Tom: You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
In this first segment of our program, we’ll be discussing the subject of Psychology and the Church. And we think it’s a very important subject because the evangelical church has turned to psychological counseling (really, in a major way) to solve the everyday problems of professing Christians.
We’ve mentioned that Christian churches are the foremost referral source for professional counselors, and that Christian psychologists (Dave, we mentioned this last week), based on, not alone…. But we got a letter from someone extolling the virtues of Christian psychologists, and they’ve become the most influential people in evangelical Christianity today.
Now, Dave, as someone said, “The church has sold its birthright for a pottage of beans, or a bowl of bean soup.” But I think if you strained the “soup” of psychology, I think you’d have trouble finding any nutritious beans in it. It’s just…I mean, that’s our view of it, and we’ve tried to present our documentation, present our thoughts about this over the weeks.
Dave: Well, Tom, there’s one other way of looking at it, and you know that I’ve been accused of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” and I tell them that I strained the bath water, and there’s nothing in there but “Rosemary’s baby.” I’m afraid that’s psychology. Unfortunately, a lot of it comes out of the occult, and we documented that in past programs concerning Carl Jung, for example.
Dave: Tom, we don’t enjoy this, okay? Let everybody understand that. But we feel obligated—well, we are told to “earnestly contend for the faith, once delivered to the saints.” Okay? And this is not the faith, once for all delivered to the saints. This is—as I’ll quote Bruce Narramore for probably the third time—it was humanistic psychologists Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers who first made us aware of the need for self-love and self-esteem.
So this is not the gospel. This is not the Word of God. They didn’t get that out of the Word of God, they got it from atheists.
Tom: Well, Dave, as we’ve mentioned in past programs, these men who, the “pillars of psychology,” who were supposed to solve the world’s problems, people of the world, and they couldn’t solve their own problems! Their lives were so messed up—it’s just outrageous to even think that we would look to them for some sort of help.
You know, last week, just to pick up where we left off, we talked about Psalm 1: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.” Let’s talk about what the Scriptures have to say.
So, for the sake of some of our viewers and listeners who weren’t with us last week to tune in, let me go through Psalm 1:
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
Sounds like a great “heads up” to me! And, more than that, this is what God says. This is how our lives are going to be fruitful.
Dave, let’s take it from the top. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” That’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it?
Dave: Yeah, we talked about that last week. You have a progression there. “Walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,” and we pointed out that the founders of psychology were all ungodly, every last one of them. And so Christian psychology is walking in the counsel of the ungodly. That’s all there is to it! They have taken it from the world. This is the wisdom of the world that Paul says is foolishness with God, and yet it’s in the church, okay?
Tom: But, Dave, last week I also mentioned—we have a classic interview, I think, posted on our website between…it’s a discussion between you and Walter Martin, and Walter is defending psychology. And one of the reasons, as we’ve mentioned previously, we can’t get so-called Christian psychologists to debate the issues with us.
Now, one of the points that Walter makes, and I’d like you to address it now—you did on the program, but I think it’s important, because it has become the mantra of Christian psychology—and that is, “All truth is God’s truth.” Now, would this verse that we’ve just read—can we get God’s truth from the ungodly?
Dave: Well, Tom, yes and no. He has put his laws in every human conscience. So that’s why you would get some good things out of Buddhism or even Hinduism, even atheism. But they try to say, “Well, you don’t need God for there to be ethics or right and wrong.” So every human being has a certain amount of common sense, and God has impressed his laws in their conscience.
But that’s not exactly what it talks about, because it says, “In his law doth he meditate day and night.” I don’t think people are meditating on their conscience, they are trying to escape their conscience. So it’s talking specifically about the Word of God when it says, “In his law doth he meditate day and night.” It means the Word of God.
Now, when Jesus, in John:8:31 said, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Now, what is this the truth? Not only Walter Martin, but his successors—he had an article in Christian Researcher several years ago by the Passantinos, Bob and Gretchen Passantino, in which they argue, “Well, but all truth is God’s truth. Look at this: 10 times 10 is a hundred? Well, that’s part of God’s truth.” No, that’s a simple fact, and let’s not mix science with truth. Okay?
In verse, I think it was…Tom, you know I never remember the verse, but I think it’s v. 44, Jesus said, “Because I tell you the truth, you believe me not.” Is Jesus saying, “Because I tell you 10 times 10 is a hundred, you believe me not”? This truth that He’s talking about is something that the world will not receive.
