Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ecclesiagenic illness

"Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) 
How many times have you heard, "The church is a hospital for sinners"?

Hospitals are places where we go to be healed, or at the very least, to be cared for. They should not be places where we go in sick and come out sicker, but that, unfortunately, does sometimes happen.

When people are made sick in hospitals, it is called an "iatrogenic illness" which the Free Medical Dictionary defines as,
"Any complication related to diagnosis and treatment of disease, regardless of whether the condition occurs as a known risk of a procedure or through errors of omission or commission"
My grandfather's 1957 Dorland's Medical Dictionary (23rd ed) defines it this way,
Iatro-. Combining form denoting relationship to a physician or to medicine. 
Iatrogenic. Resulting from the activity of physicians: a term applied to disorders induced in the patient by autosuggestion based on the physician's examination, manner, or discussion (Sir Arthur Hurst).
The analogy of the Church as a hospital holds up even when we take the analogy further to the Church which has become infected with falsehoods that it then transmits to the pew sitters resulting in "ecclesiagenic illnesses" (a neologism that will probably not be added to Webster's).

Ecclesiagenic transmission of disease is nothing new, the ancient heresies are prime examples, but today's Episcopal church and the other denominations that have tried handling the same-sex marriage bug that recently blew through our nation have become the new breeding grounds for ecclesiagenic illness.

As the mainline denominations write same-sex marriage and gender neutral liturgies into their constitutions and canons, it is inevitable that the teachings and practice in support of this "new revelation" will work their way into the ears, hearts, and minds of persons coming in the doors looking for healing.

I fear for the children, for those who lack resistance, for those who have not been immunized.

Instead of a place for healing, the Church will become a place to avoid.

Or maybe it already has.


  1. Those who visit contaminated hospitals are also subject to infection. Also, I believe postoperative infection is one of the leading causes of death. the Nave and operating room have things in common.

    1. The Church may have to start buying malpractice insurance.

  2. Anonymous7:04 PM

    Good points well made, +Matson!

    The second death is an eternal event rarely contemplated these days. Hmm.

    Thank you, Pewster, for the thought-provoking -- and excellent -- post!