Desiring God’s Attitude Toward Mental Health

Desiring God; John Piper; Church Attitudes Toward Mental Health

-by Kathi

There has been much talk recently about Desiring God’s tweet on February 6, 2018.

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The concern over this tweet is the lack of consideration for how complex the mind is and how trauma affects the brain. Why do so many Christians think that mental health is purely a spiritual issue? The brain is a part of our body. Just as the body is treated by medical professionals, so must the brain be treated for complex mental health issues.

The original tweet was followed up with this:

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So, the original tweet was based off an article posted 12/31/07. This article was a tribute to Clyde Kilby and cites resolutions for mental he stated in a lecture in 1976. No where in this article is the mirror image used in the original tweet. The only thing closest to the mirror image is:

I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.

 

Mental health can be magically fixed

by focusing on God?

 

Going back to the original tweet, I was not surprised by this thought that mental health could be magically fixed by focusing on God. I was sure that Desiring God has been posting this concept for years, not only by John Piper, but by others as well. Searching through articles on the site I found the following examples of this thought perpetuated over the years:

From John Piper, paper presented to Bethlehem Baptist Church for their search for an Associate Pastor of Counseling, “Toward a Definition of the Essence of Biblical Counseling” 12/12/01:

There is no true mental health without understanding the desperate condition we were in without the cross, and without feeling the joy of deliverance from that condition through the death of Christ on our behalf.

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From John Piper, “Should Christians Use Anti-Depressants?” 1/21/08:

However, on the other side, it seems clear to me that the brain is a physical organ with electrical impulses and chemicals, and that mental illness is therefore not merely spiritual. No man could persuade me that all mental derangement is owing to a spiritual cause that has a purely spiritual solution.

One way medicine can be helpful is if it gets people to a point where they have enough stability to read the Bible. Then, through being able to read the Scriptures, people are able to be refreshed in the Lord and, in time, come off of the medicine. In that case medicine is a means to an end, and that seems perfectly natural to me.

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From John Piper, Speech to American Association of Christian Counselors, “Beholding Glory and Becoming Whole: Seeing and Savoring God as the Heart of Mental Health”  9/16/09:

And just at this point, I wonder if many of our people are left thinking that what it means to be loved by God simply that he affirms their desire to be made much of. “Christ died for me to make much of me. He rescued me while undeserving to make much of me. He forgave me to make much of me. He removed his wrath to make much of me.” Oh how gloriously good this feels! What a precious gospel! And it’s all merely natural. There’s nothing supernatural about it. It looks like recovery and healing! It works. But at root, it is not “to the praise of the glory of his grace.” It’s all to the praise of the glory of his affirmation of me.”

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From Rick Warren, Desiring God 2010 National Conference, “The Battle for Your Mind” 10/1/10:

I have been studying this subject for thirty-three years. I did my first study on the mind in 1977, working through all the books of the Bible. I think I could teach on this subject for an entire week. There is so much material on what the Bible has to say about strengthening our minds, renewing our minds, submitting our minds, and bringing our thoughts into captivity. There are at least one hundred principles in God’s Word that have to do with what we are to do with our minds. As I said, your mind is your greatest asset.

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From John Piper, “Your Life’s Greatest Problem” 1/14/15:

Now let’s just get this real clear and real straight, because I have the feeling we live in such a kind of touchy feely day that Christianity is being so psychologized and so therapeutized that we really do believe this book was written for our mental health. It wasn’t. It was written to help us get right with a wrathful God. God is one great massive fire of holiness. He hates sin and cannot abide it. We are little ant like sinners of sin. And if we got within 10 trillion miles of this God we would be consumed.

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From Marshall Segal, “The Insanity of ‘Self-Care’” 3/14/16:

Practice a different kind of mindfulness. Go ahead and listen to music, or watch a sunset, or play with your pet, but go Godward — be mindful of God and his great love for you. It really can be helpful to practice gratitude, or to enjoy a particular moment or activity, or to focus on something bigger than yourself, but not if it ends there, and certainly not if it only ends with you. Any habit or activity can be a means of joy, peace, and healing, but only if it brings you to God — our only Lord, Savior, and greatest Treasure.

