Topical Index > Health
Posted on this site 4th Oct 2007
Drugs don't cure, no doctor is a healer
Prof. Tunde Cole-Onitiri, Professor of Medicine
Shares his story with Gbenga Osinaike
Professor Tunde Onitiri-Cole was the chairman of Clinical Pathology of the University of Lagos College of Medicine. He became a professor at an amazing age of 34. At present, he is the national director and Chairman Prayer Summit , South West of the Full Gospel Business Men Fellowship. In this interview with Gbenga Osinaike, Publisher of Church Times, Onitiri sheds light on his journey as a believer and also on the medical profession.
How did you come about carrying the bible being a professor of medicine?
When you hear the word professor, what immediately occurs to you is a person who has a scientific approach to things, therefore all that the person does has to follow logic. But when it comes to the things of God, it is not so. As a matter of fact, 1+1 in God's calculation could be 1. This is against logic.
What I have found out over the years is that God makes the wisdom of the world to look foolish and for the purpose of his own glory. From my own perspective, I have always wanted to be the best. And somehow God has granted me that grace even when I was not a believer. Right from my primary school to the university, God favoured me. I was always coming tops in my class. Having achieved a great feat in my academics, I became a doctor and a professor at the age of 34.
With such achievements, there is a tendency to think that something is special about yourself. But God is wonderful. I realised that in the course of being a professor, that it was not me but the grace of God upon my life. I met God in the course of doing secular work.
How did it happen?
My encounter with the Lord came because my colleagues had in fact decided that I was too special because of that there was this usual envy. Then, they decided to send my name to the I.G and the then head of state. They said that I was about to form a group of doctors who were going to assassinate the chairman of LUTH and they sent letters to the I.G. The idea was that I should be arraigned as a coup plotter. When I was invited to the Lion Building in Lagos by Police, I found out that what my colleagues had written as really amazing. They said they knew I was going to assassinate the head of LUTH through their spiritualist. That to me was really amazing.
Were your colleagues against you because you were a Christian?
Not necessarily because of that because by then I had not committed my life to Christ. It was because I was forthright in what I was doing. Apart from that I knew I was a man of excellence. I had been in contest with people that were much older than me. People were wondering at the fact that I was a whiz-kid and that I always settled for the best. Naturally in such scenario, many people who pretended to be your friends were not friends, they are just interested in pulling you down.
This was one of their schemes. But they didn't know they were pushing me to God. I decided to ask for protection from the VC because I saw that my life was in danger from my colleagues. And this was the beginning of my early retirement from the LUTH because I could not stand a situation where I was not having peace with my colleagues. When all this was happening, one of my close friends took me to a meeting of the Full Gospel Business Men Fellowship where I met the Lord through a message by one of the brothers who came to minister at the event. I gave my life to Christ at that meeting.
It will interest you that as at that time, my library was considered one of the best libraries anybody in the medical profession could have. But in that big library, there was no bible. So, I had to look for a bible and I began to read and divulged the content. I began to realise that the bible contains the blue print of one's life. I can assure you that since that experience, the Lord has been faithful. Accepting Jesus has given me so much peace. I can also tell you that I have not found a book like the bible. It is wonderful to call a person a professor of medicine. But it is also interesting to note that the professor can not heal but has to submit himself to his creator who knows everything about the human parts.
So, what radical change took place in your life when you accepted the Lord?
My perspective to life changed. What I considered to be important before I became a Christian became secondary. I never got enmeshed in the craze of acquiring things. It was because I left the LUTH that opportunities started coming my way. I never struggled for anything. I have also found out that I was saved to serve. There is no point being saved and enjoying yourself when your salvation does not make meaning to people around you. Believers should be able to touch lives.
How then did you solve the problem of being accused of plotting to assassinate the LUTH chairman?
A number of my colleagues found out that I was just unjustly being victimized. They voted the chaps who consulted spiritualists out of office. But the beauty of it all is that the people that did all this regretted their actions and pleaded with me to forgive them which I granted easily. I realised there was no need to have confrontation with them because they did what they did in ignorance. But then I had to leave the LUTH setting because the environment was no longer conducive for me. I resigned as a consultant to LUTH and also as a professor of medicine.
But why didn't you go to another university?
At that time, I did not want to leave Lagos and again, there was only one university in Lagos then. So, I decided to go into private practice. I have been greatly satisfied since I started my own practice because I combine both scientific and spiritual aspects. I have come to realise that even in the medical profession, prayer is essential. I have been doing that and it has been working for me. Many of my colleagues now appreciate that there is the need for prayers in the practice of medicine.
But how has it been combining the spiritual with the physical in medical practice?
The truth is that what we consider to be a natural phenomenon started from the supernatural. Everything that is medical come from this point of view that unless I see I will not believe it. We believe in experimentation. But we forget that everything has been created by a supernatural being. And that it is God that has made what we see the way they are. And since it is God who created the body, healing the body will be simple for him to do. No doctor is a healer. The doctor can take care of the body and give advice. To say that a medical doctor can heal is to say that drugs can heal and drugs don't heal that is the truth.
Really! What then do drugs do?