Now, if you went to John 18, Jesus is before Pilate, and Pilate says, “Are you a king?” And Jesus says, “Yes, I am, and my purpose in coming to this world is to bear witness to the truth.” I don’t think Jesus came to bear witness to E=MC², or the attraction between two objects is directly proportional to their masses and inversely proportioned to the square of the distance between their centers—you know, the law of gravity where it accelerates at 32 ft. per second on this earth, not elsewhere! No.
So, if we went to John 14, I think it’s pretty clear: Jesus—well, it is very clear—Jesus said, “I am not going to leave you comfortless. I am going away, but I will send a Comforter to you.”
Now, here’s how He describes the Comforter: “Even the Spirit of truth,” and then Jesus says, “whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.” All right?
Now, if we went to John 16, I think it’s v. 13 (somewhere around there), Jesus says, “When he the Spirit of truth is come, he will lead you into all truth.” I don’t think the purpose of the Spirit of truth is to lead us into scientific facts. I mean, He could lead us into plenty that we wouldn’t even be able to understand. The universe is that complex, it’s that amazing!
Okay, so now, we just take the words of Jesus: “You continue in my Word, you will know the truth. I am going to send the Spirit of truth. He will lead you into all truth when he comes, and the world can’t receive the Spirit of truth.” It doesn’t even know it.
So, now don’t tell me that Freud or Jung or Rogers or Maslow had any of God’s truth. They may have had some common sense, just like Buddha had.
Tom: I’ve read much of what they’ve written, and that’s debatable.
Tom: Right, and many of their concepts were on that basis: to soothe their own conscience.
Dave: Right. But anyway, so all truth is God’s truth? Well, in a sense you could say yes. The very capacity that we have to recognize truth comes from God, but this is not standing before a judge and saying, “I solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” That is not the truth that Jesus came to bear witness of. In other words, it’s not facts, it’s not about science.
But furthermore, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” I don’t think 10 times 10 is a hundred would set anybody free.
Furthermore, even standing in front of a judge: “I solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God,” that could put people in jail and not set them free! Okay?
So all it boils down to is this: When we’re talking about God’s truth, we’re talking about the Word of God. Jesus said, “Thy Word is truth."
We are also talking about the living Word of God, which is Christ himself. He said, “I am the truth.”
Now, hmm…Christian psychology is getting perilously close to “All roads lead to the same place.”
Jesus said, “I am the truth.”
And you say, “Yeah, but God’s truth is here, God’s truth is there….” That’s their big problem. So, I suppose you could dredge something out of Confucius; he had some pretty good ideas! Or Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, an Eightfold Path—some of that’s pretty good stuff. That is not what Jesus is talking about, and the Holy Spirit doesn’t lead you into that. He’s talking about the Word of God.
And so we’re in Psalm One: “In his law [the Word] does he meditate day and night.” And if he will do that, he will not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, he will not stand in the way of sinners, he will not sit in the seat of the scornful, but he will be led of the Spirit of God to understand the Word of God.
And, Tom, I was asking the Lord early this morning, “Lord, I need wisdom. James says that if any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God. Lord, please give me wisdom, because Solomon in Proverbs:4:7 said, ‘Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom.’” We’re going to get it from God. We’re not going to get it from Freud.
And, Tom, I’m talking too long…
Tom: Well, Dave, let me finish that: “and in all that getting, get understanding.”
Dave: Yeah, I haven’t gotten to that yet, but that’s okay.
Tom: Oh, I love that punchline!
Dave: That’s very important. And, Tom, it’s just incredible. Just to put one more period at the end of this sentence: His name (this is the Messiah) shall be called Wonderful, Counselor! Now, that’s one of Christ’s names; then let’s go to Him for counsel. Let’s not go to some counselor who happens to be a Christian psychologist, licensed by the state, and who took all these godless courses, the same ones that the atheistic psychologists and psychiatrists took, and he passed them the same way they did with the same answers they gave. Please, let’s get back to the Word of God, and let’s have some confidence in Christ!
You know it’s a slap in the face, really, to Jesus. The Counselor, and we turn…"Oh, well, His Word, I mean, that’s not enough. I tried that; it doesn’t work. I’ve got to have some help from Freud, or Jung, or Rogers, Maslow,” on and on—all godless men.
Tom: Dave, I’ve been asked that question (probably not as often as people have challenged you with it), but my response is, “Well, okay, not that I accept that mantra, that ‘all truth is God’s truth,’ but give me an example. Give me an example from Freud or Jung or Maslow in which they have presented God’s truth.” Silence every time. They may give me some practical thing of…well, I’m thinking about the example when you were at—was it Fuller with Martin and Deidre Bobgan?
Dave: Yes. They never invited them back and they certainly never invited me back. Yes, I was sitting there in the—well, these were pastors who went back to Fuller to get PhDs in psychology so they would feel competent to counsel from the Bible, if you can imagine that! (That means Paul wasn’t competent, neither was anyone until the 1800s when Freud came along, and the church was without all this great wisdom!)
