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Is There a Christian View of Mental Illness?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
August 5, 2022 6:03 am

Is There a Christian View of Mental Illness?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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August 5, 2022 6:03 am

Episode 1026 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

 

Questions in this Episode

 

1. What does the Bible describe as the “unforgivable sin”?

2. How can I help my mother who has diagnosed narcissistic personality disorder?

3. Are rising crime rates proof that we are in the last days?

4. What is the Christian view of mental illness?

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Is there a Christian view of mental illness? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, I'm Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day.

We'd love to hear from you. Our phone lines are open right now. Here's our number.

25 minutes or so. So jump on your phone right now. 833-843-2673. Of course, you can always post your question on one of our social media sites. You can watch Adriel live in the studio right now on our YouTube channel and send him a question that way. And of course, you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Well, Adriel, I've got to tell you, you were accused of preaching some false teaching here on the program. It happens all the time, Bill.

It happens all the time. I've developed thick skin. Anytime you're opening up the Word of God, there are people who disagree with you, and that's okay. Let's reason together. Let's open up the Scriptures and get to the truth.

I love that. Well, here's what David asks. He emailed us and said, I heard what you said last week about unbelievers and doing common good acts. But Romans 3 says, There is none who is righteous, no, not one. And Isaiah says, You have to offer nothing good to God except filthy rags. Any morality comes from God in us alone. There is no morality apart from Christ in us.

It is impossible. And then he adds, Please correct your false teaching on the air. Thank you, David, for that email. Okay, so I think it's really important that we distinguish between works that are truly good before God. And then just the fact that all mankind is made in the image of God has what we call natural law. This sense of right and wrong can participate in what we might call civic goodness, obedience to certain laws, do good things in that sense. You know, we're not saying that there's no such thing as common grace in the world.

There is. And we praise God for that. And that also comes from God, from his goodness.

But yeah, I think I understand what you're getting at, David. That's that, you know, in order for a work to be truly good before God, good works in the New Testament sense. Well, that's something that only a believer can do.

And you're right. The Bible says that without faith, it is impossible to please God. There are certain things that a work needs to have in order for it to be a truly good work before God. And I think the very first one is a heart of faith. Good works flow from a heart of faith.

And this is the second piece. They're done in accordance with God's law. In other words, you and I don't get to make up what good works are. We can't say, Well, well, you know, I know God's word didn't command this. But this is a good work for me.

This is what I'm going to do. This is one of the issues that the scribes and the Pharisees had. You know, they're making up all these rules that weren't given to them by God, by Jesus. And they were obeying those things, and they were neglecting the weightier matters of the law. And so a good work flows from a heart of faith, is done in line with God's law, sincere.

It comes from the heart. It's not just going through the motions hypocritically. And the ultimate end of a good work is the glory of God. We're not doing it to magnify ourselves, to glorify ourselves, to cause others to think highly of us. We're doing these things for the glory of God.

And you think, Well, boy, I struggle with that. Does anybody actually ever do good works? I mean, if that's the case, if they flow from a heart of faith, are done with sincerity, are done to glorify God, how many good works do I actually have?

And here it's important to distinguish again between what we call sometimes a truly good work and a perfectly good work. None of us in the good works that we do offers to God a perfectly good work. Our works are still tainted with sin. It's only through Jesus Christ that we can offer to God anything and that he receives them. But they are truly good works because they come from the Holy Spirit working in our lives. And so we should be, you should be encouraged unto good works.

But they come to us as gifts from the Lord and they flow from the heart of faith. And so, David, thanks for the opportunity to get to go a little bit deeper there, a really important subject. And I pray that the Lord blesses you.

God bless. OK, just to follow up for you, then, when I was 16 years old, I tried to apprehend a purse snatcher who stole a purse from a little old lady. And I was a Christian at the time. So was that a good work or not? Did you get him? I mean, you tackled the guy. He jumped in. He jumped into a truck. His accomplice got away.

He got away. Well, then you failed, Bill. I'm sorry.

Don't offer that to God. Do better, Bill. The old lady liked it. She gave me a hug. Good.

All right. OK, this is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We're having fun on a Friday and we'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, you name it.

