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Should Psychology Be Integrated With Oneness Pentecostal Theology?
By J.R. Ensey


In the last two decades, a number of Christian writers have expressed concern about the intrusion of psychology into the realm of theology.1 Some of them are active in the field of mental health and some are theologians; a few are in both. A tension between psychology and theology is not new. Ever since it dripped from the colander of humanistic philosophy and mingled with the shamanistic porridge of the occult, psychology has been suspect. In fact, psychology has been called an alternative religion with its own Bible, priesthood and altars.2 Dr. Paul C. Vitz, a professor of psychology at New York University for many years, and author of Psychology As Religion, has said that “psychology has become a religion, in particular, a form of secular humanism based on worship of the self.”3 He further states, “Psychology as religion is deeply anti-Christian. Indeed, it is hostile to most religions.”4 Calling it a “secular state religion,” he asserts that “psychology...has for years been destroying individuals, families, and communities.”5 It is difficult to ignore such observations from those who have been on the inside of the industry.

In their book, Addicted To Recovery, Drs. Gary and Carol Almy state strong feelings about the psychology movement: “Psychology is a false gospel. Its teachers are nothing less than false prophets. They fill people with false hope and lead them into false peace.”6 In another book, Dr. Almy described the industry in this way: “Psychiatrists and the other practitioners in the American psychotherapy industry have basically become a pagan priesthood in our society. They purvey a tantalizing and thoroughly false gospel—sadly without challenge by most in the modern church.”7

Noted psychiatrist and professor at New York University, Dr. Thomas Szasz, adds, “Modern not merely a religion that pretends to be a science, it is actually a fake religion that seeks to destroy the true religion.”8 Sobering words from an insider that ought to attract our attention.

Dr. Tana Dineen began a career in the field of psychology but soon learned that it was both a farce and incompatible with Christian values. She shares this:

“It was clear that diagnoses were generally more consistent with the psychiatrist’s beliefs than with the patients’ problems....As treatment director in a large psychiatric hospital and later in private practice, I tried to ignore the continual flow of beliefs disguised as findings, the psychological fads promoted as the latest discoveries, and the spread of ‘pop psychology’...In the 90s, it has become the accepted role of psychologists to categorize people in these debilitating ways and turn them into victims and, thus, patients....[P]sychologists now translate all of life into a myriad of abuses, addictions and traumas...rewriting private memories, playing on emotions, dictating how events are to be experienced, and casting people into victim roles. Claiming to be helping people, they are making them dependent, propping them up, using them as pawns and profiting from them...By and large, psychology is neither a science nor a profession, but rather an industry focused on self-interest and propelled by financial incentives.”9 In light of these statements from those inside the industry, why should anyone who claims to be a Christian want to study or teach psychological theory in a faith-based institution? Well-known author and psychology professor at Boston College, William Kilpatrick, provides us with this response: “The appeal psychology has for both Christians and non-Christians is a complex one. But it is difficult to make sense of it at all unless you understand that it is basically a religious appeal. For the truth is, psychology bears a surface resemblance to Christianity. Not doctrinal Christianity, of course. Most psychologists are hostile to that. And naturally enough, so are non-Christians. Nevertheless, there is a certain Christian tone to what psychology says and does: echoes of loving your neighbor as yourself, the promise of being made whole, avoidance of judging others. Those ideas are appealing to most people, no matter what their faith. But like most counterfeits, popular psychology does not deliver on its promises. Instead, it leads both Christians and non-Christians away from duty or proper conduct. It is a seduction in the true sense of the word.”10

When the suggestion recently surfaced that ways of integrating psychology with Oneness Pentecostal theology should be investigated, red flags went up in a lot of minds and a response was necessitated. This initial published response will be divided into four segments: The Proposition, The Problem, The Perversion, and The Prescription. When I speak of “psychology” in this paper, it is done in a broad sense—the sense of its projections as to the causes and correction of mental stress and non-biological problems, its suggestions as to the spiritual makeup of our personhood, and its theories of how to relate to God, our world, other persons, and ourselves. Psychology’s general rejection of the value of spiritual redirection according to Scripture, its roots that go deep into the occult and mysticism, and its failure as a positive social force leave us with no alternative but to speak out against its encroachment into the realm of theology.

The Proposition

A recent issue of Insight, the official publication of the Urshan Graduate School of Theology, a UPCI theological seminary in suburban St. Louis, featured an article that expressed the author’s desire to develop ways of integrating psychology with Oneness Pentecostal theology. The author, a doctoral candidate in general psychology, is an adjunct professor at that institution.11 After reading the article and making an initial response to the president of UGST, it was called to my attention that one of the courses listed for instruction in January, 2006 was Counseling in the Church. In the course description was this statement: “There will be an integration of psychology and theology...” (italics mine). So, while the article in question was proposing that such an integration be studied, it was already in place in the curriculum.

The article posited that many times troubles in the lives of Christians are not resolved by the simplistic-sounding methods of prayer and spiritual redirection from the Word. The question was asked, “How does a believer cope when God is silent...when nothing seems to work?” The examples provided are not uncommon—divorce, an unfaithful husband caught in adultery, a drug-abusing teenager, a pastor’s wife who is diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having a mental illness.12 The author answers the query by hypothesizing that in spite of the simple solutions offered by men of faith the teenager dies, the homosexual outs and then disappears, and the pastor’s wife is “consigned to a long-lasting regimen of psychotropic medication.” Because a spiritual “fix” for such human problems is not immediately forthcoming to the point of eliminating mental anguish or relief for the unfaithful sinner, a cessation of drug abuse by the young addict is not seen, or an acceptable alternative path for the homosexual is not found—all put forth as “tragic descriptions of heart-breaking scripts played out by wounded actors”—the cases may need to be referred to “counselors or psychologists who may be of a different faith or [who] have no religious faith at all.” The obvious point was that unless pastors are trained (in psychological theory) to handle such serious cases themselves they may need to turn them over to “professionals” in the field of psychology. By deduction, we ought to train our ministerial students in psychological methodology so they are equipped to “holistically” minister to all such cases.13 The thrust of the article seems to be that ministers who are not equipped with psychological methodology are insufficiently trained to meet the challenges of pastoral counseling. I reject that inference.

Our answers to stress, depression, broken relationships, anxiety and similar problems are to be found in a relationship with Christ, a biblical worldview, and a submissive spirit. God “hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (II Peter 1:3). If we are going to be ministers, we should train to be ministers; if doctors, then train to be doctors; if engineers, then train to be engineers. The jack of all trades is master of none. The suggestion to integrate and mix Apostolic truth with the errors and humanistic ideologies of psychology is an invitation to gradually ignore scriptural imperatives in favor of psychological manipulation.

The article listed four “concepts [which] will be necessary” for a practical model of integration:

1) Psychological theory must not contradict Scripture.
2) Psychological practice must not contradict Scripture.
3) Human beings must be looked at holistically.
4) Integration must not be a “Christianizing” of secular psychology.

To the average reader those may be innocent-sounding propositions. However, several questions come to mind. Who will define “psychological theory” and “psychological practice”? Since there are many to choose from, what theory or psychological approach would be embraced? What scriptures would be used to judge the veracity of approved models?

Could these same four “concepts” also be utilized in justifying the insertion of a Yoga class at UGST? Could we not suggest that our involvement with Yoga (a tenet of the Hindu religion) be limited to breathing techniques and meditation so as not to contradict Scripture? Second, could we not establish that any Yoga practice that violates Scripture would not be acceptable? Third, the article states that human beings should be looked at holistically—not just as a disembodied soul. We might agree, then add, “not just as a soulless body” since Yoga involves the spiritual part of man as well. Fourth, integration should not merely be a “Christianizing” of the principles of Yoga, an integral part of Hinduism, but whatever is present in its programs that is right and true should be acceptable to Christians. Under those stipulations, could we be comfortable with an inclusion of Yoga in the UGST curriculum?14 In the same way, many Christians have not informed themselves about the dangers of psychological approaches to life. By the media, the drug companies, and the industry itself they are induced to think that it is the path to being holistically complete.

One wonders how the NT apostles were able to cope with the enormous problems they faced in introducing Christianity into a society constituted by aggressive, Christ-hating Jews and polytheistic pagans. How did the families of the martyrs cope with the loss of husbands and fathers and sons? How did the saints manage the loss of their leaders? How did the Sabellians, Abigenses, Bogomils, Waldenses, and perhaps a hundred other groups in the Middle Ages handle the pressures of rejection and persecution? How did Wycliffe, Tyndale, and the Reformation leaders manage the horrific stress produced by their activities? Not one of the major personal problems that attack people’s lives today has been absent from history. Those who trusted God and His Word could lean thereon and take comfort to the point of suffering horrendous martyrdom without denying the faith.

The Bible clearly describes virtually every kind of human condition from incest and murder to hatred and anger. Even bulimia and anorexia are not new. Until the psychology industry15 was born in the late 1900s and early 2000s, unbelievers would turn to the shaman of the village, the magician, the conjuror, the witch doctor or the fortune teller— the predecessors of psychiatrists.16 However, none of them had access to the kind of practitioners who today rush to the scene of every tragedy, storm, or crime to help people “cope” with real or supposed trauma.17 Yet they got through it all somehow.

