Chapter 5

Psychology - The Trojan Horse

 If ever there was the perfect Trojan Horse - something that could undermine the church and turn its thinking from a Biblical to a humanistic base, this is it. We opened the doors of our churches, our Bible Schools and Seminaries and embraced it. We tried to integrate it with Biblical teachings and came up with the greatest, newest, most improved way of ever dealing with the human condition - and we call it “Christian Psychology”! I could take a survey of solid evangelical Christians and ask them what they think of “Christian” psychology, and I am sure I would get a positive response from 99 out of 100. It would be even higher among pastors. So, are they right or am I just tilting at windmills?

If we are living in the "latter times," one of the most important questions facing Christians will be: How will we recognize deception? How will we recognize apostasy? How can we guard against being deceived and falling away? A friend said the deception of Satan is pitiful but is it healthy to be so cavalier in dismissing Satan and his abilities? He is the "angel of light" and his deception is bound to be so good that most people, including Christians will be misled. The word apostasy means "falling away." One doesn't decide to "fall away." It starts with a series of little compromises, attitudes and decisions. Once the downward slide begins, it often becomes too slippery to climb back up. Falling away begins a little at a time. "A little leaven leavens the whole loaf" (I Cor. 5:6). The loaf can be 99% pure unleavened bread, but once the process works its course, it becomes 100% leavened. The process is slow and subtle. It starts by allowing a little mixture. That is why throughout the Old Testament, God hated mixture. Any time his people mixed with the heathen and their religion, they fell away from God. In modern times, we have seen the leaven of modern culture seeping into the church. The most dangerous leaven of all is a false science that presents a different view of man’s nature, and an improved way of solving his problems. Yet, because it is so accepted by Christians, it is a very difficult subject to deal with. I have received more opposition to my position on Christian Psychology than any other topic.

An Apostate Philosophy or a Science?

If there is to be a great deception and falling away in the last days, it has got to be good. It can't be too extreme or true Christians would never accept it. It can't be obviously heretical or it will never be embraced by the main stream. A really good deception has to so good that no one will dare to question. It has to be embraced by everyone! In fact, the best deception would be for it to get into the church as a science, a science adopted by the church, popular with both the clergy and laity, a wonderful blend of the best of both worlds. What if we could improve Christianity with this wonderful new science? That is exactly what has happened.

“Christian” psychology has gained such acceptance that some of the most popular programs today are "Focus on the Family", Minirth Myre, and others. Psychology has been accepted by all seminaries and Bible Schools - in fact, it is required for them to be accredited. Nearly all offer a specialization in various aspects of psychology and counseling. Many large churches have more people trained in psychology than they do pastors - just to keep up with the counseling needs of the congregation. Pastors are warned to counsel only on spiritual matters but leave the psychological problems to the new priesthood - the Christian psychologist!

Psychology has become such a part of our thinking and way of life, it is hard to think of it in bad terms. We find psychology in sermons, in church counseling and referral services, sometimes within the church, in bible schools and seminaries, Christian schools, mandated marriage and family counseling, missionary recovery programs, Christian radio and best selling Christian books. Psychology has become a part of the very fabric of modern Christianity thanks to the popularity of people like James Dobson, Gary Smalley and many more who bombard the air waves and bookstores with their new and improved message for meeting man's growing problems. Most evangelicals see no conflict and see the two working well together. It is becoming big business.

The American Association of Christian Counselors has 17,500 members. The “Christian” psychological counseling market includes many individuals and small counseling centers. It also has large conglomerates with radio programs that entice Christians into therapy programs. The Minirth Meier New Life Clinic has 25 inpatient units, 55 outpatient units and over 600 employees. That clinic alone reported 500 inpatient admissions and 7,600 outpatient clinic visits just during the month of June 1996. Rapha has 63 programs, ‘has a network of 3,500 churches in its RaphaCare program,’ and ‘has doubled in size in the last 18 months.’” (Martin and Diedre Bobgan, Psychoheresy Proliferating from their internet page)

I have never dealt with such an emotional and controversial issue. Unfortunately, many have slipped so far, they have their minds made up and will not even take the time to study the issues. This report looks at the historical background and basis of psychology and whether there is anything wrong with combining the best of psychology with the Bible. Is psychology objective scientific truth? Is all truth God's truth, as some psychologists suggest? Can't we take the best of both? Can't we use additional revelation to the Scripture? Some say there is a difference between a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a counselor. Is there or do they all use the same basic methodology? We will explore these and other questions.

