Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure

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The next book I would like to review is a classic.  It’s the incredibly potent Spiritual Depression: It’s Causes and Cure by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  This is another easy one to review but not because it immediately stuck with me, rather I was so impressed and impacted by it that I’ve read it multiple times.  Let’s dive in.

Overview

More than any other book or ministry, the layout and strategy of Spiritual Depression has provided the general blueprint for the way we approach fighting depression here with Patched.  It seeks to address the spiritual needs of a person while still maintaining a balanced understanding of addressing the physical.  Also, his strategy is not to make sweeping statements about depression.  He highlights multiple different contributing factors and attempts to deal with each one individually.  While reading through his book there were some chapters that I found mildly helpful and others that screamed “This is for you!”  That's kind of what we envision happening on this website as well.  Not every article may be for you but some we hope will be exactly what you need to hear.  

Pros

The Author

Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899 – 1981) was an admired leader in his day.  A fiery Welshman, he pastored the famous Westminster Church in London for 25 years.  Apparently he was an actual medical doctor too which is pretty impressive.  He’s one of those guys that has seen everything and never stopped serving people’s spiritual needs.  I respect any one that was born in the 1800's too :)  I consider him a rock solid source.

Insight

On that same level, he shows why you should listen to him by displaying remarkable insight into the mostly spiritual but also physical causes of depression.  He doesn’t choose clichéd verses or nominally positive sayings to discuss.  He goes deep from the start and it’s really good.  There are some chapters that may not really apply to you, but I guarantee that there are others that will ring true.  He has kind of a hurt-so-good approach where he cuts straight to the issue, but he’s not cruel in any way.  It’s powerful and it works.

Thorough

The physician in him definitely comes out in the book.  He wants to fully discuss all causes, symptoms, and cures leaving no stone unturned.  When you’re ill though, physically or mentally, you want someone like this.  He doesn’t leave a lot of room for misinterpretation of what he’s saying either.  He covers all the angles including common traps that people fall into.

Cons

Old

He’s from another era and it comes across in his English.  Of course it’s perfectly understandable but it just slows down the reading.  Some of it is refreshingly classic, but if you were looking for insight into unplugging from today’s technological world you’re not going to find those types of discussions.  You trade off modern references and stories for an understanding of things that have caused depression for generations.

Heady

It’s incredibly rich reading.  It has depth and breadth, focusing on large issues of God’s love, our nature, good and evil, Jesus’ sacrifice, etc. without just passing over things with broad generalized statements.  Again, this is part of why the book is good, but, combined with the age of the book, it certainly slows down your reading.  Just be warned.

Not for everyone

Finally, I obviously love this book, but it’s for those that are seeking God in this struggle.  He makes no effort to put things in more generalized terms.  Also some biblical understanding is helpful.  If that’s just not where you’re at, and you’re not open to exploring than it’s probably not for you. 

Conclusion

My wife always teases me when she sees me reading this book.  “Reading it again, huh?”  Now that I’m really invested in trying to help people that are struggling with depression I constantly refer back to it.  There’s always a little piece of wisdom that I’m looking for that I can’t quite remember how he said it.  I wholeheartedly recommend this book, and if you do decide to read it I really hope that it helps you too.  Feel free to email me if you do read it.  Some of the writing really needs to be discussed with someone else.