Press Release: Gain a Greater Understanding of Mental Health from a Christian Perspective
A new book by Dr. Stephen M. Saunders equips pastors and church leaders to support members who are struggling with mental illness.
Research shows that one in five Americans will struggle with mental health issues in any given year. When Christians struggle with their mental health, they often go to the church for help. In his new book, Martin Luther on Mental Health: Practical Advice for Christians Today, Saunders prepares pastors and church leaders to assist congregants living with mental illness, using Scripture and medically sound advice. He also ties in Martin Luther’s teachings on subjects such as anxiety and depression and shows that mental health is not soley a modern issue.
“This book primarily focuses on Luther’s kind, compassionate, prescient advice to those experiencing emotional distress,” writes Saunders. “Reading his letters, I was astonished to realize that Luther was dispensing modern mental health advice. He understood and administered counsel that is essentially indistinguishable from what was developed in the twentieth century and used widely today.”
Five centuries ago, Martin Luther dispensed advice that lines up with modern cognitive and behavioral therapy techniques. This advice is practical and applicable to Christians today. For readers who struggle with their mental health (or have loved ones who do), Saunders provides assurance and comfort that God loves them and knows their suffering. Martin Luther on Mental Health will help readers from all backgrounds discover how Luther’s advice was astonishingly ahead of its time.
“Stephen Saunders tracks the trajectory of sound mental health care from Scripture to Luther to our day,” says Rev. Dr. Kevin S. Golden, associate professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. “Martin Luther on Mental Health splendidly delivers the practical and profound benefit of scriptural teaching and Luther’s pastoral care. This gem of a book will be an asset to pastors, deaconesses, and Christians in general, both now and for years to come.”
Visit cph.org for more information. Contact Erica Sontag to schedule an interview with the author.
Praise for Martin Luther on Mental Health
The fall into sin plunged us into holistic unhealth, including struggles with mental health. Yet in His mercy, the Lord gives answer to our need for mental health care. Stephen Saunders tracks the trajectory of sound mental health care from Scripture to Luther to our day. Martin Luther on Mental Health splendidly delivers the practical and profound benefit of scriptural teaching and Luther’s pastoral care. This gem of a book will be an asset to pastors, deaconesses, and Christians in general, both now and for years to come.
—Rev. Dr. Kevin S. Golden, PhD; associate professor of exegetical theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Dr. Saunders has offered something for everyone in this delightful new book. Although written to assist pastors, teachers, and laity to better understand and care for those with mental health issues, the book also invites the reader to examine the fascinating intersection between Martin Luther’s sixteenth-century theological wisdom and psychology’s current cognitive and behavioral strategies for responding to those who suffer. Luther understood life as a time of testing by Satan that would yield affliction, trials, and tribulation. More importantly, he knew that the Christian’s suffering seemed to contradict one’s certain forgiveness and grace in Christ. . . .
There is no quick and easy GPS available to provide care for others, yet Saunders has provided an array of vital concepts and tools that will be valuable to those who would keep vigil with those who suffer.
—Dr. Beverly Yahnke, PhD; executive director for Christian counsel, DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel
This book by Dr. Saunders is a gem. Not only does it convey extremely valuable information to enable pastors and laypeople alike to establish helpful relationships with those experiencing a mental illness; it also demonstrates that it is compassion that drove Martin Luther and should also move us to reach out to those battling spiritual and mental challenges. This book is a gift to the church and all who struggle spiritually and mentally.
—Rev. Dr. Daniel Preus, chairman, Luther Academy
About the Author
Dr. Stephen M. Saunders is a clinical psychologist and psychology professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He earned his PhD from Northwestern University. His research interests include mental health services and mental health treatment. Dr. Saunders and his wife, Ruth, have three children.
Concordia Publishing House (CPH) is the publishing arm of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. For 150 years, CPH has been providing individuals, churches, and schools with products that are faithful to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. From books and Bibles to church supplies, curriculum, and software, CPH offers over 10,000 products to support the proclamation of the Gospel worldwide. Visit CPH online at cph.org.