Guest / Limited Access /

The church is God's hospital. It has always been full of people on the mend. Jesus himself made a point of inviting the lame, the blind, and the possessed to be healed and to accompany him in his ministry, an invitation often spurned by those who ...

Read More

Displaying 1–20 of 45 comments.

1 2 3 next page   Show All

Tim Childs

April 15, 2013  5:40pm

Calling depression a punishment for sin is naive, and what's to stop someone calling poverty or living in a ghetto or being in a serious accident, also a punishment for sin, or any other bad thing for that matter? You see the dangers when people don't have compassion for others, or at least make statements that in the final analysis do not hold water and are brutally judgemental? Aren't we Christians supposed to be caring and understanding? I try to be. Many really evil people seem to float through life untroubled by what they do or the many sins they commit, whereas often people who are already suffering in some way succumb to stress, depression, bi-polar or whatever. Please don't make rash statements about something you haven't experienced or by adding insult to injury!

Report Abuse

Rick Dalbey

April 12, 2013  7:16pm

Thanks Laura for shedding light. Clinical depression is a physical ailment treated by medication. Rick Warren's son had a supportive environment, loving parents, good Bible teaching, good financial care and friends. What he had was more than a bad mood, he had a shortage of neurotransmitters similar to a person with Parkinson's having an inability to produce dopamine. As with any chronic illness such as diabetes, there are usually good medical treatments that may continue for life for some. Jesus healed the sick, they weren't just counseled out of a psychosomatic mood disorder. I would urge the best medical care and I would also urge the laying on of hands as James 5 describes. Jesus still heals today.

Report Abuse

LAURA C STEEL

April 12, 2013  5:29pm

Such a fuss. When someone has a chronic treatable illness such as diabetes or glaucoma, they don't get bombarded with spiritual advice and hand-wringing over the state of the Church. Depression the illness needs to be separated from depression the mood. There are treatments for the illness. There are also various ways of dealing with the mood. I was diagnosed with the illness 20 years ago and have been successfully treated. I don't feel like being the poster child for troubles in the Church or society. It's an illness, not a metaphor.

Report Abuse

Rick Dalbey

April 10, 2013  1:24pm

Grady, then maybe you misunderstand me. I believe in medical science, it is a gift from God. It's possible for God to heal a broken bone in answer to prayer (actually happened to me at 13) but it's also possible for God to heal through an orthopedist setting the bone skillfully which has happened numerous times to me as well. In either case, Praise God. I am thankful God is healing you through medication. Praise the lord. However, don't use the defense that God did not heal Paul because first of all, Paul was not sick. Read the chapter and he tells you exactly what the thorn in the flesh that was buffeting his body was. Then consult your concordance for thorn in the flesh and you will find many examples listed in the old testament. The answer is quite simple and obvious. Secondly, if God doesn't want to heal you, then I would certainly get off your medication and stop thwarting His will (of course I believe God wants you well). Thirdly, don't declare the Bible can't be trusted.

Report Abuse

NORMAN STOLPE

April 10, 2013  1:01pm

For those who do not find clinical depression in Scripture (whether to discount someone else's struggle or seeking something they can relate to in their struggle), I suggest reading Psalm 88 which ends with "darkness is my closest friend" (v. 18 NIV). It is an eloquent expression of the experience of depression. We've got to stop blaming people with mental health issues. The discussion raised by this article is important.

Report Abuse

Grady Walton

April 10, 2013  12:32pm

Rick, perhaps I should have provided more details. Spanning decades, I have been prayed over more times than I can recall. Youu may sincerely think it helpful to suggest the solution is persistence and more faith. It is not helpful. In fact, it hurts because I know my faith is strong. Also, there have been some powerful men and women of faith who have prayed for me. I know the passages you cite in Scripture quite well. They just haven't always been my experience. I think we as Christians need to come to grips with the reality that life doesn't always work out the way we see it in Scripture. Sometimes questions go unanswered and sometimes the answer to prayer is no. Paul had a thorn in the flesh that God refused to remove. Fortunately, medicine has enabled me to manage my condition and remain productive.

