5. The Christian and the State

The Doctor Himself and the Human Condition by Martin Lloyd-Jones

We are first and foremost Christians and only secondarily medical men. For is it not true that we are incidentally medical, whereas socially we are Christian? Hence, the way to approach this problem – as any others which are complicated – is to work from the general to the particular. Most of our difficulties arise because we make a direct attack on problems. We then get into confusion because the local circumstances assume too great a proportion and we lose sight of our first principles. So here we must start with the Christian in his general relationship to the state, and then, having understood that, we can consider his particular relationships in Medicine.

THE WIDER SETTING OF THE PROBLEM

A further classification is necessary. The Christian’s relationship to the state is only one aspect of the still larger question, that is, his relationship to life in general in this world. Now, I consider that evangelical Christians are particularly prone to go astray on this whole matter; they are more prone to do so than other Christians. The reason is not far to seek. It is because we place great emphasis upon personal salvation. This is what marks us out as ‘evangelical’. We realize that the essential thing is that a man should have a personal experience of the Lord Jesus Christ; indeed, we are doubtful whether he is a Christian at all, if he has not that. Hence our first emphasis is always upon the personal experience of salvation, and, because of it, the danger always is to think that such an experience comprises the whole of Christianity – that it starts with personal salvation and that it ends with personal salvation.

There are a number of texts that tend to encourage us in this wrong tendency. We misunderstand them, of course, but taken out of their context they do tend to lead us to make wrong conclusions. Here is one of them: ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ Our Lord constantly spoke about the kingdom. He had come to establish it. People enter into his kingdom, and he says of it that it is not of this world. At this point the evangelical Christian is liable to deduce that Christianity has nothing at all to do with this world. The text by itself encourages what is already an inherent tendency in him, to regard Christianity as purely spiritual and experimental, and to think that Christianity has no wider applications at all. Another well-known text is used: ‘Come out from them, and be ye separate.’ This becomes pressed to the point that the Christian has virtually nothing to do with the state at all. Some people, as you know, would say that it is very wrong for a Christian to take any part in politics. Some would say it is wrong for him even to exercise the privilege of voting at an election. There have been Christians who have carried these particular doctrines to an extreme of saying that we are to be really separate and have nothing at all to do with this world. Similarly, Revelation 13 has often been misunderstood in the same way. The two ‘beasts’ which are depicted there are interpreted as representing the state as something entirely evil, which is utterly opposed to the Christian. Therefore, obviously he should have nothing at all to do with the state.

It is no new problem. Christians were troubled by such doubts from the very beginning. That is why, in the New Testament epistles, there is a good deal of attention paid to the relationship between masters and servants. Some of the early Christian converts, who were slaves, began to argue: ‘Because I am a Christian, because I have been born again, and because the apostle Paul says “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature”, and “old things are passed away and behold all things have become new”, I am no longer in the same relationship as I previously was to my master and employer.’ The apostle Peter, and also Paul, both had to deal with the matter. Their converts had jumped to the wrong conclusions. Many argued in the same way with regard to husband and wife. Why was 1 Corinthians 7 ever written? Was it not because of this very point, that a husband was tending to argue that because he had been converted, and his wife had not, he should no longer live with her? The old order had finished and had gone. He was in a new world and a new creation. So the apostle was compelled to discuss the matter. We in our time are only meeting the same difficulties as were felt in the first century and as have often since been felt in the long history of the Church.

We need to be aware of the lack of thought on this matter in recent years, and the failure to grasp first principles. This applies not only to the state in general, but to individual relationships also. Some who say it is wrong to serve the state because it is not Christian are yet prepared to go into partnership with a non-Christian; it does not seem to occur to them that they are inconsistent from their own standpoint. They also fail to see that their fellow directors in a business and in many big concerns are no more Christian than the state!

MAJOR SCRIPTURE REFERENCES TO THE STATE

There is one key statement in the Old Testament, which is important because it is quoted again in the New Testament: ‘When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel’ (Deut. 32: 8). A much more important statement, of course, is that which was made by our Lord himself when replying to the trap set by the Herodians. The Gospels record that ‘The Pharisees took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk and sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?” Our Lord asked them to show Him a penny. He looked at it and said, ‘Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s’ (abbreviated from Matt. 22:15-21). That is a crucial passage. There are others; for example, the apostle Paul’s statement in Acts 17: 26 in his sermon at Athens (which is really a quotation of the Deuteronomy reference above). But the classical statement will be found in the Epistle to the Romans: ‘Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God’ (Rom.13:1). And, then, in 1 Peter 2 (verse 13 onwards), the apostle Peter deals with the relationship of masters and servants and the duty of all men to honour the emperor.

