Is There Distinctively Reformed Medicine?

After a visit to my father at his local hospital, I had a worldview moment. What should have alerted me from the outset was the name of the place – St. Mary’s. But then I noticed that the spiritual services wing of the hospital had dropped off for him a brochure about their activities which was included with information about television channels and daily menus – talk about trivializing the eschaton. But the kicker was the crucifix in my dad’s ICU room. Shazzam!!! That’s a whole lot of idolatry for a man who is on a heart monitor.

But is Roman Catholic medicine really any different from Reformed medicine or even – dare I say – secular medicine. If worldviews go all the way down to the very tips of our toes, and if we can’t escape the claims of Christ in any parts of our lives, can I really look the other way in good conscience when entering a hospital room that displays an image of Christ on a cross?

And then there is the concern for quality of health care. If Abraham Kuyper was right that Roman Catholicism “represents an older and lower stage of development in the history of mankind” and if Protestantism occupies a “higher standpoint,” shouldn’t my dad try to find treatment at a Protestant hospital? Kuyper, by the way, wasn’t real complimentary of Roman Catholicism on science either.

Read more»

Nicotine Theological Journal | “Should a Reformed Protestant Receive Treatment at a Roman Catholic Hospital?” | February 19, 2024


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  1. The understanding of two kingdoms is really the issue here.

    I would not like being in a hospital room with a crucifix on the wall as much as I don’t like my local hospital’s routine questioning of my gender identity and sexual preferences for their records (I refuse to answer those questions). I do not like as well the art on the wall of my doctor’s office stating that “We are spiritual beings having a human moment”.

    However, I would much rather have an emergency or serious illness treated by a competent physician and hospital vs. a second-rate option that had a Protestant label (Which really means nothing anyway). Theology doesn’t make a hospital or physician clinically superior.

  2. As a physician, this is a subject I have discussed with other believers. For a surgical procedure, I want the most skilled hands available – faith does not weigh in.

    OTOH, in my own specialty (psychiatry) it is terribly important. Worldview is CRUCIAL (pun intended) because I won’t tell your boy it’s okay to be attracted to other boys, or to become a girl! I dont see my patients as a sack of chemicals, nothing but “molecules in motion.”. Rather I would integrate biology, psychology, social/relational aspects, and spiritual TRUTH. Not just “faith is good” but solid Reformed doctrine. I approach everyone differently (because they ARE different!) but these dimensions are all part of effective care.


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