Christian Mental Health Professional: Exposing Satan’s Full-Frontal Attack on the Church Today by FRED ANTONELLI for Charisma News
Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series. Stay tuned for part two!
Young Christian pastors and church leaders are disposing of their faith—take Josh Harris and Marty Sampson for example. We’re seeing tragic young pastoral suicides like Jarrid Wilson of Harvest Christian Fellowship and Andrew Stoecklein, former lead pastor of Inland Hills Church. These events are terrible, confusing and even alarming. And do you know what? They should be, because there’s a full-frontal attack by Satan on the church today, and this time, he’s ambushing our emotional stability—and, I might add, with some real success. In my 23 years as a former senior pastor and 24 years as a licensed mental health professional, I’ve not seen such an onslaught of emotional dysfunction within church leadership as I have today—in particular, within younger church leaders.
Look, the days of theologically naive notions of not mixing mental wellness with your Christian faith-walk are over. As sure as there’s the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7b), there’s also the “walk[ing] through the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23:4b). If you’ve never experienced that yet, stay tuned. You will.
Martin Luther, the great Reformer himself, suffered from depression, perhaps a major mood disorder and was possibly even bipolar. Luther described his feelings as: “melancholy, heaviness, depression, dejection of spirit; downcast, sad and downhearted.” He struggled with these issues much of his life and often spoke about them in his writings. The poor guy agonized so often that he ended up self-medicating on way more beer and wine than he ever should have! Listen to his declaration of emotional pain:
“I spent more than a week in death and hell. My entire body was in pain, and I still tremble. Completely abandoned by Christ, I labored under the vacillations and storms of desperation and blasphemy against God.”
Here was a gigantic man of God, the “founder” of the entire Protestant movement, crying out in an emotionally painful and honest proclamation. It was as though he were saying, “I’m hurting here! Can you hear me? I both love God, and at the same time, the enemy is bombarding my mind with lie after lie that seems to be driving me mad!”