Skip to main content

Editor

Editor

Seeking 1-2 Volunteers to Fill Vacant Positions

Editor + Layout Planner

SPAG Magazine is seeking 1-2 people to take on two new volunteer positions currently filled by our Editor, Vicki Nunn, as she is looking to retire.

Do you have editorial and writing skills and a passion for a ministry in Christian publishing?

We’re seeking either one person who can undertake the majority of the role as volunteer Editor and Layout Planner, or a person for each position.

Editor:

The Editor is responsible for sourcing articles; working with our regular contributors for articles; editing as well as writing articles; and contributing to the development of SPAG Magazine and its team.

A high level of writing and editing skills and experience are a necessity. Some social media experience would be helpful.

Layout Planner:

The Layout Planner puts the magazine together, sources and creates suitable images for articles, posters, adding links and more.

The position of Layout Planner involves laying out the magazine pages with articles and images in a professional manner. You can see examples of what is needed in our current issue (see our front webpage for the link)

A high level of experience with MS Word or compatible program are vital, plus experience in a graphics program is highly desirable.

Selection Criteria:

Please submit your application and include your responses to the following selection criteria:

Position: Editor
  1. Tell us a little about your Christian walk? Do you believe in the Bible and trust the Word implicitly? How important is prayer to you?
  2. What makes you interested in joining the small team at SPAG Magazine?
  3. How would you motivate the team?
  4. Please share some information about your experience in writing and editing;
  5. What would you like to achieve in this position in say 5 or 10 years and in which way would you like to grow SPAG Magazine?
  6. Can you please provide at least one sample of your writing and/or editing experience
  7. Do you have any references who can verify your experience? If so, please provide their contact details, along with their name, position and organisation;
  8. How do you feel about taking on this volunteer experience, knowing it may be a number of years before SPAG Magazine begins to pay its way, before even paying its team?
  9. Please provide information about your social media experience if you have any.
  10. If  you have limitations in some of your skills, would you be interested in growing your skills such as undertaking a relevant course, even if the costs cannot be met by SPAG Magazine?
Position: Layout Planner
  1. Tell us a little about your Christian walk? Do you believe in the Bible and trust the Word implicitly? How important is prayer to you?
  2. What makes you interested in joining the small team at SPAG Magazine?
  3. Please provide information about your experience with MS Word or a compatible advanced word processing program, including  the inclusion/addition of images and links within documents;
  4. What would you like to achieve in this position in say 5 or 10 years and how do you see yourself contributing to the growth of SPAG Magazine?
  5. Can you please provide at least one sample of your skills that you created yourself, for example in creating posters, brochures, images or pdf documents, specifically showing some level of advanced skills in this area;
  6. Please provide information about your social media experience if you have any, as you may be required to assist the Editor or take on the social media person in full.
  7. How do you feel about taking on this volunteer experience, knowing it may be a number of years before SPAG Magazine begins to pay its way, before even paying its team?
  8. Please provide information about your social media experience if you have any.
  9. If  you have limitations in some of your skills, would you be interested in growing your skills such as undertaking a relevant course, even if the costs cannot be met by SPAG Magazine.?

Contact our Editor, Vicki Nunn via email for further details or if you have any questions email:  spagmag1@gmail.com

 

 

News Snippets from Around the World

News Snippets from Around the World
News Snippets

Keeping you up to date on what’s happening around the world. Topics include items connected to Christianity and that impact on practising our faith, news on ethical issues, also news on countries who persecute Christians, and topics that affect our culture, additionally ones that impact upon Israel and Jewish people, and those which may possibly be a reflection of end times and associated prophecies.

Note: we endeavour to keep the news snippets updated weekly, but due to time restraints, it may not always be possible to do so.

APRIL 2021

16th: Federal Judge Compares Abortion Industry to Nazi Eugenics: It’s ‘Pure Evil’ to Target Certain Babies, US: America and the rest of the world are guilty of Nazi-like eugenics by allowing abortion that targets the unborn for various traits such as sex, race and disability, a federal judge asserted this week in a much-publicized abortion case. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

15th: Revival Breaks Out at Nashville-Area Church with 1,000 Baptisms: It’s Solely a ‘Movement of God:’ A revival that began in December at a Nashville-area church has now lasted nearly four months, with more than 1,000 baptisms and people coming to Christ long after the Sunday morning service has ended. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

15th: Biden Administration Seeks to Rescind Trump-Era Abortion Referral Ban, US: On Wednesday, the Biden administration proposed a rule that would reverse a Trump-era policy that banned clinics from referring women for abortions. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

15th: CDC: Nearly 6,000 People Infected with COVID Even After Getting Vaccine, US: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that roughly 5,800 people who received a coronavirus vaccine still ultimately came down with the disease anyway, according to CNN. (American Greatness) [link 1]

14th: Only 6% of Americans Hold to a Dominantly Biblical Worldview: Study:According to a new study by the Cultural Research Center (CRC) at Arizona Christian University, nearly nine in 10 U.S. American adults hold to a mixture of worldviews, otherwise known as syncretism. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

14th: 104-Year-Old Man Just Boxed His 1,000th Box for Operation Christmas Child: one of the few living centenarians has just filled his 1,000th box for Operation Christmas Child, an organization run by Samaritan’s Purse. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

14th: Brazil’s New Statue of Jesus will Surpass Height of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer: Construction of Christ the Protector began in 2019 in the city of Encantado and completion of the monument isn’t expected until late 2021. (CBN News) [link 1]

14th: NCAA Threatens States That Ban Biological Men from Competing in Women’s Sports, US: On Monday, the body that regulates college athletics said it will “closely monitor” states that pass laws restricting transgender athletes and will consider pulling championship events from such locations. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

14th: Canadian Pastor Could Face 1 Year in Jail for Leading Easter Worship Service: A Canadian pastor says he could face up to one year and jail and a $100,000 fine after local police charged him for violating health restrictions by leading his congregation in worship on Easter Sunday. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

13th: More Aussies believe in God and miracles than you thought: “Some 58% of Australians either do or might believe in God, while 60% of Australians do or might believe in miracles, and 53% believe in angels, while almost 70% believe in souls” the ABC’s Mediawatch told the nation this week. (Eternity News) [link 1]

13th: Christian Schools Fight Back, Say LGBT Suit Would Strip Students of ‘Much-Needed Financial Aid:’ A trio of Christian schools is attempting to intervene in a high-profile federal lawsuit filed last month by 33 LGBT students. The suit seeks to force the nation’s faith-based colleges, universities and seminaries to recognize gender identity and sexual orientation as normal. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

13th: Canadian Pastor Holds Service in Undisclosed Location after Officials Barricade Church: Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church in Alberta, Canada, who was recently jailed for violating COVID-19 restrictions, has found a new way to hold services after police fenced off his church’s building last week. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

13th: Mike Pence Launches Conservative Advocacy Group to Push Trump-Era Policies: Last week, former Vice President Mike Pence launched a new conservative advocacy group called Advancing American Freedom. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

12th: new regulations threaten minorities including Christians, Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s government has moved to expand the Prevention of Terrorism Act, putting Christian minorities at risk, allowing authorities could detain citizens for two years without trial for causing religious, racial or communal disharmony. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

