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Are Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse legitimate illnesses and diseases, or the result of lack of Faith and Sin?

Posted by truthtalklive on June 20, 2008

On today’s show your Guest Host will be Dennis Breeden.  Dennis will be touching on a verry serious topic which is: Are Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse legitimate illnesses and dieases, or the result of lack of Faith and Sin? Make sure you tune in today at 5pm (est). As always thanks for listening!

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38 Responses to “Are Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse legitimate illnesses and diseases, or the result of lack of Faith and Sin?”

  1. jAsOn said

    I’d only like to mention this, the Isaiah 53 passage that was quoted has nothing to do with the assurance of our physical healing in time, but our spiritual healing. the stripes that Jesus suffered did not secure the assurance of hope of physical healing in this life (that’s absurd and entirely unbiblical) but the assurance of the justification that believers have before God; the fact that Christ endured the lashes that were due us because of our sinful inheritance in Adam. Because of that we can be sure that we believers have the assurance of faith through the gospel.

    By the way, in what little of the show I listened to (about 30 minutes) I was dismayed that there really was no gospel presented as the relief from depression, only worldly wisdom.

  2. Maz said

    Matthew 8 v 16,17 says: ”When the evening was come they brought to Him many that were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, He Himself took our infirmitities, and bore our sicknesses.” Whether they were healed by his stripes paricularly (which I’v always believed was the meaning) or when Christ suffered and died on the cross, we CAN be healed in the name of Jesus because of what He suffered.

  3. jAsOn said

    Yes, Maz, I believe that we CAN be healed by Christ, and that healing is only possible because of the atonement, but we are not promised physical healing in this age.

  4. Maz said

    You say we CAN be healed by Christ because of the atonement, then you say we CAN’T be healed physically in this age? But the passage I gave you from Matthew was where Jesus was heaing them PHYSICALLY aswell as spiritually..and it was Isaiah 53 that Matthew was quoting from ”He took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses”…..so that we COULD be healed physically in this age.

  5. jAsOn said

    No Maz, I most certainly didn’t say that we CANNOT be healed physically in this age, I said that God has not promised that we definitely WILL be healed physically in this age.

  6. Maz said

    Jason: But thousands of people are being healed, some miraculously even as we debate here. If He hadn’t promised it why is it happening? Are you saying that God hasn’t promised IN THE WORD to heal physically in this age?

  7. Annie A. Johnson said

    God said in his word that he healed all. Does that not mean all? He has healed us and it is up to us by faith to accept his healing.

  8. jAsOn said

    Maz,

    All I’m saying is that, He hasn’t promised to heal every individual of every ailment with which they are afflicted in this age.

    Annie,

    Where in God’s Word does it say that He has healed all? Correct me if I’m wrong, but you sound like you are suggesting a “Word of Faith” type view of God’s providence over healing; you know, “…if you have faith that you will be healed, then God will heal you…”. That view simply doesn’t jive with reality. If God had healed ALL on the cross then make no mistake, ALL would be healed because He also would have actualize His intentions by providing the faith persons need to grasp that healing if in fact He had ordained that as the means of it. Death is finally the result of an ailment (old age if nothing else) but does that mean that if I have enough faith, then I will not die because GOd has healed all of death if they just accept that healing by faith?

  9. ADB said

    Exactly right Jason. The miraculous healings do occur in this age, but we must accept that miracles are, almost by definition, rare events. God heals whom he will, when he will. I wish I knew why some are and some are not, but that is “above my pay grade” so to speak. I did not hear the show, but on this general topic I would be hesitant to say that every mental disorder/addiction is the result of sin/lack of faith. Even issues that at heart are the result of chemical imbalance in the brain or the result of some traumatic situation, can be addressed to some extent through right use of scripture.

    Best Wishes

  10. jAsOn said

    I agree with you ADB. It seems as though we have a tendency to label every little thing that is the slightest bit out of the ordinary as a miracle. The biblical definition of miracle (not that the bible comes out and actually states, HERE IS THE DEFINITION OF A MIRACLE) but if you look at scripture as a whole, I think you find that a miracle is: an event that occurs outside the realm of natural explanation. God has set up His universe in a certain way, and when He intrudes upon it and causes something to happen that is against the normal physical laws He has set up, then we can call that a MIRACLE. So, as absolutely amazing as it is, we should not refer to child birth as “the miracle of life”…at least not in the technical sense of the word miracle.

