Psychology and the Doctrines of Devils |

McMahon, T.A.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” —1 Timothy:4:1

In my two previous TBC articles this year (Mar and Apr ’06), I addressed the destructive influence psychological counseling is having on the evangelical church. Simply put, the church has turned from God’s Word to man’s bankrupt theories in attempting to resolve mental, emotional, and behavioral problems. The greater part of the church no longer believes what the Scriptures proclaim: that God, in His Word, has given us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter:1:3). The results, sadly, are what one might expect: there is often little statistical difference between those who profess to be Christians and those who do not, regarding the number of divorces, the reliance upon psychological counseling theories and methods, living together outside of marriage, illegitimate childbirths, pornography, sexual and physical abuse, and so forth.

Although such consequences are shocking, they shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who believes the Bible. Twice in the Book of Proverbs we are told, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs:14:12; 16:25). Death throughout Scripture implies separation, whether of the soul and spirit from the body in physical death or, in another sense, the separation of light from darkness and truth from error—and ultimately, from God eternally. Just as the body without life corrupts, so do one’s life choices result in corruption when they are separated from God’s truth.

Psychology, with its psychotherapeutic counseling, has been embraced by evangelicals more than almost any other unbiblical endeavor that has entered the church in the last half-century. “Christian psychologists” are generally more popular and influential than preachers and teachers of the Word. What evangelical in America doesn’t know of psychologist Dr. James Dobson? The psychologically oriented American Association of Christian Counselors boasts 50,000 members. The evangelical church is one of the leading referral services for secular counselors (whether they claim to be Christians or not!). Like their secular counterparts, the second-most popular career choice for students at Christian colleges is psychology. What makes this information truly shocking is the fact that the roots, concepts, and many of the psychological counseling practices come from “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

First Timothy 4:1 is a prophetic verse. It foretells that “in the latter times,” that is, the time near the return of our Lord, “some will depart from the faith.” This is supported by other verses such as Luke:18:8: Jesus asked, “...when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” The implied answer is no. Paul, in 2 Thessalonians:2:3, declares under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that a “falling away” from the faith will characterize the Last Days. But haven’t many professing Christians departed from the faith since the time of the Apostles? Yes. The rest of the verse, however, indicates a condition that is unique to our present day. Those who profess to be Christians will give “heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

Doctrines of devils are designed to undermine what is taught in the Scriptures. They reflect the strategy that Satan instituted in the Garden of Eden when he seduced Eve into disobeying God. The chief of the seducing spirits began his direct communication with Eve by raising doubts in her mind as to what God had commanded: “Yea, hath God said...?” (Genesis:3:1). The serpent’s dialogue with her led her to believe that God had lied to her: “And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die.” Although God instructed Adam and Eve that the punishment for disobeying Him by eating the fruit of a certain tree in the Garden would be death (Genesis:2:17), Satan twisted that around, making God not only a liar but also the one who was withholding what they needed for their self-improvement and for realizing a supposed higher potential.

Genesis:3:1-5 contains Satan’s basic strategy for the seduction and destruction of mankind. His deception began by questioning God’s Word, and offering tempting alternatives. Eve responded by believing Satan, rejecting God’s Word, and turning to her own self-interests. The enticements were so desirable to the flesh, including immortality, enlightenment, godhood, and knowledge (Genesis:3:5), that she eagerly embraced the lie. At that tragic moment in the history of mankind, self became a god, an autonomous rebel bent on doing its own thing. What Satan offered to Eve, he likewise has presented to all of her descendants, with similar success. His deadly allurements—immortality, enlightenment, godhood, and knowledge-—comprise the foundational teachings of “doctrines of devils.”

Even in a cursory review of psychotherapeutic concepts, Satan’s primary lies are clearly revealed. Teachings (i.e., doctrines) such as the following are found in nearly all psychotherapeutic theories. Immortality: There is no death in the sense that it should be feared. Materialist psychotherapists teach a judgment-free mortality; spiritually oriented counselors claim that we either evolve to a higher consciousness or reincarnate to improve our next temporal state of being. Enlightenment: Knowing the self, who we are, why we do what we do, and how we change, all open the critical gate to establishing our mental wellbeing. Some systems teach that our problems of living are determined by traumas related to our past (including past lives), our parental upbringing, our environment, or our having been oppressed by religious dogmas. Godhood: The solution to humanity’s problems is found within the self. Self is deified, whether directly or indirectly. For instance, psychology’s “self-actualization” is a process that leads to self-deification, which ultimately replaces any need for salvation outside humanity. Knowledge: The deification process for humanity involves methods of plumbing the depths of the unconscious, which is alleged to be the infinite reservoir that holds all mysteries of life.

Sadly, these doctrines of devils now permeate “Christian psychology.” Few evangelicals realize that these demonic teachings were introduced to the “founding fathers of psychological counseling” literally by “seducing spirits.”

It was Sigmund Freud who declared that “religion is the universal obsessional neurosis of humanity.” Furthermore, there is evidence that Freud hated Christianity, which he erroneously regarded as anti-Semitic. How then would this atheistic rejecter of organized religion advance doctrines of devils? By founding the “religion” of psychoanalysis. None of Freud’s theories, whether psychic determinism or psychosexual development or belief in the unconscious, have any scientific validity; moreover, they are religious beliefs that are antithetical to the doctrines of the Bible. Research psychiatrist Thomas Szasz had Freud primarily in mind when he declared, “...modern not merely a religion that pretends to be a science, it is actually a fake religion that seeks to destroy true religion.”1

Given the fact that psychoanalysis and its associated concepts are so diametrically opposed to biblical Christianity, there’s no doubt that Freud’s “fake religion” is the product of “doctrines of devils.” Furthermore, a strong case could be made that Freud’s theories came both directly and indirectly from “seducing spirits” through the techniques he employed in analyzing his patients. He put them into altered states of consciousness through hypnosis and the highly suggestible technique of “free association.” Early on, when he was formulating some of his theories, Freud was a regular user of the mind-altering drug cocaine for his bouts with depression.2 Calling it his magical drug, “he pressed it on his friends and colleagues, both for themselves and their patients.”3

Psychiatrist and historian Henri F. Ellenberger’s classic work, The Discovery of the Unconscious, reveals, “Historically, modern dynamic psychotherapy derives from primitive medicine, and an uninterrupted continuity...through the exorcists, magnetists, and hypnotists that led to the fruition of dynamic psychiatry in the systems of Janet, Freud, Adler, and Jung.”4 Psychotherapy is a modern form of shamanism, which explains why psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey rightly observes, “The techniques used by Western psychiatrists are, with few exceptions, on exactly the same scientific plane as the techniques used by witchdoctors [medicine men and shamans].”5

Shamanism is all about contacting spirit entities to gain their help, wisdom, insights, and so forth. In an interview with a former Yanamamo shaman who resides in the Amazonian rain forest of Venezuela, I was told rather bluntly that his spirit guides were liars and deceivers, from his first contact with them through ingesting hallucinogenic drugs until they left him when he turned to Christ. Their lies reinforced what he wanted to hear. It seems the same for Freud, whose concepts were a reflection not of science but rather removing his own guilt and satisfying his flesh. Freud’s theories were based mainly upon his own personal problems, most of which were sexual perversions.

In Freudian thought, the “unconscious” is a God-replacement realm without laws and judgment; morality is an oppressive neurosis-generating structure imposed by society and organized religion; sexual freedom (including adultery, homosexuality, incest, etc.) is paramount for normal mental health; dreams are symbolic messages from the unconscious and can be scientifically interpreted through psychoanalysis. These beliefs represent doctrines of devils. Although a materialist, Freud acknowledged the existence of spirit entities. He was influenced from that source, either indirectly, through his patients, or directly, through his own drug use, the ancient statuettes he used to help him write,6 and other techniques he used to explore the unconscious.

The life and works of psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung clearly reveal that his psychological theories came directly from the “seducing spirits” Paul warns about in 1 Timothy:4:1. Jung is far more popular today among professing Christians than Freud (the atheist) because of his perceived affinity for religion and things spiritual. However, though his father was a Protestant pastor (who seriously doubted his professed faith!), Jung was anti-biblical and resentful of organized Christianity from his youth. His early symbolic visions revealed Jesus as a Dark Lord and God defecating on a cathedral. His mother’s side of the family was heavily involved in spiritualism. His grandfather, pastor Samuel Preiswerk, conducted ongoing séances to commune with his deceased first wife, with his second wife and daughter (Jung’s mother) participating. The latter, who had bouts of insanity, reserved two beds in the Jung home for visiting ghosts. Jung’s doctoral thesis (published in 1902) was based upon séances conducted by his 13-year-old cousin, whom he placed in an altered state of consciousness through hypnosis in order to contact his and her dead ancestors.

In 1916, Jung’s household experienced an assault by demonic beings who claimed to be dead Christian Crusaders from Jerusalem. They were seeking counsel on redemption and were greatly distressed that their Christianity had left them in a hopeless condition. They would not leave Jung’s home until he began writing advice to them, which he received from one of his many spirit guides, his mentor Philemon, the “old man with horns of a bull.”7

Richard Noll, a lecturer in the History of Science at Harvard University and a clinical psychologist (who declares that he “is not a Christian of any sort”), makes some stunning observations in his book on Jung titled The Jung Cult. He argues that Jung’s “psychological theories of the collective unconscious and archetypes are essentially masks, a pseudoscientific cover to hide the practices of what was essentially a new religious movement in which Jung taught people to have trance visions and to contact the ‘gods’ directly.”8

Jung’s teachings are doctrines of demons, gleaned directly from seducing spirits: the unconscious and the collective unconscious represent an impersonal form of God; archetypes are viewed as psychological rationalizations for demons, the anima and animus are terms for the female and male entities within each person; psychological “types” are determined characteristics within our make up. Jung promoted all things occult, including astrology, alchemy, the I-Ching, mysticism, necromancy, visualization, dream interpretation, the active imagination, yoga, meditation, etc. Incredibly, his theories and recommended practices are endorsed in the teachings of some of the most influential people in evangelical Christianity. In many cases, ignorance is the principle reason, yet the demonic lies are nevertheless readily promoted and accepted among the sheep.

Rick Warren’s 30 million copies of The Purpose-Driven Life include Jungian concepts, such as psychological “types.” Saddleback Church’s “Celebrate Recovery” program (see TBC Oct ’05), which has been exported to 4,500 churches and Prison Fellowship Ministries, is based on A.A.’s 12-Step principles. A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson received the 12 Steps during the time he was in contact with spirit entities. He later wrote a personal letter to Carl Jung thanking him for his influence:

...[A.A.] actually started long ago in your consulting room, and it was directly founded upon your own humility and deep perception....You will also be interested to learn that in addition to the “spiritual experience,” many A.A.s report a great variety of psychic phenomena, the cumulative weight of which is very considerable. Other members have—following their recovery in A.A.—been much helped by [Jungian analysts]. A few have been intrigued by the “I Ching” and your remarkable introduction to that work.

Warren is not the only witting or unwitting promoter among evangelicals of what Jung learned from demons. He is just the most successful and the best known. Others include Christian psychologists, inner healers, and pastors. Jung’s occult methodologies, especially his demonically inspired techniques of visualization, guided imagery, meditation, and working with spiritual directors, are foundational to the Emerging Church interests of evangelical youth and the contemplative movement supported by Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson, and a multitude of others.

This astonishing development in the evangelical church is symptomatic of the abandonment of God’s Word. The result will be the advancement of the apostate “Christian” church. The antidote is found in Isaiah:8:20: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” TBC


  1. Thomas Szasz, The Myth of Psychotherapy (Doubleday, 1978), 27-28.
  2. Martin Gross, The Psychological Society (Random House, 1978), 234-36.
  3. Ernest Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud, Volume I (1856-1900) (New York: Basic Books, 1953), 81.
  4. Henri F. Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious (Basic Books, 1970), 48; back cover.
  5. E. Fuller Torrey, The Mind Games: Witchdoctors and Psychiatrists (Emerson Hall, 1972), 8.
  6. Shirley Nicholson, Shamanism (The Theosophical Publishing House), 58, as cited in Martin and Deidre Bobgan, The End of “Christian Psychology (East Gate Publishers, 1997), 105.
  7. C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Pantheon Books, 1963), 190-92; 182-83.
  8. Richard Noll, The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), xi-xii.