The Apologetic Value Of Religion And Wellness Studies -- By: W. Rodman MacIlvaine III

Journal: Christian Apologetics Journal
Volume: CAJ 11:1 (Spring 2013)
Article: The Apologetic Value Of Religion And Wellness Studies
Author: W. Rodman MacIlvaine III

The Apologetic Value Of Religion And Wellness Studies

W. Rodman MacIlvaine III.

& William C. Stewart

W. Rodman MacIlvaine, III is a fellow with the Veritas Center for Faith, Freedom and Justice, Oklahoma Wesleyan University and senior pastor of Grace Community Church, Bartlesville, OK.

William C. Stewart is a physician, glaucoma subspecialist, clinical researcher and author as well as co–founder of Pharmaceutical Research Network, LLC. He is based in Las Vegas, NV.

An endovascular neurosurgeon in San Diego pauses before the bed of a patient being prepped for surgery. “It’s my custom to offer a prayer before our procedure,” he says. “Do you mind if I pray for you?” The patient nods somewhat surprised. The physician places his hand on the patient’s shoulder, expressing a simple prayer, and ends with the words, “In Jesus’ name, Amen.” Looking up, he notices that the patient’s eyes glow with tears of appreciation.1

In our modern age of science, one would expect this to be a rare scenario. But in recent years prayer in healthcare settings has become increasingly common2 as researchers and doctors have discovered

much clinical evidence suggesting that the practice of religion generally and the observance of the Christian religion specifically have measurable effects on health outcomes.3

Unfortunately, these studies are published mostly in technical medical books and journals; therefore the information is not readily accessible. Moreover, unless one is a scholar in the field, Christians may not know how to evaluate this research because worldview assessments are generally not included in the published findings. Consequently, Christian leaders are often unaware of these studies and do not factor them into their sermons, teachings or writings. This problem should be rectified since religion and wellbeing studies have significant apologetic value,4 and they can profitably be used in spiritual discussions with those who do not profess faith in Christ. Moreover, these studies have profound implications for pastoral care.

This article examines evidence, derived from scientific study, that the Christian faith is associated with human health and wellness. It surveys the historic influence of Christianity on healthcare and explores the relationship of church attendance to w...

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