Secular Humanism - The New Religion of Man

Christians seem to have blind spots. We recognized Communism as more than a philosophy of how humans should organize themselves economically, of how goods are produced or who owns property. Communism was a religion of "no religion." It made a statement about God by saying God doesn't exist. It put man at the center. Any good communist would tell you about its "religious" nature. But it wasn't all that subtle. In the west, along comes a related "religion" called secular humanism, another "man centered" philosophy.

Christians are concerned that secular humanism has infiltrated our schools and universities, our cultural and societal values and our system of government. We understand that humanism is a philosophy which says man and only man can resolve his own problems. We are appalled that there are no absolutes, no set values, morals or standards. Everything is relative. Within secular humanism is the belief that man is the master of his own destiny and there is no problem that he can't solve, no task too difficult. Society just has to put its mind to the problems . The answer lies in education, eliminating poverty, prejudice, and all the terrible conditions. People are seen as victims who have been abused by others or their environment, but they are considered inherently good, just needing to be rescued. Human potential is endless. The human spirit is indomitable. All we have to do is eliminate the causes of crime, poverty, war, misunderstanding and so forth, and things will be better. The irony is that the same Christians who vehemently oppose secular humanism, are seduced by the secular humanist view of man which is embodied in modern psychology.

We are not referring to "pop" psychology - those little gimmicks that come up from time to time - but we are talking about psychology as it defines what man is, how he works and the solutions it proposes to his problems. I would submit that the psychologists’ view of man is "secular humanist religion", and diametrically opposed to the Biblical view of man.

The Origins of Psychology

The father of modern psychology was Franz Anton Mesmer, who popularized hypnotism, also known as "mesmerism", an ancient occultic art, and brought it into modern medicine. It was a way to discover hidden powers and insights... and eventually led to all forms of self-discovery, self-improvement and "possibility" thinking. - the idea that we can tap into unconscious or subconscious levels where we are able to exercise telepathic, and other creative powers. This opened the science of the mind to a supernatural realm that is still very much a part of psychology which we now call ESP - "extra sensory perception". It has become one of the cornerstones of the New Age movement and has crept into the modern church in the "word-faith" or "name it and claim it" movements. It can also be seen in visualization and the "healing of memories" and other practices of groups such as the Vineyards. It is no accident that the beginnings of modern psychology introduced an occult element that lasts to this day. However, the occult is relatively easy to spot and reject so it had to infiltrate Christianity in a much more subtle way - as a science.

The history of modern psychotherapy reveals the rise and fall of one methodology after another. This should make one question the scientific validity of psychology. Although Sigmund Freud's many theories based on various sexual complexes have been discredited, present day psychologists still follow many of his theories and use his jargon. Freud created suspicion toward parents and reduced the root of many problems to childhood traumas. This search in the past for causes is a major theme in psychology today.

Then along came Carl Jung, who like Freud was not only a secular humanist - one who believes all answers lie within man - but he participated in seances, necromancy (talking to the dead) and other occultic practices. His brand of psychological determinism has also fallen by the wayside in terms of scientific validity - yet it can be found in such works as the Promise Keepers’ book by Hicks titled The Masculine Journey.

Alfred Adler felt people were less motivated by sexual impulses and more by aggression to overcome feelings of inferiority. Like most humanists, Adler, Abraham Maslow, Eric Fromm and others view man's basic nature of dignity, goodness and worth, with an inherent ability to change and improve. Adler came up with the idea of unconditional love and Maslow saw self-esteem as a universal imperative. The self-esteem doctrine was improved by Carl Rogers, the son of a minister who rejected Christianity. All of these men presented a completely secular humanist view of man. It wasn't until some years later that "Christian" psychologists came along and decided these concepts could be dressed up and "Christianized" and that is what was done by James Dobson, and nearly all of the "Christian" psychologists that followed. They claim to be based on “Christian” principles, but it is easy to prove most Christian professionals use whatever theories they were taught in school that they like the best.