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From John Piper, “The Root of Mental Health” 3/15/16:

After medication, perhaps the most common remedy for most behavioral and mental disorders is — and has been for almost half a century — some form of self-worth enhancement. It pervades our educational institutions, the psychotherapeutic and counseling systems, the personnel and motivational industry, advertising, and even the church.

I think the remedy is flawed. And its Christianized forms may involve damaging views of Christ and his cross. For example, it is profoundly wrong to turn the cross of Christ into a warrant for self-esteem as the root of mental health.

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John Piper, From his book Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life 7/5/16:

It is profoundly wrong to turn the cross into a warrant for self-esteem as the root of mental health. If I stand before the love of God and do not feel a healthy, satisfying, freeing joy without turning that love into an echo of my self-esteem, then I am like a man who stands before the Grand Canyon and feels no satisfying wonder until he translates the canyon into a case for his own significance. That is not the presence of health, but bondage to self.

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From Jon Bloom, “The Proven Path to Mental Health” 10/30/17:

The proven path to our soundest mental health is a robust, holistic trust, in everything and every circumstance, in the triune Christian God.

Desiring God has been perpetuating the myth that mental health issues can be taken care of by simply changing your attitude or focusing more on God for years. This may work for some people, but those with complex brain chemistry issues may not able to solve their problem with a mere attitude adjustment. Attitudes in the church toward mental health also keep people from seeking proper treatment.

It is time for Desiring God to stop equating a person’s mental health status with their spiritual status. The two are not one in the same.

John Piper Responds to Dad’s Question Regarding His Child’s Extreme Anxiety about Hell

John Piper, Christian Parenting, Glorious, Hell, Anxiety


john piper, fear, hell, children, spiritual abuse

Photo from Twitter

At John Piper’s Desiring God website, they feature Ask John series in which listeners send their questions to John Piper for response. The following question came from a dad named Michael who asked John Piper the following:

A question from Michael:

“Pastor John, how can I talk to my 6-year-old son about hell? When any loved one has died who has also been a Christian, I have told him they have gone to heaven. But if somebody dies who is not a Christian I do not want to lie and say they have gone to heaven, but I do not know how to teach him about hell. He has extreme anxiety about death and I am afraid talking about hell may make him more anxious. He also gets very upset when he makes any kind of mistake or when I have to correct him. I do not want him to worry that if he disobeys that he will be sent to hell. How in the world can I teach him this?” Continue reading

John Piper on Complementarianism: A Hill to Die On

John Piper, Desiring God, Complementarianism, Egalitarianism, Gender Roles

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-by Kathi

Desiring God recently posted an episode of Ask Pastor John titled, “Is Male Headship a Lost Cause?

The question posed to John Piper comes from a seminary student in the United Kingdom who is discouraged to see more churches in his country move toward egalitarianism. Add in the legalization of gay marriage, and this distraught seminarian wonders if male headship will endure.

John Piper starts his answer in only the way John Piper can:

Complementarianism will endure. It is not a lost cause. The reason I think it will endure and is not a lost cause may not be exactly what you think. Let me give you three reasons it will endure that are not the reason I’m going to give.

Is anyone confused from the start? Please speak clearly John Piper.

He moves on to list three reasons why complementarianism will endure. I’m assuming that these are the three reasons we expect to hear. Continue reading

Review of Children’s Book,”God’s Design” – Examples of Complementarian Manhood and More Doublespeak

Complementarian, Egalitarian, Teaching Children, Children Desiring God, John Piper


Paul & Jesus: Examples of Complementarian Manhood

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African boy – Image from Pixabay

-by Kathi

This series is a review of God’s Design, a children’s book which teaches children about complementarity. For an introduction of the book, click here. All of the underlined subtitles below are chapters from the book.

