Barton and Copeland: The Bible Says Soldiers Should Not Suffer from PTSD

The Story: On a Veterans Day broadcast program, televangelist Kenneth Copeland and controversial historian David Barton told listeners that soldiers should never experience guilt or post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from war.

The Background: As Religion New Service reports, Copeland read from Numbers 32:20-22, saying, “So this is a promise — if you do this thing, if you arm yourselves before the Lord for the war … you shall return, you’re coming back, and be guiltless before the Lord and before the nation.”

“Any of you suffering from PTSD right now, you listen to me,” Copeland said as Barton affirmed him. “You get rid of that right now. You don’t take drugs to get rid of it. It doesn’t take psychology. That promise right there will get rid of it.”

Barton added that many biblical warriors “took so many people out in battle,” but did so in the name of God.

“You’re on an elevated platform up here. You’re a hero, you’re put in the faith hall of fame,” Barton said. “… When you do it God’s way, not only are you guiltless for having done that, you’re esteemed.”

You can watch the full video here.

Why It Matters:  “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” Proverbs gives us two approaches and expects us to use wisdom in knowing when they should be applied.

How then should we answer the fools Copeland and Barton? While it is tempting to ignore them completely, I believe that would be a mistake. Had they merely proffered another laughably inept reading of the Bible, it would have hardly been worthy of notice. Throughout his career, Copeland has been accused of various heresies, most of which he created through his inept handling of Scripture. And though Barton is still, inexplicably, trusted by many conservative evangelicals, he has himself built his reputation on twisting and misrepresenting historical documents for ideological and propagandist purposes. They are, in other words, among the last people who could be relied on to intelligently interpret a text.

Yet many people will erroneously believe that Copeland and Barton speak as experts on the Bible and that their interpretation is the natural result of a literal or inerrant view of Scripture.

To those who are unclear on that point, let me express what I believe is the shared opinion of Biblical scholars, intelligent laymen, and just about anyone else who has ever bothered to read the Bible: Copeland and Barton’s application of Numbers 32:21-22 to modern veterans suffering from PTSD is one of the most profoundly stupid interpretations ever uttered.

When those verses are read in the context of the chapter, and in the context of book of Numbers, and in the context of the Old Testament, and in the context of the entire Bible, it becomes almost impossible to imagine how anyone with an elementary school level of reading comprehension could have come up with such an interpretation.

Yet this type of misreading is sadly common. In his book Scripture Twisting: 20 Ways the Cults Misread the Bible, James W. Sire lists 20 popular ways people twist Scripture to mean something orthodox Christians have never believed it to mean in two thousand years. Barton and Copeland appear to be using what Sire would call a “Biblical Hook”:

BIBLICAL HOOK: A text of Scripture is quoted primarily as a device to grasp the attention of readers or listeners and then followed by a teaching which is so nonbiblical that it would appear far more dubious to most people had it not been preceded by a reference to Scripture. Example: Mormon missionaries quote James 1:5 which promises God’s wisdom to those who ask him and, then, follow this by explaining that when Joseph Smith did this he was given a revelation from which he concluded that God the Father has a body.

Their mishandling of Scripture is inexcusable, but what makes it unconscionable is they use God’s Word to shame and berate veterans with PTSD. Barton and Copeland imply that PTSD is due to guilt over actions carried out in wartime that leads to self-condemnation. This is a profoundly ignorant view of both the causes of combat-induced PTSD and the motivations behind medical and psychological based treatment.

PTSD is psychological trauma that can change how the brain and mental processes function. While in combat, veterans are exposed to the stresses of hyper-violence while living in a near constant state of hyper-vigilance. As psychiatrist Jonathan Shay explains in Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character:

A human enemy strikes not only at the body but also at the most basic functions of the human mind. The Vietnamese enemy defeated the soldier’s perception by concealment and his ability to understand what he saw by camouflage. The basic mental state of intention and will was attacked by ambush, deception, surprise, and anticipation . . . . The cumulative effect of prolonged attacks on mental function is to undermine the soldier’s trust in his own perceptions.

On returning from combat, the veteran is no longer exposed to violence, yet the reflex for hyper-vigilance — whether conscious or subconscious — may remain intact and beyond the person’s control. “Exposed to continuous threats of warfare,” says Shay, “the body remains mobilized for battle indefinitely.” Veterans suffering from PTSD can lose some of the authority over mental processes, such as perception and memory, which civilians take for granted.

Throughout most modern wars, from World War I to Vietnam, both the military and civilian worlds denied or downplayed the existence of this form of psychological trauma. It wasn’t until the post-Vietnam era that the medical community began to recognize that experiences of PTSD sufferers were not only real, but also that the causes were likely rooted in genes and brain chemistry, rather than a defect in the veteran’s character.

For Copeland and Barton to resurrect this “blame the victim” trope and coat it with the veneer of Biblical warrant is Satanic. Christians need to counter this demonic, gospel-destroying message by letting the men and women who are suffering from combat related PTSD know what the Bible really says about hope, healing, and deliverance through Christ Jesus.

  • Tom

    As a veteran and chaplain who suffered from PTSD, this makes me want to vomit.

    I believe that the reason for “Thou shalt not kill” is because God knows how we are created and taking life or seeing death over and over again will “overload our circuitry.” It’s a powerful event that a loving God would save us from. PTSD does not come “guilt.”

    PTSD is also not permanent. With proper medication and counseling, I was able to return to a sense of normal. I’ll never un-see what I saw or un-live what I lived. The Post-Traumatic Stress will be with me my entire life. What I learned is how to keep the PTS from Disordering my life. But it took medication and counseling.

    It’s this kind of terrible theology that keeps good men and women from getting the help they need.

  • Michelle A

    I understand that different biblical scholars have different interpretations of the bible, but its very disappointing to hear you speak so harshly against another minister. Whether you agree with his interpretation or not should not dictate the kindness that we should show one another. Until we get to heaven it is unknown WHO has the RIGHT interpretations of the word of God. There is one God, one Son, One Holy Spirit yet the word of God is taught at times with many different meanings. I did not see the interview but based on this article it seems that you are saying you know the intention of his heart about what he said-that they were shaming veterans struggling with PTSD. You cannot say that PTSD is the same in every person experiencing it. I am sure that many times it does have a small connecton to guilt and many times it doesn’t. What is wrong with declaring a promise of God to someone who might need encouragement? I would rather go to my grave believing every promise of God than to believe what man says about scripture. Many biblical heroes died in faith not having seen the promises made to them, ie Abraham. A sick person can believe they are healed and then die. But does it mean god did not heal them? NO because they truly live in their glorified body. But there are those naysayers of miracles and healing that say we must accept a negative report and not ask or expect God to heal us. I am pretty sure that God is perfectly OK with us declaring his many promises, even if we don’t ever see the manifestation of it.

    • Joe Carter

      its very disappointing to hear you speak so harshly against another minister.

      The Apostle Paul is very clear about how we should treat false teachers. See here:

    • Jack Brooks

      These fools would have been stoned to death in the Old testament, and should be excommunicated in the present time.

    • Jason

      I agree with Michelle. I was more turned off by your tone than by what is supposedly Satanic by Brother Copeland. He’s not shaming veterans and you should be ashamed for saying such a thing. You are doing exactly what you’re accusing, taking things out of context. He is showing the soldiers the promise they have in scripture.

      You are calling another brother a fool, Satanic, laughable, stupid, below elementary level education, heretics, and ignorant. For shame.

      • Joe Carter

        He’s not shaming veterans and you should be ashamed for saying such a thing.

        He is shaming them. He is saying that their guilt and self-condemnation is the cause of their suffering. That is akin to telling someone with epilepsy that they’d stop having seizures if they’d just get over their guilt.

        He is showing the soldiers the promise they have in scripture.

        That is not a promise to modern soldiers. I don’t think anyone in the history of the church (before Copeland) has ever claimed that it was.

        You are calling another brother a fool, Satanic, laughable, stupid, below elementary level education, heretics, and ignorant.

        First, I wouldn’t call Copeland a “brother.” He is a false teacher. Second, while my language may be harsh, it is applicable. The Bible makes it clear that we should not tolerate such idiocy when it is being used to make claims about God’s Holy Word.

        • John S

          I agree with the article, however I wish you would have exposited the text, even briefly, and explained the meaning to the original audience, any application to us today, and why Copeland’s application is in error (which wasn’t specifically answered in the article). I think this would be more helpful and pertinent (as obvious as it may be to some) than a discussion of PTSD, although included both would be most helpful. My 2 cents.

          • Kenton

            The meaning is quite simple:

            But Moses said to the people of Gad and to the people of Reuben, “Shall your brothers go to the war while you sit here? Why will you discourage the heart of the people of Israel from going over into the land that the Lord has given them?” …Then they came near to him and said, “We will build sheepfolds here for our livestock, and cities for our little ones… We will not return to our homes until each of the people of Israel has gained his inheritance.” (Numbers 32:6, 7, 16, 18 ESV).

            Gad and Reuben wanted the land that was to the east of the Jordan River, presumably because the nations that had lived there were easy to beat. They didn’t want to go westward, because those nations were stronger (see Joshua). Moses is reminding them of their obligation to take the whole land. Their obligation will be finished. That’s the context.

        • Melody

          Is it even possible to help those that want to be deceived by prosperity people? They are counting on what they say to be true. They are banking on it.

