During the past twenty-five years evangelicals have become much more alert to the special needs of people who are emotionally and psychologically disturbed. Biblically based counseling, as developed by Jay Adams, Bill Gothard, and others, has shown that the solution to emotional problems may often lie in the forthright application of biblical principles. Healing ministries, especially those that emphasize the healing of memories, have often been helpful to troubled persons who have not found relief through psychiatry. At the same time, Christians trained in psychology and psychiatry have attempted to show that their disciplines may play a role in the healing process.

We should remember, however, that the traditional ministries of the church have always had a healing influence. Indeed, I believe that the church does most for mental health when it does its regular business. As God heals us spiritually through conversion, confession, worship, Bible study, and prayer, he also brings us powerful resources for the healing of our emotions and personalities. Not only is spiritual health more important than emotional health, it facilitates emotional health as it brings peace of mind and freedom from guilt.

Spiritual health does not, during this life, guarantee emotional health; but emotional disturbances that are not resolved through the direct spiritual ministries of the church often respond to the sense of warmth and caring acceptance found within a fellowship of believers. As it brings men and women into a relationship with God, the church also brings them into a relationship with one another. John reminds us, “This commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also” (1 John 4:21, NASB). ...

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