A program of psychology integrated with theology is faced with the dilemma of which stream of psychology is to be emphasized or drawn upon. There is the psychoanalytic stream based on the work of Sigmund Freud. He believed that those people who were drinking from the river of living water were sick; therefore, he devised another stream, emphasizing the mental factors of human behavior and portraying the individual as being dominated by instinctual, biological drives and by unconscious desires and motives. Basic to this view is the belief that our behavior is determined at a very early age. This idea is known as psychic determinism, which is contrary to the biblical concept of personal responsibility and choice. Although many of Freud’s ideas have long since been discredited by most practitioners in the field, his theories still permeate virtually every stream of psychological thought.

Another polluted stream is the behavioristic model, which stresses a form of determinism. This model rejects the introspective study of man and stresses external and observable behavior. Rather than exploring the inner psychic phenomena as explanatory causes, it focuses on the outer behavioristic results. While the psychoanalytic model speaks of psychic determinism, the behavioristic model proposes biological, genetic, and environmental determinism. In other words, life is little more than a chain of conditioned responses. Two names associated with this model are John Watson and B. F. Skinner.

The third polluted stream of psychology is the humanistic model of man. It emerged as a “third force” in psychology during the 1960s under the leadership of Gordon Allport, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers. Contrary to the first two streams, the humanistic model considers men to be free and self-directed rather than determined. The one unifying theme of this model is the self, which involves self-concept, individuality, search for values, personal fulfillment, and potential for personal growth. On the surface it sounds good to the average person, but the focus is on self rather than on God. The source for growth is self rather than the river of living water. Thousands of books filled the shelves of Christian bookstores reflecting this line of thought. Some ministers even “baptized” it as faith and taught it as gospel. In the 1980s, a hoard of integrationists launched themselves into the psychological “field of dreams,” popularizing such terms as “co-dependent,” “adult children,” “dysfunctional families,” “support groups,” and “healing of memories.”

The fourth polluted stream is the existential or transpersonal model of man. This model, like the humanistic model, considers man to be a free agent who is responsible for his life. It places faith in the inner experience of the individual for dealing with his deepest problems. One important theme of the existential model is that of death. Themes such as what lies beyond death, the meaning of death, and the purpose and value of life are explored in this stream. Although the existential model presents a religious view of man, it encourages the individual to break away from old patterns and to create one’s own values, one’s own religion, and one’s own god. Existential psychotherapists are critical of anyone who is dependent upon a religious creed or authority outside of himself.18 Throughout psychotherapy’s history we have seen the rise and wane of one therapy after another, one promise after another, one hope of success after another, and one polluted psychological stream after another. We have swung 180 degrees through four forces of psychotherapy from Freud’s rejection of religion as an illusion to new combinations of religion and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy has moved from a dependency upon the natural world as being the sole reality in life to an inclusion of spirituality as a necessity. This fourth stream of psychotherapy is religion without a creed and faith without a personal God. Although it is sometimes viewed as an antidote for materialism, it denies biblical absolutes and establishes a divinity of self. It stresses an innate goodness in every person and generally rejects original sin. It is a poor substitute for Christianity but has been accepted by those who have rejected or not known the truth. People have a spiritual vacuum at their very core and it must be filled if they are to be whole. The fourth force in psychotherapy is only a substitute for the reality of God. Incorporating religious-sounding terminology, it invites the unsuspecting to label many aspects of it as “Christian psychology.”

Dr. Abraham Maslow’s theories are representative of this trend. Although Maslow is regarded as a key promoter of humanistic psychology, he believed that it was merely a stepping stone to transpersonal or spiritual psychologies. He predicted a move from centering in self to centering in the cosmos, from self-transformation to spiritual transformation. He says, “I consider Humanistic, Third Force Psychology to be transitional. A preparation for a still higher Fourth Psychology, transpersonal, transhuman, centered in the cosmos rather than in human needs and interests, going beyond humanness, identity, self-actualization and the like.19 History has proven Maslow correct.

In her article, “A New Age Reflection in the Magic Mirror of Science,” Dr. Maureen O’Hara says: “It is significant to remember that the present New Age movement has its origins in the counterculture of the sixties and early seventies. Early inspiration came from the writings of Abraham Maslow, Eric Fromm, Rollo May, Carl Rogers, and others.”20

The new trend is eclecticism, which involves “selecting concepts, methods, and strategies from a variety of current theories which work.”21 Dr. Sol Garfield and Dr. Allen Bergin have said, “The new view is that the long-term dominance of the major theories is over and that an eclectic position has taken precedence. The popularity of eclecticism and the trend of psychotherapists to utilize procedures and views from more than one theoretical orientation have been clearly manifested in a number of surveys over the past 15-20 years.”22

Many, perhaps most, Christian therapists have plugged into this eclecticism. It seems easier and safer to say, “I don’t subscribe to one single therapy. I just pull the best from several of them.” As one integrationist says:

Man is responsible (Glasser) to believe truth which will result in responsible behavior (Ellis) that will provide him with meaning, hope (Frankl), and love (Fromm) and will serve as a guide (Adler) to effective living with others as a self- and other-accepting person (Harris), who understands himself (Freud), who appropriately expresses himself (Perls), and who knows how to control himself (Skinner).23

While this kind of eclecticism may sound good, one gets a different picture when realizing what these theorists really taught: Glasser’s responsibility has nothing to do with God or His measure of right and wrong; Ellis denies the very truth of God; the hope that Frankl gives is not a sure hope because it is man-centered; the love of Fromm is a far cry from the love that Jesus teaches and gives; Adler’s guide is self rather than God; Harris’s acceptance disregards God’s law; Freud hardly understood himself and he repudiated God; Perls’ expression focuses on feelings and self; and Skinner’s methods of self-control are directed at the human as an animal without a soul.24

The hope that in some way by mixing the various ideas of the philosophers one will finally come up with the ideal therapy is vain. We have often used the simple illustration of a glass half full of dirty water. In hopes of “cleansing” it, one pours in clean, pure water. Of course it does not achieve this purpose. Now all of the water is dirty. The principle is easily applicable to the mixing of the secular and religious, the holy and the profane, the right and the wrong, and truth and error.

Allow a pause for an observation: I find it amazing that the most ardent proponents of integration of psychology and theology are Christians. The most dedicated defenders of psychological counseling are Christian therapists, while the most credible critics of psychotherapy are secular psychologists and psychiatrists who have seen the damage their own systems have produced.

The Problem

There are serious problems with the proposal of mixing the theories of humanistic psychology with theology. The Bible is rife with warnings of the dangers associated with mixing—the faithful with the heathen, truth with error, the holy with the unholy. Many times God enjoined His people not to mix themselves and their religion with the people and their idolatrous systems around them (Exodus 33:16; Leviticus 20:26; Numbers 23:9; Deuteronomy 7:2; Joshua 23:7; Ezra 9:12; 10:11; Jeremiah 15:19) “lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee” (Exodus 34:12). David informed us, “Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly” (Psalm 1:1). Solomon reminded us to “enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men” (Proverbs 4:14). Solomon, although wise in his younger years, acted foolishly in allowing the beliefs and practices of his heathen wives to introduce their ways into Judaism. He thought he could handle them, absorb a little apostasy, and not be personally turned away. But God, who could see the future, had warned, “Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods” (I Kings 11:2-4). Solomon’s experience reveals what can happen even to the strongest in the faith when men’s philosophies are mixed with the truth. Ultimately the idolatry of his wives affected his heart, motivating him to build temples for their gods. Is it possible that he anticipated eventually converting them to Judaism or at least developing a means of co-existence? Could we eventually set up Psychology Departments in our schools as “temples” to the god of Self? Or the idol of Philosophy? Would that be similar to giving Tobiah a room in the Temple? Psychology is no more a friend to the Apostolic faith than Tobiah was to the Hebrews.

Nehemiah 13 begins with a report of the result of the mixing that Balaam had initiated, then proceeds to expose the weak Eliashib who didn’t trust Nehemiah’s judgment about Tobiah. He said, in effect, to friends while Nehemiah was gone: “Nehemiah is too harsh on our friend Tobiah! He is too judgmental! Tobiah is a nice guy. He has a great spirit! He may have some problems but they are not overwhelming. He has lots of good points as well as bad. We can co-exist.” Remember: the church will never be deceived by the devil as the devil! He comes as an “angel of light”—perhaps as an “academic elitist” with some new truth in his briefcase that might be helpful. But Nehemiah would have none of it. When Tobiah came home one day he found all of his possessions tossed out of the Temple. Nehemiah then turned on the rulers and railed on them about the ecumenical, tolerant and non-judgmental spirit they had adopted which had led them into compromise.

We are deceived when we think we can beat the odds, hoping that what has happened to others in the past will not happen to us. The tribe of Ephraim incurred the displeasure of God because “he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned” (Hosea 7:8). When we seek to bring the anti-Christian teachings of the psychology industry into our Apostolic churches and families we will also invite the displeasure of God. The church is “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (I Peter 2:9). Mixing psychology with theology will not enhance Apostolic doctrine or practice.25

Alchemy is nearly as old as man’s greed itself. Ever since men have been using certain elements such as gold and silver as mediums of exchange, they have tried to develop some way of creating them. Attempts usually involve taking a base metal such as lead, tin, copper, iron, or zinc which are plentiful and relatively inexpensive, and mixing the right combination of chemicals with one or more of them to turn them into gold. They’ve also used magic incantations, philosopher’s stones, witch’s brew, and every conceivable mineral concoction to produce pure gold. But one never gets purity by mixing elements—only disappointing alloys!

