41: A Discussion About Mental Health with Daniel Berger


⬇️ LISTENER COMMENTS BELOW ⬇️


What You'll Discover in this Episode:

Dr. Daniel R. Berger II is the founder and director of Alethia International Ministries (AIM), where he continues to write and to speak around the country in various churches, organizations, medical communities, and at various counseling and teacher's conferences. He is also an experienced pastor, counselor, school administrator, and the author of ten books on Biblical counseling, practical theology, education, and the history and philosophy of the current mental health construct.


In this episode Dr. Daniel Berger and Pastor Jeff talk about mental-illness. There is a separation from physical and spiritual sickness, that is talked about in this episode. 


Biblical counseling is needed because of the fall of man written about in Genesis Chapter 3. When dealing with any problem whether it presents as a mental health problem or something with a clear connection to the physical, we should return to Genesis Chapter 3 where it all began.


  • In the narrative of Genesis 3:7-21 we find that when man fell from his state of innocence, he fell in four broad categories.
  • Man fell in relationship to God - Genesis 3:7-11 (resulting in trying to hide from Him).
  • Man fell in relationship to Self - Genesis 3:7-11 (resulting in the problem of identity confusion and self-centeredness).
  • Man fell in relationship to other People - Genesis 3:12 (resulting in alienation between people, in this case Adam blaming Eve).
  • Man fell in relationship to nature - Genesis 3:13-19 resulting in ecological breakdown and hardship as man sought to live in a fallen universe.


There is much more that we could say about this chapter but in dealing with any problem it helps us to now that man brought this on himself and only with a proper world view that includes the nature of sin can we truly know how to press on in the Christian life even though we are not yet without sin (see Paul’s struggle with sin and how he did not allow the fallenness of this world hold him back from following Christ – Philippians 3:12 in context).


These broad categories overlap. Any time we have a physical ailment we are often tempted to blame God or become hostile to others. Yet just as nature fell so our bodies deteriorate and die. This is normal this side of heaven as is sadness, anxiety and a host of other bothersome problems. But understanding God’s remedy to the Fall helps us to understand how He desires us to live for Him.

In verse 7 of Genesis 3 Adam and Eve tried to cover their shame with leaves and the hid from God. What we find is not that God brought an immediate end to their suffering, but He brought a substantial answer for all mankind. We see this in verse: 21: And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. God shed the blood of innocent animals to cover man’s sin. Commentators through the years have seen this as our first glimpse into the work of Christ. That God would shed the blood of the innocent to remove the shame and hostility of man’s sin.


Are you sad? There might be a good reason. If it is because your friend is suffering do something for your friend that shows the love of the Lord. Are you sad because you sinned and have ruined your relationship with someone and with God? Confess your sin to God and to the person you wronged and lean on the faithfulness of the Savior. Perhaps your problem is less definable. You are one who often experiences a sadness in life, and you don’t know why. Well, you know that unruly emotions are a result of the fall. You know that Jesus faced profound grief and sadness in the Garden the night He was betrayed (John 17) and rather than avoiding the Father’s will He pressed on with what He knew was the right thing to do and brought salvation to all who would believe.


Even when struggling with neurological conditions that tear the body apart or the sadness that makes it hard to face the day the answer is always to follow God’s remedy for dealing with these conditions (including going to a physician for relief they might be able to provide). His remedy always includes trusting Him and pressing on to grasp or lay hold of that for which He has laid hold of you by the power of the finished work of Christ. God’s timing might not be your timing but after the torture of the cross and separation from the Father He rose again to new life. He also promises to raise us and while we await our blessed hope and His glorious appearing we can walk in a way that honors Him and gives us a new reason for overcoming the results of the Fall by going to Him with our sin, our struggles our relationships and our work in this world and living in a way that honors Him (Titus 2:11-14)


Scroll down to leave a comment. 


Highlights

  • Dr. Daniel Berger ask the question, "what is normal?".
  • As we counsel we aim discipleship and sanctification regardless of the diagnosis.
  • We must remember that dealing with the physical issue will not restore the person spiritually.
  • We must seek wisdom and discernment from the Bible to help with the spiritual issues that we face.
  • There are physical medical issues that must be brought to light through the use of a medical doctor, but the medical doctors is unable to help with the spiritual issues.
  • At the core discipleship and growth in Christ will help the individual with dealing with the physical illness they may face. 

