BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, UK — Humanist Lindsay van Dijk has been selected to lead Buckinghamshire’s team of hospital chaplains, a move that has left Christian groups baffled.
“It’s a further move away from the Christian principles upon which the NHS was founded,” Tim Dieppe of Christian Concern told Premiere News Hour this week. “The whole reason we have chaplains is because of that Christian foundation where the NHS was founded that we ought to consider not just the physical needs but the spiritual needs of the patients.”
According to reports, van Dijk will lead a team of three Christian chaplains and 24 volunteers, which include a Roman Catholic, a Buddhist and a Baha’i. Humanist serve on other NHS trust chaplaincy teams, but van Dijk is the first to be chosen for a leadership position.
She trained in the Netherlands at the University of Humanistic Studies and is a member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP). van Dijk obtained her accreditation through the UK Board of healthcare Chaplaincy (UKBHC) and the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network (NRPSN).
“A lot of people don’t have an organized faith, but still have spiritual and emotional needs at difficult times,” she told The Guardian. “Often people are trying to make sense of their lives and the situations they find themselves in.”
“Together, I know we can ensure people are able to receive the spiritual, pastoral and religious care that is right for them,” van Dijk also stated. “Anyone within the chaplaincy team goes to patients to lend a listening ear, to provide spiritual and emotional support, and doesn’t specifically say ‘I’m from this faith’ as it’s not important. We’re not there to proselytize our own beliefs.”
She says that she has been well-received by the team.
“Lindsay’s appointment confirms our commitment to provide a chaplaincy service with individual choice at its heart, catering to all our patients, visitors and staff regardless of faith, denomination or religion, including those who have no faith or religion,” remarked Carolyn Morrice, the head nurse for the Buckinghamshire Trust.
According to the Daily Wire, Malcolm Brown, the director of mission and public affairs for the Church of England, said that although the chaplaincy is a “traditionally Christian concept,” he believes that Christian and humanist chaplains can work together “without trespassing on each other’s territory.”
While humanism “stress[es] the potential value and goodness of human beings” and works to that end, Christianity teaches that none are inherently good, and that all men are born with a sinful nature, being drawn toward distorted desires, such as to lie, steal, commit adultery, covet, dishonor one’s parents, commit murder, and to rebel against the very God who gave them life. Jesus outlined that lust is adultery of the heart and hatred is murder in one’s heart.
Romans 3 explains, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit. The poison of asps is under their lips, whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace have they not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
As men are utterly incapable of changing themselves, Jesus said in John 3:3 men must be regenerated by the Spirit of God, and must pass from spiritual death into spiritual life. Without Christ’s perfect righteousness, none shall enter Heaven—the Bible teaches—and since all have sinned, none can justify themselves by their own works.
“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” Jesus taught.
Titus 3 also outlines, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”