This is a very short book, but a very important one. Christians get depressed too is by David Murray, a Scots man living and lecturing in America at the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and blogs brilliantly over at HeadHeartHand.Posterous.com. I’ve followed Murray over the past couple of years, especially after watching this video he made:
I knew after that video that here was a man who had a good and balanced view of the Christian and depression. I was so glad when I saw he brought this book out at the end of last year. I got myself and Sammy to get a copy to read and discuss (you can read his review here). You can only get it as a Kindle e-book (for less that £4 though) at the momement, but I’m sure you could ship it over.
In essence, Murray takes the view that depression is something that Christians can suffer from. As we live in a fallen world with fallen bodies, it is only natural that some of us will experience depression in one way or another. He makes a good case of showing experiences of various kinds of depression in the Bible.
Where his particular strength and wisdom comes is in the way he able to balance the emotional, psychological, medical and spiritual. He does not see things in a one dimensional, dogmatic manner. He does not believe that medication on it’s own is the answer, or that prayer and confession on their own are the answer. Rather, Murray takes the view that we diagnose where the problem is coming from and work from the correct premise.
For many this will be a real relief and balm for their souls. Some people have a chemical imbalance in the brain which means they have not caused their depression by an act of sin or an unrepentant set of decisions. However, others have depression that is in part due to their circumstances, and perhaps their actions or reactions in those. Thus a mixture of medication, counselling and confession may be needed.
The big thing that came across to me was that we should hold fire on being judgemental and going for a 1-size-fits-all approach to helping those who are afflicted with depression.
Every pastor MUST read this book. It is short, accurate, balanced and insightful.
Any Christian who wants to help a believer with depression should read this book.
If you are suffering from depression, and are able to read a short book, then this will be a help to you.
Murray is both academically sharp and pastorally sensitive. A beautiful combination.