Therapy must not replace repentance

Therapy must not replace repentance

Therapy must not replace repentance

A Christian apologist advises youth pastors to stick to Scripture as they minister to young people who feel wrecked and cast aside by a society that has rejected God.

Being immersed in a culture that has defied God and proclaimed its own "truths" like "boys can be girls," "follow your heart," and "love is love" has resulted in things like gender dysphoria, depression, lax moral standards, and rebellion against parents and other authority figures.

Dr. Alex McFarland of "Exploring the Word" on American Family Radio says church youth groups are not immune, which is why youth pastors are being called by some to train in mental health counseling.

McFarland, Alex (Christian apologist) McFarland

"Red flags go up when they digress into mental health, where therapy replaces repentance," McFarland observers, pointing out that most all of those issues can be traced back to spiritual malnourishment. "I push back on that because it implies there's an inadequacy of the gospel to change lives."

Instead, he says youth pastors need to double down on their study of Scripture so they can effectively counsel troubled kids. He is not alone in that school of thought.

"Even Dr. [James] Dobson would say be careful of mental health and counseling when the Bible calls us to repent, forsake sin, and turn to Jesus," McFarland notes.

He does acknowledge, however, that some issues do have medical or chemical roots, and in those cases, a doctor needs to be brought in. There are also reporting laws for cases of potential suicide or sexual abuse. Still, McFarland maintains that a right relationship with God through Christ can heal even the toughest of what are often described as mental health issues.

"Humans are body, soul, and spirit, and the gospel redeems all three," the apologist concludes.