The Capranica

Comments on theology and life

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Location: Hemet, California, United States

Co-Pastor of First Baptist Church of San Jacinto, California

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Sickness of Mental Illness Evaluations

Finally, a level-headed evaluation of the biased approach a number in the psychobabble world use to classify people as mentally ill. This Weekly Standard article by Paul McHugh is an objective evaluation of how mental illness diagnosticians flee from objective evaluation standards in determining who is mentally ill. Recent mental health evaluations have suggested that well over half of the nation's population is plagued with some form of mental illness. What I find depressing is that without critical evaluation of the applied studies, many will blindly embrace the results and elevate these doctors as mental health inerrantists. I don't doubt that chemicals become imbalanced, especially when life is lived outside of the centrality of Christ. In reading John Piper's recent work, When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy, I believe he provides a helpful note: "Spiritual emotions, which are more than physical, can have chemical effects, and not just the reverse. It is true that chemicals can affect emotions. But too seldom do we pray and plan for the spiritual to have chemical effects. As legitimate as sedatives and anti-depressants may be in times of clear chemical imbalance, we should not overlook the truth that spiritual reality may also transform the physical and not just vice versa" (p 182). A chasm that cannot be crossed does not exist between the spiritual and the physical. They are inextricably linked. To avoid the spiritual (the centrality of Christ and His Word) will inevitably lead to physical (including mental) consequences. And the opposite must also be true. Life lived in Christ and for His glory can and will have powerful physical (including mental) effects. We should then expect that as the rate of Christlessness rises, so will the rate of mental illness. Contemplate the possibilities if the Christlessness quotient was reversed.

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