“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
Author’s Note: Please do not read too much into the title of this article. I am not arguing that sin should be considered a psychological disorder, nor am I declaring that anyone with a diagnosed psychological disorder is in sin merely by the nature of being so diagnosed.
In the current environment of pervasively popular Osteen-style life-coach Christianity, it’s all too easy for Christians to confuse the aims of therapy with the effects of regeneration. It’s all too easy for Christians to forget that sin isn’t a problem, it’s the problem. This is a scriptural truth that many in the world, especially those in the secular mental health community, seem to ignore. The fall has alienated people from God and from each other. For any mental health counseling endeavor to be successful, this must be realized. A patient’s sin problem should not be ignored and the power of the Holy Spirit should not be discounted. Unfortunately, many secular mental health professionals do just that. Furthermore, the secular mental health profession is openly hostile to the Christian worldview. As such, Christians should think twice before endorsing or appealing to the authority of a non-Christian mental health professional. Like any other lost person, such blind guides suppress the truth about the horrible effects of sin in unrighteousness
The secular mental health profession’s prejudice against a biblical worldview is exemplified well by a statement released by the American Psychological Association in 1998 which states that it “opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy, which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder, or based upon a prior assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.” This statement led credence to initiatives in both California and New Jersey that have outlawed reparative therapy. In California it is illegal for a mental health professional to “engage in sexual orientation change efforts with minors”. Imagine a pastor who needed to refer a young paritioner who struggles with homosexual attraction to a mental health counselor. It California, it is illegal to do so. It’s not just that the secular mental health profession disagrees with a Christian worldview; it’s openly hostile to it.
Unfortunately, this can lead Christians to stigmatize those who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. This can create an environment where those who struggle with mental illness are hesitant to approach their church’s elders for help and prayer. This should not be the case. Rather, Christians who struggle with mental illness should feel be encouraged to bring their needs before God and before His church for prayer. They should then, where necessary, be referred to by their shepherds to professional Christian counselors who recognize the role that the noetic effect of sin plays in the outbreak of mental illness. In no case, should Christians be referred to counselors who reject a Christian worldview…for what business does light have with darkness? The answer to that question is: “no business at all”. Nonbelievers are in no position to counsel Christians. It is they who need the counsel of believers. That counsel is simple: repent and believe the gospel. Until they do, such counselors can only implement the impotent solutions of fallen man.
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use. Furthermore, I am not licensed in any state to diagnose or dispense mental health advice or treatment.