The area of psychology is yet another battleground between fundamentalist Christianity and not only the secular world, but also modern evangelicals whom they already see as softening on "separation", traditional worship styles, doctrine and the Bible. Many evangelicals have long criticized psychology or "pop" psychology as taking away man's responsibility before God, and just making him into a helpless animal who can't control his desires, and therefore just needs to indulge them.
It is also accused of denying the Bible, and Christians are criticized for using it.
Jack Wyrtzen, in a letter to Christianity Today (8-93), responding to a couple of articles the magazine had done on psychology in the church, stated that all we need is a "dose" of 2 Tim.4:1-8, and "the Book, the Blood and the Blessed Hope". Another writer compared it to the "me-ism" in America society circa 1960-63 (the key period when many Christians saw this country as falling out of a godly past), and claimed it is "a symptom of biblical illiteracy and the neglect of personal sanctification through the fullness of the Holy Spirit".

Yet as with other areas, these conservative Christians will themselves be similarly criticized by even more conservative Christians. A whole "psychoheresy" confronting movement has sprung up in separationist fundamentalism. Leaders as conservative as James Dobson and Charles Stanley are criticized for using "psychological concepts", referred to as [other] "gospels". Even Hank Hanegraaf of CRI, who frequently criticizes society's emphasis on psychology rather than sin is criticized for publishing a book that supposedly uses psychological concepts. (An ad for a book criticizing him mocks his excellent exposé on certain aberrant hyper-charismatic movements: Counterfeit Revival, as "Counterfeit Survival" (Bobgan, Psychoheresy Awareness Ministries*), since this other book he publishes supposedly supports "unbiblical" methods of overcoming sin.)
If all of this weren't enough, Biblical Discernment Ministries"* ( criticizes Bob Jones III, (from the same brand of "Independant Baptist" fundamentalism that condemns "psychoheresy") because his wife so much as wrote some book about abuse. In fact, just about every other well known Christian leader, no matter how conservative, was listed in a series of "exposés" (for using psychology and/or "ecumenical leanings" --i.e. tolerant of Roman Catholicism) as if they were cultists or other aberrant leaders! (Hanegraaf's name appeared right next to Benny Hinn and Rodney Howard-Browne-- two of the people he exposes in Counterfeit Revival!) So here we have another issue, like music, Bible translations, and all these other matters of "separation", where people will always claim to be holier than the next guy, no matter how holy that next person already thinks he is.

All of these modern leaders are being accused of denying that "the Bible has all the answers" for, or is "sufficient" to solve all of man's problems, and therefore in practice, rejecting the authority or inerrancy of God's Word. This is based on 2 Pet.1:2 which states that God/Christ "has given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness". This is taken to mean that nothing but the Bible is ever to be used to solve problems. But as we will see, verses like this are actually being misapplied. Some of the critics advocate "Biblical counseling"*, where someone in the church counsels a struggling person rather than him going to see a therapist. I encountered many of these concepts in a Bible class on counseling (same institute and semester as the music class I discuss elsewhere). Just what is this "Biblical answer" they keep promoting?

*Even the "Biblical Counseling Movement" and its associated organizations is coming under fire from these two ministries. (the Bobgans were apparently once apart of the movement, but at some point turned against it). This due to BCM's usage of fee based service (legitimate concern) and calling the person being counseled a "counselee" and operating outside of the church building (petty issues). But as they all speak of a "biblical" method of counseling, they can still fit in the category of BCM.

While these critics say a lot of things that are true, I'm concerned that this "biblical counseling" is based on an overly simplistic view of counseling as our alternative to psychological therapy. The message is that a person's problems are just from his "sin" or "unholiness"; even the supposed 'mentally ill', or 'addicted', or people who "struggle" with certain sins, etc. So a brother counseling him needs only to just give the verses that pertain to their problems, (i.e. the "dose" of the "Book"), and it is up to him to obey what he has heard. Also to point to salvation (by "the Blood") and "promises" of rewards in Heaven ("the Blessed Hope"); which should be able to outweigh all of his early concerns and automatically heal him.
This is all summarized and epitomized in this statement (from a discussion addressing a skeptic's question of "Why won't God heal amputees"):

I have chronic pain from two failed back surgeries. There was a time in my life when massive doses of opioid pain medication would not relieve the pain. It was at that point in my life that I prayed that God would take my life. He did. He caused the old man to die and a new one to be born again. My life was never the same. I still have chronic pain. Now my pain reminds me of His sovereign grace and mercy. The pain that used to be the focal point in my life, is not the focal point anymore.... Jesus is. Jesus is so big in my life that pain is only a small part of it. Although the pain is still there, it is as if Jesus has become the pain reliever... as if He takes the pain for me. I am able to bear it. He has healed me.

This type of statement is prevalent in so many "testimonies", for both physical and emotional pain. (Making it sound like a learned cliché more than thought-out actual reality). God "makes the pain not matter"; that is, if you have really "given Him your life" as we see it defined here. The person's desire to physically die to relieve the pain is turned into the standard pun of changing the meaning of "death" from physical to spiritual ("the old man"). This actually implies that the degree of wanting to escape from certain pain (i.e. dying in order to be relieved) is a quality of unregenerate nature, which is suddenly "cured" by being born again ("the new life").
That's how this "testimonial" approach usually goes. "I gave my {life, pain, anger, sorrow, loneliness, lust} to Christ, and, "it no longer controls my life"! (While physical pain is what is mentioned in this particular example; when the subject becomes things such as "focal points", wanting to die, etc. we are entering the realm of mental and emotional pain, which is the sort of things people consult psychology for).

The crux of the paradox lies in the claim that Christ "takes" the pain from you, yet they'll admit that yes, you still feel whatever is ailing you, and it is "an uphill battle for the rest of your life", and, by "faith and not feelings" that you believe you are healed, and then, "miraculously", God "changes" your attitude.
Yet, we here sensationalize this, making it sound as if Jesus really does take the pain away; as if you actually wouldn't feel it anymore!
But then, when it doesn't work like that, we say it is not about feelings. "God's will for us is not the removal of pain" anyway, but "becoming like Him" (i.e. Christ, who suffered for us), many will add.
Since the "testimonies" talk about it no longer being the "focal point", then it sounds dismissive of the pain. Like telling the person "aaahh, pain really doesn't matter".

While this contradictory jargon is almost universal across modern Christianity, what's most alarming in the case of the old-line fundamentalists (and some others) criticizing psychology, is that this ends up being their sole replacement/alternative for therapy!
It is said to be "sufficient" to cure the problem. (And if you don't believe so, then you are denigrating the Bible and the Church).

Yet when Christ healed people in the Bible; they were actually cured of their ailment; not merely having their attitude or focus on it changed. He did not leave the ailment and claim freedom from pain did not matter, or was not His ultimate will. There is no scriptural basis for this new use of the concept of "healing". So while we may want to get the person to change his focus; we should not frame this up as Christ "taking" pain away, and then conclude from that, that the person doesn't need any other sort of help finding relief; or that he doesn't need any literal relief at all. As we will see, scriptures such as Paul's "thorn in the flesh" are appealed to in cases like this, but that is not saying that nobody ever needs relief (physical or mental) from anything.

The perfect example, of what's known as "simple biblicism", is where CRI cites the Bobgans as teaching

"To the prospective client whose goal is to overcome fear of the dark, the biblical counselor preaches that Jesus is the 'Light' (John 1:4-9) and that coming to Him in repentance to be saved opens the door to freedom from the fear of darkness."

No wonder therapy is so "wrong"! The "biblical answer" rejected by "psychologizers" is to just create a simple PUN, taking a spiritual METAPHOR, and conflating it with a literal STATE of something, and holding this up as "ALL he needs".
Let's spell this out for those who think nothing of this sort of "counsel". "Light versus darkness" is at first, a physical state, of space that is either filled with photons (which stimulate receptors in our eyes, which send signals to the brain, telling us an object is ahead of us, so we can "see" it), or is not. Since "darkness" tends to hide possible dangers (since we can't see what's before us), it had taken on a metaphorical meaning as something morally bad. Man had fallen into a state of guilt and shame, which he tried to hide, as he followed his instincts into behaviors that violated the divine Law. Men often tried to cover this up with "self-righteousness", usually by skewing the Law, or trying to substitute other acts they thought would "compensate" for their sin. This (and the entire "atmosphere" it created in human society) was called "darkness". Jesus was sent to clear all of this up, by providing the grace of forgiveness as the antidote to guilt and condemnation. He started by going after those self-righteous authority figures who opposed Him. So He was the "Light" (especially since He "issued forth" from God, who was the "Light", as the creeds point out).

The analogy with the physical universe wasn't even exact, because in space, "dark" is the absence of "light". Spiritually, "light" was the default state, as God was the eternal Being, and so "dark" was whatever was not of Him.

So to tell someone suffering with something like "fear of the dark" that "Jesus is the Light" and expect that to just cure their problem, is conflating two completely separate things! Their fear of the dark is likely not coming from any fear of spiritual darkness. Maybe they once got hurt in the dark, or something like that. Maybe someone once jumped out at them from the dark, and perhaps did something physically to them. (Which might be "spiritually dark" on the part of the attacker, but it's the victim being counseled).

You can tell them that since Jesus in the "Light", and He will take you to Heaven when you die, where you'll never have to worry about these things again, and that that's the "most important thing", then whatever you are afraid of in the dark (or anything else in this world) shouldn't matter. If we knew we were going to leave this world soon, that might be one thing. But after 2000 years, it's clear [since the promise of the "soon" event of NT prophecy is something that must have passed, since it is no longer "soon"] that anyone alive today has to LIVE in this world, for an unknown amount of time, and so a promise of "Heaven" does not solve any problem we face right now. It's something to look forward to and be thankful for, but it does not erase our problems. We are NOT THERE yet!
This approach is just dismissing people’s ongoing problems!

Another big "psychologizing" critic in the "Independent Fundamental Baptist" (IFB) circuit is David Cloud of "Way of Life", and the "O Timothy" magazine.
He cites an ES Williams, in this article: “Depression and the Bible”

A theme that runs through the Bible is that sin causes a troubled spirit, a guilty conscience, spiritual darkness and deep distress. The Lord warns Israel of the consequences of not obeying his laws. ‘The Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul. Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life’ (Deuteronomy 28:65-66).

The passage is God warning Israel about the captivity they would go into if they broke His Law. Where do we get the authority to expand this to us today, especially, once again, since we are not even under that Covenant, let alone the situation of being a physical nation whom God directly promised national blessing if they obeyed, and captivity if they disobeyed?

Of course, this undergirds the entire premise of old-line fundamentalism, because America has long been branded the new “chosen” nation blessed for its supposed “obedience” in the past, but now “cursed” for disobedience (including “humanistic psychology”, and I’ve seen where it always comes back to the “destruction of America”).
But get the catch, it’s everyone else’s disobedience! Those preaching this never think that they (with this combatative spirit, perhaps, or other sins they think don’t matter) might be part of the sin of the nation (as we see the prophets of Israel included themselves in their preaching). They’re following God; it’s everyone else that is ruining everything for all of us.

So in the same vein, Psalms 42 and 43 are used to claim: “Scripture teaches that the soul, the inner essence of each living being, is the seat of emotional suffering; it is not a chemical disturbance in the brain that causes a man to be downcast.”
The conclusion: “The message of Scripture is that the cure for emotional suffering does not lie in ourselves or in psychological counseling but in trusting the promises of God. God has created the soul of man, and God alone can heal a broken downcast soul.”

This is a short passage covering the despair of David’s “soul” from being in an enemy nation. Because the passage concludes “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God”, this all by itself, proves that “the soul” [with its "sin"] is the sole problem —for every man who ever lived, and NEVER chemicals in the brain. (Even though the brain is affected by substances, as drugs and alcohol prove as plain as day!)

It gets worse! On the Abundant Life, Christian "Victory" and our Responses to Suffering and Negative Emotions, page, I rhetorically ask "Should we tell children that have been molested (who generally have severe emotional damage, that many cannot recover from) that if God allowed this, then it must be good for them, and their hardship in dealing with it is just their own 'choice'?" One person from this general movement, Bill Gothard (known also for his anti-rock music arguments), actually comes very close to this! (First, he tries to establish with rape victims the possibility of their own guilt, in asking if they brought the attack on themselves through immodest dress, or "evil friends". Then), he takes this "all you need" rationale to suggest to (in a chart he has produced: Counseling Sexual Abuse) that they're actually better off, because of the "mighty in spirit" power they're "offered" from God, than if they had not experienced the attack, yet did not possess this power!
This right there should show something seriously wrong in this belief system! (Despite all of its proof-texting. Meanwhile, Gothard himself would eventually be accused of some sort of sexual indecency!)

Of course, this whole "all you really need" approach was likely taken from a woman asking Jesus about "water" and Him saying that "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst."(John 4:7) and telling people “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (6:37). CLEARLY, this is not "literal", else no "saved" person would ever have to eat or drink anything!
This of course, is when we'll get a split between the physical and the "spiritual". (Which shall be addressed again below). But Jesus isn't telling them they don't need those literal things, because "all they need" is the spiritual analogue! But that's what "BCM" and the Bobgans are demanding! So even if you label mental problems, depression, fears and anxiety, compulsions and other pain-driven behaviors, etc. as "spiritual", they are still tied to the physical world, and that includes even the "mental" workings of the brain!

These are just a few of the means of proof-texting critics have used to wage this "war" against psychology in and out of the Church! The rest are addressed at the bottom.

Nevertheless, it is then suggested that if the person receiving this "biblical" method of counseling still don't get over the problem, then they are just "harboring" the sin, and "God is not helping them". ("Don't try to help a person God is just not helping", said the teacher of the class). So therapy would be a waste of time anyway; they must just be "unwilling to change". Perhaps, they're not even saved or "spirit filled", or "right with the Lord", some will even speculate!

