The Doctor Who Followed Jesus to Africa
As medical editor for ABC News, Dr. Timothy Johnson has worked in the secularized realms of media and medicine. In his Finding God in the Questions (IVP, 2004), Dr. Johnson talks about how "meeting" Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) has revolutionized his life, challenging him to make more time in his life to serve Christ in others.
This remarkable man has captured my imagination. Born January 14, 1875, in the German province of Alsace, by age 30 Albert Schweitzer had accomplished more than most of us could imagine doing in several lifetimes. He was an amazingly productive scholar with doctorates in philosophy and theology. He was an ordained minister, a professor at the University of Strasbourg, a concert organist, a world authority on J. S. Bach, a recognized expert on organ building and remodeling, and a prolific writer and author. But then he made a decision that stunned his friends and family: he went to medical school so he could become a doctor and go to Africa to work as a physician.
Seven years later he and his new wife, Helene, went to Lambarene in West Africa, where he set up a hospital in the jungles along the Ogowe River. For the next 52 years, he dedicated himself to the people of that place, helping to build an expanding medical compound that would eventually feed, house and treat an average of 1,000 Africans a day! Periodically, he returned to Western civilization to give lectures and fundraising organ concerts. In 1952 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and he donated the prize money to help build a hospital for lepers about a half mile from the main hospital grounds. Schweitzer died in Lambarene in 1965 at age 90.
Schweitzer was captivated by the life and teachings of Jesus, and applied his scholarly training ...