Post Tenebras Lux

After Darkness, Light

Jarrid Wilson smiled, but struggled internally

Speedy Summary:

Mental health is not a common topic for discussion among Christians. Christians should remember that depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are serious medical conditions. Simply having more faith is not the only remedy available to Christians.

I was having coffee recently with my friend, admittedly an agnostic, who at one point looked at me with marked curiosity and confusion and said,” What’s happening? First that pastor left Hillsong and now one has committed suicide? Are they going to hell?”

What’s happening to these Christian leaders?

Prepared as I was to answer the problem of pain and evil in the world, it struck me as significant that someone outside the church was so aware of the tragedies that are occurring within the body of Christ. She actually asked if hell was the automatic punishment for people who commit suicide in general, but perhaps pastors were somehow given special treatment in judgment? I told her about the nature of sin and the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice, and basically classically laid out the Gospel as I have on occasions before. But on the drive home the question weighed on me. Pastors and servants in ministry, who are supposed to be joyful, long-suffering, patient, obedient… they are taking their own lives. This isn’t an isolated case. Why? And Jarrid took his life right before National Suicide Awareness Day. It seemed intentional. Was there a message he was trying to send?

As apologists, this is one of the most difficult questions we will be asked, and, frighteningly, something we will need to seriously prepare for in the immediate future.

The suicide of Jarrid Wilson

Jarrid Wilson, from what I’ve been able to glean off of the internet (which, of course, limits my ability to verify data—so take this with a grain of salt), seemed like an okay guy. He was the pastor of an evangelical megachurch out in California. I checked out their statement of faith, and it doesn’t appear that they leaned toward the sinister ministry of guaranteed healing.

A problem of church doctrine?

I’ll admit, I heard “megachurch in California” and my brain went immediately to offshoots of the New Apostolic Reformation, which incorporates quasi-Christian Science (neither Christian nor science!) and New Age ideas about health. Perhaps he had been told that, because he had depression, he was harboring a “secret sin,” and it was his fault that he was suffering. If he truly trusted God he wouldn’t need medication. If he was a good enough Christian, the supernatural element of his life would have taken away his suffering and ailment…

Why choose death, not life?

But I haven’t found anywhere on the church website (yet) any heresies or promises that Christ bought physical health for us on the cross. So, I’ve crossed that off the list for now. So why, as a leader within the body of Christ, would a man choose death over life, in direct opposition to the ministry he had set up to prevent people from doing that such thing? (

After revisiting psychological references and praying and searching the Scriptures, all I can say is: I’ve been there.


Our mission is to equip students and faculty with reasons for following Jesus. “Thoughtful” denotes a double meaning. It is both compassionate and considerate as well as rational and reflective.