“Christians Get Depressed Too” by David Murray Review
Since entering into pastoral ministry, I have realized how common depression and mental health issues are in the church and outside the church. Everywhere you go, someone is likely struggling with a mental health concern. Sadly, there is a misconception out there that Christians do not struggle with depression or other mental health issues. David Murray reminds us that “Christians get depressed too” in his book with this title. The work is an introduction to the topic of depression, along with rehearsal of some of its causes, cures, and tips of caregivers. It is well-researched and very accessible (112 pages).
Murray does a great job helping understand the nature of depression and how we can help those in the grips of it. I appreciated how he cautions us to “avoid extremes and seek balance” when trying to understand the nature of depression (13). We err when we reduce the cause or cure of depression to be only physical, spiritual, or mental (13-30). In reality, it is often a combination of the three, though possibly predominately one of them.
He lists the five main causes of depression to be stress, psychology, sin, sickness, and sovereignty (54-68). I appreciate how he including physical, spiritual and mental factors, and especially points how sin can be a main factor in depression. At the same time, he reminds the reader that when a Christian is depressed, it usually not due to unrepentant sin: it may be due brain chemistry or other factors or to God’s mysterious providence, as He uses even painful things like depression for our good and His glory.
Murray recognizes that there may be a place for prescription drugs to help with our brain chemistry (78)—some Christians really ought to avail themselves to the help of this instead of being afraid of the stigma attached to it. Yet, he also recognizes that this solution isn’t the right one if it is given while sin and repentance are not also given as part of the solution.
The book ends with a solemn warning to the unsaved: we must see our great need is not be delivered from depression, but to be delivered from our sin—something we experience through faith in Christ (100-101). It will do a person no ultimate good in the long haul (in eternity) if they are rescued from the effects of depression but not from the destructive effects of unrepentant sin, which will lead to hell.
I am a big fan of David Murray and find his works to be biblical and balanced. Go out and give this book a read and share it with others who want to learn about depression.