    I don’t want to diminish Annie’s question in # 7, but it does sound like she would accept a theory of the potentiality of universal healing. I know I am speculating, but I think that mindset is (at least in regards to the theological movement with which it is associated) really works based. If one can muster up enough faith in God, then He is somehow obligated to save my soul from spiritual punishment…if I can muster up enough faith in God’s ability and willingness to heal my physical infirmities, then He is somehow obligated to do so. If really turns the biblical notions of grace and mercy on their heads.

  11. Maz said

    Jason: If Matthew, quoting Isaiah 53, equated it with Jesus healing ALL that were sick, then Isa: 53 is a promise for ALL. ”…and (He) healed ALL THAT WERE SICK, that it MIGHT BE FULFILLED WHICH WAS SPOKEN BY ISAIAH THE PROPHET….”
    I do not follow the ”Word-Faith movement” but I do believe that faith heals, God heals by faith in Him.
    Jesus died for all, He bore all our sins, and He healed ALL our sicknesses by the cross. Why shouldn’t He? What reason would He have for leaving anyone out?
    You can still die without being sick. God does not need sickness to take you to glory. I had a wonderful elderly friend. Yes, she had arthritus very bad, but that doesn’t kill you. I went to visit her one Sunday as usual, we had a cup of tea and chatted about the Lord together, she was perfectly fine all afternoon. Only half an hour after I left her, her grand daughter phoned me and told me she had gone to glory…..she just died. Nothing wrong with her. But she was 95 and her time had come to go Home. And old age is not an ailment, it is the natural result of the curse on mankind because of Adams sin.

    And we don’t have to ”muster up” faith and ”obligate” God to heal or save us, we can have faith in His promises to heal and save, and He certainly wants to because He loves us and wants to give us the best. He is our Father, and we are His children if we believe in Him and live for Him. The scriptures tell us…”If a son ask bread of any of you that is a father, will He give him a stone? Or if he ask for a fish, will He for a fish give him a serpent? …If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, HOW MUCH MORE SHALL YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER give the Holy Spirit to them that ask?” Luke 11 v 11,13.
    Now this is pertaining to the Holy Spirit, but He also alludes to good gifts, He will give to us if we ask in faith…ofcourse it is according to His will, but I do not think that because someone is not healed that they didn’t have the faith. To be honest I don’t know why some are and some aren’t, just as ADB said.

  12. Maz said

    Jason: I agree with your deffinition of a miracle. But healings are different.

  13. jAsOn said

    God’s primary and ordinary means of healing sicknesses is through the medicine. Healing that comes through the means of prayer, fasting, and eventually the intercession of the Spirit is an EXTRAordinary means, thus a miraculous one. Christ proved His messiah-ship when He fulfilled prophesies of the One who would come and make blind men to see and lame men to walk. God never intended to heal ALL (every man woman and child who has ever or will ever live) or else we all would be healed. Certainly you wouldn’t suggest that God could from eternity make a plan to heal ALL an then have that plan thwarted by His creatures. Remember, Matthew was likely quoting the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT).

    The “all” in Matt. 8:16-17 is contextually restricted to mean all of the “many” sick persons presented to Christ that evening.

    Here is the passage in Isaiah 53: “1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
    And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
    2For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
    he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
    3 He was despised and rejected by men;
    a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
    and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

    4 Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
    yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
    5 But he was wounded for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his stripes we are healed.
    6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
    and the LORD has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.”

    Christ Has made no promise to heal all sickness and infirmity before His second coming. The healing that occurred in Jesus’ ministry, by the Apostles in the first century, and even any healing that occurs today is a shadow of the reality of ultimate healing that will occur at the coming of Christ at the end of the age when He will redeem the world from the curse.

    Maz, you said, “And old age is not an ailment, it is the natural result of the curse on mankind because of Adams sin.” Any “natural result of the curse” is just that, a consequence of the of the curse. The fact that we age and die is no less an ailment/infirmity/sickness than the diseases that lead eventually to death, because they are all a result of Adam’s sin and the victory over any of them now, and all of them at Christ’s coming was made certain by the atoning work of Christ.

    Go to go for now, but more later on the extent of Christ’s propitious work later.

