Archive for the ‘L. 12. A Healing Ministry’ Category

Lesson 12, A Healing Ministry

January 8, 2009


  • Assess the significance of the 1863 vision Ellen White received regarding health.
  • Analyze the health reforms called for in the 1863 vision in light of the social context and medical practices of the day.
  • Understand that the ultimate aim of the health message is to assist people in living a life of effective discipleship for Christ.
  • Examine the relationship that exists between good health and spiritual development.
  • Examine the contribution of John Harvey Kellogg in developing the Adventist health work.
  • Examine the development of Seventh-day Adventist health and medical institution and their role in worldwide missions.

At the Dansville health spa the Whites disagreed with not being able to exercise or think about religion.

Ellen White’s 1863 Health Vision

The main subject of the vision given to Ellen White on June 5, 1863 was healthful living.

Good Health and Spiritual Development

Ellen White suggested that a person with good health practices is better able to serve the Lord than one without such practices. Whatever affects the body affects the mind. Whatever affects the mind affects the person’s spiritual dimension. Damaging our bodies breaks the commandment “Thou shalt not kill.” The Scriptures say to avoid alcohol because it makes our judgment bad.

The Contribution of John Harvey Kellogg to Adventist Health Work

John Harvey Kellogg is important in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He graduated from Bellevue Hospital Medical School. He changed the name of the Adventists first health sanitarium from Western Health Institute to “Battle Creek Sanitarium.” Under his leadership, Battle Creek Sanitarium expanded into a world-famous institution. He was on the cutting edge of medicine. He said he was able to do so by testing new ideas by consulting with those of Ellen G. White. He wrote fifty books.

J. H. Kellogg invented prepared breakfast cereal. Will K. Kellogg marketed his brother’s cereal idea. Kellogg’s Foods began this way. John coined the word “granola.” He invented numerous medical appliances. He established the first Seventh-day Adventist medical college. The doctors at Battle Creek had training in both hydrotherapy and medical science. He established at least twenty-seven sanitariums in various countries. When John Kellogg separated the sanitarium from the church, the Adventist medical training work moved to Loma Linda.

The Development of Seventh-day Adventist Health Work in a Worldwide Mission Adventists noted that when people are helped with their health, they are more open to learning about the Bible.

The Original Diet

Adam and Eve were instructed to eat a vegetarian diet. Vegetables were first given man to eat right after the Fall. Adventists point out that when humans began eating meat, they deteriorated and their lifespan shrank.

In nineteenth-century America prior to 1863, it was not a common medical practice to make sure that fever patients had plenty of cool water and fresh air. It was common to bleed patients who had a fever; to prescribing poisonous drugs; (Opium was one of the harmful drugs prescribed by doctors in the nineteenth century;) to suggest that smoking would strengthen the lungs of patients. Among other things, the health vision opposed as harmful: alcoholic beverages, coffee, flesh food, eating between meals, overworking, the use of drugs such as opium, the bleeding away of excess vitality. It supported the use of hydrotherapy, cleanliness, drinking water, fresh air and exercise.

Emma Kellogg and Henry White died because of treatment received from conventional nineteenth-century physicians. Willie White didn’t die as did his brother Henry because they used a water treatment on him.

Kate Lindsay was the founder of the first Seventh-day Adventist nursing school.

Ellen White gave eight health principles. The conventional medicine of her day involved different treatment:

The Health Principles and Conventional Medicine of the mid 1800’s


• Pure air

Loughborough’s father was forbidden to breathe fresh air when he was sick with typhoid fever.


• Sunlight

The lesson implies that shades were not opened in some rooms.


• Abstemiousness (Temperance)

Cigar smoking was advised to strengthen weak lungs. Smoking was suggested to J. N. Loughborough as treatment for his lung trouble.


• Rest

The lesson shows that overwork led to vulnerability to disease.


• Exercise

People evidently didn’t see its relationship to health.


• Proper diet

People did not understand the relationship between health and nutrition.


• Use of water

Bathing was considered hazardous.


• Trust in divine power

Not mentioned in lesson, but students may comment from personal conclusions.



Further Reading:

Review and Herald, October 8, 1867, Questions and Answers by Ellen White.