Resources:

  • Dr. Daniel Berger's Website
  • Genesis 3 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”... 
  • Hebrews 11:1-3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen... 
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding... 
  •  Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  •  Ephesians 4:22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts 

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  • April says:

    Great podcast! I won’t begin to say I even slightly understand what is being taught here only that I am one who has been diagnosed with bi-polar genetically going back at least 3 generations. My family has gone thru the entire spectrum of treatment dating back to shock. My daughter who is a social worker has been completely deceived by the secular realm, but I do not agree with what has been presented. For me it all comes back to when my psychiatrist said well just try this and such on you but there is no actual blood test to determine what you need. This went on for many years even though I truly believe that God is my healer. I am very interested to fully understand this study and will read the additional information that Dr. Berger offers.

    • Bill Hines says:

      April, I am so sad for the pain you and your family has endured. I appreciate also your looking to our Lord for help. I have found as a biblical counselor and as a follower of Christ that whatever the issue is we are always called to a deeper walk with Christ. During what the medical community would have called a deep clinical depression I found that focusing first on Him as our blessed hope (Titus 2:11-14) who trains us how to live in this fallen world and then asking Him to renew my mind with His Word (Romans 12:1-2) as to my situation and what I should be about each day regardless how I feel that He is faithful to lead me to a better place. I have found Him faithful in my own physical and emotional pain (1 Cor. 10:13). It all got better for me when I humbled myself and accepted Him even in the midst of pain and began to follow Him in a new way. There are always challenges but the same, faithful God. May God grant you the clear perspective that comes with following Him as a disciple.

      • April says:

        Thank you Bill. Are you the Bill Hines that wrote “Leaving Yesterday Behind”? I just purchased it for my online course with Pastor Jeff.

    • Sherra Krabbenhoft says:

      April, no one wants to feel like they are being experimented on, yet so much of psychiatric treatment is just that. Praise God that He has shown you his healing, He is faithful to us as we obey Him, even in the middle of the trials. May God use your testimony for His glory!

    • Josiah Arceo says:

      Hearing about the contradictions of secular knowledge with the truth of the Word of God hugely distresses me. If we accept what secular knowledge has to say about mental illnesses, then we end up with conclusions that there are people out there who are not normal and can only be mended (or treated) with the consumption of medicine. I love what Mr. Hines has said about his struggle. He had to trust the Word of God to change the way that he thinks.

      This comment is in step with what Dr. Berger mentioned about neuroplasticity; our mind and our ability to respond to stimuli is dependent on what we believe. Let our faith change us from the inside out.

      • Athena Williams says:

        I completely agree, Josiah. People are being deceived when they are most vulnerable and hurting, told that there is something wrong with them and that they can only be “normal” by being medicated. Thank God that He is powerful to overcome the enemy who produces these insidious lies! We need to be on the front lines raising awareness, sharing the truth of hope in Christ!

    • jeffchristianson says:

      Hi April, Here is a credible discussion about genetics. Thought you might find it helpful! https://kellybroganmd.com/depression-caused-by-genetics-most-likely-not/

      • April says:

        THank you Pastor Jeff!

      • John Eastham says:

        Jeff, the link about depression and genetics is unusually well grounded. Brogan gives a good summary of the research findings, not the opinion of one or two unknown medical/psychiatry “experts” who have websites or blogs. She does a good job explaining how/why researchers came to their previous (and wrong) conclusions about a genetic link. One must appreciate the eleven references to primary research literature.

        I loved Brogan’s summary comment, “The way out of depression doesn’t require new ancestry….”

        She gets close to the true answer about “ simple steps towards self-ownership and attending to lifestyle habits that are asking to be transformed.” Transformation through Jesus, of course, is the true answer. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

    • Abel says:

      Hey April!
      Sorry to hear about your family’s struggle in the medical world. Praying for you and your daughter who has been blinded by the enemy.
      I’m glad that God is your solid Rock and Healer! He will keep working on us every day until the day we are joined with Him in heaven. And in this life, we are faced with challenges and trials which man has tried to solve himself. This has led to many more pains and emptiness which can only be resolved upon returning to the Lord. I feel that medicine is only partly a science because God made these bodies so intricately and complex that we simply don’t have the understanding of it all. That’s why I also feel like sometimes they are just grasping at straws, hoping something will work or make a change in a person’s condition when in reality, what we really need is JESUS!

