Megachurch pastor who treated depression as a mental health issue kills himself at age 30 after officiating at the funeral of a woman who had also killed herself
By Julio Severo
A popular pastor known for his campaign in Christian churches treating depression and suicide thoughts as mental health issues has killed himself.
Jarrid Wilson, an associate pastor at megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, killed himself. He was 30.
Wilson, a married father of two, had officiated at the funeral of a woman who took her own life just before his own suicide.
He was the founder of an evangelical group called Anthem of Hope, which offers professional psychological assistance to help people dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts.
Wilson’s suicide came during the National Suicide Prevention Week. Many of his final tweets were on the subject of mental health treatment, urging his followers to seek psychologists.
In a post on Monday, he wrote, “Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety. But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort. He ALWAYS does that.”
Wilson openly described his own mental health challenges in his most recent book, “Love Is Oxygen: How God Can Give You Life And Change Your World.”
He blogged earlier this summer that he had dealt with “severe depression throughout most of my life and contemplated suicide on multiple occasions.”
In addition to his wife, Wilson is survived by his two sons, Finch and Denham, his mother, father, and siblings.
All the major Christian websites reporting on his suicide praised his Christian testimony without, however, condemning suicide.
Jarrid’s family deserves all compassion. But suicide and the culture, within and outside the church, favoring it deserve no compassion at all.
We are not in a position to judge what happened to Jarrid after his suicide, but the excess of empathy for him and other Christians who killed themselves and the non-judgment and positive environment that does not criticize and condemn the act of suicide today are strange to the Bible culture, which did not know such positive environment for suicide. In fact, in God’s Word all the suicide cases involved people in rebellion against God. Jude is only one of the examples.
If in the Bible there were the same non-judgment and positive environment for suicide we see creeping in the church today it is safe conclude that we would see in the Bible several of God’s men and women taking their lives. But we do not see it.
While today there is a growing trend for Christians to seek “professional psychologic” assistance, in the Bible God’s men and women just sought the Lord with all their hearts and they received answers.
So while there is today a culture, within and outside the church, not discouraging suicide when discussing people who killed themselves, there was a totally negative suicide culture in the Bible discouraging good people from killing themselves.
To say that “Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts” is nonsensical leading to two inevitable conclusions: Jesus is unable to deal with demonic voices whispering in the mind that their victims should take their lives or that the victims have not sought the Lord as they should, because if “professional psychologic” assistance is the only hope, then it follows that people in the Bible who had no access to such “assistance” had no hope at all and should have had a higher suicides rate. But they had not such higher rate. In fact, the Bible clearly shows that suicide had no presence among God’s people. Our Christian generation who seeks more “professional psychologic” assistance than they seek God have actually these higher rates.
Cannot the true answer be in the fact that they had the “God is the only help” Gospel while today there is another gospel offering psychological assistance? The problem is that when people offer the latter gospel, even they have not found the answers they offer to others.
Such now is the tragedy that those receiving and those giving psychological assistance within the churches just end in suicide.
Do I know what depression and suicide thoughts are? Yes, I do, and I defeated them. When I was baptized in the Holy Spirit decades ago, depression was defeated. When I learnt how to use the authority of Jesus’ name, all demons whispering suicide thoughts were defeated.
What does God say in the Bible to people in depression?
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15 NKJV)
“He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” (Psalm 91:15 NKJV)
The Bible teaches that Christian ministers are models for the congregation to follow. So if a minister has regularly suicide thoughts, why is he kept in his pastoral capacity as a good model before defeating the demons who whisper suicide thoughts in his head?
If David, who wrote most Psalms, prevailed over anguish in his soul — what people call today depression — with no assistance of psychologists and if multitudes of God’s people in the Bible defeated depression just by seeking God with all their hearts, why cannot Christians and ministers today follow their example?
Why should Christians follow the so-called Christian experts in “mental health” if they themselves are killing themselves?