It was greed for gold that drove the alchemists to their basement labs. We as the church and men of God are also tempted with greed—for glory, status, acceptance, power, and maybe a little gold! Some keep looking for that right combination, willing to mix whatever it takes to achieve their objective. However, God has decreed purity in our worship, our doctrine, our gospel, and our lives! We run into problems when we try to wed:

­Christ and Belial
­Light and darkness
­Righteousness and unrighteousness
­Believers and infidels
­The temple of God and idols
­The clean and the unclean
­The holy and the profane
­The gospel and humanistic philosophy
­Pentecostals and Charismatics
­Truth and error

We risk evoking the frown and the wrath of God if we seek to mix those things. We will forfeit our anointing and our standing in the place of the Holy: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart...!” (emphasis mine) The definition of pure: “Unmixed; free from anything that taints, impairs or infects.” It is not difficult to see how psychology would taint, impair and infect the apostolic gospel.

Ordinarily, deception is an effect rather than a cause. It is the result of something...but what? It is the result of mixing that which is intended to be pure with the impure and calling it by an attractive name to make it acceptable. That was the program of evil in the Garden of Eden and has been ever since.

Those who neglected to heed warnings concerning deception paid a price. The Israelites mixed the religions of the world around them with their own and invited the judgment of God (Jeremiah 18:11). Jehoshaphat allied himself with Ahab and earned the scorn and rebuke of the Lord: “And Jehu...said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord” (II Chronicles 19:2).

Recorded in the story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt is the fact that with them came a “mixed multitude”—those who saw an opportunity to leave and came out with them. Perhaps some of them were Egyptians, but most may have been foreign slaves of other nationalities who had no inheritance rights with Israel. The Septuagint called them “a swarm of foreigners.” They were to cause the Israelites much trouble in the future. They were not of them. They did not have the Hebrew cause really at heart. They became a “snare,” and Nehemiah, doing some housecleaning later, had to separate them from the Israelites to experience revival (Nehemiah 13:3). Revivals don’t come through mixing but through separation! It was the intrusion of those without the true purposes of God at heart that incensed Jesus and motivated Him to cleanse the Temple, separating from it their ungodly influence and practices (Matthew 21:12).

In Deuteronomy 7:1-9, God reminded the people not to make alliances with the Canaanites or marry them when they got into the land. Why? “They will turn your hearts toward their gods and soon you will be worshipping what they worship!” Were we to admit the theories of psychology into our Apostolic curricula, our young men and women would ultimately be impacted by humanistic ideas and values. (Remember, no counselor—or his writings—can be value-neutral!) Soon many of them, thinking that surely their professors would not mislead them, will be parroting their phrases and incorporating their practices. All forms of psychotherapy expose a person to a value system and each psychotherapist will either alter it to fit his own values or adjust his own value system to agree with that of a particular psychotherapy. A psychotherapist attempts to change a person’s value system as well as his actions. Hans Strupp maintains that for therapy to be effective the patient must give up his past philosophy of life and adopt a new one. He maintains that both a new value system and practical lessons in constructive living are essential for therapeutic success.26

Dr. Szasz says with respect to treatment, “Psychotherapeutic interventions are not medical but moral in character.”27 Watson and Morse add, “Thus values and moral judgments will always play a role in therapy, no matter how much the therapist attempts to push them to the background.”28 The question must then be faced by the Christian: Am I subjecting myself to the value system that has originated with man or that which comes from God and the Bible...or an integration of the two?

In Deuteronomy 23, God gave the people instructions about keeping the camp clean and keeping out abominable and impure things, then adds what to do with the illegitimate ones, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the prostitutes, the homosexuals, the loan sharks—“No mixing!” was the message. The reason had been given earlier: “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people” (Deuteronomy 7:6,7) (Is God a non-progressive?). He wanted their faithfulness to endure to a “thousand generations,” which makes us to know that God feels the same way about mixing the holy with the unholy today. The labels of the unholy may have been changed but the problems and the outcomes are likely to be the same.

God included in His Book the story of Balaam, a prophet hired to curse God’s people. When he couldn’t do it with a clear conscience, the deceitfulness of riches turned his head and opened his heart to sin. He lost his own standing with God and became willing to be party to the deception of the Israelites by promoting their intermingling with the heathens. The inculcation became a “stumblingblock” and a snare to Israel and many of them, including himself, were destroyed because of this inclusion and spiritual fornication. Jude warned the church of the cunning “error of Balaam” (Jude 11) lest it become a snare to us also. Whatever would dilute the pure gospel of Christ must be rejected because of its neutralizing effect, making us lukewarm in our passion for truth. It seems that God would just as soon have us to be heathens as hypocrites, either hot or cold—totally Christians or totally heathen rather than lukewarm (Revelation 3:15,16).

It is interesting that the Insight article even points out that the Trinity doctrine may have developed by an integration of Christian doctrine and pagan philosophy. Quoting another author, it says, “the Hebrew doctrine of monotheism (the belief in one God) may have been intermingled with the Greek tradition of polytheism (the belief in many gods) and resulted in the concept of the Trinity (the belief that one God exists in three persons).” This fact in itself should be a red flag of warning to us about the dangers of integrating any philosophy or teaching with Christian doctrine. Further, it was pointed out that the Roman Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas “resurrected the naturalistic and biological orientations as he showed the validity of using sensory experiences coupled with intellectual knowledge as the basis for the search for truth.” Aquinas and his integration of faith and philosophy “forms the basis for the philosophical direction that the study of psychology has taken since that time.” It should be pointed out that psychology is not science, although it is sometimes referred to as “the science of human behavior” or similar designation.29 Its deductions are drawn not by objective scientific formulations but subjective evaluations of human “feelings.” The noted psychologist and philosopher, William James, once said, “I wish by treating Psychology like a natural science, to help her become one.”30 And as Todd Nance has pointed out, “There is no uniform theory of knowledge in psychology. Many different and competing branches of psychology are fighting for the medical dollar [and thus choose terminology that accommodates that objective. Brackets mine.]. Where Freud criticizes faith, Jüng by contrast tried to explain religion as part of psychology, but again the ideas he has of religion and the human mind do not work well with Christianity. They undermine it. Psychology claims a knowledge that is not revealed in Scripture. If what they are teaching is Scripture doesn’t the Scripture say it better? If what they are teaching is not in Scripture, shouldn’t they question its veracity?”31

Perhaps we ought to apply the principle the Apostle James conveyed when he said, “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh” (James 3:11,12). The point is, we should drink from the fountain we know is uncontaminated and eat of the tree whose fruit we are assured is pure. Jesus warned us about interaction with those whose goals and agendas are not in line with His: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matthew 7:15-19). It sounds like Jesus preferred that we not entangle ourselves with the world’s systems and those who teach theories contrary to His.

The personal testimony of professor Richard Ganz, the founder and president of Ottawa Theological Hall, is germane. He was trained as a clinical psychologist. While serving as a university instructor, he was offered a teaching position at the Rosemead Graduate School of Psychology. He shares this: “I was encouraged by the offer, but I knew that my [field of training] had no Christian foundation. I wondered how I could teach at a Christian school under those circumstances. Strangely, no one seemed to be concerned about this conflict except me.” When he purposed to counsel from the Word rather than from the worldview of the psychological theorists, he enrolled at the seminary where Dr. Jay Adams was a professor. The teacher became a student, learning scriptural truths and how to apply them to the problems that people brought to the counselors’ office. He discovered that the counseling concepts woven into the psychological movement are inherently opposed to the Word of God. In his book, Psychobabble: The Failure of Modern Psychology and the Biblical Alternative, he states that his purpose in writing was “to reveal the direct conflict between secular philosophies and biblical principles and to strip back to its ugly roots the psychotherapy that the church has baptized and embraced. My hope is that the church will stop shuffling her hurting and broken members to the ‘experts’ who lack the power and perspective of the Word of God, that pastors will seize the opportunities to teach, rebuke, correct, and train in righteousness a people fit for service to Jesus.”32 His experience points up how dangerous and shortsighted it is to think that just because someone has degrees in a certain field that they are qualified to teach the subject at the university level, particularly a “Christian” university. That is one of the traps of accreditation. It forces schools to depend on academic types with advanced degrees regardless of their background, experience or level of commitment to the fundamentals of the faith. Placement of such individuals in professorships at the seminary level has been a major contributing factor to the demise of mainline Protestantism in America. Are we wise enough to learn from the mistakes of others, or do we insist on making them all ourselves? As goes the training institutions, so goes the movement. Prominent integrationists (“Christian” psychologists/psychiatrists) such as Larry Crabb, Clyde Narramore, and Minerth/Meier suggest that psychological theories should be incorporated into theological curriculums.33 However, there is no body of knowledge out there in the psychology industry that is uniquely Christian. Consider the following statement from a paper presented to a professional gathering of Christian psychologists:

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 time 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. Is there a distinct Christian dentistry, or surgery, or history or grammar?...As yet there is not an acceptable theory, mode of research or treatment methodology [in psychology] that is distinctly Christian.34

Why should we Apostolics attempt to install in our institutions what has proved to be a negative factor elsewhere? We are the “People of the Name” and hold the Word of God in high esteem. To bring into our curriculum a course of instruction that is foreign to our stated principles and goals seems to be a step backward—a retreat from Bible instruction to humanism at best and secularism at worst. Just as applying Philippians 4:13 to the self-esteem/self-worth philosophy demonstrates a “wresting” of the Scriptures (II Peter 3:16), merely mixing in a few passages with psychological philosophies does not sanctify their inclusion. It either amounts to an attempt to Christianize psychology or psychologize Christianity. Some denominations and independent colleges have pitched their tent in that direction to “stay in step” with the culture while others have rejected it for good reason. Deep probing might reveal that those who have done so regret their decision, but there is no turning back. When we get to where we are going, where will we be? Regret is not tantamount to restoration.

