Over the last two-and-a-half decades, evangelical churches have incorporated psychological principles into their preaching and their counseling practices. Pastors often refer troubled congregates to “professional counselors,” who (though claiming to be Christians) rely more on the paradigms of psychology than on the teachings of Scripture to diagnose and counsel people.
The problem with using psychology as a supplement to the Bible lies in the fact that psychology comes from human wisdom, originating with Sigmund Freud, who didn’t exactly hide his contempt for religion. This shift of focus from God’s wisdom to man’s should bother Bible-believing Christians, since Scripture implores us to value God’s wisdom above our own.
The apostle Paul saw no benefit in using the wisdom of human beings to address spiritual issues.
12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. ~~1 Corinthians 2:12-13 (ESV)
And make no mistake, dear sisters: so-called Christian counselors who are licensed as psychological counselors are dealing with spiritual matters! Tragically, they implement human philosophies more than they apply the Word of God to a person’s struggles, as if God’s Word lacks the power to effect victory over those struggles.
Essentially, psychology is a present-day form of Gnosticism, promising an understanding into the human soul that comes only though deeper knowledge. Therefore it supposedly unlocks secrets about who we are and why we do certain things. Yet it fundamentally ignores the clear teachings of Scripture regarding our sinful condition and our responsibility to repent.
Typically, while perhaps giving an obligatory acknowledgment to the concept of sin, professional Christian counselors will search for a reason for the sinful behavior. Even pastors fall into that way of thinking, sadly.
As a result of this esoteric hunt for the “underlying causes” of behavior patterns, psychology (yes, even so-called Christian psychology) in effect denies that Scripture sufficiently deals with the issues of humanity. That denial, of course, flies in the face of the apostle Peter’s words:
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. ~~2 Peter 1:3-11 (ESV)
Bible-believing Christians can trust the Word of God. Certainly, there may be times when Biblical counseling is warranted, but this type of counseling draws wisdom from God’s Word rather than from the man-made philosophies of psychology. It trusts that, through the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit provides the resources necessary to overcome sinful patterns so that we can effectively live in ways that honor Him.
Ladies, please don’t get entangled in human wisdom when the wisdom of God lies within your reach! If the Holy Spirit indeed has given you the new birth, you don’t need fallen human psychology in order to deal with the effects of your sin. Instead, praise the Lord for blessing us with His wisdom, which gives us everything we need for life and godliness.