On the Bobgans' site, I see discussions of subjects like abuse, and while pain may not be an excuse for various actions (a wife refusing to "submit" to a husband, etc), still, in maintaining that point, pain is generally dismissed. Once again, sparing us from pain is not God's main concern, and such "pain" can be "good" for us in "bringing us closer to Christ".

You also see a distinction between "happiness" and joy, used a lot in Christian teaching on pain. Joy, the way it is usually defined by these teachers, basically ends up as an outward mask of "happiness" despite the circumstances or how you really feel inside. So they preach "joy", making it sound appealing to those who are unhappy in life, but it is really nothing like what it sounds like.

The basis of the criticism actually denies the full extent of sin as much as it criticizes psychology for the same

While we're trying to safeguard against secular humanistic psychology's denial of sin and responsibility, we actually deny sin with such simplistic judgments that disregard the complexity of many problems in people's lives. It's like we actually have not quite grasped the extent of the Fall and sin on man's mind. We just place everything on the "wicked heart", which suggests that all our problems are totally our "wrong choices" based on our emotions or fleshy desires.
Their whole basis for this is that since "psyche" means "the soul", then "psychological problems are 'soul problems', and that is just sin". That is ultimately true, but this still does not imply the oversimplistic "answers" they advocate, nor is all of this "sin" necessarily even the fault of the one with a particular problem. (e.g. take a victim of abuse).

Sin is an effect of the Fall, and it has spread to all, both in the form of a person's own commission of sins, as well as others' sins as they affect a person, plus the general "travailing" state of the universe. To deny these other realities, and how they affect the soul, is to deny "sin" as something one is born into, and make it only something one "chooses" to do, (which they hypothetically could have always chosen not to do)!
These Fundamentalists should remember how angry they got at secular education for teaching that homosexuality, alcoholism and other sins were caused by cultural conditioning or mental or physical imbalance rather than because of sin; and now they themselves are teaching that it's just the "conditioning" or "imbalance" of a wrong heart, (not necessarily a fallen nature) as if the person could have chosen otherwise! Once again, this is an attempt to maintain a person's guilt for failing in his responsibility before God, but as always, fundamentalists cross the line into actually expecting man to be good.

The critics' philosophy and testimonials are based on a highly misleading premise that Christ "takes" pain away from the sufferer, supposedly rendering therapy unnecessary. However, this is really just a change in attitude towards it, not actual relief, and should not be mandated as a sole replacement.

People even teach that "all mental illness is a choice"! Others put down the idea of "struggling" with sins, as if they themselves have already won the race; as if they are completely beyond any problems with sin in their own lives. The class material had set up a completely fair world where everyone who is suffering stress and emotional problems is only "reaping what they have sown", and suggested that perhaps a person we look at with a stable life must have done right. Not only does this deny the very scriptures the class had cited elsewhere regarding tribulations ("pressure") for the godly, AND thus the testimonies of the apostles, prophets and the Lord Himself (see for example, Elijah in 1 Kings 19:3,4, Jesus in Mark 14:33, 34, and of course Job) but it's also the very basis of the heretical health & wealth teaching (also condemned, rightly so, by this segment of fundamentalism). You gain earthly "blessings" or "peace" by "serving God" (in the case of the health & wealth gospel, giving money to ministry; in the case of "biblical counseling" teaching, being obedient to God, holy, separated, faithful in Church, etc).

And this is potentially a tremendous source of pride to the counselor who "has it all together", and thinks he must be doing everything right, and is justified in being cold and not having to be bothered with the troubled person because he's "willfully sinning", deserving his plight, forsaken by God because of his sins, etc. (And he is therefore relieved of any guilt from his prospering while others suffer; or from his sins in general, which apparently can't be that bad if God is "blessing" him so). It is essentially teaching people to be self-righteous "Job's-friends". And we see what God had to say about them!

So an article in a 1998 Christianity Today aptly called this the "emotional health gospel": (Dwight L. Carlson, "Exposing the Myth that Christians Should not have Emotional Problems" 2-9-98, p.29). "The emotional health gospel assumes that if you have repented of your sins, prayed correctly, and spent adequate time in God's Word, you will have a sound mind and be free of emotional problems". To do this, it will "redefine mental illness as 'spiritual' or as character problems". It is "communicated by some of our most listened-to leaders", and "needlessly adds to the suffering of those already in turmoil".

The first thing to pop up in critics' minds at this point will probably be 2 Tim.1:7: "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind". But "sound mind" there is actually "sophronos" which means "discipline", and while the psychology critics are trying to ward off, among other things, excuses for lack of discipline, we are not justifying that. The issues psychology address are the internal distress people suffer, which may influence them to be undisciplined, but might not, necessarily, either. Remember, these critics deny all mental illness, as well as every other psychological problem lesser than that. But this scripture is not teaching that if one has the Spirit, all such "non-physical" problems will just disappear, supernaturally. It is saying that the Spirit will not give us an unsound mind, or fear and other problems like that, of course. But if the problem already exists, and especially if it is deep-rooted, God does not instantly zap it away, as their teaching would suggest; and they know it good and well, as they reject charismaticism, which often makes such claims of "miracle" healing (including mental/psychological).
But taking a simplistic "dose" approach, the critics' philosophy basically implies a near-perfection which God has not granted anyone in this age (at least not anyone who can be readily observed), no matter how much people claim to be following, or even "filled with" the Spirit.

To be sure, the Bible says that ongoing sin hinders our prayer (1 Peter 3:7, James 1:6,7, Isaiah 59:2, Psalms 66:18). But that does not mean that a person's circumstances become the telltale sign of his relationship with God. (see Matthew 5:45) This was the mistake made by Job's friends, Jesus' disciples and others (Luke 13:1-5, John 9:1-3), and the prosperity preachers. And the "blessings" for obedience aren't necessarily a stable life, but rather the knowledge that one in the Lord's will, plus mainly Heavenly rewards.
Such a fair world as suggested by these people denies the Fall, and justifies people by their works to boot. So we actually end up treating sin as ACTIONS, rather than a condition, and this denies the doctrine of sin at its root.

When we say that therapy is nonsense because all problems can be solved by quoting "doses" of scripture —unless the person just doesn't want help; what it basically comes down to is that man is basically OK; all having the same mental and emotional capabilities; only some just want to do wrong, and psychology is just "justifying" it with their pleas of insanity. If you think this is exaggerated, look at the fact that they criticize terms such as "dysfunction". But to reject dysfunction is to suggest that we are functioning the way we are supposed to! How can one maintain a position like that, and then criticize everyone else for "denying the Bible" and its teaching on "sin"?

Also further supporting this observation, remember that many of these fundamentalists are heavily influenced by revivalist Charles Finney. Look at his statement in "justification by faith" at

"When the sinner talks about his sinful nature as a justification...he in fact charges God foolishly, and accuses him of giving him a sinful nature, when in fact his nature, in all its elements, is essential to moral agency, and God has made it as well as it could be made, and perfectly adapted to the circumstances in which he lives in this world."

He forgets that man FELL, and this CORRUPTED man's nature. Now he boldly claims:

"The truth is, man's nature is all right, and is as well fitted to love and obey God as to hate and disobey him."

With this in mind, you wonder what in the world was all the fuss the past century from fundamentalists (largely his followers) about secular humanists and certain Christian psychologists "saying that man is basically good" or "replacing sin with low self-esteem". This is precisely what Finney is suggesting, with the only difference being that the teaching of "self-esteem" does not really involve moral guilt, but Finney's teaching does. That's what it's all about. This is why his followers today overlook his gross error; their main focus is to place as much guilt on man as possible, by any means necessary, and Finney does this exactly as they wish.
But God does not give us this task, especially when it involves denial of clear scriptural teaching, and distortion of the Gospel. It's His Spirit that is responsible for convicting the world of sin! But this would perfectly explain why revivalistic fundamentalists have expected man to be so good (as in all of their preaching condemning the world for being sinful as if they expected otherwise), and think themselves to have achieved this goodness.

Finney's statements might have been aimed foremost at the Calvinist doctrine of "total depravity" (inability to choose Christ before regeneration), but it still has apparently spread to people's view of sanctification after regeneration. While Calvinists may be wrong in assuming that man's "helplessness" means God must hand-select all who shall be saved while having passed by all others (ignores that there is a drawing by God towards all), still they do have a great point in criticizing the philosophy of these leaders, which greatly overestimates man's power of "choice".

The people condemning all psychology generally take a purely mechanical view of sanctification, as evidenced by their claims that if we preached more hellfire, or if children read the Ten Commandments or prayed in public school, or if we only listened to classical or traditional music, we would not have all of this sin in society or the Church today.

So rather than a real "personal sanctification through the Spirit", what they are advocating in practice is a counterfeit "sanctification", which is really "will worship" (Col.2:23) through conformity to a combination of rules and fear tactics; much of it not even biblical. (Amazing they can accuse anyone else of "counterfeits"!) It is basically "works righteousness"; even though what the Bible really teaches is "by the works of the Law shall no flesh be saved" (Gal.2:16), and that's not even counting the multitude of rules that are not even apart of God's Law!). Such a mechanistic mindset is ironically what has largely shaped the very teachings and methods of new-evangelicalism the old-liners condemn, including Christian psychology, as we shall see shortly.

And this perfectionistic spirit even comes out in our attitudes. Often, when people question the salvation of some troubled person (supposedly for having "no fruits"), their whole mind-set is (as one person even put it to me) "I have to bear responsibility for my actions...[as if "I'm doing such a good job of keeping sin out of my life, that's why I'm so well"] how dare you let some [supposedly] 'mentally ill' or 'emotionally disturbed' person off so easily!" Just look at the self-centeredness/pride and even envy behind this.

So we see, in denying any non-physical problems and claiming all "soul problems" are just "sin", basically, what their message comes down to is "I'm doing well, and of a sound mind because I made all the right choices, and you're having problems because you made wrong choices". This may be true in some cases, but it is still too generalistic, and greatly exalts the person saying it.

Then, to add God to this, as in the claim of "God not helping people" if they haven't made the right choices; what we end up with is basically: "God helps those who help themselves". This is one of the most popular clichés of both modern secular humanism as well as watered-down religion, and any Christian leader who utters this would understandably be ripped apart by the separatists. Yet they do not realize how they are teaching the same exact thing, but in different words! There is no apparent room in this for the grace of God ("common" or otherwise, even though they throw verses about God's "grace" being "sufficient" at others).

So the Calvinistic charge that salvation being by our choice "exalts man" as "saving ourselves" sticks as well, as it would be consistent given such a focus on "choice". (And one big irony is that BDM and some others appear to be Calvinistic. So you wonder what excuse they have for accepting let alone defending such a Pelagian view of sanctification! Probably the Calvinistic "script" model of salvation, where God treats man as if he does have choice when he really doesn't outside of His regeneration).

Man does not have any intrinsic power over sin. He is influenced by environmental factors, though this may not justify any sins he may commit. But this doesn't mean that every problem he has is caused by some "sin" of his own. He can call out to God for His power, and then, it is still a long struggle, and no one has attained perfection.

Was Christian history all well before the modern times?

Could it be that backward-looking fundamentalists are so against psychology because it EXPOSES the neurosis and emotional control of the old societal and religious order they defend (from secular society, which is reacting against it)? Old church leaders and other authority figures (parents, etc.) were often neurotic and they controlled by fear and emotional manipulation-- such as those preachers scaring everyone into line. (This will be discussed a bit more later, regarding the unconscious)
A third letter writer to CT had asked sarcastically "how did the Church ever survive for over 19 centuries without psychology, psychiatry, and therapeutic counseling?" Well, the institution of "the church" may have thrived during those centuries, but all was not well, neither psychologically nor even spiritually as people assume.
Perhaps one of the reasons people turned to psychiatry is because of this.

Psychology exposed all of this, and those who defend the old order don't like it. It is a much less glamorous rendering of America's history and its modern state than the common conservative claim that this was a 'godly Christian nation' that was destroyed by the Left in the last half-century. (This focus on "the nation" we can often see echoed by the psychoheresy hunters). This is another systematic denial of the Fall, virtually placing it in 1960's America, or the Enlightenment, or whichever era one feels culture was lost, rather than in the Garden of Eden.

And even those who do acknowledge the sin in the secular society of the past, still romanticize the history of the Church in America. BDM, for instance, criticizes the "Myth of Christian America" held by other conservatives just like I do, but still seems to portray all of these "psychologizers" and other "compromisers" coming in as corrupting the Church; as if it was pure until recent times. The Christianity of Spurgeon and Edwards and the Puritans seems to be the ideal pure faith upheld by such teachers, which they see as having been destroyed by modern "compromise".
To deny "dysfunction" is to suggest we are all FUNCTIONing the way we were supposed to, which denies the Fall
The more "Arminian" revivalists (such as most of the rest of the critics) also like Spurgeon and Edwards, and would add the likes of Sam Jones and Finney to that as well.

But all of these men or movements, while emphasizing a lot of biblical truth, still added a lot of errors, many of which are championed in this dispute as truth; especially all the fearmongering (preaching Hell at believers in Church until they clenched their seats, etc), and the control, overbearing dominance, heavyhandedness, meanspiritedness, coldness; and then often the tolerance, condoning, or looking the other way with sins such as colonialism, slavery, racism and sexism.

Much of the world and and even Church today are reacting against all of this. Because the reaction may cross a line into unbiblical teachings does not mean that we then hold up the Christianity of the past as the ideal that people are to be denounced for not following. But that is what ministries like BDM and other separationists always seem to point to.
All of the scriptures they use on the "apostasy" (falling away) in the Church, which they apply to today, were beginning right then as the apostles wrote. Of course, they will admit this was the corruption that led to the Roman Catholic Church, one of their other major objects of criticism. But while this is basically true, still, it is incorrect to think that the Protestants, or a certain segment of Protestants, such as the Puritans or Baptists, got it completely right, and thus restored the Biblical faith. They continued some of the errors of the historical Church, and added some new ones of their own.