    • Anthony Mojica says:

      April,
      Thank you for sharing such personal information. I too am taking this educational path with the expectation of one day being an instrument of hope to others. Your statement, “I truly believe that God is my healer.” really touched me. It reminded me of the faith of the woman in Matthew 9. This woman knew if she could just touch the hem of his garment she would be healed. Here’s looking in faith to leading many others to our Jesus.
      -a

  • Margaret Deherrera says:

    Very interesting pod cast, I have been very interested in mental health since I was diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety and Panic attacks like 5 yrs ago, and I started having to see a psychiatrist and they made me feel like a guinea pig and wanted to try one thing after another, to find what worked best for me but not based off of anything but what medication they thought would help. Then I started seeing a Biblical counselor who helped me in the areas of what I thinking she focused only on one thing and that was the truth God’s Word I also work Dementia and Alzheimer. I definitely will be getting the book that Dr. Berger is putting out in February and any other material he has. It has been very interesting to see things from a doctor’s perspective and from a biblical counselor, their methods of helping are so different Dr’s go by trial and error and scientific research, and a biblical counselor only using one thing and that is the truth, they ask you what is in your heart and what are you thinking and then they go to scripture to help you see the truth of things. I look forward to getting better knowledge thru all this material.

    • Anne Marie Maguire says:

      Hi Margaret, I learnt a lot by reading your comment especially the part where you talked about the difference between the doctor’s perspective and a biblical counselor’s perspective, the methods they use “Dr’s go by trial and error and scientific research, and a biblical counselor only using one thing and that is the truth.” My experience of the doctor’s method was: to help my depression years ago they gave me pills that acted as a band-aid but never helped me deal with my issues. But by studying the bible and some Christian counsel I felt a deeper recovery from my abusive past.

      • jeffchristianson says:

        I think that every Biblical Counselor should have a relationship with a Christian Medical Doctor. The two will work hand in hand. Many doctors don’t have the time (not inclination) to work with people and disciple them. So, they offer quick solutions with medication (mainly because we Americans demand a quick fix and an immediate answer). A Counselor who has the help of a medical doctor and the doctor who has the help of a counselor can make a mighty team for God’s glory in helping people!!

        • Margaret Deherrera says:

          I totally agree with what you are saying Pastor Jeff, if we could have both work together. I totally know about the quick fixes the medication gives and although I appreciated the medication to help with everything I was feeling at the time. I started seeing a biblical counsel who helped me to the issue behind everything. and the counselor had way more time to walk with me and just be there to work with me. and show me God’s love. I think it would benefit more people if the 2 could work together. After working with a doctor who helped me to think straight so I could see a biblical counselor who helped me see that I need the counsel from the Great Physician, and God used her to help me to heal so in time not only did my relationship with my Heavenly Father get more intimate, I was actually winged off all the medication I had been taking and although I still struggle from time to time I know who the main source to go to

        • Anne Marie Maguire says:

          Thanks Jeff, in Ireland there are not many Christian doctors, but I was blessed to have a great pastor and his wonderful wife who advised me about my physical health and were there to support me by answering my questions about the bible. So the church has a huge role in helping those in need!

  • Hannah Somerville says:

    Wow! This is a great podcast. Very insightful and eye opening. I loved when Dr. Berger said:

    “We ask what is normal so that we can reveal what is abnormal.” And ” There is human phenomena, that is not approachable with science because it is internal.”
    He goes on to say: “we are all really messed up and we all need to be repaired in the mind.” All people fit the abnormal description.

    It was clarifying to hear that a lot of people mix up the physical brain with the immaterial mind. I hadn’t made that defined of a distinction before. He also reiterates that the spiritual affects the physical.
    Lastly, it was a crucial reminder to hear that Satan attacks the character of God by saying he is not good and then he says God didn’t say that. Knowing this can help us fight against the lies and seek truth.

    • Autumn Duncan says:

      Hi Hannah! I agree that the separation of the physical brain and the immaterial mind was an interesting point. I also agreed completely with the statement about how the spiritual affects the physical. I know when I was younger and on the fence with the Lord. I was sick a lot more and it was directly related to the poor choices I was making. Overall, this podcast was so insightful 🙂

  • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

    Great Podcast (A Discussion About Mental Health with Dr. Daniel Berger) by Pastor Jeff Christianson; in which Dr. Daniel Berger passionately discussed the psychiatric definition of normal; illustrating whether or not mental illness is a matter of anthropology or strictly science?
    In his explanation, the concept of abnormal people will ultimately go back to the ideas of normal or normalcy. Talking about whether or not ‘mental illness is a matter of anthropology or strictly science’; Dr. Daniel Berger discussed in perspective that not only in anthropology but also in secular psychology and specifically in psychiatry, being discussed extensively in the subject of phenomenality, it’s basically a human phenomenon that’s not approachable with science (e.g. the sorrow, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, being suicidal or the emotions of a man can’t be observed internally within man’s soul/ conscience – usually considered as human phenomenon that aren’t approachable to the scientific methods). We only know what that are expressing and in accordance with what we know. Psychiatry has tried to present, not only a universal standard to make everyone have the same phenomenality but have created identity for people’s idea of human phenomenon (generally called consciousness or we will call the soul/ spiritual nature of man biblically).
    One quick way the enemy promotes mental illness is through deception as it happened to my cousin in her youth. She suddenly started believing the false lifestyle of the world and ended up in the psychiatric home where she died before anyone could understand the nature of her illness (Genesis 3 – Satan challenged/ attack the character of God, the Word of God, and presented his new identity of falsehood to her.).
    Normalcy can only be attained in Christ as we lean on Him and trust in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6; John 8:36, Hebrews 11:1).
    Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
    In the words of Pastor Jeff, we as Christians and Christian counselors must be guided by the Word of God, which is sufficient and answers life’s problems.