The question was put forth in the article: “How does a believer cope when God seems silent...when nothing seems to work?” The author supplies his answer in the subsequent paragraph that some pastors refer those persons to professional counselors, perhaps even to “psychologists...who have no religious faith at all.”35 That would be like the prophets saying to pre-Christian Jews that if appeals to Jehovah, Jerusalem, the Temple, the altar, the Word and the name of the Lord doesn’t immediately produce what we want, then head to Egypt for help. We’d better check with Isaiah on that: “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!...Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord” (Isaiah 30:1,2; 31:1).

The Perversion The above mentioned article in Insight suggested that any discussion of the integration of theology with psychology should be based on the premise that “all truth is God’s truth.” Using the simplistic model of 2 + 2 = 4—the mathematical formula being “true” although not mentioned in the Bible—the point was made that such “truth” must be “God’s.”36 By extension, the example is used by known integrationists to propose that certain esoteric theories of popular practitioners in the field of psychology may be safely accepted as “God’s truth” and integrated with theology. They have become convinced by those practitioners that such theories are true and thus are “God’s truth.” In their minds this seems to sanctify many of the extra-biblical assumptions of modern psychology.

Why confuse the facts of nature and the determinations of men concerning the material world with those of the spiritual realm? To compare a mathematical theorem— which has nothing to do with spiritual life—with Jesus’ pronouncements that “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17) and “I am...the truth” (John 14:6) would be like comparing the validity of E = mc2 with the doctrine of the Oneness of God.37 Many, perhaps most, “facts” of science and nature are relative. The search for absolute truth must begin with the Scriptures: “The word of the Lord is right, and all his works are done in truth” (Psalm 33:4). Truth about the soul and its relationship with God is in a different category from facts of nature. Paul explained, “The things of God knoweth no man, but by the Spirit of God...the natural [unregenerated] man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:11,14). since the natural man “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (II Corinthians 2:9-14), if science truly is a part of God’s truth, then all scientific discoveries would have to be made only by Christians. Yet non-Christians can make great scientists. So, even if psychology were a science, which it is not, it would still not be part of “God’s truth,” which is revealed by God only to His own.38

Does it constitute mockery of God to claim that He inspired the agnostic professors of psychiatry with “truth” that was hidden from the apostles and prophets? That such wonderful knowledge is just now coming to light via the integrationists? That He indeed did not “give us all things that pertain unto life and godliness”? That the Word and the Spirit of God are not sufficient (II Corinthians 3:5; 9:8)? That there are some “truths” that must come from the psychologists for us to be “holistically” complete (Colossians 2:10)?

Peter confirms that God has indeed “given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3), but some psychologists, obviously in defense of their training in that field, insist that God has given special, extra-biblical insights to men like Freud, Jung, Maslow, Rogers and Minerth/Meier who have poured their humanism, often mixed with religious terminology, into generations of Westerners in our colleges and universities. While virtually no “Christian” psychologist would stand behind many of Freud’s or Jung’s theories, it is safe to say that whatever part of those philosophies they do consider to be truth is justifiably called “God’s truth.”39 I dare say that some things Adolph Hitler propagated were true. But did that make them God’s truth? Even the devil himself may use a bit of truth in order to motivate someone to take the bait in one of his snares, such as during the temptation of Jesus. Is there such as thing as deceptive truth?40 If so, is that to be thought of as “God’s truth”?41 Quite often the appeal is made that psychological “truth” should be integrated with theology for “balance.” We should balance God’s Word with what—man’s philosophies that change with the tide? Esoteric theories which cannot be proven or disproven? How much psychology, and from which stream, would be needed to achieve balance? I submit that any attempt at such a balance would only produce confusion on which God refuses to put His stamp of approval or authorship (I Corinthians 14:33). Psychology as a whole represents an alternative to biblical counseling. Practitioners often twist the Scriptures to make them applicable to their own view and theory. In the process, they pervert the absolute truth. Psychology cannot be trusted. It is the world’s way—“a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

Seminary leaders are quick to denounce “secular” psychology and indicate that they will never allow it in their classrooms—only “Christian” psychology will be permitted—but they may not know just how much New Age, far-out, and weird stuff they are or will be tolerating. A substantial number of Apostolic ministers have already demonstrated they do not know how to differentiate between the secular and the Christian. Is Multiple Personality Disorder a “Christian” theory?42 Is Repressed Memory Syndrome a Christian idea? Those discredited theories have been bandied about the Apostolic fellowship for years by ministers who are also professional, degreed counselors. Visiting missionaries have promoted Morton Kelsey’s books and theories. Kelsey has written a number of books on how Jungian thought can be integrated with Christian theology. He has taught seminars at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, a leader among colleges integrating theology and psychology. I also had a visiting official promote Agnes Sanford’s New Age spiritual healing techniques in the classrooms of the Bible college I served as president. And what of Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, in which he also promotes Sanford’s inner healing theories?43 Charismatic Mark Virkler, a Bible college instructor and seminar leader, wrote Dialogue with God in which he explains how he was influenced by Kelsey’s book The Other Side of Silence when constructing his meditative and “centering” techniques in order to visualize Jesus. And what of John Bradshaw’s “wounded inner child” theory? Or Gary Smalley’s right-brain, left-brain nonsense? All of this is nothing less than an amalgamation of assumption, mysticism, and occultism,44 with which psychology is fraught. Further examples of psychological theories that have invaded the Christian colleges campuses: “sensitivity training” and “encounter groups,” the Human Potential Movement, the gospel of Self-Esteem, and others. Some may label “visualization” as a form of prayer when in fact it is an open invitation to be influenced by spirit guides. “Christian” psychology is shot through with modern shamanism and mysticism that the Scriptures implore us to avoid.45

A host of “Christian” psychologists/psychiatrists are plying their trade and hawking their wares to the gullible 21st century church. Nowhere is the loss of a Christian consciousness more apparent than in the field of psychology. One reason is that most Christian psychologists receive an entirely secular training and are ignorant of the Scriptures. They seldom question the underlying worldview of the field in which they were trained. Instead, they take an essentially secular approach and sprinkle a few Christian insights on top. The result: secular insights that sound pious, but are dangerous and misleading. When Christian counselors try to integrate biblical principles with modern psychology; they run into trouble. Many end up redefining biblical terms to bring them into harmony with psychology. For instance, Gary Sweeten redefines the theological term sanctification to mean “mortifying the flesh and developing our new(emphasis his) self or our personal self.” Sanctification (theological) becomes the “development of our personal selves” (psychological).46

Christian psychiatrists Frank Minirth and Paul Meier equate the unconscious and the heart. They believe that Jeremiah 17:9 is the key to Christian psychiatry. But they misunderstand what Jeremiah means when he said, “The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” Minirth and Meier write, “The prophet Jeremiah is saying that we humans cannot fathom or comprehend how desperately sinful and deceitful our heart is—our unconscious motives, conflicts, drives, emotions, and thoughts.” By redefining heart, Minirth and Meier open up the door to the use of Freud’s system of defense mechanisms.47 How easy to say, “We won’t teach Freud or Jung or the other psychological heretics.” But will we be teaching the stuff published by those who were taught by them? Deception can come cloaked in the garments of orthodoxy. Do the words of Jesus, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7;15), still have meaning for us?

Integrationist David Seamands speaks of sin as “difficulties” when he writes about “various kinds of sexual difficulties, from incest to prostitution.”48 Although psychologists will borrow terms like love, compassion, forgiving, caring, hope, and confrontation they may attach a definition to the term vastly different from the biblical meaning. Integrationists’ use of crossover terminology blurs the distinction so that some are not aware of what is really being communicated. In truth, what is taking place is not integration as much as substitution—the substitution of secular psychology for the Word of God.49 Larry Crabb, a popular integrationist, proposes a concept of change that involves climbing down in the “sewers” of our being (Freud’s unconscious?) and doing some cleaning of the filth down there, directing us to enter the dark regions of our soul to find light.50

Popular Christian teachers like Robert Schuller (Self-Esteem: The New Reformation) and David Seamands (Healing For Damaged Emotions) influence millions of Christians, including Pentecostals. They will declare that the “original sin was the loss of self-esteem” or that low self-esteem is “Satan’s deadliest weapon.” I had a pastor speak at the Bible college once who used the title, “The Lack of Self-Esteem: A Sin Worse Than Pride.” People may like that kind of talk because it takes the focus off of finding help and hope in the cross and submission to Christ to just a matter of mental manipulation. As Ganz says, “Applying psychology is much easier because the sinful nature of man is far more ready to be coddled than confronted.”51

Dr. David Powlison provides this perspective: “Most integrationists systematically make human needs and desires fundamental. They baptize certain lusts of the flesh as ‘needs,’ and build their counseling endeavors around need theories rather than sin theories. These need theories typically focus attention on people’s supposed basic needs for love or to feel good about themselves or to accomplish something worthwhile. In the logic of each theory, the human heart is fundamentally good, but because of the rough sledding of life in a fallen world, hearts become empty, needy, yearning, wounded....The logic of a psychologized system defines the heart in such a way that ‘out of the wounded, needy, legitimately yearning heart come....’ The ultimate why for our problems is attributed to those other people who wounded us, who did not meet our needs, who left our longings unfulfilled.”52 It seems best to stick to the sin model—“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

The Prescription

When a Christian is going through a trial—stressed out by the vicissitudes of life, in a quandary trying to manage school age children, experiencing marital problems, having recently suffered the loss of a close relative, or similar circumstance—where is help? In such times, Christians turn the true source of our help and strength: “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: Lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2). We instinctively know where to go, for God alone knows us through and through. He totally understands.

