on September 1, 2003
Although D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones's "Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure" is nearly forty years old, the truth it speaks to a generation lost amid a plethora of pop-psychology books is timeless. Jones, long the pastor of Westminster Chapel, gives readers the benefit of his many years of preaching and counseling, paving the way for the lost to find their way home.
Psychology and Christianity have two dichotomous worldviews that cannot be shoehorned into each no matter how hard anyone tries. Psychology attempts to bolster the inner self, while Christianity says that the inner self is so hopelessly corrupt that it must be replaced with something entirely new. To this end Jones points out that all depression has its root in sin and works from that point to lead readers into an understanding that only in Christ can release from the bondage of self come.
In the pages of this work, we find Jones addressing the following issues that many who are downcast find themselves afflicted by:
* Lack of a foundation in Christ
* Lack of clarity
* Poor spiritual balance between the mind, heart, and will
* Inability to receive forgiveness for all their sins
* Inability to move beyond past failures
* Fear of the future
* Placing too much confidence in emotions
* Faulty love of oneself and a general contempt for others
* Lack of faith
* Seeing only bad and not good
* Bondage to dead legalism
* Failing to recognize false teachings
* Lack of discipline
* Failure to handle trials appropriately
* Failure to respond correctly to chastening
Jones does a marvelous job of breaking down each of these traits found in those in the doldrums and sheds the light of Scripture on each as he takes a solely Christian look at the root of these problems and how to deal with them biblically. Best of all, at no time does he attempt to mix in solutions from pop-psychology in order to achieve wholeness. His answers are more real and more true to the heart of the depressed. Anyone who feels downtrodden will take enormous comfort in the gentle, but firm words here.
While the advice here is timeless, the book does suffer slightly from having an older writing style that contrasts with the flow of more modern works. Those who have not read anything older than twenty years will find some of Jones's writing techniques to be quaint and very British, but if you have read any works by his contemporary, C.S. Lewis, you will be familiar with the style of British writers of that day and will find nothing daunting in Jones.
In the end, as a counteracting work to the psychobabble so pronounced today, "Spiritual Depression" is without peer and I heartily encourage anyone who is looking for true Christian counsel to read this book - Jones's words are a life-giving balm for weary souls. Few books of this type exist today and better words have never been written on this subject.
on April 16, 2003
This book is probably my most read and appreciated of any book I have. Lloyd Jones Scripturally and gently points out the causes of all our depression- and what a relief it is to find that someone else has known and experienced the very thing that we are struggling with! He then moves on to why, and how you can oversome what your difficulty is- giving all the glory and putting all your hope in Christ. Another of the greatest bonus' of this book is that you don't feel as if you're reading some mans opinion; there is so much Scripture infused throughout, a sense more of finally taking and truly applying the living word of God is experienced. Lloyd-Jones takes all the most common ailments of depressed Christians; feelings, guilt, lack of faith, and trials, and compassionatly exhorts you to find your way out through belief. Calvin says "We are all partly unbelievers throughout our lives", and Martin Lloyd-Jones lights the way out of this particular area of stumbling. He puts it perfectly in the chapter "Feelings"- "I cannot make myself be happy, but I can remind myself of my belief. I can address my soul as the psalmist does in Ps.42 'Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou'...believe thou, trust thou. That is the way."
on March 22, 2002
Real. Psychological drugs are not the centerpoint of Jones' thesis. Scientific findings and psychological evaluations do not end up in the latter part of this text. Jones squarely, candidly and gently centers the message on Christ, or lack of Christ, in the believer's life, whether it be in our practice or knowledge or affections. He puts our trials, emotions, thoughts and will into perspective from the biblical vantage point of pastoral experience, a love for God and His people and a firm conviction that despite our present circumstances or state of mind, God is in absolute control. Medicine does not take the upper hand against God's sovereingty in this book. Depression, Jones argues, is multifaceted and has a host of causes. A great deal of the book, however, reminded me just how ignorant I am to what God may be trying to accomplish in my life through my melancholy and depression. Jesus, was, after all, a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief. Jones wonderfully captures this simple thought, Jesus Christ understands and knows exactly what we are going through. If you enjoy C.S. Lewis, you will find a similar warmth and frankness in these sermons of Jones. If your depressed, downcast and are a Christian, this book will bring a great deal of biblical admonition and encouragement (plus few smiles) to your dark nights of the soul. Rest. You are not alone in these trials. Read this book!
on November 29, 2000
This collection of Lloyd-Jones sermons should be a resource on every Christian's shelf. He so planely and effectively describes the various pitfalls and snares that hinder our Christian walk that one nearly feels ashamed of not recognizing them one's self. It is simply Lloyd-Jones God-given gift of putting the hay where the flock can reach it.
I agree with another reviewer that the title(Spiritual Depression) may put some off, still its subtitle says it all--"Its Causes and Its Cure." From the beginning chapter, where Lloyd-Jones asserts that, "the ultimate cause of all spiritual depression is unbelief" (20), he continues to draw the reader back to that same cure--belief.
A man asking for a miracle once told Jesus, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Here, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones helps us to overcome our unbelief.
on April 16, 2000
Don't let the title make you think this has something to do with pshcho-babble, or even the modern seeker friendly Christian self-help style of books that plague Christian bookstores these days. In this book Martyn-Lloyd Jones examines the things that go wrong with our Christian life from a purely Scriptural perspective and then provides purely Scriptural solutions. The chapter on self discipline alone is worth buying the book, but the entire volume is emensely practical and every bit based on God's revealed word. This is a must have for every Christian.
on November 10, 2001
This is a book you can read and reread in your spiritual walk with the Lord. You will glean helpful insight in this book with your freedom in Christ. You will know the truth and be set free. It is so power packed that it is difficult to review all that he writes. If you want clear understanding between Law and Grace this is the book that will do it plus so much more defined. He uses analogies to explain the parables of the Laborers in the Vineyard that no one should miss. You will be refreshed and uplifted in a time of national tragedy of 9/11.
on July 11, 2001
This book belongs in every home. I have never read a better book on how to handle the feelings and emotions that rage over us and control us. I used it in my own life to acquaint myself with myself; to learn how the mind, body, and soul work together. It provides such a wonderful insight into what God expects of us and how he uses us; how he loves us and chastises us. Christians and non-Christians, alike, suffer depression from a multitude of sources, and this book offers encouragement and solutions in excellent, excellent, writing.
on August 17, 2010
This is truly one of the greatest, most helpful Christian books ever written. If you feel "stuck" or dry in your Christian life, let Dr. Lloyd-Jones help you out.I just wish this book was better known.
on October 1, 2000
Every one of the twenty-one chapters of this work contains solid, biblical teaching on finding fulfillment in God. His purpose for our lives is not to be downcast and depressed, but to experience joy in Him. I can't tell you how much I have gained from reading this book. Lloyd-Jones very capably describes the freedoms that are ours in the Christian life when we think and act biblically. Don't miss this one.
on May 31, 1999
I agree with the other review that the only problem with this book is the title. With so many Christians on anti-depressant medication there needs to be some help and this book needs to be read by as many spiritual counselors as possible. It deals with Spiritual Warfare in a balanced and very practical manner. Easy to read and very practical but to the heart!!! I am ordering more for my friends.