Ed Welch – Desiring God National Conference – Act the Miracle

Ed Welch: How does the brain impose limits on the body and on what we can do, especially the brain that’s been popularized and that’s been cared for by modern psychiatry? Modern psychiatry is an interesting phenomenon. A generation ago they were the lampooned stewarts of the psychiatric asylums. But today, psychiatry, culturally is our hope for the real hard issues of life. From the blitzkriegs of mania to the simple things like low level boredom. And there might even be the possibility that there will be  a designer drug out, available for you that will make you better than good. Isn’t that nice.

Psychiatry is of course not the problem we are trying to address this morning. The problem is us. And here’s the problem. I think it’s a very important one at this particular moment. We have partitioned modern psychiatry from the scriptures. As far as we can tell, scripture does not speak to modern psychiatry, which is a little unfortunate because psychiatry owns essentially all the real hard stuff. There’s been a partition, I see it probably every day. Those who live with a particular psychiatric label. When they go to church, and they do go to church, the sermons are irrelevant to their particular experience.


Although the brain offers these limitations on us, the brain essentially, fundamentally offers no limitation on our sanctification, and that is essential. Consider it this way. Sanctification is more about the direction that we are traveling than the distance we have traveled. There is awfully good news for us. There is not a sense in scripture that you should be at this place, at this particular time. It’s where are we oriented? Are we oriented toward the face of Christ or away from Him? That is the goal in sanctification. And there are no brain limitations that can turn us away from Jesus, as we would expect.

… If you must have some kind of new psychiatric information in order to minister effectively , then we start butting against the sufficiency of scripture… And where else does scripture not speak?

Ed Welch covers the

stalwarts of (all) ministry- (1) To know a person and (2) to be known by the scripture. We walk along with another person- to know them and then to say, „Ok now, what does God say to us now?”

He talks about what are these psychiatric diagnosis?

Essentially everything that’s hard in life has a psychiatric diagnosis. The emotional ups and downs of life that seem to be disconnected from the events of life. We all have emotional ups and downs in life  and our emotions sort of freely float from one place to another, but there are some problems that people experience where they can feel very up or very down and it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the circumstances around them. That would be one of the seemingly complex experiences we’re seeking to tear away this partition and draw under the authority of scripture.

All things anxiety. All things fearful. Excessive-compulsive problems. Panic Attacks. These are some of the problems. The burgeoning addictions of modern society. The chaotic thinking of someone who has delusional interpretations of the world, someone who has hallucinations. These are some of the features that we wanna consider, that presently seem to be owned by a camp outside of scripture.

The assumption is modern psychiatry is fairly simple. There are biological causes and prominently- biological solutions. So therefore, why should you even bother with such things? We don’t deal so much with biological solutions, we are people who deal with matters of the heart.

The second question is: Do we actually have psychiatric disorders? Surprisingly, of all these things in life, in modern psychiatry today, none of them actually have a clear biological marker where you can take a blood test or any other kind of physical test to tell you you have that particular problem…


Two tasks: 1- To know someone and 2- then to allow scripture to take what we’ve heard and possess it in such a way that it infuses it with hope and purpose and sanctification.

Restoring Broken People and

the Limits of Life in the Body

Grief is not a disorder

Chuck Colson reports that the American Psychiatric Association began serious discussions, earlier this year, about whether to label grieving a psychiatric disorder. Emotions are part of what makes us human. Only in the postmodern western part of the world is the ultimate goal: Pleasure. And that means no pain? Chuck Colson calls it a fantasy that would make us less than human.

Colson cites C.S.Lewis’s Abolition of man: If wise men of old sought to conform the soul to reality, the solution to the human problem was self discipline and virtue. But today through applied science and now it seems through little white pills we try to subdue reality to the wishes of man. Lewis was a prophet. What he saw was that our attempt to conquer nature will inevitably lead to nature conquering us. When humans are reduced to mere nature, the by products of chances and cause, they may be manipulated and remade according to the whims of the powerful.  It is an invitation to dehumanization and tyranny.

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