Saturday, September 24, 2022

Anti-depressants Only 15% Effective

Another report yet again shows the inefficacy of psychotropic drugs like Zoloft, Lexapro, and Prozac . From the Post Millennial:

Evidence is increasing that doctors are overprescribing SSRIs, according to the outlet. One recent study cited by Newsweek revealed that only 15 percent of patients derive any more benefit from the drugs than they would a sugar pill. Additionally, withdrawal symptoms for long-term users may be more severe than previously believed and sometimes be worse for the patient than the original disorder....

The consensus is that SSRIs help some people with severe depression, but those patients are the minority of people who take the drugs....

Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, professor of Critical and Social Psychiatry at University College London, the lead author of the serotonin paper told the outlet, "We have a mistaken view of what psychiatric drugs are doing. This idea that they work by targeting the underlying biological mechanisms that produce the symptoms of mental disorders is actually not supported by evidence for any type of mental disorder, whether that's depression or schizophrenia or whatever..."

After the paper was released, the US Food and Drug Administration published an analysis of all the antidepressant clinical trial data in its files. The study concluded that the active ingredients in 10 of the most popularly prescribed antidepressant medications made a meaningful difference in only 15 percent of the patients who took them, usually in those patients suffering from the most severe depression.

According to Newsweek, One reason may be that SSRIs are effective for many people not because of the drug but rather the placebo effect, that the patient creates an expectation of healing that results in improvement. The outlet cited research that the placebo effect is successful in 30 to 40 percent of cases of depression.

End quote.

~The Post Millennial

The Newsweek article cited is here and here are the key quotes:

One of the authors of the new study is Horowitz, now a research scientist at University College London. His July paper, "The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence," is aimed squarely at debunking the basis upon which pharmaceutical companies marketed drugs like Prozac, Lexapro and Zoloft to consumers for decades: namely, the idea that depression is associated with deficits in the concentrations or activity of the brain chemical serotonin.

The pharmaceutical industry used that idea to market the drugs to consumers for many years, and it remains a kind of shorthand some doctors use to explain to their patients how the drugs work. As a result, according to the study's authors, between 85 and 90 percent of the public believe that low serotonin levels cause depression. After reviewing data from previous studies involving hundreds of thousands of individuals, Horowitz and his colleagues concluded that there is little to no evidence that this is true....

Horowitz and the paper's other co-authors have been using the attention to call for a fundamental reassessment of how mental illness is treated. "We have a mistaken view of what psychiatric drugs are doing," says Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, professor of Critical and Social Psychiatry at University College London. She is also Horowitz's boss and the lead author of the serotonin paper. "This idea that they work by targeting the underlying biological mechanisms that produce the symptoms of mental disorders is actually not supported by evidence for any type of mental disorder, whether that's depression or schizophrenia or whatever," she told Newsweek....

The crippling sadness that sometimes follows a reduction in SSRI medication is caused by the chemical dependence the drugs can cause in the brain and withdrawal effects.

"It's not helpful to think of depression as a brain disease," she says. "I think that we should be thinking of it as an emotional reaction to life circumstances and life events. And indeed, there is very strong evidence that people who suffer from adverse life events are much more likely to get depressed."

End quote.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Friendships and Being Wronged

 “Let not a single action alienate a friend: bear in mind the general tenor of his conduct towards you. Be as ready to forgive as you desire to be forgiven. Remember there is still much in you which grates upon others. When wronged pray over it before you pass a verdict. Many a person has afterwards bitterly regretted a hasty decision. Take all the circumstances into account and “judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

~ Arthur Pink, “The Life of David, Volume 2”

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Mystical Experiences vs the Written Word and the Holy Spirit

 “There is real need to labour this point, for not a few highly strung people and those with vivid imaginations have been deceived thereon, supposing that strange dreams, extraordinary visions, abnormal sights and sounds, are the means or manner in which the Holy Spirit is made manifest to the soul. Those who look for any such experience are far more liable to be deluded by Satan than enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit supplies no new and different revelation today from that which He has already made in the written Word.”

~ Arthur Pink, “The Doctrine of Revelation”

Monday, August 15, 2022

"God vs Government": the pretend heroics of Grace Community Church.




"“Welcome to our peaceful protest.”