Secular psychology does go too far in concluding that God is the problem, ("crutch for the weak", "control tool",etc.), but these critics won't separate what is bad about it from the truth that is in it. Their goal is just to exonerate the past and make it look good so they can demand that we go back to it. To do this, they must trash everything associated with modern society. This is why they see the hippies, educators, liberal politicians and other revolutionaries of the last century as culture-destroying enemies rather than as poor lost souls who were disoriented by the circumstances of the past (wars, hypocrisy of authority figures, etc.), even though they will still be held accountable for their sins. This is why even modern evangelicals who are coming to grips with reality are being trashed as compromising traitors of the Gospel. Undergirding all of this is the insistence that psychological reasons behind problems don't matter.

The Misguided philosophy and semantics behind the criticism

Therapy does not deny the Bible. The Bible is to make us wise unto salvation and godly living (2 Timothy 3:15, 16), but it is not even intended to be the magical cure for everything else. Just like quoting a scripture won't solve physical ailments.
The Bobgans respond to this "medical model" (as they call it) as taught by Carlson, with such titles as "Exposing the Myth that Christians Need Psychology" and "Why Christians Shoot their Bible" (after Carlson's Why Christians Shoot Their Wounded), where they argue that mental problems cannot be compared with medical (physical) problems. The assumption here again, is that all non-physical problems are "spiritual", and thus from the person's own sin (the "psuche" argument). But the Bible does not say any of that either. Though that is probably being overgeneralized from some passages.

People forget that the brain is a physical organ (how else could "the mind" be affected by substances such as drugs or alcohol?) It is affected by chemicals in the body, and it is well known that a lot of depression is from this. It is also affected by outside physical factors, such as injury, and even prenatal problems inside the mother's womb.

An example of how scriptures are torn out of their contexts and used to counter therapy is ES Williams' treatment of the Deuteronomy and Psalms passages discussed above. He concludes:

“The message of Scripture is that the cure for emotional suffering does not lie in ourselves or in psychological counselling but in trusting the promises of God. God has created the soul of man, and God alone can heal a broken downcast soul.”
God also created the body, but people like this (being “cessationists” who reject the claims of “faith healers”) generally do not believe He heals the body without any human intervention.

Even though he acknowledged “sorrow of the soul” and “adverse circumstances” as other causes of emotional suffering for believers; regarding nonbelievers, here again we see the assumption that all depression is something caused only by sin:

The medicalising of emotional suffering, by attaching a label of depression, means that an unregenerate sinner is not responsible for his miserable condition, for he is sick and in need of therapy. When a sinner is convinced that a chemical imbalance is the cause of his misery it is difficult for him to see his need for salvation.
(Notice, again, how it’s all wrapped up in “responsibility”, which is tied to “salvation”, made the cure for all emotional suffering”).
If some new evangelical types try to sell the faith to the world on the premise that “Jesus will make you happy” or otherwise “feel good”, these critics will quickly say that is wrong. But we see now where the new evangelicals got it from! All they did was dress it up a little more.

And then let’s not forget when non-Christians (and disillusioned Christians slipping away from the faith) throw it back at us when we’re still miserable, or at least mean-spirited! (The latter will often excuse this as “righteous anger against sin” or something; one site calls it “instant preaching”; but that’s not fooling anyone!) Then we say that’s “the devil” attacking us, but we’re giving him occasion; making ourselves big targets when we posture with these unrealistic ideals we judge others with.

So Williams then continues on with “the answer is to trust in the promises of God” with the “trials” mentioned by Peter and others as the “suffering, both physical and emotional, [that in a fallen, sinful world] are a part of the Christian life”, that God “allows his people to suffer for a while in order to prefect[sic], establish, strengthen and settle them” and “that joy may be the outcome of suffering and sorrow for Christ’s sake”.
This is exactly what the new evangelicals (who add therapy) claim.

So the criticism is strictly about “adding some other technique” then, which supposedly renders it “insufficient”. But the sufferings of most people today are not the “trials” discussed in Scripture. So most of those “promises” were made to them in their particular situations.

The immediate example being this Psalm. Where do we get from “When you, soul [of DAVID], are distressed in from being in an enemy nation, I will praise God…” (and all of this under the promise of eventual victory over the physical enemies), the conclusion “All of our emotional problems today are from our sins, (or [for believers] God ‘testing’ us), and never any chemical or other problem”?

Since David had distinct specific “promises” regarding his military battles, how does this translate to us? If we were damaged by abuse (the “sin” of someone else), just believe that God is going to roast that person in Hell, and that’s supposed to give us “joy” and heal us? Or, just the old standby of “you’ll forget all your pain now in Heaven”.
But we still have to for now live in this world with our problems, and they don’t just go away with some simple formula, even if it’s one that appeals to “God”.

As I’ll emphasize more later, this actually turns Scriptures into a form of psychological therapy. Even if you insist it is God doing the “healing”.
And no less than with modern charismatics (yet another group they condemn), God is like an “energy source” we “tap into” —in this case, to heal all our psychological problems!

So it looks like their approach to “a broken downcast soul” that comes to them will be a very cold one, simply telling them of their need to repent and get right with God (By following His Laws, including the “laws” of spiritual health and growth).
So of course, they will be forced to explain why the “promises” alone didn’t heal any person it happens to not work for by further judging the person suffering. Just like the “health and wealth” teachers do!

Now here, we see the real threat of psychology; —to the power base:

In conclusion we should understand that the secular view of depression, by medicalising emotional suffering, has removed it from the spiritual arena and the influence of the church. This means that many people with emotional suffering are being referred to psychotherapists and psychiatrists and not pastors and church elders.

But to try to put psychological problems “in the arena” of “the influence of the church” turns the church and the Gospel then into a competing “spiritual” enterprise along with all the other forms of “spirituality”!

The Gospel is the account of how man fell into shame and separation from God, through the “knowledge of good and evil” (such leaders vehemently insist on MORE of such knowledge as the cure, and less of it as the sole cause of all problems), and God’s remedy of salvation through Christ’s work (not our own “choices” to believe the right teachings, follow the right practices and develop the right attitudes to life —already this sounds like the Buddhist “Eightfold Path”!)
While this should give us a “peace” and lack of “anxiety” over salvation, it never even claims to solve all or really any of our other problems! It should remove the primal shame before God, but a lot of other things cause depression, emotional pain, etc.

The teaching of both [most] new evangelicals and especially old-line fundamentalists turns this on its ear by having “Bible principles” heal our pain from daily circumstances (with therapy simply as an aid, in the former camp), and if we aren’t achieving this, then we should be anxious about whether we’re really saved [hence, the "depressed" person assumed to "need" salvation, regeneration, etc.] or at least “pleasing God”, “filled with the Spirit”, etc. or not! 1 Peter 5:6-7 (where the frequently leveled "give your problem to God" is derived from) has even been cited as proof “Jesus heals depression”. It reads:
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

Nowhere does this say anything about healing depression. The previous chapter is where he mentions suffering “as a Christian” rather than “as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody”. So like other passages, it deals with persecution for the faith.
Even this must be kept in the context of the fact that people, looking for a “kingdom” where they were free from oppression, looked at suffering as a sign of people punished by God for sins. Well, if you’re committing those other things, then it could possibly be true, and you have a problem. But if you’re being “punished” for being a Christian, obviously you’re on God’s side, and the persecutors are in the wrong. No need to worry about being in trouble with God. Nowhere does this suggest that people today suffering “depression”, and all the other effects of the mundane problems we face, are to be happy for the suffering. (Which is the basis of the claim Jesus “heals” it).

Many teachers actually hold losing a job, house, relationship or health to be the “suffering” described in this passage and elsewhere, and if you don’t “get with the program” (by “changing your attitude”), then it’s seen as rejecting God’s “promises” and not “submitting”. So of course, when you’re left with “depression”, it’s because of your “sin”, and you simply didn’t “tap into the power” offered you. Jesus would “heal” it if you simply made the “choice” and “followed the ‘steps’”. Such contextualization is the basis of this entire crusade these critics are waging against other Christians!

Most people believe physical pain is apart of the “fallen” world, so why is psychological (i.e. “soul”) pain set apart, as being supernaturally healed only?
Much of "old-time" Christianity is influenced by a dualist view, of a "soul/spirit" trapped in a body (regarded as "the flesh") that it is otherwise completely separate from. (This is the "pagan philosophy" they should be more concerned with avoiding than psychology!)

Meanwhile, one person defending the Bobgans on a blog stated, regarding "attention deficit disorder":

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!
This sums up the simplistic approach by the critics. They speak completely from a lack of knowledge, based solely on their generalized assessment of modern society compared with the supposed "virtues" of the past. Here is an assumption, that every child that has ADD, simply was not "disciplined". Have these people been in every household with such a child? Some children who have those problems simply needed to be taught to sit and be quiet. But others have been found to have a genuine inborn problem. This diagnosis is not part of a conspiracy to destroy society or the Church! I myself have seen parents discipline children we believe have these types of problems, and the children still cannot concentrate on things, or stop being restless. You can beat the child all you want (as they seem to be suggesting here), but it will not change them. Then when that doesn't work, I guess it is blame secular TV, music and education. Or, if we have faithfully kept our household "separated" from those things, I guess we will be left to conclude that this child must have the devil in him, or something like that. Then what? If the solution is only that he needs to be beat even more, it may reach of level of physical abuse and violence, and this has often been done, making the news, even, in the name of Christ, and of supposedly ridding the devil. What a testimony! Or I guess, just throw him out! I myself seem to have Adult ADD, and it is not simply me "choosing" not to discipline myself, or making excuses for some sin!

BDM even criticizes the "victimization term 'alcoholism' in place of the Biblical term 'drunkenness'". Another claims "'alcoholic' puts the problem on the alcohol; i.e. 'external' to the person, while 'drunk' puts the sin squarely on himself". Here it gets into complete semantics. A person gets "drunk" from "alcohol". The word alcohol was not used in older translations of the English Bible. But it's the same thing.
One reason why one word has taken prominence now, is because we think of "drunkenness" in terms of particular time periods of being drunk, while "alcoholism" describes the general problem over time. A person who has a problem with alcohol is not drunk every minute of his life. But he is an alcoholic every minute of his life, as long as he has a problem. So the meaning of the word is actually stronger than the old "drunk"! But of course, the old word sounds harsher, and the old-line separatists' whole philosophy is using harsher words to try to shake the sinner up unto repentance, as I discuss at [Rightwing.html]: The Entire Message of Radical Fundamentalism"; and as always, that the old-time society was always right in what it said and did, and modern society always wrong. But this is an unbiblical means of man's own devising, even if you may think it "worked" in earlier revivals (perhaps the later rebellion is the proof that it ultimately didn't really work!)

Part of the problem here is that there have been too many would-be Elijah's and not enough of Jesus in the Church. He never rebuked any of the people "wallowing in sin" like that, but gently instructed them to repent. Instead; the tough approach was always reserved for the religious leaders! What a reversal! We are not looking unto the Author and Finisher of our faith! (only using His name), but rather doing things diametrically opposite from Him. We are more influenced by Spurgeon, Edwards, Finney, Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Billy Sunday, etc. and the "old time religion" associated with them, but even these men and their Christianity must be measured by the standard of Jesus; not used to define it!

Another irony we see here is that these critics are accusing their bretheren of being "worldly", but you actually see the same denunciation of "psychobabble" from the basest segments of "the world". People who study psychology are educated. But when you try to explain things like ADD or Asperger's syndrome (or any such newly discovered concept) to many of the uneducated "average Joes" hanging in the bars or on secular internet bulletin boards or whatever, they scoff and mock it too. They, just like the religious separatists, do not want to hear any such "excuses" for behavior they cannot understand; they just want to judge the person as "weird" or "crazy", and here now comes the old-line Christian 'psychoheresy'-hunter taking the same exact attitude, but only changing the term "crazy" to "willfully sinning", and try to use the Bible to support this.
Still, it is amazing how those who eschew "the world" so much, end up acting so much like them! I repeat, we are not looking to the Author of our faith! Perhaps, once again, they are the ones denying the full extent of "sin"!

The simplistic approach of the psychology critics is summed up in an assumption that all non-physical problems are from the person's own sin; and a mechanical view of sanctification that says (among other things) that all children with attention problems only need to be beaten; more hellfire needs to be preached, etc. All of this denies sin more than psychology does

And if therapy is wrong because of "the world's terms" (sessions, techniques, dysfunction, co-dependent; as the lessons claimed), then why does the church have "boards", "staff", and "incorporation", and the leaders submit "resumes", are "hired", receive "salaries" and "retire"? Many terms we use are not in the King James Bible. Basically, the whole criticism is because the concepts of psychology were created outside of the "Christian" paradigm of the past. But if there's no "dysfunction", then once again, there's no Fall!

Likewise, if we can't use any term or concept that was ever used by "pagans"; why not follow the "sacred name" type groups, who point out that "God", "Jesus" and the Christian holidays are of pagan origin, and insist only on the Hebrew "YHWH", "Y'shua", and Jewish holy days. Some offer a completely religiously sanitized Bible"Book of YHWH" where all gentile elements are removed. I've seen one letter writer to a magazine make an issue of the word "hermeneutics" because it is derived from the god Hermes! All of our days of the week and some of our months are named after pagan gods. "Thursday" is "Thor's day", for instance! Why didn't we rename them (like the language of Portuguese did for the days) if we are to avoid all non-Christian terminology? (Also, the Hebrew month names are of Babylonian origin ("Tammuz", etc), yet God used them for the Israelites).

There is also a "Geocentric" website actually arguing for the old earth-centered view of the universe; based on a "literal reading of the Bible" as "sufficient in scientific knowledge", and thus revisiting a lesson the Church should have learned in the past, when it argued this issue and persecuted people over it as denying the Bible.

