Depression: A Stubborn Darkness,
Edward T. Welch, Greensboro, NC: New
Growth Press, 2004. Paperback, 279 pp.
[Reviewed by Rev. Martyn McGeown.]
In the October 1, 2014 edition of the SB, I reviewed a book on depression, entitled Broken Minds by Steve and Robyn Bloem. Welch’s book takes a different approach, or, at least, has a different emphasis. While Welch does not discount that depression is a disease, his counsel in this book is mainly
spiritual. Depression is a complex subject, and there is seldom a meeting of minds on the issue. I would advise readers interested in the subject to read both Bloem and Welch and compare their approaches.
Welch’s initial advice both for the depressed and his/her family is caution: “Depression is a form of suffering that can’t be reduced to one universal cause. This means that family and friends can’t rush in armed with THE answer. Instead, they must be willing to postpone swearing allegiance to a particular theory, and take time to know the depressed person and work together with him or her” (14). “Here is a suggestion: don’t commit yourself too quickly to one explanation. Granted, it’s something that begs for an answer, and there are more than enough interpretations from which to choose. But there are many causes of depression” (27).
Because the well-established system for the collection and distribution of financial support for our denominational foreign mission labors may easily go unnoticed, it is worthwhile to examine the biblical principles and benefits of this Reformed practice. This denominational practice has well served the stability and continuity of our foreign mission labors, and the continuation of this orderly practice needs to be encouraged.
A brief survey of how financial support is raised by some foreign missionaries shows that a variety of methods with a common theme have been used. One basic method for financial support is a letter campaign to churches, acquaintances, friends, and others for donations to the mission work. For success with this method, some have even hired the services of a professional consultant in order to improve fundraising outcomes each year.
Sample: Everyone, it seems, wants to be first. Understandable, for to be first is to be best or have the most of some ability or power, which usually brings riches or honor. This appeals to us. And we often imagine that if only we, or our children, our team, business, or nation, were first, life would be much better. But this isn’t true, for Jesus said, many who are first shall be last (Mark 10:31). And
so we would do well to consider from the Word what it truly means to be first.
Scripture celebrates many firsts, and even as we do, firsts with regard to time. The very first day of the very first year was when God created light (Gen. 1:5). Salvation and deliverance are often associated with the first day of a new year, as when Noah uncovered the ark to discover a new creation (Gen. 8:13). In the first month of the year, Israel was freed from the bondage of Egypt, celebrated with the Feasts of Unleavened Bread and Passover, first set up the tabernacle, crossed over Jordan into Canaan, and returned from Babylon (Ex. 40:2; Josh.
4:19; Ezra 7:9).
We are presently living in the midst of a sexual revolution of monumental scope and unheard-of influence. Our society shamelessly bows before the goddess Sex and has committed herself wholeheartedly to the promotion of her worship.
Wherever the Reformed Christian turns, the evidence of this revolution stares him in the face. He sees it when he turns on the TV. He sees it when he opens the web browser. He sees it on billboards as he drives down the highway. He sees it in the magazine rack as he stands in line at the grocery store. He sees it when he goes shopping at the mall. He sees evidence of it amongst his coworkers in the office and on the jobsite. He sees evidence of it amongst his fellow students on the university campus. He may even see evidence of it in his own family.
With this issue we are once again at the beginning of a new year. Many thousands will greet each other with a “Happy New Year.” Many of these will do so thoughtlessly, not realizing the implications of their words. Others may do it out of habit, not caring whether that happiness is realized or not. Some say it with doubt or fear, not knowing whether that happiness will be theirs or not. In all of this there is an element of wistful vanity. For what blessing can we bestow upon another if the blessing of God is not upon us? What real happiness is it that does not have its source in the eternal city that hath
foundations, but instead in the temporary earth that is surrounded by death?
Good Christian schools are required of Reformed believers according to the Church Order of Dordrecht, Article 21. Good Christian schools need good Christian school teachers. The eighteen Protestant Reformed schools will continue to seek these high quality teachers. The training of covenant youth demands excellence from every point of view. School boards must be seeking
teachers with “high marks” for their ability to teach well, effectively and
interestingly. Schools must have teachers with doctrinal understanding
of and zeal for the (Protestant) Reformed faith.
How does the Bible describe a true Christian? Is one a Christian simply because he believes that the Bible is true? Is a believer defined by what and how much he knows? Is she a Christian because she does not do, say, or watch certain things that are accepted behaviors in the world? She doesn’t drink,
swear, or watch movies—does this make her a Christian? Is the Christian a person who no longer sins, one who has overcome all evil desire?
On the flip-side, is one not a Christian because his theological understanding of Scripture is not complete? Is she not a believer who is tempted by lust? Does his notorious sin mean that he is no longer or perhaps never was a Christian?
In 1953 Herman Hoeksema penned an editorial titled “Why We Should Read the Standard Bearer.” He stated:
Mark you well, the Standard Bearer is not begging for
subscriptions. The truth never begs. And the Standard
Bearer represents the truth. If many of us are not
interested in the Protestant Reformed truth anymore,
something which I am still loath to believe, the truth of
God nevertheless stands and marches on, even without
them. Besides, I do not want mere subscribers, but readers
that will make careful study of our paper and read it
from cover to cover.