Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
Journal Is "Too Good"
William F. Campbell
Rue Tho Zeidoune
From: JASA 23 (June 1971): 76
I find the journal too good nowadays. I feel like a caged lion. Practically every article makes me want to respond or have a three day discussion on the problem.
From the firing line as a practicing physician trying to use every opportunity to influence men's beviour for Christ, I would like to add this experience to the articles by Collins and Moberg (Journal ASA 22, 8 and 14 (1970) ). I used to feel that it would not he fair to talk to a very sick non-Christian about the Lord; it would be taking advantage of him. Then I read The Battle of the Mind by William Sargeant. He goes more fully into Pavlov's work and speaks of the experiments where Pavlov made the dogs sick or injured them, at which point he could usually get even the most resistant to change its behaviour. Further, he often found it impossible to change it hack in these eases.
Since reading this book, I have been very open to any leading of the Spirit in speaking with a very sick person. I certainly do not think that we should make people sick, but God knows his own creature. If God makes (lets) a man become sick, I think we should be conscious that it could be a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to present Christ lovingly and positively.
I have seen this happen with one patient whom we were able to retrieve from a very debilitating disease. I have never seen a person so joyful after believing. This happened before I read the book. The second case was a man to whom I had been able to present the Gospel about once a year over a period of three or four years when his Christian wife would succeed in bringing him to our house for a meal. He always laughed at her afterward. One day he suddenly started caughing up blood. I could find nothing wrong on repeated exams and sent him to the local TB clinic. Their exam was also negative. Meanwhile I paid him two social visits about 15 days apart. I spoke to him about the Gospel each time and he seemed to be taking it in like a sponge. The second time I asked him whether he wanted to accept Christ, but warned him not to do it to please me. He said, "And why not" and prayed after me in front of his children who snickered at him. We prayed too of course, that he would get well. Immediately after this the bleeding stopped. (Medically, it seems to me to be a case of Divine Illness rather than Divine Healing) Though he can't read, he has remained firm in spite of the opposition of his Muslim friends.
In closing I would like to add that I don't think it is fair for Collins to abdicate with "Whether they (techniques of behaviour manipulation) can or should be used as a vehicle through which the Holy Spirit works, is a question which I leave for some theologian or Bible Scholar to answer." He teaches in a seminary
and presumably gives his opinions to his students daily. Further I'll bet he is a very good Bible Scholar, especially in any verses that could bear on psychology. Let's have an applied article from both Collins and Moberg giving examples of what is good and what isn't and why. They are the specialists. If they can help us get more folk out of the first two kinds of soil and into the "good ground" class, I'm all for it.