Knowing up-close what mental illness can do to a person, I thought this article from Frank Viola in the Christian Post was right on point. We are so quick to judge sometimes… that is until we face these issues firsthand. ~Randi
3 Christian Responses to Mental Illness; Which One Is Most Biblical?
Throughout my years of being involved in various and sundry Christian movements and denominations, it seems that Christians understand mental disorders in one of three chief ways:
1. Mental illness is demonic in origin. So the antidote is to cast out the demons that are causing it.
2. Mental illness is psychobabble. There’s no such thing as a “mental disorder.” All so-called mental illnesses are just sinful behaviors. So the antidote is for person to repent and get right with God.
3. Mental illness is a physiological disorder. The brain is a physical organ just like the heart, the thyroid, the joints, etc. Thus if someone has panic attacks or bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or chronic depression or ADHD, they have a chemical imbalance in the brain, not dissimilar to a hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure or arthritis.
I cut my teeth on a movement that promoted #1. I’ve met many people who believed #2. But I believe #3 is often the case.
Yet it’s not so simple.
The problem, I feel, is that confusion over this issue seems to be rooted in the fact we don’t properly understand the integration of body, soul, and spirit.
1Thessalonians 5:23: May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole SPIRIT, SOUL, and BODY be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing SOUL and SPIRIT, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The popular model of the human anatomy among Bible-believing Christians is that the body and the soul (and spirit, if you believe the spirit is distinct from the soul) are completely separate entities. I don’t believe this model is correct. Instead, I understand the body, soul, and spirit to be interconnected.
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