In addition to the above passages in which teaching is explicit, there are certain others in which it is implicit. There is teaching implied in the actions of certain of God’s people. Here are some of the important ones: First there is Daniel 3, where three young men were cast into the burning fiery furnace because they would not bow down to the image. Then in chapter 6 we are told of the trap which was laid for Daniel himself, by a proclamation which was ordained that people were only to pray to one specified god, and not to the other gods. Daniel ignored it; he went on praying three times a day with his window open to Jerusalem as he had done heretofore, with the result that he was cast into the den of lions. Similarly, we have Acts 4 recording that the disciples were prohibited to preach in the name of Christ, and cast into prison for disobeying the order. Then there is in Acts 16 the apostle Paul’s refusing to go out of prison until the magistrates, who had imprisoned him wrongfully, had come themselves to let him out. Finally, we read in Acts 25: 11, of the apostle Paul appealing to Caesar, demanding his right as a Roman citizen to appear before the emperor himself that he might state his case and be protected against unfair treatment. These are some of the more important Scripture statements.

THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF THE STATE

What is the essential teaching? It is that God is the Creator, as well as the Saviour. Many evangelists appear to overlook this. There is a grave danger among them of what might be called a ‘Jesusolatory’, a tendency to speak exclusively in the terms of the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything is concentrated on his Person, prayer is offered only to him and not to God the Father. From one point of view and in one setting, of course, that is perfectly right. We know that our salvation is in him. But what often is forgotten is that all he did was precisely because he was sent by God to do it. He died in order that his death might bring us to God, not to himself. There are numerous passages which state that fact unambiguously, for instance, ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself (2 Cor. 5: 19).
These considerations concerning the state must start with God, and we must remember that God is the Creator as well as the Saviour. The particular reason for emphasizing this is because God has not abdicated his interest in the world. It is wrong to think that God is interested only in Christian people. Our Lord himself taught this clearly when he reminded us that God ‘maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust’ (Matt. 5: 45). This is still God’s world, though it is in sin, and though man has fallen God is certainly doing something special for his own people, whom he is calling out of this world (in the spiritual sense) into his kingdom. But this fact must never be interpreted as meaning that he has turned his back upon the world as such. He is still interested, and it is because of his interest that He has ordained certain measures with respect to the world in general [2].

For example, God has ordained the family as the fundamental unit of society. That is his ordinance and not man’s. It remains absolute whether a man is a Christian or not. Christianity does not interfere with the divine regulations for marriage, the family and the state. The state is not the outcome of man’s ideas. Aristotle taught that man evolved the state, and others – for example, French political writers – in other ways taught it also. But it is a fallacy, which many Christians tacitly believe. We who accept the biblical teaching and the biblical authority must take note of its teaching when it tells us that it was God who has divided up the bounds of the nations. It is he who has determined states, however much intrigue and strife may seem to prevail. He ordained ‘the powers that be’.

He is said to have ordained states, kings, and princes. It is very difficult to tell from Scripture, however, which particular form of state is regarded as the ideal. That does not seem to matter. Government of some pattern is ordained by God and it derives its authority from God. The state has been given an authority by God for particular purposes.

THE FUNCTIONS OF THE STATE

What then is the purpose of the state? What are its functions? The first is to restrain evil. It is because sin has come into the world that the state has become necessary. A chaotic element has come in. Life, however, still needs to be ordered. Evil is a vicious thing, which tends to destroy and to disrupt, and one of the main functions of the state is to put a bound upon evil. The apostle Paul declares this in Romans 13. He says that the state is for the punishment of evil-doers and for the praise of them that do well – that is why the magistrate bears the sword. I know that we as evangelicals may say, ‘Well, it does not matter very much if a man is not saved whether he is good, bad or indifferent.’ From the point of view of the full teaching of the Bible that is wrong. This man must be caused to live within bounds, and that is one of the reasons why God has ordained the state. It is part of our business as Christians to teach that.

