Saturday, March 9, 2013

The surgeon who first said to wash our hands

In the eighteen hundreds, before surgeries, the instruments usually were not sterilized, the physicians did not wash their hands, and masks were not worn. Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor, set about to change all of that. In his writings he urged for a reform of the medical system, with cleanliness as a high priority. Because of such radical ideas, in 1865, Dr. Semmelweis was thrown into an insane asylum, where he died fourteen days later, killed by the guards.

Now the medical establishment would, if not throw you into an asylum, at least take away your licenses and freedom to practice, if you did not wash your hands before surgery.
Reformations sometimes take a long time. We may be branded insane at first, we may be attacked. When the reformers went up against the Catholic Church they were burned at the stake. When men such as Samuel Rutherford dared to say the law was king rather than the king was law they were radical.
The reason many reformations take so long is because people may be willing to challenge the system a little bit, but not bring it all down at once. Many would have agreed with Luther, perhaps even Pope Leo, that the church had some problems that needed to be remedied. Yet to say the entire system must be toppled was too radical. Instead of being willing to die, or instead being willing to look for the truth rather than what was accepted, they said that was going too far.
Today people say we are going too far, we are taking the Scriptures too literally, making the law of God of too much importance. There is none that understandeth. (Romans 3:11 a) Radicals are usually labeled at first as insane, (Galileo was for saying the earth revolves around the sun). May I remind you of something? Christianity is radical.

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott

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