Addressing pastoral care has greatly impacted me. It has provided the other two legs of the holistic approach to mission. The first leg was the emphasis on evangelism, ministering to the soul with the intention of preparing individuals for everlasting life. The other two legs are ministering to the body and spirit, and helping people live in the current physical world.
This delicate balance will allow the Church and our own local church to be better missionaries. Fulfilling the call of mission requires that the Church approach this call from a holistic point of view. The Church has done an excellent job of preparing people for the afterlife, but in my opinion has fallen short in preparing people for end of life experiences and traumatic life experiences. Many are questioning God and are concerned as to why such a good, supreme all-knowing, ever-present and all-powerful God allows evil and suffering to continue in this world. According to Lee Stobel in his book, The Case For Faith, this is the most concerning aspect of Christian faith. Many are struggling to find answers and do not know where to turn for answers. Some of these same issues are what drove Charles Templeton, a once pulpit partner of Billy Graham, into complete denial of his faith. Pastoral care has provided a framework from which to address this issue from a holistic point of view. In order to adequately address these issues there has to be a deliberate effort taken to look at the religious structures and spiritual practices at work in the context of the Church.
Issues dealing with death and dying, illnesses like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive and intellectual deterioration (memory loss to some degree), DNR, euthanasia, and living wills should be addressed if the Church is going to be a holistic ministry. Pain and suffering were the issues that began Charles Templeton’s questioning of his faith that led to his complete denial of the Christian faith. This was evident in his book, Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith. The problem was not that he had doubts about the reality of pain and suffering and death and dying, Templeton stated that he “lacks the intellectual skills and the theological training needed to buttress my beliefs when—as inevitable—questions and doubts began to plague… My reason had begun to challenge and sometimes rebut the central beliefs of the Christian Faith.” Billy Graham, on the other hand, faced similar questions but was able to maintain his faith in God. Graham stated, “Not all my questions were answered, but a major bridge had been crossed.” He went on to say, “In my heart and mind, I knew a spiritual battle in my soul had been won.” This position was attainable because, as Graham said, the Holy Spirit allowed him to say, “Father, I am going to accept this as thy Word by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word.”
These two men interestingly were affected by two of the diseases that impact the end of life process, Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases. What is even more ironic is that Alzheimer’s was one of those diseases that Templeton considered as too evil, and he failed to intellectually reason why God would allow this disease to affect His people. He did not seem to understand the depth of this illness and reasoned that it was all God’s fault. In the end both men made a logical choice. That choice had an impact—Charles Templeton declared that he missed God on the other hand Billy Graham is relaxing in his relationship with God. Pastors have a tremendous task to minister effectively to persons at various stages of their lives especially at the end. Most of the time these persons’ decisions that were made while they were healthy are lived out when they are dying.
 Lee Strobel gave a real compelling journalistic account in his book, The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity (Grand Rapids
, Michigan: Zondervan, 2000). In this book he approached the hard questions and sought to answer them without any b
 Charles Templeton in his book, Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith, (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1999) made a passionate appeal for his position. Templeton provided a contrast for my reference since he is on the opposite side of my worldview.
 Strobel, The Case for Faith, 9.
 Graham, Billy, Just as I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham (SanFrancisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 139.
 Graham, Just as I Am, 139.
 Graham, Just as I Am, 139.