We'd love to talk to you. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Brian, who's calling in from St. Louis, Missouri. Brian, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Yeah, Pastor Adriel, I'm sorry people have a different view of what the Bible is, but, you know, I've told people this being a Christian that a lot of people have rebuked me because I've got a sense of humor. And I'm like, well, who do you think created humor? God did. I mean, I tell clean jokes and there's nothing wrong with doing that. But all kidding aside, my question is, what does the Bible specifically say is or what is the unforgivable sin?

Yeah, great question that we've received, Brian, on the broadcast before. And I think one of the reasons this is a question that continually comes up is because there are sincere believers who are concerned with whether or not they've committed this sin. And I mean, I've talked to people who are in tears, wondering, have I sinned away the grace of God? Is God done with me? Have I sinned in such a way that the doors are forever shut? And so it's a really important question to answer.

Now, I'll go to Mark chapter 3. This is where you get the language of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Beginning in verse 22, we read, And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out demons.

And he called them to him and said to them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is coming to an end.

But no one can enter the strongman's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strongman, then indeed he may plunder his house. Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin. For," and I think this is important in terms of defining what the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is, Jesus says in verse 34, they were saying he has an unclean spirit. And so specifically here in Mark chapter 3, it's this group of religious leaders who should know better. I mean, these are the ones who, the scribes, you know, who know the law, who have studied the law, they should know better, and yet they're attributing the works of the Holy Spirit being performed by Jesus Christ as he's delivering people from Satan and from sickness, they're attributing his works to Satan. And so Jesus has this stern warning for them. He says, look, all sin will be forgiven, but the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit here attributing the works of Christ, you know, done through the power of the Holy Spirit to the evil one.

He says that will never be forgiven. I don't know that the blasphemy of the, I don't believe that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is this sort of one-time thing that people do. It's this conscious rejection of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit, so obstinate, hard-hearted, that it even attributes the work of Christ and the goodness of the Gospel to the evil one. And so for a Christian who's struggling with this and they're wondering, you know, have I blasphemed the Holy Spirit? And their hearts are grieved and they're, you know, afraid that, you know, maybe God is not going to accept them, that when they confess their sins, the Lord is not going to receive them. And for that person, I would say, you have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit.

When you go to God, sincerely repentant, confessing your sins, know that he forgives you when you approach him through faith in Jesus Christ. The evil one, the devil, wants to convince us that we're hopeless, but there is hope in the Gospel. And so I would say that the unforgivable sin is the rejection of the Gospel and the hardening of our hearts against the truth of the Gospel. This is why it's so important when we hear the preached word not to turn from it. When you hear the Gospel and God is convicting you of your sins, not to turn from that truth and to harden your heart and to say, you know, those Christians, they're just drinking bathwater, you know, they're crazy, you know, Jesus doesn't really help anyone.

No, that's not true. The Spirit of God is drawing people to Christ through the Scriptures, and we need to hear that. Otherwise, if we reject that in unbelief, there's no hope, there's no forgiveness for a person who dies in their sins, unbelieving and hard-hearted. And so, Brian, that's what I would say about this. And I appreciate your question, and I'm glad that God gave you a sense of humor as well.

God bless you, brother, and you have a wonderful day. Hey, Brian, just to mention, we do have a core question on this topic. It's called, have I committed the unpardonable sin? In fact, it might be great for you if you have a question about that or if somebody in your life is saying, I wonder if I've committed that sin? You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash questions. And by the way, we have some new Bible studies we want to tell you about, and these would be great for summer reading or even for a small group study. Yeah, Bill, if you appreciate the answers to your questions that we give on the show every day, then our Bible studies are the perfect resources for you. In these studies, we show you how to study the scriptures and to just get deep into the Word of God to find answers to those really important questions that we tackle oftentimes on the broadcast. We have foundational studies like how to read the Bible or core 101 and the Gospel of John, a study through the Gospel of John. Great starting points for you if you're just getting into the study of the Bible or if you're leading a Bible study with maybe some newer Christians.

But we also have some studies that are geared for the deeper thinkers. Digging deeper into the scriptures like a study in the book of Revelation or the book of Ruth or the book of Hebrews where we tackle more difficult books of the Bible and topics while remaining accessible for those who are new to their faith in Christ. All of our studies would be a great option for fall Sunday school classes or small groups if you want to start working through books of the Bible and be equipped for how to answer your own questions and even the questions of your friends and family. So head over to corechristianity.com and get a hold of these studies for a donation of $15 or more. And if you're planning to host a Bible study through your church or maybe with a group of friends, each of our Bible studies comes with its own leaders guide, and if you're using the study for a small group, we can also make a discount available for larger orders. You can find all of our Bible studies at corechristianity.com forward slash studies again corechristianity.com forward slash studies.

