July 18th, 2008
Kraus, Harry MD. The Cure: The Divine Rx for the Body of Christ-Life-Changing Love. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008. 187 pp. $14.99.
Harry Kraus, MD, is a general surgeon who practices his discipline with the African Inland Mission in Kenya a the Kijabe Hospital. He has written a total of eleven books to date, including this one. He is married with three sons.
Summary of The Cure
Using Paul’s analogy of the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12 as a spring board, Dr. Kraus explains how the church is best able to fulfill the mandate of love found in 1 Corinthians 13. His biggest charge against the church is that we have forgotten that love is the most important quality of a Christian.
We are awash with conferences and filled to the brim with discussions about methods for effective evangelism, contextualization, cell churches, culture-appropriate dress, and techniques for language acquisitions…Don’t misunderstand. There are other important components of effective ministry…But it’s still not the main thing…What am I talking about? Agape. Love? Yes, love…It’s the most important component of effective evangelism (p. 12-13).
In part one, Dr. Kraus explains that what sustains the Great Commission mandate given to us by Christ is nothing less than agape love. He uses wonderful life experiences that we can all relate to and shows how we all crave that love that can only be filled by Christ and can only be shown by one who has been born again in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Part two shows how the church, comprised of individual bodies, must maintain a proper balance of health and nutrition if she is to remain viable. With chapter titles like Anorexia and Spiritual Insomnia, Dr. Kraus shows how we must intake food (the Bible), maintain proper rest, hydration (soul-thirst), and oxygen (breathing grace).
Whenever we skip a meal, our stomach lets us know in short order. A lack of rest over a period of time takes a toll on the health of the entire body. If we go without water for three days, we will die and if we do breathe in oxygen in a few minutes, we will cause major damage and ultimately death. Using these analogies, Dr. Kraus implores us to maintain a healthy “diet” in our spiritual life so that we may survive as a church and be more able to help those who are in need.
The third part is the prescriptions for the church. You go to the doctor because you recognize certain symptoms as being wrong and unhealthy (part one). He then begins asking questions to see what may be the root cause of those symptoms (part two). Finally, the doctor prescribes whatever is needed to get you back onto the road to health (part three).
In one chapter, he discusses the approaches to cancer. We have allowed many various cancers into the church today. The only way we can get rid of a cancer is through treatment or surgery if it does not respond to treatment. The most radical procedures include cutting the cancer out of the body. In so doing, usually there is some healthy material cut away as well. This is to assure that the cancer is completely removed with nothing left behind upon its removal. We must be aggressive in dealing with these cancers before they deal with us!
In perhaps the most important chapter, Dr. Kraus deals with loving our enemies. We usually define our enemies as those people whom we do not like. However, that is not true. An enemy is someone who hates us-sometimes for no reason at all. We are called to love that person. Unfortunately, the church does not have that reputation today. His prescription is that we must strive to get love back as our identity.
This book is cross-centered in that Dr. Kraus says over and over that we are unable to love without Christ. He points us to the cross in each chapter and explains that that is where we are to find the source of our love so that we may love. His view of the human body is heavily rooted in the design of God. Nowhere does he stray from the fact that God designed the body. He explains that because we were designed, God has given us a manual on how to make the best use of our body-the Bible. Our biggest problem is that most of us do not use our manuals.
At the end of each chapter, there are discussion questions that are great for small group study. His engaging style of writing is quite honestly amazing to me. He discusses some pretty heavy medical jargon but then explains it in such a way that even I can understand it. I would recommend this book to anyone (I have already to quite a few of my friends). I think this book would serve as a great tool for those thinking about missions work as well as those contemplating church planting. The cry for love in this world is perhaps the loudest cry that is most often ignored. If you do purchase a copy of this book, please buy one for Kevin as well.