A man walked into a doctor’s office and asked for an examination. “Doctor,” he said, “I feel terrible but I do not know where to begin. I just know I am sick.”
The physician, competent, thoroughly-trained and equipped, took a case history, conducted a thorough physical examination and had his laboratory carry through a series of general and selective tests.
After a few days he diagnosed the cause of the patient’s sickness, prescribed the medicines to be taken and the other measures to be carried out, and within a short time the man was well.
The secret of modern medicine is correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Symptoms are considered and measures for relief are taken, but no physician is worthy of the name who does not try to find the cause of symptoms and eliminate that cause.
In the realm of the Church the necessity of proper procedures is infinitely more important, for here man’s eternal welfare is at stake. To treat symptoms and ignore man’s basic problem is both foolish and reprehensible. And yet it is obvious that only too often we are more concerned over the results of sin than with sin itself; with reformation than with regeneration; with human measures than the divine remedy; with temporary ease rather than with the eternal cure; and with the body of man rather than with his soul.
First of all man needs to be made aware of his condition. This may come to him as an overwhelming experience whereby he realizes that he is spiritually sick, even unto death. Or, it may be the result of hearing a faithful witness to Christian truth which for the first time explains his condition and its cure.
To catalogue man’s needs in chronological order can be misleading for they exist concurrently. Nevertheless there are basic things ...1
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