Tom: We’re picking up where we left off last week, our subject being “The Rise of Occultism in Christianity,” and, in particular, its entry through psychology and inner healing. In our previous show, we discussed the occult foundations of psychotherapy. Today, we plan to discuss some of the ways the spread of occultism is taking place in the church.
Dave, Christian psychology is one of the major vehicles, isn’t it?
Dave: One of the major vehicles for occultism coming into the church is indeed Christian Psychology because Christian Psychology isn’t something new on its own. You can look it up in the index of any textbook in any university or seminary in the library, and in any psychology textbook, there is no listing for Christian Psychology because there is no Christian who is the founder of a school of Christian Psychology.
So, what is Christian Psychology? They’ve taken it from the theories of godless – in fact, anti-Christians to a man, every one of them is, and, as we noted last week, much of psychology comes out of the occult.
Tom: Dave, if this is new to some of our listeners, and somewhat shocking, last week we laid the occult foundation of psychology, giving examples of how it started and what was involved, particularly with regard to occultism.
Dave: Yeah. Carl Jung, for example, had his own spirit guide, Philemon, he called it. That’s where he got most of his major theories, from, he said, “a screeching chorus of ghosts [these are his words] filled his home outside of Zurich, and in three days and three nights under their inspiration, he wrote his major work, Septem Sermones ad Mortuos – The Seven Sermons to the Dead. He believed that he traveled with the dead in the spirit world – that he was the preacher, the pastor, to the dead. And he goes on and on. His major theories came out of the world of the occult, and we could talk about Carl Rogers and many others.
Tom: Like Freud…
Dave: So this is where it comes from. Now, let me just… .Now I want to quote Martin L. Gross. He is an investigative reporter, not a Christian; in fact he is an anti-Christian, so that makes all these words all the more interesting. He says, “Freud’s atheistic ideas have paradoxically influenced ministers, priests and rabbis who now flock to courses in pastoral counseling making many members of the cloth seem more Freudian than Christian.” Rather interesting, so Christian psychology isn’t Christian psychology. It is psychology from the world, which is atheistic; it’s occult manifestations actually, that’s the origin of it – much of it, not all of it, and they’ve brought it into the church and they’ve dressed it up in biblical language. Now let me just say another couple of things here, just to bring our listeners up to speed.
Tom: It’s your mike; go for it!
Dave: I’m quoting R. Christopher Barden, because, Tom, one of the reasons we have to say this is because the world has been deceived into thinking that psychology, secular psychology, is scientific which it is not. Okay? And under that basis, then, many pastors have said, “Well, if this is scientific, then it must be very helpful.” So here’s a quotation from R. Christopher Barden. He’s a psychologist, a lawyer. He’s the president of the National Association for Consumer Protection in Mental Health Practices. And listen to what he says, “It is indeed shocking that many if not most forms of psychotherapy currently offered to consumers are not supported by credible scientific evidence. And let me quote one other authority; this is E. Fuller Torrey. He’s an internationally respected psychiatrist – again, not a Christian – he says, “Psychiatry has been willing to sanctify its values with the holy water of medicine and offer them up as the true faith of mental health. It is a false messiah.”
So from the very beginning, it’s very questionable at best; harmful at worst; not scientific. You know, the psychiatrists themselves of every profession, the highest percentage of them, are under the care of psychiatrists, divorces, emotional problems, suicide, and so forth. They can’t help themselves. So now…
Tom: This stuff doesn’t work, and we have – not Dave Hunt saying this or T. A. McMahon. We have research psychiatrists – people who are committed to checking their own field out.
Dave: Many of them, Tom. They recognize the bankruptcy of their own profession and they write against it. Now that Christians would then embrace this and bring it into the church as though this could somehow supplement or improve the Bible is staggering. And, of course as we have pointed out, the man who first did that was Norman Vincent Peale. I’m sure you want to get to that, but in 1937 he established a psychiatric clinic ‑ and it had one psychiatrist – in his church, and it grew to more than a score of doctors and ministers. And that became the inspiration for Christian Psychology. And, by the way, the entire evangelical church opposed this for about 50 years. But now it has been embraced.
