Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call, featuring TBC executive director Tom McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. It’s great to have you along. In today’s program, Tom begin a two-part series with guests Martin and Deidre Bobgan of Psychoheresy Ministries, As they address the topic: Psychoanalysis for Missionaries? And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. On today’s program and next week, as well, we’ll be discussing the current trend among Christian organizations and ministries that use personality testing for the purpose of evaluation. It’s utilized throughout the church for missionary selection, for hiring, for seminary selection; even pastors sometimes have to take a personality test. It’s also used for discovering spiritual gifts and seems to go on and on.
My guests to discuss this important issue are Dr. Martin and Deidre Bobgan. They are prolific writers with more than 20 titles to their credit, nearly all addressing the spiritual problems with psychological counseling and Christian psychology, so-called. And many of their books can be downloaded from their website, which is www.pamweb.org, or you can order the hard copies of their books from The Berean Call.
Deidre, Martin, thanks for being with me once again on Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Martin: Well, thank you for having us, Tom.
Deidre: Yes, it’s always a delight to be talking with you.
Tom: Your ministry, and I’m speaking to our audience here, their ministry is titled Psychoheresy Awareness, which for those who are not familiar with their writings, the term “psychoheresy,” which was coined by Martin and Deidre, deals with Christianity syncretizing its doctrines with psychotherapeutic concepts and practices, and the result is a heretical distortion - hence the word “heresy” - it’s a distortion of the Word of God. And specific to this program and next week’s, as I mentioned, is the issue of personality testing, which the church at large seems enamored with.
So, Martin, Deidre, have I overstated the situation? And if not, what could be wrong in general with using personality tests for self-knowledge, as they say, or evaluating people for hiring them for different positions, or finding out what they might do best? What's the problem there?
Martin: Well, first let’s talk about how prolific is this? Because if it’s not prolific, if it’s just hardly around, we can spend time on it, but it’s not as effective as if it’s all over the place, and it is. We have received information from others, ministries that do this kind of research, and we’ve asked them specifically about personality testing. We’ve even named them, and we’ve asked, “In your research, have you found them prevalent, hardly used, not used at all?” And what we find is it’s uniform across the board. It’s at Christian schools, Bible colleges, it’s at seminaries, it’s at Christian universities, the denominations use it, and, for our own interest, it’s used by mission agencies. And I’ll give you an example: when we were preparing to do our book Missions and Psychoheresy, we did a survey. We surveyed 36 mission agencies and nine of the largest denominations, and we asked three questions, one of them is the following: “Do you use psychological tests to screen or evaluate missionary candidates?”
Now we purposely selected the word “psychological” because we didn’t want to indicate that we personally, from past experience, found the youth personality test and asked that directly, so we asked, “Do you use psychological tests to screen or evaluate missionary candidates, and what are the possibilities?” There are - what? performance tests, general classification tests such as IQ tests, differential aptitude tests, special aptitude tests, achievement tests, and a whole bunch of different kinds of tests, including personality tests, any of which they could have used. However, what we found out is they all used personality tests, and we found that it was straight across the board that for that answer to that question, they listed one or more personality tests.
Now, when we probed a little bit, we wanted to find out is it possible to apply, be considered, and not take the test? No, the test is an integral part of the selection process, and we asked, “Well, what happens now in the selection process?” They give you the personality test or tests (in some cases there were three tests given), and when you take it, they are looking for a particular profile. If you hit the profile, that’s a plus for you. If you miss the profile, that’s a minus for you, and this is one of the factors in evaluating the potential missionaries for service.
And so we looked at the tests themselves, and I’ll just read off the three most popular because we’re going to talk about one of them in particular. It’s the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator; the DISC (I won’t get into the details of it); there’s the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis, and there’s the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Those were the most popular of the tests.
