Many Christians struggle with the question of whether it is alright for them to see a doctor when they are sick. Below are excerpts from the book The Spirit-filled Believer’s Handbook, where the late bible teacher, Derek Prince, provided helpful counsel on this subject:
First, God expects every sick Christian to seek Him first, for healing through faith and by spiritual means. This does not mean it is necessarily unscriptural for a Christian who is sick to seek the advice or help of a medical doctor. But it is absolutely contrary to Scripture for any professing Christian who is sick to seek for human medical aid without first seeking for divine help from God Himself, through the appointed leaders of the church.
Today the great majority of professing Christians who fall sick automatically call for their doctor without giving any thought to seeking help from God or from the leaders of the church. All Christians who do this are guilty of direct disobedience against the ordinances of God as set forth in the New Testament. For the Scripture says plainly, without any qualification: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church …. ” In the face of this, any Christian who falls sick and calls for the doctor, without calling for the elders of the church, is guilty of open disobedience.
The implications of this act are plain enough if we pause to consider them. It amounts to saying to God: “God, I do· not need You. I do not really believe You can help me or heal me. I am content to accept the best that man can do for me without seeking You for guidance or help.” This prevailing attitude among professing Christians is one main reason why so much sickness also prevails among them.
For the most part, Christians today have simply set aside the claims of God to heal the body and have closed the doors of their homes and churches against Christ the healer.
The second important lesson contained in this passage from the epistle of James is that God expects all Christians to associate themselves with a church and that the leaders of this church shall be ready to minister in faith, according to the Scripture, to the physical needs of their church members.
The phrase “let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14) carries both these implications: 1) that every Christian shall be associated with a church in such a way that its leaders both know him and are known to him; 2) that these leaders shall be ready to minister physical healing to their members in faith, according to the ordinances appointed by God for the church.