12th: ‘Victory’: Supreme Court Blocks California Restrictions on At-Home Bible Studies, US: The U.S. Supreme Court handed churches and the faith community another major victory Friday, ruling that California’s restrictions on at-home Bible studies during the pandemic likely violate the U.S. Constitution and cannot be enforced. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

12th: 1,000 Canadians Gather to Protest Govt’s Closure of Church: ‘It Is Time to End’ the Lockdown: An estimated 1,000 people gathered outside a Canadian church Sunday to protest the government’s closing of a congregation that has drawn worldwide attention. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

9th: Nestle, Mars Call Bans on Biological Boys in Girls’ Sports ‘Discriminatory:’ Nestle, Mars and two other major food companies said in a USA Today opinion piece this week that they oppose state-level bills that prohibit biological boys from playing on girls’ teams and will speak out against similar “draconian” legislation that impacts children. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

9th: Catholic Politicians Who Support Abortion Should Be Excommunicated, Cardinal Says: Catholic politicians who support abortion rights are guilty of apostasy and should be excommunicated and denied communion, an American cardinal says (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

8th: Dolly Parton Wins MovieGuide’s Grace Award: Dolly Parton just received MovieGuide’s Grace Award for Most Inspiring Performance on TV for her role in the Netflix film Christmas on the Square. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

8th: UK Labour Party Leader Apologizes for Visiting Church That Believes Marriage is Between a Man, a Woman: The U.K.’s Labour Party leader has issued an apology for visiting a church on Good Friday that believes marriage is between one man and one woman, The Christian Post reports. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

8th: Target Sells Best-Selling Devotional That Includes a Prayer Asking God to ‘Help Me to Hate White People:’ A popular book that includes a prayer asking for God to “help me to hate White people” is receiving additional attention after a Virginia pastor posted excerpts from the book on Twitter and urged Christians to be cautious about such theology. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

8th: Christian Photographer Sues N.Y. over Law that Could Jail, Fine Her for Not Working Same-Sex Weddings: A Christian professional photographer filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the state of New York, seeking to overturn a law that could result in her being jailed for up to a year and fined $100,000 if she does not work same-sex weddings. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

8th: Justin Bieber releases ‘Freedom’ full of prayers, praise and gospel lyrics: the 6 track EP is his most gospel-filled to date. (Eternity News) [link 1] [link 2]

7th: 40% of White Evangelical Protestants Say They Will Likely Not Get Vaccinated: Poll, US: Evangelicals across the U.S. are growing more divided over the use of COVID-19 vaccines. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

7th: ‘Victory for Children’: Arkansas Becomes 1st State to Ban Transgender Surgery, Hormones on Kids, US: Arkansas on Tuesday became the first state to ban gender transition procedures for children and teens when its legislature overrode a veto of a bill by the governor, who had rejected the bill one day earlier. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

6th: Carrie Underwood Performs New Christian Album, My Savior, at Ryman Auditorium: Carrie Underwood performed her new album, My Savior, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, on Easter Sunday. The event was also live-streamed on Facebook. She reportedly said the album was to attract younger audiences to older hymns. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

6th: Attempts to force 10 Christians families to re-convert to tribal religion, Central India: the families were threatened with death unless they reconverted to their old religion in a ceremony in March and had to flee their village. (Eternity News) [link 1]

6th: th Christian Student Group Cannot Be Punished for Requiring Its Leaders to Be Christians, Judge Rulestle: A Christian student group at a college in Michigan will not be punished for requiring leaders in the group to agree to a statement of faith, a judge ruled Monday. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

6th: Couple convicted for attending church, Iran: authorities recently sentenced an Iranian Christian couple, Homayoun Zhaveh and his wife Sara Ahmadi, for attending a house church. (Open Doors) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

5th: Easter Means ‘We Are Able to Save Ourselves’ by Helping Others, Says Raphael Warnock, US: Senator and pastor Raphael Warnock stirred a theological controversy over the weekend when he asserted that the meaning of Easter involves more than Jesus’ resurrection and that by helping others, “we are able to save ourselves.” (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

5th: ‘Grateful’: Franklin Graham Wins U.K. Discrimination Suit against Town That Banned Bus Ads: A United Kingdom judge handed evangelist Franklin Graham and his team a major legal victory on Friday, ruling that the town of Blackpool, England, violated their religious liberty when it prohibited them from promoting a 2018 Christian event with bus ads. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

1st: Bishop Who Refused to Permit Same-Sex Marriage Blessings Leaves U.S. Episcopal Church: Bishop William Love, who was disciplined by the U.S. Episcopal Church for refusing to bless same-sex marriages, has left the denomination. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

1st: Israeli Archeologists Discover Rare Shekel Used to Pay Temple Tax during King Herod’s Reign: Archeologists in the Old City of Jerusalem have discovered a rare silver coin that is believed to have been used to pay the Temple Tax during King Herod’s reign. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

1st: ‘Miracles Happen Every Day’ but Christians Miss Them, Kevin Sorbo Says of Message in The Girl Who Believes in Miracles, US: Actor Kevin Sorbo says miracles often happen without people realizing it, and he hopes a new movie about the subject helps open a few eyes to that fact. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

1st: CNN Blasted as ‘Propaganda’ for Asserting ‘It’s Not Possible’ to Know Sex at Birth, US: A CNN news story claiming “it’s not possible” to know a person’s gender or sex at birth was widely panned across social media this week, mainly because it was stated as a non-debatable fact. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

MARCH 2021

31st: Thousands of Christians Attend Rallies for Asian Americans amid Surge of Hate Crimes, US: Christians across the nation are standing up on behalf of Asian Americans in light of a recent increase in hate crimes. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

31st: Abortion Rights Are as Important as Religious Liberty, Biden State Department Says, US: The Biden administration said Wednesday it will consider a country’s restrictions on abortion a violation of human rights in a reversal from the Trump administration, which had removed a section on “reproductive health” from an annual human rights report. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

31st: Bible Would Be Tennessee’s ‘Official State Book’ under Resolution Passed by House, US: A resolution that would make the Bible the “official state book” of Tennessee passed the state House of Representatives Tuesday and now heads to the state Senate. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

29th: Christian Camp Musical A Week Away Soars into Netflix’s Top 5 Worldwide: A new faith-based musical debuted in the Netflix Top 5 over the weekend and even reached No. 3 on the worldwide most-popular list. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

31st: It’d be cheaper to help them live, Australia: The architect of Tasmania’s deadly euthanasia laws, Mike Gaffney MLC, estimated that ten Tasmanians would use the laws each year to access lethal drugs to cause their premature death, spending $240,000 to provide lethal drugs to each Tasmanian who qualifies under the law, rather than spending that money to keep them alive (HOPE) [link 1] [link 2]

30th: LGBT Students Ask Court to Overturn the Government’s ‘Religious Exemption’ for Christian Schools, US: A coalition of 33 current and former LGBT students from Christian and religious colleges filed a federal lawsuit on Monday that could dramatically impact how faith-based schools operate by declaring a government religious exemption received by such schools unconstitutional. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