It's just another strain of "one-upmanship", as discussed in the rightwing.html page; especially when you make the progression from evangelical psychologists who blast "secular humanism", and then the BCM criticizes Christian psychology for compromising, then the Bobgans criticize BCM for compromising, BDM disagrees with even the Bobgans on some issues, and then a person named Darwin Fish ("A True Christian") breaks away from BDM because they still accept the Bobgans as saved, and this person says anyone who believes the least thing wrong is lost! Who is right, then? This should show you the mindset of these teachers.

While it is true that many psychoanalytic beliefs, principles and methods are contrary to the faith, and that therapy often might financially be a ripoff, still as in most issues, the baby is thrown out with the bath-water.

Misapplied scriptures

And still, even with "the Book, the Blood, and the Blessed Hope", there is usually no quick healing. Many counselors cite the scriptures to the suffering that "His grace is sufficient" (2 Cor.12:9), and "all things work together for good for those called according to His purposes (Rom.8:28)" which are taken to mean "you were saved from a fate far worse than whatever you are suffering now (Rom.8:18), so you have nothing to be discontent about". Then, the counselor himself will get very impatient fast if the counselee doesn't get over his anger or bitterness, leading to the conclusions that perhaps this person doesn't want help; is "unsanctified", etc. But more compassion is called for than this.

Basically, a whole philosophy has been set up from this, which actually promotes coldness to the suffering! "Feelings" are always dismissed, in favor of "faith"; and the referrals to Jer.17:9 suggest that the "wicked heart" is making what is really "good" seem bad; or as we call it; "painful". (The context says nothing about reaction to pain. And while our hearts can possibly exaggerate sometimes, still, our feelings are not 100% wrong 100% of the time!)
Then, we are told, "it is by faith in God's Word that you know that you can handle it, even if you don't feel like you can". Of course, since it is through "faith" we are saved, and without which "no man can please God" (Heb.11:6) and whatever is not, is sin (Rom.14:23; some more verses often used in these situations); we see the warrant to question the sufferer's salvation for not getting over it or at least changing his attitude toward it.
Many do not go this far, but instead dismiss them as "Carnal Christians" who are "not filled with the Spirit".

It has been widely speculated across Christendom that the purpose of pain in the first place is that "without it, we wouldn't need to 'trust God'". But here, "faith", which was the vehicle through which we trust God for salvation, is taken and applied to something it never was directly intended for: "trusting God" now becomes a philosophy of positive attitudes in life (as much as fundamentalists may claim to reject this) with some unknown "good" being what we trust Him for! Or if we think we know the cause of the "trial", we speculate that "God is trying to show you something"; "God is trying to get your attention"; "God is trying to 'bring you closer to Him'", etc.

So if he still says he can't handle it; then we got him! See; he doesn't want God's help! It's his human pride". He is "exalting himself above God", we even hear! He (or the psychologist accepting his feelings) is denying sin; since our sin is what made us deserve so much pain in the first place (recall; we were spared from so much worse, and this is why we should be happy in the "trial" we get in place of Hell in the first place). Thus, (to some) he is possibly not even saved or sanctified! So of course any "mental illness" that may be connected with the problem is said to be a "choice" of the person's own sinful doing!

It is the same basic argument as the physical health gospel: "not enough faith"! Basically, the formula goes like this:

1)We are sinners, therefore we "deserve" pain, or it is "good" for us (the saved) to cleanse us
2)The circumstances of life are the vehicle through which God sends us some of this pain (yet is obviously withholding most of it for us, and gives "no more than you can bear")
3)Therefore, we must respond to these circumstances with the right attitude, or we're "sinning"
4)Just "choose" to do it, and God does the rest, supernaturally (just like salvation). There is no excuse for not claiming this "victory"!
5)The person who doesn't is just indulging in some pleasurable sin (of fear, anger, self-pity, etc), and is helpless, and should at first be hit in the face with their "sin", and if that doesn’t work, be left to their own misery until they are willing to "repent". This is what ALL "mental illness" comes from!

Another version of this list, below)

These sort of parallel or are corruptions of the "four spiritual laws" (the basic points of the Gospel—God created us, we fell, He sent His Son to die for us, we must receive Him to be saved); strongly suggesting that this is what really is the [different] "gospel"—one that is "no gospel" (good news) at all!
At this point, it's not even just fundamentalist teachers, as this formula, undergirds almost all of evangelical teaching on "the victorious Christian life" (including charismatics, and including even Christian psychologists criticized by the fundamentalists!). In fact, it is a multi-million dollar industry!
The fundamentalists such as BDM and the Bobgans are simply more consistent with it, since psychology would truly not be needed at all if our spiritual "survival" was God just instantly, automatically healing people's emotions and making them content when they simply repent, ask, read the Bible, etc. as this entire teaching suggests. (And there is a bit of a distinction; as many of the new-evangelicals focus somewhat less on the first point, while the separatistic old-liners somewhat diminish the fourth (as far as its supposed "easyness" is concerned). This is a big part of the criticism of the new by the old. But they all arrive at the same basic conclusions).

This makes it all the more carnal of the old-liners to be making such an issue of "separation" over this, when both they and the modern counselors all ultimately arrive at the same basic conclusions and use the same tough and judgmental approach in counseling, all based on these same five counterfeit spiritual laws, which they are in agreement with!

Ironically, as much as these teachers pitch "the Book", they themselves are not even reading it right! Much of this trite coldness stems from a very common, but very wrong reading of various scriptures. These are discussed in detail in the "Abundant Life" page.

To give a compacted summary here, various passages speaking of "trials and temptations", the purifying of "gold" or "silver"; etc. (1 Cor.10:13, and James 1:2,3, 1 Pet. 1:7 coupled with Job 23:10, Psalms 66:10, 11, 1 Cor.3:12, Zech.13:9, Mal.3:2,3) are taken to divinely explain or almost justify pain and discomfort, to suggest it is actually "good" for us. But most such passages (as far as physical pain is concerned) are referring to the particular struggles of the first century readers, and in some cases, the future "day of Christ"; and even words such as "temptation" and "try/trial" are often misunderstood.

Romans 12:2 "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" is not speaking of getting over all of your problems supernaturally; but the initial change of heart when Christ is received, and your basic values and goals change, as we see in the context. Lest anyone try to say this is "denying the power" (2 Tim.3:5); the context is actually false, but influential teachers, and it's the misreading of these passages that denies the true "power of God unto sanctification", substituting a performance-based program! Titus 3:5 covers the same thing, noting "not by works of righteousness we have done; but according to His mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit". While this is to be evidenced in spiritual growth; we must not change this back into works-righteousness by placing unrealistic demands and judgment on people. Works-righteousness is just as much "conforming to the world" and "walking after the flesh" (Rom.8:1) as indulging in lust or secular philosophy is!

The fundamentalists and other critics advocating this basically end up with the same "follow these steps (prayer, Bible reading, serving others, thankfulness, separation, etc) to achieve victory" along with the overblown testimonialism ("it worked for me, so you can do it, and there is no excuse!") that they deny and criticize the new-evangelicals for. The difference that the fundamentalist is more apt to pretend to be supernaturally, quickly changed to "perfection" and not admit "struggle" like the evangelicals do. But anyone close enough to them and honest enough knows otherwise.

Michael Horton, in Beyond Culture Wars criticizes modern evangelicalism for basically making it seem that God's Law "is only there for our own good, our own happiness and fulfillment anyway" (p.114). Its followup, Christless Christianity adds what he calls "therapeutic, moralistic deism". Fundamentalists will wholeheartedly cheer on this criticism of the contemporary church (as they seem to be saying the same exact things, about the same movements and leaders), but they have fallen into the same trap in subtler ways as well. What Horton calls a "therapeutic", "inner" (man-centered, as opposed to the objective Gospel) focus would actually include much of what the psychology critics have been holding up as the "Biblical answer" to therapy, such as what was cited earlier! The focus on "steps" to "healing" or "victory", our "attitude", and the emphasis on our "personal relationship with Christ" and Him causing pain not to "matter" as much. In this vein, even "personal sanctification through the fullness of the Holy Spirit" likely would be referring to the same things.

And they too actually have the same focus on personal "happiness", though in subtler ways then the new-evangelicals. One of the mainstays in their churches is the hymn "Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey", thus making the same mistake of removing "trust" from its context of salvation, and making it and obedience part of a formula for "happiness". (Or, as mentioned; they substitute "joy").
The CRI article cited at the beginning mentions (in appraising what they see as "good" about the BCM): Jay Adams ("considered by many to be the 'father' of the BCM"), "...also identifies personal satisfaction as a product of obedience: 'Satisfaction, like peace and joy, comes not when one pursues it, but unexpectedly and always as a by-product of faithful, fruitful Christian living'."
But you're holding this up as the "answer" to problems; i.e. lack of "satisfaction". So then what would people be doing if they listened to your "counsel", but still seeking "satisfaction"! That would be the main reason they are doing the "Christian living" regiment, and so perhaps, that's why no matter how much this is taught, there are still these problems in the Church these apologists are constantly "reproving".

So we see that much of the new-evangelical teaching and "selling" methods that old-liners criticize can find their roots in the old-time Church. Particularly the practice of throwing out shallow clichés and platitudes that are doctrinally empty, and merely tagged to select proof-texts.

Rest of scriptures listed below.

So the "biblical answer" of this entire anti-psychology movement, is basically misapplied proof-texts like this, and the "survival" they advocate is that when a person reads and "practices" them, it is supposed to heal the person (by "making his problems not matter"), rendering psychology completely false, and an addition to the Bible.
Yet we see that the answers are not biblical, but only read into the Bible, by ignoring the contexts, or original meanings of the words. Properly read, the whole emotional health gospel collapses like a house of cards! (Just the fact that they use the term “survival” in the subject of “biblical” counseling and mental health shows a total misunderstanding of what the Gospel is!) Once again, for more details on misuse of these scriptures, and other errors of the emotional health gospel in the larger evangelical Church, see the "Abundant Life" page.

The "Biblical answer" of the critics is simply quoting Bible verses (many of which, taken out of context) at the counselee, and they end up with the same "follow these steps to 'victory'" schemes as the new-evangelicals they criticize
So none of these passages supports the trappings of the emotional health gospel: the cold dismissing of the suffering and mental and/or emotional distress of people in the mundane situations of today; or just throwing out trite verse quotes, telling them just to "repent", expecting that alone to lead people to healing. And the judging that often occurs when the person still doesn't overcome the problem (causing them further mental anguish and hopelessness). And this is what they call "encouragement"!

To some prospective counselors, sympathizing is even warned against as "feeding" people's "self-pity". It is even pointed out that "encourage", and "comfort" mean "to make strong", and it is assumed that this is done through the bluntness of "tough love". But that is a worldly method that may be good on some people, but not to everyone, and it is precisely the "comfort" of Job's friends! Such "motivational" speaking, with its "no nonsense" tough talk, is a bit of a fad in secular culture these days. (Dr. Phil is an example. This once again makes it ironic how they can condemn society for "teaching that problems of life are someone else's fault", when secular psychology does place great emphasis on personal "responsibility". It is not either ALL someone else's fault, or ALL the person's own fault, and we must choose one or the other. But it seems to separatistic fundamentalists, copying this tough "method" from the world is OK, just as long as it doesn't include the psychological or humanistic terms.)
Much self-pity is fueled by the lack of compassion prevalent in a world and church driven by such cold pat answers! "Hard truth" it is, indeed. Talk about asking for bread and being tossed a rock!
The Bobgans can mock article and book titles all they want, but this IS still shooting our wounded, in addition to shooting the Bible and along with the heart of God! This makes the Christian life far harder than it actually is.

Overall, this teaching accuses God of "tempting" people, and then accuses those tempted, of "sin", and "choosing" mental problems for not responding a certain way. It thus paints God in a way that makes it so much harder to bow to Him as a loving Father, by raising people's hopes too high, and then dashing them (causing disappointment and disillusionment), and then giving them blunt "word[s] from God". This makes some people more likely to give up or turn completely away from God, and then it condemns them for this and for not bowing! It then reciprocates itself by making a process sound quick and easy, when it really isn't. It has Satan's name all over it; yet it looks so "biblical" just because it's "tough" and "offensive to our feelings", and tosses around the word "sin"! Can anyone say it is unrealistic to think that all these things are what Satan would want to do?

"Meeting of Needs" dismissed

While the scriptures in principle do remind us to put our suffering in perspective, still, we are humans, we still have all our wants and genuine needs, and we still "see in a glass darkly" (1 Cor. 13:12). It is still hard for people to be completely comforted by the unseen in a world of clearly seen troubles. The Bible does not deny this.

Christ said "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God". That does not say "man doesn't really need bread at all, so if he doesn't get much, that is God's will for him, and all his true 'needs' are still being met by 'the Word of God' regardless of what it looks like", as it often seems this is being taken to mean. That is the true "counterfeit survival"!
If that were the case, we would not have such an emphasis in scripture on giving to those in need.
When Christ tells those who hunger and thirst, that He will fulfill their need (e.g. "the bread of life", "living waters"), He is telling them their foremost need of salvation. It is not something to be thrown at those already saved to negate their literal physical OR emotional needs.

The concept of "meeting needs" in itself has become sort of a dirty word in conservative circles (both fundamentalist and Reformed). It is true that many contemporary leaders do go way too far in holding up "meeting needs" or addressing "felt needs" as if it were the entire Gospel itself, or the goal of Christian living. This is simply apart of the "selling" formula of new-evangelical and charismatic teaching. But the conservative critics respond to this by going to the opposite extreme in trashing the whole concept and even condemn any mention of it, as if that automatically constitutes wholesale acceptance of secular psychology.

Example of mischaracterized psychological field: Temperament Theory

Temperament theory, for instance, is useful, because it identifies certain inborn tendencies and needs people may have, and they can better identify strengths to be used for the work of God (or any of their personal interactions for that matter), and be more aware of their weaknesses. This is criticized as just some old pagan Greek theory, and associated with astrology, particularly since the four anciently known temeraments were linked to the "four elements" (earth, air, fire, water) used in astrology. But while the ancient pagans may have mixed it with the prevailing religion of their environment-- astrology; in the modern context, it is an observable system of categorization that can be seen in people. In other words, anciently, temperament was believed to be connected to the presense of too much of a particular "humour" (black bile, blood, yellow bile, or phlegm), which through a matrix of hot or cold, or wet or dry, were connected to these elements, which were themselves connected to the zodiac.
But in the middle ages, the association between the temperaments and the humors was disclaimed, and now it is believed to be ultimately neurological in nature.

