medical missionary work is not to take men from the ministry, but is to place men in the field, better qualified to minister, because of their knowledge of medical missionary work. Young men should receive an education in medical missionary lines, and then go forth to connect with the ministers... LLM 250.10

“Those who are receiving an education in medical lines hear insinuations from time to time that disparage the church and the ministry. These insinuations are seeds that will spring up and bear fruit. The student might better be educated to realize that the church of Christ on earth is to be respected. They need a clear knowledge of the reasons of our faith. This knowledge they must have, in order to serve God acceptably. Line upon line, precept upon precept, they must receive the Bible evidence of the truth as it is in Jesus. LLM 251.1

“Do not, I beg of you, instill into the minds of the students ideas that will cause them to lose confidence in God's appointed ministers. But this you are most certainly doing, whether you are aware of it or not.” LLM 251.2

Thus, nearly eleven years ago, and less than three years after the AMMC was founded, it was pointed out through the Spirit of Prophecy that our medical students were from time to time hearing insinuations that disparaged the church and the ministry in their estimation; and it was again urged most emphatically that the students “needed a clear knowledge of the reasons of our faith. This knowledge they must have in order to serve God acceptably.” LLM 251.3

October 26, 1898, about nine months later than the date of the preceding communication, and just three years from the time the AMMC was founded, the following was written, as published in Testimonies for the Church 8:163-5. (See Vol. 8) LLM 251.4

At the 1901 General Conference, in an article entitled “Instructions Regarding the School Work,” read before the delegates April 22, 1901, it was pointed out that our medical students were not to receive their training at the one medical college in Battle Creek. Of our schools that were introducing reforms, Sister White read: G.C.B. p. 455, 1901. LLM 251.5

“We are thankful that an interest is being shown in the work of establishing schools on a right foundation, as they should have been established years ago. If the proper education is given to students, it is a positive necessity to establish our schools at a distance from cities, where the students can do manual work... LLM 251.6

“Although there may be few students at first, do not be discouraged. The school will win its way. Introduce the medical missionary work. Some of the students are to be educated as nurses and some as physicians. It is not necessary for our students to go to Ann Arbor for a medical education. They may obtain at our schools all the education that is essential to perform the work for this time. LLM 251.7

“It will take some time to get a right understanding of the matter, but just as soon as we begin to work in lines of true reform the Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us if we are willing to be guided. It is a delicate matter to deal with human minds, and no one should engage in this work without the aid of the Holy Spirit. All must place themselves under the influence of the Spirit. When they place themselves under the direction of the Spirit, they will accommodate themselves to Bible lines. When the Word of God takes possession of the minds of teachers, then they are fitted to deal with the education of others... LLM 251.8

“The Word of God is to stand at the foundation of all education. It is to be made the basis of all the schools we shall establish. Following “Thus saith the Lord,” brings the schools into close connection with heavenly intelligences. The Lord has been greatly dishonored because His holy Word, which will accomplish so much, has been placed on the background, while books which do not contain the highest instruction in regard to practical life and true science of eternal things have been brought to the front... LLM 252.1

“God's dealings with His people are to be our guide in all educational advancement. His glory is to be the object of all study. Those who are being trained as medical missionaries are to realize that their work is to restore the moral image of God in man by healing the wounds which sin has made”... LLM 252.2

In 1903 some very plain letters were written, warning our medical students against the danger of losing sight of the lessons of the Word, and learning instead the sophistries of the enemy. The subtleness of this danger is clearly pointed out in a letter written in October, and copied on November 5, 1903, addressed, “To Medical Students and Nurses:” B-240-'03. LLM 252.3

“There is a burden upon my mind in regard to the temptations and perils that surround medical students, and those in training for medical missionary work at our sanitariums, and especially for those who are studying at Battle Creek. LLM 252.4

“There are teachers who do not daily bring the Word of God into their lifework. They have not a saving knowledge of God or of Christ. It is those who do not live the truth who are most inclined to invent sophistries, to occupy the time and absorb the attention that ought to be given to the study of God's Word. LLM 252.5

“Christ, the Great Medical Missionary, came to this world at infinite sacrifice, to teach men and women the lessons that would enable them to know God aright. He lived in this world a perfect life, setting an example that all may safely follow. Let our medical students and other young people study the lessons that Christ has given. It is essential that we should have a clear understanding of these lessons. It would be a fearful mistake for them to neglect the study of God's Word for a study of theories that are misleading, diverting minds from the words of Christ to fallacies of human production. LLM 252.6

“When our physicians and ministers are diligent students of the Scriptures, when they live in accordance with the teaching of the Word of God, making this Word their text-book, God will be able to bestow on them rich blessings. LLM 252.7

“The teaching regarding God that is presented in ‘Living Temple’ is not such as our students need. Those who seek to define God are on forbidden ground. We are to enter into no controversy regarding God,—what He is and what He is not. He, the Omniscient One, is above discussion. Those who express such sentiments regarding Him show that they are departing from the faith... LLM 253.1

“I will call upon our ministers, physicians and all church members to study the lessons that Christ gave His disciples just before His ascension. These lessons contain instruction that the people of God need. When our physicians understand this instruction, they will realize that the Holy Spirit will never lead them to speak or write that which is at variance with the teachings of the Word of God. Take the Bible as your study-book. It contains the Alpha and Omega of knowledge. All can understand the instruction that it contains... LLM 253.2

“Human talent and human conjecture have tried by searching to find out God. Many have trodden this pathway. The highest intellect may tax itself until it is wearied out, in conjectures regarding God, but the effort will be fruitless; and the fact will remain that man, by searching, can not find out God. This problem has not been given us to solve. All that man needs to know and can know of God has been revealed in the life and character of His Son, the Great Teacher. As we learn more and more of what man is, of what we ourselves are, in God's sight, we shall fear and tremble before Him. LLM 253.3