30th: Gov. Kristi Noem Signs Two Executive Orders Banning Trans Athletes from Female Sports, US: On Monday, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem issued two executive orders that will prohibit trans athletes from competing in female K-12 and collegiate sports. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

30th: Nike Sues over Satan Shoes: Company Did ‘Not Approve or Authorize’ Product, US: Little Nas X’s limited edition “Satan Shoes,” boasting the famous swoosh and containing a drop of blood, aren’t sitting well with Nike. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

30th: Supreme Court Takes Up Its First Abortion-Related Case under 6-3 Conservative Majority, US: the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up an abortion-related case out of Kentucky, marking the first time the justices have considered the issue in oral arguments with Amy Coney Barrett on the court. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2

30th: Slap on the wrist for Queensland’s ‘Angel of death,’ Australia: On 16 July 2014, Queensland nurse Maura Kathryn Bannister gave a dose of morphine higher than what was prescribed to an elderly woman in her care. The woman – whose name has not been released – died later that day. (HOPE) [link 1] [link 2]

29th: Two Churches Vandalized with Satanic Graffiti, Another May Have Been Targeted for Arson, US: Churches around the country have been vandalized or possibly targeted for arson in the last couple of weeks. One church in Shreveport, Louisiana was vandalized with a pentagram and the Mark of the Beast on the doors. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

29th: Tennessee Gov. Signs Transgender Sports Bill Requiring Athletes to Prove Their Biological Sex, US: the governor of Tennessee signed a bill into law that will prohibit trans athletes from competing in sports according to their chosen gender identity. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

29th: Nebraska Gov. Warns Parents that Proposed Sex Ed. Curriculum Will Teach LGBT Ideology to K-12 Students, US: Nebraska’s governor is calling on parents to speak out against the proposed education curriculum featuring LGBTQ+ ideology for children by the state’s department of education. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

29th: Governor Kristi Noem Blasts Lil Nas X’s ‘Satan Shoes’: ‘We Are in a Fight for the Soul of Our Nation,’ US: A governor, a well-known college quarterback and even a mainstream rapper are among those criticizing Lil Nas X for his new “Satan Shoes” sneakers and an accompanying music video that shows him dancing, explicitly, with Satan. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

28th: believers wounded in explosion on Palm Sunday, Indonesia: At least 14 people have been wounded and 1 suicide bomber killed in a terrorist attack on a church on Palm Sunday. (Open Doors) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

26th: Tax-Funded Abortion for ‘Every Person’ in America Is Goal of New Democratic Bill, US: A coalition of leading Democrats introduced a bill Thursday that would repeal existing law and require taxpayer-funding of abortion, making it a federal policy to “ensure access to abortion services” for every American. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

26th: Canada’s human rights disaster: Last week, a revised version of Bill C-7 received royal assent and became law in Canada. The result is that now Canadians who are ‘suffering intolerably’ but whose death is not reasonably foreseeable can apply for euthanasia and assisted suicide. Part of the legislative reform involved removing some of the so-called ‘safeguards’ contained in the original law, including the ten-day waiting period and the need for two witnesses. (HOPE) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

25th: Oklahoma Pastor Killed in His Home after Telling Christians They Should Expect Persecution, US: David Evans, the pastor of a Baptist church in Oklahoma, was killed hours after preaching a sermon telling his congregation to go out and live for Jesus and witness as much as possible. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

25th: If USA Today Is ‘Coming for Oral Roberts,’ It’s Coming for all Christians, Mohler Warns: Seminary president Albert Mohler says a new USA Today column labeling Oral Roberts University as “bigoted” should serve as a warning to Christians and faith-based institutions everywhere of the direction society is heading. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

25th: Bioethicisits: Aussie model embryo research highlights need for overdue ethics conversation, Australia: Australian researchers who have developed a ‘model embryo’ will “revolutionise research into the causes of early miscarriage, infertility and the study of early human development.” (Eternity News) [link 1]

24th: Christian Baker Jack Phillips Sued Again for Refusing to Bake Transgender Cake, US: Jack Phillips, a Christian baker who has previously been targeted by LGBTQ activists for refusing to bake cakes for them, is facing another lawsuit for his refusal to bake a cake celebrating a gender transition. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

24th: Pro-Life Medical Experts Address: Do COVID Vaccines Present Ethical Concerns? US: Over the past year, COVID-19 related difficulties have consumed the globe. According to Johns Hopkins University figures, more than 540,000 people in the U.S. have died from the pandemic. Economic impacts have been extensive, especially for low-income households. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

23rd: Christians caught in conflict, Myanmar: after overtaking their government in a coup, military forces raided a church and arrested ten people. (Open Doors) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

18th: Renowned Relationship Therapists Drs. Julie & John Gottman’s “Open Letter On Porn:” while some marriage therapists suggest that some porn in marriage is ok, research on the effects of pornography use, especially one person frequently viewing pornographic images online, shows that pornography can hurt a couple’s relationship. (Fight the New Drug) [link 1] [link 2]

17th: “Their lives are valuable – dementia ward doctor: during the COVID-19 pandemic, Australians deprioritised work and recreation, and accepted more than $135 billion of government spending, to protect the most vulnerable amongst us. (Hope) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

16th: Equality Act Would Mean the ‘Effective Death of Religious Liberty’ In America, Mohler Warns, US: A well-known theologian and seminary president is urging Congress to defeat the Equality Act and warning its passage could mean “the effective death of religious liberty” in America. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

16th: Franklin Graham Endorses COVID-19 Vaccines: ‘It’s Consistent with Scripture’ in Saving Lives: Evangelist Franklin Graham says he has taken the Covid-19 vaccine and is urging others to do so as well. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

15th: Vatican Bars Blessing of Same-Sex Unions: God ‘Does Not and Cannot Bless Sin’:’ The Vatican on Monday pointed to Scripture and centuries of church teaching in stating it does not have the power to bless same-sex unions. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

15th: Students Are Told to Chant to Aztec Gods of Human Sacrifice as Part of Calif. Ethnic Studies Curriculum: a new statewide ethnic studies curriculum under consideration by the California Department of Education encourages teachers to lead their students in chants to Aztec gods in what one critic of the curriculum says is a clear refutation of the “Christian god.” (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

12th: Luis Palau, Globe-Trotting Evangelist, Is Dead at 86: the Christian evangelist known for his smile and hearty laugh and described by some as “the Latino Billy Graham,” died Thursday (March 11) at his Portland, Oregon, home. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

12th: N.Y. School: Don’t Say ‘Mom and Dad’ or ‘Boys and Girls’: Use ‘Inclusive Language,’ US: the head of a New York City private school is defending an “Inclusive Language Guide” that discourages the use of phrases such as “mom and dad,” saying it’s needed to “affirm and unite” different members of the school’s community. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

12th: No decrease in Victorian suicides following legalised euthanasia, Australia: one of the more emotive arguments used by activists during the euthanasia debates in Victoria was that such laws would prevent the suicides of many Victorians who were currently “taking their own lives in painful, lonely and unacceptable ways.” (Hope) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

