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Another in the Fire1: Addendum

November 10, 2020
Photo: Pixabay

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not…” (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV 1984).

I follow him for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), but he spends his real life as pastor of a Christian church in a nearby town. He was sharing with me after I checked him over. “You know, the mayor came and told me I had to shut down my church due to the Coronavirus. Do you think I did?” “Knowing you,” I answered, “not likely.” “The police came out when my folks were cleaning up the property and told them they couldn’t be there.” “Did you stop preaching?” “I did not, and they never shut us down.”

A week ago, I shared this devotional story and the following disclaimer: “This story is not addressing a political or public health question.”

And then I wrote the following question: “This story is asking, “What do people of God do when God is calls them in one direction and the government orders them toward another?”

And then began the discussion: “Perhaps more and more of us will face this in the future, whether we bleed blue or red.”

What will you do if your government forces you to obey when God says, “You must not”?

Christians throughout the world are jailed or dying because they follow God’s direction when it opposes civil authority. There is good reason to believe this could be our future as well. If one group in power could do it with Martin Luther King, Jr., another group in power could do it with me.

Everything above is true. However, some feel that it was insensitive or misleading for me to share the story at the time our country is fighting to overcome a viral pandemic. I can see that. I, and CMDA, feel very strongly that all people should follow the best guidance of our public health officials to both protect themselves and protect those around them from this or any public health crisis.

Science is God’s truth of creation uncovered to allow us to maximize life, minimize suffering and point to His glory. In health issues, good science is our best rule to maximize health.

At the same time, as healthcare professionals, we must be careful how we use the word “science.” We know that science is limited to facts that we discover by the scientific method, and that we are continually gaining new facts that change prior scientific conclusions. We must be careful; science is an imperfect tool that has been used in history to make societal claims that are beyond its purview, sometimes leading to great harm.  Science does not define all we are as physical, emotional and spiritual beings created by God for His purpose. Science does not dictate how we should live in community, sharing with each other, caring for each other, providing for each other, worshipping together—even at risk, serving the God who created us as relational beings.

Health is extremely important—it was for Jesus who healed many people with great love. It certainly is for those who are losing loved ones to this virus. It is for me every day as I fight with those who suffer from cancer.

But health is not the ultimate goal of our existence…Christ is.

Science is not the ultimate determiner of truth…Christ is.

Use science. Trust Christ.

So, I personally apologize to those who think I was suggesting we should not follow CDC guidelines in this pandemic. I believe we should, and I miscommunicated.

Dear Father,
Help us as we seek to make men and women whole again, through science, but more so through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Amen.

1 Another in the Fire, song by Hillsong United

Al Weir, MD

About Al Weir, MD

After leaving academic medicine, Dr. Weir served in private practice at the West Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee from 1991-2005 before joining the CMDA staff as Vice President of Campus & Community Ministries where he served for three years from 2005-2008. He is presently Professor of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Program Director for the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program. He is also President of Albanian Health Fund, an educational ministry to Albania where he has been serving for 20 years. He is the author of two books: When Your Doctor Has Bad News and Practice by the Book. Dr. Weir’s work has also been published in many medical journals and other publications. Al and his wife Becky live in Memphis, Tennessee, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Dr. Weir is currently serving on CMDA's Board of Trustees.

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