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Mental Disorders, Medicine, and Biblical Counseling

October 22, 2014

Mental Disorders, Medicine, and Biblical Counseling
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Mental Disorders, Medicine, and Biblical Counseling

BCC Staff Note: The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC), recently released their Statement Regarding Mental Disorders, Medicine, and Counseling. The BCC applauds this compassionate and comprehensive statement. We’ve reproduced the first section below. You can read the entire statement here. If you want to make others aware of this statement, you can share this shortened link: http://bit.ly/1CZr5pw.

I. Mental Disorders and Biblical Counseling

We live in a broken world full of people suffering with profound trouble and intense pain. One manifestation of that brokenness is the problem that our culture recognizes as mental disorder. Increasing numbers of people are diagnosed with these complex difficulties, which require wisdom and multi-faceted care. We confess that, too often, the church of Jesus Christ has not been recognized as a source for profound hope and meaningful help for such difficult problems. We further acknowledge that many Christians have contributed to a negative stigma attached to such diagnoses through simplistic understandings of these problems, and have offered solutions grounded in ignorance.

As an organization committed to pursuing excellence in biblical counseling the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors has, for decades, been calling upon faithful Christians to grow in the twin tasks of understanding complex problems and learning skills to address them in the context of counseling. As an organization committed to the sufficiency of Scripture for counseling we believe that the Bible provides profound wisdom to guide us in caring for people diagnosed with mental disorders.

One example of this wisdom is the biblical teaching on dichotomy. The Bible is clear that God created human beings to consist of both a body and soul. To be a human being is to exist in these two constituent parts, which are separable only at death. Even after death, Christians confess that the bodies and souls of human beings will be restored at the Last Day. This biblical truth points to the high honor and regard that God gives to both the physical and spiritual realities of humanity.[1]

A theological reality like this one requires Christians to honor both body and soul as crucial to human existence. Christians, therefore, should respect medical interventions as a fully legitimate form of care for those struggling in this fallen world. Examinations by medical professionals are crucial adjuncts to a biblical counseling ministry as they discover and treat, or rule out physical problems, which lead many to seek counseling help.

Another example of this biblical wisdom is the teaching in Scripture on the dynamic nature of problems that we experience in a fallen world. Human beings have difficulties, which always carry physical and spiritual implications. Both aspects need to be addressed in an appropriate fashion. Human beings experience problems with spiritual implications for which they are morally culpable and must repent. Human beings experience other physical and spiritual problems, which are not a consequence of their sins, are not their fault, but which are painful realities that attend life in a fallen world.[2]

This theological reality requires Christians to approach problems in a complex way, rather than a simplistic one. Christians understand that some spiritual realities will require a rebuke, but others will require encouragement in the midst of pain. Still others will require help in the midst of weakness.

[1]Genesis 2:7; Matthew 10:28; 1 Corinthians 7:34; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 1 Timothy 4:8

[2]Matthew 5:8; 26:38; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:14

BCC Staff Note: You can read the entire statement at the ACBC’s site here. Statement Regarding Mental Disorders, Medicine, and Counseling.


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