Having read the most recent articles in the “Abstruse Melancholy” series, I would like to make a few comments.
First, many thanks to the author for the amount of time and effort that clearly went into writing this series, and many thanks for much of the good practical and medical advice contained therein. The brother has done some excellent work in this respect.
Second, I would like to sound a warning about some of the books recommended in the final installment of this series. Though it is of course true that the Reformed believer may, by the sanctified use of discernment, read things which are not fully in conformity with God’s Word, I feel this does not relieve us of the responsibility to warn others, even other Reformed believers, about the erroneous contents of books. For example, a book by Joyce Meyer was recommended; Meyer is an infamous “word of faith” or “health, wealth and prosperity” false teacher who holds to countless heresies. Another example is the book The Magic of Thinking Big, whose product description on Amazon makes it clear that its purpose is to make people happy—without God, simply by the power of “positive thinking.”
Third, though it is certainly true that with people suffering depression we must be especially willing to “bear all things” and not take personal offense at what they might say, their depression does not absolve them from the need to repent of insulting or verbally hurting people around them. The brother in his final article in this series says that “it’s the depression, not the loved one, that is talking”; at the same time, we must remember that it is always the “old man of sin” that sins, not the new nature, whether the believer is suffering depression or not, and that it is still sin. As the Apostle Paul says, “Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Rom. 7:17), and the Apostle does not mean that this absolves him from moral responsibility and the need for repentance and forgiveness.
May the Beacon Lights continue to be a ray of light, hope and truth in this dark world.
Yours in Christ, Manuel Kuhs, member of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship, Ireland.
I would, first and foremost, like to thank brother Kuhs for his kind words of thanks and positive comments about my article series. Many thanks to the Christian brother as well as all those who have made positive remarks about this series. It is all greatly appreciated.
I would now like to respond to what brother Kuhs has said about this last installment. He mentioned the book The Magic of Thinking Big, and says that the product description on Amazon “makes it clear that its purpose is to make people happy—without God, simply by the power of “positive thinking.” Also, that such authors “hate God and write in order to deceive people.”
It is really too bad that the brother feels this way and that he bases any opinion on a product description. True, God is not the focal point of this author and book, but I do still strongly feel that God uses authors and books like this to help his people. I, as well as many other Christian men and women, have read this book many times and have found it to be very beneficial and useful to help clear the “cobwebs” and negativity that constantly gets sucked into our heads from the world. We should then read such books through “the lens of Scripture,” as Dr. David Murray, Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan would say.
Joyce Meyer was also mentioned and attacked by brother Kuhs. I do not know what brother Kuhs is basing his opinions of Ms. Meyer on, but I would like to thank the brother for his opinion. I do know a fantastic Christian psychologist (as well as many other fellow Christians) who has heard Meyer speak many times and has also read a few of her books. They have all found her teachings to be quite helpful and firmly based on the Word of God. The Word of God which Joyce Meyer teaches will defend itself. Here are a few excerpts from Ms. Meyer, each one from a different book of hers.
If you are in a place right now where nothing in your life makes any sense, trust God anyway.
Second Corinthians 10:4, 5; …any thought that attempts to exalt itself above the Word of God we are to cast it down and bring into captivity to Jesus Christ.
The Lord has to be our Source and Supply. He is the only one who can bring about changes in our lives.
The brother also mentioned how the depressed person still needs to repent of insulting and verbally hurting people around them. I completely agree and never intended to imply otherwise. Dr. Murray gave a depression conference a few weeks ago in Michigan. At that conference, which was taken directly from his little book (Christians Get Depressed Too) which he handed out to all who attended, Dr. Murray mentioned how the body gets physically sick and our spiritual life and our thinking and our feeling processes are also affected. He adds, It is, therefore, no surprise that when our mental and emotional health is poor and when our thinking and feeling processes go awry, there are detrimental physical and spiritual consequences. Does this excuse the depressed person? No, but it does help give us a better understanding to why they act in certain ways, such as verbal assaults. Also, as mentioned before, unless we have gone through depression ourselves, we can’t fully grasp what a depressed person is going through and how their thinking and feelings are so different.
It is also true what brother Kuhs said about it being the old man of sin that sins and that it is still sin, however we may look at it. We do need to be ever so careful how we look at sin with depression and also not to blame our depression on our sin. As Dr. Murray also points out in his book, it is both wrong and harmful to blame our depression on our sin, because it increases false guilt and deepens feelings of failure. It also makes depressed Christians seek a spiritual solution to a problem that may actually originate in the body, life events, lifestyle, or unhelpful thought patterns. We should still leave the possibility that a depression may occasionally be the result of specific sin or sins (as prophet David mentions in Psalm 32).
Many thanks again to the brother for his opinions and kind words. May God use all this kind of information to help us better understand what a depressed person is going through and how we can help them. May we also always remember to use the lens of Scripture when reading any non-biblical literature that we may find to be very helpful when dealing with depression. May all things serve his purpose!
In Christ’s never-ending love, Dan Bergman.