Is mental health a chemical or a spiritual condition? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. I'm Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day.
You can also post your question on one of our social media accounts, and you can email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Adriel, I understand you received an email from one of our listeners who disagreed with something you said on the air this week. Yeah, it was actually something we were talking about yesterday, and I wanted to take some time to read this email to our audience. I mean, I really appreciated the tone with which it was written, and just respond to it, so listen in. Pastor Sanchez, I'm grateful for your ministry.
I have been listening to my local Christian radio station out of Sacramento for six months or so, mostly during my commute. Today, you spoke somewhat disparagingly of a couple of religions, namely Muslim and Mormonism. I am sure you feel this is only to clarify truth.
This, for me, crossed a line. I am a lifelong member of one of those faiths. I have a love of God and man, and I have a strong faith and trust in my Heavenly Father and in my salvation. My salvation does not depend on a technicality of differences between faithful people. I want to encourage you, as a young man, while you have many years yet to go in your ministry, to prayerfully consider walking in a total harmonious way with all people of faith who profess to believe in God and in eternal salvation. I believe there will come a day when all people of faith will, by imminent need and divine intervention, gather together under one unit, as it will be necessary to have that unity to endure the persecutions of the world and to gather the elect of God. If you have a hope for many to gather under the leadership that you espouse, which I think you do, I believe you will need to be much more embracing of all faith. This is why I'm approaching this matter with you, as I believe you are genuinely sincere.
I would love to hear from you. Well, listen, friend, thank you for reaching out to us and for your sincere questions there. The question that you heard yesterday, we're talking about what Paul said in 2 Corinthians, where he was warning the Corinthians about those who came preaching another Jesus. And I brought up Mormonism and Islam as examples, these religions that came after Christianity was established, the preaching of the apostles, that talk about Jesus, but it's another Jesus, a different Jesus from the Jesus of the Scriptures. And insofar as this is what we see the apostle Paul warning about and talking about, it's something that for us is so important. Now, we want to do this respectfully and wisely. I think of what the apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 2, verse 24. The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, able to teach patiently enduring evil.
And I hope that you've felt that we want to communicate in that way in kindness and respect, but listen to what he adds there, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil after being captured by him to do his will. He goes on to say in the next chapter, all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. One other passage of scripture that I just want you to think about, to consider for a moment, is what the apostle Paul said in Romans chapter 10 as he was writing about his kinsmen, the Jews who didn't embrace the Jesus that he was preaching. He says in chapter 10, verse 1, brothers, my heart desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved, for I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
This is so important. It's not just being sincere about your belief system that saves you. It's not having a zeal for God that saves you. It's the truth and the true God, Jesus Christ. And so, you know, there are many people who believe things sincerely, but this is why the apostle Paul said we got to go back to the scriptures and with gentleness, correct those who are teaching something contradictory to what the word of God teaches. And I can, I'll just say it, Mormonism, Islam, they teach things about Jesus that are not biblical. And I recognize, I mean, you said you're a lifelong member, I'm assuming you're LDS, I'm assuming that you're a Mormon.
And I would say, come let us reason together. Let's look at the scriptures, what they say about the Christ. And is that what the Mormon church has taught historically?
If it isn't, and I'll say that it isn't. Well, then there's a serious issue and we should heed the warnings of the apostle Paul going to the scriptures themselves to address those problems. And so we can have a zeal for God, but if that zeal for God is not according to knowledge, then we can still be lost.
We need to go back to the word. I appreciate your kind email and may God bless you and may God open your heart more and more through the word to see Jesus, the eternal son. Thank you.
Good word. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Again, if you have a question for us about the Bible, the Christian life doctrine, theology, maybe a faith that's different from Orthodox Christianity, we are always open to your question. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also feel free to email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Let's go to Justin calling in from Omaha, Nebraska. Justin, what's your question for Adriel?
Hi, my name is Justin and I have two-fold question. I had recently gotten married last year. We had an ordained pastor, but it wasn't our church and we didn't sign any legal papers because I'm disabled and it was going to affect my disability, which we desperately need. And I read something in my Bible last night about unlawful marriages and I didn't know if that applied to us necessarily.
And then also my wife or life partner, however you want to put it, has been feeling some drawing towards the Catholic Church, which I have some concerns about and I don't really know how to go about fixing it. Okay, Justin, those are two really, really big questions. With regard to the first one, marriage is this common institution and by common I mean it's given to us by God, but it's something that's shared across cultures, across religions. This is man and woman brought together as one. I think it's more than just two people saying, hey, we're married.
That's it. There's something to it. There's something spiritual to it. When you think of the two being joined together and becoming one flesh, I'm grateful that you had a pastor involved. Of course, so many people don't do that. They just go the route of we went to the courthouse and we're married.
I'm grateful for that. I do think that ordinarily speaking, because it is this common institution, we are and ought to do everything also in line with this, to do the legal aspect as well with the state. I recognize the complexity of your situation. I would just say not knowing the entirety of everything going on, this is where your local pastor can be really helpful, I think. From my perspective, as I study the scripture, I think that biblical marriage is more than just two people going about it on their own or with the church. I think that there is this additional legal element to it. Marriage is very much this picture of a covenant. Covenants have that sort of legal underpinning that the teeth involved in the relationship as well.
