Mental Illness and the Church 1​

It is estimated that 20% of people in any given church affected by mental illness, whether themselves for a close family member. In Utah this is probably higher. Why? Because according to a 2014 study, has the highest rate of mental illness in the country at 22.4% of all adults. How do we define Mental Illness? What we are speaking about is a malfunctioning of the mind, isolated from disease or damage that occurs to other parts of the body. We are not talking about sin, although we will discuss the relationship between sin and mental illness later in the week. We must first seek to understand in order to have compassion.

“A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Research suggests multiple, linking causes. Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role, too.”  - (See more at: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions#sthash.RHwGXdPW.dpuf) Examples include Anxiety Disorders, Autism, Bipolar, Clinical Depression, Psychosis, Eating Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, PTSD, and Schizophrenia.

Historical Examples include BB Warfield the famous Princetonian Professor's wife Annie Pierce as well as the tragic suicide of Pastor Rick Warren’s son, Matthew Warren.

Stephen Altrogge writes:

"hy do I get colds and headaches and backaches and indigestion and infections? Why do you have migraines and heart problems and kidney stones and glaucoma? We experience these things because we inhabit bodies which have been marked and marred by sin. Paul spoke directly to this when he said: So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)  "Our outer self is wasting away. Our bodies don’t work correctly. They fall apart and fail us at the worst times. While we live in this fallen world, we live in bodies that are wasting away."

In Romans 8:22–23, Paul wrote:

“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."

Along with the rest of creation, we eagerly await for the day when Christ will return and we will receive our new, redeemed, resurrection bodies.

would argue that if we truly believe in total depravity, then we must accept mental illness as a biblical category. If I believe that sin has affected every part of my body, including my brain, then it shouldn’t surprise me when my brain doesn’t work correctly. I’m not surprised when I get a cold; why should I be surprised if I experience mental illness? To say that depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar, and every other disorder, are purely spiritual disorders is to ignore the fact that we are both body and soul.

n Prayer Toda:

Seek God as to how you can find help for yourself or for someone else in being the family of God that helps people with mental illness and not "shoot our wounded."