Tom: Thanks, Gary. 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 segment of our program, we have been discussing significant doctrines of biblical Christianity and we are using Dave Hunt’s out-of-print book, Beyond Seduction, as a resource. And Dave, as you know, for the last few weeks the issue before us has been psychology, more specifically, psychotherapy or psychological counseling, and the concern that we have had, and continue to have, is what this does to the sufficiency of God’s Word.
Dave: You’re talking about psychological counseling in the church by so-called Christian psychologists.
Tom: Right, but the issue here, Dave, is— we will continue to address the different aspects of psychotherapy, but really, at the heart of this, so much of what we see going on in the church is undermining the sufficiency of God’s Word. Now, how critical is that?
Dave: Well, Tom, first of all, before we get to that, this stuff doesn’t work. And I could quote you—I mean, how many books have been written by secular psychologists and psychiatrists? I’m thinking of a book by Thomas Szasz, not a Christian, Jewish…non-practicing Jew, one of the world’s leading research psychiatrists—one of his books is titled The Myth of Mental Illness. And the former head of the American Psychological Association—this is back in the 1990s—he said, “Psychotherapy will be known as the hoax of the 20th century.” We could quote Bernie Zilbergeld, you remember? clinical psychologist, after investigating his own profession for fifteen years, he said there is no evidence that psychologists, psychiatrists, no matter how much training they have, do a better job with counseling than people who are simply sympathetic, have some concern, who have some common sense. We’ve done tests where they match Western psychiatrists against witch doctors, and it came out a dead heat. The only difference was the witch doctors charged less and released their patient sooner. They’ve done tests where, you know, they’ve…
Tom: Now Dave, I want to interrupt here, because as many times as you have mentioned that, I wonder what people out there are thinking. Why would you compare witch doctoring or shamanism with psychotherapy. It sounds like sarcasm, or whatever, but it’s not. Explain that.
Dave: But this was a serious scientific test where they divide the patients, some of them they send to witch doctors, and others they send to psychiatrists—this is for psychological counseling now, psychotherapy, and I’m quoting from E. Fuller Torrey’s book, and he’s one of the world’s leading research psychiatrists, as well. And he said that the methods of Western psychologists and psychiatrists are on the same scientific level as the methods of witch doctors.
Tom: Or, let me use another term so that it doesn’t throw people off—“medicine men,” individuals who ministered in tribes among their people.
Dave: Right. So, all I’m saying is, Tom, first of all, it doesn’t work in the world. And, you know, they had 80 scholars involved, what was it—a three- or four-year study sponsored by the American Scientific Assn. to see whether this was scientific or not, whether…See, they have been trying to make out that psychological counseling, psychiatry, and the analysis of the human psyche, and so forth, is scientific, and they concluded it is not scientific nor can it be. Okay, so now we raise a question.
Tom: One other point here. Two or three decades ago, wasn’t there a massive conference in…I think it was in Arizona, in which you had the biggest names living at that point in psychotherapy, psychology, and so on. And, I think the LA Times did a full story on it. What was the result of that?
Dave: Well, you had a panel of four of the world’s leading experts on schizophrenia. Three of them said, “There is no such thing,” and the fourth one, I forget his name at the moment, but he said, “Schizophrenia didn’t exist until someone invented the word.” Now, I don’t care who you are out there, don’t argue with me—argue with the experts. What the conclusion was of this conference—we don’t know what we are talking about! You know—We can’t even define these things. We have talked in the past about the DSM.
Tom: Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, I’m trying to think of some of the names of some of the individuals involved. These were the greatest living proponents of psychotherapy at that point in time.
Dave: And they all acknowledged that they didn’t even know what they were talking about.
Tom: And this doesn’t work; there was no basis for what they were doing; there was no accumulative knowledge that you could standardize, none of that.
Dave: So, you remember what Thomas Szasz said—he said, “You want to know what we have done? We’ve turned the salvation of sinful souls into the cure of sick minds,” and he said, “You Christians ought to take this back into the church; we’ve got nothing to offer.” Well, instead, the church has taken psychology into its bosom, you know, embraced it. A thing that doesn’t work, that the psychiatrists and psychologists themselves know does not work, they even write books to debunk it, and the church embraced it!