12th: ‘Woke Culture’ in the Church Is ‘Deadly’ for the Gospel, Pastor Michael Youseff Warns: One Egyptian-American pastor is speaking out against “woke culture” arguing that the ideology has permeated many evangelical churches in America today. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

12th: Republican Senators Introduce Bill to Protect Faith-Based Foster Care Providers from Discrimination: Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and James Lankford (R-OK) introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act which aims to ensure protections for faith-based child welfare providers from discrimination over their religious beliefs. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

12th: Overwhelming win for females in sport, US: common sense and decency has overwhelmingly prevailed in the US state of Mississippi, hailing a major victory for female athletes. (Binary) [link 1] [link 2]

12th: Israeli study probes a key factor in diagnosing Parkinson’s early: Constipation: Hebrew University researchers identify brain mechanism potentially behind early symptom of degenerative disease, which could enable early, more effective treatment. (The Times of Israel) [link]

12th: Cellphone obsessives are grinding their teeth, losing sleep – Israeli study: saying symptoms are related to FOMO, researchers find those with smartphone dependency are physically hurting themselves. (The Times of Israel) [link]

11th: Pastor’s Relatives Raped after Imam’s Wife Turns to Christ, Nairobi, Kenya: mosque leader sent men to rape three female relatives of a church pastor in western Uganda because the imam’s wife put her faith in Christ, sources said. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

11th: 2,000 Come to Christ at Evangelistic Festival in Florida, US: evangelist Luis Palau’s son preached a sermon at the Space Coast CityFest, an evangelistic festival held by Palau’s family, that reportedly resulted in 2000+ people giving their lives to Christ. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

11th: Calls to reinstate respectful relationships, Australia: radical gender activists in NSW are using the cover of protecting women from sexual violence to further indoctrinate children in schools. adical gender activists in NSW are using the cover of protecting women from sexual violence to further indoctrinate children in schools. (Binary) [link 1] [link 2]

10th: Hundreds of Women Protest the Equality Act, President Biden’s Transgender Order, US: During International Women’s Day on Monday, about 200 women from across the United States met in Washington D.C. to protest against President Joe Biden’s executive orders promoting the Equality Act and allowing transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

10th: ‘We’ve Got to Get Our Voices Back,’ MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell to Launch Own Social Media Platform amid Censorship: Mike Lindell, the CEO and founder of the company MyPillow, is planning to launch his own social media platform in the near future amid censorship by big tech platforms. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

10th: 91% of Churchgoers Say They’ll Return to Services after COVID-19, Poll Says: more than 90 percent of Protestant churchgoers say they plan on attending their house of worship after the pandemic is over at least as frequently as they did pre-pandemic (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

10th: Seven News reject women, Australia: Seven News Australia decided to mark International Women’s Day 2021 by celebrating a man who imitates being a woman. They equate the scientific term female with woman and subscribe to the ideological agenda that “anyone who identifies as a woman is one.” (Binary) [link 1]

9th: Transgender men health risks: text (Binary) [link 1] [link 2]

9th: Supreme Court Sides with Christian Student Banned from Sharing Faith on College Campus, US: A former student banned from preaching on a Georgia college campus can seek recompense, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

9th: ‘Unholy Partnership’: 23 Christian Colleges, Universities Have Ties to Planned Parenthood, Report Says, US: at least 23 Christian colleges and universities have ties to Planned Parenthood or promote the organization on campus, according to new report by the pro-life organization Students for Life of America. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

 

*Welcome to SPAG Magazine

*Welcome to SPAG Magazine
Welcome in wood
Thanks for dropping by!
Are you a Christian? Do you love God?
SPAG Magazine is a FREE quarterly, digital magazine for Christian adults with a focus on singles. Our purpose is to encourage, challenge and inspire Christian adults in their walk and to honour and exalt God. We believe that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word. (Link to our Statement of Faith)
**While we occasionally receive some well-needed donations to go towards covering our costs, during the past 5 years, we have never been able to cover the yearly ongoing costs to provide this magazine to you for free, and those costs have been coming out of the pocket of our Editor, Vicki Nunn, who often struggles on a pension. Recently we received an amazing donation which along with some earlier donations means that we have for the first time, covered our running costs for the current financial year. Here’s a big shout-out and thank you to Mr L, the latest donor, along with much appreciated donations from the two others. We really love your assistance, and heave a sight of relief! 
Imagine that if you and 10 other people could donate just $3 a week, we could cover our running costs for the year. Donating just $1 more a week ($4), could help us to maintain and replace much needed equipment such as our computer, monitor, scanner/printer and other items. That’s less than $20 a month. Contact our Editor Vicki Nunn via our email address, spagmag1 at gmail.com, for details about how you can help.

The June/August issue is now available:

It’s our sixth birthday, and our quarter century issue!
Articles in this issue include:
• Is it God’s fault I’m single? 
• Following God’s commands in the chaos; 
• How Jesus changed the west; 
• The cockroach:  nature’s garbage men;
• Loving diversity exactly as it comes;  
• Rule of Life part 3: God’s presence 
…and more!
Links to the current issue:
  • • link to pdf downloadable format: link
  • • link to online ‘flippable’ version below:
—————————-
The previous issue no. 24 is still available until 31 July
Articles include:
• Feature: 10 years since the Great East Japanese Tsunami – What can we learn from such disasters?
• God Sees Us;
• Dear Girl, a Good Man Will Still Want You;
• Rule of Life: the Wheel;
• Church, It’s Time To Give Up “The Bachelor;”
• Mother’s Day Reflections on God’s Plan
and LOTS more with around 80 pages.
Links to previous issue no. 24 – March to May 2021:
  • link to pdf downloadable format: link
  • link to online ‘flippable’ version below:
SPAG Magazine Issue 24 Mar-May 2021
If you’re not on our subscription list (free subscription), then if you provide your email address to us, we’ll add you to our list, and you’ll be one of the first to receive it 🙂 Here is our email address:

—————————-


NEWS SNIPPETS
Check out our News Snippets page to keep you up-to-date on what’s happening around the world on Christian and ethical topics, on what’s happening in Israel and with the Jewish people, as well as other relevant social and cultural issues. This will be updated at least once a month, but we’ll endeavour to update it weekly if possible.
Here’s the link

AND FOR YOU: a FREE devotional booklet for one month:
We hope this booklet will bring you into a closer relationship with God through praise, prayer and worship.
Here’s the link to the downloadable pdf (link here)
OR view the online ‘flippable version:
Praise To God Devotional Booklet No. 1

(Note: there may be some advertising on this third party website.)
You can help us by submitting the following for our consideration:
  • your own article;
  • your natural scenery photograph for our back page;
  • your short story or poem with a Christian theme;
  • your comments in response to an article or other item; and/or
  • your suggestion for a topic for us to consider.
NOTE: we’re having issues with our online shops, so items such as our gorgeous “Reflections” e-book are presently not available. Reflections contains over 120 pages of beautiful photos and includes inspiring quotes and Bible verses to lift your spirits as well as to challenge you in your walk. Here’s the link to buy this lovely e-book through our shop. (At present it’s only available in flippable format to view on a third party website.)
Your purchase will help to support this ministry. Thank you for your kind consideration.
Join our Prayer Network Team
One of the most important things you can do for SPAG Magazine is pray for us. We need prayer to not only increase our readership, but to enable God to reach out to Christians and Christian leaders across the world, with articles which will encourage, inspire and challenge, and to bring our brothers and sisters closer to God.
We also need your prayers for enough finances to keep SPAG Magazine going.
If you’re interested in joining our prayer network, you can become a member on Facebook on this link.