Today, boy children will learn about biblical complementarian manhood from two godly examples that were not even married. Girls, it would be wise for you to listen up, too, so you are aware of what husband material godly manhood looks like. Continue reading

1-1/2 years Later, Bethlehem Baptist Church Doesn’t Seem to get Domestic Violence: A Personal Story

Bethlehem Baptist Church, Pastor Jason Meyer, Domestic Violence, Emotional Abuse, Spiritual Abuse

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Pastor Jason Meyer, Bethlehem Baptist Church

Almost 1-1/2 years ago, I wrote an article about John Piper’s former church, Bethlehem Baptist Church (BBC) regarding domestic violence, Encouraging Shift from Bethlehem Baptist Church Regarding Domestic Abuse and Care for Abused Women. Around that time, BBC pastor, Jason Meyer, preached a sermon and humbly expressed how he and his church had not handled domestic violence appropriately.

You can listen to the sermon or read the transcript here: Fooled by False Leadership

The following is the opening paragraph of the Elders’ Statement which was also released at the same time:

Elders’ Statement on Domestic Abuse
We, the council of elders at Bethlehem Baptist Church, are resolved to root out all forms of domestic abuse (mental, emotional, physical, and sexual) in our midst. This destructive way of relating to a spouse is a satanic distortion of Christ-like male leadership because it defaces the depiction of Christ’s love for his bride. The shepherds of Bethlehem stand at the ready to protect the abused, call abusers to repentance, discipline the unrepentant, and hold up high the stunning picture of how much Christ loves his church.

I was cautiously optimistic about the steps Bethlehem Baptist seemed to be taking. They brought in professionals to help them learn and understand domestic violence signs. They professed to want a heart to empathize with women who were harmed by domestic violence.

One domestic violence case was ongoing at that time. Natalie had reached out to the Bethlehem Baptist leaders for help years earlier. But now, the church leadership was doing a complete overhaul in how they were going to counsel when there was abuse involved . . . . or so they implied. Continue reading

Vaccinating Children with Complementarian: Series Introduction – Review of “God’s Design” Gender Role Book for Children

Complementarian, Egalitarian, Teaching Children, Children Desiring God, John Piper


Series Introduction

Vaccinating Children with Complementarianism

by Kathi

Owen God's Design

The SSB Watch Dog  gives “4 Paws Down” for this book.

I spent many years reading books to my children. Homeschooling families know all too well the importance of reading. However, I can say that I never read a book like this to my kids.

God’s Design is a children’s books which teaches about the importance of  gender roles.

Oh, yes. You read that correctly. Continue reading

New Disturbing Tweet by John Piper

John Piper – Troubling Tweets


 

John Piper is known for troubling tweets. Here’s a new one. 

John Piper, troubling tweet, Calvinism

Below is the live link tweet. You can click on the timestamp to read the many responses:

 

Here are the Bible verses mentioned in the tweet:

Deuteronomy 5:9: Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Ezekiel 18:20:  The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

A couple of tweets expressing their thoughts about the tweet:

 

 

 

Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 2016 Conference #CBMW16 Live Tweets and Complementarianism Cool-Aid

Continue reading

Some Christian Leaders are Hijacking the Ebola Crisis to Promote their Theology or Agenda

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Christian Leaders Respond to the Ebola Crisis promoting their agendas or theologies. Others respond in humility with real help to those in need.

Continue reading

Reformed Complementarians Take on the Patriarchy Movement and Errant Ideologies

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The errant Patriarchy Movement is getting some well-deserved attention by voices in Reformed Christianity

Continue reading

Desiring God and Daddies Dating…Their Daughters’ Boyfriends? Is John Piper Promoting Patriarchy?

Are Desiring God & John Piper shifting to “Biblical Patriarchy” over complementarianism, following Gregg Harris’, Bill Gothard’s, Scott Brown’s, Doug Phillips’ and Doug Wilson’s courtship model?

Continue reading

The Photo Promotion of C.J. Mahaney at Together for the Gospel

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C.J. Mahaney is pictured in front-row seats at the Together for the Gospel conference after publicly saying he would not participate due to the distraction of the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit.

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Article Uses Olympics Pairs Figure Skating to Promote Roles of Husband and Wife in Complementarianism

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An article at John Piper’s Desiring God website promotes “Biblical” roles of husbands and wives in complementarianism, using Olympic pairs figure skating as an example of how the roles work together.

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