Report Abuse

Tom Nash

April 10, 2013  3:28am

This article, written four years ago, is more relevant than ever. Not that I want to criticize the church (of which I belong), but we do seem to be as ill-equipped as ever at dealing with the problem of depression. Perhaps one solution would be for seminaries and Bible colleges to require pastoral trainees to seriously study psychological counseling, depression, mental illness, etc. I'd just like to mention the isolation that depressed people can experience. They can feel more stressed and alone in a church/group/social setting than when they are at home by themselves. So, a depressed person might appreciate an invitation to fellowship over coffee/tea/meal in a one-on-one setting. Group situations may be overwhelming. A listening ear is a good thing. And, yes, prayer is powerful. Though the battle never ends, I have experienced times of peace when claiming by faith the following verses: Isaiah 26:3, Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Thessalonians 3:16, Romans 8:6 and Matthew 6:33-34.

Report Abuse

Rick Dalbey

April 09, 2013  7:10pm

Grady, by the same token, what are you supposed to do when a drug given for depression fails to cure it? Give up on modern medicine? Saying, they prayed for me once is like saying I tried medicine once. You try again with Wellbutrin instead of Zoloft. God is not an automatic system or methodology. You are dealing with a Person and He requires faith. The disciples asked, why could we not cure the man’s son? Jesus explained that they (the minister, not the son, the victim or father) had a shortage of faith. James says of those praying for healing “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The Bible encourages us to ask and keep on asking. We don’t give up on medicine and we don’t give up on God. Nor do we conclude, maybe God wants me to be sick...God wants me manic-depressive or schizophrenic. Ask, seek and knock. Plus, use common sense, God is the author of medicine as well.

Report Abuse

Grady Walton

April 09, 2013  3:30pm

What are you supposed to do when you have been prayed over while receiving the laying on of hands, but you do not receive healing from depression? For those who don't have this affliction it is tempting to suggest quick and simple fixes. Grace goes much further at helping those with depression. For example, some people think that going out and doing things with groups of people is the cure for episodes of depression. That doesn't work for everyone. In fact, it can make it worse. Grace, as in not pushing what works for you onto the depressed person, is like a healing wind in the mind.

Report Abuse

Rick Dalbey

April 08, 2013  1:56pm

Mark, I can't imagine anyone getting any more love and support from a church or family than Rick Warren's son. This is a misunderstanding about depression. Depression is related to a shortage of neurotransmitters and can be complicated by demonic oppression. It requires healing and deliverance, not just a more loving environment. Jesus healed by laying hands on the sick and commanding the illness or demon to go. Peter and John said silver and gold have we none but in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. Paul laid hands on the sick for healing and Jesus said that these signs would follow them that believe. I am for healing by medical science but we do the gospel a grave disservice if we fail to lay hands on the sick and command healing. Read James 5, there is no time limit on when Jesus would stop healing, He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Report Abuse

Stephen Grcevich, MD

April 08, 2013  1:51pm

I'm a physician (child and adolescent psychiatry) involved with research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications given to kids and teens, including antidepressants. I'm also chairman of a ministry organization that offers free resources to churches so they may serve families of kids with disabilities. From where I sit, there are three concrete steps churches can take to help families affected by depression: Give those with depression permission to talk about it. Matthew Stanford notes "Society still places a stigma on mental illness, but Christians make it worse by “over-spiritualizing” depression and other disorders; dismissing them as a lack of faith or a sign of weakness." Consider offering faith-based support groups. Mental Health Grace Alliance has an excellent model for such groups. Provide them with tangible help. Excellent short term counseling. Assistance in accessing mental health care. Free respite care for parents struggling with depression

Report Abuse

mark Myers

April 08, 2013  12:54pm

Sure this is a good article...but it is just the article i would expect from someone in the authors position...it succinctly outlines the issue and problem and points to Christ as the answer...but frankly the article is very weak on how the local church can go about dealing with the problem. More to the point...there are lots of support groups out there and the local church needs to use them as resources...but I think the bigger issue is; "how does the local church educate and train its membership to actually and practically love each other?" We have new generations coming into the church with very little skill at loving each other...so it only seems right that those with depression would find little or no help in their local congregation. We have another epidemic that is running concurrently with the Depression epidemic and that is the Lack of Ability By Christians to Love One Another effectively. What will we do about that? We have to build that resource in order to minister.

