We both love how Matthew has taken the concept of sin and given a breath of fresh air to the topic. You must read this book because in its pages you will finally gain a biblical perspective on sin and what it takes to free yourself from the bonds that so easily entangle!

Gary and Michael Smalley
Smalley Relationship Center
When mental illness afflicts a loved one, how can we understand what is happening and respond appropriately? This biblically-literate and scientifically-informed book offers helpful insight, encouragement, and practical advice. For pastors and for those who hurt for those who hurt, Matthew Stanford offers sensitive and welcome guidance.

David G. Myers, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Hope College and author of Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Several years ago my wife and I attended a fund raising dinner for an international ministry with which we are involved. I was excited to go to the dinner for two reasons. First, I am very supportive of this ministry’s work in advancing the gospel message around the world and second, I wanted to hear the invited presenter. The guest speaker, a retired professor of psychiatry, was to talk about his involvement with the ministry’s efforts in several foreign countries. But that isn’t why I was so interested, what peaked my curiosity was the qualifying label that had been printed under his name on the flier for the dinner, “Born Again Brain Scientist”. When I first read that I kind of laughed. I thought isn’t it obvious that anyone invited to speak by the ministry would themselves be a Christian. Or is there something inherent in the title “scientist” that would lead people, especially people of faith, to think that such an individual is not a believer. Unfortunately, I think the latter may be true.

The fact that many in the Christian community equate the title “scientist” with atheist is troubling to me, because much like the invited speaker I am also a “brain scientist” more specifically a neuroscientist and a follower of Jesus Christ. To this day my friend Dave (who was also at the dinner that night) begins his emails to me, “Hey B.A.B.S.”. A second misinformed association comes from within the scientific community itself and is just as troubling, faith is little more than a set of superstitions and myths held by unenlightened individuals.

It seems that you can’t pick up a magazine or turn on the television these days without seeing a story on the conflict between science and religious belief. The disagreement tends to focus around three main issues: the sanctity of life, the origin of life and sinful behavior. Sanctity of life includes topics such as the use of embryonic stem cells, abortion, euthanasia (e.g., physician assisted suicide) and cloning. The second point of contention, the origin of life, is seen in the on-going dispute between the proponents of naturalistic evolution and those that believe the universe shows signs of intelligent design. The third point of conflict has to do with biblically defined sinful behavior for which science has shown some biological predisposition or basis. Some of the most emotionally debated behaviors include homosexuality, addiction and criminality.

As a Christian and a neuroscientist, I stand at the boundary point of what appears, at least on the surface, to be two very different worlds, or perhaps it is more precise to say worldviews. From my unique vantage point, I have unfortunately seen scientific knowledge distorted to justify sinful behavior and perhaps more disturbingly, I have seen Christians misuse the scriptures to demonize and alienate the very ones that they should be reaching out to. The underlying cause of this problem in the church is a lack of knowledge, both of basic science and scriptural teaching. The relevance of the Gospel in our present scientific age goes without question but if we, as followers of Christ, are going to successfully engage the culture we must stop reacting out of fear of science and start leading the discussion.

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