      • D. McDonald

        It is interesting to me that so many Christians just love to excuse “ministers” of the Gospel from the errors they teach. Kenneth Copeland is not an example of someone Paul mentions in Philippians 1:15-18 who is preaching the real Gospel, but doing so with the wrong attitude. On the contrary, Copeland is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This particular example of Copeland maligning the Bible is not taken out of context, it is not a slip of the tongue, and it isn’t a one-time act of teaching heresy. This is the epitome of his ministry—teaching/promising things that are not in scripture day after day, week after week, and year after year. Do you know what the biblical language is for those who claim to be spokespeople of God, yet promise people things that God did not promise? It calls them false prophets.

        This “we will never know until heaven who is right” non-sense is mind boggling to me since the Bible repeatedly warns us of these wolves amongst us. Where are they then if everyone who claims to be a Christian teacher is in fact a Christian teacher? The false teachers in the church are not the open atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, etc. No, they are people claiming to be Christians who are deceiving masses into thinking they are Christian while at the same time teaching a false gospel. Too harsh? Too judgmental of me? I don’t claim that my theology is 100% accurate. However, do we really believe that recognizing error is too difficult for believers? Are we to believe that the Holy Spirit working in us is not powerful enough to give us discernment to recognize truth from error? Well, that would be the assumption if someone watched Copeland on a regular basis and did not come to the conclusion that is a worker of Satan.

        • Yvette

          Very well said. Thank you!

        • David E Byer

          Some people will hear only what their itchy ears want to hear.

      • Melody

        He is not a minister of the gospel. He mixes the occult in with the gospel. The fact that people continue to call him a minister of the gospel is very destructive to those that are deceived by him.

    • Kenton

      1) Numbers 32:20-22 is not a promise.
      2) Numbers 32:20-22 is not a doctrinal command.
      3) Numbers 32:20-22 is not applicable outside of the specific historical context of ancient Israel at that time.
      4) Copeland claims that PTSD is the result of the veteran’s own self-guilt.
      5) Barton uses Hebrews 11 to claim that fighting as an American soldier is faith, and that it’s of equal standing with those in Hebrews 11.

      This is at best poor exegesis and at worst blasphemous distortion of the Scriptures. In either case, these men ought to be rebuked.

    • D. McDonald

      Hi Michelle,

      I’ll just assume that you are not familiar with Copeland’s teachings. Firstly, you have unknowingly made the argument yourself against Copeland message. You said, “You cannot say that PTSD is the same in every person experiencing it. I am sure that many times it does have a small connection to guilt and many times it doesn’t.” Well, that “not the same in every person” is contrary to Copeland’s views. He believes ALL believers can have this promise if they just believe really hard. It matters not about God’s will in any aspect; of course they won’t say it like this. Instead, they cloak that message with a “Jesus” here and there, but in the end, how you believe is the key, not God. It is up to each person to create by faith their “destiny” by “speaking things into existence.” Sorry, that’s not biblical unless you are ascribing the act of speaking things into existence to God.

      Secondly, you also said, “What is wrong with declaring a promise of God to someone who might need encouragement?” I can think of a number of reasons. But related to this article, it is because it is not a promise to soldiers who suffer from PTSD. So your question “What is wrong with…?” is like asking the question, “What is wrong with lying to someone if it will encourage them?” Christians are to offer truth, not error, to people when trying to comfort/encourage them no matter how grim the situation. We are supposed to live in reality, not falsehood.

      Thirdly, you said, “A sick person can believe they are healed and then die. But does it mean god did not heal them? NO because they truly live in their glorified body.” Well sorry to break it to you again, but that is exactly what Copeland and his minions don’t say. I have seen it in my own extended family (and as a result studied Copeland and the likes extensively) that hold to Copeland and his twisting of Scripture. If you are not healed, according to Copeland, is that you did not “claim a promise” by faith enough. He never ever mentions that it might not be a promise that was ever given to you. The result, as I have seen firsthand is people blame themselves because they are never healed. We know that in reality, for the Christian and the non-Christian, sometimes our circumstances don’t always change. But instead of saying it might not be God’s timing or will, Copeland always makes it about your lack of faith. In other words, the problem is always you and your faith if things don’t change (it’s certainly not his teachings). Copeland is not a minister of the God of the Bible no matter how much hi cloaks that name Jesus in broadcast or any other Christian language.

      In fact, he actually a great and fail-safe business model that dupes millions. You offer them a product, and if it works, “Hey, I just told you how to be healed by God!” If the product doesn’t work as promised, the consumer didn’t use it properly and the company (i.e. Kenneth Copeland Ministries) is off the hook.

    • Mike S

      Michelle –
      You really do not believe what you’ve said above. The reason is, you have to allow for the fact that you could be wrong about every promise you claim to believe in the Bible based on your fallible interpretation of it. So basically, you don’t know what the Bible says because, according to you, no one can know this side of Heaven. Then at the same time, you implicitly assert that you do know in saying that Joe Carter is wrong in his interpretation. Your thinking is not informed by Scripture but is futile like the world’s. Read your Bible more and watch TBN less.

  • Kyle

    Not just soldiers – but many of our orphans and those in Foster Care deal with the effects of Trauma and PTSD. Great article!

  • Adam Dyck

    I’d like to add that however patriotic you might be, the idea of comparing modern soldiers in the US Armed Forces to “biblical warriors” fighting wars explicitly ordained by God is a dangerous one, to say the least.

  • Mark

    Thank you Joe for addressing this. I’m sure you’ll take flack from some in the homeschool crowd (as a member of that crowd) who have never bothered to fact-check Barton. However, that is the exact reason it’s so important to get things like this out there. When these guys run unchecked they end up with a platform where they can say something this horrible.

    Without our support he would’ve just been another loon out there spouting crazy talk. But with his platform he can do real harm to men who are legitimately struggling with something very serious. Much like people struggling with disease in general who encounter the likes of copeland, the last thing these people need is to have guilt and blame heaped on them.

    • David E Byer

      Mark, I agree. Thanks for posting.

  • CP

    Thank you for calling out false teachers!

    A few things:

    The rise in PTSD from previous military campaigns is the result in better recognition, diagnosis and treatment of this problem. In times past, PTSD went unrecognized or ignored for various reasons.

    PTSD is exacerbated by the lack of respite. Anyone who has a family member who has deployed to a combat zone in the last few years, they know that there are no weekends, holidays, or breaks. A deployed soldier is always, always on duty. And the deployment are long. A year long deployment might have a two week respite, but anything less than a year does not. Never ever being able to escape and relax away from work, especially when that work puts your life in danger every day, that would wear on anyone, especially a person trying to recover from trauma.

    Soldiers most prone to PTSD are those with tumultuous family relations back home. Obviously it’s not exclusive, but it’s easy to understand why a person with enormous amounts of stress back home, whether it be from money issues, divorce, a rocky marriage, etc, might have a more difficult time coping with combat related stress.

    Lastly, as someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, I really hope the idea that these mental issues result from a weak prayer life, lack of faith, etc, fall to the wayside. No one who is depressed wishes they were depressed. And many people who struggle with depression don’t understand why they struggle. False teaching regarding mental illness only serves to further alienate and shame people who already feel that way. It’s time mental illness be seen as just that-an illness- and not a reflection on a person’s spiritual condition.

  • Frank

    I used to believe in the Word Faith teaching but abandoned it many years ago. The twisted Scriptural “basis” is bad enough, but what gets me is the lack of compassion the movement seems to have towards the ill.

    • James Spence

      As I understand scripture, It is God who puts false teachers out there purposely as a judgement against those who continually ignore truth and scripture.

      I’m okay with that too. They deserve it.

  • tim stainback

    Barton is one of the good guys. This is the 2nd highly negative article that I have seen that has come from the GC. Why are you guys after him? I didn’t see the entire interview, but I have followed his work for many years & I don’t believe that he is guilty of the outright intellectual error that you accuse him of. You misunderstood the point that he is trying to make – He is saying that being a warrior is an honorable thing in the Bible, and he is offering encouragement to the one who may feel guilt. You remind me of a saying that my father used. “The Christian army is the only one who shoots its wounded”.

    • mallen

      Too much pride in this negative review. I’d ask for the author to prayerfully reconsider his tone to see if it is Christlike in nature.

      Copeland may be wrong in his biblical interpretation and I don’t find him to be a trustworthy shepherd, but I think it’s a stretch to think his comments were shaming veterans.

      • Kenton

        I doubt that Copeland intended to shame veterans. He probably doesn’t think he is. Considering Barton’s input, he probably thinks he’s exonerating them. But because he completely misunderstands PTSD as self-guilt caused by a perceived moral culpability, he then treats PTSD as though it depends on what a person thinks about himself. As a result, not only is he giving faulty advice to his listeners, but he’s also saying that a person who struggles with PTSD either lacks confidence, faith, or strength. And that is shaming.

      • JeremyB

        Reconsider his tone? Not Christlike? Since when did being Christlike not mean rebuking false teaching? Since when did being Christlike mean petting wolves instead of calling them out so they don’t wound the sheep? It drives me nuts that people reduce the concept of being Christlike to “be nice and don’t commit the cardinal sin of our society: don’t be offensive”. When we are more protective over people’s egos than we are the name of Christ and Word of God then we’ve truly been deceived.

    • Kenton

      Barton said that soldiers are counted by God to be in the “faith hall of fame” (not Hebrews’ point) simply by virtue of being warriors. That’s blatantly false! Worse, it distorts what Hebrews calls faith!

    • Chris

      Tim, here’s an interesting article about Barton. Come to your own conclusions.

      Blessings, Chris

  • William Birch

    KUDOS to you, Joe Carter, just plain brilliant!

