The Gospel Doesn’t Deliver People From Depression – brief critique of Chris Rosebrough’s comments / Chuck Collins blog

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):

(Link): Joel Osteen: Be Positive or Be Quiet

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:

(Link): Bayless Conley and Depression – Sorry, dude, but depression can’t be cured by will power & sometimes not even by faith

“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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Related posts this blog:

(Link): Weird Dating / Marriage Advice by Joel Osteen

(Link): Over 50 Percent of Christians Believe Prayer, Bible Reading Alone Can Cure Mental Illness (article) – In Other Words Half of Christians are Ignorant Idiots Regarding Mental Illness

(Link): Charles Stanley Kind of Blows it on Suicide Sermon

(Link): Bayless Conley and Depression – Sorry, dude, but depression can’t be cured by will power & sometimes not even by faith

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4 thoughts on “The Gospel Doesn’t Deliver People From Depression – brief critique of Chris Rosebrough’s comments / Chuck Collins blog”

  1. I actually have a close friend who is a Methodist minister, struggling with depression. He is not new to the ministry, either; he has been a pastor for 2 decades. He has spent his entire life battling mental illness. His condition is severe enough to warrant medication and professional psychotherapy, and he has received inpatient treatment in the past. He is a very effective and popular minister, with a deep understanding of Scripture, and even has a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Methodist University. So, if he can be affected by clinical depression, any Christian can.

    1. @ Martha.

      I hope your friend gets better.

      I have been to Christian sites before who insist that “real” Christians cannot get mental illness, including depression.

      The Christians who spout off on the topic – the ones who say Bible reading, prayer, and/or faith in Jesus (or “The Gospel”) is all you need, or the ones who even deny Christians can and do get depression (and other problems) in the first place, are extremely ignorant about these things.

      I saw a page with a video one time by a preacher who said he used to be ignorant about depression.

      He used to give his church members who came to him for help with their depression pat answers – (to read their Bible more, etc) – until he himself got clinical depression for two years, and was so desperate for relief, he went to a doctor and took pills, and that helped him.

      He now sermonizes in favor of Christians seeing doctors and taking medications.

      See, some of these insensitive jerks and anti-medication, anti-doctor buffoons don’t “get it” until it happens to them personally.

      Then they change their tune and ooze with compassion for others so afflicted.

      I also don’t get Rosebrough’s or Collins’ perspective that “the Gospel” is supposed to “heal” anyone of depression.

      All the Gospel does is save people from an eternity in Hell in the afterlife, it does not “heal” anyone of anything in this lifetime, such as cancer, asthma, or depression (contrary to what the Word of Faith guys preach).

      I don’t see anything in the Bible that guarantees that after a person accepts Christ as savior that he/she will then become immune from asthma, getting paper cuts, stubbed toes, or anxiety attacks or depression. But views like Collins’ etc, implies this.

  2. I am so sick of christians and their stereotypical “it’s your fault you are sick” and the typical solution “stop sinning” when in the bible god says humans will sin all the time even if they are the best christians, pray everyday and help others, that doesn’t stop it . How then are you supposed to stop sinning when god put a curse on us (Adam and Eve) and there’s nothing you can do about it?

    I also despise the “it’s a test” BS explanation and once again why would an already believing person be tested in such a cruel way while horrible people have good health and remain “untested”? If someone already loves god and is a good person what the hell is there to test?

    Science has revealed that our DNA has been deteriorating from decade to decade and in the future it’s going to be worse. We have diseases now that were not around some years ago. Bad quality food, poisons in the water, stress and bad dna is causing much turmoil

    From christian post
    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.

    1. I am with you on this. I am tired of Christians who always blame other Christians for every problem, trial, health problem, or tribulation that happens to them.

      I also do not like the pat, cliched’ answers or judgments, like, other Christians will tell you if you are undergoing a problem, or your prayers aren’t being answered, it’s because you don’t have enough faith, God is testing you, or you must have unforgiveness in your heart.

      I have other posts on the blog where I talk about this, and similar stuff, by the way, such as…
      (Link): Preacher John Hagee’s Insensitive “GET OVER IT” Sermon – Christians remain ignorant and insensitive to those who suffer tragedy, pain, or mental health problems

      (Link): Blaming the Christian for His or Her Own Problem or Unanswered Prayer / Christian Codependency

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