 
If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Warm regards
Vicki Nunn
Editor
SPAG Magazine

[Voice] The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.
 
 


Google+

 

Believers Who Suffered Depression

Believers Who Suffered Depression

by Vicki Nunn (1 December 2016)

“A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear (that results) from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl.”

Stephan Hoeller

Introduction

Some Christians and churches claim that depression comes from demonic possession, or from sin, perhaps a curse, or because God is punishing us for a wrong-doing. As we discussed in the article “Can Christians Have a Mental Illness,” while on some occasions it may be the result of an ongoing sin, for most believers, depression doesn’t usually arise from these things.

We’ve looked at possible physical causes of depression as well as circumstances which may cause it. It can be the result of drug and alcohol abuse, physical injury or as part of an illness, as a side effect of certain medications, or as a consequence of physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse.

Seeking help for depression is not sinful, nor is taking anti-depressants. Getting over depression isn’t about “having more faith,” or “looking on the bright side,” or “just getting over it.” There is no pithy quote, Bible verse or inspirational saying that will snap us out of it. In fact, there are quite a number of Bible verses that speak about depression, and Bible characters who struggled with it.

Depression is not a new thing – it’s been around almost since day one!

One of the more important things we learned in that earlier article is that a good proportion of the population will experience depress-ion at some time in their life, and therefore it’s likely that many Christians will also go through it.

Being a Christian doesn’t automatically make us immune. Depression doesn’t mean that a person is lacking in spirituality or immature in their Christian walk. Do you need reassurance on that? Then hopefully this article will provide enough evidence to demonstrate that some of the strongest, most faithful believers have suffered depression – and God still loved them.

Depression

Normally in each issue of SPAG Magazine we endeavour to provide an article on one inspirational person. In conjunction with issue 7’s focus on depression and mental illness, we’re sharing a little about the lives of inspirational believers who suffered depression  – from the Bible, from history and also from the present day. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I encourage you to find out more.

If you’ve ever suffered depression, it may ease your burden to know that profound Christian thinkers, passionate champions of the persecuted and down-trodden, God-inspired prophets, and those who reached great pinnacles of wisdom and strength in their Christian walk, have shared the trials and torments of depression with us.

If those with such resounding faith, profound knowledge and deep compassion can experience the same depths of sorrow, anguish, and moments of doubt; times when God seemed silent to their urgent, tortured pleas for help or for answers; then we, the more common, ordinary Christians are not alone – we aren’t wrong or broken or in need of deliverance. For some of us, it is part of the demanding journey of what it means to be a Christian.

It’s almost freeing to know that these exceptional Christians share such a bond with us. Perhaps it is those who have never known depression and those dark, tormented nights of the soul, who miss out on this distinctive experience. Perhaps we who have known depression, are the chosen ones who God deems worthy of undergoing such an ordeal. Perhaps our journey will be all the better for it.

As bizarre and unreasonable as it sounds, perhaps there’ll come a day when we’ll be able to look back and say “Thank you Lord.”

Whatever the circumstances, depression is very real, and can have a profound and long-lasting impact on us. Those who have never suffered depression cannot understand the terrible pain and suffering it causes.

Biblical Believers Who Suffered Depression

(a) Adam and Eve

While there is no Biblical evidence to confirm it, I imagine that both Adam and Eve suffered depression after they sinned and were cast out of the garden of Eden.

Having previously been so intimate with God, it must have been devastating for them to lose that close and loving relationship. No longer did they know that kindred closeness of spirit, soul and purpose. Adam and Eve knew without a doubt that they were no longer Holy – that purity of their holy relationship with God had ceased to exist.

I’ve heard hell described as the absolute and complete awareness of our aloneness and separation from God. Perhaps in a way, it was similar to how Adam and Eve felt.

Their daily lives of toil to grow food and to survive would have been a constant reminder of the repercussions of their sin, and their unending loss.

The consequences of their sin were later brought home to them, when their own son Cain killed his brother Abel.

(b) King David

There are more than three dozen examples of David’s experiences with depression which he shared in the Psalms. In Psalm 6:2-7 we read words that sound similar to what we might say when experiencing deep depression. Along with the anguish, his words seem to be touched with frustration and even anger:

“Show me grace, Eternal God. I am completely undone. Bring me back together, Eternal One. Mend my shattered bones. My soul is drowning in darkness. How long can You, the Eternal, let things go on like this?

Come back, Eternal One, and lead me to Your saving light. Rescue me because I know You are truly compassionate.

I’m alive for a reason – I can’t worship You if I’m dead. If I’m six feet under, how can I thank You?

I’m exhausted. I cannot even speak, my voice fading as sighs. Every day ends in the same place – lying in bed, covered in tears, my pillow wet with sorrow. My eyes burn, devoured with grief; they grow weak as I constantly watch for my enemies.” [Voice]

(c) Job

We can understand why Job would have suffered depression, after he lost all he had including his children and his wealth. While he must have grieved for his children, he was able to accept that loss was part of life – he’d come into the world with nothing, and would leave the world with nothing.

When Satan was allowed to afflict Job with a terrible illness that not only caused him awful physical pain, he also lost the affections and closeness of his wife, the comforts of his home, contact with friends and loved ones in his community, and was cast out of his home town because of his disease.

Here was a different sort of trauma to the losses he’d suffered earlier. This next step meant that he’d lost everything else including his dignity, his health, and his position within society – he was even mocked by low-life people because of how far he’d fallen from God’s grace.

Additionally, he was constantly in pain which would have affected every physical movement and would likely have plagued his sleep. Lack of sleep and relentless pain alone can cause depression, but the added losses and indignities would have piled up upon his already low spirits.

He’d lived a good life and had tried to be obedient to God. When he was suffering so terribly, he questioned God, demanding a response from Him about what he’d done to deserve such harsh treatment. Doesn’t that sound a lot like what most of us would probably do in Job’s situation?

We can almost hear the anger and perhaps even a little touch of rebuke in his voice in Job 6:8-10:

“If only my one request were answered, if only God would grant me the fulfilment of my only hope: That God would be willing to crush me, to kill me, that God would release His hand and cut me off.


At least then I would have a crumb of consolation, one source of joy in the midst of this relentless agony: I never denied the words of the Holy One in my pain.”
[Voice]

We can hardly blame or judge Job for feeling angry with God. In fact, that kind of a reaction has been around since the time of Cain and Abel, when Cain became angry upon God asking where his brother was.

We can still love God and feel angry and upset with Him. In fact, it really isn’t a surprising response when we’re obedient and go through difficulties and pain and don’t understand why we’re suffering.

Eventually God healed Job and restored his blessings including more children and wealth, and a long, healthy life.

For most of us though, restoration of good health, the return of our wealth, or a child or a partner to replace one we’ve lost, don’t usually happen, and our pain and suffering may remain with us.