So this is where it came from. It came into the church and we’ve embraced it as though the Manufacturer’s Handbook…you know, God created us in His image, and our problem is that man rebelled against Him. Then we have the restoration of fellowship with God and a dynamic life in Christ through Christ indwelling the believer, but instead of relying upon that…
Tom: It’s not sufficient according to this view.
Dave: No, so we say, “Well, but we’ve got to integrate.” Let me just quote from an advertisement by Wheaton College in Christianity Today. It says that what they are offering is “the integration of psychological theory with Christian faith.” Now why do we need to add psychological theory to the Christian faith? For 1,900 years the Christian faith was sufficient. The Bible says the just shall live by faith. We walk by faith, we’re saved by faith, and we live by faith in Christ. But now, suddenly, that’s not enough. That’s not good enough, and we’ve got to add to it psychological theory, which is theory. There are hundreds of psychological theories, which contradict one another, they don’t work. Why do we want to bring them into the church? But now, you want to talk about occultism, because…
Tom: Yes, but before we get to that, Dave, I just want to add this. When we are talking about walking by faith, we’re talking about the content of faith, the Word of God. As you mentioned earlier, He’s the manufacturer, and He’s given us the “manufacturer’s handbook…”
Tom: …and all things that we need to live a life that’s pleasing to Him – it’s in the Book!
Tom: But they are saying the book’s not sufficient; we have to turn somewhere else – to science, but as we’ve established, and we can continue to underscore, psychology, psychotherapy, is not scientific.
Dave: So let me just add this. We’ve probably said it before, Tom, but it is so simple and so logical. If Christian psychology has anything of any value to offer the Christian, then the church was without it for 1,900 years, and the Holy Spirit somehow left out of the Bible things that we need to have to deal with our problems today. But when I read Hebrews 11, for example, the” great faith chapter,” I read of people who suffered. They were slaughtered, they were hated, they were chased, they were starved, they dwelt in dens and caves, they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, tormented, afflicted, of whom the world was not worthy – and yet they triumphed through faith.
Tom: Right, and these were really practical problems that they had.
Tom: Everything that we experience today – you can’t say, “Well, we’re more sophisticated, more anxious, more anxiety-ridden society.” I don’t believe it for a minute. What do we face that they didn’t have to face?
Dave: So let’s take it from James Dobson himself. We’re not trying to criticize James Dobson. He’s a very sincere man, a lot of what he does we have to commend him for, but on the other hand in his Focus on the Faith [Family] magazine, he said that (well I’m going by memory – this is a paraphrase, but it is very close to an exact quote. He said that Christian psychology is a good profession, a wonderful profession, for any young Christian to aspire to (now these are his words): “provided their faith is strong enough to withstand the humanism to which they will be exposed.”
Now, you have to ask yourself, why do Christians have to go to humanists? They are anti-Christians, they hate God, they hate the Bible, but why must we go and study under them and study humanism in order to learn how to improve the Bible and to counsel from the Bible. It doesn’t make sense, but this is exactly what it is. In fact, Dr. Dobson and Dr. Gary Collins – he was interviewing Collins on his radio program – they pointed out that psychology is based upon the same five foundation points as atheistic humanism, but they said, “But we can integrate it with the Bible.”
Now I believe that the Bible is sufficient. It’s been sufficient for Christians for centuries, for thousands of years. Why, then, do we have to integrate godless theories that aren’t scientific, that don’t work, and that are even harmful? “Well, but we are going to sort through them, and we’re going to throw out the ones that aren’t right, but we’ll use the ones that are biblical.” I want to quote again the last few verses of one of my favorite poems. It says: Who would leave the noon day bright, to grope ’mid shadows dim? And who would leave the fountainhead to drink the muddy stream, where men have mixed what God has said with every dreamer’s dream?