Now, the point you are trying to get to is, what does this say about the view of Scripture? Well, apparently, the Bible is not sufficient; apparently, Jesus should have been involved in psychological counseling, Paul should have been involved in it. Paul never mentions it in his epistles. Peter, in fact, has the audacity—can you imagine that Peter would dare, 2 Peter 1, to say that “God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness to the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”—that the Bible would dare to say we don’t need psychotherapy, we don’t need psychological counseling!
Well, I believe the Bible was inspired of the Holy Spirit, and the secret of the Christian life, what the Christian life is supposed to be all about—Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me.” Paul wrote to the Colossians in chapter 3, “When Christ, who is your life, shall appear.” Now, if Christ is my life, and the Christian life isn’t something that I try to live—someone has said it many years ago, it may have been Bill Bright, Campus Crusade for Christ, back in the early days of that movement, he said: “The Christian life isn’t difficult, it’s impossible! Nobody ever lived it but Jesus Christ.” Well then, the only way we can really be biblical Christians is, be crucified with Christ and allow Christ to live His life in us, and I don’t believe Jesus Christ needs any help from Freud or Rogers or Maslow or Jung, or anybody else.
So now, what the church has done, Tom, in order to be pseudo-scientific is the best they can ever be, because this is not scientific—in order to lift up their heads in the academic world and say, “Well, we have our degrees in psychology, too.” They have embraced something that the world has said doesn’t work. Now, they have done that in the face of the statements in the Bible: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away, all things have become new.” The whole thing with the Christian life is as Jesus said: “If you continue in my Word, then are you my disciples indeed—you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
And we have people who are not willing to take the freedom that Christ offers. I know what they say, Tom, I’ve talked to many of them: “Yeah, but it doesn’t work—oh, but I have tried it, but it doesn’t work—you can’t just stick to the Bible, you can’t just throw a Bible…” No, we are not throwing a Bible verse at somebody. “You can’t just throw a Bible verse at somebody. You guys are just beating people over the head with a Bible.”
Tom: Right, dispensing verses like pills.
Dave: Right. No, I guess you have to come to this conclusion—the Bible doesn’t work—Jesus made false promises—because we live in a modern day now, when we face problems that human beings never faced before, it’s such a complex life, and so forth.
No, that isn’t true. The human being has not changed, the desire for purpose and meaning and for love and fulfillment has not changed. Well, but we have had something else substituted, Tom, called self-esteem, self-acceptance, self-image, and that is absolutely contrary to the Word of God. Paul writes to the Philippians:2:3, he says: “In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” But the church has bought the lie of the secular psychologist and they are now dispensing it to Christians instead of giving them the pure Word of God. Let me just cite, I guess, the last couple of lines of a poem: “Who would leave the fountainhead, to drink the muddy stream, where men have mixed what God has said with every dreamer’s dream?”
I want the pure Word of God, and this is our life, this is the answer. I don’t want it mixed in with the theories of men that the world even admits, do not work.
Tom: Dave, I just want to share with our audience that this isn’t something that we just picked up today, or last week, or the week before—we’ve been writing about this and talking about this for years, and doing a lot of research, as you know, and maybe some of our listeners don’t know. I grew up in a psychiatric community. My father was a psychiatrist. I learned much of this by osmosis as well as academic training. So, I speak about this in lots of places, but the issue comes down to, as we began this, the sufficiency of God’s Word.
Now, here I am just looking at my notes from a talk that I gave, Dave, and I would like for you to respond to some of these things. “Psychotherapy, regarding our concern about it, has shipwrecked the faith of many believers regarding the sufficiency of the Bible.” We have addressed that because, as you alluded to, it introduces bogus concepts, not only unbiblical, but impractical, irrational ideas.
Dave: And it says the Bible doesn’t have the answers, when in fact, the Bible does have the answers.
Tom: Right. As far as those who promote it within the church, whether they be Christian psychologists or those who are therapists in some way—they are trying to sell the church a bill of goods that psychology can be integrated with the Bible. Now, what do you say to that?