(d) Elijah

Elijah was one of several people in the Bible who suffered depression. Here was a man that saw some incredible miracles including ravens sent by God to feed him when he was hungry; provision of food for himself, a widow and her son during a famine; and then Elijah raised the woman’s son from the dead after he passed away.

On another occasion he prayed to God to send fire down from heaven to burn up his sacrifice, to show His power to Baal’s prophets and to the Israelite people. The Israelites saw God’s power and were filled with fear, awe and wonder.

In the same chapter we read that he was able to supernaturally run faster than Ahab who’d left earlier in his chariot!

Despite all of those amazing miracles, he knew and trusted God, and yet Elijah sunk into a terrible depression, even seeking to die.

In 1 Kings 19:4 we read:

“He journeyed into the desert for one day and then decided to rest beneath the limbs of a broom tree. There he prayed that his life would be over quickly and that he would die there beneath the tree.

Elijah: I’m finished, Eternal One. Please end my life here and now, even though I have failed, and I am no better than my ancestors.” [Voice]

After he overcame his depression, Elijah continued in his work for God, and took on Elisha as his apprentice. Later, as his time on earth drew to a close we read in 2 Kings 2:11b:

“A blazing chariot pulled by blazing horses stormed down from the heavens and came between Elijah and Elisha. Then Elijah was swept up into heaven by the fiery storm.” [Voice]

God favoured Elijah so highly, that he took him straight up to heaven! Surely then we must consider that depression is no hindrance to being close to God, or for God to accept each of us completely, or for us to be able to do His work.

(e) Other Bible People

You may like to read about other Bible people who suffered depression, such as: Jeremiah; Hannah; Jonah; and Jesus.

The night before His crucifixion, Jesus spent time in prayer, His spirit in distress. While not necessarily depression, He was in extreme anguish so great, that he sweated drops of blood.)

Christians in History Who Suffered Depression

(a) C.S. Lewis

Most of us know Lewis’ work from his beloved Narnia series. Lewis, was a great Christian thinker who also wrote books on theology, and yet for such an intellectual who understood God so well, he suffered depression.

After his wife died of cancer, just three years after they married, he wrote of his experience, when he desired an answer or some kind of sign from God:

“…But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become.” (“A Grief Observed.”)

Lewis struggled to connect with God during his difficult days, to focus his heart and mind on God, just as many of us do. In his book, “A Grief Observed,” he said of his suffering:

“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”

And when it seemed to him that God wasn’t responding:

“’Knock and it shall be opened.’ But does knocking mean hammering and kicking the door like a maniac?”

(b)  Mother Teresa

The compassionate and caring nun, Mother Teresa is often presented to the world as an iconic image of supreme Christian service, of one who was content in her work, faithful in her service and unwavering in her devotion to God.

There was also the Mother Teresa that few of us know, who suffered depression and struggled to find God, especially during periods of dark despair, but her soul hungered for Him even when she didn’t sense His presence.

In her book “Come Be My Light,” (edited by Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC) she said:

“I want to smile even at Jesus and so hide if possible the pain and the darkness of my soul even from Him.”

And later she wrote:

“With regard to the feeling of loneliness, of abandonment, of not being wanted, of darkness of the soul, it is a state well known by spiritual writers and directors of conscience. This is willed by God in order to attach us to Him alone, an antidote to our external activities, and also, like temptation, a way of keeping us humble in the midst of applauses, publicity, praises, appreciation, etc. and success.”

(c)  Other Christians in History Who Suffered Depression

Other well-known Christians who suffered depression included: Charles Dickens; Martin Luther; John Calvin; John Wesley; Handel; Emily Dickinson; Sir Isaac Newton; Charles Spurgeon; Pope Francis; Florence Nightingale; and many more.

Well-known Christians of Modern Times Who Suffered Depression

(a) Barbara Bush

The former first lady of the USA suffered terrible depression in the 1970s. According to a New York Times article, she sometimes had to stop her car on shoulders of the highway because she feared that:

“…she might deliberately crash the vehicle into a tree or an oncoming auto.”

(b) Joyce Meyer

Joyce was abused as a child which impacted on her emotional and mental development enormously, and led to her depression. In her article “Is it Really Possible to Beat Depression?”she said:

“I know what it’s like to be depressed. For many years I was unstable emotionally because of abuse that I experienced during most of my childhood. It caused me to be negative, critical, and easily discouraged. I used to believe that it was better not to expect anything good to happen to me because if nothing good happened, I wouldn’t be disappointed. But I was still miserable and had no peace.”

Joyce believes that we can allow depression to take hold of us, and that there are ways to stop it. She said:

“Depression begins with disappointment. When disappointment festers in our soul, it leads to discouragement.”

(c) Other Well-known Christians of Modern Times Who Have Suffered Depression

Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of Christ” has suffered depression.

Others in this group include: John James (Newsboys); Sheila Walsh (singer and talk-show host); Tina Campbell (Mary Mary); Richard Smallwood (gospel music artist); Buzz Aldrin (astronaut); Lecrae (hip hop artist, record producer and actor); Kevin Sorbo (actor); Mel Gibson (actor, director and producer); and Ashley Judd (actor).

Conclusion

For each of us who suffer depression or other mental illnesses, our journey and our experiences may be different, but we are bonded together in a unified Christian experience.

We aren’t alone in our suffering. The similarities of our anguish, the deep depths of our depressions, the struggles of our condition, the unanswered, perplexing questions and even at times, silence from God show us by their similarity that God has found a way to stretch us and shape us, even sometime agonisingly, but purposefully into something more than we were before.

We may not see that we’ve changed for the better, or understand that the suffering that we bore began a transformation within us.

While in the midst of our struggles, sometimes we feel torn, broken, battered and weak with trembling, God isn’t unaware of the battle we are waging, He is not absent from us though His silence may make it seem that He is.

These troubling experiences and depression are another part of our journey. Perhaps we undergo this pain and suffering because there was something deep in us which God needed to change or to remove from us, which required such a forceful and intense experience.

When we take those final steps at the end of our human journey and find ourselves standing before God, instead of asking Him “Why?” our minds, hearts and soul will grasp it at last and we will say, “I understand.” [End]

 

————————
 

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key.”

Elizabeth Wurtzel

————————

eye-with-tears-and-makeupsm

 

alone-sad-depressed-mansm

 

After Adam and Eve sinned, there were cast out of the garden of Eden, and realised their separation from God.

After Adam and Eve sinned, there were cast out of the garden of Eden, and realised their separation from God.

