CMF on Facebook CMF on Twitter CMF on YouTube RSS Get in Touch with CMF
menu resources

Christ or therapy?

Christmas 2011

From triple helix - Christmas 2011 - Christ or therapy? [p20]

PDF version
(Right click and choose 'save as...' to download a printable version of this article)

For depression and life's troubles
Dr ES Williams
Belmont House Publishing, 2010
£6.96 Pb 156pp
ISBN 978 1 87085 571 6

Life in a fallen world can be profoundly challenging, driving us to seek relief wherever it can be found. In this book Dr Williams poses a basic dichotomy – do Christians need secular psychotherapies, or can they find all that they need in Christ and His word? He critiques the rise of pop psychology in the contemporary church, and the secular assumptions underlying this. He then challenges some commonly held doctrines, in particular questioning the biblical basis for thinking that God's love and forgiveness are unconditional, and rejecting marriage education and cognitive-behavioural therapy as unbiblical. He concludes that Christian counselling is modernday gnosticism and has 'perverted the Gospel of Christ'.

Dr Williams rightly questions the appropriate scope and applications of extra-biblical strategies for psychological difficulties, while accepting that some problems can be severe enough to require medical treatment. However, several of his conclusions do not provide a sufficiently nuanced biblical response to core issues, coming across as somewhat naively dismissive and overstated pietistic reactions to false dichotomies.

This book is worth reading critically for the questions posed, but not all conclusions should be taken as biblically comprehensive nor universally applicable.

Everett Julyan is a psychiatrist in Ayrshire.

Article written by Everett Julyan

More from triple helix: Christmas 2011

  • The blessings of marriage
  • Organ donation after death
  • Judge rules in favour of life in M case
  • GMC consultation on 'Good Medical Practice'
  • Crisis in care?
  • At what cost? Stewardship and commissioning
  • Abortion and mental health - the evidence builds
  • Is it really choosing to die?
  • A night on the town
  • Returning home
  • From medicine to motherhood
  • Managing resources - kingdom resources in an uncertain world
  • Western complicity in global gender imbalance
  • A theological diagnosis
  • The facts about abortion v.2
  • Christ or therapy?
  • Fertility and gender
  • Through my eyes
  • The house of hope
  • Resistance fighter
  • Keziah
  • eutychus
  • The book of books
  • Christian Medical Fellowship:
    uniting & equipping Christian doctors & nurses
    Contact Phone020 7234 9660
    Contact Address6 Marshalsea Road, London SE1 1HL
    © 2019 Christian Medical Fellowship. A company limited by guarantee.
    Registered in England no. 6949436. Registered Charity no. 1131658.
    Design: S2 Design & Advertising Ltd   
    Technical: ctrlcube