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Prozac or Inner Peace?

Christians may be taking more antidepressants than the secular population. According to a recent article in The Standard Report on, in some churches, half the congregation is medicated. This issue isn’t about people with clinical depression who need medicine for a short time. Rather we should ask why so many Christians need chemicals to carry on.

The article says, “Christians claim the truth from the hymn “Power in the Blood” and the Apostle John’s concept of “abundant life". But why are they caught up in an emotional existence of mere survival? The church is supposed to be the place to find the answer, the cure, Jesus. Instead, it has become a social gathering of sedated spiritualists lining the pews. They dress neatly, implying a sense of togetherness, and they sing songs that describe surrender to their God that they didn’t naturally wake up experiencing.”

For years, I have said that perfectionism is killing the church. Now there’s proof. Recent studies link a high risk of suicide to antidepressant drugs including Effexor, Luvox and Paxil and Prozac. The FDA is finally considering labels warning of the suicide risk. Beyond that, all drugs are debilitating to one degree or another. None heal the root causes.

So, when our leader is the Prince of Peace, why do so many in the Church need sedation? The article suggests, “This disease choking the church may be embedded in the phenomenon that a friend described to me as “sin management.” Some churches are being unrealistic about addressing shortcomings, failures, disappointments and sin in the lives of Christians. Depression and anxiety have become private struggles that women and men mask with medication and mention only in confidence to one another. But these strongholds are not being addressed from the pulpit. If Jesus really is “the way, the truth and the life,” then why isn’t that message applied to the issue of depression?”

Regrettably, Christians often think words alone solve all our problems – as if we can somehow preach people into holiness and wholeness. But better preaching alone isn’t the answer. Jesus warned we will err if we don’t know both God’s Word and His power. Fortunately, His power is ours for the asking. Sadly, large segments of the Church don’t want it.

A case in point: I was asked to lead a personal growth retreat for the men in a large, prosperous evangelical church. The men who invited me saw the need in many of their guys and felt I could help. Church leaders pulled the plug on it when they learned that I believe in healing. The associate pastor who did that told me healing isn’t for today. Their head elder said as long as I believed in healing they would never let me speak there again. God’s power threatened their cherished dogma.

Jesus’ healing exposed the impotence of religious leaders in his day. This church was similarly threatened by anyone who implied that believers can do the works that Jesus did and greater (John 14:12). In this Bible ‘believing church’, an elder told me they were scandalized that I taught that.

But Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He can and does heal anything today. He is especially concerned to help us with the dis-eases of our heart, for from it proceed all the issues of life.

Emotional problems require emotional solutions. This is why counseling and drugs can’t heal them. The very name Christ means anointed, and Jesus was anointed to heal the brokenhearted, liberate the bruised, and set the captives free (Luke 4:18-20). This healing specifically applies to the roots of depression, anxiety, compulsions and all other forms of deliverance from emotional and spiritual evil. Jesus freely shares His anointing with His Church, giving us gifted healers to equip and heal us to take this wonderful good news to a nation that is rapidly becoming addicted to prescription drugs. We have the power the world needs to cure all its dis-eases. I see it unleashed at every retreat I lead and every personal consultation. There is a balm in Gilead. If you need it, He invites you to receive it.

The CBN article ended with this comment and a poignant question: “It is not Christ’s design that Christians be dependent on anything but him for physical, emotional and spiritual stability. We teach that Jesus is enough; we say that he has changed our lives, that the old has gone away and that we have been born into new life. But if this is the case, then why is the church full of people suppressing secret struggles with depression?”

I believe it is because its leaders are in denial about the true state of God’s people. Also, seminaries teach pastors how to talk, they don’t teach them how to heal or help people at a deep level. Until that changes, instead of helping to heal and disciple the world, the Church will only get sicker. God’s Word promises healing for all our diseases, body, soul and spirit. Doctrine and even biblical counseling alone can’t do that.

As Martin Luther King Jr. used to say, the problem isn’t bad men, it’s blind men. Jesus said the hearts of religious leaders, “has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn so that I should heal them.” Thankfully, Jesus can still open blind eyes. Let us pray that today’s church leaders will let Him.

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