Is psychology a science? A true science deals with data. It can predict and control. But the foundations of psychotherapy are not scientific but philosophical. If we look at the founders of modern psychology, we see Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow, William James, Alfred Adler, Erich Fromm, Carl Rogers, F. B. Skinner, there is not a godly man among them. This list is a Who's Who in humanism! Their view of man is totally humanistic and their psychological views are nothing more than humanistic religion at its worst. They not only get into occultism and Eastern Religion, it springs from New Age thought. The focus is self - self actualization, self image, self fulfillment, self esteem, self worth, self-improvement, in short the God of “SELF.” This is a religion of self-worship. It is self-centered and self-inflated. Contrary to what Christian psychologists say, man has no problem loving himself and he is therefore urged to love God first and then his neighbor as himself. The so called human potential movement leads right to the deification of man.

The so-called science of psychology claims it is based upon the observation of human behavior. But human behavior is far to difficult to isolate and study as you would microbes under a microscope. There are just too many variables. The result is some one's interpretation of what determines human behavior. It is not science. Freud, for example, traced everything back to a child's relationship to his mother and father, often couching things in disgusting sexual terms such as his stages of development - anal, oral, phallic and genital. Maslov defined a hierarchy of needs in an effort to explain behavior. These are all no more than theories. There is no scientific proof. Anyone can devise a system for explaining human behavior and then interpret it in terms of his own explanation. The fact is psychology is not science but opinion and philosophy - even a humanistic religion.

Further, psychotherapy does not work. Research indicates there is an inverse relationship between the amount of training a therapist has and their success rate. "Pop" psychology theories such as right and left brained differences, and birth order that have been completely discredited but are promulgated by "Christian" psychologists such as Gary Smalley. None of this is science - but merely unproved opinions, observations and brilliant ideas.

The Psychological Approach

As noted above, modern psychology has its roots in secular humanist thought where man is viewed as inherently good. Psychology teaches that man's problems stem mainly from his environment and the way he was raised, not from the sinful nature he is born with. We see this humanistic orientation in every aspect of psychology. Psychology tries to come across as a science and even as medicine. It talks of "mental illness" - illness of the mind! This statement is an oxymoron. The mind can't be sick. One can understand a diseased body or even a diseased brain - but what about a diseased mind, emotion or even behavior? Although medical problems may occur, the many problems labeled as "mental illness" are not pathologies. Nothing physical is wrong with the person. Psychology views human problems as a sickness, so they look for the cause. Respected “Christian” psychologists have convinced us that , it is not only possible to integrate psychology and the Bible, it is a desirable improvement. They imply that many problems are too serious to be dealt with through application of the Scripture by untrained people. How lost God’s people must have been for thousands of years until psychology came along in the last century! Are God, His Word and His people insufficient to deal with the human dilemma?

Psychiatry, psychology and most counseling takes the patient on a search through his past to find the cause to a person's problem. This often goes back to family members or some traumatic event. It may be an abusive or alcoholic parent. The alcoholic and the children are all seen as victims. Digging up the past and digging up root causes for problems takes one on a search which alters the way we view our selves and our sin. Jesus never told people to dig up their past. He said, “Forget those things which are behind.”(Phil 3:13) He never offered "victimization counseling" trying to get people to feel the pain of those experiences that damaged their self-esteem. Jesus didn't see man as hurt, traumatized, dysfunctional or addicted. Instead, Jesus hurt their self image by telling people they are sinful, rebellious, evil and that there is no good in them. They can only throw themselves at the foot of the cross, confess their sin and ask Jesus to heal and renew them. In some circles, this is called a "negative confession!" But Jesus does not deal with us as a victim but as a sinner needing a Savior. When we talk about Christian psychology, we are not dealing with different Scriptural interpretations but different world views.

The center of psychology is self. J.I. Packer describes the evangelical tendency toward "selfism":

"Modern Christians tend to make satisfaction their religion. We show much more concern for self-fulfillment than for pleasing our God. Typical of Christianity today, at any rate in the English-speaking world, is its massive rash of how-to books for believers, directing us to more successful relationships, more joy in sex, becoming more of a person, realizing our possibilities, getting more excitement each day, reducing our weight, improving our diet, managing our money, licking our families into happier shape and whatnot. For people whose prime passion is to glorify God, these are doubtless legitimate concerns; but the how-to books regularly explore them in a self-absorbed way that treats our enjoyment of life rather than the glory of God as the center of interest. Granted, they spread a thin layer of Bible teaching over the mixture of popular psychology and common sense they offer, but their overall approach clearly reflects the narcissism -- "selfism" or "me-ism" as it is sometimes called--that is the way of the world in the modern West. (as quoted in PsychoHeresy, p. 63)

Loving our "self", as we have seen from II Timothy 3, is a terrible sin and one of the primary signs of the "last days." We are told to love God first and others second. We are not told to love ourselves but to deny our self and pick up the cross and follow Him. So let's examine in more depth the "self" teachings of Christian psychologists.