King David in prayer

King David in prayer

Job and his friends

Job and his friends

Elijah destroyed the messengers of Ahaziah by fire

Elijah calling down fire from God

Jeremiah in the ruins of Jerusalem

Jeremiah in the ruins of Jerusalem

Jesus and the crown of thorns

Jesus and the crown of thorns

Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

John Calvin

John Calvin

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton

Handel

Handel

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

Bibliography:

[Voice] The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.
Ekstrand, Dr DW, no date, The Transformed Soul “Dealing with Anger Toward God,” available: http://www.thetransformedsoul.com/additional-studies/spiritual-life-studies/dealing -with-anger-toward-god – accessed 04/11/16.
McDaniel, Debbie, 4 May 2016, Crosswalk.com “7 Bible Figures Who Struggled with Depression,” available: http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/7-bible-figures-who-struggled-with-depression.html – accessed 04/11/16
No author, no date, A Christian Faith “Psalm 42 – Spiritual depression,” available: http://www. christianfaith.com/resources/psalm-42-spiritual-depression – accessed 04/11/16
No author, no date, Wikipedia, available: www.wikipedia.org – accessed 04/11/16
Borchard, Therese J, no date, Beyond Blue – A Spiritual Journey into Mental Health: “Mother Teresa: My Saint of Darkness and Hope,” available: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/beyondblue/2007/08/mother-teresa-my-saint-of-dark.html – accessed 04/11/16
Justice, Jessilyn, 21/08/15, Charisma News: “When Famous Christians Suffer Public Depression,” available: http://www.charismanews.com/culture/51159-when-famous-christians-suffer-public-depression, accessed 04/11/16
Carey, Jesse, 9/12/14, Relevant: God – “7 Prominent Christian Thinkers Who Wrestled With Doubt,” available: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/7-prominent-christian-thinkers-who-wrestled-doubt”- accessed 04/11/16
Meyer, Joyce, 20/12/10, CP Living: “Is It Really Possible to Beat Depression?” available: http://www.christianpost.com/news/is-it-really-possible-to-beat-depression-48134/ accessed 04/11/16.
Skinner, Michael, no date, “Famous People With a Mental Health Concern/Illness,” available: http://www.mskinnermusic.com/home/advocacy-2/famous-people-mental-health-concern-illness/ accessed 04/11/16.
James, John, 2016, Full Gospel Businessmen’s Training: “John James,” available: http://www.fgbt.org/Testimonies/john-james.html accessed 04/11/16.
Heitzig, Skip, no date, Christianity Today “Journey Through Spiritual Depression,” available: http://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2001/february-online-only/cln10214.html accessed 08/11/16
Kolodiejchuk, Brian, 4 September 2007 by Doubleday Religion “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta”
Wines, Michael, September 8 1994, The New York Times: “In Memoir, Barbara Bush Recalls Private Trials of a Political Life,” available: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/09/08/us/in-memoir-barbara-bush-recalls-private-trials-of-a-political-life.html accessed 10/11/16
Lewis, C.S., Published April 21st 2015 by Harper San Francisco, “A Grief Observed,” accessed 09/11/16

Having Struggles?

Having Struggles?

Here are some articles which you may find helpful if you are going through struggles. We will continue adding to these as we share them in issues of SPAG Magazine. If you have an issue or a topic that you’d like us to cover in an upcoming issue, please let us know. You can complete the form at the end of this page, or email us at: 

Can Christians Have a Mental Illness?

Five Key Ways to Support a Friend (or Stranger) With a Chronic or Invisible Illness

Good Grief: Coping with Chronic Illness

Happiness Habits – Articles on Learning How to be Happy:

  1. Keep a happiness journal;

  2. Forgiveness and friendship;

  3. Difficult decisions;

  4. Friendship;

  5. Understanding yourself;

  6. Putting off procrastination;

  7. Derailing Depression (parts 1-3)

Believers Who Suffered Depression;

Let’s Talk About Sex;

  1. Introduction

  2. Purity (or the world is not enough);

  3. Masturbation and celibacy;

Where is the Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Why Do I have Trouble Making Friends?

Tell us what topic or article you would like us to share in a future issue of SPAG Magazine:

General Articles

General Articles

 Please contact us if you have any queries.

Humorous Articles

Humorous Articles

Being a single person can have it’s challenges, and sometimes the way we are treated or even ignored, can be very discouraging. With that in mind, we occasionally share a humorous article in SPAG Magazine. Here are the links:

Tell us what topic or article you would like us to share in a future issue of SPAG Magazine:

Can Christians Have a Mental Illness?

Can Christians Have a Mental Illness?

Vicki Nunn

by Vicki Nunn

Introduction

Over the centuries, people with mental illnesses were locked away in institutions or jails and subjected to the most appalling treatments and conditions. Some were killed out of fear, or (as happened in various countries early in the 20th century including Australia and the USA), they were sterilised or euthanized as a means of ‘improving’ the genetic human stock, or to remove them as a burden on our society. Unfortunately this concept arose from the theory of evolution which was taking a strong hold in many countries at the time.

When I was growing up, people never talked about mental illness other than just to make fun of the ‘crazies.’ Television programs and comedians mocked people with mental illness, and many people were so afraid of them that they took care to avoid them and to ostracise them, and to ensure that they were locked away.

As an adult, I’ve been fortunate to have personally known people who have suffered various mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar-affective disorder, depression and more. I say fortunate, because it’s given me more of an understanding of the problems and issues with which mentally ill people struggle, and also because I came to value them as individuals, and to admire them for their resolve in living as normally as possible while struggling with their illness.

As someone who has personally suffered depression and panic attacks, I know that mental illness can have a profound and life-changing impact upon us.

Mental Illness in Modern Times

It is really only up until recently in our society, that mental illness has been more openly discussed, and we are becoming more accepting and compassionate towards those with mental illness. Rather than just locking people up and treating them as ‘unfixable’ or even as less than human, we are at last finding some medical treatments and psychotherapy to help them as best as possible.

Within the church though, it is an area that has been slow to change. In some churches there is still the belief that Christians simply do not suffer mental illness, unless they’re committing sin or are lacking in faith and are being punished for their actions, or possibly even as a result of a curse.

Other churches run with the concept that the person needs to be freed from demonic possession.
Some still treat the afflicted as if they are carrying an infectious disease and should be avoided, or they arrogantly look down their noses at the poor unfortunate, offering them indifference or condescension instead of solace and compassion.

Those then that suffer from mental illness while they are Christians, are usually forced to hide their condition in shame and embarrassment, as if they are disgusting failures. As a consequence, many Christians who struggle with this, do not seek out help from within their own churches or they feel that they can’t discuss their situation with their brothers and sisters in Christ. Many struggle on alone, for fear of being judged and shunned.

Thankfully this is changing, and more churches are recognising that Christians can suffer a mental illness and it’s not always because they’re sinning, possessed or cursed. More are offering support and help.

What Causes Mental Illness?

In most cases, the causes of mental illness are still unknown. Research suggests that they are caused by physical, biological and environmental factors or a combination of these.

The illness can come about from a disruption in the unborn infant’s brain development or caused by injury at birth. Sometimes neurological pathways in the brain function incorrectly. It can develop through a physical injury to the brain as a result of an accident or it may be caused by chemical imbalances.

It may result from a brain infection, exposure to toxins or lack of good nutrition, particularly in one’s developmental years.

Some families are born with genetic abnormalities that make them more susceptible to mental illness which may be triggered by trauma, abuse or other factors.

Other mental illnesses can be brought on by the use of drugs such as marijuana or long-term alcohol and drug abuse.

Some mental illnesses can be the result of physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse, particularly in childhood, which can impact on the person’s psychological development.

How Can People with Mental Illness be Treated?

