A couple of weeks ago I watched this video interview with Dr David Powlison, How does Biblical Counseling view Psychiatric Drugs? I had some pastoral concerns about this video, and expressed them in this blog post, Who sinned? This man or his parents.
Last weekend I was privileged to receive a response from Dr Powlison. I asked him if he would mind me posting his response on my blog without further comment by me. Dr Powlison gave his OK, and said he had no problem with me responding. However, to let Dr Powlison’s words have their full weight and significance, I think it’s best to let them stand alone.
David M, I so appreciate your thoughtful response to my brief podcast. In fact I fully agree with your pastoral instincts. Depression per se is suffering, not sin, something many ministries miss. Symptomatic reliefs of many sorts are not to be despised, lightening burdens is a good. My mention of what each of us brings to suffering (“issues”), did not imply that sin is the underlying cause of depression, or that depression reduces to sin, or is cured by dealing with sin. To those who would merely medicalize depression, I meant to communicate “Don’t forget the person” by either over-medicalizing or over-situationalizing. On the other hand, I’d say to those who reduce depression to sin, “In your eagerness to deal with sin in light of Christ, don’t forget that people are physically-embodied and socially-embedded, and that both are vectors of sufferings,” some of which can be alleviated in part, some of which are intractable until the last day.By “meaning and relationship” I intended the opposite of how you took my too-brief words. These things are good gifts we bring to sufferers (both personally and as bearers of Christ). My citing those words was not an allusion to strugglers’ personal failings. It was a reference to the potential for the church to enter in and care helpfully for strugglers. It describes a gift, not a diagnosis. In the context of Christian meaning and love, sufferers find encouragement, hope, and growth in grace, even as we all must endure through darkness. Blessings, David P