Paternalism, Evangelism, and Power

Kimberly Bloom-Feshbach, Nathan Goldberg, Joseph J. Fins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In medicine and pastoral care, there are parallel struggles with paternalism and evangelism, each exertions of power in the setting of privilege. While striving to avoid abuses of power, well-intentioned professionals may unwittingly abjure providing guidance. This can result in threats to patient care: professional abdication and patient abandonment. In The Healer’s Power, Howard Brody conceptualizes an approach to the use of power in therapeutic relationships. In this essay, we invoke Brody’s framework to consider the place of evangelism and paternalism in the fields of chaplaincy and medicine in order to promote healing amidst power differentials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1258-1272
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Communication
  • Evangelism
  • Healer
  • Paternalism
  • Power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Religious studies


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