    • Sherra Krabbenhoft says:

      Thank you Esther, this is a wonderful summary of the discussion. I am so sorry about your cousin, what a hard loss that must have been. This podcast certainly made me reconsider the idea of “normal”. I hadn’t ever looked at Jer. 17:9 from this perspective before. Deception is a human condition, God is truly the only answer.

      • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

        True Sherra and thanks for your concern. God is truly the only answer.
        Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

  • Anne Marie Maguire says:

    Power podcast full of hope for those suffering under the stigma and labels of mental illness. I was set free myself from addiction, depression and anxiety by becoming a Christian and changing my worldview. I know that sin was my issue all along. Sins that I committed and sin that was done to me(abuse). By repenting and believing in Jesus I started my journey to healing and was able to forgive. I believe that creationism helped me understand why the world is so messed up and the great hope we have to share with others. Dr Berger just put the pieces together for me which have helped me understand this on a deeper level thanks!

    • Autumn Duncan says:

      I love your statement about starting your journey to healing and you were able to forgive. That is a big piece to our healing. I know it was for me and it’s a process. Part of the forgiveness is also accepting the forgiveness from the Lord for our past transgressions.

      • Anne Marie Maguire says:

        Thanks Autumn. As soon as I received the forgiveness of God in my life for my past sins and began to see myself as a child of God, loved by God. I felt the love of God fill my heart and life and while reading the bible the words of Jesus struck me “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28. The bible transformed my view of my abusive family and in the end over time I was reconciled with my family.

  • Autumn Duncan says:

    Thank you Dr. Daniel Berger and Pastor Jeff for this podcast. I appreciate your boldness to discuss a sensitive topic. I like how Dr. Berger explains phenomenology and the history behind this way of classifying people’s mental health. I can’t wait to order your book to go deeper in this area as my family has “mental illness” history and have learned so much through the classes at CCU to find the truth and help me understand the deeper issue with a Biblical World View. I wish my aunt would have known how wonderfully she was made and how she could seek comfort in the Lord but she was told repeatedly she was depressed and believed the lies from the enemy. She committed suicide two years ago and it has drawn me closer to the Lord.

    Knowing the lies from the enemy is important as it will help us be on the offensive to be actively praying and having knowledge in our identity in Christ. An important statement that Dr. Berger made was knowing that the spiritual affects the physical. I couldn’t agree more as when I have gone through difficult times on a spiritual level, I will get sick in some way. I appreciate the separation of the neurological disorders with the other mental illness from humanism.

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      Thanks for your line of thoughts Autumn as I am also grateful to Dr. Daniel Berger and Pastor Jeff for this Podcast because it addressed several pertinent issues in my life. I was emotionally deranged almost to the point of committing suicide, but God’s Mercy delivered me from the pit of death.
      Psalms 86:13 For great is Your mercy toward me, and You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

      • Autumn Duncan says:

        I’m so glad to hear that you’ve been delivered through God’s mercy. The lies from the enemy can deceive us and stop us from God’s purpose in our life. He has a great purpose for you!

    • Alejandro Anchondo says:

      Hey there, thank tou for sharing your story so honestly. I pray your studies equip you to help others.
      On another note, i also appreciated the classifying of the 3 types of “mental illness.” It allows us to help those who need medical help, to give truth to those who have deceptions building in their minds, and to make clear the true joy we have in Christ. I look forward to reading his books as well. Can’t wait.

    • Margaret Deherrera says:

      Thank you for your thoughts on the pod cast. I am right there with you on how the classes have helped me see things thru a biblical perspective then just from a secular one. My condolences on your aunt, I am glad it has drawn you closer to the Lord and has helped you to somewhat understand the lies of the enemy and how he tries to twist things. I wish that my brother was able to get comfort from the Lord and see how the enemy twists thing and how he is just there to kill, steal and destroy. My brother completed suicide 10 months ago, and I have been drawing my comfort from the Lord. and ever day I wish he would of opened his heart to God to see God’s mercy and Grace he gives us every day.