When we went through the procedure of what they did, this I want to describe, because it’s so characteristic of what not only mission agencies do, but churches, in selecting, and denominations, in obtaining leadership, using these personality tests. And what they do is you take the test (or tests, if it’s plural, if they give you two or three), you hit the profile, and you are qualified to go to the mission field. If you do not hit the profile, you are not qualified to go to the mission field. And so…
Tom: Martin, Martin, can I ask you a question here? Just as I’m listening to this, I’m just wondering could you give us just a simple definition of what separates a personality test from those other tests that you were talking about earlier? And then just by profile, you’re saying this is what the organization is looking for, so you have to fit in…is that correct with regard to a profile?
Martin: Yeah, yeah. Now, just for example if you’re talking about a special aptitude test, you have items having to do with music and art and so on and so forth. If you have achievement tests, these tests could be about history, mathematics, and so on, and the general classification tests, they can be about IQs and so on. But the personality tests have to do with a slice, if you will, of the individual’s personality and characteristics…Go ahead, Dee.
Deidre: Yeah, I want to interrupt and just say the personality tests in comparison with the others - very subjective, very subjective: based, first of all, on a subjective test and subjective answers that can change from time to time. In other words, this test, the personality test, as far as if they’re really useful and really do what they’re supposed to do, they’re worse than the others. In other words, they are using the least valid and reliable of all the tests that they could do, and I know that you’ll probably want Martin to talk a little more about reliability and validity, and if these tests really do what they’re supposed to do, and that is the problem with the personality tests. These are the tests that are now determining whether somebody is to go to the mission field or be hired or be used in a church, even for volunteer situations.
Martin: Yeah, well, let me describe how they do it, then: they don’t even think about it, but what they do is they send the ones that have met their profile, and whatever profile - Deidre will later get into the MBTI, talk about the different ones of the 16 types - but what they do is they commit a statistical error. Now, those of us (and my background is in this area) who are aware of these tests and their standards, what happens here is - I’ll use a jargon and I’ll explain it, I think it’s simple enough: they’ve violated what’s called “untested homogeneity.” What they’ve done is they’ve sent this group - this profile group, the ones they look at and the ones that have this profile - to the field. The others don’t get to go there. However, when we do scientific work, what we do is, without letting anybody know the ones that have the profile, the ones that don’t, we must, for scientific purposes, send them all to the field, set up a standard: if it’s a four-year term, a number drop out along the way - some of them for good reasons, some of them for bad reasons - and when they are all done, and we’ve set up the standard, we bring them back. We say the ones that have passed that standard and the ones that have failed that standard - it’s only then that we take the wrap off and we say either we have used those tests accurately and well, or the results are such that we never should have done this. And typically, I can just tell you from past looking at different tests, different surveys, that it typically turns out to be a scrambled mess. But this is what they do: they have a test, it has a profile, it’s very attractive, has to do with personality, they love it, and so they just very much go ahead with it.
Tom: Although you two have written about problems with psychology, primarily psychological counseling, for decades, and you’ve made irrefutable cases against it both from the secular research and the Scriptures, people challenge your expertise or qualifications to critique psychology. Now, Martin, you just mentioned your background. Tell us about your background.
Martin: Yeah, well, first that’s a very fair question. Either you on your own have to have credentials to say what you say, or you need to have individuals who are experts in the field whose names - they will give you their names, and they will endorse your work. Now for myself, I have two degrees in math, my doctorate is in educational psychology. I specialized in the area of testing, and particularly, my doctoral dissertation had to do with the whole subject of personality - in this case, it had to do with personality of youth. One group was in a federal correctional institution, the other group was in a high school suburb of Denver, Colorado.
And so what you find is that when you accumulate the expertise that you need, and you look at some of this, you are really kind of very concerned about it, and then people say, “Well, yeah, okay. So you have your doctorate there. Tell me more.”
Okay, I will tell you more: when we moved from Colorado to California, my background was essentially the same as James Dobson: educational psychology (except he went to USC, University of Southern California). He and I both - when we could have, he did - we could have applied for the Clinical Psychologist’s License and I would have been granted it at the time. At the time, the Marriage and Family Therapist’s License wasn’t offered. When it was, we both - he did, he qualified; I qualified also. I wasn’t interested in therapy, I was getting more and more concerned about it, and this was shortly after I came in a close knowledge, deeper knowledge, a greater awareness of the Lord and what He had for mankind versus all this psychology I’d been immersed in.
