BREA, Calif. (BP)–Police officer, restaurateur, retailer, contractor, journalist, real estate agent and doctor. All of those widely differing occupations represent the diverse vocations of seminary students at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s Southern California Campus in Brea.
Master of divinity student and obstetrician Philip Chiu is just such an individual. Born in Canton, China, Chiu went to high school in Hong Kong before leaving for Canada to finish his college education.
“Medicine had always been an interest of mine,” Chiu recounted. “I remember reading my brother’s medical books as I was growing up, as he too is a doctor. However, during my last two years of high school I became quite sick, and although I passed all my courses, I wasn’t well enough to write the entrance exam to get into medical school.”
As is always the case, God’s plan for Chiu was continuing to be revealed. He worked for one year before leaving for Canada to continue his college education. He received his undergraduate degree, with honors, in psychology from McGill University in Montreal and went on to receive his medical degree from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.
“Although I wasn’t a Christian at that time, I now know it was by the grace of God that I was able to complete my first year in medical school,” he said. “Immediately prior to entering this first year, I was stricken with pulmonary tuberculosis. I was put into a sanatorium and the associate dean allowed me to begin classes while recuperating there and receiving my medications.”
He regained his health and went on to receive not only the medical degree, but also the specialty in OB/GYN from Toronto General Hospital. Today, he is currently in practice in gynecology, obstetrics and infertility in Orange County.
“I went into OB/GYN simply because I felt such a privilege to bring new life into this world,” Chiu said. “This has brought me a lot of joy, and I have also been extremely privileged to work with patients from the very young all the way through and including the elderly.”
Chiu became a Christian in 1981 after moving to California, but it wasn’t until a revival meeting in 1994 that he gave his life fully to the Lord and accepted his calling.
It was at this point he realized a need for further biblical training. While he wasn’t certain whether his ministry role would be in pastoral work or missions, he knew that a greater understanding and education in the Word of God was important if he was to truly give his all to the Lord.
“I’ve been truly blessed to be able to schedule my patients, in private practice, with my course load for my master of divinity at Golden Gate, now that I’m on the road to begin serving him in a full-time capacity,” Chiu observed. “The seminary has truly helped prepare me with a schedule of classes that are convenient for even an obstetrician.”
Additionally, the Lord continues preparing Philip for his eventual transition from his profession as a doctor to full-time ministry service. He is currently in the process of an early retirement from medicine, and for the past three years he has been establishing a Christian service organization that ministers to the Dong people, a minority group in China.
“As I continue in preparation at Golden Gate, I’m also seeking the Lord’s will for my next opportunity to respond,” Chiu said.
Why would a successful doctor want to take an early retirement from a profession that has given so much to him and work on yet another degree?
Chiu said his answer to this could be best summed up in a quote he read on the cover of a recent brochure for teaching English as a second language. “The quote by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt read, ‘Some generations are given much, while other generations are to give back.’ This quote for me resonates perfectly with what I’m trying to do.”
Simpson is a newswriter at Golden Gate Seminary.