Monday, December 31, 2012

Gender Considerations in Healthcare

“Among Christian physicians there should ever be a striving for the maintenance of the highest order of true refinement and delicacy, a preservation of those barriers of reserve that should exist between men and women.” Counsels on Health, p. 363

“The light given me of the Lord regarding this matter is that as far as possible lady physicians should care for lady patients, and gentlemen physicians have the care of gentlemen patients. Every physician should respect the delicacy of the patients. Any unnecessary exposure of ladies before male physicians is wrong. Its influence is detrimental.” Counsels on Health, p. 363

“Delicate treatments should not be given by male physicians to women in our institutions. Never should a lady patient be alone with a gentleman physician, either for special examination or for treatment. Let the physicians be faithful in preserving delicacy and modesty under all circumstances.” Counsels on Health, p. 364

“In our medical institutions there ought always to be women of mature age and good experience who have been trained to give treatments to the lady patients. Women should be educated and qualified just as thoroughly as possible to become practitioners in the delicate diseases which afflict women, that their secret parts should not be exposed to the notice of men. There should be a much larger number of lady physicians, educated not only to act as trained nurses, but also as physicians. It is a most horrible practice, this revealing the secret parts of women to men, or men being treated by women.” Counsels on Health, p. 364

“Women physicians should utterly refuse to look upon the secret parts of men. Women should be thoroughly educated to work for women, and men to work for men. Let men know that they must go to their own sex and not apply to lady physicians. It is an insult to women, and God looks upon these things of commonness with abhorrence.” Counsels on Health, p. 364

“While physicians are called upon to teach social purity, let them practice that delicacy which is a constant lesson in practical purity. Women may do a noble work as practicing physicians; but when men ask a lady physician to give them examinations and treatments which demand the exposure of private parts, let her refuse decidedly to do this work.” Counsels on Health, p. 364

“It is not in harmony with the instructions given at Sinai that gentlemen physicians should do the work of midwives. The Bible speaks of women at childbirth being attended by women, and thus it ought always to be. Women should be educated and trained to act skillfully as midwives and physicians to their sex. It is just as important that a line of study be given to educate women to deal with women’s diseases, as it is that there should be gentlemen thoroughly trained to act as physicians and surgeons. And the wages of the woman should be proportionate to her services. She should be as much appreciated in her work as the gentleman physician is appreciated in his work.” Counsels on Health, p. 365

“Let us educate ladies to become intelligent in the work of treating the diseases of their sex. They will sometimes need the counsel and assistance of experienced gentlemen physicians. When brought into trying places let all be led by supreme wisdom. Let all bear in mind that they need and may have the wisdom of the Great Physician in their work.” Counsels on Health, pp. 365, 366

“We ought to have a school where women can be educated by women physicians, to do the best possible work in treating the diseases of women.” Counsels on Health, p. 366

"It is the Lord's plan that men shall be trained to treat men, and the women trained to treat women. In the confinement of women, midwives should take the responsibility of the case. In the Bible times it was not considered a proper thing for men to act in this capacity; and it is not the will of God that men should do this work today. Very much evil has resulted from the practice of men treating women, and women treating men. It is a practice according to human devising, and not according to God's plan. Long has the evil been left to grow, but now we voice in protest against that which is displeasing to God." Loma Linda Messages, p. 574

"It is not in harmony with the instructions given at Sinai that gentlemen physicians should do the work of midwives. The Bible speaks of women at childbirth being attended by women, and thus it ought always to be. Women should be educated and trained to act skillfully as midwives and physicians to their sex. This is the Lord's plan. Let us educate ladies to become intelligent in the work of treating the diseases of their sex. We ought to have a school where women can be educated by women physicians to do the best possible work in treating the diseases of women." Testimonies, Vol. 9, p. 176

"Our institutions should be especially thorough in giving to women a training that will fit them to act as midwives. There should be in our sanitariums lady physicians who understand well their profession, and who can attend women at the time of childbirth. Light has been given me that women instead of men should take the responsibility in such cases. I was directed to the Bible plan, in which at such times women acted the part of the physician. This plan should be carried out by us; for it is the Lord's plan." Medical Ministry, p. 61

"In the medical missionary work to be done, women should give treatment to women. . . . When women who are sick are treated and cared for by women, a door through which Satan tries to enter is closed against him." Medical Ministry, p. 140

"Subtle, dangerous temptations will come to the physician who believes the truth for these last days. That which would be condemned in a worker of another class is supposed to be admissible in him. Thus a multitude of sins are covered up, sins which are registered in the books of heaven as a departure from Bible principles." Medical Ministry, pp. 140, 141

"The time has come now when there are to be -- and there should have been long ago -- sensible changes. Men have their appointment to take care of the men, and women are to take care of the women. But when it comes to bringing the men and women together in private practices of childbirth and such cases -- to have them associated right together -- I say it is not right nor to be justified. Women had their appointed work in the Bible times and these women took charge of the women, and there was a special understanding that this was the way it should be. And that is the way it should be now in childbirth. Let the women be as thoroughly trained as the men, and let them take charge of these matters. I speak intelligently. I speak because I understand what I am speaking about, that there is too great a commonness." Manuscript Releases, Vol. 13, p. 113