  • Curt Day

    You know that we often stand on opposite sides of many arguments. But I wanted warmly and enthusiastically thank you for your comments on Copeland and Barton regarding this issue.

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  • Joe Carter

    I didn’t see the entire interview

    The video is only 2 minutes long. It takes less than a minute to hear Barton reiterates that the verses in Numbers are referring to “promise” made to modern soldiers.

    have followed his work for many years & I don’t believe that he is guilty of the outright intellectual error that you accuse him of.

    Barton’s poor historical scholarship is well-documented (See, for example: I don’t know of a single historian — whether secular or Christian — who thinks his work is reliable and accurate. His publisher even pulled his last book after the inaccuracies were exposed.

    You misunderstood the point that he is trying to make

    Watch the video and you’ll see that he clearly affirms that claims Copeland makes.

    As Christians, we should have a higher respect for the truth because we worship the one who is the Truth. Giving Barton a pass on his lies and inaccuracies just because he is a member of our tribe in not the Christian thing to do.

  • Michael

    I agree that PTSD is a real malady that needs special handling & treatment, and that Copeland & Barton were mistaken in their approach of trying to help soldiers just rebuke it away as unscriptural-unnecessary guilt. I also disagree strongly with other extreme aspects of Copeland’s teaching, but Barton is not in that same camp nor category (and I can’t understand why he is associating with such in this issue). But to start throwing out accusations of being Satanic/demonic and fools and such (specifically in reference to this non-cardinal issue) is way over the top un-Christian-like. Critique the issue but don’t attack the mistaken persons (or we all may end up with some spiritual PTSD).

    • Melody

      From what I have read neither men have ever been a soldier. Though apparently Copeland lived by an Air Force Base at some point in his life. Would that make him an expert on being a soldier?

      Driving people to despair and suicide is satanic. Condoning it is being an instrument of Satan.

      Our soldiers have been through enough. The last thing they need is people claiming to be Christians telling them if they just “believe” they will be all better.

  • B.C. Askins

    Thanks, Joe. As a Christian and a veteran, I applaud your use of direct and clear language in calling out these fools and their harmful errors. Anyone who believes this article is too “harsh,” “proud” or “negative” has clearly never had to serve God or country with some skin in the game.

  • joshua of omaha

    I am not surprised they said this.

    both are False Teachers. and it way over time both get called out on stuff they have said.

    Barton pushes 7 mountains dominionist teachings and has peddler psuedo-history.

    In fact in some christian circles, Barton has been debunked for lot of stuff he said.

    and Copeland pushes the ponzi-scheme called the prosperity gospel that sadly many tv preachers push.

  • Ed

    Hi Joe,

    I was a bit turned off by your tone, also. First of all, while their argument, in general, probably does not address all who suffer, I would imagine that some do suffer with guilt and therefore, their encouragement was a help. Kind of like the teacher or coach who is getting on the team or class. If it applies to you, well and good. If it does not, then move on. I was not therefore, offended by their desire to help those who struggle.

    I do consider both Copeland and Barton as brothers. I spent quite a few of my early Christian years in the Word of Faith movement. And, while, I had a desire for deeper study, I never considered Copeland as a non-Christian, a heathen and etc. (which is what he would be, if he is not your brother) And, I loved how he would always end his broadcast with, “JESUS IS LORD!!” Same thing with Barton, I certainly agree with what you said about his ministry; however, he is my brother and I have certainly learned a lot from his ministry. Even though my tendency is to follow up with additional study and research. I still appreciate him.

    • Jess Ratcliff

      Re Ed: I think that Matthew 7 vv.21-22 are applicable. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

      Just because someone has the Bible open in front of them and ends their programme with “Jesus is Lord” doesn’t mean that they know Jesus. Teachers will be judged the harshest and Copeland’s staggeringly mishandling of the Bible needs to be challenged in the strongest terms.

      • Ed

        Re: Jess! I absolutely agree with God’s Word. Just because someone, in this case Copeland, would decree that “JESUS IS LORD,” at the end of his broadcast does not define him as Christian. But, he who does the will of His Father. I was only giving my personal testimony. The Word of Faith movement was used in my life to bring me to the Word of the Lord! Never heard that God loved me or was interested in my provision, health and life in general. As stated, I did grow out of that and desired to know Christ more deeply. I certainly don’t know Copeland personally and it has been years since I have come in contact with his ministry. I don’t know his heart about his teaching methods. Is faith and etc. his conviction? Does he know the erroneous nature of some the things that he teaches? I don’t know. From my vantage point….he publicly proclaims Jesus Is Lord! He loves his wife and family and the fruit of that presents a family who are involved in ministry. I have never come across immoral or unjust ministry practices. Therefore, I have always considered him my brother and I would never set my words against him. (nevertheless, Christ is preached…)

        • Jess Ratcliff

          Hi Ed, thanks for the cordial reply. My faith in online discussion has shown a flicker of life after flat-lining for years! I appreciate where you have come from on your journey and your reluctance to call out who you see as a brother. I want to make it clear I am not making a judgement call on whether Copeland is a brother or not, that isn’t for me to decide.

          What you said about ‘only he who does the will of my Father’ is true, and for that reason we need to call out Copeland on his teaching. As teachers, it is imperative that we teach God’s truth and if we misuse the Bible as he did so badly, then we are not obeying God’s will. I had the same issue with a brother in my church who attempted to use the Bible to justify his prejudice towards Muslims; I had to talk to him about it and made it quite clear I wasn’t happy about how he misused the Bible, explaining why.

          It is good that you don’t want to set any words against someone, for a lot of people online that comes far too easily. Yet, this can lead us to refuse to challenge belief or public teaching and thereby seemingly giving tacit consent.

          P.S. Your last reference to Philippians; Paul is referring to people’s jealous motives in preaching the Gospel not justifying teaching as it somehow references Jesus.

          In Christ

  • Mae

    They most certainly seemed to have hit a nerve with the author. It is right to stand against false teaching, but it is best to refrain from name calling. It blurs the focus of your writing. Obviously, you are intelligent and well versed in the scripture, so you have much to teach in challenging us to be wise and discerning. Even for the most highly critical of Copeland/Barton’s interpretation, will most likely see their efforts as being that of wanting to help a grieving soldier come to a place of self forgiveness to move forward with his/her life.

    • Kenton

      Except the problem is that PTSD isn’t always a case of guilt. Therefore the solution isn’t always self-forgiveness (or as Copeland would have it, self-justification). Furthermore, PTSD is rarely about grief. Grief certainly has nothing to do with the excerpt above.

    • Jim


      Respectfully, the root of the issue is two men who claim to speak with biblical authority are using those very Scriptures out of context. When a leader leverages their position to do that, the results can be devastating. In this case, a soldier suffering from PTSD may ignore the advice of medical professionals to get the help they need and instead focus on a promise which God never gave. That could potentially be tragic. Scripture does not have kind words for those who twist truth. It would, in fact, be incredibly unkind for Christians to allow people to continue twisting God’s Word…

  • Ty

    As someone who is in academia people like David Barton make life extremely difficult. If you feel that you have something so important to say than you can take the time to get the necessary qualifications. If not you’ll probably end up doing more harm than good.

  • Mark

    Mr. Carter ,

    I applaud your passion for the truth and the sound exposition and interpretation of the same. Your love for Christ and His bride is palpable and should be followed. I can tell you are not wanting one sheep to be led astray by fals teaching. With that said, are you sure that you are applying the teaching of Titus 1:13 (“Rebuke them sharply, so that they may be sound in the faith.”) accurately? I could be wrong, but Matthew 18:15 seems to suggest that your rebuke should have first been done in private (at least Barton, whom, it seems you haven’t ruled out yet as being a “brother.”). I’m sure Barton would be more than happy to take your call or email and address your concerns direcrly ( I know because he’s responded to me in the past). Who knows maybe he could clarify or correct his apparent affirmation of Copeland’s statements. But, as I said, maybe you have opined correctly, in love, according to Matt 18, after all? If I was sure you hadn’t then, lest I not follow Matt 18 myself, I would not be even writing this on a public forum. Thus, for clarification and instruction, could you please share with us why Matt 18 wouldn’t apply here?

    • Joe Carter

      Thus, for clarification and instruction, could you please share with us why Matt 18 wouldn’t apply here?

      That’s a fair question. D.A. Carson has written a brief article about which I think applies in this case:

      I would add that Barton’s comments were made publicly and thus should be condemned publicly. It isn’t merely that I think Barton has committed a sin or is wrong in his views. It is that he is publicly twisting Scripture in a way that causes harm both to the gospel and to those suffering from PTSD.

      If pressed would Barton might back away from the comments. Maybe, though I’m skeptical. Barton has a pattern of dismissing his critics when they point out very clearly that he is wrong. However, I do wonder if he mainly going along with whatever Copeland said because he wanted to fit in. I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse, though. Agreeing to false doctrine to fit in would probably be even worse than sincerely believing what he was saying.

  • Tim M.

    What a shame to see humanistic psychological presumptions validated by knocking down the straw man of Copeland… If the author believes PTSD to be a mental disorder that removes personal responsibility, then it would have been nice to see a biblical case made for such an assertion.

    • Nick

      Hi Tim,

      In fairness, I never saw Joe using PTSD as an excuse from personal responsibility. It is easy to see diagnoses with names assigned by the secular psychologies and found in the DSM, and import a tremendous amount of baggage regarding the cause, ramifications, and cure of the malady in question.