The second function of the state is to preserve order. It is, in other words, to remind people that God is over all. But what is the sphere of this authority of the state? What is the sphere in which the state operates? This is of special importance today in a number of respects. The answer, as I understand the biblical teaching, is that the sphere of the state is confined to our external actions. There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that the state has a right to control my opinions, whether they are religious or whether they are political, whether they are philosophical, whether they are scientific or whether they are medical. In fulfilling its functions to preserve order, to restrain evil and to make life harmonious, the state has no right to interfere in the realm of man’s mind and his thinking. If the state attempts to usurp the right to control our thinking, then our relationship with it becomes critical.

THE CHRISTIAN ATTITUDE TO THE STATE

Our duty is to recognize and respect the state as of divine ordination. The great Protestant reformers, particularly John Calvin, who was the most systematic thinker amongst them, and John Knox, emphasized this fact; Luther also did – up to a point. Church and state, they said, have a divine origin and must not be regarded as a contrivance with which the Christian has nothing to do. ‘You are wrong,’ they said, ‘if you think that because God has set the Church to save men’s souls, to feed them spiritually and to provide fellowship for them, that it can virtually dispense with the state. The Church is the kingdom of God in its present form. But, do not forget that God has equally ordained the state for his own ends and another purpose, namely, to restrain sin in the world until it is finally judged and put away.’ The two spheres operate side by side and not in alliance.

The reformers did not believe in the union of Church and state, but in two spheres of God’s action and the ‘two realms’. There has been a great deal of argument and discussion concerning the proper relationship between the two. The Church of Rome declares that the Church is over the state. The Erastians said that the Church is a branch of the state. The reformed view has generally been that they are to be regarded as complementary and that, if the Church is doing her job properly, the state might be made to tremble, as Mary Queen of Scots did as she listened to John Knox preaching. But there is no coercive power of the Church over the state. The Church has simply the power of the gospel and the authority of the Holy Spirit at the point of speaking to the state on moral and spiritual issues.

The principle I am stating is that we must recognize and respect the state for what it is. I go further. We must obey it. Here is the catch question, as put to our Lord. Should we render tribute to Caesar, or shouldn’t we? The Herodians thought, ‘Now here is the point where we are going to get him. He is always talking about a kingdom. Of course, if he answers our question, he will have to say that he is not interested in the state at all. It is his kingdom that matters.’ They had, however, the surprise of their lives. ‘Render unto Caesar,’ he replied, ‘the things that are Caesar’s.’ He recognized the state as a divine ordinance. You must obey Caesar. You must pay your taxes. And remember, if you take that statement of the Lord’s together with the statement of the apostle Paul (in Romans 13), it means this, that you must obey the state. Even if the emperor happens to be Nero, you still must obey it. You must keep its laws and be a law-abiding citizen. You do this as a matter of conscience, as the apostle teaches. You do it, in other words, as part of your obedience to God.

The state may not understand this. But every Christian should, and therefore, he renders obedience to the state because God has ordained it. Therefore I, as a Christian, of all people, must render obedience to the state and its enactments. Indeed, the apostle Paul goes so far as to say that, if you do not do it, but instead you resist the state, you are resisting God. ‘Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation’ (Rom. 13: 2). Obviously, in the light of all this our business is to make the state as good as we can. It does not mean that we are content with an inefficient or unjust state. Because of the view we hold of it, it should be our object and ambition to make for the state the best working arrangement possible, and to do everything within our ability to bring about a righteous and prosperous condition of affairs that all ‘may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty’ (1 Tim. 2: 2).

And, finally, as the apostle Paul did, we may claim the protection of the state. When he was told that he could go out from the prison, where he had been unjustly put, he replied, ‘Not at all! Let those magistrates come down.’ I am very fond of that passage. I can see those great magistrates having to slink down to let him out of the prison. We must not forget this sort of thing, or his appealing to Caesar.

LIMITS OF CO-OPERATION WITH THE STATE

Co-operation with the state has limits. First, the state has no right to become a despotism or a dictatorship, or to arrogate to itself absolute powers. Why? Because of what it is. It has been established under God and by his authority; it has no right to claim absolute powers. If, then, it sets itself up as a dictatorship, it is denying the law of its own being. It is showing an ignorance of its own constitution. It is going back upon that for which it was first brought into being. It is at this point that we have to question whether the time has not come for us to make a protest. It happened in Germany before the last war. There were men like Professor Karl Barth, who did not hesitate to speak out. They were speaking in a biblical manner. They said, ‘This is a violation of the very law and being of the state. This is dictatorship, this is despotism, it is unjustifiable in terms of the Scriptural teaching.’ Therefore they opposed it, and were exiled or imprisoned.

