Healing Bodies and Souls: Robert Solomon, the doctor-pastor of Singapore

Robert Solomon is intimately familiar with the struggle to discern God’s calling. The author and Bishop Emeritus of the Methodist Church in Singapore calls himself a doctor-pastor, having followed the Lord on a winding journey through medicine and pastoral ministry.

In secondary school, Robert earnestly sought the Lord’s will for his future university studies. Robert prayed and read Scripture, but God seemed deliberately silent.  Then one night a clear voice awakened Robert from sleep saying, “Go and study medicine.” Afterward the voice rang in his head and “I felt God had spoken clearly and showed me the way,” Robert said.

He enthusiastically completed pre-med studies, encouraged by his parents. But during med school, Robert sensed God asking him to quit and enter full-time Christian ministry. Why would God ask him to do so mid-way through schooling?  Troubled greatly, he prayed and surrendered his future to God. Shortly afterward, Robert ran into a Christian medical intern who listened and prayed with him on the steps of the medical faculty school building. “God was not asking me to quit medical school, but He wanted to make sure that medicine and a medical career would never become idols in my life,” Robert said.

Since then Robert has sought and surrendered to God’s call multiple times. He had hoped to become a missionary to Indonesia, but the Lord confirmed full-time ministry in Singapore. Robert served as a medical doctor before pursuing theological studies, then as a church pastor, principal of Trinity Theological College, and president of the National Council of Churches of Singapore. At age 44, he was elected Bishop of Singapore, among the youngest pastors to lead the nation’s 44,000 Methodists.

Pastoring, teaching and medical work all involve healing people via God’s grace, Robert believes. “A healer of the body can be called to be the healer of souls. It seems to me God often plans our lives in interesting ways that show His sovereignty and wisdom,” he said. “Nothing is wasted in the hands of God.”*

Robert’s first two books (in 1994) had to do directly with troubled people, those who are demonized, and those with hurting hearts. He has authored more than 30 books including The Race, The Conscience, The Enduring Word, The Virtuous Life, The Sermon of Jesus, Apprenticed to Jesus, The Trinity and the Christian Life, and The Reformation. Robert has contributed to many articles, theological dictionaries and journals. He has degrees in medicine, theology, intercultural studies, and a PhD in pastoral theology from the University of Edinburgh. Today Robert has an active itinerant ministry of preaching and teaching in Singapore and abroad.

Robert will give a plenary talk, “Words for the Wounded,” on the Tuesday morning of LittWorld 2018.

*This article drew from “The anatomy of a calling,” by Dr. Robert Solomon. Accessed online, 2 January 2018 (http://www.gcf.org.sg/resources/the-anatomy-of-a-calling).

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