I don’t think we should mix this stuff in with the Bible, because the Bible is perfect. This is God’s Word, and it claims, as you quoted earlier, 2 Peter:1:3: “He has given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who has called us to glory and virtue…” Now, the whole secret to the Christian life – I mean, it’s not me struggling to live a good life. It’s Christ in you! Christ is my life, and I do not believe that Christ in me needs any help from a psychotherapist. And I don’t care whether you call it Christian Psychology or what. What we need is to allow Christ to have his way in our lives. We need to deny self and take up the cross and follow Christ and trust Him to live His life through us. That’s all we are saying, Tom. Search the Scriptures daily; get back to the Word of God. But unfortunately, Christian psychology undermines our confidence in the Scripture because it says it’s not sufficient and we need some help.
Tom: Dave I remember back when you and Martin Bobgan, who’s written, along with Deidre Bobgan, have written many books about Christian psychology and they are terrific books, but I remember when you were at Fuller speaking to the…
Dave: No, Martin was speaking.
Tom: Oh, Martin was speaking? But anyway, he gave a challenge to them. Do you remember what the challenge was?
Dave: Well, Tom they didn’t invite him to speak to the whole group. They…in fact, they don’t allow me or Martin Bobgan to really speak on this subject at our seminaries, at our Christian colleges – we’re really banned. You probably know that John Ankerberg, for example, tried for years to get any Christian psychologist to come on his television program and discuss the issues with us. No one has been willing to do it.
But anyway, they allowed Martin to speak to a small class. These were pastors who had gone back to get their PhDs in psychology in order to supposedly be effective in counseling from the Bible. I was sitting in the back of the class, and I can tell you, I was embarrassed! I was slinking down in my seat to get smaller and smaller because…
Tom: Why were you embarrassed, Dave?
Dave: Because Martin Bobgan was laying it out clearly, the bankruptcy of this whole thing that they were studying, and I was sure that there would be a wholesale exodus. That they would all just abandon this, because what he laid out was so factual – it was so thoroughly documented and couldn’t be denied. Do you know he didn’t change anybody’s idea at all?
And so in the question-and-answer time, they asked him some questions, and then he challenged them. He said, “What we have to deal with are two basic problems: that is the model of man and the method of change.” Now, he said, “Give me one theory out of psychology concerning the model of man: “What is man…?” and the method of change: “How do we change him…?” – that is biblical, that the Bible hasn’t said first and said better, that’s going to improve upon this.
There was a long, embarrassed silence, and finally one person spoke up and said, “Well, I’ve found psychology very helpful in potty training mentally retarded children.” Now, Tom, I think it is pitiful that was the best they could come up with.
Tom: Well, even that is fallacious, I mean…
Dave: Well ,it is, but now, here are pastors, and they have left their pulpits to come back to get a PhD in psychology so that they can be more effective in handling the Word of God. And when Dr. Bobgan asked them: “Give me one reason why you are here – give me one thing out of psychology…that psychology offers concerning the two basic problems that we face: the model of man and the method of change. Tell me, what is it? “
There are a couple of professors there, here’s the class – they cannot come up with anything! Then, what’s the point?
Tom: Dave couldn’t we just simplify this even more and just ask people who are into this: “What has this provided that is efficacious, that is effective – that you don’t find in God’s Word?” I mean, if it is something new and something unique and something that works and something that’s very practical, we’d say fine – with one proviso: Is it true to God’s Word, or is it contrary to God’s Word? Because we know that there is pleasure in sin for a season, and some things can seem to be effective, but in essence that’s a challenge.
Dave: Yes, now we haven’t gotten to the occultism that you wanted to get to, Tom.
Tom: Well we have other programs Dave.
Dave: We may have another week for this; I am sorry.
Tom: Well, let’s go back to Norman Vincent Peale in particular, because he is, of all the people involved in this who have had impact, you would have to start with him wouldn’t you? Well, what I want to get at with regard to him is his theology. It seems to me it’s very consistent with the occult practices of psychotherapy.
Dave: Well, he offers occult practices. For example, he tells you that visualizing people – if you are a pastor (this is in his book, The Power of Positive Imaging)…
Tom: Imaging, right.
Dave: He tells you if a pastor wants to increase his congregation, he needs to visualize people coming into that church, and that will bring it about! Norman Vincent Peale, in that book, tells how he went out as a young pastor – they needed some money – and one of the board members that he had said to him, “Look, you go out and (he gave him a list of wealthy people in his congregation) you ask each of them for a contribution of $5,000, and I will visualize them writing out the check to you.”
