Primum Non Nocer – First, DO NO HARM: a look at ministry malpractice

Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that means “First, do no harm“. The phrase is sometimes recorded as primum nil nocere.

This term is typically related to the Hippocratic oath, seen in the medical community. This oath is taken by doctors and many other practitioners that, without adhering to a higher moral and ethical code, could inflict more harm than good when treating a patient.

Imagine for a moment, if you’re diagnosis was cancer. This cancer is terminal untreated but there was one true hope for life. The cure would not be easy, it would bring suffering and humility but also joy and a dramatic change to every moment left on this earth. Now imagine the doctor never told you of the cancer and willfully omitted the findings and let you die, maybe made you feel good, just covered up the symptoms, anesthetized you into a walking dead. I don’t know about you but I would prefer a skilled straight shootin’ surgeon than an anesthesiologist when my life is in the balance. I think we could agree, that would have been negligence 101, and grounds for malpractice.

It is a sad truth that a higher oath is being ignored from the pulpit of many churches today and spiritual malpractice is running ramped.  I hurt deeply for those who are being led astray by false teachers that alter God’s Word, derange The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and practice Spiritual malpractice that states Christianity is anything less than forfeiting our hearts and entire existence to our eternal God, Creator of Heavens and Earth, who molded man, the capstone of His Creation, out of the Earth in his own image. It requires acknowledging that Satan is real, a fallen angel who in his evil arrogance challenged God for his position of authority was banished from God’s fellowship and has been battling for our souls and worship ever since.  But in the garden the first Father and Mother were commanded to avoid one thing and one thing only, were tempted and destroyed our flawless community with God for eternity. God is a God of many chances, and His people blew it every time, because of the fall every soul is rotting in sin. We cannot blame Satan for this, he tempts us but ultimately we choose sin.

However, God, in his infinite wisdom foresaw all of this and out of His bountiful mercy for the beloved of His Creation, He humbled himself to enter the world as an ordinary man, the antithesis of lordship and majesty so that he could fulfill the prophesies of God’s word previously handed down to man to give us hope. He was hated at birth, born in filth to a virgin and a godly man. His name is Jesus. He grew in wisdom and was without sin. Later in life he continued the Father’s work and spread the news that He was the way, the truth and the life. He was shunned, hated, betrayed and crucified. He is our savior. On the cross of crucifixion, He bore the cup of God’s wrath for ALL that believed in Him. For my sins alone the cup would have been a monsoon.

Christ is coming again. We who are blessed to truly believe will live in eternal community with God, working out our sanctification and salvation with fear and trembling until He calls us home… and those who don’t, will suffer God’s wrath and live out eternity in the fiery pits of hell. We all deserve wrath. We all deserve wrath. We all deserve God’s wrath. I could DO great and honorable things every day, but in the end I can never live up to the holy standard which is required to stand before God and all of His glory and righteousness to be acceptable to Him.

This is the Gospel. We don’t deserve it, but this mercy is part of the very nature of our Holy God. The Gospel, the ruffle your feathers, fall on your face before God “have mercy of on me a sinner”, gospel. There are no promises of perpetual healing and health by a worldly man, no sales pitches that God wants us all to be rich and drive new Mercedes, and it is not the  “same God” all the other religions worship. There is but one God, one creator, one path, a narrow gate, The Way, The Truth, The Life. It is most definitely not something we choose to claim as a title and walk away safe and secure with our “get out of hell free card.” It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ who suffered from beating, bruises, lashes, ripped flesh, spikes in his hands and feet, thorns tearing into his scalp, side punctured by ruthless guards, exposed, mocked, drowning on His own blood who all the while never bailed out once, remained faithful to the will of The Father, who even as He suffered a horrendous death, asked The Father to forgive them

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:12-17 ESV)

I do not write this out of hate or to boast of my holiness, but out of love and compassion for many that are lost and those being “sold” false hope by scriptural quacks that are essentially assisting in spiritual suicide. You see, it is assisted suicide because If God calls on you to be saved you can only respond, but the question is saved from what? When someone misrepresents The Gospel as a ticket to wealth and good times…that is essentially replacing the God of Jesus Christ with the God of you and your desires…and therefore you remain spiritually dead. Faith comes by hearing, and you must hear The Gospel.

Where does the bible tell us we should “only teach the Gospel” and why is not doing it wrong?

I could quote dozens of verses of scripture on this, but I will focus on Paul’s letters to Timothy for this point, simply because it is the “go to” books for God’s call to ministers. Anyone proclaiming to be a teacher has been commanded to Preach The Word.  I urge you, no longer take my word for it, and For your sake do not take any smooth talkin’ guy with a pulpit and an offering plate, believe The Word.

Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, (1 Timothy 6:2-4 ESV)

Where does the bible tell us we should “only teach the Gospel” and why is not doing it wrong?

I could quote dozens of verses of scripture on this, but I will focus on Paul’s letters to Timothy for this point, simply because it is the “go to” books for God’s call to ministers. Anyone proclaiming to be a teacher has been commanded to Preach The Word.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)

To those teaching the word, take Paul’s call seriously, eternity is a stake for so many.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)

To those doing the listening, follow the Bereans.  Confirm truth in scripture yourself.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11 ESV)

Or like Ronald Reagan said “Trust, Then Verify”

Truth Matters.

Sola Fide

Solo Christo

Sola scriptura

Soli Deo gloria

Sola Gratia

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