The Gospel of Self

Carl Rogers who was rated in first place in a ranking survey of the Christian Association of Psychological Studies. (as quoted in Martin and Diedre Bobgan, PsychoHeresy, p.106). Carl Rogers is the leader in the modern self-esteem frenzy. Now, why would the Christian Association rank an atheistic secular humanist as Rogers as their favorite? Does he have some special revelation that we lack? “The Church of Jesus Christ is being plundered and sold into the hands of its enemies because it has played the harlot with the god of psychology whose unbiblical goal is to make people ‘feel good about themselves’, rather than to love God with all their heart, soul and mind and strength and to be conformed to the image of His son” (Mel and Gloria Blowers, Psychology: A Biblical Analysis from the Psychoheresy internet site).

With the advent of Adler, Maslow and later Rogers, self esteem became the major focus and was "Christianized" by "Christian" psychologists. They argue that man cannot love God or other people unless he loves himself first. He cannot esteem God and others highly unless he first esteems himself. It is almost as if a new commandment were added. Love yourself first and only then will you have the ability to love God and others. When your needs are met, you can meet the needs of others. This is hog wash!

The major theme throughout the books of James Dobson (Hide and Seek, Dare to Discipline, What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women, etc.) and most other Christian psychologists is the basic need for self esteem before a Christian can progress. Although Dobson and other Christian psychologists will criticize some psychological techniques, they accept others. This includes psychology's basic understanding of man and its methods of diagnosing and solving man's problems of living.. Psychology says man is a victim and needs to build up his self esteem and learn to love himself. Is this what Scripture teaches? Scripture says man is a sinner, not a victim, and already loves himself sufficiently. He needs to love God first and esteem others as better than himself. Ephesians 5:29 says, "for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also {does} the church. There is a world of difference between the Scriptural and psychological views of self.

In Hide or Seek: How to Build Self-Esteem in Your Child, James Dobson says,

"Thus, if inadequacy and inferiority are so universally prevalent at all ages of life at this time, we must ask ourselves "why?" Why can't our children grow up accepting themselves as they are? Why do so many feel unloved and unlovable? Why are our homes and schools more likely to produce despair and self-hatred than quiet confidence and respect? Why should each child have to bump his head on the same old rock? These questions are of major significance to every parent who would shield his child from the agony of inferiority.

"The matter of personal worth is not only the concern of those who lack it. In a real sense, the health of an entire society depends on the ease with which its individual members can gain personal acceptance. Thus, whenever the keys to self-esteem are seemingly out of reach for a large percentage of the people, as in "mental illness," neuroticism, hatred, alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and social disorder will certainly occur. Personal worth is not something human beings are free to take or leave. We must have it and when it is unattainable, everybody suffers" (James Dobson, Hide or Seek, pp. 20, 21)

This idea of self-acceptance is not found in the Bible. The Bible stresses being content with what we have (Hebrews 13:5), whether we are rich or poor, gifted or average, bond or free, a master or a slave. The Bible declares our goodness is as filthy rags, that we were enemies of God. Yet, Dobson says, "The sooner you can accept the transcending worth of your humanness, the sooner you can come to terms with yourself." (Hide and Seek, p. 147) God never talked about the transcending worth of our humanness - to the contrary. Christ didn't die for us because there was something lovable and of inherent value in our humanness!

Psychologizers would say the cross calls us to self-affirmation (The Cross of Christ by John Stott). What kind of gospel is this? Paul cries, "O wretched man that I am. Who shall free me from the Body of this death?" (Romans 7:24) What a negative self-image Paul had! But the issue is not our self-worth, but our depravity. God loves me in spite of - not because of what I am. So which is it, are we supposed to love "self" or deny "self"?

