NECAC Debate: Harvard Medical School: February 20, 1986 Thank You Letter

John C. Rankin

On February 20, 1986, I received a thank you note on the letterhead of the Christian Medical Society of Harvard Medical School, for the February 13 debate (click here). It is beautifully typed from a pre-digital era. Here it is:


Dear Rev. Rankin:

Although the organization of last week’s debate fell to the Hamilton-Hunt Society, and we were there as spectators, rather than as planners, I nonetheless wanted to express my thanks on behalf of the Christian Medical Society to both you and Dr. White for your having participated in the debate and following discussion. We appreciate the time and effort which you were willing to devote to help educate us on the important issue of abortion. As future physicians, we will do doubt have to face squarely many matters of life and death, and I fear that our preparation for such duties is often woefully inadequate.

I appreciated, as the Rev. Ellis-Hagler pointed out, the calm tone which you helped establish early in the discussion, and the evident effort which you made to tailor your remarks to the medical student audience. Having since talked to numerous students who attended the debate, the only “complaint” I’ve heard is that there just wasn’t enough time to discuss so many of the issues. In the general climate of the medical school, it is so usual for us to be told, especially by the faculty, that the institution of abortion on demand has been an enlightened public health measure, or at worst a “necessary” evil in an imperfect world, that it was truly refreshing to hear you speak out against this inhumanity, in which our profession has been a major accomplice. I must admit that we in the Christian Medical Society, at least as a group, have been lax in facing the issue, and should feel convicted that it was only by the efforts of another organization that the discussion this past week came to be. Nevertheless, I am also reassured by God’s faithfulness in this matter, for it was clearly His work that such a large and open crowd turned up for the event.

Thanks again for having come to speak. If there is any way in which the Christian Medical Society can be of any assistance to you in the future, let us know. We pray, as your brothers and sisters in the Lord in this medical school, that His grace, freely granted through His Son, might continue to be with you in your life and work.

                                                                                                                                Yours, Caleb King


In rereading this letter for the first time in nearly three decades, I am struck by the power of elite institutions to deceive the social order. I am blessed for how well Dr. Andy White and I were received in our biblically rooted and scientifically directed pro-life advocacy. And as well, I am grateful to consider how many future physicians became, or were strengthened, in the honoring equally of women and their unborn as a result of the evening, thus ministering to and saving many otherwise broken, or thankfully, not to be broken lives.


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House of Lords 17 October 2017

Text of John Rankin’s address on the occasion of the 500th annive5rsary of the Reformation.