Secondly, the state has never any right to ask a man to disobey God. It is for the same reason, for it is itself under God, in the same way that the Church is under God. Of all the institutions, it has no right to ask a man to disobey God. Hence, the three young men of whom we read in Daniel who were thrown into the furnace, rather than pray to a false god, were absolutely right. They were asked by the state to disobey God’s law. They said ‘We will not do this.’ Daniel himself was put into the same position. The apostles in Acts 4 were told by the authorities not to preach any more in Christ’s name. They said ‘At this point we do not listen. Whether it is right that we should listen to you or unto God, judge ye.’ They then went on to say: ‘We know exactly where we stand. We cannot but speak of the things which we have seen and have heard.’

Then, thirdly – and this is an important point – we have this old question of the interpretation of Revelation 13: The ‘beasts’ represent, as most people would agree, the secular powers. The first ‘beast’ undoubtedly represents the state and he is represented there as something that is entirely opposed to the Christian and his well-being. ‘How do you fit all that in,’ says someone, ‘with what you have just been saying about the state?’ It seems to me, however, that the explanation is very simple. In Revelation 13 we have a picture of the state doing the very things that it should never do – becoming demonic. It is the state gone mad. It is the state deifying itself, and setting itself up as God, instead of recognizing that it is under God and serving the functions which God meant it to do. The picture is that of the state, as it were, asking us to say ‘Caesar is the Lord’. It has no right to do so. Like the first Christians, we must reply ‘We will never acknowledge that’. We say ‘Jesus is Lord’. If the state becomes demonic and religious and spiritual, then it has to be defied. I do not want to draw a red herring across at this point, but it is of interest to notice that some of the very Christian people on the Continent, who courageously denounced Hitlerism, have not denounced Communism in the same way. What has just been said is the reason for it. There is all the difference in the world between the state which is atheistical, or even anti-God, and the state which becomes demonic and asks for worship and, in fact, becomes in itself a religion.

THE CHRISTIAN AND STRIKES

This brings me to a practical question. Somebody may say: ‘What about a Christian and a strike? If a Christian is employed by the state should he come out on strike when called to do so? Where does that come in relation to all that you have said?’ Let me put the answer like this.

I think we are in modern times face to face with certain new factors that are not dealt with specifically in the New Testament, because they were not then present. It does not make any difference to the principle. In the New Testament, employment was generally one of a simple direct relationship of master and servant, or owner and slave. That, however, is no longer the case, as we know very well. Very many are today employed by big companies or corporations or, even, by the state itself. Not only that, but we have the question and complication of the Trades Unions, which have become a part of our social and economic milieu, and frequently enter into the terms of our employment.

We have to recognize this. For instance, if I am a working man and I do not belong to a Trade Union, I cannot get a job. I am not allowed to work, and my wife and children will starve if I do not belong to a Trade Union. That has become a part of the terms of my employment. Negotiations between the Trade Union and the employer determine my whole position. This means that I must consider the Trade Union virtually as my employer. The position, though a little more complicated in essence, remains the same and, of course, it is legal. The state allows Trades Unions. Rather than negotiation by a series of individual interviews, it is more convenient that the workers should be organized and that their representatives should go to do the negotiating and that the bulk of the members abide by the decisions. Simple employment between master and servant is unusual today; a third party determines the conditions of employment. Further, there is nothing illegal about a strike as such. It is allowed by the law of the land, in certain circumstances and under certain conditions.

Christians have to recognize the condition of the world in which they live. We may need to become members of Trades Unions. We do so in the regular way, as everybody else does, to get our employment in order that we may have shelter, food and clothing, and we abide by the majority decision. Of course, we must in joining any Union or other professional bodies try to make them as good and efficient as we can. We must not stay away from their meetings and let decisions be made only by non-Christians. We cannot make them Christian, but we can try to permeate them with good ideas. The Christian is in a perfectly legitimate position, when he belongs, if you like, to the British Medical Association or any other legal Union. His representatives negotiate, certain decisions are arrived at, and he abides by these.

