Albert Schweitzer, of whom you all know, best epitomizes the modern Christian doctor. He is in a special category: the medical missionary. The most famous medical missionary of all time was Dr. David Livingstone, who served the London Missionary Society in Bechuanaland, Africa, during the 1840's. The first man who might be called a medical missionary was St. Luke, companion to St. Paul in their evangelist travels through the Middle East.
But what of the modern physician, whom you and I know intimately, and his role as a Christian? I have tried to show you that he has a firm basis for his religious beliefs by way of his medical training.
Can we apply the test of the "healing miracle" to him? I think we can, if you are willing to look at him in a special way, under special circumstances.
By means of new techniques and medicines, many cures which seem routine, now, would have been "miracles" in previous eras. Even in our own time, we have a cure for what was conceded to be a hopeless case of staphillococcus infection in the early '40's. Dr. John Bumstead was treating his patient in New Haven Hospital. All that could be done, had been done, and had failed to control the infection. An English research physician, Dr. Fleming, had sent Dr. Blake, head of the hospital, a small amount of a newly discovered drug. A consultation was called, and it was decided to make what was to be the first clinical trial of this drug. If you read the Sunday Magazine Section of the New Haven Sunday Register within the last month, you know that this woman, so near death, is alive today, and that the drug was Penicillin.
A new radio device, short wave, has been developed, which can broadcast the heartbeat of an unborn child for a distance up to 300 feet from the room where the mother is awaiting delivery. In an African village, if a man listened to a small box and foretold correctly that there was an unborn child in a woman's belly a hundred yards away, I am sure he would be considered a witch doctor.
Here, in our sophisticated society, the above-cited new-era "miracles" are regarded complacently, as scientific advances.