TMD3540EN - Theology of Mental Illness

Course description

This course addresses the biblical interpretation of the ubiquitous experience of mental illness for the sake of the Church’s mission to persons with poor mental health. Topics explored include the nature of the mental illness, the significance of mental health, the contexts for understanding mental illness, and God’s healing strategies for mental illness. Based on readings and lectures, students are assessed through weekly quizzes and essays, service projects, and papers.

How this course benefits students

Students interested in the pastoral care of the marginal with mental illness are equipped with an appropriate understanding of many debates invited and ignited by the topic of mental illness. Moreover, this course encourages students to develop workable strategies for dealing with mental anguish caused by distress, anxiety, fear, and mental confusion.

Why this course is important

Mental illness is a big challenge for theological reflection because it seems to stand against the will and rule of God. Also, mental illness per se can cripple individuals in various ways and thus cause tremendous suffering to them and their communities. Thus, the would-be missionizers must understand why there is mental illness and how a Christian community is supposed to encounter it.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Medical Theology
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.
Dr. Xi Li, Professor of Medical Theology

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

While mental illness is also a medical topic, the discussions are largely based on biblical texts regarding God’ creation, human sins, and Christ’s healing power.

Missionally driven

The study aims to understand God’ mission in this world and the healthcare of mental illness as exemplified by Jesus Christ.

Contextually informed

This course emphasizes the social, cultural, and situational contexts for the definition and knowledge of, as well as solutions to, mental illness.

Interculturally focused

This course focuses the knowledge of cultural difference and similarity regarding mental health and how this knowledge helps students understand mental illness.

Practically minded

This course considers the strategies to provide pastoral care for the victims of poor mental health and equips the students with the capacity to do mission work with persons with mental illness.

Experientially transformed

Students are encouraged to develop a heart of compassion for mentally poor humans and live out a faith in God’s healing mission.