‘Is there no situation,’ someone may ask, ‘in which a man may not object to his Union?’ Certain situations may arise in which, as a Christian, he will have to say: ‘I object to this.’ He must be very sure, however, that his grounds of objection are truly Christian and spiritual. He must be sure that he is not being activated by some non-essential motive such as ‘professional dignity’, or by his own political views, or merely by a matter of prejudice. A Christian is not meant to be difficult or an angular person. If he is always objecting and walking out, it is a very bad testimony to Christ. If he makes a protest and objects then he must be certain that he has good Scriptural and truly Christian grounds for so doing. As I see it a strike is not of necessity un-Christian [3]. In general we cannot say that. There might, however, be certain future circumstances in which we might need legitimately to take that view.

APPLICATIONS TO MEDICINE AND THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE

Passing from this theoretical exposition of the Christian in relationship to the state, I must now briefly apply all this to Medicine. I can be brief for this good reason that there is nothing (in these respects) very special about Medicine. What is the difference in this matter between a policeman and a doctor? What is the difference between a postman and a doctor? People are talking as if this question of relationship with the state has never happened before, but it has been going on for many years. We have had medical civil servants, doctors in public health and doctors in government service overseas. The principles are exactly the same for all. That is why I have first taken all this time with the general principles.

In medical practice, we hear this sort of talk: ‘Medicine is no longer Medicine’, ‘The profession is ruined’. ‘The doctor-patient relationship has gone for ever,’ and so on. Much of this is being pronounced as if it were a Christian viewpoint – as if we were bound to say it as Christians. But, while we would all agree that there are many defects in the National Health Service (and I am certainly not here to represent it or even to defend it) yet, I still ask this question, is there not a great deal of confusion of principle at this point? When we talk about Medicine being ‘ruined’ and the doctor-patient relationship ‘gone for ever’, are we really speaking as Christians? I wonder whether it is not just the pride of the profession? There is a lot of humbug talked about the professions – and perhaps, above all others, about the medical profession. A sort of ‘mystique’ had developed in the nineteenth century. The ‘medical profession’ had something indescribable about it, a kind of aura around it. It began when we were students. A medical student is different from other students; he is a special type; he knows a thing or two, which other people do not know. This unconscious attitude influences our thinking even as Christian people, and often when we think we are objecting as Christians, we are not doing so at all. We are objecting in terms of this great ‘mystique’ of the medical profession.

Let us examine these complaints that ‘the patients are nowadays dictating to the doctors’. I have no doubt that it is perfectly true. But, there is another side even to that. There was a time when the doctors dictated to the patients. It may not perhaps be a bad thing that this state of affairs has come to an end. The profession had set itself up on a pedestal and, in certain respects, it really did tyrannize over the patients. I had learnt a great deal about that by the time that I went into the ministry thirty years ago. It was a new experience, and a most illuminating one, to go into people’s houses as a minister, and to discover what went on at the hands of the medicals. I came to know people, who submitted to an operation for one reason only, and that was they were afraid not to do so! They were afraid to offend their general practitioner and so possibly lose him as their family doctor. We have to look at both sides of this question. I have no doubt that some patients today are being unreasonable. They have the bit between their teeth, but it is perhaps a little bit of reaction against what went on before. But these considerations have nothing to do with Christianity.

Again, it is said that the Health Service is being abused by the doctors (by some doctors at least) who do the minimum. There is a town in which several doctors work. Before the Health Service they very rarely had a weekend off. They are now all working together; all but one is off duty each weekend and the odd man is left looking after the people. Supposing there is an emergency? Some will say ‘Well, this is what the state scheme has done’, and so on. To me, again, this has nothing to do with Christianity. All that this really tells us is that these men who are locally responsible may have had the wrong motive in their work. It was possibly purely mercenary. They behaved as they did earlier because they would have lost financially if they had not remained on duty. They now have security and are behaving in a new way. It is not a matter of Christianity or lack of it. In other words, surely the only big medical change is in the manner of the doctor’s remuneration. He is being paid in a different way, that is all. I am putting it to you that such is the really big change that has taken place. If you analyse all the other complaints, you will find it very difficult to establish that they have got anything to do with Christianity. This one of pay is economic and a matter purely of business organization.