What does the “religion of self” have in common with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Anything wrong with that picture? For any of you who have read any of Dobson's books, you know by now that one of the major themes underlying them is that he feels low self-esteem is the problem and high self-esteem the solution. Dobson gives strategies for improving self esteem in his book Hide or Seek as this one passage illustrates. "You see, damage to the ego (loss of self-worth) actually equals or exceeds the pain of physical discomfort in intensity. . . . So painful is its effect that our entire emotional apparatus is designed to protect us from its oppression. In other words, a sizable proportion of all human activity is devoted to the task of shielding us from the inner pain of inferiority. I believe this to be the most dominant force in life, even exceeding the power of sex and its influence." (Dobson, ibid. p. 152,) This is but one example, and there are hundreds, of his psychological orientation, in this case close to Adler and Maslov.

Does increasing self-esteem resolve society's problems? The State of California had a Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility. They conducted a study expecting to find a relationship between self-esteem and six areas: crime, violence and recidivism; alcohol and drug abuse; welfare dependency; teenage pregnancy; child and spousal abuse and children failing to learn in school. Since they set out to prove a causal relation, they were extremely disappointed to find no correlation. (as documented in Psycho Heresy II, pp. 119-132).

Does self esteem help our educational system. Bobgan also reports on a study of 13-year old's math scores and self esteem from six different countries. The Koreans came out top in math and bottom in self esteem. The Americans came out on the bottom in math and top in self esteem. So we have a new generation of kids that are near the bottom in most categories and don't even know it (or probably don't even care!).

The idea that you have to love yourself before you can love God and others is not the “greatest love of all” but the greatest lie. Jesus himself said, "no one ever hates himself." Low self esteem or lack of loving ourselves is not the problem. That comes naturally. The Bible is about giving love, not self-serving love once your self-esteem is high enough to overflow to someone else. Contrary to what Dobson teaches, self image isn't a problem, especially among children and that according to research! What a person does with Christ is more important than what they think about their “self”. In fact, a self-satisfied person is not likely to see his true condition and come to Christ. Nor is it likely a self-satisfied Christian will feel much of a need for the Lord. In Luke 18:10-14, the Pharisee was glad he was not as other men - he had very high self-esteem. He fasted and gave tithes. But the publican smote his breast asking God for mercy, a poor man with dangerously low self-esteem. If Jesus wanted to teach self-esteem, he would have taught the parable differently. Self-esteem, self deception and self-righteousness always go together. They do not lead people to Christ but to Apostasy.

What does the Bible say? "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23). Paul, who had good reason to boast said, "whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ." (Phil. 3:7) My what a negative confession! But be warned, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of heir own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. (II Timothy 3:1-4)

New Revelation or A False Gospel?

This is not a question of "pop" psychology. This is a question of which basic view of man we believe - God's or man's. Today, this “gospel of self” is being preached to the whole world and in popular organizations such as the Promise Keepers and Focus on the Family. Is that the gospel we ascribe to, or the foolishness of the cross of Christ? Do we believe that we are victims or sinners? Does the answer lie in dealing with the past or coming to the cross? Is the answer in a better self or a dead self? Does the answer lie in Christ plus a secular humanist system or in Christ alone? Is Christian psychology new revelation or false teaching?

"Christian" psychology turns people from the true gospel to another gospel. Man's problem is no longer just sin and rebellion. It is a bad self image. It is trauma in the birth canal (that needs regression and healing of memories). It is the way one is treated by a mother, a father, other people. It is drugs, alcohol, homosexual tendencies. The goal is to assign and transfer blame off of yourself and onto someone or something else - guilt transference. I don't have room here to talk about all of the theories in the tower of psychobabel, but only to point out that icons in modern Christianity such as James Dobson, Gary Collins, Gary Smalley, John Trent and Robert Hicks are not only into it but they are among the strongest proponents of Promise Keepers.

"Christian" psychologists have attempted to integrate psychology into a Biblical perspective, coming up with "Biblical" term and equivalents, examples, etc. But this proves nothing. It only brings in an evil mixture. They argue that all truth is God's truth and that the Bible is not sufficient in explaining the psychological problems of man's condition and behavior. Unfortunately, every major so called "Christian psychologist" uses a mixture of secular psychology, Bible talk and warm and fuzzy stories to convince people they have a new and improved approach. However, only God through His revealed Word and the work of His Son has the answer to man's problem. Psychology is man's attempt to explain, understand and fix problems that relate to the human condition apart from Jesus Christ.

Are the Roots of Modern Psychology Christian?

