I have been reading a series of books by Martin and Deidre Bobgan. I quote from one of their books and then I will try to contrast some of the psychological viewpoints with Biblical ones.
The Bobgans' main theme is that the church in general has forsaken the use of the Scripture and the Holy Spirit as the complete provision for the changes needed by sinful man, and substituted secular psychology in its place, or have tried to bolster what now appears to be "inadequate" Scripture with secular psychology!
It has so permeated the church in general that many pastors no longer feel able to counsel people, but instead send them to psychotherapists, who (whether Christian or secular) have adopted the methods of atheistic psychologists like Freud, Maslow, and others who reject the idea of sin, and blame man's ills on a variety of influences which have caused his errant behavior.
The best known and most widely followed psychologists were atheists! If they once knew God, they rejected Him and decided that man could lift himself by various means, and eventually develop to become his own God!
The Bobgans argue that a "Christian" who turns to secular psychology to help him with mental or behavioral problems is denying the efficacy of the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to straighten out a mixed up life, and is turning to man-made panaceas instead. They call this "Psychoheresy"!
(Read "Psychoheresy"; page 207)
GUILT: The psychologists and the Bible agree that the feelings of guilt must be taken care of. There is a great difference, however, in the way proposed to deal with them. The Bible says that sins, confessed and forgiven, are blotted out, and the guilt is gone! Secular psychologists say that there is no God, there is no such thing as sin, and you are not accountable for what you do - so just forget about guilt!
SELF/SELFISHNESS: The Bible says that the follower of Christ must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow. Further; Paul writes that the "Old man"/self/selfishness is to be crucified with Christ, and one is to consider himself dead to sin. Psychologists maintain that the highest goal for mankind is to be "fulfilled" - which I take to mean that self is to be fully satisfied and comfortable!
CAUSE OF UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR: The Bible says that man is fallen and sinful, and that the only remedy is through the blood of Christ, and the indwelling and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Psychologists say that unacceptable behavior (if they acknowledge such a thing) is the result of influences in early childhood, and that one is not responsible for his actions. One psychologist's therapy pattern is to take the individual back in his mind to early childhood, and have him face the things that made him angry. Then he is to vocalize that anger in what is called a "primal scream", thereby releasing him from the anger, and freeing him to better himself.
It is easy to see that much of that anger would be directed at the person's parents, for real or imagined failure to satisfy the person's needs. (The next step would be to realize that the parents were not responsible either! They did what they did because of what their parents did to them! You would have to take that all the way back to Adam - who evidently blamed God!)
LOVE YOURSELF: Even some "Christians" have fallen for the idea that when the Bible says that the second greatest commandment is, "Love your neighbor as yourself.", it means that before you can keep this commandment, you must learn to love yourself! This is right in line with the thinking of the secular psychologists. Actually, the Bible reveals that we already love ourselves too much. Paul wrote, "No one ever hated his own flesh." (Eph. 5:29) The only exception to this is probably brain damage, or the influence of drugs or demons, which cause one to mutilate his own body.
The intent of the Scripture, then, is that, since you already love yourself, your love for your neighbor should be at least equal to this.
SELF ESTEEM: The Bible teaches that one should keep a humble opinion of himself. In Romans 12:3, Paul wrote, "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought." and in Philippians 2:3, "...in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself." This is directly opposed to the mind set of psychologists, which has largely infiltrated the church, that we need to give our children the feeling that they are very important to God and to society!
Has it ever bothered you when you have heard someone say something like, "I am convinced that Jesus would have died for me, if I were the only one in need of salvation."?
This statement bothers me from two viewpoints. 1. It is an entirely hypothetical statement. Jesus died for the billions of people who have lived and needed salvation. It is fruitless to speculate upon such an impossible conjecture as to what might have been. 2. What is the object of such a conjecture? It appears to be merely an effort to bolster one's self esteem - to make him feel that he is special, worthwhile, and important - and thereby to make him feel good about himself. Is such a goal Scriptural?
In fact, the Scripture teaches that it is absolutely necessary for sinful man to humble himself, deny himself, crucify self, and admit that he is utterly dependant upon God in order to bring about the healing of his soul!
Finally, let me add one more observation:
MENTAL ILLNESS: In our day, all kinds of deviant behavior are blamed on mental illness, as if it might be cured by some therapy or drug. (The Bobgans argue that the mind is not a physical organ, which can be cured by some physical means.) I might point out that the human mind can come up with imaginations which are not based upon facts stored in the brain, and also can become creative in combining facts in a new way.
Anyway, one case in point, which I have observed in the classroom, is the "illness" called "attention deficit disorder". It has commonly been treated with the drug, ritilin. The drug does calm the child down, but his response in the classroom is something like, "Duh!" I have always thought that this disorder is caused - in most cases - by a lack of discipline in the home. Children have lately not been taught to sit still and listen, therefore they do not listen in the classroom. A great deal of this disorder could be cured if the "board of education" would early be applied to the "seat of learning", as others have advised! It used to be said, "Children should be seen and not heard". Not so, lately, to everyone's detriment!
My conclusion is: As Christians, let us depend upon the Scripture and the Holy Spirit, and not upon man-made philosophies which claim to cure the ills of the psyche!
Written by my father Retired Pastor Roy Dettwiler
These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.
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