Question: The enclosed article by John H. Coe from R.C. Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries’ Tabletalk doesn’t ring true to me. It blatantly states that the Bible “alone is insufficient” and elevates what it calls “natural revelation” to the level of Scripture. That contradicts my understanding of the Bible. Could you comment on this in your newsletter?
Response: John H. Coe of Clyde Narramore’s Rosemead School of Psychology has been mentioned in TBC before (Oct ’93). In order to justify “Christian” psychology’s borrowing of the “wisdom of this world” (1 Cor:1:20;2:6;3:19) from Freud, Jung, et al. and calling it part of “God’s truth” to supplement the Bible, he must show that the Bible is insufficient—or abandon his profession.
In a paper titled, incredibly, “Why Biblical Counseling is Unbiblical,” Coe claims that the Bible itself “mandates the church to develop a science of [moral and spiritual] values and human nature” from extrabiblical sources. He declares that whatever is “natural” is good and that one can deduce a “science of [moral] values” simply from observing nature. This is obviously not true.
Nature has no morals; nor can science reveal morals; neither can there be a science of human nature because man is not a robot and human qualities such as love, joy, peace, choice, a sense of right and wrong, etc. cannot be explained in scientific cause-and-effect terms. Einstein confessed that science has nothing to do with religion; and Nobel Laureate physicist Erwin Schroedinger said that science “knows nothing of...good or bad, God and eternity.” Mankind’s common recognition of right and wrong comes not from nature but from God’s laws written in the conscience (Rom:2:14-15). Moreover, nothing is more “natural” than to eat the fruit of a tree, especially if it is delicious and promises the knowledge of good and evil!
In the article you enclosed, Coe accuses those who affirm the sufficiency of Scripture of having “retreated, particularly from the light of reason and natural revelation, to the island of faith, clinging desperately and unfortunately to the illusion of a Bible-alone approach to wisdom which is solely ‘from above.’” He sounds like a humanist! He declares that without natural revelation “the Bible ...alone is insufficient.” Of course, he includes in natural revelation that part of “God’s truth” which secular psychologists have allegedly discovered and which is therefore needed to supplement Scripture.
Yes, the Bible is insufficient when it comes to flying an airplane, repairing an engine, transplanting a kidney, but not when it comes to those “things that pertain to life and godliness,” all of which Peter says have been given to us in Christ (2 Pt 1:3-4). Paul says that through Scripture alone the man or woman of God is “throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tm 3:17). Christ said that the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive” (Jn:14:17) and who guides believers “into all truth” (Jn:16:13). He said that those who continue in His word, which “is truth” (Jn:17:17) know “the truth” (Jn:8:32), not part of the truth, and are thereby set free, not partially free.
The Bible’s declaration that the “natural man” cannot know God’s truth, which is only revealed by the Spirit of God (1 Cor:2:14), is proof that Freud, et al. had nothing of God’s truth to impart. That fact alone thoroughly demolishes the Coe / Christian psychology thesis that part of God’s truth is to be found in secular psychology. It isn’t there.
Inasmuch as all of God’s truth is contained in God’s Word, Christian psychology has nothing to offer and leads into gross error. Preventing God’s people from believing in the sufficiency of Scripture is essential for Christian psychologists if they hope to remain in business, and John H. Coe is determined to prove this thesis. How tragic that R.C. Sproul’s Tabletalk would join in promoting it.