David expressed it well for us: “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.” David then admits that “such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain,” but his faith confesses that “your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast....For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place” (Psalm 139:1-15 NIV). What a comfort to know that we have access to such a One because “it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Therefore we seek the wisdom of God and the resources of the Word and the Spirit. Regular worship, hearing the preached Word, prayer, and pastor direction when it is needed will lead us through any valley in spiritual victory (Proverbs 2:1-6).

The prescription for mental health is found in the Word of God and in a relationship with the Lord Jesus—not within ourselves. Unless man seeks and finds direction from a source outside of himself, he will lose his way. The underlying reason for mankind’s spiritual dilemma is separation from God. Sin caused this separation: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). The sin of Adam and Eve separated them from the safety and comforts of the Garden and from personal fellowship with God. All of man’s problems can be traced to this event. The emotional grief caused by this separation is immense. God, however, has made a way for man to deal with his sin and to restore fellowship with Him. In every dispensation of history there has been a means or method by which men could be accepted by God. In that acceptance he can find peace of mind, genuine freedom from guilt, and joy in living! Without God, man is vain (Romans 8:20), blind, and alienated from God (Ephesians 4:17,18). Man is broken...but he can be repaired, renewed, and redeemed (Luke 4:18; Colossians 3:10; I Peter 1:18). Christ is the only bridge to God rather than a new psychological view of ourselves.

Calvary represented the means of restoring man’s relationship with God. Christ was the Mediator of the new covenant, bringing God to men and men to God. Through His atoning blood we have the opportunity to be cleansed from all sin and filled with His Spirit, empowering the recipient to live victoriously and be a witness to the world (Titus 2:13; Acts 1:8). When a man finds God in the new birth (John 3:3-5; Acts 2:38; I Corinthians 6:11), then walks in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), he will have all the equipment necessary to live a godly and peaceful life. Peter made that fact abundantly clear: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (II Peter 1:3). “Life and godliness” include both mind and behavior. Therefore God says that the Scriptures are sufficient for structuring both mind (thoughts) and behavior (actions) in godliness, as II Timothy 3:16 also teaches: “All scripture is profitable for...instruction in righteousness.” Walking with God in “glory and virtue” will improve our relationships, overcome our spiritual enemies, and put a peace in our hearts that transcends understanding—“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). The psalmist put it like this: “Great peace have they that love thy law and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165). Isaiah made this observation: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). Perfect peace involves being relatively free from or unmoved by troublesome persons or circumstances. When a person is right with God, the virtues called the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 2:22,23), one of which is peace, are manifested in his life.

It is neither inaccurate nor overly simplistic to say that man’s problems, his emotional frustrations, and his flawed relationships are the result of sin—both inherent and personal. The Lord provided directions for dealing with those sins: confess and forsake them (Proverbs 28:13). Refusal to do so only compounds man’s problems. When we confront and acknowledge our sin, we ultimately deal with bitterness, frustration, hate, anger, jealousy, violence and all the other emotional expressions of the human condition. When one is filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), he has the power and wisdom to make right choices, overcome temptation, and to resist and conquer the elements of his former life. Paul described our lives before and after the new birth:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-7 NIV).

The apostle further described to the Colossians the differences in philosophy and behavior after coming to Christ. His suggestions to them on how to handle the drives of the flesh are still relevant:

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him...Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful (Colossians 3:5-14).

What a marvelous prescription for emotional health! The counseling chambers would virtually fall silent if these principles were conscientiously embraced.

God’s Word is given to counsel and instruct us in righteous living and proper relationships:

For attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:2-7 NIV).

James contrasted man’s wisdom with the wisdom of God: “[Man’s] wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish...But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:15,17).

But how does a man tap into godly wisdom? Again, the Scriptures provide the answer:

My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things (Proverbs 2:1-12).

Men would have no need to seek the counsel of humanistic therapists if they followed these directives of the Word. However, as Jeremiah declares, the Israelites had “committed two evils: they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). Heeding God’s Word and being refreshed by truth is drinking from the “fountain of living waters.” Turning to human and psychological answers amounts to dependence on “broken cisterns.” The theories they propagate just won’t hold water.

How can man escape the pangs of a guilty conscience, the frustrations of a bitter spirit, and the stresses of modern living while maintaining his physical and emotional health? The Bible has the answer:

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favour and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones (Proverbs 3:1-8 NIV).

The scriptural principles of forgiveness, love, surrender, and acceptance contribute to healing and wholeness when applied to wounded spirits and broken relationships. While some of these same words may be employed by a psychologist in a conversation with a counselee, they are most likely used in a humanistic sense rather than as scriptural mandates or expressions of Christian commitment. One is reminded of how “crossover music” (e.g., same song classed as “pop” and “gospel”) uses lyrics that appeal to the carnal, sensual nature when set in song, but the same words may also reflect Christian themes. (Designed to keep from aggravating pastors and parents?) Double entendres are common in crossover songs. Psychology plays the same word games.

But what about those who don’t know the Lord? Those in the world—still in the kingdom of darkness (I Peter 2:9)—often lean on alcohol and illegal drugs to cover their pain and confusion, leading to even more difficulties. Or they may visit a psychiatrist to analyze their problems and offer some direction. Most often he will prescribe one or more drugs (psychotropic medications) and a series of counseling sessions in his or a colleague’s office. This can be extremely costly in terms of lost worktime and family time, and the cost of the drugs. Such a regimen of medication is designed to alter “the mind,” usually meaning that the drugs will intercept or “jam” certain activity in the brain. Psychiatric drugs are prescribed in about 90% of the cases seen by a psychiatrist. Such drugs are designed to make people feel more “comfortable” in their present condition—not to “cure” the condition. Drugs are often a substitute for spiritual correction. Drugs are a way for some to avoid feeling any guilt, emotional pain or penalty, but often they are the cause of tremendous emotional pain—far more than what they would have experienced without them. Most people will come out of their problems just as quickly without drugs and without the side effects and the potential addiction which far outweigh their perceived benefits. The psychotherapy sessions themselves frequently open the door to blame the offending behavior on another person or some circumstance over which the counselee has no control. Neither of these approaches offer real hope of cure or permanent change.53

Those who are out of touch with God and true righteousness are apt to encounter feelings of guilt, shame, and discontent. As a result, one might react in violent anger in certain circumstances, debase himself in immorality, trouble his brain with drugs or alcohol, lash out at those who seek to help, turn his back on those who love him, deny the existence of God, and generally lose control of his emotions. Jesus said, “Those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man; For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:18). These activities can be expected from those who are not regenerated by the new birth, and/or from those who have known God but are presently walking in the flesh and are backsliding. Paul elaborated on this theme when he listed the gross sins of which the natural man or the carnal Christian is capable (Galatians 5:19-21). Jeremiah made it plain hundreds of years before: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

When the results of the Fall prey on one’s mind, he is tempted to turn to his own designs for relief. Having lost—or having never possessed—confidence in God, one wanders about looking for a human fix. But turning to the humanistic advice provided by unregenerate counselors for guidance in solving or abating human problems is futile: “The advice of the wicked is deceitful” (Proverbs 12:5 NIV). Such advice often leads to deeper frustration and sinful involvement, or provides an excuse for one’s sins and mismanagement of his life. Psychological advice commonly offers an escape from the feelings of personal guilt as an alternative to dealing with them from a biblical, spiritual perspective. To hide guilt or to cover sin either by denial, the use of synthetic chemicals, or mental exercises is to invite the displeasure of God: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

The prescription is to be born again, thereby becoming a new creature and obtaining a transformed mind. Answers are found by those who honestly submit their souls to God and stay in the Word. The true Christian knows that “thy testimonies counsellors” (Psalm 119:24). He acknowledges Jesus as his prime Counselor (Isaiah 9:6). Rather than beating a path to the door of the psychologist, he looks to the Lord for comfort, guidance and affirmation, knowing that His Word has declared, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise?...hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?...God is not the author of confusion” (I Corinthians 1:19,20; 14:33). He is careful that “no one takes him 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...These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion...but are of no value against fleshly indulgence” (Colossians 2:8,23 NIV). When Jesus asked the disciples, “Will ye also go away?” (John 6:67,68), Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” What a discerning answer!

Those who might be tempted to say that trusting in the wisdom of God and the counsel of Scripture alone sounds too idealistic should be reminded that the farther man moves away from God’s ideal, the more problems he invites to himself. Wise men still agree with David and Solomon: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple...The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Psalm 19:7; Proverbs 9:10). By contrast, “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble” (Proverbs 4:19). “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7).