In the December 1996 issue of Christianity Today there was a special on psychology. An article titled “The Roots and Shoots of Christian Psychology” showed a tree with branches bearing the names of the well-known psychological integrationists: the “spiritual seekers” such as Larry Crabb and Dan Allender, the “Family/Marriage branch with James Dobson and Norm Wright, the “Clinical Care” branch with Minirth Meier, the “Disassociative Disorders” Branch, the “self esteem” branch, Pastoral Counseling and so on. The roots of the tree were labeled “Secular and Humanistic Pioneers” and included such notables as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, B.F. Skinner, etc. None was a believer. Most were violently opposed to Christianity and most had strong metaphysical beliefs. What kind of tree is this?

In fact, Christian Psychologists can’t even tell you what “Christian Psychology” is. The Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) is an organization of psychologists who are professing Christians. The following was admitted at one of their meetings:

“We are often asked if we are “Christian psychologists” and find it difficult to answer since we don’t know what the question implies. We are Christians who are psychologists but at the present there is no acceptable Christian psychology that is markedly different from non-Christian psychology. It is difficult to imply that we function in a manner that is fundamentally distinct from our non-Christian colleagues...as yet there is no acceptable theory, mode of research or treatment that is distinctly Christian.”

“Professional psychotherapy with its underlying psychologies is questionable at best, detrimental at worst, and a spiritual counterfeit at the least.” (From The End of “Christian Psychology” by Martin and Diedre Bobgan, page 1)

Christians and "Christian" psychologists defend their practice of psychology by arguing that "all truth is God's truth." They argue that the laws of hard sciences such as physics are natural laws established by God. Psychology, they contend, is also a science, and therefore truth. A science of what? Of man? Of the mind? Is psychology really an objective body of knowledge? The field is so riddled with its own internal confusion, inconsistencies and subjectivity, there is little agreement by those in the field. To sanctify psychology with Scripture only secularizes the Word of God and mixes a dangerous and ungodly leaven.

Psychology is a secular religion. Psychology offers a view of man. It theorizes that man has evolved and has infinite power to solve his own problems. It is an attempt to diagnosis and treat the fallen condition of man. It is an attempt to explain the reasons for man’s problems. The psychological approach is to blame every thing (parents, alcohol, low self esteem) but man's sinful condition and need for a savior. Why would we want to integrate an unbiblical, unproved, human system into Christianity? Why do Christian psychologists feel they have to defend what they are doing in "Christian" terms? Why would they say we need Jesus plus psychology? Because they need income? Because the Bible doesn't quite explain the human problem and meet the need? Brothers and sisters, read the Old Testament. The Israelites let in other religions, allowing them to mix, and what was the result? They lost the blessing of God and were eventually judged. Can we expect anything less? There are more Christian psychology radio programs and books today than ever before in history. Is it doing any good? Are Christian families any more together today than they were twenty or thirty years ago based upon all this wonderful new knowledge? Psychology is the religion of self, of the "me" generation. It has permeated society and now the church. It is so subtle, so deceptive. It crept in and no one even notices or seems to care. There should be shouts of warning - enemy in the camp! But alas, it is silent.

Now if psychology has its roots in a man-centered mind set that is void of God, why do so called "Christian" psychologists try and integrate it into Christianity? Does psychology know something about the human condition that God doesn't? Even some will admit that there is no such thing as "Christian Psychology" - just psychologists who happen to be Christians applying psychological principles in their work. I wish I had time to go into detail here because the problem goes to the very heart of modern Christianity. This is the leaven in the loaf. Psychology is a godless, empty, Antichrist mind set that has infiltrated the church and is subverting it. In fact, there are many practices in psychology such as hypnotism, visualization and forms of meditation that are not only New Age, but demonic. They put people in touch with demons (even though they may think they are speaking to Jesus, Mary or some dead saint). The problem is, once we let psychology into the church, we have opened ourselves to a "world view" that is against everything we should be standing for, and it is gradually transforming us, subverting us, deceiving us.

Is "All Truth God's Truth?"

An elementary course in Psychology 1A will tell you that psychology is not a true science. Human behavior can be described, but it can't be studied with the same predictability and replicability of a science. There is no clear cause and effect. Further, psychology has developed over 500 different approaches and thousands of techniques. Many are conflicting. Many have come and gone. Transactional analysis was hot in Christian circles twenty years ago and is forgotten today. Was this "God's truth" as those who believe we should take the best of psychology would say? Did it change? The question is, when we mix the Bible with psychology because "all truth is God's truth" - as those who propose the evil mixture say - are we glorifying God or the world? Is our standard the shifting sands of psychological truth or the Word of God?

