Should Christians take medication? Medical Q&A Part 3
Of course! In light of what I mentioned about God creating the body Christians should embrace medicinal treatments as a blessing.
The real issue concerns when Christians should take medication. I would argue that Christians should take medication for two reasons. The first reason is for curative purposes. Our favorite kinds of medicine are the ones that completely cure the problem. Penicillin works like this. If you have strep throat, ten days of antibiotics will knock it out.
The second reason we take medicine is for symptom relief. We do this when we take Tylenol for our aches and pains. Several years ago, in the aftermath of significant surgery, my physician prescribed me two weeks of painkillers. The analgesics did not cure me, but made my life bearable while I was dealing with significant physical recuperation.
When it comes to mental illness the issue of whether to take medication is one that is best left to physicians. Physicians are the experts in these matters, and in any case, are the only ones with the ability to prescribe most of the relevant drugs. Christians should trust the physicians who are charged with their medical care.
Biblical counselors can help people think about their medical treatment to ensure that we do not treat spiritual problems with medical interventions. For example, we should encourage our counselees to ask good questions of their medical professional (What is physically wrong with me that is causing this problem? What test results indicated the problem? What will the medication do to solve the problem? What side effects should I expect?)
Counselors, however, are not physicians. Biblical counselors should never, under any circumstances, encourage their counselees to come off their medications or fail to follow their doctor’s instructions in any way. If a biblical counselor is concerned about the effect or side effect of a prescribed medicine, that counselor should send the counselee back to the doctor who prescribed the medicine. They should send a note or letter describing the problem (i.e., she cannot remain awake at work) and ask for the physician’s help in addressing the matter.