The Bobgans claim it is illusory, and becomes a "self-fulfilling prophecy" or even something that can be projected on God based on His actions (dominating, etc), but it is just an observation of a person's inclinations to inward or outward behavior that make up temperament theory. (Whether they always act upon their inclinations or not, and where God is not a man and would not fit into a human temperamental category, none of the Christian psychologists ever even mention such an idea).

All it starts with is an observation of the amount of interaction a person initiates to others; and the amount he wants from others. This is based on how much he is stimulated by interaction, which is based on neurology. Those overstimulated will initiate and/or want less interaction, and those understimulated will initiate and/or want more.
By pairing low and high levels of each, you get the four types. With various different names for both the scales and the four types, this undergirds most of "personality" theory, as you can see here.
(By adding "moderate" scales, you can have more types, disproving the claim that people are pigeonholed into just four types. Especially in a new version of the theory that adds a fifth temperament, thus breaking out of the ancient "elements"-based model. added an article on this system, criticizing the founder of the structure it is based on, as coming from the "encounter movement" and the Esalen Institute, which the page thus claims was part of the "evil counter-culture influence of the sixties, which affected the entire nation". But Dr. Will Schutz created the FIRO in the fifties; before joining that movement afterward, so none of its influence appears in the system, and especially not the Christian version of the theory, by the Arno's. The page also criticizes the test for not consulting a particular test evaluation institute, as if that even makes a difference when the entire ministry insists anything psychological is bad and false anyway).

BDM criticized LaHaye for "using Jung's concept of 'introversion' and 'extroversion'", and designating the Sanguine and Choleric as "extroverts", and the Melancholy and Phlegmatic as "introverts". The mention of Jung is supposed to carry a negative connotation ("guilt by association") because of his dabbling in the occult which is often associated with his teachings on the unconscious. (But many of the same psychology critics also hold the "traditional music only" position, whose primary "proof" contemporary forms are bad is "scientific studies" of the unconscious, to try to prove certain rhythms have certain effects on people! More on the unconscious below). However, even LaHaye and other Christians do seem to shy away from any mention of Jung. But that is not the aspect of Jung's teachings that the Christians who speak of temperament are using anyway.

The Bobgans can mock article and book titles all they want, but we ARE "shooting our wounded", AS WELL AS the Bible; and not giving ALL of its "answers", and THIS is the real "Counterfeit Survival"!

Plus, Jung actually did not even invent the introversion/extroversion terms or scale. He only made it more popular. Well before him, two of the types were noted as having a short "delay" of their speed of taking action, while the others had a longer delay. That's all extroversion and introversion are, really. How quick a person is to initiate interaction, or take on leadership and responsibilities, based on how much their brains are stimulated.
The other scale, pairing the Melancholy with the Choleric, and the Sanguine with the Phlegmatic was originally known as the "sustain" of his reactions. Some hold on to some emotions longer, and thus will appear more "serious" or less "people-oriented", and more "task-oriented". Others have a shorter sustain, will hold onto emotions less, and are thus less serious, or more "people-oriented". So this scale also shapes how much interaction a person wants, and is ultimately connected, loosely with Jung's "Thinking and Feeling" scales.
Temperament was also measured in terms of a person's perception (concrete or abstract), which eventually connected with Jung's "Sensing and iNtuition" scale, and thus modern instruments like the MBTI.

So now that we see that all temperament theory is is a neurological-influences measure of expressive, desirative and perceptive tendencies in a person's behavior; it becomes highly ridiculous for these critics to be making such an accusation of it as contrary to the Bible and Christianity. If you say temperament is "illusory", then are you saying that human interaction and perception are illusory? Is individual personhood, with some people being more or less similar to others illusory?

The critics will respond to this by saying "that's thinking too much about yourself; you should die to yourself and think more about others!" But to the contrary; it can help in our dealings with others to understand their temperament. While no; this is not mentioned in scripture, still the scripture does not go about listing every possible way we can think about others, so again, there is no contradiction here!

For example, if a person is melancholy, they will tend to be loners, and it will help in my dealings with them if I do not impose on them or try to force them to be around many people. If we are both cholerics, we will want things a certain way and may tend to try to push each other, and thus clash, so this could be watched out for.
There may be times such behavior has to be done (I can hear the critics saying, "oh, so you won't try to lead a melancholy neighbor to salvation, or teach a choleric child how to behave; see, this stuff is no good!" But we are talking about day to day situations of getting along).
So yet again, we see the same misuse of the concept of "dying to self" we saw regarding pain.

To see how this is helpful, and that it is ridiculous to attack this because of "terms" used, we can look at a person of a temperament who needs people, but gets abuse instead, and is miserable until they find a good fellowship. We can say his need was met, and there was no violation of biblical teaching in that. We did not say that was the goal of his life, or that it was the Gospel. But it was identifiable as a need.

While the need was not being met, and he was still suffering the abuse; the "needs" critics would have given him all the scriptures (mentioned above and below) they use to say that the pain was actually "for good", and he should just "die to self" and just focus on God and others, and then it wouldn't matter.
Thus they would be in basic agreement with LaHaye, Dobson, Warren, and all the other leaders they condemn as "psychologizers"; for that is what the latter do teach throughout their books and sermons.
The only difference is that LaHaye and Dobson might have given him a "therapy session", and that they and the others address his "needs" in addition; while the Bobgans and BDM would simply pull him aside and give him all the same scriptures and admonition, but avoid the terms "therapy", "session" or "needs".

But it's the same trite, often cold approach. You wonder why anyone would make such an issue of that, when the overall teaching is basically the same. They claim these leaders "deny the Cross and teach watered down easy-believism" or stuff like that, but they do frequently mention "the Cross" and how "hard" it is, often rubbing it in as I address on the Abundant Life page. Even teachers like Joyce Meyers, TD Jakes and other somewhat charismatic leaders on the Word Network or TBN, generally seen as "prosperity/Word of Faith", always speak of how good it is not to get one's way, and how "the flesh" reacts to it, but must be "crucified". So this issue IS carnal division, and not biblical "separation from error"!

The critics base their whole premise against Christian Psychology with 2 Pet.1:3 "[Christ/His power]...has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness". Then the scriptures on salvation, regeneration and sanctification are compared to the concepts like Temperament theory, and the Christians who use them are accused of "adding to the Gospel", since these scriptures "don't mention personality types" (except for very broad spiritual categories such as 'lost and saved' or something like that) as we see at (Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing) and from another ministry:

While I cannot knock this too hard, as LaHaye and others do often wed these theories to the Gospel as if "growing in Christ" and "Self-improvement" were one and the same (as I even go into on the Abundant Life page), and "finding happiness" overemphasized; still, the critics condemn the theory in itself, and when not mixed with the Gospel like that, it does not contradict or add to it.

Lost and saved, for instance, are not personality types, and are no comparison to them, so temperaments or types do not contradict those spiritual concepts in any way, shape or form. If a Christian uses the concept, he is already saved, and he should already be growing in the spirit.
How can you throw at a Christian quips like "all you need is regeneration and sanctification", then? (unless you are assuming he must be unregenerate and unsanctified just because he has some problems he is coming for help for, and God has not just zapped it out of him already!)

So theories such as this are useful information which can help one grow and get along with each other, as everyone at some point acknowledges that God does not just say "shazam" and make us grow or resolve conflicts simply when we pray, as these critics often make it seem. (Yet as I have shown, the Fundamentalists' teaching on applying all of these "Bible-only" terms in practice boils down basically to the same mechanical "do this and you will get that" scheme as LaHaye and the others).

Rather than "drawing attention to the self" (or "flesh"), Temperament theory (which is a measurement of people's interaction tendencies with others) helps us consider others' needs

The commonly cited scripture Proverbs 22:6 "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it", when just read in our English translations seems to support the fundamentalist assumption that when a person has problems, it is simply because his parents didn't discipline him enough; but actually, upon examining the Hebrew words, it has been found to mean something closer to "train up a child according to his bent...". This is actually what temperament is! The fundamentalists would ironically take this to try to break the child into the mold of a set of behaviors they think is "the way he should go", yet they ignore the consideration of personality and temperament that this verse is actually teaching, calling it pagan and worldly!

"Flesh" misunderstood

The critics say it is "drawing attention back to the flesh". But fundamentalist IFB-type critics like this, just as in this debate's sister issue of "godly vs. fleshy music" misunderstand what "flesh" in the Bible really is to begin with; making it everything physical or "natural" about us as if it is bad in itself. Or, they claim, it is "drawing attention to the self", when we're supposed to "die to the self", but here also they have twisted the concept well beyond its meaning.

They in this case take it to mean "don't think of anything about yourself, just look at Christ". But if that's the case, then shouldn't a person, for instance, with a particular sin just deny the sin, since they shouldn't "look at themselves"; and "just focus on Christ" instead? One of the sites above criticizes astrology for "making your traits (e.g. sin) external to yourself", as well as the aforementioned criticism of the term "alcoholism" for being "external". But if we are supposed to ignore "self" so much, then these should be good things! They try to pin the "external" focus of astrology on temperament theory as well, but if that were true, then right there it should be nothing wrong with that either. On the other hand, temperament theory is accused of possibly becoming an excuse for sin, but all of the Christian temperament analysts have taught squarely against this.

Also, the scriptures here speak of what Christ will "do for you" if you "trust Him". Salvation is coming and "getting" something from God, and thus meeting a "need" by doing something beneficial to the self: changing one's eternal destiny for the better. Why not preach against this because it is so "selfish"? Some Calvinists do, but these IFB types are almost solidly against that as well. They will likely claim that that is precisely the only "need" we have, and that is why anything else is a wrongful "addition". But this would still fall into the category of "self" as they use it!
Or, if one says we are supposed to look at Christ who covers our sins, then should we really, because "In Christ" (Christian) is also something "about us"! Of course not! Neither are we to deny any talent or spiritual gift we have, or our background, nationality, etc. because it is "our self". We are just to give God the honor for these things, rather than ourselves.

While we are not to deny these things about ourselves; we are also not to go in the opposite direction and hold them up as making us special or better than others. That's where the problem arises!

What "flesh" really meant in Paul's usage was using our physical lineage as the means of reconciliation with God. It was referring primarily to the Christ-rejecting Israelites, who thought their status as Abraham's children made them "the chosen", rather then one's position in Christ. That was determined by physical blood lineage, or, "the flesh". The sign was adherance to the Law (which of course, was done "in the flesh", which was not sufficient to truly keep it). So Paul shows that all your physical nature can do for you spiritually is produce sins (transgressions of the Law; "missing the mark") such as lust and angry outbursts and the rest. And their wages being "death".
It's by the Spirit that we are [spiritually] justified and sanctified. This has become misconstrued as the physical "flesh" being bad and dirty through its desires in themselves; while the Spirit somehow counterbalances this by causing us to behave better (but only if we "yield" by suppressing those physical desires).

Ironically, many of these fundamentalists, being "old-line" and deeply conservative, are the biggest upholders of their "Christian heritage" as Westerns or Americans or conservatives, or the virtues of the "godly past" of the Church. Again, this can be seen coloring the issue of the condemnation of psychology, as widely accepted in society and the church. Over and over again, those are held as the main "casualties" in this "war" against the truth. On the other hand, racism, which was a direct appeal to one's literal "flesh" as making them superior, was not even seen as wrong by most, who have ignored or sometimes justified (indirectly, at least) it in claiming the ways of the past (in which racism was more open and prominent) were more godly (compared to all the sins of today).
They simply did not see all of this as "the flesh" and contradicting "dying to self", but the way they praise those things, which exalt their 'extended' selves, is more what people need to die to!

So the critics need to stop these semantic games, and all the unnecessary division being caused with them!

Basic concepts not occult, and yet are proven in critics' own behavior and criticisms!

All of this has in itself nothing to do with any occult practice. There is no appeal to the stars or the elements in the Christian usage of it. Some may claim that a person defending astrology could make the same claims about how the 12 constellations or four elements being "observable" in affecting a person's personality. But those are things external to the person (hence, the connection to occult mysticism, since there is no natural/physical connection), while a person's temperament is not external to them, but rather apart of what God made them as souls (which includes their physical brain). Just because pagans may have discovered a theory like this does not mean its reality becomes indelibly associated with the rest of their religion or philosophy. Just like even the Bible states that the constellations do have use, for "signs and seasons and days and years" (Gen.1:14). Just because men went and built an entire system of occult religion off of it doesn't mean we can't ever mention them, (and it should be torn out of the Bible).

Even Jung's concept of the unconscious (including the spooky sounding "shadow"), at its root (apart from whatever "spiritual" connotation he may have added to it) is about things we suppress from consciousness, and often project onto others (making them into "enemies" when the problem is inside us). The goal of his theory is that we are to "own" these projections as part of ourselves. So instead of projecting evil onto others and making them enemies; if we own that evil or "darkness" as being within us, we then withdraw the projections.
This fits perfectly with the scriptural observation that men are full of darkness, yet think themselves righteous, deny sin, and often so easily point out the evil in others (Rom. 1; 2:21-3, Matt.23, etc). It also fits with the critics' assertion that was mentioned; that our problems should not be seen as "external" to ourselves.

Spiritually and otherwise, there are things we are not conscious of. (Examples are forgotten individual experiences, and collective things such as natural instincts, including the much appealed to influence of music!) This is not occult in itself.
Again, the only real problem is that Jung (like other major psychologists) was not operating off of Christian theology, with its need for redemption and sanctification. So his goal is self-growth by integrating the shadow, which allows the "larger Self" (including the unconscious) to come into consciousness. The Christian goal is to receive forgiveness of our sins, and then grow as we obey God out of love. While they both offer similar aims, neither necessarily precludes the other.

