A Resolution on Mental Health Concerns

Baylight Counseling is not affiliated with or supported by any particular Christian denomination. Further, Baylight is designed to serve the Christian community at large, and welcomes those of various denominational or theological backgrounds.

That said, I have received much of my training in biblical counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and have pastored within the Southern Baptist Convention.

As a biblical counselor, I take great encouragement in the support given to the biblical counseling process and movement by way of the SBC seminaries embracing and providing degrees in this form of ministry.

Further, I'm encouraged by the resolution passed by the SBC in June 2013 concerning the right and duty of the church of Jesus Christ to be fully engaged in counseling. I affirm the words contained in this resolution, and offer it here for your review:

ON MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS AND THE HEART OF GOD
June 2013



WHEREAS, God made all things perfectly good in design for His glory and the good of humanity (Genesis 1–2); and

WHEREAS, Adam and Eve rebelled against Him, choosing their own way and the way of the Evil One, and consequently ushered sin and disorder into our world and the whole human race (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12–21; 8:22); and

WHEREAS, As a consequence of this Fall, humanity is subjected to many kinds of mental health problems including autism spectrum disorders; intellectual disability; mental health conditions like schizophrenia, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, and eating disorders; and diseases of the aged such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease; and 

WHEREAS, God did not abandon fallen humanity but loved the world (John 3:16–17) and launched a plan of redemption—a restoration that is incomplete in this age but will be perfected in heaven (1 Peter 1:3–9); and

WHEREAS, Those with mental health concerns, like all people, are crowned with honor and dignity, being made in the image and likeness of God (Psalm 8:4–6; James 3:9); and

WHEREAS, Those with mental health concerns are disproportionately represented among the homeless and in our correctional systems, indicating a tragic neglect of these persons who are made in God’s image; and

WHEREAS, Those who are struggling with mental health concerns often feel isolated, stigmatized, and rejected, sometimes resorting to self-destructive behaviors, including suicide; and 

WHEREAS, Suicide is a tragedy, leaving heartache, pain, and unanswered questions in its wake; and 

WHEREAS, Recent events in our nation and among God’s people have underscored the tragedy of mental health concerns and their devastating toll within our families, our churches, and our culture; and

WHEREAS, Jesus Christ spent time with and healed some of the most marginalized members of the culture of His day; and

WHEREAS, God has appointed His people to be the main representatives of His heart and values to the world; and 

WHEREAS, God has called us to share the Gospel of Christ with all people, including those suffering various mental health concerns; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, on June 11–12, 2013, affirm that those with mental health concerns are of immeasurable value to God; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the mission Jesus described as His own in Luke 4:18-19 should also be the mission of His church, namely to proclaim liberty to those who are oppressed by means of godly biblical counsel; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit to affirm, support, and share God’s love and redemption with those with mental health concerns; and be it further 

RESOLVED, That we oppose all stigmatization and prejudice against those who are suffering from mental health concerns; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we support the wise use of medical intervention for mental health concerns when appropriate; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we support research and treatment of mental health concerns when undertaken in a manner consistent with a biblical worldview; and be it further

RESOLVED, That families who have lost a member to suicide deserve great care, concern, and compassion from Christians and their churches, including the assurance that those in Christ cannot be separated from the eternal love of God that is in Christ Jesus; and be it finally 

RESOLVED, That we call on all Southern Baptists and our churches to look for and create opportunities to love and minister to, and develop methods and resources to care for, those who struggle with mental health concerns and their families.

One of the great myths of biblical counseling is that those trained in its practice employ a "take two verses and call me in the morning" approach. This is a gross misunderstanding not only of clinically-informed biblical counseling, but of the very real and present help afforded believers who struggle with problematic emotions and relationships in the pages of Scripture.

Hopefully, this resolution will help instill a growing confidence in those considering biblical counseling for themselves or those they care about, that this model for soul care is both trustworthy, and effective. With an eye toward our physical brokenness and need of the medical communities assistance, we can indeed turn to the One who is both Designer and Redeemer of human souls (Prov. 14:26).