  14. Maz said

    Jason: I agree that any supernatural healing….or a healing performed by God is not the natural healing process, but a leg growing from a stump where no leg was, or the pupil of an eye that pops into being where no pupil was, is, I think you’ll agree, a true miracle. I once had the thot that maybe God heals (not the miraculous way) by doing divine operations on people and speeding up the healing process in some way, like a kind of time dilation, which occurs out in space naturally. But ofcourse this was only a thot, weird or otherwise!
    I agree also that any healing we have now is a kind of shadow of the ultimate healing we shall receive at Jesus Second Coming.
    All I can say is, that I believe Christ made a way for healing to everyone, but not everyone is healed as they were in Jesus day when they were touched by Him. I don’t think anyone went away saying that they didn’t receive their healing when Jesus touched them. If you can show me scripture that says otherwise, fair enough.

    I think the question will always remain, why some are healed and some aren’t. I’v had a few friends that have died of cancer without receiving healing, ofcourse I wonder why, but that is in Gods hands. Even at the moment I have a dear Christian sister who has lung cancer. She was actually cleared of ovarian cancer, and we truly believed God had healed her, but then this secondary cancer showed itself and she has been told it is terminal this time. The chemo she is getting this time will only help to prolong her life.
    Ofcourse we praying God will heal her even now, but she has accepted that she could die. She is only 50 so she doesn’t particularly want to meet the Lord yet, but meeting the Lord is her hope if she has to go. The sadness is with those left behind.

  15. Chris C. said

    If God heals, why do Christians need doctors?

  16. jAsOn said

    Chris,

    God heals in a multitude of ways; the primary means is through the ordinary means of medicine and medical doctors. At this point I want to bring this threads specific focus in to view. I make a distinction between a real and tangible physical illness and what passes for mental illness today. So many people claim some sort of “chemical imbalance” (and probably because their doctors told them they had one) when in fact they never underwent an empirical test to show on paper what chemical is out of balance and by what degree. I don’t deny that persons get “depressed”, Lord knows I have had my own times of depression, but I would think it difficult to imagine life in this broken world without some challenges with depression. John Bunyan (author of Pilgrim’s Progress) suffered great bouts with what we call depression today…he referred to it as melancholy.

    I think too often the medical and psychiatric community are (probably unconsciously) on a mission to make you like me so to speak. If someone is prone to extreme highs and extreme lows (as I would say that I am) it’s just too inconvenient to relate to that person in terms of their personality. It is far easier diagnose it on pure symptomatic basis and call it an illness and try to make them more like “everybody else” than to force those around them to deal with their distinctiveness.

  17. Chris C. said

    I agree that the pharmaceutical industry would like for us all to become hypochondriacs so they can peddle all their medicines. But that is not to discount the fact that mental illness is very real. Telling people to deal with it, or telling those around the afflicted to “learn to live with” the person isn’t a way of dealing with it.

    We are fortunate enough to live in a wealthy country where science research is funded and medicine is carefully inspected by the government so that we can have effective treatments for disease. There is no reason that would should have to live with bipolar disorder, manic depression, ADHD, clinical depression, and other treatable illnesses if we can afford the health care.

    What is truly terrible is that there are so many individuals who cannot recieve this care or medicine because of their income. It seems like health care should be at least as important as education, which the government happily funds…but that is a whole ‘nother topic.

  18. jAsOn said

    Chris I am not one to just simply say, “deal with it” to a person who goes through states of depression etc, but as a society we are far too quick to fall in to patterns of victimization and our medical professionals are far too quick to label a set of symptoms as one of those illnesses you mentioned above. I have been diagnosed with an acute case of ADHD and the doctor also told me that I exhibit symptoms of OCD and bi-polar disorder, but all of these diagnoses were based purely on symptoms and my answers to a long list of questions. There is no physical test for ADHD, OCD, or Bi-Polar disorder…they are behavioral, and at best a good guess when correctly diagnosed. I have heard BI-polar disorder described under the heading of “chemical imbalances” but I’m still waiting to see when the medical field can take a blood test (or another fluid) and measure the degree of that so called imbalance.

    The sets of symptoms that get one diagnosed as one of those illnesses are real symptoms, but whether or not they actually should be treated as chemical imbalances (hence the attempt to suppress the symptoms chemically) is yet to be seen. Not that any of us will be here then, but it would be interesting to hear the criticisms of our medical practices by the medical field from 300 years in the future.

  19. Maz said

    I’v worked in a school for handicapped and slow learning children, some affected by colouring in food and other additives that they put in certain foods we eat. What we eat today has a lot to do with how healthy we are mentally, personality, behavioral and physical. Ofcourse that is just part of our health problems in this modern world of processed and convenience foods.