Norman Vincent Peale said, “Well, I mean…is that going to work?”
“Well,” go ahead and try it. And he went to the first man, a physician, and he asked him for a $5,000 contribution. The man laughed and said, “You think I am going to give you that?” And then, suddenly, his whole manner changed! He pulled out his checkbook; he wrote out a check for $5000.
And Dr. Peale comes back to his board member and says, “It worked! It worked! I’m amazed!”
He [the board member] said, “Of course, it worked! I sent a thought hovering over you that hit him right between the eyes and changed his whole way of thinking!”
Dr. Peale said, “Yes! I saw it hit him! I saw it change him!”
Now, two quick things: 1) It’s not even ethical. I’m going to get people to write out a check for my church by this kind of mind power, if that’s what it is? 2) It’s not ethical. What is this? This is not the power of God. This is occultism!
Now, let me just quote Dr. Peale, real fast – I know you’ve got to get back in here, but let me just quote it real fast. He says, “Who is God? Some theological being?” (I am quoting him from page 118 of Occult Invasion, and we give you all the full documentation.) “Who is God – some theological being? God is energy. As you breathe God in, as you visualize His energy, you will be re-energized. Prayer power is a manifestation of energy. Just as there exist scientific techniques for the release of atomic energy, so are there scientific procedures for the release of spiritual energy through the mechanism of prayer.” So prayer is a scientific mechanism. This is science of mind, religious science. This is occultism!
Tom: Some people believe that Norman Vincent Peale is a evangelical Christian or he’s a conservative Christian, but his theology is really religious science; mind science. It goes back to Mary Baker Eddy, to Christian Science – that’s the heart of it.
“Okay, well so what? That doesn’t mean that Christian psychology has to partake of everything he believes.”
“Well, as a matter of fact, there are hundreds of Christian psychologists who use hypnosis in their therapy. They regress people back into the past. This is a technique that has been in the occult for thousands of years. It is one of the most powerful occult techniques, and we’ve discussed it before. It’s even banned by…California, for example, will not allow testimony in court by anyone who has been hypnotized, because they can no longer remember exactly what happened if they’ve been hypnotized concerning the subject of the court proceedings. This has been fully documented in occultism, and yet they continue with this. They also have you visualizing Jesus. Many Christian psychologists have you do that! This is not the Jesus of the Bible. Going back in the past and visualizing Jesus coming alongside and so forth. So, we’re running out of time, Tom, but there are many other ways that we could document in which occultism has come into the church through Christian Psychology.
Tom: Dave, we’re going to get into inner healing. Inner healing, by the way, is a form of therapy, but it’s sort of more spiritual. When I say “sort of,” it’s not necessarily practiced by licensed psychotherapists, although they’re are into it to a great degree. It’s a ministry found among many people in the church, and there’s a connection here with Religious Science. For example, Agnes Sanford we can talk about next week, if we have time; Ruth Carter Stapleton, the sister of Jimmy Carter – there are people who have developed this in the church, and their background is really Religious Science, Mind Science. That’s the occult connection here that we’re concerned about.
Dave: Yes, so psychotherapy is what, well, you could say, the secular, atheistic psychologists use. Let me quote Lawrence Le Shan – we’ve probably quoted him before; he is president of the American Psychological Association who said, “Psychotherapy will be known as the hoax of the 20th century.” But it is, as you said, closely related not just to practices among Christian psychologists who follow these same proceedings, but now we have lay persons, and they’re doing wholesale psychotherapy on an audience – getting them into a quiet mood, and visualizing themselves, and going back and seeing Jesus coming alongside and so forth. So, this is a form of psychotherapy which is being done to entire audiences, and it’s called inner healing.
Tom: Now, this is in the church big time, and one of the reasons for this program is to not only alert people to things that are going on, which we believe are drawing them away from God’s Word, from what God wants, from doing things His way. So we would challenge people to check these things out. Again this is the – our program here is Search the Scriptures. Be Bereans. Look to these things and see if they are true to God’s Word.