      • Autumn Duncan says:

        I’m so sorry about your brother. It can be painful journey ahead with so many questions. The Lord has reminded me that many of the questions I have and the pain I feel will be healed but not on this side of eternity. I will be praying for you!

  • Sherra Krabbenhoft says:

    This is such an interesting conversation to me and one that I have spent a lot of time both studying in the Word and in prayer over. I appreciated hearing some of the historical background of psychology, it was certainly presented differently that I was ever taught in school. I have seen God work in miraculous ways in the lives of those I love as they walk through depression, anxiety and hopelessness. However I still don’t feel settled about classifying all “mental illness” as deception and not a physiologically caused. For example, I have a dear friend, who I have known since childhood. She loves the Lord, yet over the years I have sat twice with her in psychiatric emergency rooms in the throws of psychotic breaks. We have talked at length afterwards about what happens and how she feels and she has told me that the thoughts she is having while in the midst of it are as logical to her as the conversation we are having at that moment, but it is only later, when she is stable again that she can look back with great grief to see how “crazy” what she believed was. I am curious if Dr. Berger and others would say, if this type of mental illness is purely spiritual? I love his description of all people as deceived, but this type of psychosis seems a step beyond deceived. Thoughts?

    • jeffchristianson says:

      Hi Sherra! There are amazing answers to your question about this experience you mention. So much biblical scholarship available. You comment that “God work in miraculous ways”. I agree. I notice a lot of students make the comment that “God heals”. What I don’t see people discussing is that God works through discipleship. Discipleship includes seeking a doctors help (walking with the one you love to the doctors office). Helping them eat right, get good sleep, go for a run (or to the gym for exercise). This is also including in loving someone as a christian counselor. Yes, it is important to help them with spiritual disciplines (reading the Word, prayer, fellowship, worship, attending church, serving, giving, etc). I am surprised that folks are missing the point being made. Man is a two fold (or three fold) being. Psychosomatic. I do not think Dr. Berger ever implied that problems are purely spiritual. The point is that psychiatry is unbiblical and not medical in it’s philosophy. It is not a pure science. It is a lot of guess work (at best) and saturated with deception (at worst). Now, please understand that 50% of Americans are taking psychotropic medication (or a close loved one is). This means the topic is heated with emotion and experience (she said this, he said this, they felt like this, that and the other). Not medical science. Just experiential testimonies that are antidotal in nature. So, the topic is highly provocative (provokes emotional reactions) simply because, “I know someone who says so.” I am teaching students that will help people. But, take note, that many of these discussions cannot be had with those that are currently under duress. it is simply inappropriate to go the academic route with those you counsel – it is for shaping a biblical and informed worldview so you will make better God-glorifying diagnosis.

      • Sherra says:

        Pastor Jeff, thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful reply. I appreciate the forum you provide for these conversations and your clarification of the points.

    • jeffchristianson says:

      here is a blog post that might be helpful for you to read (we can discuss further if you would like): https://biblicalcounseling.com/resources/acbc-essays/christian-psychology-introduction-biblical-analysis/

      • Sherra says:

        Thank you for passing along the article. It is well stated and I completely agree with what it states. These are such important conversations and distinctions to make as we seek to help people.

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      I agree with you Sherra that it’s such an interesting Podcast although unlike your thoughts, I believe that all mental illnesses are associated with some sort of deception (an alteration in one’s reasoning that may affect one’s behavior). The activities of man are usually settled in the spiritual realm before manifesting in the physical realm (Genesis 3:1-6).

      • Sherra says:

        Thank you Esther, I so appreciate the discussion and the way you stated that. For sure something that I will continue to take to prayer.

    • Margaret Deherrera says:

      Sherra, thanks for your insight on the pod cast. I agree with you when you say God works in mysterious ways, God is faithful and constant and merciful. I have asked the same questions as you and wonder myself about different mental illnesses if it’s purely spiritual. Some things I have seen also I don’t know if it pure deception or if it could have physiological causes. Hope to get more educated thru these classes and gain better insight then what I have

  • Abel says:

    Awesome episode!
    I have always thought it strange that “science” has these answers which don’t follow their own rules. Evolution is the first one that comes to mind (cannot be tested with the scientific theory, etc) but the case of mental illness is the same. We simply cannot fully understand or test what is going on in another person’s mind.
    Dr. Berger reminds us that “mental illness”, as we’ve come to know it, isn’t something to ostracize certain people but rather that we all are incomplete and messed up. As humans, we are in need of a Savior and cleansing from the Holy Spirit. Without Him, we cannot be complete.
    I just studied a passage from Genesis which goes along with this idea:

    “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1).