Dave: You can’t possibly integrate anything with the Bible—the Bible is self-sufficient. The Bible stands alone. The Bible is in a category, a class, all of its own. The Bible—this is the inspired Word of the living God, inspired of the Holy Spirit of God, and to mix men’s wisdom in with that is an insult, it’s a slap in the face to God. It’s saying, “Well, yeah, I mean, God, you did as good a job as you could possibly do when you gave us some counsel and wisdom, and so forth, but you didn’t really understand the deeper problems of man, and now we’ve come to that understanding and, therefore, we need to help the Bible out a little bit by integrating some of modern wisdom with the antiquated ideas of the Bible—we’re not going to throw the Bible out, we’re just going to help it out with a little modern wisdom.”
Tom: Wow. And then they step it up from there. We have seen time and time again where pastors are intimidated by this pseudo-science, you know—you mentioned it—the studies that demonstrate that this is not scientific, but nevertheless, pastors are still intimidated by it. So, consequently, they don’t counsel from the Scriptures. That’s so grievous, Dave!
Dave: The seminaries that have psychological counseling—and pastors are going back by the thousands…
Tom: Under the guise of pastoral counseling, which is really deceitful.
Dave: Right. They are going back to get degrees, Ph.D.’s, in counseling from a secular viewpoint in order to be able to use the Bible, supposedly, although the Bible gets contaminated. But I will never forget when Fuller Graduate School of Psychology—they did allow Martin Bobgan to come and address one class. And I will never forget what…you know, he just challenged them.
They said, “Oh well, but we’ve learned so much from psychology!”
And Martin said, “Well, tell me one thing that psychology has to offer that’s valid that the Bible hasn’t said first and better.”
Now, these are pastors—a classroom full of pastors (well, there was one woman pastor). She finally raised her hand and she said, “Well, I have found that psychology comes in very handy when it comes to potty training mentally deficient children.” That was the best they could offer.
Martin challenged them. He said, “Look, it’s very simple, we have the model of man. What is man? And how are you going to solve the problem? What are you going to do? What does psychology tell you?” And that’s when he said, “What does psychology offer that the Bible hasn’t said better?”
Tom, what is it that draws people to this? Because you get a degree, you have a Ph.D. in psychology. Now, do you know what that does? You can’t be a Berean anymore. The Bereans checked Paul…from what? They didn’t go to the library, check out all the latest wisdom, you know. They checked Paul out from the Scriptures, they searched the Scriptures daily—that’s what this program is called. But you can’t search the Scriptures to check out the Christian psychologist because he says, “There are other sources of truth,” although Jesus said, “I am the truth.” and He said, “Thy Word is truth.” He didn’t say “part of it.”
They say, “Yeah, but there are other sources of truth. And some of that truth comes from Freud and Jung and Rogers and Maslow,” etc., etc. Therefore, you can’t go—if you want to check out a Christian psychologist, what he is teaching—and they are some of the most popular speakers at conferences and in churches. “Well, I’m going to check you out, what you are teaching.”
“Well, now, wait a minute, you can’t check me out because I have a Ph.D. in psychology, and I have a source of truth that you don’t know anything about—now, you’re just going to go to the Bible, but don’t you understand the Bible was insufficient.”
So, what we have done is, nobody can be a Berean anymore. You can’t check these people out from the Bible alone. But it was the Bible alone that we are supposed to follow.
Tom: Dave, I think I got this from you, okay, but it’s been so long, and I’ve sort of commandeered it, and I use it—whether it came from you or not, I don’t know, but it’s such a great analogy. Most evangelicals—this is like a three-legged stool—they believe in: One, the inerrancy of God’s Word. This is what they claim—that God’s Word in the original autographs and so on is inerrant, free of error, and so on. They also believe that God’s Word is their authority—“Oh yeah, we turn to the Bible because it’s our authority.” That’s two legs of the stool. The third leg is sufficiency, and just as you have articulated, they’ve turned to other sources, other individuals, other sources of truth and information. Well, if you have to do that, it just renders ludicrous authority and inerrancy, because efficiency is not there, it’s a stool that falls over.
