Reflections on the intersection between theology and medicine.

At various points throughout my career, I have been mistaken for “the pastor.” As an undergraduate in a Literature and Religion of the Old Testament class at James Madison University (JMU), the professor said to me: “Young man, you should forget medicine and head straight to seminary.” Once as a senior resident while conducting hospital rounds, the VP of medical affairs stopped by our group and asked, “Now which is the correct way to address you? ‘Reverend Dr.,’ or ‘Dr. Reverend?’”! A few years later I was seeing a pleasantly demented elder, donned in my white coat with trademark stethoscope around my neck. The patient looked mildly depressed and confused. I said to him, “Russell, do you know who I am?” He looked up, beamed from ear to ear, and said, “Why yes, you’re the pastor!”

So I have occasionally questioned if I had in fact missed my calling! However, my entry into medicine was clearly God’s call. My natural talents are oriented toward the humanities and not the sciences. I had a cumulative 4.0 GPA in my master’s degree program in biblical counseling (Colorado Christian University, 1997). I started a Doctor of Ministry program in leadership through Bethel Seminary and was doing just fine with a 4.0 (I dropped out for various reasons, including my father’s ill health, in 2013). However, I graduated from JMU with a cumulative GPA of 2.966! Chemistry, physics, and raising catfish in ecological farms just wasn’t entirely my thing. (While historically the bedrock of medical education, I would argue that these courses did precious little—in fact next to nothing—to prepare me for my role as a family physician. But that’s another subject on education.) God had to show me that He would enable me to do what He had called me to do.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2020 that I looked at LuAnne and said, “I think I know why God has called me to medicine.” I related in a very small way to Queen Esther’s cousin Mordecai’s statement, “…who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, ESV). From polar opposite recommendations from anything we had ever been taught in our medical training to censorship of ideas not in “lockstep” with government or scientific narratives to four “investigations” (more correctly called harassments) in 2021 by the Pennsylvania Department of State, we knew we had been caught up in a dramatic interplay between truth and lies. And we knew—and still know—that we needed to lend our voice to Truth. (And along with proclaiming Truth, we also had to proclaim Goodness and Beauty.)

Early in my career (probably in the late 1980s), I had read Dr. Mendelsohn’s Confessions of a Medical Heretic (1979). I had a hunch even then that I would someday become that heretic; I just wasn’t sure when. But the “covidiocy” of 2020 and beyond had truly confirmed in my mind that I had in fact become a medical heretic. For I realized that I was completely out of step with Big Medicine and subsequently Big Pharma. But that in itself was not a surprise.

For when we opened Heritage Family Health, PC in the fall of 2011, we also turned our focus to helping people get healthier and lose weight. In 2013, I assisted a patient in losing 100 pounds and getting off his 98 units of Lantus (a type of long-acting insulin). To this day, he’s kept 75 to 80 of those pounds off and remains off the insulin. (He has given permission to share his story.) During this decade-plus, LuAnne and I have assisted more than 1,000 patients in becoming healthier, changing lifestyle, and getting off meds. We established Heritage as a model of medical care completely outside of traditional insurance. As long as God gives me breath, that will remain the Heritage model! You can read all about this model in my 2018 Transforming Healthcare Together: A Model for Restoring the Covenant of Trust.

However, the surprise to us was how isolated we were in our stance in 2020—in both the religious and medical communities. That led rise to my contribution (along with 2 wonderful Christian brothers) to Coronavirus and the Leadership of the Christian Church: A Sacred Trust Broken (fall 2020). Twisted biblical interpretations along with overt medical lies caused us to wonder if we had been born in the wrong century. But I know we were not; we were born right when and where God wanted us. And we knew that we needed to continue to lift our voices in correcting these lies.

The events of 2020 and beyond has pulled back a curtain on a dark and sinister world, with agendas likely in place for decades. When by the fall of 2021 we were inundated with 100s of new patient requests seeking exit from that dark world, God opened the door for a second office (and a third in mid-2023) and brought to us Christian providers who share our passion and vision.

To the extent that traditional western medicine focuses on treatment of symptoms and rarely correcting underlying causes, LuAnne and I have both completed a Fellowship in Herbal Medicine in the spring of 2023 through AARM. This has been the best education of our professional careers, augmenting (not replacing) our traditional training.

Which brings us back full circle to the pastor aspect! Theology will always inform and guide our medical practice. We are, after all, Christians who “happen” to be doctors, not doctors who happen to be Christians. And the point of this Substack is to help others engage with the intersection of the two.

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Dr. Yeager's reflections on goodness, truth, and beauty and their impact on life, medicine, and theology; what it means to live as male and female reflections of the imago Dei (Genesis 1:27); not intended as individual medical advice.


Christian; founded Heritage Family Health, PC in 2011 with my wife Dr. LuAnne; armchair theologian; author; first tenor; landscape photographer; Big Green Egg enthusiast; medical freedom advocate; tender of alpacas.