The following is a transcript of a video I made for YouTube.
Opening: Welcome to another episode of “Almost Ordained.” I am your host, David, the guy who graduated seminary but never got ordained.
I’ve written a book about learning to find happiness and faith after I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It’s called Dark Nights of the Soul: Reflections on Faith and the Depressed Brain. My experiences living with clinical depression have shaped my understanding of faith. I have in the past experienced the total deconstruction of my faith and had to go back and reconstruct it. I’m looking back through that process, because I think there must be others out there who had similar experiences and are looking for some guidance. If that’s you, then I pray by God’s grace, I can point you to the light that leads out of this dark tunnel, or dark night of the soul you are in.
I did an episode earlier called “My number one tip about faith,” where I contrasted two traditional understandings, faith as belief vs faith as trust. There is another understanding of faith that has a number of high profile proponents. I call it “Word of Faith,” because that is what it was called when I was involved in it. It has also been called Prosperity Gospel, Health and Wealth Gospel, “Name it, claim it,” “believe and receive,” New Apostolic Restoration or NAR, or the Latter Rain movement among other things. One of my principles for recovering from depression is, Some kinds of faith are good for recovery, and some are bad. In my experience, the Word of Faith was definitely bad for recovery.
I’m going to talk about what it was like for me living in and following the Word of Faith with a brain that I did not know at the time was clinically depressed. But first, I should say, even though I am obviously biased, I’m trying to be fair and not misrepresent anyone. And before I get into what the Word of Faith experience was like for me, I want to be sure you understand what it is.
It’s not a particular denomination. A number of nondenominational churches embrace Word of Faith doctrine, but not all. It has some affinity with charismatic and Pentecostal churches, though not all of them identify with Word of Faith.