Drugs only help to prevent certain features that you see. When you have fever, the drugs will help you remove those symptoms. But we as medical people say the parasite. The parasite may disappear but the person may still be having the symptoms. And it is not every time you look at the blood stream that you see a malaria parasite. The point I'm making is that a person may be sick and we still find out that the sickness cannot be attributed to what we can see under the microscope. But science has thought us to experiment and carry out tests. It doesn't mean that somebody who doesn't have the sign is not sick. The person can be very sick and there will be no evidence. This is one of the reasons I decided I was going to study medicine.
I had just finished my higher school and I was sick and went to the hospital. But the doctor said there was nothing wrong with me. But I knew I was sick. From that day I swore I was going to be a better doctor and that I would find out the causes of diseases. That is why I specialized in pathology which is the science of finding the causes of diseases. I have attained the best level of finding out the cause of disease. That is why I'm a professor of Chemical pathology. I have also discovered that even if you have found out the cause of a disease it does not mean you will be able to find a drug that will deal with the disease because at the end of every disease is a problem that is beyond what we can see. You cannot culture demons in the laboratory. That is why every person, apart from seeking medical help when they are sick, should as a matter of necessity seek the face of God.
You certainly would have run into trouble with your colleagues with this mindset?
That is true. But a lot of them are now beginning to see the perspective from which I'm seeing, that we should see medicine from a larger perspective. For instance, Charles Darwin talked about the theory of evolution. He was a British scientist. He went to North America where he did some experiment and came up with the theory of evolution that species can change from one animal to another. But Darwin , before he died became a Christian, a born again Christian. And he himself said the theory of evolution is a theory and that he believed what the bible talked about concerning creation.
But people are not talking about the fact that Darwin became a Christian?
They won't say that. Charles Darwin himself became born again. So why should a scientist still hold to the theory that we originated from a lower specie of animals. The truth is that man was created as man. A monkey was created as a monkey. It is not true that one animal evolve from another. God created man in his own image. All the theories of science were created so that students can pass exams. But when you have passed your exams in the school, you settle for the truth. There is a difference between truth and fact. A fact is a body of knowledge that is introduced to the world at a particular point in time and the world accepts it. But the truth is a body of facts that remains for ever, that can never change. Scientist first believed in fact for instance, that the world was flat and later round. But the truth will never change. It is constant. And that is that the world is round.
So what should be the attitude of the believer to sickness?
Sickness is as a result of sin, otherwise sickness will not come the human way. But the word of the Lord assures us of healing. He says, I'm the Lord that healeth thee. God promised in his word that if we obey him, all the sicknesses of the Egyptians will not come near us. We have all sinned. But Jesus is our righteousness. He was never sick. He was tired but he was not sick. We must accept hat since Jesus has given us divine health, sickness is not something that is beyond us. One should not be afraid of sickness because God is in the business of healing us. That is why I wrote three books on reconciliation, health and prosperity.
But why should a believer be sick even when the person has taken all the precautions that he should take?
Because we are part of the world. The world is being ruled by the powers of darkness. Satan is still here. Therefore sickness will still be part of us. The fact that a believer is is sick does not mean God is punishing the believer. It might be that an edge has been broken. If anybody has a relationship with Jesus and he is sick, he should expect that he would be healed.
I had such experience. In 2005, I had stroke and I was completely paralysed from my neck downwards. Unfortunately, the doctors came and because there was no proper scanning of the brain, they did not know I had a kind of stroke that engenders continous pumping of blood into my brain. So, the kind of medication they gave me was such that allowed more blood to pump into my brain and that was worsening the situation. But in spite of all this, God himself healed me in a miraculous way. During the time I had this trial, there were many other people who had stroke who were well known around the world who did not survive. God was faithful and he healed me and brought me out of the sick bed. A lot of people will not believe I ever had stroke because of the way I'm now looking. I have been perfectly healed. Tell me, why won't I believe that this God has something better to offer than all the medical doctors in the world put together. I call tell you that God has done a lot of miraculous healing that I'm aware of. There are cases of people with HIV/AIDS that have been cured. There are those who have SS blood group who have had their blood completely transformed. In my hospital, there was the case of a woman who was sick and her blood was being drained spiritually by her home help. She did not know. But we knew about this in the place of prayer. We prayed for her and she was healed. That is after all medications have failed. It is only God that can carry out such healing. Ordinarily, doctors would not have known about such things because we are talking about the spiritual.
How easy was it for you to believe spiritual things given your scientific background?
If you are very logical, you will find it difficult to believe spiritual things because you will be thinking with your brain. But God wants you to believe with your heart, which is the greatest organ God has created. Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. Your heart is the major organ. Believing is difficult for people who are rational. God wants us to be open. He expects us to believe whatever he says. That is why Jesus said, blessed are those who believe without seeing.
What has been the major challenges you have faced in the course of this work of evangelism using the medical tool?
The major challenge before me is the fact that there are many people who don't believe what has been done by Jesus many years ago. They still can not understand that there was a man called Jesus. Believing in God's word is the greatest thing that can happen to a human being. If you do not accept what has been established in the bible, you will no doubt have obstacles in life. The bible enjoins every believer to show love. You cannot get along with God without love. Once you attract love you will attract all the goodness in the world. As believers we are alive because God wants us to impact lives around us. We are expected to do things that will make the world better. Any greatness that is devoid of God is useless.
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