Mental Health and My Response to John MacArthur

christianity personal

On the latest episode of the Cabernet and Pray podcast, I responded to a recently viral clip on mental health in the Christian community. As some of you might be aware, a clip featuring Pastor John MacArthur has been circulating on social media. In this episode, we’ll dive into the theology and arguments MacArthur presents and offer a contrasting perspective to his views on mental health and medication. It’s a heavy subject that needs to be addressed openly and compassionately. 

For those unfamiliar with John MacArthur, he’s a prominent pastor who substantially influences the Christian community. His staunch opinions often make waves, and while his theological insights are valued by many, they sometimes stir controversy. In a recent statement, MacArthur rejected the existence of conditions like PTSD, OCD, and ADHD, labeling them as “noble lies” perpetuated by big pharma to medicate people. As someone who has walked a challenging path with a child facing mental illness, I find his views not only outdated but harmful.

My wife and I have had to navigate the system to seek help for our child. We've encountered people who don't believe mental illness is real, making our journey lonelier and more difficult. It’s an isolating and strenuous road, but we cling to hope and continue to fight for our child's well-being.

In our experience, proper parenting isn't a cure-all against mental illness. MacArthur’s assertion that behavior is purely a result of children's choices is simplistic and overlooks the complex interplay of genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental factors. Yes, parenting matters, but it doesn’t hold absolute sway over a child’s mental health. A book I often reference states that parents of behaviorally challenging kids receive unwarranted blame, and it couldn’t be more accurate. We must understand that even with the best parenting, purely positive outcomes are not guaranteed.

My son needs medication. Without it, the challenges he faces would be insurmountable. Blaming medication for drug addiction and criminal behavior is not only misleading but dangerous. It stigmatizes those who genuinely benefit from medical interventions designed to balance their lives. Mental illness is not a sign of weak character or poor parenting—it’s a legitimate health issue that requires appropriate treatment.

One of the Bible passages that resonates deeply with me is 2 Corinthians 12, where the Apostle Paul speaks of his struggles and the realization that weakness can lead to strength. It's a poignant reminder that inherent in our vulnerabilities are opportunities for growth and resilience. And shaming one another or denying the challenges we face isn't going to help. Check out episode 21, and let's change the narrative of this conversation together.

You can watch the video of the episode above or click here to listen to the audio (or wherever you listen to podcasts).

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