In the spring of 2020, government mandates forced churches across North America to close their doors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As societal fear and unrest increased, Christians were forced to grapple with how God wanted them to respond to these state-imposed restrictions. After all, didn’t the closure of churches pose a serious threat in a time when people needed spiritual direction more than ever?" - Amazon blurb (preface)

The reality is that GCC  shut down for 4 months in obedience to the government. Now they're profiting off of their reversal as if they were always courageous. Actually, it was biblical churches that obeyed God rather than man and therefore never did shut down their churches and didn't feel the need to thumb their noses at the government by making videos and announcing it. They quietly, like Daniel, continued on with how they'd been practicing sound doctrine.  They treated and continue to treat Scripture and it's doctrine as it is: God's very word,  knowable and essential, and not given to situational obedience. The government has zero jurisdiction over the local church. In any way. It neither defines it nor regulates it. That is solely the jurisdiction of Christ Jesus.  Rather, James tells the elders to go to the sick. Quarantines in the OT was for the lepers and all the regulations of how, when, and for how long is given in detail in Leviticus to the Jews for a specific reason, mainly to show the insidiousness of sin and it's widespread growth in man. Never were the healthy quarantined or isolated. Johnson neglected these important distinctions.

Phil Johnson in May 2020 posted:

This guy, angry that Grace Community Church yielded to the 9th Circuit Court's ruling banning church meetings in California this weekend, Tweets at me: "An unjust law need not be followed."

I'm appalled at how many people who profess to believe Scripture echo that sentiment. Nero was emperor when Paul wrote Romans 13:1-7: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. . . ." First Peter 2:13 was written to people suffering unjustly. ("Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him...")

Peter goes on to say: "Be subject . . . also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly" (vv. 18-19). Indeed, "to this [unjust suffering] you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps." (v. 21). When someone in authority over us treats us unjustly, the example we are to follow was set for us by Christ, who simply "continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly" (v. 23).

The only exception to this principle is when the one in authority instructs us to sin. Then "we must obey God rather than men" (
Acts 5:29).

The answer to that question may vary according to where we live. Quarantining people in the midst of a pandemic is a legitimate prerogative of government. How long the quarantine should last and who should be exempted are questions that don't have clear, fixed answers. The severity and duration of the pandemic determines what's reasonable or not. We may or may not agree with how the quarantine is being implemented (I certainly do not), but we have a clear duty to submit unless we are being asked to sin. 

How long until the government-ordered quarantine is undeniably excessive, or we conclude that it's targeted persecution against our worship and therefore an illegal attempt to make us disobey Hebrews 10:25? That time may come, and when it does, we may have to implement the principle of Acts 5:29. The question of whether we have already passed that point is another subjective issue, but it's clear that among believers—in the church itself—there is not yet consensus on whether the quarantine has gone too far.

Nevertheless, if you hang out on Twitter or Facebook, you may have noticed that there are countless people in the evangelical community who refuse to regard any of the above questions as matters of conscience. They believe the answers are perfectly obvious. They are eager to tell you what you and your church ought to be doing. They are locked and loaded with vituperation for anyone who sees matters differently. Two camps of them have squared off against each other—hordes of angry Karens at opposite extremes, all of whom disagree with the position I've outlined above. Some of them are scolding us for thinking Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 actually apply in today's circumstances. The others are berating us for wanting to resume public worship ASAP.

Sorry, but in the words of Martin Luther, here I stand. I can do no other. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help us.

~Phil  Johnson May 25, 2020 [bold, original; underline, mine]

But a little over two months later, he and his church became JUST AS DOGMATIC:

Churches are shutting down. Large churches are shutting down until (they say) January. I don't have any way to understand that—other than they don't know what a church is and they don't shepherd their people. But that's sad. And you have a lot of people in Christianity who seem to be significant leaders who aren't giving any strength and courage to the church. They're not standing up and rising up and calling on Christians to be the church in the world.

John MacArthur (2 August 2020) (italics, mine)

GCC's stance changed 4 months later, going from "we need to submit to the government--Romans 13!!, to stating what biblical churches and Christians had held to and practiced from the moment of the shut down—that the government has no jurisdiction over the Lord's church ever---the very stand Johnson ridiculed as “angry Karens”.

Johnson partially quoted Romans 13, but forgot to include the JURISDICTION of the government God gave (aka, context). It was not over health, family, marriage, working (work is mandated by God); who to isolate and not isolate for health risks, how to run a church. Rather, the government’s jurisdiction given by God is VERY NARROW:

Rom 13:3  For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; 4  for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. 