Again, I want to be very careful here in giving you a clear specific answer because I'm not sure the entirety of the situation. I would say consulting with your pastor, the pastor that married you, and I pray that you guys are in a solid church together. You mentioned that your wife is also considering the Roman Catholic Church. Can you share a little bit about what it is that's drawing her to the Catholic Church?
We have a friend who had gone for 20 years being an atheist for a long time, had his conversion experience, went through different churches, the Episcopalian, you name it. They finally found their home in the Catholic Church. It's always about the church, the church, the church within what the church says. It's like, whoa, whoa, whoa, what does the Bible say?
He has an argument for everything and a rationalization for everything. I think she's looking more at the history aspect of it, which I'm even questioning the history that I've been given of the church from the Catholic perspective. Here's what it comes down to for me is that I don't think that I could ever become Catholic because I feel like I would be lying to the Holy Spirit by saying I believe in any and all teachings of the Catholic Church.
That would be a blatant lie and I don't want to commit a sin like that. Obviously you wouldn't want to become Roman Catholic if you didn't believe the teachings of the Catholic Church, which draws a lot of people, and I think Protestants, evangelicals, to Roman Catholicism is the claim that they are the one true church, that they've been doing things the same way since the days of the apostles. They can paint, Roman Catholic apologists, they can paint this picture of the church as united in purity, in doctrine, in worship. This is just how the apostles worship, but there really is a lot to dispute about that. Specifically, this is why the Protestant Reformation happened is because the Reformers were looking at the medieval church in the West, the Roman Catholic Church, and saying, hey, there are a lot of things that we're doing in our worship that cover or hide the gospel, that push it to the side. Plus, there's all this moral corruption in the church as well, and so there were issues with corrupt morals in the church and there were also issues with corrupt theology, and that's why they said we need to go back to the scriptures.
That's where I would focus. I would say, look, we have to examine the claims of the Roman Catholic Church on the basis of scripture, and when we do, I think there is a lot to dispute, concerns about doctrines like the Doctrine of Justification, concerns about ecclesiology and the authority of the pope, concerns about worship and some of the things that they say about the sacraments and so forth. I would say, continuing to dig into the scriptures, when you have questions like these for both you and your wife, I'm going to point you back to working through some of these things in the context of the local church, so don't do this in isolation, but have conversations with your pastor.
Let them know that you're wrestling with some of these things, and then maybe getting a hold of some solid resources that will help to reinforce what you believe according to scripture. There's a book actually written by Dr. Michael Horton. We're oftentimes recommending his book, Core Christianity, on the broadcast. That's a great resource, kind of introducing the Christian faith, but he has another two-volume book on the Doctrine of Justification. The first volume is primarily about the history of the doctrine, and the second volume looks at the exegesis, the biblical arguments for the Christian or Protestant understanding of the Doctrine of Justification.
That would be a good resource for you maybe to consider going through with your wife as you guys continue to have these conversations. I appreciate the question. I think a lot of times, as I mentioned, people are drawn to the Roman Catholic Church, but what attracts them to the church is sort of an illusion because the Roman Catholic Church doesn't have that perfect unity that they talk about, and they don't and haven't worshipped God the exact same way for the last 2,000 years.
There have been a lot of developments and additions in worship, and I would even say corruptions, and that's what the Protestant Reformers were trying to get at. God bless. Well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez. We have an awesome resource we want to tell you about. It's a book by apologist Lee Strobel, and it's called The Case for Christ. Yeah, it's a great resource for those of you who, I mean now coming off of Easter, those of you who want to learn more about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and maybe some of the evidence, the reasons why we believe the things that we believe about the resurrection. Lee Strobel, a seasoned journalist, former legal editor at the Chicago Tribune, he talks about his journey to the Christian faith and the way he wrestled through some of these questions. I know it's going to be an encouragement for you as you read this book, and so get a hold of The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. And you can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers.
Again, that's corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Well, we have two questions on the same topic today, and Fernanda is calling in from Florida. Fernanda, what's your question for Adriel?
Hi, Pastor Sanchez. My name is Fernanda, and when I was seven years old, my mom was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She was put in a clinic, and since then it's been almost 30 plus years now that she has been taking medication. But interesting enough, throughout her process, she found Jesus, and she was the one that actually led me to Jesus. We tried praying, we tried fasting for years, trying to maybe deliver her from that curse or whatever you call. I'm at a point right now where I just gave it to God. I know He has a plan even to our pain. And at the same time, I know too that He can heal because nothing is impossible.
But is mental illness a chemical or a spiritual disease? Fernanda, thank you for... Go ahead, Bill. I was going to say we have a very similar voicemail on this same topic, which we're going to play for you right now, Fernanda.
And then Adriel will respond to both of those questions. And here's the voicemail we received. Is it wrong for a believer to get therapy for mental illness? I had to stop getting biblical counseling because the pastor and the other counselor didn't believe in mental health. They thought that worldly counsel is wrong, and the Bible has the answers for everything. They were telling me to trust God, and I thought I was trusting God. I've had a traumatic childhood, and I've been having nightmares, and I was diagnosed with PTSD.