Report Abuse

Rick Dalbey

April 08, 2013  12:33pm

My daughter was healed of manic depression when Charismatic/pentecostal Christians laid hands on her and prayed for her a little over a year ago. She was on heavy doses of antipsychotic medication as she had been for several years and saw a psychiatrist once or twice a month. It has been over a year now and she has had no relapse. A pastor friend suffered from depression for over 20 years and was always on medication. Again, people laid hands on him and prayed for him earlier this year and he was healed. In this case, a tormenting evil spirit was addressed and commanded to go. His wife and children are amazed. My friend is back! I believe in medical science, I understand a shortage of neurotransmitters causes emotional decline and I would encourage people to see a doctor. But see the great Physician as well and ask for prayer from some miracle believing saints who have a track record of success in healing and deliverance.

Report Abuse

Samuel Mahaffy

April 08, 2013  12:19pm

The instituted church must do some deep soul-searching as to how well equiped it is to provide support and help for young people suffering from depression. It must do even deeper soul-searching as to how it might contribute to depression by failing to openly accept and affirm the image of God in every young person, even when they are acting outside of the norms of our creeds and doctrines. Does the church accept young people --just as they are--with all their doubts and questions and confusions? Or does it replace unconditional love with moral judgement?

Report Abuse

Hale

March 14, 2009  12:57pm

Great article, thank-you! When someone (Christian or Non-Christian) sees depression in another person or in themselves I think they rarely look first to their church or Pastor for the answer. If Pastors are looking for a conference that deals specifically with this issue they should think about the Redeemer Conference for Pastors on May 4-5 in Minnesota feature Ed Welch and RW Glenn. For more information visit our blog site at www.redeemerconference.com , our church site at www.redeemerbiblechurch.com or our media ministry at www.solidfoodmedia.com . Blessings, Hale Jay, Redeemer Bible Church

Rev. Shirley

March 13, 2009  11:12am

My vocation as a Congregational Health Chaplain is to develop faith-based health support groups in congregations; to support and educate those with similar health challenges, whether Diabetes or Depression. While most churches continue to avoid the subject and depression is still a stigma in ethnic communities, many churches in our faith-health network has managed to organize depression support groups to embrace those battling deprssion and educate and support their families. One has to persist in 'creating the culture' in the church and community to help those with any chronic illness.

Mario

March 11, 2009  12:31pm

Good Article. I myself have begun to suffer from severe depression since entering this new year. This seemed to me like a timely article. Maybe there are many many other Christians out there right now who are going through the same thing. God Bless You All -Mario

S

March 10, 2009  11:17pm

This is a very insightful article, thank you. However my comment is addressed to Ted. To suggest, as he does, that depression is "mainly the result of sin" is at best misguided and naive, at worse dangerous and false. I am a Christian who has suffered with depression for most of my life. Am I a sinner? Yes. Is everyone who is depressed a sinner? Yes. Is every human a sinner? Yes. This begs the question, why isn't everyone depressed? Or, why do many godly Christians suffer from depression? Why do objectively evil people often live free of any pangs of conscience? The entire book of Job debunks the theory that personal suffering is always the result of personal sin. Depression is the result of "sin" in the sense that in a fallen and Satan-ruled world, people suffer ill results. I'd venture to guarantee that anyone suggesting that depression is the consequence of sin in one's life has never suffered from depression. It's a simplistic answer that insults the sufferer and ignores reality.

Report Abuse

NS

March 09, 2009  3:16pm

This article took a fairly balanced approach to depression in considering both biological and larger social influences, a focus often missing from Christians. The two or three posts above, however, that claim that depression is punishment/evidence of sin, are opinions sprung from utter ignorance on the subject, and which are easily disputed with a little reasoning. No person is without sin in their lives, including Christians, and where does it say in the Bible that Christians are punished in this lifetime for a sin they committed? Furthermore, if depression is demonic possession, how then is it possible for it to be alleviated through medication? Depression is an effect of the Fall, no doubt, but so is every medical ailment. I don't know what church you attend, but if it teaches that hard times of any kind are direct punishment for previous actions, or indicative of the absence of the Holy Spirit, you need to find a new church that teaches a proper view of grace.

Report Abuse

Stan

March 09, 2009  11:43am

To Nancy, Consider working with both a counsellor and physician in deciding whether to go off your medication. God has put some wise friends and health care workers in my life. I have been off and on under supervision and currently I need to stay on. God is in my life through the spirit, friends, health care workers and the medication. You may be closer to God with or without medication; just make sure you are under counsel and that you are not trying to rid yourself of medication because of pride.

Report Abuse

Displaying 1–20 of 45 comments.

1 2 3 next page   Show All