The “way of the wicked” is to excuse sinful human behavior by making all men victims of other people’s evil intentions or foibles and of circumstances beyond their control. The spiritual way is taking responsibility for one’s own actions and trusting in the counsel of Scripture: “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Timothy 2:25,26). By doing so, the believer finds wholeness and healing: “Thy word is truth...He sent his word and healed them...and with his stripes we are healed” (John 17:17; Psalm 107:20; Isaiah 53:5). Through His Word we become victors instead of victims!

The psalmist provided this wise counsel:

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—the LORD, who remains faithful for ever (Psalm 146:3-6 NIV).

It is better to choose to interact with the Divine Counselor (Isaiah 9:6) than to seek counsel from the philosophers of this world (Psalm 1:1). “The Lord giveth wisdom and out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). We should pray as the ancient Hebrew hymnwriter prayed: “Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties” (Psalm 141:4). “Happy is that people whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 144:15).

Conclusion Considering the above principles drawn from the Word of God, to embark on a program of integration of theology and psychology seems to be unwise. It would likely serve to confuse the minds of students. Based on the information presented above, in my opinion integration would:

1) give credence to the humanistic theories of the psychologists. 2) dilute the pure gospel of Christ. 3) turn the minds of our ministers away from spiritual solutions to subjective assumptions.

If we study the Bible, we will preach the Bible. If we study psychology, we will preach psychology. They are competing entities and shall never mesh well. Like oil and water, they can be mingled, but not wholly mixed.

Jay Adams has eloquently stated, “Throughout the Western world the concept of neutrality of system and method has been preached almost as a sacred doctrine. The modern man thinks he can hold his Christianity in one hand and a pagan system in the other. He sees no need to compare and contrast what he holds in his hands....The Scriptures present an entirely different view: All of life is sacred; none is secular. All life is God-related; none is neutral. Systems, methods, actions, values, attitudes, concepts are either God-oriented or sinful. None are neutral.”54

Since psychology has crossed the line and invaded Christian teaching, and this is not the fault of secular psychologists, our defense against that invasion must focus primarily upon the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul declares that God has chosen to save this world by the preaching of the gospel (I Corinthians 1: 21). It is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1: 16). The gospel is that proclamation of the forgiveness of sins, justification, and eternal salvation gained for us through the sacrificial suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit produces saving faith through the hearing of the gospel (Romans 10: 17). If the gospel of Jesus Christ is distorted by modern psychology, the very essence of Christianity is being undermined.55

What would Paul think of plans to integrate the philosophies of psychology into our college curriculum? I believe he would be disappointed and would soundly rebuke us. Here is what he told the Colossians: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ...And ye are complete in him” (Colossians 2:8,10). To the Corinthians he said, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (I Corinthians 2:4). He reminded the saints in Corinth: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (I Corinthians 6:14-18). It would be unwise to test the boundaries of that admonition.

James Gray provides these insights:

After World War II, the development of modern psychology took on near seismic proportions. A religion of sorts had come into existence in which rituals, doctrines, and priests were present, though operating under new identities. The ancient practice of the Christian church, the care of souls, was regarded more and more as something inadequate for the new and growing sea of difficulties and problems that seemed to beset people. In the intervening years, psychology became the discipline that more and more people trusted and the ability of the church to help hurting people with God’s truth became more and more lightly regarded. Today, Christian counselors and pastors face challenging obstacles. We face a culture that has grown to have confidence in unbelieving psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors. At the same time, our society as a whole seems to treat Christian ministers with less and less regard and respect. In our age of information and technology, we find more and more Christian people-helpers struggling with the voice of secular psychology as it challenges or contradicts the principles of divine truth.56

G. Campbell Morgan, a pastor and father of four sons in the ministry, was a prolific writer who paid attention to what was going on in the world around him, wrote, “It is never the job of the preacher to catch the spirit of the age but to correct it.”57

Why should we embrace a competing entity that has for years been a known enemy of Evangelicalism, including the Apostolic faith? It has paraded itself as harmless mental manipulation, a cunning “sleight of mind” approach to dealing with people—often achieving selfish goals by outwitting others. This infantile view of psychology has helped to make it acceptable to millions who were unaware of where it was headed. Some unwary Apostolic ministers have been drawn into the field only to have their faith destroyed as well as their families and ministries. To encourage involvement in the face of the grave dangers that lurk in that arena is to invite the continuing loss of ministries.

Matzat’s keen observations are particularly relevant here:

Modern psychology is not an innocent helping-discipline that we can carelessly borrow from the kingdom of the left hand and merge with our pastoral theology. There are theories and techniques in psychology, such as self-esteem, the encounter dynamic, and psychological mysticism, that can grossly distort Christian truth and inflict grave spiritual damage upon Christian people. While most Christian denominations desire to remain faithful to the truth of God's Word and dot every theological “i” and cross every theological “t”, those same denominations, when it comes to the deceptive offerings of modern psychology, practice minimal discernment. The reason is simple. Pastors and church leaders are not equipped to do so.

Most Christian pastors, including myself, have neither sought nor desired academic degrees in psychology. Christian pastors should be primarily concerned with theology, not psychology. If a pastor should happen to embrace strange, deceptive theology and visits the same on his people, he will readily be called to task by the church leaders and his fellow-pastors because they know their theology. But what if that same pastor embraces strange, deceptive psychology, who will challenge him? If a pastor has a doctorate in psychology and is in a position of influence within the denomination, he is virtually untouchable. He can promote any theory, recommend any book, and practice any methodology because he is one of the few “professionals” in a sea of amateurs. Who has the credentials to challenge him?...Those who promote deceptive psychology in the church more often than not hide the roots of their teaching. The priest who presented the inner healing “ministry” at the conference I attended did not say, “This teaching came from Agnes Sanford. It is based upon the theories of Carl Jung who used the visualization technique to contact his spirit-guide.” The pastor who wanted to promote his mystical seminars on my radio program claimed he got his stuff straight from Scripture. Those who visit the encounter dynamic upon Christian people invite them to attend a small group “Bible Study.” They hide the roots for an obvious reason. If they were honest, no one would buy into their gimmick. If a pastor questions a specific psychological theory or practice, he must spend weeks or months of digging in order to uncover the roots.”58

Why even let psychology get a foothold in the schools of faith? Once it gets a foothold, it may become a stronghold!

Our nation today is being invaded by foreigners because of open borders and lax security. Some are only seeking an economic advantage, but others are potential terrorists—not only bent on murder and mayhem, but diluting our unity and strength. Could the same be happening to the Apostolic faith of the endtime? As Kilpatrick has said, “Evangelical and charismatic Christians have unguarded borders where psychological ideas easily slip over.”59 Schuller’s “new reformation” is based on self-esteem, which he calls “the highest value.” In this “emerging reformation,” psychology and theology will “work side by side as strong allies.”60

Is that really what we want to see happening in our Apostolic institutions? Can we justify such a move when God speaks to us so plainly through the Apostle Paul, “Therefore, since we have this ministry...we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (II Corinthians 4:1,2 NASB). The Greek word Paul used for “adulterating” is doloo, which means to deceive by mixing error with truth. Our task is to manifest truth, not speculative assumptions and humanistic ideas. “In the sight of God....” God is watching!

According to Dr. David Powlison, “The stated intent of frank integrationists is to borrow theories and practices from secular psychology and weave them into the tenets of the Christian faith. Covert or unwitting integrationists do not state this intention, but simply borrow. The net effect in every integrationist’s system is that secular error eats up biblical truth, so that false views of human nature and of the change/counseling process control the system.”61

I agree with Dr. Ed Bulkley when he posed an integrationist’s seemingly rhetorical question: “What if we are able to integrate psychological theory and biblical truth without undermining the Scriptures? Would that not become a truly biblical psychology?” His answer: “I contend that integrating the two is simply not possible because psychology is rooted in humanism, it opens the door to satanic influence, and it offers a faulty view of self that ultimately depreciates the value of Christ’s completed work on the cross.”62 Spiritual success will elude us if we attempt to mix truth and error (II Corinthians 6:14-18), or the holy with the unholy (Leviticus 10:10), or the ever-changing, self-contradicting humanistic theories of psychology with the permanent absolutes of God’s Word. A Christian whose mind entertains two opposing philosophies—psychology and biblical theology—will continually be confused and unstable. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Merging of the two will only serve to weaken Pentecostal theology. Such a breach in the bulwarks of Apostolic doctrine will likely encourage attacks at other points. Are we really willing to take that risk?

Shall we swing wide the gates and welcome the Trojan horse?

