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Table of Contents

©2001 Rev Paul R. Schmidtbleicher, ThM
Spirit of Truth or Error
Modern Psychology in the Church

Claims of the Bible and Its Sufficiency
First:
The Word of God is sufficient for everything pertaining to life and godliness.
2 Peter 3:3 NIV--"His.divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him."

Claims of Christian Psychology
First:
Many new truths have been discovered through psychology that Jesus and Paul never stated.(1) This assumes there are foundational principles and important new truths pertaining to what man is and how to ultimately change his behavior that have not been revealed in the Scriptures. The issue is whether all of these "new truths" are valid. If some are, are they ultimately as helpful as responsible biblical counseling?

Claims of Secular Psychology
First:
Divine revelation is a myth, even a harmful myth. There is no absolute truth from God about who man is or how he can change his behavior. Men must decide these issues for themselves on the basis of their own best interests. They must not look to a mythical God for help.

Second:
The Bible offers one comprehensive view of man and God's consistent plan or "therapy" for successful living. The Bible calls itself an instruction book for successful living.
2 Timothy 3:16 NIV--"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness that the man of God maybe thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Second:
Along with the Bible, most or all of secular psychology's techniques and theories may be incorporated into therapy.(2) This assumes the theories and techniques of secular psychology are helpful or unbiased. The issue is whether all of them really are helpful and are they really in agreement with Christian truth?

Second:
Pick one of 250 conflicting secular theories of human personality. Then choose one or more of 10,000 different techniques to apply your particular theory in counseling people. Have faith that the chosen theory and technique will lead the counselee to a life of success and happiness.

Third:
The Bible claims God has given us through Christ everything for life and godliness, including those areas of concern to modern psychology such as relationships, self-image, and personal behavior. (The book of Proverbs and Psalms; Jn. NIV 13:34,35; 14:27; 15:9; 16:27; Rom. 14:7; 16:19; 12:13: 1 Cor. 6; 10:24; 13:1,4-8; 15:33; 2 Cor. 7:6; Gal. 6:1-10; Eph. 4:4-6; Phil. 2:3; 1Tim. 4:7; Thess. 5:5-17 2Pet. 1:3-8; 1Jn. 3:1; etc.)

Third:
In some areas modern psychology should be granted priority over the Bible. The Bible speaks primarily (or only) to the believer's spiritual life; modern psychology gives us the tools or knowledge for dealing with the more complex human problems.(3) This assumes the Bible does not deal effectively with many areas modern psychology deals with. The issue is whether this is true and whether psychological assumptions are permitted to sit in judgment over what the Scriptures say.

Third:
Modern psychology has discovered the "true nature" of man and offers the best solutions to his problems. The Bible is irrelevant, for the most part, to human living. Because man is basically good, not sinful or evil, the biblical view which teaches this is flawed or destructive and not to be trusted.

Fourth:
Christians are to seek God's wisdom above all else, including alleged human "wisdom." Christians are to rejoice in the truth, not in philosophical or psychological theories of questionable value.
Colossians 2:8 NIV--"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

1 Thessalonians 5:21,22 NAS--"But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil."

Fourth:
As a formal discipline, Christians may rejoice in the findings of modern psychology and utilize secular psychotherapy. Some Christian psychologists admit that Christian psychology is largely secular. Others go further and claim there is no difference.(4) This assumes that modern psychotherapy has been proven effective. The problem is that even secular authorities in psychology are criticizing the effectiveness of psychotherapy and challenging many of its assumptions.

Fourth:
There is no divine wisdom. Modern psychology should not rejoice in the Bible but should replace the false and harmful assumptions of the Bible and Christian counseling with the truths of modern psychology. (Even many psychologists admit that much of secular psychology is anti-Christian.)

Fifth:
Because God created man, He knows who man really is, the true nature of man's problems, the proper solution to those problems, and what is best for man.

Psalm 139:1,3,13 NIV--"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me....you are familiar with all my ways. . .. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."

Isaiah 45:12 NIV--"It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it."

Fifth:
The Bible needs modern psychology to explain what is best for man.(5) This assumes that for 1900 years the Bible was somehow deficient in helping men. It means that in some important areas God and Jesus left us incomplete until modern psychology arrived to tell us how best to live.


*We believe the term "Christian psychology" is really inappropriate if the majority of those who call themselves such actively endorse secular therapies of questionable value and ignore what God teaches on these subjects. Such individuals are more properly termed "psychologists" but not "Christian" psychologists. Even psychologist Gary Collins regretfully observes: "Many who call themselves Christian [psychologists] aren't much different from counselors who are blatantly secular" (Gary Collins).

Fifth:
Psychology alone knows what is best for man. The domain of the psyche, the mind, and of human behavior is the sole domain of psychology. Corrupting influences, like the Bible, are to be shunned.
[Note: Question 1 is not intended as a criticism of counselors who are genuinely biblical in their counseling and also employ insights from secular fields that are consistent with established biblical, medical, or scientific fact.]

Notes
1. "Is Christianity compatible with Psychotherpy," H. Newton Maloney
2. Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology, edited by David Brenner
3. "Is Christianity compatible with Psychotherpy," H. Newton Maloney
4. Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology, edited by David Brenner
5. Reflected in most integrationist literature.


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