Of course, messing with the unconscious on our own (or as part of other forms of "spirituality" without the true God) can open one up to the occult (hence, shamanism employing these practice), and this is where the problem might arise, and understandably why many Christians believe the whole concept should be avoided.
The way this works is that we are both spiritual and physical beings, and our consciousness is naturally geared more to the physical world where we must consciously make effort to survive from day to day. This basically crowds out the spiritual side of consciousness, which then will be relegated largely to the unconscious. Hence, man not even aware of the full extent of his sinfulness. Morality appears to be relativized by the need to live and survive in the physical world, so no matter what he does, he will argue that it was justified by some material circumstance, and insist is was therefore not really sin.

So God does not call us to volutarily tap into the unconscious. His Spirit brings to light the negative stuff about ourselves we should know about. (And the stuff does erupt on its own in everybody anyway, and comes to light more as we get older. The purpose of Jung’s theory was to recognize and channel it for good).
But then, the people being criticized by the psychology critics are not advocating anyone to try to integrate the unconscious on their own or without God. The point here is, that the concepts should not all be banned from any mention by Christians or assumed to be demonic in themselves just because some in the world have used them in a wrong way.

The real problem with Jung was basically his use of alchemy, which was an ancient occult religion/science hybrid that stemmed from Egypt (Al Khemet), and was a precursor to chemistry. (Its quests included finding the "elixir of life" and "turning lead into gold"). From there, he also got into eastern concepts (being that pagan religion is often connected in its concepts). That’s where all the bad spiritual stuff in his teaching really lies, especially when you then begin mixing it with the concepts of the “unconscious”.
However, what Jung really did was to use its concepts to illustrate his ideas. Such as the growth that results from integrating the shadow, he might compare to the “magic” of changing lead into gold. His language is very dense and metaphorical, and it can be hard to understand. So I'm not sure how much of that he actually believed in.

The point is, it is possible to use his basic concepts of the ego, the cognitive functions of sensation, intuition, thinking, feeling and the attitudes of introversion and extraversion that define "type"; and even the concept of the unconscious and some of the archetypes (which are basically 'character roles' or patterns of behavior) as they relate to the complexes within the ego, without adopting the alchemy or eastern concepts. They are not indelibly bound to one another.
Psychological concepts like this simply give a name to many complex things we experience and often have trouble describing. This in itself, by itself adds nothing to the Gospel.

Psychology simply puts a name on many complex things we experience, and this does not in itself add to the Gospel. People who condemn all psychology may simply be reacting to their own suppressed sins (i.e. "shadow") being exposed by it!

The irony, as stated above, is that many of the critics of psychology and the "old-line" mindset in general has suppressed their own neuroses (as was earlier mentioned), and surmised a "changed life" that is in practice generally more idealistic than actual. (And hence, actually resembles Jung’s concept of “alchemical change” a bit! If this observation seems outrageous, you can wit the various churches in the New Testament —Corinthians, Galatians, five of the seven churches in Revelation, etc., who had to be corrected of ongoing sin, and were not denied as being truly converted).
We saw in the beginning, the prevalent philosophy that one simply "gives" Christ their pain or other challenge, and then a change of attitude towards it is interpreted as some sort of divine "change" and even "relief". What they have described is really a form of suppression. You still have the pain; you just ignore it. Just move your focus off of it, and onto Christ. Pretend it's not there by being thankful. (That's not what worship or thankfulness is for, but this is the way it comes across the way it is often preached!) All of this is what suppression is, by definition!

Of course, they also must do this with sin. They suppress their own sinful urges (the argument that only music that does not lend itself to physical enjoyment should be used is an example of this), redefine what sin is (focus only on sin others tend to be guilty of, such as sexual sin or false religion and philosophy in modern society, while vices such as their own divisiveness, meanspiritedness, or the past societal stuff mentioned elsewhere are OK), and then project all of this at the world and modern church (under the banner of "contending for the truth"). Yet, the sinfulness behind this still comes out, and everyone can see it, yet the conservatives then complain of being wrongfully attacked or maligned by the devil or the "forces of ungodliness"!
That's what, according to Jung, happens when you just suppress the evil within, and pretend it is not there.
This right here should explain why people like this are so against psychology! Again, it exposes the sin they have suppressed and try to hide, even though others can see it. (Another concept, called the "Johari Window" touches upon this). These critics are the one who need to stop criticizing others long enough to read and practice Prov. 28:13 (As they would normally preach to others)!

And even more ironically, the way they teach this (and put down "the flesh") seems to parallel the philosophy of shamanism and other dualistic religions, where we are to "renounce the physical world" and focus on the "spiritual" only!

But the scriptures never say to do any such thing. It is the multitude of proof-texts (addressed here, and mainly on the other page) that they use to suggest this suppression and repression, and the scriptural command of confession and repentance, which these critics appear to emphasize, is basically the opposite of that! If they really themselves practiced this (instead of just trying to correct everyone else), they should not have so much of a problem with some of these psychological concepts.

The ultimate proof this does not work the way they say it does is that in recent decades we have had Christian leaders, who talked alot about "the changed life" and "the power of the Spirit", and then condemned both psychology and sexual sins; then fall into the latter themselves (and in at least one case I remember, the denomination sent the preacher to a psychologist!)

People who fall into this position then often want to appeal to being "frail human", or "falling into the flesh", but they forget the lofty ideals they preached to others with supposedly no excuses allowed. If you just "give" all your problems to God, He "takes" them and "changes" your life. It's so simple, remember. Why would anyone ever fall like that if it were so simple?
They will then insist that God does not change us instantly, and we still have the "free will" to backslide. This is when you get all the philosophy about God making it hard and slow for us, because that makes us grow better.

But by now; you have completely contradicted the original premise that a simple "dose" of the Book, the Blood and the Blessed Hope changes your life and makes external measures such as psychology an unnecessary addition.

Others will most likely instead look at their fallen brethren (whom they will sometimes disown as ever being saved) and say "well they may have fallen, but we who have really given our lives to God are holding fast". (Since those "Falling" were well-known preachers who made it big, and are seen as selling out one way or another by old-liners anyway, it is easy for them, to detach themselves from them like that).
But as the famous fallen brethren showed, you can say anything, and nobody can tell what is really going on behind closed doors, and what will happen or surface later on. So your talk is just like their talk before they fell: just talk; no verification; an ideal nobody can demonstrate in their actual lives before all to see. You simply just didn't get caught yet, or perhaps sex and finance weren't your temptations.
Since, again, all of these critics are largely unknown to the public spotlight, we know nothing about them. So again, they can say anything about overcoming problems and how the "power of God" worked in their lives. We cannot see it in action. We're supposed to just take their word for it, especially since it is such widely taught jargon that most "orthodox" Christians take for granted and wouldn't dare to question.

Of course, special attention is made on remaining sexually pure, since that is treated as the most important commandment. Yet the power of the Holy Spirit is not our efforts; especially not with any lopsided focus on only certain kinds of sin. Those aren't the only "fruits of the flesh" mentioned in scripture. Variance, emulations (oneupmanship), and strife are in there as well. (Which are what we see in issues like this!)

They insist they are following 2Tim. 4:2 "Preach the word; reprove, rebuke, exhort...", but clearly, issues like this and the general attitude they are presented in, fit Gal.5:20 and even 1 Thess.2:15b more. It's all some of these ministries do. Just sling dirt on the "new-evangelical" church, much of it consisting of bits of truth, with their own extrabiblical traditions they are judging by.
People are condemning something others use as unbiblical, yet what they are offering as the "biblical answer" is not really biblical at all, and cannot even be demonstrated; it can only be claimed by hearsay. ("Testimonials"). Yet they expect everyone to believe it and make their own decisions based on it.

Critics can say anything about the power of God and overcoming, but most of us cannot see it in action. It is basically just talk, like it was for others who preached these ideals but still fell into sin

What we are supposed to "give" Christ is our guilt and anxiety over failing God's Law. That is what He died to "take" from us. We are not to stretch this to all of this other stuff. For then, we are just like the prosperity crowd and faith healers who use "By His stripes we are healed" to teach their doctrines.
Ironically, a lot of these critics have it all reversed, and while "giving" Christ their pain, anger, sorrow, etc.; instead of actually giving Him their guilt, they insist (as in the answer to "self-esteem") that we are to continually look upon ourselves as "filthy sinners" (as if we weren't redeemed), and then (in practice) strive to try to quench sin by their own efforts, (motivated by guilt and fear), and then suppress it; and then call that "sanctification by the Spirit", and compare with others whom they see as lacking therein.
This is the diametric opposite of what the New testament instructs us! This, again, is the true "counterfeit"!

Other Issues

Continuing with this suppressive philosophy, the critics say don't even look back to the past. But I know firsthand that that is helpful, because many sins I've had problems with had some emotional root in the past. We are temporal creatures, subject to cause and effect. And if I find a problem that is causing me to respond a certain way, then I can ask God to heal it. He prefers to get to the roots of the problem. Then I can apply the Bible's answers to the problems. Like when I relive hurtful things my parents said to me as a child when confronted by someone about something. You can tell me that it's just my sin, (as if my parents-- authorities of the past, which the psychology critics always defend, are sinless as far as I am concerned) and all I need to do is "come out of myself" and read what the Bible says about sin. But just reading that a certain action or reaction is wrong by itself won't help me overcome the problem. (As if I was perfectly capable of just ceasing to sin on command, which flatly denies the Fall).

That's why their emphases on sin and judgment aren't having any effect on society, and they are left concluding that society has been hopelessly captured by the humanists. They appeal to II Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.", but this is speaking of their life under the Law (which for gentiles, would mean their life of sin "without the Law" (Rom.2:12), but nevertheless condemned by it). It is not saying "nothing bad or detrimental that ever happened to you matters now", OR that you can just instantly snap out if a problem because you're born again. As we shall see, most of the scriptures cited have similar contexts.

Diametrically contrary to the very message these scriptures are giving us, these people are still trying to preach Law at the fallen man (Romans 7), thinking that alone will make him good.
As some have put it, the Law is to be used to convince the "proud" sinner of his sin to lead him to Christ, while the humble or those already in Christ are to receive grace. But in the old-time Church that contemporary critics uphold, the Law was often not used "lawfully" (1 Tim. 1:7-10) like that, but instead thundered at the church congregations (under the premise that many people in the pews "might not be saved". Why was there such suspicion in the first place?) This has had a lasting impression on the more conservative approach to sin and problems; hence the "just hit people with the Law, and that should make them good" method. These people themselves try to practice this, and wind up simply REPRESSING their sins and emotions, so that they can still look "spiritual" on the outside. Do they really think God wants such shallow showmanship?

Works-righteousness is a serious problem in this movement, and Cloud, for instance has spoken of "paddling upstream" in order to keep churches "pure" (and you can't stop paddling, or you'll slide into "compromise" and ultimately, the "one world deception", as the modern churches have). At what point do we realize this is not in any way, shape or form the "rest" Christ promises. (But then, of course, "rest", along with "peace", is only the "good attitude" we "cultivate" in this and other "struggles").

If that weren't enough, in an article on "self-esteem"

While acknowledging that the conscience (an “inner voice”) produces guilt and negative thoughts, the proposed solution is not the biblical path of regeneration through repentance and faith followed by a Christian walk of obedience and confession. The proposed solution, instead, is to lower the standards of morality.

Christian counsellors who have borrowed the self-esteem doctrine also tend to downplay the absoluteness of God’s Law, the necessity of strict obedience, and they replace the biblical means of soothing the conscience with psychological mumbo-jumbo.

As much as he is rejecting psychology, he is simply setting the biblical teachings of “regeneration”, “repentance”, “faith”, “obedience” and “confession” in its place, giving them the same effects. If you just do all those things, then you will be healed of everything [psychologically, that is], and this is the whole purpose of the Gospel anyway: Soothing the conscience”! In other words “follow these steps and you will achieve victory”, which is the very “formula” used by all of those popular Christian leaders he criticizes in the article!

And a Catholic [whose religion is heavily condemned by him] would agree almost perfectly with such a “works”-oriented approach (though probably having a different take on the “regeneration” part. And again, since this is likely referring to Christians anyway, then wouldn’t “regeneration” and “faith” already be taken care of? Or is it something progressively needed if one hasn’t gotten over his negative thoughts and [any] guilt? Or worse yet, maybe he’s not really saved if he still has a problem! While such teachers are not necessarily saying this directly, it’s still implied. This is why this teaching leads to wrongful judging).

Noteworthy is that the very term “soothing the conscience” is something used when someone tries to make up for their offense with some deed of their own choosing to placate the other person. That’s the very antithesis of the Gospel, and the definition of “works-righteousness”!
This is totally man-centered, every bit as much as the much decried “self-esteem” teaching! They criticize others for “lowering the standards of morality”, but they are the ones thinking like the miscreant trying to get away with something!

This is why writers like Horton criticize “fundamentalists” of this sort right along with the New Evangelicals for “lowering God’s standards” (not comprehending His absolute holiness), and thinking “their best” will give them some merit with God. (They think they are actually “pulling it off” as he puts it!) However they phrase it, with that term or not, or with self-esteem and psychology or “you’re a filthy sinner who needs to repent”, it’s the same thing!

(It’s true that the New evangelical leaders will often emphasize the impossibility of the standards and their negative affect on our psyches —and then point to some therapeutic solution of course, but without clearly pointing to the Gospel solution. This is what then leaves it open for legalists to put works back into the equation, even under such Biblical terms as “repentance” and “obedience”. It’s also true that basing “self-esteem” on things like “you were valuable enough for Christ to die for” as many do, is not scriptural).

The Gospel removes our shame before God, but this is not merely “soothing the conscience” (for it will still bother us when we fail to love our fellow man), and neither is it healing us of all our other problems.