And so in addition to that, you are very familiar with the name Dr. Thomas Szasz. He’s probably…well, let’s use the word arguably: he is arguably the best known psychiatrist of the 20th century, and he has given us written endorsements for our work. There’s E. Fuller Torrey, who is a research psychiatrist, specialty is schizophrenia - he has given us written endorsements for our work. I can name others who are Christians, leading Christians, well-known Christians, who have endorsed our work.
But on the other hand, I have to say, there are other individuals with even better qualifications than mine - maybe their doctorate is in the area of statistics and so on and so forth - but what we need to do is we need to gather together all the information, and we need to present it so people understand it. It’s just like…I’ve given this talk about this untested homogeneity to I-don’t-know-how-many audiences, and I can tell you that, you know, I haven’t checked every one, but none of those mission agencies have changed what they are doing. They’re using the same tests, they’re using the same…sending them out with the same profile, and so on, and that is a great detriment - well, for the kingdom of God. We’re missing a lot of individuals who could have been sent out there. Let’s try not to be too funny, but let’s just take the Apostle Peter: now, how would he do on a personality inventory, looking at the various characteristics that you have of the Apostle Peter? You could say, “Well, not very well,” I don’t think!
Tom: Right. Well, he suffered from “foot in mouth disease” for a while.
Martin: Exactly, but that’s not on the personality profile.
Tom: Right, yeah, it’s a sad deal. But keep going, keep going.
Martin: Okay, well, what I’m saying is that you have to use the Bible as your standard. We have the mind of Christ. We need to humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God if there’s going to be any exalting with respect of human knowledge that we need to have in order to conclude about something, then we need to seek it and He will give it.
But nonetheless, I mean, in the whole field of psychology, there is a battle going on in the clinical with respect to all of the research studies that have been done, and the battle is between the researchers and the practitioners. The practitioners are all practicing, but the researchers are saying, “No, I’m sorry, but what you’re saying is not true. It’s not accurate.”
And everybody’s raising their hands and saying, “Me, me! My approach is the best approach!” And with almost 500 approaches to psychotherapy, if there were truly one scientifically established known approach that’s better than the rest, everybody would be using it, and as a matter of fact, we see all of them arguing for their own point of view, whether it’s behavioristic, psychoanalytic, humanistic, transpersonal, whatever it is… “Oh, here I am! I’m the one that has it.”
Tom: Yeah. You know, Martin, the main reason that I wanted you to give your credentials, and, you know, I could add Deidre to that. She’s a Phi Beta Kappa. You guys - there’s no loss there with regard to doing the research and understanding this. But one of the reasons I have to bring this forth, because we’ve been deceived, we’ve been lied to that psychology is scientific: that with the medical degrees, with Freud’s medical model, and so on. So the point being is that this comes on, and because it’s coming through organizations, mission organizations, and so on, it’s like, “Oh, this is legitimate science! This is really what’s happening, and this is how we go about it effectively.” No, and you and Deidre, you know, Martin, you and Deidre have the background to say, “Wait a minute…!”
Now, that’s one thing, and I think that needs to be - you know, that’s why I asked you the question. But the other thing is the Word of God! You don’t need [those things], right? I mean, it’s helpful to disperse, to kind of put away the false ideas of the pseudo-sciences that are coming down the pike here and influencing the church in huge ways, but you really don’t need that. You just need the Word of God!
Anyway, that’s why I wanted you to at least establish that: that you’re not just talking, as they say, through your hat here. This is stuff that you have…well, you know, I’ve known you guys for more than three decades, so I not only know your background, you know, and what you’ve done, the books that you’ve written, but I know your walk with the Lord, too. So that’s just great encouragement, and that’s why I’m excited to address this subject with you guys that has influenced the church in a huge way.
Now, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, that’s, as you mentioned earlier, that’s one of the main ones, probably the most widely accepted both in the world and the church. Give us some specifics as to why that is as bad or worse than the others.