And of course, you can call us for any one of our resources at 833 the core. Let's go to Corey calling in from St. Louis, Missouri. Corey, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Thank you very much for taking my question. Can you guys hear me okay?

Yeah, we can hear you Corey. Okay, thank you. So thank you.

This is nothing but God doing this this morning. I am packing up to do a road trip to Memphis for work, and I heard you guys talking about mental health and Christianity. My question, I am an only child. My mother is. She, she has been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. I'm the only child, and as I see her getting aging. And from what I understand about narcissistic personality disorder is increasingly getting worse and I see her relationships deteriorating. And I'm, I'm very concerned for her because her belief is that nothing can be fixed outside of the Bible and all be that that's true.

But if you break your ankle, you got to go to the doctor. And so if you have some mental health issues, you have to go and see a professional, and there, you know, so I, I don't know how to deal with it, and her favorite thing to say to me is because I sometimes go no contact with her to to try and protect myself, that I am not honoring her and therefore, the commandment that God will not honor, you know, my life will not be blessed because I don't honor my mother and father. So I struggle a great deal with this because I want a relationship with my mother, but because of the toxicity that exists between us and it has for years. I don't know how to deal with that. And it's, I hate that I go to no contact with her, but sometimes I just have to because it's so completely toxic it physically affects me.

Well, Corey, I'm really grateful that you that you called in. And there's, I mean, a lot of different ways to approach this. The first thing I would say to you is, I don't think that it's necessarily wrong that there are times where you say, okay, I have to pull back because especially when an individual has narcissistic personality disorder, I mean, oftentimes, they're just unwilling to even see it. And there can be that manipulative behavior.

I mean, I think you were alluding to some of that, you know, saying, well, you're not honoring me and therefore God is not going to bless you. I mean, part of the challenge is helping an individual to see just how bad it is and how much they need help. But with the person who has narcissistic personality disorder, oftentimes, it's really hard to even get to that point. And so I think part of what you can do is just pray that the Lord would soften your mom's heart so that she would realize that God gives us his word, certainly, and prayer. But that there's a lot of just sort of common grace wisdom through therapists and counselors, people that can help her to see some of these patterns that she's created in her life and how they're destroying her relationships, even hurting her relationship with you, with her daughter. A great resource on this that I want to encourage you to go on Amazon and buy is called When Narcissism Comes to Your Church, Healing Your Community from Emotional and Spiritual Abuse.

It's written by a professor, a theology professor named Chuck DeGroat. And it's just a real practical, he's worked a lot with people who have narcissistic personality disorder. And so a real practical approach, compassionate as well, in terms of really seeing this as wanting to minister to an individual with narcissistic personality disorder, but also creating healthy boundaries when they need to be created. And so I want to also, Bill, get your input here, because I know that you have some professional wisdom in this area as well. So what would you say to Corey? Well, I think what you said about boundaries is so key.

And, Corey, I would agree with what Adriel said. There are times where you do have to physically separate yourself from your mom and you can't let her manipulate you by pulling out verses to back up her position. The Bible does say, Let your yes be yes and your no be no. And I think at times you're going to have to say no to your mom when she's saying or doing things that are harmful to you. And since she says the only her only resource for life is the Bible, I think you can easily point out plenty of script lovingly point out scripture verses that would challenge her in her narcissism, because there are plenty of those about humility and putting others first.

And, you know, we could go on and on. So I think that's probably when you're in those conversations with her and she's, you know, proof texting scripture. You may want to say, Mom, let's consider these verses.

So again, you want to do that in love. Let me, Corey, because I just know how difficult this is. I just want to pray for you and that the Lord would give you wisdom in your approach here with your mother. Father, would you be with my sister Corey? Would you fill her with your Holy Spirit and with wisdom? I do pray for her mother, Lord, that she would get the help that she needs from your word. Certainly, Lord, that she would grow in her understanding of your word and that the spirit, your spirit would work in her life through scripture, but from others as well, counselors, therapists even who could shed some insight on some of these patterns that she's created. I pray that you would help her to see, Lord, these destructive patterns and to turn from them, to repent of them.