Dave: Now, Tom, to be fair with these men and women, they don’t turn away from the Bible as insufficient when it comes to salvation. You know, they still believe the gospel, when it comes to prophecies about the coming of the Messiah—there is so much in the Bible that they would still stand on, and they wouldn’t turn to the Bible to try to repair an engine or for instructions in flying an airplane. But they say, “Yes, but when it comes to the spiritual side of man, the psychology, the knowledge of the psyche, there the Bible is deficient, and the Bible never intended…”, you know. They say, “Look, we go to a medical doctor [although the Bible does offer healing: ‘the prayer of faith would heal the sick,’ and so forth]; we would go to a medical doctor if we have a medical problem. Now, why can’t we go to a psychologist if we have a psychological problem?”
Well, this is what Thomas Szasz, Jewish psychiatrist, deals with, the myth of mental illness. I just cited one of his titles, The Myth of Psychotherapy. The title of another of his books is The Myth of Mental Illness. I think we dealt with that a week or two ago. The brain is a physical organ. Medical doctors deal with physical problems of the body and the nervous system, and so forth. But…and neurosurgeons, neurologists, deal with the nervous system, including the brain, and so forth. But that’s physical.
But spiritual problems, moral problems, are not related to anything physical in our bodies. That’s one of the arguments that we use, Tom, as evidence that God exists. We’re not just physical, stimulus-response mechanisms. That was the problem with Freud. Freud was a medical doctor, and he had a medical model for man. And they have been trying for years—the behaviorists B.F. Skinner—and all of this to prove that we’re just like Pavlov’s dog, and that we have certain learned responses, and you have certain traumatic experiences in childhood, or you were rejected by someone, and whatever it is, you know. But these are just stimulus-response mechanisms on the part of a physical being, and you can retrain yourself, go back and relive these experiences, and so forth.
And it does away with moral choice; it does away with moral responsibility. Human beings have a responsibility to control themselves. I think I mentioned a week or two ago, remember? Self-esteem was a big thing in California, and The Oregonian, was it? a little bit of sarcasm from a psychiatrist, I believe, who said, “California needs to learn a little self-control instead of self esteem!”
So, it’s not a mechanical response. But when it comes to the mind, Thomas Szasz titles a book, The myth of Mental Illness. Now people really get upset, but your mind can’t be physically sick. You don’t fault someone if they catch a cold, or if they catch yellow fever or malaria or whatever—it’s no fault of theirs. Well, then, how can you fault someone if, somehow through no fault of theirs, through some trauma that they experienced, they become a wife beater, you know. “Well, yeah, but I can’t help it.”
Remember, I’ve given the illustration many times, Tom, I don’t think on the radio. I remember counseling with a young man who was physically abusing his wife. He said, “I can’t help myself! My dad did this to my mother, I mean—I say that I’m not going to do it again and the next thing you know I’m doing it—I just can’t help myself!”
I looked him in the eye and I said, “Don’t give me that malarkey!”
Tom: That wasn’t a medical term.
Dave: No, it was not a medical term. I said, “Look, you can’t help yourself? If she was a 6-foot-8, 300-pound, 10th degree black belt in karate, you would not haul off and slug her. You would, somehow, be able to control yourself!”
Tom: Or, at least the second time.
Dave: Right. “Or if she was an investor about to put $1 million into your company, I don’t think you would haul off and slug her. Don’t give me this nonsense! You are excusing yourself. What you need is some self-control. Furthermore, the problem with you is, you do not really deep down in your heart recognize this for the evil that it is. You don’t take it as seriously as you ought to. You’re just sloughing it off, and so you are going to whack her again.”
Tom, that’s not psychological counseling, that’s just truth, simple facts, common sense. People can change; they can control themselves, but the Bible gives us the way to do it. “Christ in you, the hope of glory…when Christ, who is our life… it’s no more I but Christ living in me.” Buddhism doesn’t offer that, psychotherapy doesn’t offer that. Only Jesus Christ offers it, and it’s based upon His resurrection. He said, “Because I live, you will live also.”
Tom: Dave, I think about the fruit of the Spirit, which comes to a believer. All right—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance or self-control, all the things that you are talking about, against such there is no law. That’s part of our life in Christ, and that’s what solves these problems.
Dave: You notice, Tom, it doesn’t say “the fruit of therapy.” It says “the fruit of the Spirit,” and I think you’ve made a bad exchange when you exchange therapy for the Holy Spirit.