      In reality, however, such diagnoses are simply descriptions and categorizations of symptoms, as expressed in an individuals thoughts and actions. It is the various schools of psychology which then seek to establish causes, manage ramifications, and seek cures (or simply manage symptoms, in many cases). However, these diagnoses and collections of symptoms are not simply the domain of the secular psychologies. It is for this reason that many in the biblical counseling camp (of which I would consider myself one) can often find these types of diagnoses helpful. If a psychologist has conversed with a counselee and diagnosed him with a particular disorder, I can look at that disorder as defined by the DSM and have a basic understanding of the counselee’s thoughts and actions to serve as groundwork for my counseling (of course doing my own data collection to see if the diagnosis is accurate).

      It is then up to the biblical counselor to reframe the diagnosis as Scripture would understand and categorize it and then present hope as found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. (I actually think Joe gave a nice succinct summary of this at the end of his article, although much more depth could certainly follow.) For those who are walking in sinful patterns of life, we ascertain whether they are indeed saved and, depending on this, either help them come to a saving knowledge of Christ or help walk with them through the Spirit-empowered progressive sanctification. Of course, some counselees (many/most with PTSD) are largely dealing with a matter of suffering and, while some adjustments may need to be made to their worldviews, must primarily be cared for, comforted, and encouraged.

      Nor do the secular psychologies have exclusive reign over the domain of brain chemistry. Christians are often too quick to dismiss the possibility of brain chemistry problems, largely as a kneejerk response to the psycholigization of the church. However, to assert that there may be a brain chemical imbalance is, again, to say nothing of the cause, ramifications, or cure of this imbalance. Even if everyone expressing PTSD were to be found to have a chemical imbalance, this would not go so far as to prove causality. Indeed, it is the materialistic secular psychologies who love to jump to this causal conclusion. However, it is much more likely that the causality would proceed in the opposite direction. That is to say, it is more likely that traumatic experiences or particular thought patterns associated with trauma caused a change in brain chemistry than it is to say that all of these people who underwent these traumatic experiences happened coincidentally to have brain chemistries which were imbalanced of their own accord.

      All of this is to say that we must be careful when hearing psychological diagnoses to not simply shut down our listening and oversimplify the problem. Hearing the experiences of those who are suffering and/or walking in sin can help us to better understand how to care for them and help them walk in a way that brings them closer to conformity with the image of Christ.

      • Tim

        Hi Nick,
        If you’ll permit me to engage in a bit of foolishness…
        That does seem like a lot of reaction for two little sentences, almost as if your knee jerked? :)

        On a serious note though:
        If ninety percent of all statistics are made up on the spot, including this one… then I venture to guess that most people in this country (America) do not understand, as you and I do, that the DSMV is simply an organized, if not arbitrary classification of behaviors. Further, I guess that the vast majority of people in this country do not understand that most, if not all “mental disorders” do not describe pathological symptoms. In fact, I am very confident, that a very significant portion of the population of people in this country do think that a diagnosis of PTSD is roughly equivalent to a diagnosis of cancer.

        If the connotations for “mental disorder” are roughly equivalent to the connotations of “organic illness,” and the meaning of words are determined by usage, then I think you’ll forgive me if I think it a bit irresponsible for the author to not inform people of these facts.

        With all the good will and intentions to Joe, I do think that there are many, who are not knee jerk reactionaries in the least, who would think that this article serves to significantly cloud very important issues.

        One of Satan’s strategies was also to try to convince people that they do not have to obey the Scriptures. One of the primary ways he does that in this society is to convince them that they have “mental disorders.” If you are a biblical counselor, then I think you probably understand where I am coming from. If you have spent any significant portion of time trying to help people obey the Bible, you understand that as soon as you try to encourage them towards obedience, they give you a list of reasons why they can’t. These reasons they give you, almost without exception, are called “mental disorders.”

        Grace and Peace,


        • Nick

          Hey Tim,

          I think you’re absolutely right that I knee-jerked on that. I read in your comment an assumption that Joe was excusing sin by believing in the symptomology of PTSD. Having not seen that, I felt compelled to dispute.

          I did get a little “soap-box”y on that post though. Probably way more than was necessary, although because of the dangerous assumptions and presuppositions which surround the issue of psychology, it’s often hard to tell how much is necessary.

          My last paragraph specifically was aimed at Copeland and Barton, but I can absolutely see how my lack of clarification on that note may have made it seem more like it was aimed at you.

          I think we generally agree. I think you’re spot on about the general public misunderstanding the nature of psychiatric diagnosis. And re-reading Joe’s article, it could have definitely used the clarification your comment suggested. Unless, of course, Joe doesn’t believe that those suffering from PTSD are accountable for sinful response. But, in spite of him not clarifying otherwise, I am hesitant to believe he would say something so fundamentally unbiblical.

          My point was simply not to throw the baby out with the bathwater on psychology, even if there is but a scant cup or two in the tub. All truth, after all, is God’s truth. It’s not that surprising the blind squirrel of psychology found the occasional nut along the way. Ah, but now I’m mixing metaphors.

          Thanks for your grace-saturated response to my original post that, honestly, could have been more like it in tone.


        • Nick

          Upon reflection, it seems my last comment may appear to give far more credit to the secular psychologies than is due them. I’m particularly talking about salvaging the collection of data (both on the clinical and statistical levels) which provide those from the biblical perspective with information to assess biblically. Very little else, from the diagnosis of causes to treatments to apologetics, merits much credit at all.

          • Tim

            Hi Nick,
            Thank you for your gracious responses. It seems we are in large agreement.

            As I understand you, you are suggesting that Christian’s can find some helpful observations in the DSM manuals, or at the very least a vocabulary that helps us to quickly classify behaviors. Honestly, I have very little to disagree with here. If this is possible, then by all means proceed. My only concern is that the DSM has been packaged in such a way to render such an objective, counterproductive. I do believe that the project has been packaged in such a way as to blur distinctions between organic illness and improper thinking/behavior. The end result, as you seem to agree, is that we have lists of behaviors that are packaged as “disorders,” which are then “diagnosed,” and given “proscriptions.” It is very difficult for me to conceive of the positive benefit for giving someone a label, which I know, is just a description of their behaviors, when I also know that labels, can’t help but remove at least some responsibility. I think this is simply axiomatic. If you give someone a label, that sounds very much like a medical diagnosis, it is packaged in the same way, then how does that not introduce a bit of fuzziness when it comes to responsibility. I imagine you agree with this.

            You say:
            Unless, of course, Joe doesn’t believe that those suffering from PTSD are accountable for sinful response. But, in spite of him not clarifying otherwise, I am hesitant to believe he would say something so fundamentally unbiblical.

            In terms of what I have already said, I completely agree with you. I do not imagine that he would say this. My point is simply that when a person validates the categories, the result is to diminish personal responsibility. I simply have tremendous difficulty thinking that it is helpful for a person to categorize their thinking and behavior as an “illness” or “disorder.” We suffer from illnesses. We do not hold people responsible for illnesses. We repent of improper thinking and behavior.

            The article makes a biblical case against the prosperity gospel and smuggles into that case a lot of psychological baggage which is packaged as a defense against veterans.

            From my perspective, bash the heritics and protect the veterans by not taking away their hope :) I say that tongue in cheek. Seriously though, labels bring no hope only oppression. I imagine we are thinking very similarly.

            In Christ,


          • Tim

            If all you’re saying is understand the categories, so that when a person tells you what category they fit into you can better understand what thoughts and behaviors they are talking about, then I completely agree this is wise.

            If you’re saying work with categories, I’m probably inclined to think that this is less than helpful. I think we’re on much safer ground to just stick with biblical categories.

            Hope that makes sense.

  • Hal

    1 Tim 5:20
    Those (elders) who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning. NIV

    Yes, the public “sin” of false teaching deserves to be rebuked publicly. On the other hand, rebuking someone like Copeland could become a full time job.

  • Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Which one of these two knuckleheads has ever experienced what is like to be shot, bombed, shelled and otherwise attacked by enemy troops?

  • Mark

    Mr. Carter,

    Thanks for the swift and thoughtful response. I really enjoyed reading Carson’s piece. That’s exactly what I was looking for. Brilliant exposition!

    This was a particularly enlightening bit:

    “It seems to me that the pastor would be wise to go to the lecturer first, but not out of obedience to Matt 18, which really does not pertain, but to determine just what the views of the lecturer really are. He may come to the conclusion that the lecturer is kosher after all; alternatively, that the lecturer has been misunderstood (and any lecturer with integrity will want to take pains not to be similarly misunderstood in the future); or again, that the lecturer is dissimulating.”

    That makes total sense. It appears that Matthew 18 wouldn’t apply in this situation. But, it could be beneficial to follow that model nonetheless.

    I guess I’m just a little jaded by Christians rebuking Christians publicly without Christian B (the rebuker) first verifying that Christian A (the original expositor) really meant what it appeared he said (or, in this case, agreed with). It could very well be that Mr. Barton was agreeing that what Copeland just read was a promise for the Israelites of that time, whereas Copeland was probably meaning that it was a promise for our troops today. But, how can we know what Barton really meant if we don’t ask him? I would suggest that Mr. Barton’s main point was expounded at the end of the video when he focused more generally on the differences between a just war and unjust war and the blessings/cursings that accompany them.

    But, for the sake of avoiding a long back and forth, I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree on the best response in a situation like this. I just hope the method you employed will be of great ultimate value to everyone who reads.

    Thanks again for your wisdom and great article reference.

