Reading with the Pastor
“Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;
Preserve my life from dread of the enemy.”
Psalm 64:1 (ESV)
I am reading a book written by one of my professors from seminary. For years I have looked upon him as one of the great gifts to the body of Christ in our generation. He has, in a word, a mighty mind. To hear him take apart an argument, or defend a particular doctrine, or analyze a passage of Scripture or synthesize a stream of thought is to hear a “mind in full”. He is one of those thinkers, who when you hear him, your instant thought is, “I’m glad he’s on our side.”
Nothing I am reading in his latest work diminishes my perception of his usefulness to the King of kings or of his life and writings. But I am surprised about what I am reading.
Since 2003, my friend and mentor, ex-professor and colleague (for about three years I lectured at the same seminary he did) has been fighting a grueling battle with mental illness. He didn’t become “unspiritual”. He didn’t lose or abandon his faith. But he did and has struggled with a very real battle of the mind and spirit that threatened to undue him. And now he is telling his story, coming out so to speak, in the hopes that his struggle might be useful to the rest of us. I am thankful for his honesty and delighted to recommend his book for those of us who struggle with anxiety and depression and don’t know where to turn or how to think about these issues biblically and Christianly.
J.P. Moreland is one of the most acclaimed and accomplished Christian Philosophers of our time. His books have been read by thousands and seminarians and Bible College students in most major seminaries in the country and even around the world are aware of the steady stream of thoughtful tomes that have come from his glistening mind. I own four or five of his at least 16 books and every one has challenged my mind and heart to become more than I would have been without them.
So two weeks ago, when I started to peruse my shelves and search on line for helps in a counseling situation with a young lady in our church struggling with some OCD, anxiety and depression, I was surprised to find that my old friend and mentor had a new book dealing with just those issues.
The book arrived in my Kindle two days ago and 25% through the book, he has won my trust again and I am ready to recommend it to any sufferers with similiar issues. I am looking forward to getting smarter, wiser, more sensitive and helpful to families in crisis in our increasingly terrifying world. The book?
Caution and Counsel: Dr. Moreland suggests in his introduction that chapter 1, which lays a foundation for understanding the biblical concept of the soul, is a bit challenging. It is, but the author does an admirable job of keeping the concepts understandable. He recommends reading that chapter twice to set the concepts in your mental architecture. It is good counsel. Don’t give up in the first chapter; there is real help here.
Let Dr. Moreland lead you back out of the darkness to the God who longs to hear and respond to your cries for help. God sees in the dark and He can lead us out.