Since the Bible’s sufficiency means that the Bible speaks to (though not necessarily about) everything, then it follows that our theology speaks to (though not necessarily about) healthcare. Please note that this is not an analysis of the theological rightness or wrongness of the Affordable Care Act. We could make such an analysis of course, but long before we could, it seems that some far more basic questions need to be answered first, viz., why access to a full range of modern healthcare has erupted in the past 50 years as such a historically unprecedented and frenzied concern (so frenzied that it threatens to take down whole nations!), and whether the Christian worldview can accommodate this concern.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am a firm advocate of modern medicine. I am quite grateful for the fact that the common grace of modern medicine has saved my wife’s life twice—once from cancer and again from a complication of pregnancy that she could not possibly have survived a century ago. This is by no means a call for Christians to reject modern medicine and turn to organic foods, herbal concoctions, and ancient natural remedies as an expression of superior faith. That’s not faith; it’s foolishness.
But having alienated one block of readers, I turn the rest of your attention to the question at hand. Why has access to a full range of modern healthcare become such an insanely frenzied concern over the last 50 years? And what I’d like to suggest is that the frenzy has erupted largely because the medical industry, insurance industry, and since 1965, the federal government have created it through the cultivation of some very non-biblical presuppositions, viz., (1) that death is the worst thing that can possibly happen and that it must be averted or delayed for as long as is possible and at whatever cost necessary, (2) that the quality of my life must likewise be sustained for as long as is possible and at whatever cost possible (financial cost, that is: the cost of personal self discipline, diet, and exercise are not included here), and (3) the philosophical newcomer to the argument, that the avoidance of death and possession of quality life are universal and inalienable rights.
I recognize, of course, that there are better motivations out there, too—like the rest of you I hope to teach and preach the Gospel for 40 more years rather than be derailed by ill health after 20 (after all, Paul does say that while death may be better, to survive may be in the best interests of the church such that is may be regarded as more necessary—Phil 1:23–24). But at the end of the day, I wonder whether I and with me a great host of other American believers (and especially we who are moving inevitably further from the spryness of youth) have bought into the patently non-biblical presuppositions detailed above and have become gripped by culturally-driven fears and frenzies that have little place in the Christian worldview.
By God’s grace I have access to good healthcare. I hope that I always will. But my greater hope is that I may, with ever-increasing sincerity, share Paul’s sentiments that “Christ be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death,” knowing that “for to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:20–21), and further, that “for Christ’s sake, I can delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).