    • Joe Carter

      But, how can we know what Barton really meant if we don’t ask him?

      That’s a fair question, since from the clip I included, Barton’s comments could be construed as ambiguous. In the full clip, though, Barton calls it “God’s promise to soldiers” and applies it to modern veterans. They also cite other passages, such as from the Psalms to make their case.

      To be honest, I think it’s possible Barton simply didn’t understand what he was agreeing with. The fact that Copeland was quoting a “promise” from Numbers and applying it to modern soldiers certainly should have raised a warning flag. But I sort of doubt Barton would have come up with that interpretation on his own.

      • Mark

        Precisely what I was thinking as well! Glad we came to that consensus. But, again, we’ll never know until we ask him ourselves.

        If you do decide to reach out to him and his intrepretation of that text is biblical I’d hope you’d amend/update your original post so that his name wouldn’t be slandered.

        Thanks again for the thoughtful discussion.

  • Darren Blair

    *In re: Copeland, et al:

    Back when I was in high school, I had someone come at me from behind when I was eating lunch. 11+ years later, and every time someone touches me without warning my first reaction is *still* to turn and take a swing. Does that make me sinful for wanting to defend myself?

    How about the fact that I hate power windows due to my having once been trapped inside a car on a hot Texas summer day?

    To be blunt, I’ve got anxiety issues of my own. I was even witness to a young man losing his life in a tragic fashion due to substance abuse (he lost control of his car and crashed into the building next to where I work; I was the one who made the 911 call). A lot of my issues involve “making sure that this stuff doesn’t happen again, in large part because much of it was preventable in the first place.” So am I wicked for hoping that no one else has to deal with what I’ve had to deal with?

    *In re: the rebuttal

    “Example: Mormon missionaries quote James 1:5 which promises God’s wisdom to those who ask him and, then, follow this by explaining that when Joseph Smith did this he was given a revelation from which he concluded that God the Father has a body.”

    As an actual Mormon (re: a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), the passage cited is incorrect. The First Vision established Heavenly Father (re: God) and Jesus as being physically separate individuals with observably human characteristics. Actual confirmation of their having perfected bodies came later.

    • Melody

      It would be good for people to realize how much Mormons and Copeland have in common.

  • Nate Schlomann

    Joe, I simply wanted to add that I thought your tone was right-on and quite appropriate given the offense and the public nature of the offenders. Thank you for your stand.

  • bondservant

    Too many believe US soldiers are “fighting for God” – revealing our arrogance, deception, or both, and just how much we’ve replaced God with government. It’s all part of the rah-rah mentality that “we’re #1!” and the false belief that the US is “exceptional” outside of what God has given us (and can take away).

  • bondservant

    …and – unfortunately – that’s the position that’s seems to be typical of Barton.

  • chris

    I just found an interesting quote on David Barton’s website, under his “Bio”:

    “Time Magazine called him “a hero to millions – including some powerful politicians.”

    Now for the real quote from Time Magazine, dated Feb. 7, 2005:

    “Many historians dismiss his thinking but Barton’s advocacy organization, WallBuilders, and his relentless stream of publications, court amicus briefs and books like The Myth of Separation, have made him a hero to millions — including some powerful politicians.”

    He’s a bit selective in the way he quotes things, even about himself.

  • Benedict


    I always wonder why if we truly do believe in the Gospel of grace, why are we rebuking others who are sharing the word in hope of offering the promises we have in Christ Jesus? When we believe in the word to overcome our guilt, that is VERY different from trying to overcome our guilt by ourselves. And it is true ultimately that every curse of sin in this world is due to the condemnation that we were initially under. And believing the Gospel more and more, are we not set free from self-condemnation subjectively? Sometimes, I really love the articles on Gospelcoaliton because of Jesus-centred writers, but sometimes I just disdain the use of this platform to further traditional views, existing conflicts and such.


    • Jess Ratcliff

      Ben: I’m not too sure if you’ve been following the debate but the whole point of this article is that they are NOT sharing a word of hope. This is NOT a promise for believers in Christ. That guilt is NOT a factor in PTSD. The point is about those who would misuse the Bible very badly in a public forum need to be called to account. God is passionate about his word because it is truth and reveals himself, therefore those who misuse his word are therefore obscuring the truth and God’s character. The belief that we are all under a curse, although true needs to be better nuanced and explain in much more detail than how you apply it especially to any condition that affects the mind.

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  • Bob Muenchausen

    As a Veterans Services Officer who works with Veterans daily, and those suffering with PTSD on occasion, it seems pretty obvious to me that these two men – just as men, not pastors, preachers, televangelists – really have no good conception of what PTSD involves or how it affects the lives of those who suffer from it or those around them. Too often, we today seem to have this notion that PTSD is a combat soldier’s dilemma. It is ANYONE’s dilemma if they are exposed to the right triggers.

    Most folks don’t realize that some of the early work on this symptomology came from work with police, fire fighters, and ENT first responders and then progressed to the military experience. They do not realize that PTSD is something that happens to people, and is not who they are. The ignorance surrounding PTSD within the general population is equally as astounding as that which was shown in these two “Christian’s” message in their program.

    That they would insult the experiences of soldiers and every other living soul who has suffered from this problem is not surprising to me. I have really begun to wonder if their particular “brand” of “religion” didn’t come into being to save folks like themselves from the ignominy of having nothing they could do in life that would at least “seem” to be respectable or give them purpose. There IS a world of need and longing out there that could give them purpose and occupy them productively and even spiritually. I believe that that was the essence of Christ’s message to us all. But I look at what comes of efforts like these from these two men, and the industry they are capable of seems only occupied in their own glorification. Those are shallow waters to try to swim in, and even shallower to try to baptize anyone else into the Holy Spirit.

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  • Nathan Long

    Mr. Carter, I believe this was an ill-considered article that I wish you would retract, or at least re-write as a consideration rather than a condemnation. It is evident from watching both the 2 min clip from Right Wing Watch (talk about questionable sources) and the entire interview that Copeland and Barton are intending to remove what they would label as a false sense of guilt from those suffering from PTSD. Ignoring their exegetical skills, or understanding of PTSD, (which, while dubious, are not so bad as you here opine), it is clear that they are well-intentioned.

    But even more concerning to me is the evidence that you are doing to them (particularly to Barton) precisely what you are complaining about in them. Barton is oft criticized, at times legitimately, more often illegitimately, including in the book by Throckmorton and Coulter. You reference in a comment above a World magazine article reviewing the anti-Barton book, but fail to also reference World Magazine’s hosting of Barton’s response (, which, in this case, effectively evidences that Throckmorton’s complaints are less than legitimate.

    Furthermore, you mention that Barton’s publisher dropped the book, while also failing to mention that an even larger and more mainstream publisher immediately picked the book up. This is pejorative and unfair on your part, and I urge you to re-investigate Barton’s credibility with a wider and more in-depth investigation. Please understand that I write this not as a Barton fan (his choices often bother me), but as a proponent of fairness, justice, and accuracy.

    It seems to me that evangelicals ought to establish and practice a standard of thoroughness and balanced consideration that is above reproach, so we are never vulnerable to accusations (as Barton often is) of misusing quotes, or making manipulative references to information while ignoring additional information. I have appreciated that the Gospel Coalition typically strives after this high standard, but this article, and your comments on it fail to maintain such a standard, and I urge you to retract or significantly revise it.

    • Joe Carter

      . . . and the entire interview that Copeland and Barton are intending to remove what they would label as a false sense of guilt from those suffering from PTSD.

      I will certainly admit that Copeland and Barton certainly seem to have the noble intentions. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that they are making the situation worse by not knowing what they are talking about. They seem to have developed their ideas about PTSD from watching some TV movie on the Lifetime channel. Most people with PTSD are not suffering from a false sense of guilt. Guilt feeling may be a component of the condition, but it is certainly not the driving factor for most.

      Ignoring their exegetical skills, or understanding of PTSD, (which, while dubious, are not so bad as you here opine), it is clear that they are well-intentioned.

      What makes their views bad is that they are implying that what they claim is Biblical truth. It is one thing for them to opine about a medical condition about which they seem to no nothing at all. It is quite another —and exponentially more harmful — to hold a harmful opinion and claim that it is the view of God.

      effectively evidences that Throckmorton’s complaints are less than legitimate.

      If Barton’s historicism is so defensible, why is no one coming to his defense? Why have no historians come forward and said that Throckmorton and Coulter are wrong and Barton is right? Why will not one with any academic credibility come forward and defend Barton? A comment section is not the place to go into all the reasons why Barton’s book is still considered substandard historical research. But the fact that he has no defenders (at least none that I’ve seen) should tell you something about his work.

      Furthermore, you mention that Barton’s publisher dropped the book, while also failing to mention that an even larger and more mainstream publisher immediately picked the book up.

      Actually, that’s not true. In August 2012, Christian publisher Thomas Nelson (which is owned by HarperCollins, one of the largest publishers in the world) withdrew the book from publication and stopped production, announcing that they had “lost confidence in the book’s details” and “learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported.”

      It was Glenn Beck who stepped in and has his small Mercury Ink imprint issue a new edition. I won’t get into all the reasons that Beck is even less credible than Barton (Copeland still has him beat in the “not credible” race).

      I urge you to re-investigate Barton’s credibility with a wider and more in-depth investigation.

      Believe me, I’ve investigated Barton’s credibility in extensive detail. His work on history is simply not credible. This is not a minority opinion. I know a lot of historians and none of them think his work is reliable. He’s a propagandist who pretends to be a historian.