Martin: Well, first, let me - I know Deidre was going to say something, excuse me - but we want to establish that when we say that it’s one of the most widely used, we need a footnote there, so I’ll give you a footnote - Consulting Psychologists Press: “The MBTI is the most widely used personality inventory in history.” So, go ahead, Dee.
Deidre: Well, as many people know, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is actually based upon Carl Jung’s personality types. Now, they’ve added their own things to it, but when you look at Carl Jung’s personality types, and you look at his life and his beliefs, you find that he is extremely occult and has rejected Christianity as Christianity. His father was a pastor, and when he was in a - I believe a communion service, he suddenly came to the realization that this was not right, this was not God, and he then went to establish his own ideas. He rejected Christianity as far as what the Bible says, as far as Jesus and what Jesus has done, and has turned it into a myth.
It’s funny, because years ago I remember these pastors saying, “Well, Jung is okay, isn’t he, because he’s religious? He believes that religion is good.” But, you know, they hadn’t read far enough or something, because he believes that they are all mythologies, and that somehow they’re useful in that sense that they are mythologies, and that whole universal “collective unconscious” that he came up with, that somehow there is some collective unconscious, and these myths come through, and so you can work with them, even though they’re not true.
Now, his “personality types,” his personality theory, he derived pretty much from an occult guide – a spirit guide. He says very clearly that he had Philemon, and Philemon would speak to him, and that Philemon was directing him as another entity. You know, at first he said he thought it was his own imagination, but pretty soon Philemon was saying things that he wouldn’t think up himself, that he wouldn’t say, and so, he was…the theory is that if it isn’t directly from Satan, it certainly is influenced by Satan, so that you look at it, and you say, “Okay, wait a minute! If this has been demon-inspired [which I believe it is], then why would a Christian want to use it? Even if it told some kind of truth! Because you know very well that when Satan deceives somebody, it’s always couched in a certain amount of truth, so that a person will receive it. They hear the truth, and then they receive the lie. So that’s what we have with the Myers-Briggs. And so…
Tom: Deidre, can I add just a few things to this, because, you know, this is huge. I mean, you have missionary groups and others in the church using things that are really formulated and based, to a great part, on the part of an occultist, Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist. Now, he was not only involved in the occult, but he wrote “Seven Sermons to the Dead,” based on the fact – and he would flip-flop between, “No, this is a myth, it’s my imagination” and the reality of these demons. And you can’t get away from the fact. He had demons harassing him, and they explained to him that they were “Christians in Jerusalem, and they died and were caught between heaven and…”, so they weren’t going to stop harassing him until he wrote, which he did – this is in his biographies – “The Seven Sermons to the Dead.”
Tom: Now, again, this is who we’re talking about that had the major influence in the Myers-Briggs Indicator Tests.
Deidre: Yes, that’s right! And so, in one book, written by Richard Noll, called The Jung Cult, there’s a section titled “Jung Becomes God.” And in it, he writes (this is what Noll writes), “Over the years, certainly by 1916, a wise old man figure named Philemon emerges who becomes Jung’s spiritual guru. Philemon and other visionary figures insist upon their reality and reveal to Jung the foundation of his life and work. He refers, on many occasions, to the place where these beings live in the land of the dead. These visionary experiences, Jung’s mythic confrontation with the unconscious, form the basis of the psychological theory and method he would develop in 1916.”
So the MBTI is closely related to that. But it even goes back further in history to the Babylonian Astrology. And even in Jung’s writings, he mentions how there is this similarity, there is…these forces have given us all of these ideas all the way from Babylon.
Tom: And, Deidre, again the basis - we’re talking about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the most popular test, personality test, in the world, and certainly used by the church.
So, we’re out of time for this segment, but, folks, I hope you’ll join us – we’re going to pick up next week, and continue dealing with this important issue. So, Martin, Deidre, thank you for your input for this part of the program, and we look forward to next week!
Martin: Thank you!
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 with T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. Books and newsletters from the Bobgan’s Psychoheresy Awareness Ministry are available in hard cover or as free downloads from The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter contact us at P.O. Box 7019 Bend, Oregon 97708. Call us at 800.937.6638. Or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for joining us, and we hope you can tune in again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.