    I always thought that God gave two commands here. To walk with Him and to be blameless. However, when you look at the Hebrew written here, you see only one command; to walk with Him. The second part is the result of obeying that command, and that is completion. Therefore, when we live our lives following God’s word, He dwells within and makes us complete!
    We all have minds that are deceitful. We are all in need of God’s purifying work in our lives and minds.

    • jeffchristianson says:

      Able! Yes, the whole evolutionary foundation is where the problem lies. If Medical Scientists, Researchers and Doctors had a biblical worldview, the results of their research would be far different (and so much more helpful). The advances in medicine are wonderful and evidence of God’s common grace and love for mankind. It;s God’s mercy that we are able to help bring healing. Bit, oh how we could really excel if there was cooperation with God and an understanding of biblical creationism!

      • Abel says:

        Amen Pastor Jeff!
        I totally agree with you there! Without His amazing grace we would have no ability to bring healing to people through medicine. He has gifted us with the brain and a whole creation of materials to craft some great things. If only scientists would realize who made the sandbox they play in.

      • John Eastham says:

        Jeff, this is a bit of a tangent, but part of why researchers and physicians do not have a biblical worldview is the failure of Christian universities to produce them.

        Most Christian colleges/universities focus on the liberal arts majors and teaching (with BA or MA degrees). They need to add medical schools to produce physicians and develop their science programs to be more robust to produce PhD researchers. The list of Christian universities with a medical/osteopathy program is short. We will continue to have a secular slant in medical science until the Christian universities realize their academic focus is off.

    • Alejandro Anchondo says:

      I totallly agree and was blessed by the same notes from the podcast. Mr. Berger had explained how its the feelings that follow the actions and thoughts. The worlds misunderstanding is that if you think it or claim it you can become it. But, the bible teaches practically and spiritually that our actions will have to go first and then the feelings come later. Its just as you said from Genesis. People we counsel need to learn this… we aren’t there to change their feelings. We are there to walk them into a Biblical mindset, encourage them to obey, and then their emotions will follow in turn.

      • Abel says:

        Amen brother!
        The world tends to be so backwards…
        Following feelings can be a dangerous thing but that is precisely what is being promoted nowadays as the best course.
        When God told Abraham to simply “go”, he didn’t sit down and take his feelings into consideration. Instead, he simply obeyed God. I think this is where God starts with each person. He gives His Word and waits for us to respond in faith. Like you said, action before feelings.

    • Kathy Yohner says:

      Able, your comment was very insightful regarding the scripture in Genesis 17:1. We can walk with God, but do we obey what He says? Its the obedience that reveals our walk with God and increases a deeper relationship with Him. His voice will dominate over and above all the lies that desire to take us away from the Only One who has the truth and power to set us free.

  • Alejandro Anchondo says:

    I thought it was very insightful when Dr. Berger explained that we are all naturally deceived, anxious, discouraged and proud. The “trauma” events and the real life situations that we humans go through do not “cause” the emotions and attitudes but rather reveal them. Its the trouble of truly finding out what is inside during these hard moments that we are counseling. The situations will pass and be replaced by a new issue [car trouble turns into home issues, pornography issues becomes promiscuous behavior]. The heart issues of little faith or lust don’t go away. They were there before, during and after the current issue subsides. Its dealing with the heart that can bring lasting change to the heart.

    • Hannah Somerville says:

      A really great point Alejandro!!

      I like when you said :
      ” The heart issues of little faith or lust don’t go away. They were there before, during and after the current issue subsides. Its dealing with the heart that can bring lasting change to the heart.”

      It is so true that just as Adams mentions in my class book, there may be variety in the time, place or circumstances someone goes through, but the core issues are all the same. As God’s word says “There is nothing new under the sun. And , all issues are common to man.”

      Since we know this to be true, getting to the heart is crucial to bringing godly change. Thanks for sharing!

      • Stacy Wiggins says:

        Hannah,
        Your statement, “getting to the heart is crucial to bringing godly change” is so true. Society says, “follow your heart”… Scripture tells us “our heart is deceitful”. We must disciple others to “put off the old, and put on the new” and to “renew their mind in Christ”. The problem is, people get saved and think that’s it. Salvation (justification) does not eliminate our flesh. Our flesh needs sanctification, and all too often sanctification is replaced with medication. But oh how we all look forward to glorification, when all will be made perfect!

