Book Review: Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Medications
Knowing which ones fall into which category is also dealt with. And the answer is that it really depends on the person, the abnormal behavior (whether it's depression, anxiety, hyper-activity, obsessive compulsiveness, mania, etc.). And the goal of course is to get to the root issue that is causing the abnormal behavior. Is it sin? Is it a chemical imbalance? Is it both?
How the person is treated depends on the answers to those questions.
Nonetheless, the main objective for the counselor at the time of crisis with the counselee is to show the love of Christ and bring God's Word into the situation. This does not mean to counsel them to immediately stop taking any kind of psychotropic drug (he especially warns against that, as abruptly stopping some of those medications could have life-threatening consequences). Nor does it mean to immediately recommend they start taking psychotropic drugs.
Emlet does a terrific job of continually bringing it back to the uniqueness of each individual coupled with the effects of total depravity; and how each person and situation calls for a unique approach.
Far from making a blanket statement that all psychotropic drugs are perfectly acceptable and taking them should not be causes for concern for a person's spiritual life, Emlet persuasively argues that it's just as much true that pastors and other Christian counselors should be very cautious in taking the approach that the one being counseled just needs more faith in Christ or the Scriptures. There are legitimate abnormalities to the mind and how it functions (certainly as a consequence of the fall); but there are also Biblically acceptable medications in restoring that person's mental health.
Obviously, in and of itself medication is not the answer to someone's spiritual heath. Bible reading, prayer, fellowship with other believers, and an active role in serving the body of Christ and advancing His Kingdom will always grow spiritual health. But sometimes medication is truly needed to get a person to the point where he or she is able to do those things (or do them more effectively).
I'm so thankful for this balanced and Biblical perspective on looking at psychiatry, its place in a broken world, and its use (in part) in redeeming that broken world. God bless Michael Emlet and his ministry!
I highly recommend this book to pastors and those who counsel regularly from God's Word. While you can read it in one sitting, be assured you'll want to keep it as a reference for a long time to come.