"I have had this before me time and time again. I have put it in writing for fear I might be taken away. But I want to say that we must step up onto a higher plane of action, and if we will do this, the Lord will let His blessing rest upon us. I have had so many letters from women and from men about their falling right under the temptations of the devil as they were brought in connection with the childbirth of women. I do not need to argue this because your own sense will tell you that we are in a world of temptation and trial. And we are to purify ourselves from every such thing. God help us. You have no need to have me dwell upon this any longer. The light given me is that we open the door to temptation and for transgression. Let us have just as much a duty to take the burden that rests upon the women for the women in childbirth as it is possible for us to do." Manuscript Releases, Vol. 13, p. 116

"Midwives -- it was their practice, their work, to take charge of the women in childbirth. Now I lay it open before you, and tell you that we want to be prepared in thought, in word, in action, as you are about to work changes here and enlarge and have greater responsibilities come upon you. We want that you should every one feel the responsibility of searching the Scriptures that you may stand firmly upon the true foundation and not be drawn from it. It will be quite a work to do that. As you are now enlarging, give the women such education that they can come in and that they can deal with these cases." Manuscript Releases, Vol. 13, p. 117

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Testimonies and Today

Do time and circumstances change the application of inspired counsel? Is it possible to be in keeping with the intent of the Lord's counsel while violating the specific wording of it? How are Ellen White's writings to be interpreted in the twenty-first century? This study on the spirit of prophecy looks at just what is meant by the statement that "time and place must be considered."  Read more . . .

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Harnessing a Horse

"Ellen White said every girl needs to know how to harness and drive a horse."

That's what we often hear from those who would like to prove that Ellen White's writings need to be culturally translated because, as they were written, they are not relevant to us anymore.

But the problem with that line of reasoning is that it sets up a convenient excuse for not following much of the wise counsel with which God has blessed His church. By misrepresenting what Ellen White said on this minor point, many have generalized that her clear, direct instructions on more important matters may be ignored.

So, let's see what she actually did say about this.

"And if girls, in turn, could learn to harness and drive a horse, and to use the saw and the hammer, as well as the rake and the hoe, they would be better fitted to meet the emergencies of life." Ed 216, 217 (1903)

Let's notice a few things about this statement.

1.  Ellen White wrote this only one time. It does not come with the emphasis of something that is repeated over and over again.

2.  This is not a command for all girls to learn to harness and drive a horse. It simply mentions the advantages "if" they could. It's a suggestion, not a moral obligation.

3.  How to harness and drive a horse is not a bad thing for people to know. So the statement is not untrue today.

I know that people are anxious to turn her statement into a principle that can be applied to modern technology. And that's fine also. But my point is that such an application does not negate her statement as it stands. The identification of principles in an inspired statement is for the purpose of expanding, not limiting, the application of its message.

Friday, December 7, 2012


The subject of bicycles is often raised in discussions about the use of Ellen G. White's writings. It is part of an attempt to say that her writings are not always applicable to us at face value. I reject that reasoning. I maintain that what she wrote about bicycles is just as true today as it was when she wrote it.

"What," you say, "we shouldn't ride bicycles?"

It may surprise you to learn that Ellen White never said we shouldn't ride bicycles. She simply condemned an obsession with bicycling that wastes time and money. Wouldn't such an obsession be just as wrong today?

Read what she says about bicycles.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Seventh Trumpet

The events of the seventh trumpet cover a broad period of time.

"And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth." Revelation 11:18

"I saw that the anger of the nations, the wrath of God, and the time to judge the dead were separate and distinct, one following the other, also that Michael had not stood up, and that the time of trouble, such as never was, had not yet commenced. The nations are now getting angry, but when our High Priest has finished His work in the sanctuary, He will stand up, put on the garments of vengeance, and then the seven last plagues will be poured out." Early Writings, p. 36

The wrath of God takes place after probation closes. The time of the dead to be judged follows that, so that would be the judgment of the wicked during the 1000 years. The ultimate reward of the saints and the destruction of the wicked after the 1000 years is described in the last half of Revelation 11:18. So the seventh trumpet events extend from the anger of the nations during probationary time until the final rewards and punishments are given after the 1000 years.

Overall, the seventh trumpet is more about the spiritual conquests of truth than it is about military conquests. The first six trumpets were God's initiatives in history to prevent the complete takeover of catholicism (Roman and Eastern). And in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, God's truth fully triumphs.

Three scenes are presented in Revelation 11:15-19 in connection with the sounding of the seventh trumpet:

  • Great voices in heaven declare what is accomplished during this period (verse 15).
  • The twenty-four elders worship God in words of praise to Him (verses 16-18).
  • The temple of God is opened in heaven (verse 19).

In verse 15 we see the final, uncontested establishment of God's universal kingdom. In verses 16-18 the twenty-four elders celebrate that accomplishment. And in verse 19 the heavenly sanctuary and the law of God are opened to the view of all. These three scenes sum up God's final moves in the war against error as it comes to its conclusion in the seventh trumpet. Unlike the specific markers listed in verse 18, these broader scenes are not events to be charted on a timeline, but rather are a summary of the effect of God's work during this period. If we had to identify a focal point, I would suggest the culmination of the investigative judgment and its results.