We know, Lord God, that repentance is a gift that you give, the work of your Holy Spirit. And so would you work that in Corey's mother and would you give our sister just patience, grace, wisdom for knowing when to maybe create those boundaries and then when to press in and really try to encourage her mother and point her to your truth. And so be with her, be with them, we ask in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. Corey, thanks so much for your question. We will continue to pray for you and that situation. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

We're still taking your calls about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, you name it for the next five minutes or so. And if you can't get through, you can always leave a voicemail this weekend. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to John calling in from St. Louis, Missouri. John, what's your question for Adriel?

Yeah, how you guys doing there? I want to know, the Bible mentions in the last times that people believe perilous times that people will turn against their parents and all that other stuff, you know, everything that's indicated. Does that indicate that the love of many will get cold? Is that relating to the end times where people be deceivers, lovers of themselves and you know, all kind of, you know, they'll claim, they'll put themselves on the throne instead of God's throne. So I was wondering, does that relate to the times that we're living now with all the increase in violence?

And I want to stand there and listen to your comments. Yeah. Yeah. Hey, John, thank you for that question. So in Matthew 24 in verse 12, Jesus, speaking of the end, he says, the love of many will will grow cold because lawlessness abounds. There are other passages that talk about the characteristics of people during the end times or the last days, if you will. Then there are other passages say we're in the last days. You think of John writing to the Christians that he was addressing in places like 1 John, which is the spirit of the Antichrist is already here. So we're seeing these things.

We've been seeing these things for quite a while. You have Paul's words in 2 Timothy chapter 2 chapter 3, but understand this, that in the last days, there will come times of difficulty for people will be lovers of self lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, right? You quoted that ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power, avoid such people. I think we see a lot of this, certainly.

You just need to scroll through your social media feed and see how people address each other. But with regards specifically to this idea of love growing cold, I think actually what's being referred to there is maybe a loss of passion for the gospel and its advancement when it comes to sharing the gospel evangelism. I get that from the fact that in the book of Revelation, in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, where Jesus is addressing the seven churches, one church in particular that he's speaking to, the church in Ephesus, the first one he addresses, he says to them, you have left your first love. In other words, your love is growing cold, and there specifically in the context of Revelation 2 verses 1 through 7, it seems like that coldness that had been created as a result of persecution, of the lawlessness all around them, resulted in their lack of vigor, passion for the advancement of the gospel. They were no longer sharing the truth of the gospel like they once were. We're growing insular. We look at the lawlessness all around us.

We're just going to cut off everything and everyone. So I really think that it's not specifically talking about the anger and the violence that we see, the love of many growing cold. I think it's that passion for the gospel and for the advancement of the gospel in society, and that's why we, brothers and sisters, need to know the word of God and pray that the Lord would light that fire in our own hearts. Lord, help us to love you and to be lights as you call us to be in the world, not burning with our own flame, but burning with the light of Jesus Christ and his gospel so that we might point others to it in these last days. And so thank you for your question, John. May the Lord bless you. This is Core Christianity, and let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our callers.

This one came in from Thomas. We completed a Bible study on the book of Matthew. We know that Jesus casted out demons from individuals in his time, and I was just curious if there was some sort of a modern day equivalent. We don't hear about casting out demons.

Is this mental illness? And generally, what is the Christian view of mental illness? It's just a little bit of a conundrum for me. That's my question.

Thank you. I think the modern day equivalent would be demon possession today. The evil one is at work today still. I do believe that people can be oppressed and even possessed by evil spirits, and so that's still a thing. And I think that that's very different from mental illness, and according to Scripture, or at least you asked what's the Christian view of mental illness, I'd say mental illness is a real thing. It is the result of the fall, like all illness is. I think that God can use doctors and medicine to help treat mental illness, so we don't need to be afraid of that, that common grace sort of wisdom that's out there in the world.

I've seen this. I've seen people who struggle with serious mental illness really benefit from the care of doctors and medicine, and so I think we can't rule that out, and we give thanks to God for his common grace and advancements in medicine. And ultimately, mental illness, along with all other illness, will be healed in the new creation, and so that's the hope that we have as we look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. As you know, we got that question earlier about mental illness, and we just want to take it seriously.

It's not helpful when we say, okay, this person has mental illness. We just need to pray about it. No, we've got to go further.

I mean, you've got to dig deeper. And so may the Lord bless you, and thank you for reaching out to us. God bless. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar, or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833, the CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program, and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-15 13:52:28 / 2023-03-15 14:02:51 / 10

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