So the true "survival" they end up with is for all purposes a concept of "God and me alone", as if all any man needs is just God and nothing else. This has been identified as basically a reflection of the individualistic Americanized spirit of the frontier. As far as salvation, yes, it is individual. But God has made us dependant on the physical environment; else, we should be able to live under water, or in space without air. "All we need is God"!

In addition to covering up their own "neuroses", another big reason why conservatives are generally against psychology is because it runs counter to the “rugged individualist” stance they hold. Psychology shows us how we are affected by things, including what’s unconscious, and this is a blow to our centres of consciousness, known commonly as our “ego”s (Lat. “I”).
You would think religious conservatives should have no problem with this, since it fits right along with the Bible teaching on human sinfulness and [spiritual] helplessness (and thus, need for God). They were the ones always calling out the arrogance of man’s belief in his self-sufficiency; whether spiritual or political.

But the problem is that they too have bought into "rugged individualism", which is what they actually filter their concepts of sin, justification and sanctification through, unwittingly. (This is what's most manifest in the total scoffing of "victimhood" that always naturally accompanies these teachings!) This was basically the whole point of Horton’s Beyond Culture Wars, where he speaks of the “personal” focus of the “relationship” [with God] in interpreting reality (p.67), the “revivalism” of the “frontier” (p.26), and cites (p.71) Noll, Hatch and Marsden as saying “Recent politically oriented critics of ‘humanism’ have seldom attacked modern faith in humanity in any consistent or general way, since their own views have contained humanistic elements, such as faith in American ‘rugged individualism'”.
The book criticizes mainly what IFBs would call "new evangelicalism" (just as they do), but also shows that the problems originally stemmed from "fundamentalism", which is the movement leading this anti-psychology crusade.

They take the same drive to worthiness by merit as others, and only add “God’s help” as making the difference (what makes them able to do what others cannot do); but once that’s claimed, then it’s once again individual efforts, via “daily choices”. (And the Christian walk becomes all about “me and my personal relationship with Jesus”. But outside of that, they’re a tough frontiersman who is almost invincible, and always right in his beliefs). So this is what shapes both their political and spiritual view, and how they judge others in comparison.

They naturally don’t want to think or even consider the possibility that their (often) heavy handed control from behind the pulpit was “neuroses”, as I've put it. No, they’re a rugged individual, who through the power of his personal relationship with Jesus is beyond any such problems, and is simply going out and standing for “truth”, amidst all these “attacks” from “the world”, and as opposed to everyone else who has cowered out or compromised or softened down the message.

A pretty glorious posture, but one that always negates one’s own part in limited frail humanity (which they of course can point out in everyone else). They’ve simply risen "above" that (whether by their own choice, or by God hand selecting them to understand the truth, as in Calvinism).
But Jesus says “If you were blind [i.e. admitted it], you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.” (John 9:41). That’s what the “Gospel” is all about, not the semantics of a supposedly “Bible-only language” of a “counseling” technique.

So psychology makes us look weak in comparison, and people resent this.
Since the conclusion of secular psychologists ran counter to the Christian concept of [ongoing] guilt, they labeled it as “humanism”, and could dismiss the whole enterprise based on that “association”

Of course, they will again claim that the physical need of fellowship is not the same as the "psyche" (soul), which they see as "only needing God", but again, but here too, God has made us dependant on others. If their ideology were true, we would not need Church (fellowship) then. But of course, they would probably say that that is for God (to receive worship) only, and not "meeting" any "need" in us at all. But still, God can receive all the worship from everyone separate, if that were the case.

What Christ promised to "take" from us is our guilt, and what critics have us doing instead is suppressing pain, sin, etc. This actually is the sort of thing described by psychology! And many of them have not even lived up to their own ideals!

So the "biblical answers" advocates aren't giving us ALL of the Bible's answers to problems; such as love and acceptance from other people of God. (For an example, see 2 Cor.7:6,7). Some may say this, but in practice they have no tolerance for serious problems, which they see as unwillingness to change.
Many conservative Christian leaders often seem to act as if the purpose of the church to the suffering is to give him "biblical" counseling so he may get over his problem quickly, then he is to "submit" to the church-- which includes "paying and obeying" the pastor! --and these leaders mostly have all of their earthly needs met by the organization of the institutional Church! Indeed, the psychology critics feel therapy "erodes" the authority of the church, just like CCM and every other outside "ministry" people look up to. So it seems that church is all about the pastor and his authority.

Meanwhile, while people are being urged to meet the pastor's needs, they are not being taught compassion to their fellow man; just to do their duty of "worshiping and serving God", and then going about their business. This is as much apart of the "me-ism" or self-centeredness of modern society that evangelical and fundamentalist psychology critics have decried. Not understanding this purpose of community is what led to people revolting from Church figuring "God is everywhere, isn't He? Why do I need to be in a church?"

James 2:15, 16; the very passage speaking about faith without works being dead; speaks clearly about simply wishing someone "peace" (precisely what people are doing by only citing scriptures on peace and pointing them towards our eternal destiny), and without trying to give the person what he needs in the physical realm. 1 John 3:17, 18 speaks about "shutting up our hearts" to them (what we do when they don't respond the way we think they should).

Whose views REALLY are the ones turning the Gospel into psychology?

Part of fundamentalists' war on “humanism” is the need to PROVE intellectually man's condemnation. If we say “That person did that horrible crime because they were psychologically damaged”, right away, a [subconsciously controlled] conscientious sense of compassion kicks in, and we feel bad for them, and find it hard to condemn them.
So they fear that this would lead to such people being 'let off the hook', both now in the world (leading to “the decay of society”, which they are always trying to “save”), as well as undermining fear of the afterlife as a deterrent to sin.
So if we instead say "that wicked sinner willfully CHOSE to murder", the feeling is more like "YEAH! He deserves to ROAST!"

Overall, the problem starts because the assumption among much of the Church is that because man "fell" through "sin" (disobedience), then the entirety of Gospel history afterward becomes the process of undoing sin behaviorally. Fear of condemnation ("guilt" borne by the sinner) was then to be the motivator to change their behavior. Any "excuses" will counter this (and ultimately lead to the "destruction of society"), though "new"-evangelicals (trying to emphasize "grace" a bit more) began taking a more 'compassionate' approach, and allowed for some guilt-free interpretations of some of people's problems, and here is where the old-line approach sees them as "compromising" or basically selling out to [a supposedly a-moral] "humanism".

But the problem is, the Fall wasn't just about an act of disobedience. It was acquiring knowledge of good and evil, whose immediate effect on them was shame, even of their physical existence. The "death" that occurred "that day" was obviously spiritual rather than physical. However it colored our perception of even physical nature. Adam and Eve's first self-initiated response was covering themselves physically.

God then began progressively giving man the Law, which appeared to aim to directly correct the problem of disobedience through more statutes to command obedience. The religion that arose from this assumed the purpose of life was "pleasing God" through obedience.
The nation of people for the most part failed this, and then the Gospel was introduced.

The postapostolic Church afterward ended up continuing the old assumption. Scriptures on the ministry of the Spirit, and "growing into the image of Christ" were taken as going along with a practical reversal of sin conversion was supposed to initiate.
So both the "psychologizing" approach, and the "Bible only" approach are operating off of this same premise.

However, a "change of life" is not exclusive to Christianity (even though they often have made a big point of non-Christians "doing whatever they please", and thus contributing to the "downfall of morality" in society). Jungian psychology and eastern philosophy, for instance, teach something called "relativization of the ego" in favor of some bigger "spiritual" reality, which would match what Christians teach regarding attitude change, through which ego should be diminished, and others focused on more.

This is important, because when regeneration and sanctification are turned into “inner”-focused “change” or “growth” processes (even if you insist the God who “works them out” is “external”; it is still said to be done through the indwelling Spirit, through "faith"), then the rest of the world will naturally draw a parallel with other religions and philosophies which teach inner change. What we end up with is the familiar tome Christians have long complained and preached against: that “all religions are the same, and it's all about inner growth and [inner and outer] love”.

A Gospel that says the problem is guilt (and thus “sin” as “falling short”), and the solution is Christ bearing that guilt, and NOT man's efforts or striving (“growth”), clearly stands apart from all the others. Fundamentalists and other “old-time” religionists will often emphasize the need for “guilt” and “sin” and spend a lot of time excoriating modern teaching for “downplaying” it or “replacing” it with “self-esteem” and other psychological concepts, but clearly, their focus on sin and guilt is motivating (by fear) people to clean it out of their own lives (i.e. their own efforts), with Christ bearing it in practice not being enough, by itself. This is the whole problem in their belief system.

To insist that every nonbiblical term or therapy is wrong because “The Bible” is supposed to be used to accomplish those things reduces the Bible and its Gospel to the level of those "self-help" therapies, and then the much decried “secularists” and eclectics are right, then! And what this is really all about is competing with them for "the minds of society"!

Prayer, for instance, is portrayed as “making your requests known to God”, not any psychic change. (One may recoil at and deny the term “psychic”, but all that means is “pertaining to the psyche”, which is what the BCM and other critics are claiming all mental problems are). Whenever a Christian utters the familiar phrase “prayer changes you”, he is giving it psychic power! That is, some, acknowledging that prayer “might not change the circumstances” then make “changing you” its primary purpose!
The passage in Philippians 4:6-7 (which is one of the main "proof-text" sources of this "steps to supernatural healing" concept) is saying that one should pray instead of being anxious (and then lists other virtues to "add" to this) which would grant them "the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus".

This may seem like a "supernatural growth (and 'mental health') process" (through a "change of attitude"), but the issue is what causes the "anxiety" being described there in the first place. This is where people will turn to therapy to get to the root of their problems, and "Bible-answers-only" critics will scold them for it.
But much of the anxiety referred to in the New Testament was not the "daily mundane circumstances" people face today, which are referenced in modern teaching, but rather redemption itself, and persecution by those insisting one must be under the Law in order to be loved by God. So it is pointing ultimately to freedom from being under the Law; which naturally had caused a lot of anxiety. (The Law is discussed a bit in the previous chapter). Hardships were often held as the sign that one was "cursed" by God, for being a "sinner" (i.e. not forgiven).
So naturally, Paul's answer is to make your requests known to God and not be anxious about these things. This would be the purpose of "faith", not a growth process that presumably makes us more fit for Heaven, or even to improve our "testimony".

If we insist that every nonbiblical term or therapy is wrong because “The Bible” is supposed to be used to accomplish the same things, and portray the Gospel as being focused on behavioral "growth", then we actually reduce it to just another self-help/growth philosophy as much as we may decry it being relegated to such by larger society. The point of the Gospel is freedom from the condemnation of sin

Putting Freud in perspective

And we are a little too hard even on Freud. While of course he was not a Christian, and his ultimate conclusions won't be man's need for regeneration, still, my wife and I have noticed the striking similarity of his teachings on the id, ego and superego with the biblical teachings on sin and the trichotomy of man. The concept of id suggests that man was basically a selfish creature who acts out of aggression and lust.(1 John 2:16) We can focus on the differences such as the conclusion that man is not responsible and only needs self-gratification, or we can use this to prove to people the fact that man is fallen. (Unless of course, sin is only actions).

Because of secular psychology's difference in its ultimate world view, it is assumed that Christians must dismiss every single thing it says or teaches (and even its "terms", as cited above), or else, they've "compromised" with it. But much of psychology is observations of people and their traits, not pronouncements of a particular world-view.
And the argument from a film the class showed claiming to discredit psychology because there is no consensus like all the other sciences is invalid, because it is not an exact science. The mind is very COMPLEX, so unlike the easily observed physical sciences, people developed different approaches to dealing with this subject. And even then, there isn't complete agreement in many of the other sciences. There isn't even complete agreement in theology as we see with all these issues like this within the Church!

Self Love and Esteem

Even the concepts of self-love and self-esteem have been greatly misunderstood; and on both sides. When critics of psychology think of "self" love or esteem, they think of a negative, sinful sense, in which you put yourself before others and think you are "good", even to the extent of thinking you are better than others and perhaps not even a sinner. This is what they condemn when they criticize Christian psychology. But even though many secular people may act like this in practice, this is not what these psychological concepts mean. What they mean is a sense of worth.
The Fundamentalist psychology critics emphasize that rather than "feeling good about ourselves", we should "hold up the mirror of God's Word and graphically reveal to man what he really looks like in the sight of a holy God...his exceeding sinfulness and lost condition" as BDM puts it. True, except that we are talking about Christians here. They are already declared righteous through the blood of Christ, so why should they keep thinking of themselves as "unholy sinners", and with a "lost condition", yet? (The assumption of the old hellfire preachers, again!)

But the whole irony of this is that these psychology critics themselves do not seem to be walking around thinking that they are no good and worthless. And they definitely do not seem to think of themselves as sinners anymore, or even admit that they could be in error. Far from it. There is very little humility in these ministries that spend all of this time denouncing just about every single leader in the evangelical Church as "false teachers".
Many of these fundamentalist leaders thus do have much "esteem" of themselves (even though they wouldn't call it this, of course)! Do they not take pride in their ministry (their "service to the Lord"), advocating "excellence" in our profession (and their appearance; it's been pointed out how fine the suits they wear are) and believe that what they are teaching is right? Isn't it like the attitude in very scriptures they often use, such as "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13), and that "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37)?
This is all psychologists call self esteem, (even though many would say that Christ is just a "crutch", or just A way to tap the power within, etc). If the BCM advocates, Psychoheresy awareness or BDM leaders, or any of the other critics were counseling someone and the counselee kept saying "I can't overcome this sin!", "I can't do anything for Christ!", or kept denying who they are in Christ despite what the scriptures say, would the counselor accept this? Would they see it as "true humility" even? Of course not! So once again, it seems a lot of this issue regarding esteem is semantic.

