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Tue Dec 10, 2013
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Sat Dec 07, 2013
by Kimm Crandall
Eastern Healing, Alternative Medicine, and Christian Faith, Part 1
Alternative healing practices have gained an amazing following in the Seattle area. The reason for this may simply be the presence of my alma mater, Bastyr University, a leading institution in naturopathic, alternative, integrative, and Eastern medicine. I graduated from this school with a Doctorate in Naturopathic & Integrative Medicine. I received an excellent education at Bastyr University, and I am equipped to share with God’s people about the benefits and dangers of this powerful system of healing.
Alternative Medicine + Christianity?
I’ve often been asked how I integrate my Christian faith into my practice. One thing is for sure: if you do not have a specific calling from God to work in this ministry, you will be in for one bumpy ride. I have seen Christians enter into the program at Bastyr and either withdraw from the program before completion or severely alter their own faith. There is strong pressure to conform at Bastyr and within these Eastern healing practices.
When I was graduating from Bastyr, each one of the graduating doctors was handed a “shaman staff” in a ceremonial celebration. I was told of this plan ahead of time, and I appealed to my chief medical officer and the academic chair of the program. I explained that accepting this staff was denying the God I serve and discrediting his divine power to heal. I was informed that there were no other options, so I informed them that I would not attend the graduation ceremony because I could not accept the shaman staff as my declaration for all healing. It is no easy task to carefully sift through the vast topic of healing.
I thought to myself, how is it possible to boil down centuries of cultural practices and sort out the positive and negative aspects of these cultural healing systems and their effects on the Christian’s faith, theology, and worldview? Eastern healing and alternative medicine has mushroomed into a multi-billion-dollar industry over the last two decades. People from all over the world embrace many of its practices, theories, philosophies, and even cultures in some fashion. Many religions share similar foundations with Eastern teachings, but Christianity is distinct in that we call on the one true God, Creator of all, the Great Physician, for healing.
Biblical or Cultural Standards?
Culture-based healing is not the same Bible-based healing. Our world is a melting pot of “culturalisms” that shape thinking across the globe on how humans should believe and live. There are centuries of enlightenment and dark practices that have been passed down through the generations. Not all cultural influences are bad; however, as Christian believers we do not have carte blanche to take part in a cultural practice that is pagan in origin and denies the deity of Christ and the divinity of the Triune God, maker of the heavens, earth, and all that exists. We need the guiding light of the Bible, God’s infallible Word, to lead us away from the deceptive and wrong teachings of culture.
(Continued here: Part 2.)