the Author, Franklin E. (Ed) Payne, M.D., Biblical Medical
Ethics, and The Biblical and Christian Worldview for the 21st
enlightenment began in the early 1970s. I was fortunate to be
among three other couples who were in a Bible study, led by a
graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson, MS) in
Augusta, GA, where I live. We studied Steele and Thomas’
Romans: An Interpretive Outline. During that study, the
leader introduced me Competent to Counsel, the first book
that Jay Adams wrote on counseling.
At that time, I had
completed the general part of my medical education and needed to
decide on specialty training. Having been in a clinical practice
situation for two years, it was obvious to me (and still is)
that the major problem with patients is not physical, but in
their thinking and behavior which triggers damaging emotions.
So, I considered going into psychiatry.
But, Competent to
Counsel made such an impact on me that I called Jay Adams on
the phone, made an appointment, flew to Philadelphia, and spent
several hours talking with him. Because of that conversation, I
knew that I could not go into psychiatry because it did not give
Biblical direction (having been founded upon secular, even
anti-godly, philosophy). Since I liked a variety of problems and
patients, I chose Family Medicine, as my specialty.
My training at the
Medical College of Georgia took place within a small, but
growing, department with only two faculty members. When I
completed my training, they asked me to join them on the
faculty. My intention was to stay for about 5 years, and then go
into private practice. Five years turned into twenty-five, after
which I retired in 2000.
I had no interest in
fact, my aptitude was in mathematics and science, in which I had
majored in college. On my college SAT, I scored considerably
higher in mathematics than in English. I was enjoying my
teaching in Family Medicine.
Suddenly, tenure stared
me in the face! “Publish or perish.” I had been deluded (either
by my own naiveté or that of the young department), that
research and writing would not be necessary in Family Medicine.
But, to stay on the faculty beyond seven years, I had to publish
or make other plans. By this time, I had decided to stay.
So, I began to write on
two issues: sports medicine and cardiovascular health. I had
enough publishing success to satisfy promotion and tenure
requirements to stay. Meanwhile, abortion became a concern for
evangelicals, and euthanasia loomed on the horizon. I was a
member of the Christian Medical Society (now the Christian
Medical and Dental Society) and looked to them for answers. In
the early 1970s, they had published a book on abortion and an
official statement on abortion.
The book had a variety
of views on abortion and the statement essentially said that we
“lament” that there are so many abortions, but every Christian
must decide for himself or herself (my summary in my words). I
began to read every book on medical ethics that I could find.
There was not much! More work had been done by Roman Catholics,
but I had sufficient theological understanding to know that
their epistemology was not as authoritative as Scripture.
So, I wondered. “Can I
learn a Biblical approach to ethic that can become a biblical
medical ethics?” Rightly or wrongly, I made a fleece. I would write
ten letters to the editors of medical publications and see what
happens. All ten were published! I never had that success
So, I began to study
Christian and Biblical ethics. To my surprise, there was not a
good summary book on an approach to Biblical ethics, much less
Biblical medical ethics. There
still is not, to my knowledge.) So, I began to read:
Systematic Theology, by Louis Berkof; many books by Gordon
Clark; Christian Personal Ethics, by Carl F. H. Henry;
Principles of Sacred Theology by Abraham Kuyper; Ethical
Reflections by Henry Stob (the closest to a basic book); all
the books of Jay Adams, as he wrote them and were published;
and, many other books which had a chapter or two on basic
Biblical ethics or medical ethics. As far as I could surmise, at
the time I had the only complete collection of The Journal of
the Christian Medical Society and Human Life Review.
That is how thorough that I tried to be.
I had the opportunity
to meet Harold O. J. Brown. We agreed to write a book on medical
ethics together, but God separated us, and he did not have the
time except to write one chapter. But, he did ask Mott Media to
review my book, and they published it as Biblical Medical
Ethics: The Christian and the Practice of Medicine in 1985.
Meanwhile, in 1978, I
got this phone call to speak to “that physician who was
counseling according to Jay Adams.” (I had begun counseling a
few people with whom I came in contact.) That caller was Hilton
Terrell, who had just completed his Family Medicine training,
but with a background in psychology (Ph.D.) and reading of Jay
Adams. His family had labeled him as “just to the right of
Attila the Hun.” I still remember the first night that we met.
