The Gospel Doesn’t Deliver People From Depression – brief critique of Chris Rosebrough’s comments / Chuck Collins blog
I imagine I don’t get many regular visitors to this blog, but for anyone who visits regularly, I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record. I do tend to repeat myself. This will be another one of those occasions, I’m afraid.
I used to have depression. I was diagnosed with depression by a psychiatrist at a young age. I was not freed of it until a year or so ago.
Yes, Christians get depression.
“Being saved,” and being a devout, daily- Bible- reading- Christian who loves Jesus, does not keep a person immune from psychological or mental problems any more than it does physical issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, poor eye sight, or in-grown toe nails.
Despite the fact I accepted Christ as my Savior before I turned ten years of age and took the faith seriously, read my Bible, prayed to the Lord for a healing, etc and so forth, I still had depression.
I was listening to this Pirate Radio (aka “Fighting for the Faith”) radio show by Chris Rosebrough today (by the way, I happen to like the guy, though I do not always agree with him about everything):
Before Chris R. discusses the Osteen sermon, he quotes from some guy’s blog over at the Gospel Coalition ((Link): There Are Only Two Kinds Of Sermons).
The guy Chris R. quotes, Collins, talks about how there are only two kinds of sermons: ones about the Gospel, ones about self-help.
Chris R. agrees with guest blogger, Collins, that it’s the Gospel that delivers people from depression, not sermons such as “a ten series sermon on how to cope with depression.”
Here’s a quote from the Collins blog that Chris R. agrees with:
When you get to church to find out that the preacher is in the third of a 10-sermon series on “10 steps to cure depression” get up and run out of there as fast as your depressed legs can take you.
It’s self-help, not the gospel.
Chalk it up to a well meaning preacher who hasn’t yet realized that our real hope is in God, in the sufficiency of his work on the cross and in the salvation that is not found in get-better sermons.
(— end quote —)
While I agree that sermons alone can’t or won’t heal someone of depression, NEITHER WILL THE GOSPEL, contra Chris R and Collins.
I wrote a similar post to this one several months ago, so I will direct you there – preacher Bayless Conley made similar claims about depression, and I wrote about that here:
“The Gospel” doesn’t heal depression any more than it does asthma, diabetes, headaches, cancer, or broken arms.
As far as Chris R.’s critique of the Joel Osteen show, which is opened with the theme song containing the lyrics, “The Champion within you.”
Chris paused his re-play of the Osteen show, at that point during his radio show, to say something like, ‘nobody is a champion; we are all sinners.’
I get that from a conservative Christian’s view, un-saved people need to hear they are sinners and need a Savior, but as someone who accepted Jesus as Savior when she was a kid herself, Chris’ theology sometimes sounds like “worm theology” to me, and I can’t accept that.
Jesus saved me of my sins when he was on the cross and was raised from the dead.
There is a Bible verse which says all Christians are over-comers in Christ Jesus – that is the concept that Osteen’s show is quoting in its intro theme song. It is indeed a biblical concept, so I’ve no idea why some Christians such as Chris R. bristle at this.
Jesus Christ thinks each human being has worth and value – even when they are in an un-saved state; ‘Jesus Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.’ (God does not love only “the elect”).
I take issue with Christians who want congregations to hear nothing but non-stop “worm theology, hellfire and brimstone, don’t think highly of yourself, you are just a lowly sinner, piece of scum” type sermons.
One of the things that kept me depressed for decades and hindered me being all I could be (sorry to sound like an Army commercial) is in part that I believed in “worm theology.”
I believed I was not worthy of God’s love, I had no worth, God loved other people but not me, etc. etc. etc.
Had I believed growing up that God loved me, and that He loved me equally to other people, perhaps I could have done a hundred times more for God than what I did.
I already believed I was dirt, a doormat, and a ‘nothing’ up until my late 30s.
I did not need Christians or preachers telling me I was worthless, a sinner, a lowly worm of a sinner, etc, because I already had that mindset.
It was quite a revelation to me a couple years ago when for the first time I realized that I am no better or no worse than anyone else. I realized that I’m okay the way I am. I am not dirt. I am not a worm. That lifted a burden off me, and I could start living life and enjoying it.
Maybe this Chris R. guy does not believe in “worm theology” per se, but he seems so against the notion of any preacher telling an audience that God loves them, that they have worth, and they don’t have to feel like a loser anymore, he seems to feel it is wrong or bad- that his view does come across that way.
By the way, I do not agree with Word of Faith beliefs, and Osteen appears to subscribe to WoF.
However, I don’t have a huge problem with Osteen delivering chipper sermons to remind people that God loves them – it sounds to me as though Osteen has the ‘gift of encouragement.’
I do think there is a danger when Christians (such as Osteen) make it sound like a Christian can never, ever say or feel anything negative, but must be chipper and perky all the time.
I think some confusion comes into play because Chris R. is assuming that Osteen’s sermons are aimed at the non-believer who may be tuning in, but it seems to me that Osteen is generally assuming that most people who are tuning in are already Christian, and his messages are meant to assist people who are already Christians.
As I mentioned in previous posts about Chris R: he seems to want every single sermon to be about salvation, but not even Jesus discussed only salvation.
Jesus is recorded as having discussed various topics, and not only salvation, such as adultery, worry, divorce, compassion, empathy, responsibility towards parents, prophecy, fear, faith, and how to pray. So I’ve no idea why Christians such as Chris R. get upset when a preacher does not make every single sermon about salvation.
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