Anyone who knows the field must admit that 99 percent of psychologist's opinions about relationships and problems of living is personal opinion - not scientific fact. Degrees after a persons name do not make psychologists better at assessing human problems. In fact, many studies note an inverse relationship in the success of counseling and the amount of training a person has. (see research cited in PsychoHeresy, pp. 179-187). "Christian" psychologists use the Word to give credibility to their opinions, but anyone can do that. It means nothing. There is a huge difference between biblical counseling and psychological counseling. True biblical counseling is disappearing as the "professionals" take over problems of the mind and soul - leaving the pastor with "spiritual" problems.

Can a person solve his problems and become a better person by applying psychological methods, by improving and loving his self, or does the only source of real change come from having a relationship with Jesus Christ? Or do you need both? The Scripture says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8) Psychology focuses on self and feeds pride, rebellion and the flesh. The Bible encourages us to deny self and the flesh and to follow the Spirit in humility and submission to God. We are talking about a colossal deceit that began in the Garden of Eden when Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent, trying to convince God they were just poor victims. Do we blame everything but ourselves? Are we victims or helpless sinners? The difference is between a man-centered versus a Christ-centered gospel.

Conclusion

I hope you will take the time to study the Bobgan's books on PsychoHeresy or Jim Owen's book "Christian Psychology's War on God's Word, The Victimization of the Believer. There is so much that has been written. There is so much research that has been done to show the utter lack of effectiveness of psychology. Yet, it has crept into the heart of the church. Well-meaning men such as Dobson, Smalley, Trent and many more continue to actively push psychology on the church. No matter how well it is presented, with so many cute stories and antidotes, it is a mixture and it is dangerous to the spiritual health of the believer who listens. A few, such as Larry Crabb, Ph.D., well known Christian psychologist, recently denounced psychology in an article in Christianity Today (August 14, 1995). He says,

"This leads me to suggest that what we call emotional/psychological problems are really spiritual/theological ones; that non organic problems really stem from a troubled soul, not from some damaged self which psychotherapists claim to fix...The church needs to take the role of spiritual, godly men and women far more seriously. They have a lot more power to deeply affect the souls of other people than they generally are given credit for."

If you have ever known Christians who have gone to counseling, you can see the change in their behavior, the way they view their problems and relate to other people. They start to blame people in their past and present. They become confrontive. They dwell on the past and try and "work through" events that have hurt them. They develop a pattern of thought that reeks of mixture and self righteousness. The psychologized Christian becomes concerned with his image, his self-esteem, those events in life that molded or warped them. How different from the great Apostle Paul who had every reason to boast but counted it all as dung that he might gain Christ--who counted everything he gained as loss and who, forgetting the past, pressed on toward the mark of the high calling. (my paraphrase. Please see Philippians 3). We are not told to dredge up the past but forget it!

If these are the "last days," and there is going to be an apostate church, what will it be like? Will it be the self-loving, self-absorbed, self-centered, self-indulgent church that expects to rapture rather than to suffer? Will a "psychologized" church escape deception or be a part of it? Will a "psychologized" Christian with a neat self-image see the deception or be a part of it? Will Christians be so well grounded in the truth that they will reject the deception, or will they be caught up in it because they simply don't know any better or because they have been programmed by that New Age Trojan Horse called “Christian Psychology.”

Now that we are on a roll, let’s go on with more of the Promise Keepers. Let’s see how apostasy creeps into the church unawares.

 

 

Continue to a
Case Study: The Promise Keepers

 

Notice:   The Book   "Recognizing Deception and Apostasy"   was written by Dene McGriff.   The original source  of  the  book  is  located  at  the web site  www.the-tribulation-network.com  which operates under the name of  "The Tribulation Network"  which is owned and operated by Pergamos  Ministries.    Permission is granted to copy and  distribute  this  book  via  printed  media,  in  its  entirety,  without  any  changes  to  the  original  content  so  long  as  this  Notice  accompanies  ALL  copies  distributed.  Any  web  site  may  link  to  this  article at http://www.the-tribulation-network.com/denemcgriff/Apostasy/recognizing_deception_and_apostasy.htm  It is requested that you do not copy this article into any web site due to the possibility that we may add or delete  to  this  article  at  any  time.  And if you do not have the latest additions to the article, then you might be misrepresenting us.