      I have appreciated that the Gospel Coalition typically strives after this high standard, but this article, and your comments on it fail to maintain such a standard, and I urge you to retract or significantly revise it.

      I appreciate your concerns and your taking the time to express them. If you can find any point of which I have been inaccurate or truly unfair, then I will happily revise my post.

      • Michael

        Joe, In my view you have been innaccurate & unfair in your Characterization of Barton as Satanic/demonic etc (and I wouldn’t even go that far with any of Copeland’s ilk, though he has more heretical aspects that merit rebuking, but not demonizing). I appreciate that Mr Long brought more of a Christian decorum & demeanor to the discussion. Also I appreciate his citing of the Barton rebuttal to his Jefferson book critics at
        which upon review, seemed to me to thoroughly document his defense. You seem to be so enamored with officially credentialed academia as being the arbitrators of truth in these matters, as if no one else (like Barton) has the right to actually do his own sponsored research into historical documents, and to find things that are contrary to official secular academia’s penchant for re-writing the history of America’s founders as a bunch of anti-Christians. My experience with upper Academia, even in a Christian context (at a seminary, and in subsequent research) was that PhD & ThD Profs were/are under extreme pressures to conform (and numerous ones have caved in)to the norm of Ivy league “scientific” dogma’s on evolution, and try to force-fit that into the Bible with contortionistic hermenuetics(why aren’t you calling them out as satanic?). Similarly upper academia want us to conform to their “historical” re-writing of America’s foundations as being as secularistic as possible (when there is plenty of evidence to the contrary, even if all your historian buddies can’t see it). I agree that Barton’s foray with Copeland into trying to give a diagnosis and prescription for PTSD is an erroneous bad mistake (even though well-intentioned) and needed to receive a correction. But so does your over the top pejorative name-calling (Satanic, demonic, fools, propagandist, etc) – perhaps you need to review Jesus’ warning in Matthew 5:22. Your zeal is commendable, but please temper it with a more irenic demeanor. Sincerely for the sake of the body of Christ

        • Zoe Brain

          “Your zeal is commendable, but please temper it with a more irenic demeanor. Sincerely for the sake of the body of Christ.”

          I can work with that.

          I better explain. I’m not christian. From my own experience, I see no significant difference between TGC and Barton & Co.

          I certainly don’t agree with Michael. But look at his measured tones, his courtesy, his compassion. OK I disagree very strongly with his position, but he’s acting in accordance with 1 Corinthians 13. I try to as well, however imperfectly. With that common ground, perhaps mutual understanding is possible. Even if not, mutual respect and common humanity should be.

          Here’s another man, long dead, who I also have issues with, but who said some very human words which we all should heed.

          I am persuaded that divers of you, who lead the People, have laboured to build yourselves in these things; wherein you have censured others, and established yourselves “upon the Word of God.” Is it therefore infallibly agreeable to the Word of God, all that you say? I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. Precept may be upon precept, line may be upon line, and yet the Word of the Lord may be to some a Word of Judgment; that they may fall backward, and be broken and be snared and be taken! There may be a spiritual fulness, which the World may call drunkenness; as in the second Chapter of the Acts. There may be, as well, a carnal confidence upon misunderstood and misapplied precepts, which may be called spiritual drunkenness. There may be a Covenant made with Death and Hell! I will not say yours was so. But judge if such things have a politic aim: To avoid the overflowing scourge; or, To accomplish worldly interests?

          – To the Commissioners of the Kirk of Scotland, from Oliver Cromwell, 3d August 1650

          Why am I writing this? It’s probably futile. But while there’s a chance, to have a dialogue, to realise we’re both trying to do what’s right, I feel I have to.

  • Nathan Long

    I did not realize this was picked up by Mercury Ink specifically, but to be fair, it is still true… just as Thomas Nelson is owned by Harper Collins, Mercury Ink is owned by Simon & Schuster.

    And you’re right, the comments section is not the place to go further…

  • Doc B

    Joe, I think you got it wrong on this one. They should be ignored.

    Not ignoring them will only give them a wider audience. I knew nothing of this exchange until I read this post, and wish I hadn’t now.

    Please, ignore these people in the future.

    • Melody

      And just let the Vets exposed to the heresy fend for themselves. It’s not our business, right?

    • JeremyB

      Doc B- Just because you knew nothing of this exchange doesn’t mean they haven’t affected many many others. Ignoring them might make you feel better, not having been exposed to such errant teaching but it sure doesn’t help those who have been deceived to think these are credible teachers. They already have a “wider audience” and this is meant to introduced discernment to that audience.

  • Christopher Lazo

    I was raised under the teachings of Kenneth Copeland for the first 16 years of my life. I only got out by the gracious hand of God, and a hippy who walked me through a copy of Gordon Fee’s book, How To Read The Bible for All It’s Worth! While I generally do not take a harsh posture toward anyone, Christian or non-Christian (and I’m sure you don’t either); I do understand that there are situations where it is absolutely necessary, and I think you found one. I suspect that some well-intended rebukes on thread over your tone have little idea who they are dealing with in Mr. Copeland. Considering 2 Peter 2:1-20, I thought you were rather gentlemanly. Thank you for writing this; it was refreshing for me to hear.

  • David E Byer

    I have reviewed the video in its entirety. I am so disappointed these two men and what they have to say about PTSD. They are disgraceful. I have had some experience with people suffering from PTSD. In the post anesthesia room I have stood by Vietnam Vets struggling with flashbacks as they emerge from anesthesia. It is not a pretty picture. The situation is much more complex than what Copeland/Barton would have us believe about sufferers of PTSD. Copeland’s unqualified call for avoidance of medication and professional counseling is terrible. (Remember the measles epidemic that surfaced at Copeland’s church about three months ago, in part because of unqualified bad advice about measles immunizations?). In the face of Copeland’s disinformation about PTSD I am moved to tears as I recall the struggles of my Vietnam Vets.

    I have shared in the ravages of PTSD within my own household. This PTSD was not battle-related. It was post surgical. This happens. Our household, praise the Lord, has moved beyond this episode. Most happily this was done with professional consultation instead of reliance upon the sort of misinformation advanced by Copeland/Barton.

    I am grateful to Joe Carter for calling out Copeland and Barton on this issue.

  • CR

    You justified your “rebuke” by leaning on Scriptural admonitions for false teachers. Your reliance on those scriptures falters when your admonitions begin to focus on false treatment of mental health and psychology rather than false theology, particularly when you (publicly) have no more credibility on the subject of PTSD than they do.

    Neither Copeland nor Barton should have ever said anything about PTSD. They did themselves, their cause, and others a great disservice. But the unnecessary invective of your response overwhelmed some underlying value in the discussion.

    Irrespective of PTSD, there are “moral wounds” in war — something even the military recognizes. For example, many stories have been told of soldiers seeing military chaplains after having killed the enemy and begging to be reassured that what they did was just, right, and moral. Barton’s references to God’s granting of power to the state, just war, and the Hebrews “hall of faith” are a few of the common sources of encouragement in those situations.

    Barton and Copeland probably didn’t know the scope of the issue they were raising when they said “PTSD,” and they clearly went too far — but they weren’t the only ones.

    A more thoughtful response should have been warranted from the new Director of Communications for the ERLC.

  • Timothy Stone

    Just a few thoughts here. Guilt can be associated with PTSD, but, as an poster above stated, this is a GOOD THINGS. People who can kill without remorse (and we have no clue what the folks of the Bible felt, or how God helped them, or if He did, emotionally, we only know this promise doesn’t have any context for today) are usually thought of as being sociopathic or psychopathic or whatever.

    However, it is not just guilt, but so much more. It is fear, hyper-vigilance, various “triggers” (is that the right term?), etc. Home situations can make it worse, as a poster above pointed out, but it can happen to even people in more “ideal” life situations. Indeed, it is really rather complicated to discuss here, but the author and (some of) the posters, have given good info on it. I have struggled for over four years with PTSD. It is not easy, but INCREDIBLY hard to deal with. I will probably struggle with it in my whole life until the Lord calls me home. My prayer is I can handle it better as time goes on.

    I am angry about this. First off, I was angry at this for my own sake, but that cooled, and turned to anger for the veterans (and others who suffer, though non-miliatry, with this affliction for other reasons), who may not hurt themselves (and others as a result) due to not seeking help. Yes, HURT themselves. Self-harm, increased hatred and dislike of self (not in a Christ-honoring self-denial, but a sinful hatred of oneself who God made), and perhaps violence, broken homes, cruelty, etc., to others. This can and does happen every day. Or what if someone decides they don’t need their “drugs” and stops their meds. That is dangerous, and all due to a Biblical concept that DOES NOT APPLY TO US TODAY.

    Why am I passionate about this? For several reasons. First off, I try to make this my most important reason, that is dishonors God and is blasphemous to misuse and lie about His Word. Secondly, because I used to admire and quote Barton before his lies and unChristian behavior were exposed to me. I really admired and quoted him, and then first a professor put me onto his lies (a Christian professor, by the by, for those who wonder, who agrees with me on most everything, but sees Barton for the fraud he is), and then recently I’ve seen more evidence the past few years. What about those who haven’t seen the truth and listen to Barton still? What about those who may know the truth, but this statement fits into their self-loathing so they run with it? This is very dangerous and reckless, on stop of blasphemous of these men.

