Book review: Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain

Bible Teaching May Be Good Medicine, Not Science

There seem to be seven universal struggles that cause humankind emotional pain. At least this is how it is distilled by Paul Meier, M.D. and David Henderson, M.D., both psychiatrists. I muster no argument with these–being further along than “spring chicken,” I have suffered many of the circumstances described by Dr.’s Meier and Henderson. I am relatively happy these days, but I work in an environment (at a church) where there is plenty of potential for encountering people in pain, so I thought the medical science being reported by psychiatrists would be useful to my understanding others’ pain. I was somewhat disappointed.

It is clear that Dr.’s Meier and Henderson are biblically informed, devoted Christian men. They offer the reader many anecdotal stories of patients who present symptoms of suffering from the seven universal struggles. They ably illustrate how biblical teaching informs us about root causes of this suffering, and how faith in the Redeemer-Saviour can comfort the sufferer. But, because help was being offered by psychiatrists, I was expecting to find more involvement of medical science in the presentation of solutions. I would think such a work would be flush with scientific documentation–not even half the chapters have notes. Of all the notes–contained on just two pages–only four cite the work of other clinicians. I thought it would be science–I got bible teaching instead. The bible teaching is good, but I felt a little mislead by this material being presented by psychiatrists, teaching biblical truths, not science.

*This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers*

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