So am I wrong to take medicine and to seek professional help? I just wanted to make sure that God's not mad at me if I'm getting help from somebody who's not a Christian for mental health, because I think some mental health is chemical disbalances, so does God still do healing, too? All right, thank you. Okay, wow, yeah, two questions.
One a voicemail, and then Fernanda, who's on the line right now, very, very similar questions. To Michelle's voicemail, Michelle, God is not mad at you for going to see a doctor or a therapist who isn't a Christian to help you with some of these mental health issues, any more than he would be mad at you for going to get a cast for a bone that had been broken or something like that. We live in a fallen world, a world that's fallen through sin, and sin affects every single part of us, including our minds.
And so in the same way that there is other kinds of physical sickness, mental health is a part of the fall. And in God's common grace, through medicine, through doctors, there are ways in which we can respond to that, and Bill, you can speak to this better than I can, that don't contradict God's word, where it's not an issue. God is able to heal, absolutely, and there's nothing wrong with praying for that, but if the Lord does not choose in his providence to heal you of this mental health condition, I would say you get the support that you need, and a part of getting that support is working together with good doctors and especially with a solid local church. And I wanted to go, Fernanda, amazing how God in his providence uses the difficulties that we carry and experience to draw us closer to him, and you mentioned your mother suffering from bipolar disease from the time you were little, but how that was a part of the process, her story in bringing her to Christ, how God used that to reveal himself to her. We have the hope as Christians through faith in Jesus Christ that one day, and because Christ rose, our bodies are going to rise perfected with no more illness, no more disease, no more brokenness.
It's okay to pray for that healing now, nothing wrong with that, but you have the promise that God is going to bring that healing about fully through Jesus and through his resurrection from the dead. And just as I said to Michelle, there can be, I think, a spiritual component, but there is also very obviously a chemical component as well that I think we can't minimize. It's too simplistic to say, oh, you know, just try harder, believe harder, and just read the Bible and everything should be fine.
No, you wouldn't say that to someone who was sick with cancer or had broken a bone. And so, Bill, could you speak to some of that too, especially the chemical component and some of the wisdom that we need for that? You know, I'm troubled by the advice that that caller received from her pastor. You often talk about on this program that God reveals his truth to us in two different ways, through special revelation in scripture and then general revelation through nature, through his created order, through the way he's designed the world and the way he's designed us to best function. And, you know, the Old Testament sage who wrote Proverbs, the sage would say, you can observe how God made the world, and then based on that, you can offer prescriptive advice to people. And that's exactly what a doctor or a good therapist would do. And I'm troubled by the fact that, you know, the pastor said all your healing, all your answers are going to come in scripture when scripture itself points to God's natural general revelation. And the sage says to observe that and learn from that and apply that. And so I think I get very concerned when I hear pastors give that type of advice to somebody who's struggling with mental illness because you're setting them up for, I think, unneeded pain and suffering.
Yeah. I mean, Bill, what you said there was really helpful, and I agree with it. Ultimately, that kind of advice, the problem with that kind of advice is it's not biblical.
That kind of advice, the whole like, well, you don't need any wisdom outside of this. It's just, no, God actually gives us general revelation which communicates truth to us. I mean, it's different than God's special revelation there that we have in scripture, but that doesn't mean that we should ignore it or minimize it. It's to be used to the glory of God as well. Now, I think for a lot of pastors, we live in a society that's just sort of overly therapeutic where everything is just, you know, oh, that's a disease, take medicine for this or that. And Bill, I know you've talked about that as well. And so I think there's this pendulum swing that's happened where people see that, and they think, well, you go to a therapist, and they're just going to give you all this information about how there's no such thing as sin or you can just help yourself and figure it out on your own, take these pills and whatnot. And so they're responding to that. And so we have to have, I think, a healthy balance, a biblical balance about how to understand the natural world and also how to understand God's word given to us, wouldn't you say? Oh, so well said. And you're right, because nowadays we have many therapists who will give very unbiblical advice, in fact, things that are completely counter to God's word in scripture, completely counter to biblical truth and truth that we see in his natural revelation. They'll actually tell you things that are contrary, in my opinion, contrary to good science, and that is very troubling, so I think you're right.
We need to have a really good understanding of both, how God reveals himself to us in both the Bible and through his natural order. So let me just say both to that voicemail, to you, Michelle, and to Fernanda, God is at work in your lives, even through this difficulty, through this challenge, and you can bring this, this physical condition, this mental health issue to the Lord and know that he's gracious and merciful, that he's compassionate towards you, that you don't have to feel condemned or like, you know, you're a less-than Christian because you've gone to the doctor because you're taking medication for this. God's common grace, this is one of the things that he's given to help you and to encourage you, and so may the Lord be with you and bless you and give you that hope that we all have, that one day our bodies broken through sin and sickness will be restored fully because Jesus himself rose from the dead on our behalf for us so that we could have the hope of a perfect body too. God bless. .
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