Posted On October 22, 2015

indexThe world is broken, and even Christians experience that brokenness. David Murray is convinced that this needs repeating, especially as it relates the realities and sorrows of depression. That is, in part, why he wrote Christians Get Depressed Too. Despite having an axe to grind against the Biblical Counseling movement, Murray’s book has much to commend to the Biblical Counselor.

The book covers the typical subjects related to depression. It addresses the nature and complexity of depression, the symptoms, causes, and cures. It also contains a chapter for caregivers. Much of what is said will be found in countless other volumes, yet its concise format makes it highly accessible, especially to those who are depressed. Both the fact that it is compact, brief (112 pages), and written from a pastoral perspective makes it somewhat unique in the market.

It is not always clear, however, just to whom Murray is writing. The book seems aimed at both counselors and the depressed individual.  The mixed audiences can sometimes lead to confusion in the book and sometimes to distractions. It’s not easy to write for this diverse audience, yet it is not so bad that it hampers the value of the book as a whole.

Murray makes a strong case for being sensitive and careful in how we treat, counsel, and care for those brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer from depression. On this point he is right, though his criticisms of Biblical counseling seem unwarranted. He begins with a critical evaluation of its founder, Jay Adams. He writes that Adams “failed to appreciate the significant difference in kind between bad moods or short-term depressions of spirit, which are sometimes sinful and to be repented of, and the deeper kinds of depression, which often have far more complex causes than the sinful choices of individuals” (19). These criticisms aren’t unfair, and many within the movement, after Adams, have made similar claims on his overall approach to counseling. But then, strangely enough, Murray seems to suggest the fault is not with Adams but with those who came after him (22). Here he takes issue with the more modern manifestation of the movement, critiquing names like Ed Welch and CCEF. These criticisms seem far less valid.

Murray is right to press us to understand that Christians can experience depression. The tendencies of so many churches to suggest that a depressed person is in sin, or under demonic attack, are incredibly naïve and unhelpful. Yet, this does not represent the approach of Biblical Counseling. Countless articles and books have been written to correct this characterization. In fact, much of what Murray writes would be affirmed by the Biblical Counseling community.

If Murray sometimes buys a little too much into the psychological assumptions of emotional/mental disorders, he nonetheless offers wise Biblical counsel. His chapter on false thoughts that may lead to or at least exacerbate emotional/mental struggles is phenomenal. He walks readers carefully through the various false beliefs that seem so reasonable to us in the moment of emotional struggle and gives us wise counsel on addressing them. He is also very cautious to recommend medication for every situation. For being somewhat critical of the Biblical Counseling movement, he sounds a lot like a Biblical Counselor.

There’s much to appreciate about this book. If Murray had stayed focused on one goal the book would be even better. If he had made this a resource for the depressed I think it’s strengths would be more pronounced. If he had spent less time trying to parse out some perceived failures on the part of the Biblical counseling movement, I think it would be better. As it is, I think Christians Get Depressed Too is a useful book. With a few changes it could have been an even better book.

Related Posts

Approved Workers

Approved Workers

On today’s Warriors of Grace show, Dave continues the 2 Timothy series looking at 2 Timothy 2:14-21 and teaching Christians the truth and how to handle error correctly, and dealing with false teachers. What you’ll hear in this episode Dealing with false teachers....

Till All Our Strivings Cease: Enduring Exhaustion with Hope

Till All Our Strivings Cease: Enduring Exhaustion with Hope

“I’m so tired.” These words seem to come out of my mouth more and more these days and start off more journal entries than I can count. I feel physically tired, as though no amount of sleep could possibly replenish my energy, as well as emotionally tired. I hear these...

Wild Olive Branches

Wild Olive Branches

Romans 11:16-18, “If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the...

Deborah Howard- HELP! Someone I Love Has Alzheimer’s

Deborah Howard- HELP! Someone I Love Has Alzheimer’s

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave and Deborah Howard discuss Christian friendship and support in and out of the local church, advice for family members and friends with family or friends who have memory loss, the local church, and supporting family members...

When Sinful Comparison Rears Its Ugly Head, Draw Near to Jesus

When Sinful Comparison Rears Its Ugly Head, Draw Near to Jesus

I’d done it again. It was subtle, and neither my husband nor any of our five children sitting in the car with me knew what I had done. That’s how sneaky sinful comparison can be. While reading during a long road trip, right in the middle of a well-crafted sentence in...

The Jews and the Resurrection

The Jews and the Resurrection

Romans 11:13-15, “13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share18
Reddit
Email
Buffer
Tweet