Okay, and I’m sitting in the back of the class because he’s talking with about 30 pastors. Tom, I was just sinking down in my chair, lower and lower, because it’s getting embarrassing. He is just spanking them!
Tom: You’re talking about Martin Bobgan?
Dave: Martin Bobgan—well, he’s very straight forward. He doesn’t mince his words, and he was just laying it out, all the facts! I mean, this isn’t science, and it certainly isn’t the Bible, and I was actually…
Tom: It doesn’t work, not efficacious in any sense.
Dave: I was getting embarrassed, really! I thought there would be a mass exodus from the Graduate School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary there in Pasadena. (Someone gave them a gift; that’s the biggest building down there the last time I was there.) But boy, was I wrong! They were not moved at all. And so the Q and A session they are challenging him: “All truth is God’s truth!” And he said, “Well, there are two basic problems that man has if we are going to deal with his problem. What is the model of man, and how do you change him?”
Tom: The method of change.
Dave: Right, and they began discussing this, and of course Martin said, “Would you give me one example?” Just what you just said: give me one example from psychology that…is God’s truth from the Bible about these two things: the model of man, the method of change? And he added that wasn’t in the Bible first, and said, “There, better.” Okay? Well, there was silence, and finally one lady—I guess a woman pastor—she said, “Well, I have found psychology very helpful in potty training mentally retarded children.” That was it, Tom! That was the best they could come up with!
Tom: That has nothing to do with God’s truth; it has to do with behavioral modification, and so on, which is problematic at best.
Dave: So, Tom, instead of sinking down in my chair, now I was weeping for these dear people. They’ve abandoned the Word of God. They’ve come to study psychology in order to be able to counsel their parishioners—not from the Bible, which is sufficient, but from the wisdom of man. They’re “walking in the counsel of the ungodly.”
Tom: And what they are missing out—I’ll pick up with v. 2. This is, again—some of you have just joined us—I’m reading Psalm:1:2: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord,” and of course, that’s the law and the testimony, the Scriptures, “and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
And what comes of that, Dave? Verse 3…
Dave: Well, we talked about that a bit last week. It speaks to my heart: His delight! Wow! “My delight!” “Thy words are my delight.”
“Thy words were found and I did eat them,” Jeremiah said. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Delight thyself also in the Lord.”
Tom: And what happens is a consequence? “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Now, this is the promise of God, Dave. These aren’t just some platitudes we are laying out here.
Dave: Yeah. So, Tom, we’ve done a bit of hiking together. Some people used to say that I took them on death marches up in the Sierras…
Tom: Well, anybody under 6 feet said that, going with you, Dave, and your son, and even Ruth!
Dave: Well, that’s some pretty steep stuff. But when you look down in a canyon, even if you went in Southern California where it’s desert, but look down in the canyon: it’s green…
Tom: By the streams.
Dave: …and you will find where it seems to be too low for pines. It’s going to have bushes—no, get by a stream down there even at a low altitude, and you will find pine trees flourishing because they’ve got a good supply of water. And what does that speak to us about? Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.”
So, fantastic Psalm, Tom! It’s amazing how all the Bible fits together.
Tom: By contrast: “The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”
Dave, there’s an incredible metaphor for what we see today. People are just—I mean, they are just being blown back and forth! Their lives are so unstable. There are no roots down because they are buying into all of these bogus ideas, these wrong teachings.
Dave: Right. And you know what chaff is: you throw it up, winnowing the wheat, and the wind blows the chaff away. That’s no good. It doesn’t have any nutrition in it. But these people are like that: they’re being blown away with the wind. “Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand in judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”
Now, what? Do you mean they’re not going to be judged? No, they will not be at the judgment seat of Christ. There’s nothing to judge in their lives; they’re condemned. They have rejected Christ. But…
Tom: Now, this doesn’t mean, in the context of what we are talking about, everyone who turns to psychology. What we’re talking about—those who reject the truth, they reject Christ.
Dave: Amen, amen. “For this cause God shall send them a strong delusion,” 2 Thessalonians 2, “because they refused to receive the love of the truth, and they believed a lie rather than the truth.” What a tragedy, Tom!
Tom: Right. “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” It’s as simple as that, and all we need to do is to look to the so-called fruit of a psychologized society, which we are. It’s almost worldwide.
Dave: It’s getting worse and worse. That’s a real growth business, and the beds in psychiatric hospitals keep growing larger and larger. And, Tom, you have often quoted, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” And right here in this Psalm we have it presented.