1 Peter 2 explains what the "good" and "evil" is--it's according to Scripture, not Caesar. 1Pe 2:14  or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right1 Peter 3:14 says it's in regard to righteousness.  So, tell a church how to function especially when it’s against Scripture IS sin. It’s source of authority is satanic and therefore illegitimate. It goes back to the ancient Serpent in the Garden of Eden, saying “Has God said?”. Yes, He has said. He has spoken.  Any view that is not a biblical view is sin. Doing things from fear rather than faith, is sin (James 4). So, for Johnson to infer that disobedience to the government is allowed only if they command you directly to sin (for example, only IF they say you shall bow to an idol” or “you shall take the mark of the beast”, or "you must have an abortion"), is a very immature view of Scripture. It’s really a low view of God, Scripture, and His church, His people. (I think a better example is Daniel, who obeyed God in food, drink, and worship regardless of what the government said, yet still showed honor to the king. Note that he did nothing different when things got bad—he continued on as he always had done—pray to Yahweh, obey Scripture, trust in God. He continued to LIVE according to biblical doctrine. )

Months later he changed his tune. It was his experience with o
ngoing regulations, not a clear understanding of and trust in Scripture, is what changed his mind.  He wasn't a little off and just needed "fine tuning". He did not start with the presupposition of God's Word trumping government mandates and fear. He didn't start with having a high view of the Lord's children. He mocked them. He got angry and impatient with them. Rather his post comes off as everyone has their own  own interpretation of Scripture---the very thing he slammed the Emergent Church (Post-Modernists) for. He said, 

But GCC ended up saying what we said all along: we won't submit to the government shut down of churches because it was wholly unbiblical. But for a quarter of an entire year they cowered before unholy men who dared to dictate to Christians and how they relate to God. And they didn't admit they were wrong, apologized to all those they rebuked for daring to be dogmatic on sound doctrine and practice. No, they rewrote the narrative, painting themselves as fierce, unmovable heroes of the faith when the fact was, they were cowards for months. That's dishonest and it's fleshly.

The problem is that GCC thinks time is what justifies or does not justify disobedience to the Lord when it comes to closing down a church, having no communion, no fellowship, no church discipline. Their view was purely pragmatic, self-preserving, and out of fear of government and illness. For four long months they kept their flock from obeying the Lord as they continued to not obey the Lord as "leaders". It was over-lording the people with their own fear and rebellion. And now they wrote a book on how bold and courageous they were to stand (even taunt, if you look at MacArthur's video statement), against the shut down AS IF they had always stood open. 

 So that’s the problem with the book. For four months, GCC was doing that very thing they accused others of doing: redefining by action what a church is; shepherds not shepherding their people and not giving strength and courage to the church. I’d add they didn’t deal with sin within the church either. Rather they were cowering and in fear of a less-than-lethal virus and the government. They really want to be heroes and make some money and gain some recognition out of it. It's fleshly.

(Tangentially, it was MacArthur who refused to submit to the human institution of WASC, the accreditation institute, when starting TMS. He said he knew they weren’t supposed to start the seminary because WASC said no, but went ahead, “hoping for forgiveness later” (TMS Chapel 8/21/18 Part 1 time mark 4:25). So the hypocrisy goes back quite a ways with them- obey or disobey at whim.) They are no Daniel. Not even close.



Monday, July 18, 2022

To Mortify Our sins and be Christlike Is Beyond Our Nature

 “O my reader, be not deceived on this vital matter: to mortify the lusts of the flesh, to be crucified unto the world, to overcome the Devil, to die daily unto sin, and live unto righteousness, to be meek and lowly in heart, trustful and obedient, pious and patient, faithful and uncompromising, loving and gentle; in a word, to be a Christian, to be Christlike, is a task far, far beyond the poor resources of fallen human nature.”

~ Arthur Pink, “Studies on Saving Faith”

So very true! It can only be the work of the Triune God working in and through us.

Eph 2:10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

Friday, July 08, 2022

You Can't Blame God For His Wrath


                                                                                   Photo source.

Friday, March 11, 2022

When Churches Usurp The Jurisdiction God Gave To The Civil Government

When churches try to usurp God's assigned authority to the civil government (Rom. 13 & 1Peter 2:13-14), always ends badly. 


Josh Root at Chandler's Village Church: