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. We’re continuing through Dave Hunt’s out-of-print book Beyond Seduction in this segment of our program, and we have been discussing significant doctrines of biblical Christianity. Last week we were talking about something that has been introduced to Christians that has critically undermined the sufficiency of God’s Word, and of course I am referring to psychotherapy, or as it’s more commonly called, psychological counseling. And, Dave, by psychotherapy, or psychological counseling, we’re talking about counsel given by professionals that is not connected with physical problems related to the brain but rather counsel that is administered to a person through conversation—is that right?
Dave: Yeah, that’s what the therapy is, but that kind of therapy—talk therapy—it’s not biblically based, unfortunately. We mentioned that one of Christ’s names… “His name shall be called Counselor.” We need to go to Him for counsel. “His word is sufficient,” that’s what it says—not to repair your engine or fly an airplane, but we’re talking about living a happy, productive, fulfilled life in obedience to the Lord and to His Word, and we don’t need any psychological help for that; if we did, the Bible would be deficient. So it’s rather simple. Tom, if Christian psychology—that’s what we are talking about at the moment—if Christian psychology has anything of any value to offer, then the church was without it for 1,900 years, and the Holy Spirit left us with an insufficient understanding and insufficient resources to deal with personal problems. You know, are you nervous, you’re fearful, you’re unhappy, you just can’t get along with your spouse, or whatever…
Tom: You have guilt of some kind.
Dave: Right, you’re under a cloud of guilt and unhappiness and worry. Well, the Bible has the answers. These aren’t new problems; these problems have been with the human race since the beginning.
Tom: But, Dave, last week we also mentioned the fact that some people think that there are areas that need professional help: that there are areas—as we mentioned, there are terms, there are labels—anorexia nervosa or bulimia—there are other things. In a minute or two I’m going to get into some things that are in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. But in the meantime, are there things related to talk therapy or conversation that you would have with a therapist—are there things that are beyond the remedy that the Bible offers?
Dave: Tom, I have a simple mind, and I take a simple view of everything. Is it some new problem that has arisen lately in the human race? I don’t think so. Human beings are the same as they always were. So if it’s not a new problem, then either the Bible didn’t foresee it… You know, I facetiously sometimes misquote John:8:31. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you will know part of the truth and you will be set partially free, but you couldn’t know all of the truth and I can’t set you totally free, because the Holy Spirit, through either ignorance or oversight, has left some very important things out of the New Testament that you really need to live a fruitful and productive and happy and spirit-filled life.” That’s just nonsense.
So if we haven’t come up with some new disease—and of course that’s what the DSM IV you’ve got in front of you—DSM is all about new mental diseases. No, there aren’t any! If we haven’t come up with some new problem, some… that plagues the human race, then either it is in the Bible, or the Bible is deficient, because the Bible claims to deal with these things. The Scripture says, “Be thankful in everything. In everything give thanks. Rejoice always.” And, Tom, I have searched through the Bible and I can’t find where it says, “Rejoice always—unless you are depressed; unless you have some psychological problem that prevents you from rejoicing.” The Bible expects us to use self-control, expects us to walk in obedience and in faith to God and to His Word, and that will cover everything from one end of the spectrum to the other of human behavior, human wellbeing, human happiness and fulfillment.
So what the Christian psychologist is saying is the Bible is deficient. Paul didn’t have a solution to these problems—if Paul had lived in our day, he would have been all at sea. In fact, some of them try to say Paul would have needed psychological counseling.
Tom: Sure, he had a poor self-image, and so forth.
Dave: Yeah, he certainly did; he called himself the “chief of sinners and the least of all saints.” If they want to call that a bad self-image you need to be helped with. We call that humility—in fact, it’s hardly even humility, it’s simply being realistic. We are nothing, and God delights in using nobodies. “He’s chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, the weak to confound the mighty.” So Paul didn’t understand this. Well, wait a minute: Paul was inspired of the Holy Spirit. Peter writes that God has given us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” And it’s my understanding, Tom, that as Paul said in Galatians:2:20: “I am crucified with Christ.” Now, that’s the secret of the Christian life. “Nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Now, I’m sorry, it’s blasphemous, but the Christian psychologist is saying, “Yeah, but you know, Christ needs some psychological counseling. You’ve got Christ living in you, but He doesn’t really understand all the things. I mean, He hasn’t read Freud and Jung and Rogers and Maslow.” This is what they have thrown up at me, Tom.
See, here’s the situation: we call our little ministry The Berean Call; we get that from Acts:17:11 where it says that the Bereans searched the Scriptures. “They received the Word of God with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily to see whether what Paul was teaching was true.” Tom, you can’t do that today! You can’t just search the Scriptures to check a preacher out, because all truth isn’t found in the Bible according to the Christian psychologist—Freud had some of it; Jung had some of it; I guess Buddha and Confucius; Mary Baker Eddy, they all had some of it—so if you don’t have a degree in psychology, how can you possibly understand the full scope of what man needs? So you cannot just check a teacher in the church—you can’t just check them out from the Bible, you’ve got to go to many other sources of truth. And, Tom, that is not biblical!
Tom: Mm-hmm. Dave, I have a source right here in front of me. It’s about 4 inches thick…
Dave: Make a good door stop!
Tom: Well, Dave, don’t—now I’m going to get depressed. I’ll tell you why. This book first came out in 1952. It was not the 4-5” thick book that I have in front of me. At that time it had listed 106 mental disorders—oh, by the way, the name of the book is The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; this is the fourth edition, and it’s produced by the American Psychiatric Association. This is the bible of mental disorders according to them.
Dave: And how many are there in now?
Tom: Well, let me take you through, how it’s developed, Dave. It started with 106 mental disorders…
Dave: Well, but, Tom, that was way down the line.
Dave: That was ‘52, but they’ve been talking about it… Can I just interrupt for just a second?
Tom: Of course.
Dave: Let me explain one of the first mental disorders that they ever came up with. It was called “drapetomania,” and it was cured by the Civil War! Drapetomania was a mental disorder that only afflicted slaves, and its characteristic was an urge to escape from the plantation. Seriously, Tom, that was one of the early mental disorders, and what do you know! It was cured by the Civil War!
Dave: I’m sorry if I seem a little bit sarcastic.
Tom: Yeah. Well, Dave, there may be something in this book about that…
Dave: [laughing] I’m sure there is!
Tom: It’s a thick book and I haven’t been all the way through it.
Dave: They’ve got me diagnosed.
Tom: Well, I’m going to give you a few. In ‘52 it went from 106 to 1968 to 182; then to 265 in 1980; 292 in 1987; the present count is 374 mental disorders. Now let me give you a few. I’ve got some things marked here. Page 100…
Dave: It makes really funny, entertaining reading, Tom. [laughs]
Tom: Well, Dave, you know, I’ll tell you…
Dave: Except that they take it seriously.
Tom: Well, let me tell you how seriously I take it. This is why I’m slightly depressed here, Dave: this book cost $83! That’s enough to depress anybody, okay? Well, especially someone like me.
But anyway, I’m on page 100 and we have #313.81—this is Oppositional Defiant Disorder. I’ll just read some of the characteristics. “The essential feature of Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a recurrent pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that persists for at least six months, and it’s characterized by the frequent occurrence of at least four of the following behaviors: losing temper, arguing with adults, actively defying or refusing to comply with the requests or rules of adults, deliberately doing things that will annoy other people, blaming others….” I can’t believe this, Dave—blaming others for his or her own mistakes or misbehavior. This is a mental disorder, Dave. You need therapy!
Dave: Now, Tom, let’s get this straight: if it is a mental disorder, the person really isn’t responsible for it. It’s like a cold…
Tom: How can he be?
Dave: …you get pneumonia, they don’t blame you for getting pneumonia. Now, you’ve got this mental disorder—it’s not willful behavior, but it’s kind of like a disease that has overtaken you, and you don’t really have any control over it, so now you need therapy to deliver you. We used to think they needed a spanking, they needed some discipline, they needed to learn a little self-control.
Tom: Not just go to your room with your CD player and your TV and your…
Now we have—you’ll find this one interesting, Dave, since we spent weeks and weeks on self-love, self-esteem, and so on. Now, this will come as a surprise to you, but you can actually push that too far. For example there is #301.81, Narcissistic Personality Disorder. “The essential feature of narcissistic personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts. They routinely overestimate their abilities and inflate their accomplishments, often appearing boastful and pretentious.” I thought that was self-assertion, Dave? Well, wait a minute, I’m mixing some things up here. “They may blithely assume that others attribute the same value to their efforts and may be surprised when the praise they expect and feel they deserve is not forthcoming.”
Dave: Well, that’s a disease, Tom. I mean, normal people are not subject to any of that. This is such nonsense; I’m sorry, it’s pitiful.
Tom: Now, Dave, the nice thing is if it’s in here, it’s covered by your insurance.
Dave: Right, right.
Tom: Well, I won’t say that’s nice, but that’s certainly convenient. [laughs]
Dave: Tom, let’s go back over it again for a moment. How are these things established? Not by scientific measurements, because you can’t make a science out of human behavior. They are voted on! They get together in meetings, somebody comes up with an idea, they vote on it, you’ve got several thousand for, several thousand against, and it’s decided on the basis of the vote. Now, that’s not science.
Tom: Well, Dave, how are they dealt with? Let’s keep going back to that. Conversation—you’re going to talk somebody out of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, you’re going to talk somebody out of Narcissistic…you know, that disorder. Now, here’s a couple others: if people out there think that they wouldn’t have anything to do with this, that this is pure hokum, that this is bogus…
Dave: Oh, that’s bad, Tom.
Tom: …well, we have a category for them: this is V15.81—this is Noncompliance with Treatment Disorder.
Tom: Okay, so they’re covered. They don’t know they have a problem, but they do. Now, if somebody says, “Well, I’ve got a problem. I’m not sure what it is. I’m having this problem; my insurance won’t cover it,” there’s a category for that, 300.9: it’s Unspecified Mental Disorder.
Tom: Now, there’s a catchall.
Dave: Mm-hmm. Well, you want to get the insurance company to pay for it, and if they haven’t covered in one of these things, then here we have, as you say, a catchall.
Tom: Now, Dave, you’ve heard people say this. You said, “It’s simple.” They would say, “Yes, it is simple. We’re made up of body, mind, and spirit. So we need a medical doctor for the body; for the spirit we need a pastor or preacher—or someone that has… a priest, whoever it might be—that has some expertise in the area of spirituality; and if it’s the mind, we need a psychotherapist, a psychiatrist, a psychologist. I mean, doesn’t that make sense?
Dave: Tom, it doesn’t make sense, because they talk about mental illness. Now, you just made a distinction between the brain; you’ve got some wires crossed, or you have a chemical deficiency, nutritional deficiency…
Tom: Could be a tumor.
Dave: …some damage, trauma to the brain—that’s a physical organ, and doctors can deal with that. Now, we are talking about the mind; the mind is nonphysical. Now, you can’t have an illness of something that is not physical. The language doesn’t fit. It could be a moral problem; it’s a matter of self-control. You have control over your mind. In fact, you are the originator of your thoughts. As a famous neurosurgeon has said, “The brain is like a computer, and it is programmed by something independent of itself: the mind.” The mind runs the brain. Look, if I can’t be accountable for what I decide to do, then who am I to blame? “Oh, it’s my mind—something went wrong with my mind—I’ve got a mental illness.” No, you are running your brain. You are your mind. And this is why the Bible says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The Bible talks about the renewing of our mind; it talks about getting wisdom and understanding and self-control. All of these things relate to the mind, to how I am going to think, how I am going to handle things. So, Tom, all of this stuff is somehow a means of excusing me…
“It’s really not my fault, it’s the way I was treated as a child.”
You know, Tom, I get a little bit facetious. I say, “Well, look, don’t blame Satan for what he did, because he was raised in a dysfunctional family.”
Tom: As Lucifer.
Dave: Right, Lucifer. Right, yeah! He was abused by his parents, he didn’t get enough toys at Christmas, and the kids at school made fun of him, and so forth. Or let’s not blame Eve. I mean, she was abused as a child and raised in a dysfunctional family.
So, the point is, if you adopt an excuse for wrong behavior that does not fit Lucifer, it doesn’t fit Eve, you have been deceived. It is an excuse; you’re trying to excuse yourself. Well, Tom, I think we’ve got some people out there angry, because they have come up with some excuses for their behavior. But look, if I am a Christian and I believe what the Bible says, I believe that “if any man be in Christ, he’s a new creation; old things have passed away, all things have become new….” That “I am crucified with Christ, it’s no more I, but Christ who is living in me.” Christ has become my life, and if what I need to do is allow Him to have His way in my life, then why do I need psychotherapy? Does Jesus Christ need psychotherapy? I don’t believe so.
The problem is I’m willful, selfish, stubborn, unwilling to admit that it’s my fault, you know—that’s some kind of a mental illness that they have diagnosed— stubbornness? No, stubbornness is something that can be understood, that I am guilty of, and it can be dealt with. How does the Christian deal with it? Well, he repents and he comes to Christ and says, “Lord, I want you to be my life. Look, my body is a living sacrifice. It’s for you, Lord, to live in.” I’m indwelt with and I should be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Now, if the Holy Spirit is guiding my life and living through me and working through me, expressing the very life of Christ through me, then I certainly don’t need psychotherapy. My problem is not that I was abused or whatever, my problem is that I am not allowing Christ to have His way. And we need to preach that; we need to teach it. Instead of that, Tom, we’re being given all of this psychobabble pop psychology that doesn’t work.
Tom: Right. Some people say, “Well, you guys are just dismissing all these problems out there.” No, folks, if you have been listening, we’re not dismissing anything. You can go through the Bible—you find examples of a person being out of their mind. In other words, they are not saying there was something organically wrong with them, they had—whether it be Nebuchadnezzar…talk about narcissism, all right, you know, setting himself up to be God—there are delusions of men; their rebelliousness that—we could look at Saul, for example. But the solution to their problems and to our problems today is just as you say, Dave: it’s God’s way, not man’s way.
Dave: What did Samuel say to Saul? Saul really went astray. Now, he seemed, at first, to be a very humble man. He was hiding in the stuff. You could preach a little sermon, Tom: “Tall Saul: His Call and Fall.” And Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, God set you over His people. But now you have become proud, so proud that you don’t follow what God says. You think you are running the show instead of obeying God, and therefore, the kingdom is taken from you.”
That’s a problem with human beings: we’re proud, we want to run our own lives, we don’t want to admit we’re wrong, and that we don’t need a remedy. We don’t need a remedy of Christ who died for our sins and who wants to live His life through us; what we need is a remedy of a little talk therapy that they offer today.
Tom: Things that excuse us, right.