THE SPECIFICALLY CHRISTIAN CONTRIBUTION

What is, then, the conclusion of the matter? The fundamental thing in the life of the Christian is his attitude to his work and his attitude to whatever he is doing. This is, of course, not confined to the medical profession. It is true of everybody who works for the state. For instance, sometimes we have the experience of meeting a polite girl serving behind the counter of a busy store. Why? She may be a Christian, or at least she has the right attitude. If she were a state employee, she should not say ‘It does not matter how I do this work.’ She takes the trouble to be pleasant and to be nice. It is her attitude towards her work that determines her manner. Surely, it is exactly the same with regard to the Christian doctor, and his work A Christian man can never say, ‘Because I am paid by the state my action does not matter.’ If he does talk like that, he is no longer behaving as a Christian. He has a false standard. The Christian will say, ‘Everything I do, I do to the glory of God.’ ‘Whether, therefore, ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’ Ultimately he is not doing his work for the state, he is doing it for God. He happens now to be paid by the state, but his view of Medicine should be exactly what his ideal for Medicine was before the state scheme came in. If he wanted to help that poor person who was suffering before, he should still want to do it. There may, of course, be pinpricks and difficulties which were not there before– though most of them were there in a different way. Centrally he is exactly where he was before. Consider the doctor-patient relationship. Why should the receipt of a cheque every month (instead of being paid by the patient there and then) make a difference to this relationship? A Christian will regard the patient as a soul, as a human being. Here is someone in trouble, who needs help. The best is given. That has always been done and is still being done. Where does the difference come?

Let me give you an illustration. Consider a man who was a grocer. He used to own his own grocer’s shop. He was, of course, polite to his customers because the more polite he was the more customers he would have, the more they would buy and the more money he made. At a given point, however, a large stores came along and said ‘We want to buy you up.’ And they added, ‘We will not only buy you up, but we will leave you in the shop as manager.’ He eventually agrees. What would you think of that man if he says, ‘Well, of course, it is no longer my shop. My pay-packet is certain every Friday, whatever happens. It belongs to the big store, not to me,’ and he begins to be rude to his customers? Such a thing would be monstrous, wouldn’t it? Why should the doctor have a different relationship to his patient and regard himself differently now, just because he is paid by the state instead of by the patients. What has it got to do with an essentially Christian attitude?

Let us notice the teaching of the apostle Paul in Colossians 3: 22 and 23. ‘Servants,’ he says, ‘obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.’ If we only keep such a consideration at the centre, the whole problem, it seems to me, is not only simplified, but almost vanishes. We serve the Lord Christ. And we see in the light of that where the state comes into God’s plan. Of course, there will be the annoyances. Yes, but does not that give us, as Christians, an exceptional opportunity to witness to our Lord? Here is a glorious opportunity for the Christian medical man. The older sisters of the hospital should be able to say, of a consultant, ‘You know, he’s exactly the same as he was before. I do not see any difference in his treatment of the patients.’ The family doctor’s patients, who have known him all their lives, should be able to say the same thing. ‘This state scheme has not made any difference to our doctor.’ Why not? Because he is a Christian. He has his standards. He believes he has been called into this by God. He is serving God. He is serving the Lord Christ. So, he overcomes the difficulties. And because he has this Christian view of his vocation, he goes on as before.

Of course, if a time should ever come when he is called upon by the state to kill off the disabled old people or to kill off the defective children or something like that, then he will take a stand and he will query the right of the state to arrogate to itself the control of life. But we certainly have not come to that yet. If we only view the total problem in the Christian way, we shall find that most of the difficulties will disappear. But, if and when the state asks us to do something that is contrary to the commandment of God, we must then resist. We must refuse, whatever the cost. Until then we must recognize the true nature of the position, and go forward doing our duty, not as unto men, but as unto God.

NOTES

[1] From a verbatim report of an address to members of the Christian Medical Fellowship on October 24th, 1957, in the Hall of the Medical Society of London.

[2] It is here that so many modern Christians are inferior to the Reformers. The theology and ethical outlook of some is almost entirely confined to God’s action in redemption, and they seem to imagine that they can contract out of God’s ordinances as ‘God the Creator’. Yet redemption is seen in its grandeur only in the context of the creation and the moral law.

[3] Since this address was given there have been progressive nation-wide changes which, the speaker observed later, would require modification of the above.

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