Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here’s this week’s question: “Dear T.A. and Dave: I read T.A.’s article in your newsletter about psychology, and I think you are a bit foolish to discourage Christians from seeing professional psychotherapists who are Christians. Furthermore, what is a person to do when his or her church offers no help?”
Tom: Well, the last thought there is a sad commentary on the church today because the church is one of the largest, if not the largest, referral service for psychotherapy, Christian or otherwise. But Dave, I thought about—and got letters of concern about what I had to say—but I think it’s very simple. In the article, I point out—and it’s not my idea—but what is psychotherapy? It’s talk, and if it’s talk, the talk has content. The content is either going to line up, be consistent, be true, to God’s Word, or it’s going to be the ideas and thoughts of the world, of professionals, of—go through the main people in psychotherapy, Freud, Jung, Maslow, Adler, Rogers, go down the line, where do they get their talk? Where does their content come from?
Dave: Well, you understand, Tom, now, these are professionals. They have researched this, and they have come up with an understanding that was not in the Bible. You mean to say that the Bible has all we need for life and godliness?
Tom: “All things that pertain to life and godliness” is what Peter tells us.
Dave: That’s what it says. The Bible has the answers for our behavior, for our happiness, for our fulfillment. Furthermore, for a Christian, life is Christ living in me. Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me.” Now, are these people suggesting that Jesus Christ needs some help from Freud, an anti-Christian atheist? Or from Carl Jung, who abandoned his…
Tom: Freud’s whole life was to destroy religion, particularly Christianity.
Tom: Now this isn’t…I’m not lobbing this into the ring here—this is historic, this is documented, books have been written about this, but go ahead.
Dave: So what do I need as a Christian? I need to allow Christ to live His life through me. Now, where am I going to get help for that except from Christ himself? His name is…one of his names, “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor….” Well, if Jesus is the Counselor and His word has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, and, in fact the Bible is the Manufacturer’s Handbook…
Tom: And it gets better. He seals us believers—we’re sealed with his Holy Spirit. The comfort of the counselor brings conviction, brings truth, the Spirit of truth—Wow!
Dave: So Tom, I don’t remember the details of the article but basically what you are saying is if Christian psychology has anything of any value to offer, then the church was without it for 1,900 years. And therefore, the Bible is inadequate. In fact, that’s what they are saying—that the Bible needs to be supplemented; that this poor guy—and I often use the illustration, Tom, as you know, I don’t think I have on this program—maybe, but anyway here’s Joseph. His brothers hate him, they want to kill him; they throw him in a pit.
Tom: He’s his father’s favorite. There’s jealousy involved.
Dave: But even his mother and father don’t like his dreams. And they sell him into Egypt where he is falsely accused of immorality, ends up in prison…
Tom: Sounds like a dysfunctional family.
Dave: It’s a terrible situation. Here he is, falsely accused, in prison. How is he going to survive? Well, fortunately, there was a Christian psychologist who was able to come in every week and build up his self-esteem and help him to find his way through this difficult situation. Well, of course, everybody out there is supposed to laugh. No, there wasn’t, but Joseph got through it.
The people in Hebrews 11—I don’t think very many people have the trials and tribulations: “sawn asunder, wandered about in sheep skins and goat skins, destitute, tormented, afflicted. They dwelt in dens and caves of the earth,” I mean, “hated and persecuted.” They triumphed by faith. No psychologist around, Christian or otherwise.
Now if they made it, why can’t we make it today, by faith, trusting in God and in the power of the Holy Spirit and in Christ living His life through us? So, when a person turns to psychology, Christian or otherwise, they are turning to something in addition to the Bible. They are saying the Bible does not have all the answers. “Jesus Christ is not enough, and I need some help.” Help from whom? Well, as you pointed out, these are godless anti-Christians to a man, whether you’re talking about Freud or Jung or Rogers or Maslow or any of them.
Tom: Try and find one that has a teaching, that has a concept, has theories, that are consistent with the word of God—you won’t find it! But Dave, I also want to go back to—probably some people got really upset when we were picking on Christian psychologists. First of all, there is no such thing as Christian psychology! Ask your Christian therapist, if you have one. He or she does not have a theory or a system that you could call “Christian.” So, what does he or she have? It’s an eclectic—it’s a mixture of some of these godless individuals that we talked about and their theories. Even if we weren’t picking on the fact that they were not Christian, their concepts and their teachings are anti-biblical…
Tom: …right down the line. So what you have is a mixed bag. You’re going to somebody who model—in the way they have set up shop—they are modeling the psychotherapeutic way of dealing with problems, and they are using godless individuals, anti-biblical theories, in a mixture with some things that they say, “Oh no, here are some biblical ideas.” So, it’s probably worse because you have a sense of truth, some bits and pieces of what the Bible actually teaches in a stew that’s just poisonous.
Dave: It’s a new “priest class” in the church. These are the new experts, the heroes—their books are more popular. Look at…go in any Christian bookstore. This is something new and it is not better. It hasn’t helped. It’s a tragedy.
Tom: It does not work.