Ed Welch has written a thoughtfully balanced post titled: “Can We Be Positive about Psychiatric Medications?”
I posted the following response:
We all must recognize how agonizingly difficult it is to summarize what should be said about this subject in the brief space allotted. Ed has written with pastoral sensitivity and theological faithfulness. Unfortunately some of those who reject the role of medication as helpful in certain cases and necessary in others, wrongly think that faithfulness to the Bible requires their position. In reality, such conclusions more likely come from a superficial understanding of the Bible.
Christian counselors have a unique advantage of being holistically honest in dealing with human problems. A thorough Biblical theology protects us from simplistic reductions because we know that God has made humans as physical, psychological, social and spiritual beings. Each of these dimensions must be considered when understanding behavior.
Those who accept the Biblical narrative of creation in God’s image and the subsequent fall from glory, will also acknowledge (from Scripture and pervasive empirical evidence) that the most corrupting and alienating force in the world (sin) has affected each dimension of life. Analysis and solutions that do not take seriously this painful truth will be superficial at best.
Unlike other disciplines, Christian counselors do not treat people as products of impersonal chance. Since we know that there is a personal creator, we call people to more than horizontal perspectives about life.
Yet one’s sociology (relationships and life circumstances) plays a huge role (by divine intent) in shaping one’s life. This must be considered by those who desire to counsel the whole person holistically (based on a full theological perspective). While it is true that we are individuals who have been made in the image of God (and therefore to be treated accordingly), we are also individuals in community. This was God’s original plan when He stated that it was not good for the man to be alone. Our story is not meant to be one formed in isolation but in a social context — for better or for worse.
Wisdom calls us to consider a wider perspective of life as we help individuals address their deepest needs. A person’s social history and context must be explored as part of this perspective. This is validated by the fact that a key component in turning life toward a godly and healthy direction includes changes of association (see: Psalm 1:1-3).
Authentic consideration should also be given to one’s physiology. This requires involvement from medical professionals but should not be approached as a one-dimensional solution. We are more than our brains and bodies. In counseling others, we should not discount any part or dimension of humanity. This approach protects us from harmful and simplistic reductions of behavior to one-dimensional sources and solutions.
See also: Divine Concession and the Bible