He kept looking at me out of the corner of his eye, as if to
say, “Can there really be another physician on planet earth who
thinks as closely to the ways that I do?”
Since then, he has read
and edited virtually everything that I have written. (Initially,
Jay Adams did also.) And, he has written a great deal himself.
Together with Andy White, another Family Physician, we started
The Journal of Biblical Ethics in Medicine, which was
published from 1987 to 1997. Later, I started a newsletter on
AIDS and even later, another newsletter, Biblical Reflections
on Modern Medicine (the Journal and most of
Biblical Reflections… is online on this site:
Medicine and Health.
Coalition on Revival
In the early 1980s, Jay
Grimstead and others began the Coalition on Revival (COR). It
was the next rational step after The International Council on
Biblical Inerrancy, and its follow-up, on Hermeneutics. The task
of COR was to developed a set of Affirmations and Denials in
each of 17 worldview “spheres” (areas of culture and theology).
These were completed in 1985 and are now online.
(www.reformation.net) Great effort went in to the precision and
comprehensiveness of each of these areas. It is one of the
jewels of scholarship that is sorely neglected and unknown
I was fortunate
initially to be part of the committee on medicine, and when the
first chairman left, I became its co-chairman, writing most of
the document. Later, when the psychology and counseling document
faltered, I was asked to write that one, as well. While I did
not chair that document to completion, most of it is still
worded in the way that I wrote it.
I have written four
books. 1) Biblical Medical Ethics, 2) Making Biblical
Decisions (about population, birth control, and genetic
issues), 3) What Every Christian Should Know about the AIDS
Epidemic, and 4) Biblical Healing for Modern Medicine:
Choosing Life and Health or Disease and Death. The first
three are out of print, but a few copies are available at
and other used book dealers. The
fourth can be bought from Covenant Books, P. O. Box 14488,
Augusta, GA 30919, $10.00 postpaid or $5.00 each for multiple
My writing of Biblical
medical ethics and Biblical medicine mostly ended in 2000, when I ceased writing the
newsletter, Biblical Healing for Modern Medicine.
Essentially, I stopped because few were grasping the basic
issues, much less the more complex issues.
It is quite
incomprehensible to me that a nation can spend over $1 trillion…
yes, $1 trillion dollars on an industry that actually has a
negative effect (excluding abortion) on overall health in the
United States. (See Neil Postman’s Technopoly: The Surrender
of Culture to Technology, Chapter 6, “The Ideology of
Machines: Medical Technology.)
It is more
incomprehensible to me that Christians have no better
understanding than non-Christians. My own denomination, the
Presbyterian Church in America, had its insurance program go
bankrupt, even after they were given an opportunity to set it up
by Biblical standards.
And, so it goes. Our
website, an occasional article that I or Hilton write, and the
rare event of someone writing a Biblical medical ethic somewhere
else are the only lights in a dark world that worships at the
altar of bodily health and modern medicine. Perhaps, Biblical
Concourse can steer some souls towards the light of a truly
Biblical medical ethic.
Many years have passed
since we began our work in medical ethics. But, several years ago,
while sitting with some leaders of our local church, one
mentioned the need to instruct our middle and high school
children in preparation for the humanistic, secular atmosphere
of college or for the competitive marketplace that is American
life and society that is thoroughly pagan.
His comment started me
thinking. “I learned the methods of building a worldview in
medicine and medical ethics. Why not apply them to all areas of
worldview, such as, economics, law, psychology, education, and
Thus, this website,
“The Christian and Biblical Worldview for the 21st
Century" was created in idea form and later in to an actual
trust that it will advance your thinking towards the ever
expanding and eternal Kingdom of God.
And, the saga
continues. In working on worldview areas, I became aware
of certain philosophical principles that simplify and empower
Biblical principles in ethics and worldview. For example,
some form of
predestination is inescapable. As a logical argument,
the centuries-old debate of free will is solved. Because
of such issues, I have decided to begin another website (August