How can anyone determine whether mental and emotional problems are rooted in spiritual or physical causes?
In many counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14
When pastors are called upon in such crises, they can feel overwhelmed. Many realize their limitations, but feel compelled by their congregations or other leaders to act as if the Bible, prayer, and fellowship are the only God-honoring ways to deal with emotional and mental problems.
The tension between what we think of as biblical solutions and secular resources is understandable. As followers of Christ, we don’t want to make the mistake of treating a spiritual condition as a physical or mental illness. Nor can we afford to treat a physical or mental illness as a spiritual condition.
In pursuit of answers
Together we agree that our dependency needs to be on God alone. But within what boundaries does the God of the Bible provide for His people? Don’t we thank Him every day for our daily bread even though it comes to us through the efforts of farmers, manufacturers, and retailers, many of whom never darken the door of a church?
In a similar way, haven’t many of us also thanked God for the help of health professionals and social workers who have walked with us through medical problems, mental illness, addictions, and the trauma of war, rape, or poverty?
If our intent is to find help that reflects the wisdom of God, what do we lose if we ask a doctor to look for organic factors that might be clouding our minds? Or what part of our faith suffers if we ask professional specialists to help us explore our thoughts, emotions, and choices?
No pastor, troubled individual, or family should have to bear alone the weight of spiritual problems complicated by the possibility of real mental, emotional, and physical illness. Nor can we safely assume that our desire to trust God needs to be kept separate from the combined counsel of pastoral and health professionals.
Once again, let me ask you what are you thinking?
Do you agree or disagree that no pastor, troubled person, or family should have to bear alone problems complicated by the possibility of real mental, emotional and physical illness?
Do you think church elders or pastors risk anything by encouraging a troubled person to get professional help for problems that do not respond to prayer and spiritual counsel?