End Notes

1. Dr. Ed Bulkley (Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology, Only God Can Heal A Wounded Heart); Dr. Martin Bobgan (Competent to Minister, Psychoheresy); Dave Hunt (The Seduction of Christianity, Beyond Seduction); Don Matzat (Christ Esteem); John MacArthur (Our Sufficiency In Christ); Richard Ganz (Psychobabble); Drs. Gary and Carol Almy (How Christian Is Christian Counseling); E. Fuller Torrey (Freudian Fraud); and many others. Some of the authors have more titles on the topic than I have listed here.
2. The Bible of the psychology industry is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). The “priesthood” are the practitioners who teach the theories gleaned from their “bible,” and the altars are the couches (or their substitutes) on which the subjects sit or lie to divulge their inmost thoughts and feelings to the “priests.”
3. Dr. Paul C. Vitz, Psychology As Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship (Grand Rapids: Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 1985), 9
4. Ibid., p. 10
5. Ibid., p. 10
6. Gary Almy and Carol Almy, Addicted To Recovery (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1994); p. 222
7. Gary Almy, Totally Sufficient, Ed Hindson and Howard Eyrich, eds. (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1997); p. 145
8. Dr. Thomas Szasz, The Myth of Psychotherapy (Garden City, NJ: Doubleday-Anchor Press, 1978), 27, 28
9. Dr. Tana Dineen, Manufacturing Victims (Toronto: Robert Davies Multimedia Publishing Inc., 1998); p. 12,13
10. William K. Kilpatrick, Psychological Seduction (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983); p. 15
11. The author was Rev. Mark Segraves, listed as the Director of the Distance Learning Department of Christian Life College and a doctoral candidate in General Psychology. This paper is not to be construed as a personal attack on the author, but is intended to evaluate some of the suggestions and philosophies set forth publicly in the article. I consider him and his family my friends. At issue is the proposal that we should seek ways to integrate psychology with Pentecostal theology.
12. It is increasingly popular to visit a doctor when stress weighs heavily on those involved in activities that put undue pressure on one’s mind and time, such as those experienced by a minister’s wife. Most of the time the visit will result in a prescription for psychotropic drugs. Drugs do not solve the problem, and often exacerbates the problem.
13. It should be pointed out that the article is not referring to ordinary treatment of an autistic or mentally retarded child, a brain-damaged auto crash victim, or motivational studies to determine why most men prefer to avoid shopping malls. No one seeks to demonize the psychological aspects of such studies or treatment. The writer was speaking of the psychology that gets injected into the conventional counsel offered to Christians by Christians.
14. It is amazing that many Christians have no misgivings about becoming involved in Yoga classes. They are springing up in churches all across America. According to tradition, Yoga means “union,” the union...of the finite “jiva” (transitory self) with the “infinite...Brahman (eternal Self).” “Brahman” is a term often used for the Hindu concept of “God,” or Ultimate Reality. It is an impersonal, divine substance that “pervades, envelops, and underlies everything.” For more information on the dangers of Yoga, visit (Source of quote above.) There are a number of links provided there.
15. What is referred to in this paper as the “psychology industry” is still thought by the public to be something quite different from other industries, somehow more noble, honest, and less profit driven. When people think of industries, they tend to think of automobiles, computers, cosmetics or entertainment; of easily identifiable products, with price-tags, warranties and trademarks. Such industries are visibly defined by their products and by their boundaries. The psychology pndustry is much harder to pin down; it is much broader than other industries, less defined (or definable). At its core, along with the traditional mental health professions of psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis and clinical social work, is a fifth psychological profession: psychotherapy. No longer can clear distinctions be made between them; so, what I call the psychology industry comprises all five of these and it encompasses, as well, the ever expanding array of psychotherapists: the counselors and advisors of all persuasions, whether licensed, credentialed, proclaimed, or self-proclaimed. Dr. Tana Dineen, Manufacturing Victims (Toronto: Robert Davies Multimedia Publishing, 1998); p. 22
16. On page 145 of The History of Psychiatry (NY: Harper & Row 1966) is a drawing of a wierd-looking creature with this caption: “The first psychiatrist—the witch doctor.”
17. Courses have been installed to train our ministers to do “trauma counseling”—a relatively new activity known for counselors who hurry to every scene of tragedy to offer their services to those who were involved in it, saw it happen, or had a friend or relative who was hurt. It is as though they are competing with the ambulance-chasing lawyers for first claim to the victim’s insurance. If a pastor reaches out to someone in his sphere of influence who suffers pain or loss of some kind to steady them in their faith and understanding, we see no problem in that. But too often such counselors only serve to instill a “victim” mentality in persons affected by some incident (Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome is the common, catch-all diagnosis). They are usually rushed into a drug treatment program or long-term counseling at $$$$ per visit. Self-serving trauma counselors are proliferating in today’s culture of victimization. While some may be motivated by sincere altruism, job security is probably a motivation for many of them.
18. James C. Coleman and Constance L. Hammen, Contemporary Psychology and Effective Behavior (Glenview: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1974), p. 35
19. Abraham Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being (Princeton: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1962, 1968), pp. iii-iv
20. Maureen O’Hara, “A New Age Reflection in the Magic Mirror of Science,” The Skeptical Inquirer, 13 (Summer 1989), pp. 368-374
21. Mary P. Koss and Julia Shiang, “Research on Brief Psychotherapy” in Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change, Fourth Edition, Allen E. Bergin and Sol L. Garfield, eds. (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1994), p. 667
22. Allen E. Bergin and Sol L. Garfield, “Introduction and Historical Overview” in Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change, Fourth Edition, p. 6
23. Lawrence J. Crabb, Jr., Effective Biblical Counseling (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1977), p. 56
24. Why are there so many differing psychological theories and methodologies? There may be several answers, but one would probably be that theses or doctoral dissertations precede degrees. They have to come up with some new idea or philosophy in order to demonstrate innovative thinking. Many times these theses have become the basis for a totally new theory based on limited research and testing.
25. There were lessons in all the instructions that God gave Israel. Here are some of them:
a) Do not mix your full-bred cattle with any half-breeds (Leviticus 19:19a.) This tends to produce inferior stock. When believers mix their truths with unbelievers’ errors, apostasy is dead ahead. Many Israelites fell in the wilderness because of a “mixed multitude” (Exodus 12:38a; Numbers 11:4a; Hebrews 3:7-19). The Word (Law) must keep us separated from such mixtures (Nehemiah 13:3).
b) Do not mix seed in planting (Leviticus19:19b. This tends to take away the true value and taste of the grain or fruit and results in a weakness of strength by those whose life is dependent upon it. The Word of God, which is the seed for the promotion of life and growth, must not be mixed with human wisdom (Luke 8:11; I Corinthians 2:4,5). Only as the pure seed of God’s Word is planted and men “taste and see that the Lord is good” can there be an excellent production of fruit in the lives of believers (Psalm 34:8; John 15:7,8).
c. Do not mix material in clothing (Leviticus 19:19c. Mixed fabrics soon fill with creases and folds due to uneven shrinkage, and the garment wears out in the uneven places. We are not to mix the fine linen of Christ's righteousness with the wool of the world. “Love not the world.” “A fountain cannot send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter, salt water and fresh” (I John 2:15-17; James 3:10-12).
d. Do not mix clean and unclean animals in service together (Deuteronomy 22:10). The ox (a clean animal) is meek, patient, slow, but very strong and very willing. The donkey (an unclean animal) is just the opposite—stubborn, unpredictable and obstinate, typical of stupidity. Not only was it unkind to the animals but hindered production. Mixing the two weakened the entire project. A,B,C,D from Robert T. Boyd, World’s Bible Handbook (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1991); p. 79
26. Hans Strupp, “Psychoanalysis, Focal Psychotherapy, and the Nature of the Therapeutic Influence”; Archives of General Psychiatry, January 1975, p. 133
27. Szasz, The Myth of ..., p. xxiii
28. Stephen J. Morse and Robert Watson, Jr., Psychotherapies: A Comparative Casebook (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1977); p. 3
29. Dr. Martin Bobgan addresses this subject: “Since psychotherapy is based on the principles of psychology, it would be reasonable to ask if psychology itself can be considered a science. In attempting to evaluate the status of psychology, the American Psychological Association appointed Sigmund Koch to plan and direct a study which was subsidized by the National Science Foundation. This study involved eighty eminent scholars in assessing the facts, theories, and methods of psychology. The results of this extensive endeavor were then published in a seven volume series entitled Psychology: A Study of a Science. After examining the results, Koch concludes, ‘I think it by this time utterly and finally clear that psychology cannot be a coherent science.’ He further declares that such activities as perception, motivation, social psychology, psychopathology, and creativity cannot properly be labeled ‘science.’ He suggests, ‘As the beginning of a therapeutic humility, we might re-christen psychology and speak instead of the psychological studies.’ Sigmund Koch describes the delusion from which we have been suffering by thinking about psychology as a science: The hope of a psychological science became indistinguishable from the fact of psychological science. The entire subsequent history of psychology can be seen as a ritualistic endeavor to emulate the forms of science in order to sustain the delusion that it already is a science. Dr. Martin Bobgan, The Psychological Way/The Spiritual Way (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1979); p. 44
30.William James, “A Plea for Psychology as a Natural Science,” Collected Essays and Reviews, 1920. Quoted in Dineen, Manufacturing Victims; p. 140.
31. R. Todd Nance, God’s Truth, a paper delivered at the Apostolic Theological Forum, Houston, TX; 11/7/03.
32. Richard Ganz, Psychobabble: The Failure of Modern Psychology and the Biblical Alternative (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1993); p. 27
