Pastor John MacArthur says there is no such thing as mental illness, calls PTSD ‘grief’

Pastor John MacArthur speaks at Grace Community Church's Shepherd's Conference in 2020.
Pastor John MacArthur speaks at Grace Community Church's Shepherd's Conference in 2020. | Facebook/Shepherds' Conference

In what at least one critic has dismissed as the Dunning Krueger Effect in action, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, claims there is no such thing as mental illness.

More than one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over one in five youth (ages 13-18) either currently or at some point during their life have had a seriously debilitating mental illness. About one in 25 U.S. adults also lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.

Days before the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Month, however, MacArthur, who is also the president of The Master's College and Seminary, called mental illnesses “noble lies” while speaking during a panel discussion at Grace Church of the Valley last Thursday.

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

Citing the arguments presented by clinical psychologist Bruce E. Levine in his book A Profession Without Reason and The Myth of Mental Illness by the now-deceased Hungarian-American psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, MacArthur urged parents not to believe in “noble lies” he alleges are being supported by the pharmaceutical industry so they can sell medication to the public.

MacArthur’s comments about mental illness came in response to a question about helping parents navigate America’s “cultural disaster.”

“Just to lay it out simply, kids are sinful. I have great-grandchildren, and by the time they're 3 or 4, their sin nature is starting to be manifest. Then you add to that the sins of the fathers are visited under the generations, the third and fourth generation,” MacArthur said.

In addition to their sinful nature, the California megachurch pastor explained that the current culture is now targeting children to trap them in sin.

“The homosexuals say we are coming after your kids. They're not trying to protect them, they're targeting them in the schools. They're targeting them through the media. Disney and companies like that, that develop child entertainment are targeting children for really what amounts to moral and spiritual destruction. So this is a war on the children,” said MacArthur, who on Monday released his new book The War on Children: Providing Refuge for Your Children in a Hostile World.

MacArthur asserted that the increased diagnosis of children with mental illnesses today is not teaching them personal responsibility and medicating them for these illnesses only turns them into drug addicts and potentially criminals.

“I was reading a book, interesting book, called A Profession Without Reason. It's a book that shows, basically, this is pretty shocking to some of you, that psychiatry and psychology is finally admitting the noble lies that they've been telling for the last 100 years,” MacArthur said.

“And the major noble lie is there is such a thing as mental illness. Now, this isn't new. You have Thomas Szasz … writing a book, who was a psychiatrist, on The Myth of Mental Illness. There's no such thing as PTSD. There's no such thing as OCD. There's no such thing as ADHD. Those are noble lies to basically give the excuse to, at the end of the day, to medicate people. And Big Pharma is in charge of a lot of that,” the pastor argued.

The American Psychiatric Association defines PTSD as "a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, series of events or set of circumstances. An individual may experience this as emotionally or physically harmful or life-threatening and may affect mental, physical, social, and/or spiritual well-being." Some studies suggest it is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Harvest Bible Chapel founder James MacDonald is among those who have been diagnosed with the mental illness. Of the 6 million veterans served in fiscal year 2021, about 10% of men and 19% of women were diagnosed with PTSD, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

For MacArthur, however, PTSD is nothing but “grief.”

“If you understand, take PTSD for example, what that really is, is grief. You are fighting a war you lost. Your buddies, you have a certain amount of survival guilt because you made it back, they didn't. How do you deal with grief? Grief is a real thing. But grief is part of life, and if you can't navigate grief, you can't live life,” MacArthur asserted.

“But if you clinically define that, you can give them a pill, a series of medications, and they end up in LA, homeless on the sidewalk. This is, in regard to children, it's the most deadly thing that's been unleashed on children — medication,” he added.

MacArthur said he's been trying to get the word out through his new book The War on Children: Providing Refuge for Your Children in a Hostile World but several Christian publishers refused to publish it.

“We're trying to make clear to parents that behavior is essentially the result of choices that kids make," he said. "And if you parent them properly, they'll make right choices. But if you blame it on something other than their choices and you identify them as having something they can't do anything about but medicate it, you literally are turning your child into … not only a potential drug addict, but maybe a potential criminal because they never learn how to navigate life in a socially acceptable way.”

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.