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If you personally struggle with depression — or you know someone who does — this short book is for you. In a down-to-earth manner, Murray acknowledges the fact that Christians are susceptible to depression and gives gentle and Biblical counsel to those who feel trapped in a state of melancholy. Those who are in a state of depression need simple and straightforward support, and this is why Murray is right when he explains:
“Depressed people cannot read hundreds of pages. They need short, simple, yet substantive instruction and advice” (p. xi)
Christians Can Get Depressed Too achieves this very aim.
One of the highlights of this book is its explanation of the complexity of depression. Specifically, Murray helpfully shows how depression can be brought about by a number of physical, spiritual, social, and emotional reasons. Murray explains:
“There are three simplistic extremes that we should avoid when considering the cause of depression: first, that it is all physical; second, that it is all spiritual; third, that it is all mental” (p. 13)
Nevertheless, Murray holds that Scripture is the ultimate comfort for those struggling with depression, as it contains truths about God and ourselves that are guaranteed to ground us through the deepest seasons of despair. His exposition of Scriptures that recount the experiences of believers who struggled with depression, as well as engagement with major figures throughout church history — such as Richard Baxter and Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones — only serves to bolster his case.
Living in a highly individual and postmodern society, it is increasingly tempting for Christians to be ensnared by false beliefs about who we are and who God is. For this reason, Murray rightly acknowledges:
“We should encourage the depressed person to move away from the realm of the subjective and to instead think on the objective truths of Christianity, things that are true regardless of our feelings: justification, adoption, the atonement, the attributes of God, and heaven, for example” (p. 97)
Notwithstanding, it could have been improved in two particular ways. Firstly, though Murray acknowledges that he is not a medical expert, it would have been profitable for him to present a more thorough explanation of the cases in which it is appropriate to administer antidepressants to depressed believers. Secondly, his analysis and evaluation of nouthetic counselling may be critiqued for its generalisation, and that Murray doesn’t sufficiently acknowledge developments in the Biblical Counselling movement over the last thirty years, particularly under the influence of David Powlinson.
Overall, this concise booklet will show itself to be a fantastic resource for all Christians to possess. It will help Christians navigate the valleys of depression with the truths of the gospel, shining the light of Christ into the darkness of depression.