Psychology And The Church
By Matt Slick, Nampa
Ed. by Dr. Anthony Harper
Psychology [from Greek psukhe, breath, life, Psyche or Soul (Spirit)], is the study of human emotional processes and behavior and seeks to understand how and why we behave the way we do. There are limited benefits from psychology as pertaining to the study of the brain. But, the study of the 'Soul' can only be understood by those qualified spiritually (disciples of JESUS) - the following scripture addresses this issue between the natural man versus the spiritual man:
KJV 1 Corinthians 2:14-16
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Though a certain element of psychology can be helpful in the study of the brain, we need to be wary of trusting it because it has a tendency to negate scripture. So, we must ask ourselves, how far should the Christian Church go in accepting a helping hand from the secular field of psychology? Should we have secular licensed psychologists working in the church as counselors? Is secular counseling a viable option for the Christian? Should we submit the teaching of Scripture to the field of psychology? Or, should we dig into the pages of Holy Writ and find out what God has said about proper behavior and how to live better before God?
The answer is easy. Scripture is supreme and we are not to interpret it or attempt to modify human behavior and understanding apart from or in contradiction to biblical revelation. In other words, we need to put the word of God above what the secularists and psychology have to say and distance ourselves from all things that contradict the Bible.
Let’s take, for example, an important topic such as homosexuality. Unfortunately the American Psychological Association says homosexuality is not a choice, not an illness. Therefore, it cannot be considered a sin nor is it something to avoid. In addition, there are psychology studies that suggest religious belief is nothing more than a function of the physical brain. There is even a hint in some circles that such religious belief might be an abnormality. Such ideas are an obvious contradiction to biblical revelation and can be potentially dangerous to Christian freedoms – especially when it comes to counseling.
2 Tim. 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work,” (NASB). Since the Bible tells us that Scripture is sufficient for correction so we might be adequate for every good work, this naturally includes the good work of counseling. God’s inspired word means that we should not subject ourselves to the secular wisdom with its ungodly approval of such things as homosexuality, abortion, moral relativism, and promiscuity. We are to avoid such things, not subject ourselves to counselors who approve of them in part or in whole. Remember, the Bible tells us that the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God (1 Cor. 3:19). So, let’s not adopt the foolishness of the world. Let’s not “be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14).
The Christian Church must find its source of wisdom for counseling in the sacred, not the secular. The Christian Church should support and utilize Christian counselors who are mature in the Lord, who are properly trained biblically, who do not adopt the wisdom of the world, and who are devoted to Christ. The Christian church should not succumb to secular pressure and adopt ungodly teachers who would influence God’s people away from the truth of his word. Again, “do not be bound together with unbelievers.”
There are some Christian schools that are promoting unholy alliances by encouraging and training their students to be affiliated with the secular state psychological, counselor and social work boards. Likewise, other ministries are also promoting these same unholy alliances. The ways of the world have influenced people into believing the lie that being a state licensed psychologist/counselor/social worker is a more credible certification. In reality, Christian church ordination is the superior credential for counselors and they should be aware of the exemption for faith based counselors in the State of Idaho. How can these state agencies (hypocrites) that condone counselors who promote abortion, witchcraft, and homosexuality be looked upon as morally credible agencies to protect the public? JESUS of Nazareth spoke about these hypocrites – “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!.... In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. NIV Matthew 23:27-28.
There are many Christian counselors and several Christian counseling organizations such as nanc.org, iabc.net, sbabc.org, and christiancounseling.com. These provide Bible-based counseling practices. I suggest that if you were not already in contact with one or more of these groups, that you look into utilizing their services.
As a Christian who defends the true faith full time, I have learned in my almost 30 years of ministry that error begets error: if you have a false God, you’ll have a false gospel. Likewise, if you have secular counselors working with Christians, you’ll risk the danger of having those Christians developing unbiblical ideas. We need truth from God’s word, not the wisdom of the world. This is why I write against false religious and secular systems and teach the truth of God’s word through the internet (www.carm.org) and radio (KSPD, 790 AM, M-F, 6-7pm.) Remember, even Jesus, God in flesh, used the truth of God’s word against the false counsel of the Devil. How much more should we.
Psychology and the Church: Critical Questions, Crucial Answers, is the focus of the original video production and forthcoming book from The Berean Call, examining the influence of psychological counseling upon the church.
The book, due out in October, is nearly 300 pages and is a powerful compilation of past feature articles from The Berean Call as well as new material from the authors—including an insightful Q&A section addressing actual reader questions and contemporary concerns.
The Berean Call is a non-profit, non-denominational ministry devoted to Scriptural inquiry and examination of religious movements outside and within the church, in relation to God’s Word. A free monthly newsletter, may be received by sending a request to: PO Box 7019, Bend, OR 97708; or by calling 1-800-937-6638.
Finally, consider reviewing the DVD or the book “Psychology and the Church” (thebereancall.org) either alone or with members of your church.
KJV Psalms 1:1-6
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.