    Finally, I want to speak to the “soft tone and speak in quiet first” objection. That is exactly right, up until a certain point. The Bible doesn’t change, but how we reconcile certain commands does change with technology and so forth. We are to confront false teachers and bring them to repentance if we can, first. But we are also to preach against, and condemn, false teachings, expose the truth, etc. Back in Bible times, this was fairly easy. Confront the person, if they don’t repent, publicize it. Though that wasn’t always done. It is beyond doubt that Paul did not speak to or corresond with, all of the false teachers he ever condemned the teachings of, in his letters. Nowadays, well, how many folks will do bad things and buy into this false teaching while the author of this blog awaits an answer from Barton, Copeland, and other hucksters? Should he hold off on teaching the truth, and perhaps saving someone from severe spiritual, pyschological, and perhaps physical harm, until he speaks to Barton first? It’s not so simple as those objecting make it out to be.

    Those are my scattered thoughts. To those above who have served, or are/have been in police and other emergency services for that matter, thank you. Thank you for the work you have done, to the Veteran’s Service Officer. Prayers to all of those suffering with this. Most of all, thanks to the author of this piece. You have been a breath of fresh air on this issue. So many Christians take an extreme reaction to some bad quacks by saying all psychology/psychiatry is anti-biblical, when it isn’t. The idea I suffer due to lack of faith, or others do, is so disheartening, and sometiems, in the throes of despair, perhaps even suicidal despair, this lie can be easy to accept. Your thoughtfulness and not blaming us, really touched me. Thank you from a brother in Christ.

    A final note in this babbling post, in answer to one or two commenters: Recognizing PTSD (or most other mental disorders) does not mean excusing sin. It means the opposite. It means helping people with real issues learn to cope with them so they DON’T give into bitterness, self-loathing, self-harm, suicide, hopelessness, hate, sexual immorality, pornography, gluttony, and myriad other sins. We work to avoid doing wrong, especially those of us who know Christ, not to excuse and perpetuate wrongs.

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  • Eric

    Got this from a biblical coaching website. Thought it would be helpful in dealing with the topic of PTSD.

    Biblical Counseling and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

    What is PTSD?

    “Traumatized people have alterations in their brains,” so says Christian counselor H. Norman Wright. He contends that the neurological evidence is best summed up with, “Trauma can create PTSD. This is not just an emotional response to troubling events; it’s the expression of a persistent deregulation of body and brain chemistry. And brain chemistry can be altered for decades. With this change arousing events can trigger flashbacks. Trauma creates chaos in our brain. Trauma causes an emotional as well as a cognitive concussion.” On his website he does an excellent job of describing this traumatic process and appropriate treatments (Trauma and the Brain, Suggested Steps in Helping Those in Trauma).

    Is PTSD Consistent with Biblical Doctrine?

    Is this description of trauma’s negative impact on the brain biblically viable? Well, theologically it seems fitting to admit that Wright’s description is very probable because we live in a fallen world that is deformed in sin, which means that ectopias (that is abnormalities in the brain) most likely could and do develop (2 Corinthians 4:16). While many evangelical Christians do not endorse wholesale evolution, there is little doubt in Scripture that devolution is happening, that humankind—both in soul and body— has fallen and continues to move further and further away from the glory of God that we were intended to fulfill (Romans 8:18-23). Biblically, Philippians 3:21 calls our earthly bodies a “lowly body” (Greek: the body of our humiliation), which certainly highlights the fragility of our bodies. Therefore, it seems reasonable to conclude that “brain weaknesses do influence the person” as Dr. Edward T. Welch observed (M.Div. degree at Biblical Theological Seminary, Ph.D. counseling psychology with an emphasis on neuropsychology from the University of Utah).

    How Do We Biblically Help People with PTSD?

    What does the Bible guide us into doing for people who’s brain suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (please see my blog article on this topic for more information; A Biblical Counseling View of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Posttraumatic Growth Development (PTGD) as it is presented in the Life of the Apostle Paul)? Perhaps, Philippians 3:6a can serve as a starting point to construct a treatment approach to PTSD that is conducive to the biblical record and is empirically provable. Paul writes that he was “a persecutor of the church.” New Testament exegete Ralph P. Martin writes, “Paul seems never to have been able to forget his persecuting activity, based on that misdirected zeal for God (Acts 22:2, Romans 10:2) and His cause, of which he speaks here. The memory of it continually haunts him; so much so that he uses the present participle of the verb, diokon, persecuting, as if the action were before his eyes at the time of writing.” (emphasis added) Here Paul vividly—like experiencing a flashback or an extremely active imagination—possibly relives that dreadful day of the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:54-8:3), which would have been the inglorious capstone of all his persecuting activity. Paul was a supportive witness of the ghastly and cruel execution of a beautiful deacon of the Lord’s. Such memories must have been hard indeed to live with, even after he was saved by Christ the Lord (1 Timothy 1:13). Thus, this autobiographical account by Paul leads me to ask: 1) How does current neurological research help us to understand such vividly haunting memories?, 2) What did the Apostle Paul do about his reoccurring disturbing memories?, and 3) How would this Pauline approach assist someone enduring PTSD today? We will discuss them in the order presented:

    A) How does current neurological research help us to understand such vividly haunting memories today?

    Wright says that “Trauma freezes thinking.” He describes it this way, “The Amygdala is a small, almond shaped portion of the brain. It’s the emotional part. It’s the alarm portion of the brain. It becomes highly active during and while remembering a traumatic incident. It controls our behavior. When you’ve been in trauma it’s hypersensitive and overreacts to normal stimuli . . . Another part of the brain (hippocampus) is analytical and calms down the emotional part of the brain: It analyzes things and puts things in perspective.” Meanwhile, “The hippocampus is reduced in size”, which means your memory is affected and your “frontal cortex ability is decreased” and this limits your capacity to analyze events and to put into words how you feel. Therefore, it is apparent that biblically derived theological reasoning (Romans 12:1-2) surely will help the traumatized Christian endure, work through, and overcome as is witnessed in the life of the Apostle Paul and his example is intended to help us all (Philippians 3:17, 4;9). Such Scriptural theo-logic will stir the brain to better analyze personal traumas and put them into a perspective that brings hope because “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

    B) What did the Apostle Paul do about his reoccurring disturbing memories?

    Saint Paul trained himself (Philippians 4:12-13) to say, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).” (emphasis added) And he gives us a brilliant example of such eschatological thinking when he concludes chapter 3 of Philippians with, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Notice how this statement is Christ-centered (Savior, Lord, his glorious body) and emphasizes the sovereignty of God in Christ (to subject all things to himself). Meditating on the sovereign Lord Jesus Christ who controls today, yesterday and forever is always illuminating, healing, and exhilarating to the Christian’s soul.

    C) How would this Pauline approach assist someone enduring PTSD today?

    As a biblical counselor, I have observed that the above is true and it is practical and productive for the traumatized Christian to hear and apply. However, there is one aspect of people’s pain that is often overlooked, even by competent pastoral counselors. Again, Wright’s explanations are indispensable descriptors for the biblical counselor as he writes, “The right section (right hemisphere of the brain), the alarm section, reacts too much . . . It’s like an alarm system of a car that keeps going off and staying on when there’s no danger. And the owner with the key isn’t around to turn it off. With a brain scan there is a lot of lighting up on the right side and very little on the left.” How do you help a Christian suffering from the incessant car alarm in the brain to actually turn it off? Well, using Wright’s words the Owner really is around—He is the Holy Spirit who is able to shut off the alarm (1 Corinthians 3:16). It is here where Reformed theology provides the answer in the doctrine of the illumination of Scripture, which is the inward illumination of the Spirit of God within the Christian believer. The Holy Spirit working by and with the Word in our hearts, which He Authored, turns off the internal alarm (Hebrews 4:12). Not the Holy Spirit apart from the Word; nor the Word without the Spirit; but the Spirit and the Word touching the deepest corridors of the Christian’s heart for we rest on this assurance that the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture (emphasis added) communicates to God’s people as the Westminster Confession of Faith teaches.

    How Does the Holy Spirit Turn Off the Emergency Alarm?

    Of course, the sovereign Spirit of God is free to work as He wills in this matter (John 3:8); nevertheless, in my exposition of the Scripture, the Holy Spirit often works through Scriptural Journaling. All one has to do is read the life of Paul to figure this one out. Paul is the pre-eminent Epistle writer of Scripture and of history. He not only wrote the most letters to be included in the New Testament but his book of Romans is one of the longest letters that has survived from antiquity. When he writes in 2 Corinthians about his overwhelming struggles he includes much emotional language (2 Corinthians 6:11) all the while incorporating the Old Testament Scriptures in his thinking (2 Corinthians 6:16-18). He overcomes His suffering by overwhelming them with his focus on the promises that find their yes in Jesus Christ the Lord (2 Corinthians 1:20). This is a positive and productive model for all those battling PTSD to emulate today. Such an approach is not unique to Paul because the Old Testament contains the Book of Psalms, which are essentially 150 prayer journal entries that bring forth hope and healing as Psalm 23 so famously bears witness to the power of the Psalter to assist the suffering. Furthermore, in the history of the Christian church such an approach was picked up by Augustine who wrote his Confessions and the Puritans whose pastoral counseling techniques relied heavily on providential journaling (see John Flavel’s Mystery of Providence). In order to underscore this important point about Scriptural Journaling, I will quote in length Dr. Donald S. Whitney’s article The Gospel & Journaling from the TableTalk magazine:

    Keeping a spiritual journal has been a widespread practice among God’s people for millennia. As long a people have been able to write, it has been common for them to write about what is most important to them. Thus, the people of God have recorded their thoughts about the things of God, and they have done so in something akin to what is today referred to as journaling. King David poured out his soul to God in the scrolls of the Psalms. The prophet Jeremiah expressed the depth of his grief about the fall ofJerusalemin his Lamentations . . . Jonathan Edwards found the practice so useful for sharpening his thinking and deepening his devotion that he kept several different kinds of journals and notebooks.