    • JoAnn Eagle says:

      Alejandro,
      I appreciate your post cutting ‘straight to the heart’ of the heart of the matter (pun intended)! God’s word tells us that what comes out of a man is what defiles him, and that our hearts are wicked. Why else would God need to remove hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh? May we all be ready to learn and have our own hearts tenderized through this class. God bless you!

    • Josiah Arceo says:

      Man that is so good. Many times our focus is on the circumstance itself without realizing that it’s always the heart that is laden with issues. Our natural instinct is to turn to any different element we can logically blame. It’s so attractive to believe that it’s the trials and temptation’s fault that we are feeling depressed or anxious. In fact, it’s these negative feelings that have done the benefit of stripping the core issues of our hearts.

      We have to realize the potential benefit of trying circumstances. Trials and temptations are meant to reveal the condition of our heart and what changes we need to let the Lord make in us.

      The Lord always seeks to perfect our faith making us more into the image of his Son Jesus Christ.

  • Athena Williams says:

    This was a bold and truth-filled podcast! It seems like there is so much pressure today to accept physiological explanations for every spiritual condition; it’s refreshing to be reminded that Christ is the one with the answers. I have encountered people who are looking for validation rather than healing. They don’t want to hear that there are practical steps to take. Discipleship requires three people (discipler, diciple, and Holy Spirit) to participate, and it’s so much fun to watch God transform someone from the inside out! May we always be willing to pray for those who aren’t ready yet and available to walk alongside someone who is truly seeking God’s counsel. And may I never be blind to my own opportunities to grow and change!

    • jeffchristianson says:

      Yes and AMEN! Exactly the right language I like to use – Discipler, Disciple and the Holy Sprit. I find that the only thing holding people back is that we are simply too busy in the American evangelical church to slow down and do one-on-one soul care.

    • Hannah Somerville says:

      Athena! Thank you for sharing, I could not agree more. It is becoming overwhelming to see and hear people running to labels and physiological affirmation. It truly does seem like fewer people are fearing God and desiring to make the changes necessary that the word instructs us to. I especially love what you mentioned toward the end of your comment: that we can pray for those who need their heart further prepared and be ready for those who are hungry! Amen, keep seeking sister.

    • Stacy Wiggins says:

      Athena,
      I totally agree with you…it’s so much fun to watch God transform someone from the inside out! Those moments of seeing the “lightbulb” come on for someone while sharing the Word with them is priceless! May we never forget the importance of relying on the Holy Spirit as we share with others.

    • JoAnn Eagle says:

      Athena, I can relate to your statement regarding Christians feeling the pressure of accepting physiological explanations for spiritual conditions. I have experienced this pressure, as well as the desire for counselees to find any answer they can apart from the Bible! I am looking forward to learning more from Dr. Berger through his materials and speaking to be better equipped to minister effectively to God’s glory.

  • Kathy Yohner says:

    Dr. Berger’s revelation about the truth of mental illness and the deceitfulness that our culture has embraced is astounding. Calling mental illness as a disease and prescribing prescription drugs to people is now commonplace. This deception has changed our society dramatically. Berger stated that the root of mental illness is the sinful nature of man. The teaching of Humanism can be seen in leadership meetings, our children’s school curriculum, sports, and the arts, to name a few. It is about self- esteem, self-gratification, self-motivation that has broken so many people. God in His great wisdom and knowledge knew that mankind would always desire to turn to themselves for answers.
    He knew that reading His word would reveal the truth about these lies, and anyone who chose to listen to Him and surrender themselves over to Christ would be set free from the bondage of self. This is the ultimate answer to all mankind’s problems.
    “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      True Kathy; Dr. Berger’s revelation about the truth of mental illness and the deceitfulness that the enemy and our culture has embraced is quite astounding and mind blowing. It is important for us to keep our minds on God to stay mentally well by God’s Grace.
      Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
      Colossians 3:1-2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

  • josh says:

    There is a clear separation from physical and spiritual sickness. Biblical counselling is heavily needed because of the rise of other methods that ultimately don’t bring real change. when dealing with any problem, we should always go to the word for our help and guidence. man is often tempted to blame God and or others for their problems and troubles. We must understand God and his methods of healing and change in our present day. we can take hope and be confident that our Lord faced and dealt with all the same things we do. no matter what, the answer is always to follow God’s remedies. His remedy always includes trusting Him and pressing on in obedience and faith.

    • Athena Williams says:

      Amen, Josh! I think a big reason for this is that biblical counseling doesn’t give us excuses for our behavior. Instead, an honest examination of the Word requires us to change our behavior. This type of honest evaluation can be uncomfortable, and it’s the exact opposite of what the world is telling people.