On the other hand, many contemporary Christians also get the concepts mixed up. Even though I am clarifying the true meaning of "self worth" against the mistaken claims of psychology critics; I am not justifying the emphasis some have put on it, where it has a prominent place in "Christian growth". I actually agree with the critics here, to some point (as with the emphasis on "felt needs"). Much of it is what is called "pop" psychology, as opposed to just plain psychology.
I know of brethren who will adamantly insist that "Matthew 22:39 teaches" that you must "love yourself" before you can "love others". (And this is almost a cliché among liberals and even non-Christians!) So it's like you have to embark on this growth process toward self-love in order to even be able to obey the scriptural command. But we're reading a MODERN psychological concept into an ancient text.
What is meant by "loving yourself" in that scripture is the assumption that a person automatically "loves himself" in the natural selfish way. The context justifies this, because Jesus is referring to something that the average person already has, not something one must 'develop'. In this vein, Ephesians 5:28, 29 says "he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh..." Here once again, the idea is to love an "other" (your wife) as you [naturally] love yourself. (Behind this, is the teaching of other scriptures that she is "your flesh").

So the psychology critics rightly oppose such bending of scriptural meaning. Self image is neither the starting point, nor the goal of Christian living. In the Christian life, as we mature, we will more be more able to truly love others, and our view of ourselves will be in its right (and healthy) perspective: sinners, yet redeemed.

Great balanced treatment of BCM from CRI:

Another response to the Bobgans

Philosophical basis of "psychoheresy" critics' supposed "biblical answer"— “Who is man and how he is changed” (Bobgan, "A Church’s Unholy Alliance with the Four Temperaments", 1992)

1) Man is a sinner, and God's retaliation for this is that he deserves pain

2) God's whole Plan is to change this condition, behaviorally

3) Because man deserves pain, God made this (or "allowed" it to be) difficult:
• Man has to “grow” via spiritual “discipline” (by his “will") through the motivation of preaching and confrontational "counseling"; and use scriptural "promises" to eliminate any fears or wrong attitudes. All of this is to lead to "repentance", which is what "heals" emotionally and/or mentally.
•(This is “supernatural”, yet a slow "process", all done by “faith", since God is unseen and doesn't do it instantly)

4) This is all he “needs”; more than any physical or emotional relief

5) Problems such as "mental illness" or "depression" are from people making the wrong "choices" (i.e. not following the above)

6) Any attempt to give man any other form of relief or addressing of "needs" or use any other form of counseling or terminology (or even to devise categories such as temperament to explain interactions) is an unbiblical attack on God's “truth" of “the nature of man, why he is, how he should live, and how he changes”.

The True Gospel

1) Man took the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which instilled in him a sense of shame and the need for covering(Gen. 3:1-11)

2) God held man up to his new knowledge (Gen.3:22-4), and added the Law (Gal.3:19) and its punitive and atonement system to address man's problem. (Rom.5:20)

3) Man as a whole could not keep this Law (Rom.3:20, 28, 4:15, 7:8, 9, 12-24, 8:3 1 Cor.15:56, Gal.3:10-1, 3:21) but only became self-righteous about it, while his sin was still present. (Matt.19:16-22, Romans 2:1-3)

4) God sent His Son to keep the Law and die to represent the propitiation of the requirement of the Law and gain the pardon man needed (1 Tim.2:1-6, 2 Cor.5:19) and then removed the system of Law (Matt.27:51, Eph.2:15-6)

(This does not claim to fix our non-physical, i.e. mental, emotional, etc. problems. This was in fact man’s “greatest need”, but that does not negate man’s other physical and mental/emotional needs!)

Further list of misapplied scriptures
(Discussed in more detail at Abundant Life, Christian Victory and our responses to suffering and negative emotions).

Psalms 50:14 "Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay your vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me" is used to make it sound like there will always be some immediately seen "deliverance" from a problem. But then, Phil 4:19 "God shall supply all your needs" and Heb.13:5,6 "Be content with such things as you have: for He has said 'I will never leave you nor forsake you'[from Gen.28:15]...I will not fear what man shall do to me'[from Ps.27:1]" is taken basically to mean that whatever you have at any given time is all you need; so if you are being threatened or abused by someone, for instance, it shouldn't trouble you, because at least they cannot take your soul; and when in danger, don't fear because even if you lose your job, your possessions, etc., that's OK because that would be all you "need" because Christ is "with you".
But most such passages have in their context the suffering of the day in the first century Church, (and the OT passages they are taken from address the situations of the likes of the patriarchs, and David). Not our everyday experiences, which they are wrongly generalized to. The way these verses are initially quoted, it looks like God is promising nothing really bad will ever happen, but when it does; then we must revise the definitions of "need" and "all right", with "food" or even "air" as the last resort to prove that every Christian's "needs" have always been "provided for" no matter what happened! (And then we are reminded again of all the scriptures saying life would be suffering).

But what would it mean, hypothetically speaking, for God to not be with us, or not supply our every need, or for Him to "leave" or "forsake" us, then? Since every physical and emotional calamity imaginable has in fact happened to Christians; the only thing we are absolutely spared from is ending up [eternally] lost! That is what these scriptures are ultimately pointing to! While this should give us hope and something to be thankful for, as well as "peace" from any worries about eternity; still, the teachers make it sound like those situations in themselves will be or turn into some later situation (in this life) that is "all right". But that is never promised for this life.

So with this in mind, we can see that Matt.6: "take no thought saying what shall we clothed with...If God so clothe the grass of the field, shall he not clothe you, O ye of little faith...but seek first His Kingdom" is mistakenly aimed at laypeople; when these were directed to the apostles, and the contexts are covetousness- wanting something just because someone else has it, not because it's needed), not basic physical and emotional needs.

Rom.8:18, "worthy" means (like "temptation") just what it sounds like: "deserving". This compared to the "glory" (honor) that shall be revealed in us. This is in no way dismissing people's suffering as unimportant, insignificant, or having no detrimental effect. 2 Cor.4 also has as its immediate context the conflict with those advocating the Law as we see at the end of the previous chapter. So verses like 8ff "we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not destroyed, always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord" and "our light affliction which is for but a moment works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" are also not dismissing the pains we suffer today. The old covenant system was on its way down, and that particular suffering would pass soon! There was a special grace for those suffering particularly for Christ's name. Just like all the physical miracles we see then, but not now. (Though some claim to continue these things, and these very same fundamentalists reject this the strongest).
Perhaps the most frequently cited, 8:28, is discussing the "no condemnation" in Christ (v.1) which figures in our "adoption" (v.15) and "predestination" (v.29). It is not saying all our suffering is good because "God uses it for some hidden plan"--as if that is what (all by itself) gets us the inheritance being discussed throughout the book.
Many other scriptures used also have a similar, particular context. Much of the Christian persecution referred in these verses was not just from the pagans, but also from the Jews, (see for example 2 Cor.10:24-26) whose Old Covenant system of law and condemnation, was passing. They either tried to bring Christians back under the Law; or opposed the cause of Christ altogether, and even got the Christians in trouble with the Romans by excluding them from the immunity to emperor worship the Jews were granted. It all hinged on the "Salvation" from the curse of the Law. In the overall context of Colossians, we see that freedom from "the handwriting of ordinances that was against us" (2:14) is the cause of the "peace" in 3:15, as well as Romans 5:1.

People take Gal.2:20, which says "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless…not I live, but Christ in me" to teach "Don't say you can't do something; because it is really Christ who does everything" (and perfectionists use this to say that those who have not completely overcome all sin must not have "Christ in them"), but the context here, once again, is "Dead to the Law that I might live unto God", which speaks of the legal freedom we were granted.
1 Pet.5:7, where the frequently leveled "give your problem to God" is derived from, also has in its context the persecution of the day, as do the nearby verses in Philippians, v.11: "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content" ("content" here is more like "contented", or "self-satisfied", than the common meaning of "content"); and 13: "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me" (used to support, once again "you can take whatever it is no matter what").

Also the passages on being happy in the suffering, such James 1:2, mentioned above, Acts 5:41, Rom.5:3,4, Heb.10:34, and 1 Pet.4:12-14. These can apply to saints today, who are actually suffering for Christ (as those on the mission field), but it should not be generalized to all pain to try to pacify people. The commonly used 2 Cor.12:10 (“thorn in the flesh to buffet me”) involves a heavenly vision Paul was given, which might have caused self-exaltation.
"Grace" used there actually is the same "charis" meaning "unmerited favor", involving once again salvation from the curse of the Law. It is certainly not something worked up by trying to squelch one's feelings or pretending the pain doesn't matter. All of these passages are leveled at sufferers, and the "peace" of "grace" is taken to mean some sort of supernatural "serenity" that comes over you and makes your pains not matter. If they don't develop this "peace", then perhaps the person has not received Christ, or at least has not been filled with the Spirit. From what I have seen, you have to apply it and make it grow by constantly practicing certain responses, such as reciting a verse, singing, praying, or repenting of the "sins" of certain emotions every time a thought comes up. This process, which is being attributed to some mysterious "peace" from God is really a human capability provided all through common grace. Christians are more likely to benefit from this, because the non-Christian is more likely to deny that he has a problem, or that he needs to try to overcome it, or that certain actions or reactions are "sins" that need to be overcome to begin with. Plus he doesn't have the Holy Spirit to convict him (to the extent that Christians do). Yet non-Christians are able to practice similar disciplines and overcome negative thoughts, even though we pretend they don't, or wonder self-righteously "how they do it".
Salvation is the invisible change in us that is believed by faith and not sight or feelings (as it is based completely on legal imputation, anyway) and is gradually worked out in growth. And hopefully also, the "peace" that comes from being out from under condemnation.

Heb.12 with its "Chastening of the Lord", doesn't even say it is speaking of physical tribulation. The "chastisement" is to be "rebuked", meaning conviction (see Greek). Even "scourge" allows a figurative meaning, so this is spiritual, not physical or emotional torment! This is illustrated in 2 Cor.7:7-12, where several virtues of the sort often said to come from physical "trials" are wrought by the "godly sorrow" brought about from Paul's first epistle! (Beginning with "repentance", and ending even with showing themselves "approved". "Fear" would be "of God", "indignation" would probably mean "indignation against sin", and "revenge" means "punishment", referring to church discipline). Some even quote Psalms 119:67, 71, 75 "Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept your word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn your statutes. I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right, and that you in faithfulness have afflicted me." assuming this was referring to David's physical troubles. But "afflicted/ion" in the Hebrew means mostly "depression", and not necessarily depression from bad circumstances (which is criticized here anyway), but "looking down or browbeating; abase self; chasten self, humble self, deal hardly with" and even "gentleness" is in there! This speaks of the strong conviction David had from God for his sins, more than the physical consequences of them!
Even the "pruning" of John 15 means "to cleanse"; fig. to "expiate" (it's where the word "catharsis" comes from), not some "painful process" as physical "cutting" in the commonly used analogy. (Though the conviction this is done through can be painful in a way, as we see in the Cor. example, above). But there is nothing in this to suggest God manipulating circumstances in the material world just to inflict some sort of pain or discomfort. In the Old Testament, God handed out earthly "blessings" and "curses" to the Israelites through manipulating the environment around them. So rival armies would be empowered or fall, giving Israel either victory, or defeat and captivity according to Israel's obedience.
In this context, we have Deut. 32:39 "I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal" and Isaiah 45:7, "I form the darkness, and I create light; I make peace, and I create evil [calamity]: I the Lord do all these things" (and also Amos2:6); other passages that are used, by both this emotional health gospel, and Calvinism to teach that God causes evil, but for a good purpose, of course. -(And ironically, most of these fundamentalists are not even Calvinists, but the two teachings are cut from very much the same cloth!) Many people think this just continues on, but all of that was a shadow of spiritual blessings and lack thereof, not the everyday ups and downs of life. Part of our blessings is that God does not deal with us that way; or in all of the earthly analogies cited earlier about pain being good. Else, as Philip Yancey says, "our planet would sparkle nightly like a Christmas tree" (from all the lightning bolts and fire from Heaven; Disappointment With God p.84).

Most people today are not Josephs ("God meant it for good") or the Old or New Testament Hebrews who were playing a significant part in establishing God's plan of redemption (and thus warned about "murmuring"). Of course; I'm not saying that people should go on murmuring and complaining, but it will be harder for them to find healing if they are loaded down with all the tremendous guilt and fear of these statements--two of the very things they're supposed to be overcoming in the first place!

While God did "allow Satan" to inflict the pain to Job, this was a lesson for us; not an illustration of the cause of every Christian's pain today. So the overall message of Job is NOT "being man means you deserve pain, and to not like pain is to try to be God", but rather the contrary, as we see again in the Gospels where the Jews (including the disciples) tended to blame people born with infirmities, which they attributed to some "sin"; and Jesus corrected them. God may have corrected Job when his words got too out of place, but He was really angry at his friends who "did not speak right concerning Me"! Job was ordered to offer sacrifices for them! That was a very serious offense to Him! Just look at the fact that it was actually their "comfort", with all its charges of sin that made Job sink so much lower into such negative thinking in the first place! (He actually started out more positive, and his primary “sin” was “justifying himself rather than God”. With “friends” like that doing nothing but accusing him; it was no wonder!) This type of cold judging must hurt God's heart! Perhaps the morale of the book of Job is compassion, as opposed to "tough love"! Scriptures like Job 5:7 "man is born unto trouble", and John 16:33 "in the world you shall have trouble, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (the context once again is what was going on then, as you can see in the previous verse), are always cited, but those are describing the way the world is.
God is in "control" of it in the fact that He has allowed the world to go on like this, and a Christian is saved, and that was the most important issue in human existence; so for what ever reason, God has not stepped in and fixed the physical world by establishing His visible Kingdom yet. But "control" does not mean that we speculate that every bad thing that happens to a Christian is "good" for them; and then accuse them of not "bowing" to God's "control", or "trusting", "resting in", "abiding in", "yielding to", etc. Him when they don't respond the way we say they should. And pain tells us something is wrong; not that it's right!
It's amazing how much "feelings" are often dismissed and put down in these teachings, but then the "victory" and "peace" is initially described in a simplistic way that that makes it sound easy and appealing to our desire for quick solutions, ease and good feelings!

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