33. Larry Crabb advocates an integrated “tossed salad” approach and refers to biblical counseling (minus psychology) as “a non-thinking and simplistic understanding of life and its problems...[filled with] superficial adjustments while psychotherapists, with or without biblical a better job than the church of restoring troubled people to more effective functioning.” (Understanding People [Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1987]; pp. 54-58,129). Paul Meier and Frank Minerth operate a clinic in Dallas which has utilized Freudian principles. An example: “Whenever a battered wife comes seeking advice and consolation because her husband beats her up twice a week, our usual response is, ‘Oh, really? How do you get him to do that?’ In all the scores of cases of this nature that we have analyzed in depth, there was only one case in which the battered wife was not provoking (usually unconsciously) her explosive husband until he reached the boiling point (of course, this does not diminish the husband’s responsibility). After a beating, the husband usually feels very guilty and spoils his wife for several weeks. In the meantime, she is getting from people around her the sympathy which she craves, and she is satisfying her unconscious needs to be a masochist.” When these “Christian psychologists” say that “she is satisfying her unconscious needs to be a masochist,” they are demonstrating their attachment to Freudian ideas. Freud coined the term masochism.” (Happiness Is A Choice [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House 1978]; 96,97). The Baker Dictionary of Psychology defines masochism as “a sexual disorder in which the individual derives satisfaction from the infliction of pain upon himself.” Placing the blame on a woman for being battered because of “unconscious need to be a masochist” encourages self-blame for the woman and diminishes full responsibility on the part of the man. For more information about integrating psychology with Christian theology, see chapter four (“Strange Bedfellows”) in The Couch and the Cross, by the author, published by Advance Ministries, Willis, TX.
34. The September 16, 1996 issue of Christianity Today, page 77, provided a telling graphic to accompany an article entitled The Roots and Shoots of Christian Psychology concerning Christian psychology practitioners. This graphic shows a tree with branches bearing the names of some of the well known psychological integrationists, including Larry Crabb and Dan Allender on the “Spiritual Seekers” branch, James Dobson and Norm Wright on the “Family/Marriage” branch, Frank Minirth, Paul Meier, Stephen Arterburn and Robert McGee on the “Clinical Care” branch, Neil Anderson and James Friesen on the “Dissociative Disorders” branch, Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller on the “Self-Esteem” branch, and Newton Maloney and Richard Dobbins on the “Pastoral Counseling” branch. Right at the base of the trunk are inscribed three names: Clyde Narramore (considered to be the father of the “Christian psychology” movement), Paul Tournier (universalist), and Karl Menninger (non-Christian). The roots, labeled “Secular & Humanistic Pioneers,” include Carl Rogers, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Abraham Maslow, B. F. Skinner, and Virginia Satir, all of whom opposed Christianity, with at least the first three involved in blatant occult practices. Each of these “roots” had strong metaphysical beliefs that comprised their unbiblical, anti-Christian belief systems. While promoted as scientific, these theories and teachings are religions rather than science. What kind of tree is this, with occult and secular humanistic religious roots? It is clear that the roots are ungodly. Is this a tree from which Christians should eat? Or does it more resemble “the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9)? Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire (Matthew 7:15-19). False teachers can be found in pulpits, or they might be in offices marked “psychologist.” We must remember that it is through the roots that a tree is nourished and has its life flow. “If the root be holy, so are the branches” (Romans 11:16), but if the root is unholy, so are the branches. It is the seed which produces the root, and it is the seed which ultimately manifests the tree’s true identity: the fruit. The seed will produce “after its kind” (Genesis 1:24,25).
35. Perhaps a few pastors do refer some “hard cases,” for which they have insufficient time, to professionals. I have yet to hear one pastor say that such persons returned whole, or that they were cured, or that they found the answers, or that they were now able to function in a spiritual capacity and manifest rational thinking whereas they were not before.
36. If 2 + 2 = 4 is truth, is 2 + 2 = 5 error? If so, is all error the devil’s error? Perhaps the philosophers could tumble that around and come up with an answer for us.
37. Actually, Einstein’s theory concerning the constitution of energy is less than absolute. Light only travels 186,000 mps only in a vacuum. Certain forces can alter that “truth.” For example, heat or gravity can alter the speed of light.
38. What is true in a theoretical or scientific sense may be of little significance in the therapeutic sense.
39. Such a label may help the uninitiated feel good about embracing certain ideas that are put forth by the agnostic teachers and Christian integrationists.
40. Perhaps how and by whom truth is used or misused has a bearing on its impact.
41. As Todd Nance explains: “Truth is the correspondence between God’s mind and reality, the actual reality of things from God’s perspective. Something can be true without being Truth [such as] 2 + 2 = 4, but it is not elevated to the level of Truth, at least not scripturally. Truth in Scripture is elevated. Something true on the other hand, such as the speed of light, has a context. Generally, the speed of light is consistent [but] there are places in space where space bends, e.g. black holes [where] light not only bends, it disappears into the black hole and cannot escape. This can be seen at what is called the event horizon. Here is the point, Newtonian physics was true and is still true within a certain context. His laws of gravity work, most of the time, but there are places where they do not work. For something true to become Truth it would have to agree completely with God’s estimation of its value.” R. Todd Nance, God’s Truth, a paper delivered at the Apostolic Theological Forum, Houston, TX; 11/7/03.
42. Some have bought the line that habits and manifestations of abnormal, unsavory or non-traditional behavior represent “diseases” of the mind to be treated with psychotropic medications. Psychiatrists throw labels around until they convince lawmakers and public officials that they are legitimate diseases (alcoholism, drug abuse, et al.) so they can get insurance to pay for treatments. “If you take medicine for problems below the neck, what is the difference in taking medicine for problems above the neck (meaning the brain/mind)?” That’s like comparing apples and oranges.
43. Those who are interested can find her book, The Healing Light, at most any New Age bookstore.
44. For those who may doubt the occultic roots and historic association of psychology with the occult, a glance at the magazine Psychology Today will confirm it. Many of the articles reveal this fact, but the advertisements are weighted to appeal to those who lean toward to mysticism and the occult. They know their clientele. I have other books, not necessarily written from a Christian perspective, that describe the association of psychology and the occult.
45. For further confirmation of this fact, see Dave Hunt, America: The Sorcerer’s New Apprentice (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1986), later titled The New Spirituality; also Dave Hunt, Occult Invasion (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1998)
46. Gary Sweeten, The Theology of a Caring, Equipping Community (Cincinnati: Christian Information Center, 1989); p. 36 Quoted in Ganz, Psychobabble...; p. 62,63
47. Paul Meier and Frank Minirth, Happiness Is A Choice (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979); p. 97. Quoted in Ganz, Psychobabble...; p. 63
48. David Seamands, Healing for Damaged Emotions (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1988); p. 19 Quoted in Ganz, Psychobabble...; p. 64
49. Ganz, Psychobabble...; p. 64
50. Larry Crabb, Inside Out (Colo. Springs: Navpress, 1988); p. 33 Quoted in Ganz, Psychobabble...; p. 63
51. Ganz, Psychobabble....; p. 69
52. David Powlison, “Does Biblical Counseling Really Work?”; Totally Sufficient, Ed Hindson and Howard Eyrich, editors (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1997); pp. 83,84.
53. For more information on psychotropic drugs, see “Psychiatric Drugs: The Bane of Our Generation” at Also recommended are these books: Breaking the Yoke of Spiritual Oppression, by Dale Anderson, and Your Drug May Be Your Problem by Dr. Peter Breggin. Both are available from Advance Ministries (
54. Jay Adams, A Theology of Christian Counseling (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Co., 1979); p. 43
55. According to Don Matzat, “The Intrusion of Psychology into Christian Theology,” Issues, Inc. Journal, 9/96, Vol. 1, No 9, p. 2, there are three vital biblical truths that define the purpose of preaching the gospel, the power of the gospel, and the gospel as the means whereby our Lord Jesus Christ comes to us. These three truths are presently being threatened or distorted by the intrusion of modern psychology into the Christian church. Let me first briefly share these three truths with you and then discuss how psychological theories and techniques have distorted them.
1. The message of the grace of God in Christ Jesus is proclaimed within the context of human sin and depravity. Martin Luther discussed this truth as the relationship between the Law and the gospel. He said that the key to understanding the gospel is a proper understanding of human sin. From his perspective, if you get sin wrong, you will get everything else wrong.
2. Sanctification or living the Christian life is the result of the gospel. Justification, my righteous position before God, and sanctification, my daily living before God, must be distinguished but never separated. The one is the cause of the other. The Christian life is not produced by psychological technique.
3. Scripture defines the manner in which our Lord Jesus comes to us and is sent among us. The Reformers spoke of the “means of grace,” and identified the gospel and the sacraments as vehicles whereby the living Christ is brought to us, offering to us the benefits of life and salvation. The Bible does not offer psychological mind-games as a “means of grace.”

56. Quoted in James R. Gray, “Be Faithful To God’s Truth,” Pulpit Helps, 12/05, p. 8
57. Ibid., p. 8
58. Don Matzat, “The Intrusion of Psychology into Christian Theology,” Issues, Inc. Journal, 9/96, Vol. 1, No 9, p. 10
59. Kilpatrick, Psychological..., p. 24
60. Ibid., p. 25 61. David Powlison, Totally Sufficient, Ed Hindson and Howard Eyrich, eds., (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1994); p. 72. I am sure that many would claim that they would not go so far as to adopt every psychological theory. Others have tried to integrate just a little leaven but not enough to spoil the whole loaf. What has been their success? How much error is too much? How much humanism is too much? How much deception is too much? Paul said, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9). History clearly reveals that Paul was correct. Who can say where we will stop? Where will the line be drawn and who will draw it? Which psychological theories will be approved? On what basis would such a decision be made? Each succeeding generation seems to go just a step or two farther in pushing the limits of doctrine and practice. When we get to where we are going, where will we be? Think about it. 62. Bulkley, Why Christians...Psychology, p. 238

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