“To those who would represent every man as born a king; to those who would make no distinction between the converted and the unconverted; to those who are losing their appreciation of their need of Christ as their Saviour, I would say, Think of yourselves as you have been during the period of your existence. Would it be pleasant or agreeable for you to contemplate feature after feature of your life-work, in the sight of Him who knows every thought of man, and before whose eyes all man's doings are as an open book? LLM 253.4

“I call upon all who are engaged in the service of God to place themselves fully on Christ's side. There are dangers on the right and on the left. Our greatest danger will come from men who have lifted up their souls unto vanity, who have not heeded the words of warning and reproof sent them by God. As such men choose their own will and way, the tempter, clothed in angel robes, is close beside them, ready to unite his influence with theirs. He opens to them delusions of a most attractive character, which they present to the people of God. Some of those who listen to them will be deceived, and will work in dangerous lines. LLM 253.5

“The Lord calls. Will men and women hear His voice? He gives the warning. Will they heed it? Will they listen to the last message of mercy to a fallen world? Will they accept Christ's yoke and learn from Him His meekness and lowliness?” LLM 253.6

In connection with the foregoing extracts, there was written, under date of October 17, 1903, a letter addressed, “To Our Medical Missionaries,” in which is a summary of the instruction given during a long series of years regarding the training most essential for our medical students: B-241-'03. (Counsels on Health, 369) LLM 253.7

“God would have all who profess to be gospel medical missionaries learn diligently the lessons of the Great Teacher. This they must do if they would find peace and rest. Learning of Christ, their hearts will be filled with the peace that He alone can give. LLM 254.1

“The one book that is essential for all to study is the Bible. Studied with reverence and godly fear, it is the greatest of all educators. In it there is no sophistry. Its pages are filled with truth. Would you gain a knowledge of God and Christ, whom He sent into the world to live and die for sinners? And earnest, diligent study of the Bible is necessary in order to gain this knowledge. LLM 254.2

“Many of the books piled up in the great libraries of earth confuse the mind more than they aid the understanding. Yet men spend large sums of money in the purchase of such books, and years in their study, when they have within their reach a book containing the words of Him who is the Alpha and Omega of wisdom. The time spent in a study of these books might better be spent in gaining a knowledge of Him whom to know aright is life eternal. Those only who gain this knowledge will at last hear the words, ‘Ye are complete in Him.’ LLM 254.3

Study the Bible more, and the theories of the medical fraternity less, and you will have greater spiritual health. Your mind will be clearer and more vigorous. Much that is embraced in a medical course is positively unnecessary. Those who take a medical training spend a great deal of time in learning that which is merely rubbish. Many of the theories that they learn may be compared in value to the traditions and maxims taught by the scribes and Pharisees. Many of the intricacies with which they have to become familiar are an injury to their minds. LLM 254.4

“These things God has been opening before me for many years. In our medical schools and institutions we need men who have a deeper knowledge of the Scriptures, men who have learned the lessons taught in the Word of God, and who can teach these lessons to others clearly and simply, just as Christ taught His disciples the knowledge that He deemed most essential. LLM 254.5

“If during the remainder of this year, our medical missionary workers would follow the Great Physician's prescription for obtaining rest, a healing current of peace would flow through their souls. Here is the prescription: LLM 254.6

“Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” LLM 254.7

“When our Medical Missionary workers follow this prescription, gaining from the Saviour power to reveal His characteristics, their scientific work will have greater soundness. Because the Word of God has been neglected, strange things have been done in the medical missionary work of late. The Lord can not accept the present showing. LLM 254.8

“Study the Word, which God in His wisdom and love and goodness has made so plain and simple... The Holy Spirit teaches the student of the Scriptures to judge all things by the standard of righteousness and truth and justice. The divine revelation supplies him with the knowledge that he needs. And the needed knowledge will be given to all who come to Christ, receiving and practicing His teachings, making His words a part of their lives. Those who place themselves under the instruction of the Great Medical Missionary to be workers together with Him, will have a knowledge that the world with all its traditionary lore cannot supply. LLM 255.1

“Make the Bible the man of your counsel. Your acquaintance with it will grow rapidly if you keep your mind free from the rubbish of the world. The more the Bible is studied, the deeper will be your knowledge of God. The truths of His word will be written in your soul, making an ineffaceable impression. LLM 255.2

“Not only will the student himself be benefited by a study of the Word of God, but his study is life and salvation to all with whom he is associated. He will feel a sacred responsibility to impart the knowledge that he receives. His life will reveal the help and strength that he receives from communion with the Word. The sanctification of the Spirit will be seen in thought, word, and deed. All that he says and does will proclaim that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. Of such ones the Lord Jesus can indeed say, “Ye are laborers together with God.” LLM 255.3

In the light of these extracts, and in the light of the fact that for the past eleven years there has been no change in the purpose of those who in 1898 were conveying to our medical students insinuations from time to time that disparage the church and the ministry,“‘and who more recently have taught doctrines that undermine faith in the fundamental features of the third angel's message, it is not difficult to understand why of late the Lord has been counseling His people to establish several centers of medical training, where students can obtain thorough Bible instructions, and at the same time pursue a line of scientific study that will fit them to go forth into the field as physicians of the body as well as the soul. As consecrated young men and women associate daily with God-fearing teachers in these centers of training, they will be strengthened to withstand the influences that they must constantly meet while pursuing certain lines of scientific study. LLM 255.4