  20. Lisa said

    Isn’t it enough to realize that God has made our bodies so wonderfully, that doctors and scientists do not know the full potential of the human body, especially the brain? Doctors can’t say what chemical is imbalanced or to what degree in every situation. There are guidelines by which doctors diagnose people. Just because it seems that more and more people are being diagnosed with these disorders doesn’t mean that these disorders haven’t existed in the same magnitude as we see now. We have different names for things now. If there are more disorders being diagnosed, then I would think that is proof that this material world is going downhill, sin leads to death, physical and spiritual.

  21. jAsOn said

    The “guidelines” used to diagnose people for chemical imbalances are the tails that wag the dogs so to speak.

  22. Lisa said

    Demanding that diagnosis only be made when the doctor can name the chemical imbalance and tell to what degree isn’t a place that is good to go, either.

  23. jAsOn said

    Why would it not be a “good place to go” if Doctors were held to an empirical standard rather than a subjective one in order to prescribe pharmaceuticals?

  24. Lisa said

    Because there isn’t enough science to prove things so far. That means that there would be many people, including myself, that couldn’t receive needed help, because doctors would be waiting for empirical data. Most psychiatrists and doctors I’ve dealt with admit that they cannot prove a chemical imbalance- I’ve never had any act as if they could totally explain mental illness. So, because science can’t prove it, that means we just won’t treat or try to help people who do have mental illness? That doesn’t even make sense.

    Do you possess a degree in any mental health field? Have you worked in the mental health field? I have and I find that the guidelines are pretty close to people’s experiences. They really aren’t that far fetched. What would you do with someone who cuts themselves? What about people who think others are really out to get them. What about those who can’t sleep and become psychotic? Preach at them? Tell them they are afflicted? Who of us isn’t affected by sin? Tell them they need to get right in order to experience normalcy?

    There’s a whole bunch of people out there that feel abandoned by God, by the church, by Christianity. It is because they can’t get answers, besides they get told that they experience this problem because of sin or something. Of course, all disease and disorders are because of sin. So because we can prove cancer and not mental illness, that means that the person with cancer gets treated while the person with mental illness doesn’t?

    What about Paul in the New Testament? The Bible doesn’t tell us what “thorn in the flesh” he requested healing for. Why couldn’t it have been a mental illness? Why would that be so strange? The Bible says that there isn’t anything experienced such as is common to man. Did God mean all other difficulties except mental illness?

    I understand that there is a lot of marketing of drug companies going on, but there is also a lot of ongoing research. I for one am thankful for medications for many disorders including mental illnesses.

  25. jAsOn said

    Lisa,

    You are assuming that the “solutions” in place are helping.

    you said, “I find that the guidelines are pretty close to people’s experiences.” geo-centrism appeared to be close to people’s experiences as well. No, none of those things you mentioned are the way I would approach those persons who are afflicted. I’m not saying that there is nothing wrong with them, I’m not even saying that they should never use a chemical to treat their symptoms, but as the devil’s advocate, I’m just pointing out that the utter subjectivity of the field of psychiatric study coupled with the aggressive marketing of pharmaceuticals have cultivated a culture where many are trying to live up to their own hypochondriac tendencies…I was one of those person once.

    Primarily, as image-bearers, we need the gospel of Christ, and I agree that sometimes a chemical symptom suppressor is needed before the gospel will be heard physically, and of course it is only heard spiritually by the Holy Spirit’s enablement (and that can be done over any barrier).

    Ultimately, the reason all of us experience problems is because of Adam’s sin and the resulting curse, and people feel abandoned by God b/c of guilt and shame impressed by Satan (unbelievers b/c they are still guilty before God, and believers b/c they need to renew their faith by hearing the gospel again). I’m not advocating non-treatment, just better treatment for those who have been classified w/ mental illnesses.

    Actually, you misquoted 1 Cor. 10:13. It isn’t talking about experiences, but about temptations to sin, “13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

  26. Lisa said

    You are assuming that the solutions in place aren’t helping. How do you base that? They didn’t help you?

    Salvation doesn’t always end someone’s need for medication. We all are advocating better treatment, that I can agree with. Pharmaceutical companies help fund the research in all areas including mental health. The medications they have now, compared to 30 years ago are amazing.

    Temptations to sin and experiences. I don’t see much of a difference. I’m generalizing the principal in the verse and you are focusing on one word. Okay. How about Ecclesiastes. Nothing is new under the sun. God is faithful. He will provide a way of escape, but that’s not necessarily without medication or therapy or both.