  • Josiah Arceo says:

    That was so intense… Summarizing the content of the podcast discussion as a whole can be done by examining what was said in the first few sentences from Pastor Jeff Christianson. “What is normal?” Apparently, there is no one in the world who is normal and we all experience “abnormalcy” in some way, shape, or form. Dr. Berger even goes so far as to lay claim that because of phenomenology’s authoritative conclusions on anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, and hopelessness, there is no way to trace these negative feelings back to genetic disorders.

    I’ve heard it said before that sometimes we all would like to believe that there must be something wrong with us physically so that we can escape the conviction of having to make change in our lives in accordance to the truth and commandments of the Word of God.

    The existence of things such as depression should therefore solidify the fact that we are all in a fallen state.

    I have a very strong feeling that Dr. Daniel Berger could definitely have gone for hours and hours on the research and scriptural backing he had for the conclusions he made.

    • Kathy Yohner says:

      Josiah well put! It is so easy for us to say that that is a physical problem so we can live by our own desires and feelings. Blaming our sinful problems as a genetic or physical cause allows us to walk in our flesh rather than the Spirit.

  • Stacy Wiggins says:

    Refreshing podcast! I appreciated the differentiation between the spiritual and physical. Although I believe there are real physical issues and legitimate mental illness, it is heartbreaking how many people are “diagnosed” with a mental illness when in actuality it is a spiritual problem. The lack of knowledge of the Word and discipleship is the greatest contributor. When a person is truly born again and knows their identity in Christ and what it means to live a life daily surrendered to Him, the answers to life’s challenges and difficulties are found in Him. It is not enough to lead someone to Christ, we must disciple them and teach them that the same power that raised Christ is the power available to them with the filling of the Holy Spirit.

  • John Eastham says:

    True, the secular and liberal psychiatry/psychology community have become the defining authority. The DSM goes a good job defining things. Immediate evidence that the DMS does not have the answers is found in (1) its increasing size and (2) evolution of diagnostic criteria since the early editions.

    Severe mental illness is something I’ve never been able to reconcile with the Bible. As a hospital worker, I’ve been in locked psychiatric wards from time to time. I’ve seen serious cases of narcissism, mania, paranoia, etc. A close Christian has been suicidal since his adolescence and has clear mania/depression cycles. So, I appreciate the comment that there are valid neurologic diseases.

    So many people accept the big pharma adverts and end up asking for a pill to fix their anxiety, moods, etc. The Bible has the answers. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

    Dr. Daniel Berger has not introduced with what he has a doctoral degree in. His website (https://www.drdanielberger.com/meet-daniel) lists B.S. in counseling, an M.S. in counseling/ psychology, an M.A. in pastoral studies, and a doctorate in pastoral theology.

  • Anthony Mojica says:

    Sorry for posting so late… I initially posted it in the wrong spot .
    I greatly appreciated the statement shared by Pastor Jeff Christianson in his article accompanying the podcast, “We are not doctors that heal physical ailments, we are counselors that seek to bring spiritual restoration through Christ.” This was an incredibly valuable insight especially after I heard Dr. Berger give a concise explanation of phenomenology. Phenomenology is the expression of human phenomena / emotions that are not approachable through the scientific method. Since they take place within the person’s soul and or consciousness they are unobservable. Examples of these phenomena are anxiety, depression or even suicidal ideation. I found myself offended and angered to learn that psychiatry is trying to get everyone to embrace their philosophical and anthropological perspective of things on what amounts to nothing more than a pseudo-science.
    The arrogance seen in their demanding that the world cowtown to their definition of who we are and how we should interpret the phenomena in the life of others is frightening. Especially when one realizes that this manner of thinking has taken a stranglehold on secular society and is patiently usurping the place of God and his word in the church. Something Pastor Bob Hoekstra wrote about in a great book titled, “The Psychologizing of the Faith.”

  • JoAnn Eagle says:

    I am so thankful to have been introduced to Dr. Berger! I look forward to getting his materials and learning more. I also see he is scheduled to speak at an ACBC conference I will be attending this coming fall. Biblical counselors today need to be able to adequately address mental health through God’s word. A good majority of my counseling has involved helping others with what was believed to be poor mental health. I appreciate Dr. Berger’s separation of mental and spiritual health, while noting that the spiritual state most likely effects the mental state, and not the other way around. I found it interested that Dr. Berger stated that the metaphysical phenomenon of sorrow, etc., cannot be studied as other physical processes can. I had also never thought of what an “atrophied” brain might produce in terms of mental health. This makes me want to “work out” my brain through God’s word all the more. Phenomenology is not a term I have heard before but I look forward to learning more!

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