A combination of medication and psychotherapy can assist, though the person may still continue to struggle with the illness’s effects throughout their life, particularly its impacts on their personal and social functioning.

While these therapies assist in many cases (but not necessarily cure), not every person is able to find a successful treatment and some people will need to remain in the care of their families or in institutions for the remainder of their life.

There are many families who struggle daily with caring for a loved one with a mental illness. (See our other article – “Good Grief: Mental Illness” in issue 7 of SPAG Magazine which is available to purchase online – link here)

Can Christians Have a Mental Illness?

Yes, many Christians do have a mental illness, although few make it known.

As a result of misinformation and lack of compassion within some churches, some Christians come to believe that they’re lacking in faith if they’re not healed, and may be actively discouraged from seeking medical and psycho-therapeutic help. Others unsuccessfully try to have the demon removed, or they may simply suffer through it because they’ve been lead to believe that because of their sins, they’re being judged and punished by God. Many suffer in silence because they don’t want to be condemned and shunned by their fellow Christians.

Of course, if a Christian is consciously indulging in a sin, then this is the first thing which they must put forward to God, seeking help and healing, praying for wisdom and forgiveness and with the Holy Spirit’s help, deliberately working at ways of ridding themselves of it. This isn’t always easy to do.

We must understand though, that not all illnesses in the believer, whether mental or physical, are the result of our sin or because we are cursed. By Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection, our former, present and future sins are forgiven. We don’t have to prove ourselves worthy of forgiveness – it is Jesus who was worthy to take our sins for us, so we already are forgiven by our faith in Jesus and God’s promise for the forgiveness of our sins.

Can We Assume that it’s Mostly Due to Sin?

So what do we say to those who are still suffering sickness? Do we judge them simply as sinners and not offer them compassion, prayer and comfort? Why would our loving heavenly Father on the one hand promise forgiveness of sins, and with the other, punish us for them through mental or physical illness?

I’ve known many Christians who have long-term illnesses, both physical and/or mental, and I know that their illness is not the result of sin. I know this because I have seen God working in them and I see that they seek to make God the priority of their lives.

Personally, I know that physical and mental ailments are not always due to sin. I was born with a congenital defect in one hip which affected me even as a child. Was my problem due to sin? Of course not – I was born with this defect.

Then when I was in teens, I developed a spinal disease that led to the development of scoliosis and caused pain. By the time I was 21, the pain began to increase and by my late twenties was impacting my movement. The pain and restrictions affected my every day activities as well as the ministry to which God had called me.

In prayer I regularly sought God’s guidance about whether it was from sin and asked repeatedly for healing and clarity about whether I would be healed of it, but if anything, my pain and physical restrictions increased. In my mid thirties, God eventually answered my prayer and told me that I wasn’t going to be healed, not as a form of punishment because of my sin or lack of faith, but so that I would develop compassion and empathy for others who suffer.

Therefore, mental illnesses too are not always the result of sin. What do we say to those who are born with a mental illness? “You’re obviously still sinning, so don’t come and talk to me about that until you’ve fixed it?” Of course not! Can we make the judgement that a newborn infant is responsible for a deliberate sin and is being punished for it with a mental and/or physical ailment? If a person can be born with a physical or mental ailment, or develop it later, we cannot condescend to assume that the person is actively sinning and being punished for it.

In fact, not a single one of us is without sin. Yes, we are forgiven, but not a single one of us is able to go about our lives without committing a sin. If we don’t suffer a physical or mental illness, does that mean that we are somehow better than others who do have one? Are those with a physical or mental illness somehow committing a sin that’s worse than ours?

Let’s ask an important question, “Are some sins worse than others?” The Bible makes it clear that there is only one unforgiveable sin: blaspheming of the holy spirit. No other sin is unforgiveable or worse than others.

If we are suggesting that a person with a physical and/or mental illness is being punished for sin, than why isn’t everyone being punished for theirs, because none of us is able to live without sinning. Yes, we are working towards becoming more like Jesus, but that work isn’t completed in us until after we die.

accusing-judging-a-man-walking-away-ashamedsm

Churches and Believers Are Becoming More Compassionate

Thankfully there are churches which offer compassion and understanding to Christian sufferers, and hopefully more churches will learn to accept that those with a mental illness should be allowed to seek appropriate medical treatment without fear of condemnation.

Just as we treat people with physical illnesses with proper medication and treatments, we should also treat people with mental illnesses with compassion and allow them to seek the medical and psychological treatments available to them. Would we deny medical help to a person with diabetes or heart disease or for a broken leg? Why then should we deny treatment to those with a mental illness, particularly since some mental illness are caused by physical problems?

Perhaps the reason we don’t treat those with a mental illness the same way we treat people with physical illnesses comes from our long history of superstition and fear in connection with mental illness, and because we don’t understand its cause or know how to treat it properly.

Perhaps even, we shun sufferers out of pride and our own sense of superiority.

hands-4-holdingsm

Conclusion

While mental illness may in some instances be a sign of demonic possession, once a person becomes a Christian there is no way that a demon would be allowed to remain inside someone who is occupied by God through His Holy Spirit. God abhors evil, and so He would not allow evil to reside alongside Him in a believer’s heart and mind.

We cannot make the assumption either that mental illness is caused by demonic possession in every non-believer, although it’s possible in some cases.
Aside from demonic possession, we’ve discussed that while mental illness may on occasion spring from deliberate sin, in most instances it arises from various physical, biological and environmental causes, or a combination of these.

Modern medication and psychotherapy can be a tremendous assistance to those with a mental illness, although not everyone can be helped. Hopefully as our medical knowledge increases, we will be able to improve our treatments.

As Christians, we need to be mindful that many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering from a mental illness. Statistics suggest that as many as 45% of the Australian population will suffer a mental health condition in their lifetime. I can only assume the statistics are similar in other countries. In any one year, around one million adults have depression, and more than two million suffer anxiety. Depression is claimed to be the leading cause of disability worldwide¹.

We should ask God to help us to become more empathetic towards those who are afflicted, rather than add to their already heavy burden by our own callousness or judgement. If we act towards the mentally ill with intolerance, indifference or out of a sense of superiority, then which of us has the worse ailment?

Challenge

Here’s a challenge for you to prayerfully consider. What is your response towards those with mental (or physical) illness? On the day of judgement, how will God view your attitude and actions towards those who are afflicted?

Bibliography
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.Bibliography:
Unknown author (unknown date) “Causes of Mental Illness” (WebMD) available: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-causes-mental-illness, accessed 17/10/16
Unknown author, no date, FAC – Family Caregiver Alliance: “Grief and Loss,” available https://www.caregiver.org/grief-and-loss, accessed 20/10/16
Authors: Glynn, Shirley M., PhD, Kangas, Karen, EdD, and Pickett, Susan, PhD, no date. American Psychological Association: “Supporting a family member with serious mental illness,” available: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/improving-care.aspx, accessed 20/10/16
Author: Karen Hanna, 23 March 2016, Karen Hanna Coaching: “Grieving Mental Illness,” available: http://www.karenhannacoaching.ca/uncategorized/grieving-mental-illness-2/, accessed 20/10/16