What are some of the most detrimental theological dangers for Christians practicing holistic health?

Hello Charles Joseph,
I am a nursing student and chaplain trying to pioneer a closer pairing of medical training and practice with discipleship and evangelism. To date, my projects include “Teach Us Grace” which is an eldercare model using the Lord’s prayer as a conversation template, “Qavah” which is a tensile strength workout program centered around someone publically reading God’s word aloud, and “Reflections” which attempts to describe the symmetries between our body and soul through studying anatomical metaphors found in Scripture.
I share all that because of your interest in holistic health and to make these 3 related questions more understandable:

  1. How have you seen medical training and practice rightly paired with discipleship and evangelism?
  2. What are some of the most detrimental theological dangers for Christians practicing holistic health?
  3. Considering the global spread of programs like CrossFit, Yoga, etc. should Christian missionaries try developing our own health “export” in order to reach more people?

Wow Saba!

What you are doing already is brilliant. So heartening to see how you are integrating healthcare and Spirituality.

The New Age movement gained a lot of traction and continues to do so even today, marrying healthcare and spirituality. India. Sri Lanka and other Far East Asian countries are ‘tourist hubs’/‘pilgrim centres’ for seekers of “New spirituality”.

Christian Theology/Spirituality is robust in its emphasis on Spirit/Soul and Body. However, the influence of Hellenistic thinking in the past, about the ‘inherent’ material evil, the emphasis on the body was underplayed. There is gladly a resurgence of the importance of integrating ‘Spirit-Psyche-Somata’.

However, a caution here would be, not to swing the pendulum to the other extreme, either out of a compulsion to out do ‘New spirituality’ or redeem the long lost emphasis of ‘holistic’ Christian health.

Mark 12:30 is a classic Scripture, that emphasises total, well-rounded, holistic discipleship. Loving the LORD, with all of our faculties/entire being - Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength.

The idea that man is a highly complex hybrid of Spirit and/or Soul and Body, the ‘crowning glory’ of God’s creation, is an essential truth and an integral part of the Biblical worldview that needs to be taught and emphasised.

Christian holistic healthcare programs and regimens ought to always strive to keep ‘the main things, the main things’ and resist the temptation to put the cart before the horse.

As a Christian worker/missionary, I don’t think we should feel compelled to necessarily come up with our own health “exports” to redeem ‘holistic health’ for Christ.