Welcome to the Christian Global Health in Perspective course overview where participants will examine health, the Bible, and the Church. According to Dan Fountain, “our concept of health is too short; our biomedical model of medicine is too narrow…we offer sickness care rather than health care” (1989, p. 1).
God’s plan for health and wellness is different than the medical model. Health from a biblical perspective relates to wholeness in mind, body, and spirit. To be able to help people wholistically, we need to understand God’s plan, where sin and suffering fit in, and recognize the work and ministry of Jesus. Jesus is the key.
The course is set up with short curriculum readings, readings from books and articles, videos, reflection questions and other assignments so that the learner will walk away with tangible ways to apply the knowledge to their life and practice. Each section has 2-3 lessons, for a total of 10 lessons.
Course Outline An Overview of the Thematic Content
Section 1: Biblical Foundations
Lesson 1: Creation, Health, and Wholeness
The creation accounts declare humans to be made “in the image of God” (Gen. 1:27) and called to be productive stewards of the earth.
God declared all creation as “good”, even as “very good” (Gen. 1:31).
God is the ultimate healer. Health is experienced in relation to Him.
Scripture gives some directions about how to live a healthy life in community.
Lesson 2: The Fall, Disease, and Suffering
The Fall (Gen 3), separated humankind from the immediacy to the living God, causing deprivation of health.
The Law (Torah) given to the people of God was meant to protect from disease and ailment (Ex. 15:26). It did not reach its end.
Jesus Christ proclaimed the Good News of redemption from evil in word and deed (exorcism/healing) culminating in His cross and resurrection.
Jesus Christ crucified and risen is the sole foundation for our hope for the redemption of all creation amidst injustice, disease, and suffering (1 Cor 15).
Lesson 3: Salvation, Healing, and Mission
All healing is from God (Ex.15:26)
Healing is a sign of grace from God for sustaining fallen creation.
Jesus healed in various ways - by touch, by word, by promise, by means.
The disciples were called to do likewise (Mt. 10:7-8; Mk. 16:15-18; Lk. 10:9) but also experienced failure (Mt. 17:19-20).
God's people are called to proclaim the good news of salvation/healing, becoming a blessing to all nations.
People of the new covenant, the Church, are called to imitate Christ and to continue His ministry of healing.
Section 2: Historical Perspectives
Lesson 1: Origins 1st-19th Century
Jesus healed in various ways: by word, by touch, by means, by exorcism.
Jesus also commissioned His disciples to heal (Mt. 10:7-8/Lk.10:9; Mk. 16:15-18)
The Apostles healed people, but they also experienced failure (Mt. 17:19-20)
Acts tells of healings by Peter, Paul, and Philipp (Acts 5:12-16; 8:6-7; 9:17; 14:8-10; 19:12; 28:8)
The Early Church instituted the ministry of deacons and elders who were to visit the sick, lay hands on them, and pray with them (James 5:13-16)
As early as the 4th century, Christians built hospitals/hospices.
Compassionate care for the sick in the Middle Ages (8th-15th century) by visitation at home, and in institutions (hospices/hospitals) organized by either the local community or religious orders or civil societies.
In the High Middle Ages (12th-14th century) religious orders of Hospitallers (male) were founded, charged with the care of the sick, later followed by female orders dedicated to the same ministry.
In early 19th century the ministry of deaconesses was re-instituted in the Church by Theodor Fliedner at Kaiserswerth, Germany
Lesson 2: 19th-21st Century
Emergence of Christian medical missions in China in 1838
Medical, pharmacological, and hygienic discoveries from 1846 to about 1950
Means of medical missions’ work: hospitals, dispensaries, and itineration.
The contribution of Christian medical missions to medical and nursing education, to women's liberation, and child-care across cultures worldwide
Rethinking medical missions and the Tübingen Consultation of 1964
The Christian Medical Commission (1968-1992), the WHO Almaty (Alma Ata) conference (1978), and Primary Health Care (PHC)
PHC and the emphasis on community-based healthcare missions
Section 3: Culture and Health
Lesson 1: Culture and Its Impact on Worldview
Definition of terms and concepts related to culture.
How worldviews/religion shape decisions made by people around the world.
Sample worldviews/religions and their perspective on the existence of a God who heals.
Lesson 2: Healthcare and Culture
The impact of culture on healthcare decisions and behaviors.
Ways of dealing with disease, suffering, and death within different cultures.
Understanding the seen and unseen world.
Coping with disease and healing in the perspective of God’s kingdom.
Ways to gain insight into cultural beliefs and practices different than our own.
Section 4: Present and Future Strategies
Lesson 1: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Biblically inspired, evidence-based HP&P systems were developed by Christian missionaries and strongly endorsed by the WHO to this day.
Faith and evidence are keys to promoting heath, especially through Primary Health Care
Evidence-based International standards and guidelines (IS&Gs) are important to follow for saving the most lives and preventing the most suffering.
Biblically based approaches promote global health and well-being, and Jesus’ methods of teaching, touching, and restoring relationships is the way to grow the Kingdom.
Wholistic Health models create a framework to promote health for all and grow the kingdom in all the world.
Lesson 2: Churches, Hospitals, and Health Systems
Exploring the multiple models and strategies for healthcare mission.
Considering the shifting paradigms of health and healthcare missions
Appreciating the distinction and role of the church, the hospital and the health system in healthcare mission.
Identifying the key gaps where healthcare mission is vital.
The emerging science and tools of Systems Thinking and its application to healthcare mission.
How do we measure and improve our impact
Lesson 3: Leadership and Emerging Strategies
Servant Leadership is characterized by humility, strength, and other-centeredness and has 10 characteristics.
Adaptive leadership adjusts to the environment and its challenges, is culturally sensitive, and meets the needs expressed by those served.
Whole-person discipleship considers all domains of the human person in community.
Implementation is the process of actuating Christ’s authority with the power of the Holy Spirit toward His global healing purposes.
Strategies, both current and emerging, are needed to implement the Missio Dei.
Shalom for all the families of the earth is the driving call.