    As Whitney goes on to conclude, “Christians have been irrepressible chroniclers of their spiritual lives.” The bolstering usefulness of Scriptural Journaling is urgently needed today.

    What is Scriptural Journaling?

    Proper Scriptural Journaling contains at least the following components: 1) Writing about what is providentially happening to you (2 Corinthians 1:8-11, 4:7-12, 6:4-10, 11:23-33), 2) being transparent about your emotions and questions before the Lord (2 Corinthians 6:11), 3) incorporating Scripture, especially the promises of God, in your writings (2 Corinthians 1:19-22), 4) practicing Scriptural Journaling on a consistent basis (2 Corinthians 13:10), and 5) meditating on how the sovereignty of God is revealed in your particular set of circumstances (2 Corinthians 1:8-10, 12:8-10). As this is faithfully done, in my experience with those suffering from PTSD, the emergency alarm within the brain finally gets shut off— because the Holy Spirit gives the Christian’s mind as he or she mediates on the promises of God a confidence in God’s sovereign rule in Christ that seems to inform the physical brain “all is well with my soul.” As Dr. Welch once observed, “It is as if the heart always leaves its footprints on the brain.” I advise those I counsel to ask and answer these three questions:
    1.What is God developing in me because of my suffering?
    2.Where is God deploying me to minister to others because of my suffering?
    3.What is God delivering me from due to my suffering?

    When such questions begin to be answered and recorded in written form by the sufferer that is holding a Christ-centered, Bible-based perspective—true healing emerges. Once Christians get a sense of God’s sovereign plan—even in the midst of their trauma—it turns off the emergency alarm within (interestingly, the internal physical alarm God created within us is turned on by the dangers we confront in the natural world as an effort to provide us protection whereas the power to turn it off-once it is firmly engaged by horrific events—is often a supernatural power provided by the Holy Spirit, which includes the peace that goes beyond our understanding).

    • Michael

      Thanks so much Eric, this is the most helpful thing posted in this whole blog (including the article, which in my estimation rightly pointed out the issue that needed correction, but reactionarily & wrongly slandered the people involved with pejorative labels like satanic, demonic, fools, stupid, propagandists, rather than just making ill-advised erroneous mis-statements of something. Certainly PTSD is not directly taught about as a biblical doctrine, and thus cannot be some kind of acid-test evaluating someones foundational orthodoxy & salvation.

      Anyway, this information you shared is tremendously helpful, and I can see its application for my own life that perhaps brought on a certain level of non-military PTSD with the tragic death of my Father in a military training accident when I was 4, and then enduring the traumatic abuse of a subsequent step-father (who probably had unresolved PTSD problem himself as a WW2 Vet who was in the thick of the Battle of the Bulge, and who as an un-saved person did not have any spiritual & biblical help, nor did he ever seek or receive medical help). It also helps me to understand my sister’s recent traumatic explosion of hatred towards him, after revealing that she was not only physically & verbally/emotionally abused along with the rest of us siblings in childhood, but also sexually abused by him. I am trying to help her now (and she has sought secular psychological help), and this helps me understand the situation much better. Perhaps the journalling can help me, as I am still dealing with the effects of a traumatic 3 year accountability show-down with my step-dad over this revealed criminal abuse of my sister, which he refused to resolve, even though we offered him the redemptive option of forgiveness & reconciliation if he would but confess & apologize to the injured & concerned siblings involved. Unfortunately he just passed away this past summer, leaving us all in a lurch over this. Now I know what to do about it, thanks to your helpful post. Sincerely & Gratefully

  • Cliff C

    Just a note of Thanks Joe, from a Christ follower who is is also a Veteran that suffered with PTSD. I appreciate your bringing it to our attention.

  • Forrest

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for your article. At some point I would enjoy hearing you write about your understanding of what it means/looks like to rebuke someone. I understand your arguments for this public rebuke – including those spelled out in the comments section.

    For example, this quote below seems like mockery to me, which I don’t think needs to be part of a rebuke. Here’s the quote:

    “When those verses are read in the context of the chapter, and in the context of book of Numbers, and in the context of the Old Testament, and in the context of the entire Bible, it becomes almost impossible to imagine how anyone with an elementary school level of reading comprehension could have come up with such an interpretation.”

    To me, the “elementary school level comprehension” part of this quote could have been removed entirely without affecting your ability to rebuke. For example, why not just write, “it becomes almost impossible to imagine how anyone could have come up with such an interpretation”?

    So is mockery part of rebuke? Is this quote not intended to be mockery, and maybe I’m reading too strongly into your wording? Thoughts? I think when people express their distaste for your tone, I don’t necessarily think they are dismissing your decision to rebuke. Rather, I think this distaste is in part a difference of opinion about what a rebuke entails.

    • David E Byer

      Forrest, I’m pleased to see that we agree that a public rebuke is in order. I understand Copeland is a leader in advancing the Word-Faith heresy. I knew little of his false teachings until nearly four years ago when I received the diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer. A certain person came to visit me. He left a book for me to read. This book advanced the idea that illness is caused by unconfessed sin. I was surprised and offended that my visitor thought that applied to me, especially when I knew with full certainty it did not. It has been amazing to learn of others who have been told a similar idea, or have been told they are ill because of insufficient faith, often with devastating consequences. What a horrible way to “encourage” a patient. It is simply incredible how the false teachings of the Word-Faith movement have spread. I’m an amateur when it comes to Bible study.I’m still learning. Nevertheless,the “itchy ears” words of 2 Timothy 4:3 seem to fit here. I’m glad Joe Carter posted the rebuke.

    • Champion

      Agreed, Forrest. I’m not condemning Mr. Carter’s rebuke at all. We are, after all, entitled to our opinions. However, I too thought that his tone was quite mocking and not representing of Christ at all.

  • Champion

    Barton and Copeland may be in the wrong here, but the author (Mr. Joe Carter) seems awfully proud of himself for being the one to diss them and tear them down. The Bible instructs us to build each other up, not tear each other down. It is possible to rebuke Barton and Copeland through an article in a Christ-like manner. I believe that Mr. Carter is in the wrong as much as they are because of his flaunting response. This is not how we treat other people. We are accountable to God and each will give his testimony before the Almighty Judge. God will decide if Mr. Carter was too harsh in this article. God will decide if Barton and Copeland are interpreting this scripture incorrectly. The only thing we can and should do is to pray for each other. All three of these men need prayer that they will clearly see the will of God in this matter.

    • Timothy Stone

      Sir, I’m sorry, but you are wrong. Barton and Copeland are espousing poor theology that could influence people to hurt themselves. First of all, the sin against God and His Word by this bad theology must be condemned, and so must the words of these men so that folks DON’T take them seriously, and don’t hurt themselves. And trust me, in the midst of the darker times with this condition, it is easy to think that hurting yourself makes sense, or to listen to others tell you you are wrong and deserve affliction. Barton and Copeland are like Job’s vile three friends, and deserve to be called out as such.

      • David E Byer

        Timothy, you are so right. The matter, unfortunately extends far beyound the Barton/Copeland pair. Countless people are being misled by advocates of the Word-Faith heresy.

        As far as PTSD and suicide are concerned, unsuccessfully attempted suicide was part of our household’s post-surgical PTSD. This individual has a strong faith in our Lord. With prayer and proper professional care PTSD in this instance was overcome. Although we have friends who have been misled by Copeland and others, we never let any of them be involved in this matter, for very good reasons.

        I have instructed members of my househould that if I ever reach a point where I am no longer able to communicate, none of these W-F people are to be allowed to touch me or pray with me. My instructions include the suggestion that if any of these people want to pray for me they should go home, enter their closet, shut the door, and do their praying there.

  • robert blair

    Thank you for calling out these two wolves and standing up for these war heroes that have experienced so much pain that I wouldn’t be able to bear. I hope that all of these arm forced people will be set free and helped. Thank you for a good article.

  • Kim

    Thanks for this excellent article. False teachers need to be called up and their work trampled upon. I never understand why people are sympathetic to false teachers, wanting to defend them when someone rightly criticises them – think of all the people led astray for the falsities! It’s horrible.

  • CJ

    This article could be improved with actual text expounding “what the Bible really says about hope, healing, and deliverance through Christ Jesus” as it applies to veterans. It feels like a good effort to address the problem of PTSD, but incomplete with out proffering something by way of solution to the problem.

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  • alicia

    Well let me start off by saying God Bless the men and women that have/are fighting for our country. My husband and I watched this video together recently and I came across this article because i was trying to find the scripture that they have used. My husband is a a veteran from OEF and he currently suffers from severe ptsd, insomnia, depression, and other physical aspects. From my husbands point of view, he did not find what Copeland said as offensive. its all based on individual perspective but throughout struggling with coming home, we talk often about words of confirmation. I tell my husband all the time that he is made whole, he has nothing to fear, and I speak against fear, anxiety, depression etc. Now I am not an ignorant dumby, believe me I know the struggle is real, its a daily struggle.Me and my husband believe that that is what Copeland meant.. to speak positive words over veterans, not downplaying PTSD and other issues Soldiers may have. No offense to those that were offended by Copeland, that is your conviction and feeling, I just figured i would share my own and husbands perspective. God Bless