    Hycondriacs appear in all areas of medicine, not just mental illness. It’s just so much easier to blame someone with a mental illness because that area is difficult to prove.

    What is the difference between what you are stating and scientology? Are you saying that all physical maladies are a direct result of sin? Wasn’t Luke a doctor? I wonder how many illnesses they could prove back then? What about the man born blind? The disciples asked who had sinned and Jesus replied that neither the man nor his parents had but that the power of God might be shown through him. God’s power to heal isn’t limited. Do you take antibiotics? What about pain medication? In Hezekiah, he was told he was going to die. Hezekiah prayed and asked the Lord to remember how he had walked before him. Isaiah was sent back to tell Hezekiah he would live. Then, Isaiah said to prepare a poltice of figs and apply it to the boil and he would live. In that day, it was modern medicine. Is God’s power not enough that they had to use medicine and faith? Or does God use medicine to heal?

    There is a whole world of people out there suffering, who won’t turn to Christ, not because God won’t accept them, but because Christianity won’t. That’s sad.

  27. jAsOn said

    No Lisa, you are broadening the verse to mean something it doesn’t…context, context, context. I am no more assuming that those measure are NOT helping as you are assuming that the ARE helping. And, to answer your question, no, they hurt me more than they helped. I’m not isolating hypochondria to mental illnesses…I think the affluence in America has nurtured narcissism and that has helped to cause it across the board medically. The difference between what I am saying and “Scientology” is vast…frankly, it is separated by a library of 66 very important writings called the Bible. By the way, I don’t appreciate the pejorative nature of the comparison…Scientologists aren’t Christians! The bible VERY CLEARLY shows us that ALL maladies, afflictions, and even death are a result of original sin;.I am not against medicine or doctors.

    It’s a bit off topic but you said, “There is a whole world of people out there suffering, who won’t turn to Christ, not because God won’t accept them, but because Christianity won’t. That’s sad.”

    Arer you actually suggesting that God is sitting back, ready and willing to accept persons who will actually never turn to Him in belief and repentance b/c the visible church got in the way? That type of statement challenges God’s sovereign control over His creation.

  28. Lisa said

    I didn’t say scientologists are Christians. I asked what the difference was between what you are stating and scientology. You are approaching the area of mental illness from your own experiences not from a Biblical perspective. I’m not challenging God, I am challenging Christians.

  29. jAsOn said

    I alluded to the difference between Scientology and Christianity…Scientology denies the legitimacy of medical intervention, and Christianity affirms it as a means that God uses for healing.

  30. Lisa said

    I can agree with that. However, it sounds like mental illness is being excluded throughout these comments.

  31. F. L. A. said

    How do the two of you feel about the beliefs of the Christian denomination “Christian Science” in regards to this issue?
    Are you two familiar with the beliefs of Christian Science? They have a most interesting view on sicknesses and health.

  32. jAsOn said

    From my surface understanding, it isn’t a Christian denomination to begin with.

  33. F. L. A. said

    Me and John use the label very liberally.
    We use it for them because they use it for them, and they don’t really seem much weirder to us than any other Christian denomination[no offense intended].
    So aside from that, what do you think? Or should I have posted this inquiry at the “Is revival really happening in America today?” site, what with the way people are all discussing Todd Bentley?

  34. jAsOn said

    🙂
    i don’t mind being considered weird.

    i know they claim the title, but they deny essential Christian doctrine…that makes them non-Christian

  35. Lisa said

    Whether or not you believe mental illness is real, it is not at all uncommon. Those looking for help in dealing with mental illness are not alone. There is hope.
    Undoubtedly, mental health treatment is a controversial topic — but in my opinion it should not be. In fact, more and more the medical studies are confirming that treatments work and they help — and they should not be kept from people who need them.
    I would be the first to admit that mental illness is occasionally overdiagnosed. Obviously, not everybody who is called mentally ill really is. But overall, it appears that physicians and mental-health professionals are doing a fair job.
    There is little evidence of widespread overdiagnosis or misdiagnosis of mental illnesses or of widespread over-prescription of medications by physicians.

  36. jAsOn said

    Lisa,

    You and I will probably never see eye to eye on this topic.

  37. Lisa said

    Probably not, but that isn’t my main reason for posting.

  38. stories of child…

    […]Are Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse legitimate illnesses and diseases, or the result of lack of Faith and Sin? « Welcome to TruthTalkLive.com![…]…

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