Why shouldn’t Christians take advantage of psychology just as they take advantage of medical procedures and treatments? Actually, many evangelicals do regard psychology as a viable component of pastoral counseling or (if they use professional counselors) a supplement to Biblical teaching. Even though most evangelicals will say otherwise, they clearly deny the sufficiency of Scripture.
But should Bible-believing Christians add psychology to their arsenal of spiritual weapons? Of course, my regular readers already know my answer. But let me offer my basic reason for rejecting the blending of psychology and the Bible.
Most of us, I believe, would consider Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as the fathers of modern psychology. For that reason, we ought to know something about their spiritual outlooks. Let’s first of of all determine whether or not these two men operated out of personal philosophies consistent with a Scriptural worldview. Did they hold views that agree with Biblical doctrine? Did they recognize God’s holiness and man’s innate sinfulness? Did they develop therapeutic models that affirmed the necessity of repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ? Obviously, a thorough examination of their spiritual convictions lies well beyond the scope of this small blog post, and you’ll need to do your own research, but let me prime the pump just a bit.
Freud, for the most part, exhibited blatant animosity, not merely towards Christianity, but towards religion in general. Admittedly, in his later life, embraced his Jewish heritage only in response to anti-Semitism. In all other respects, as the following quote exemplifies, he demonstrated great contempt for religion.
“Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world, which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities. […] If one attempts to assign to religion its place in man’s evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition, as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilized individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity.” –Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism, 1939
In Freud’s estimation, religion was a neuroses that needed to be overcome through analysis rather than God’s revelation of Himself that in turn gives us a correct understanding of ourselves. He dispensed with the concept of sin, and promoted the notion of self-esteem. Sadly, many Christian counselors incorporate elements of Freudian psychology into their practices
Jung, on the other hand, had no trouble with spirituality, as his father was a Reformed minister. But he rejected the idea of specific creeds and approached the idea of God from a New Age perspective.
“It is only through the psyche that we can establish that God acts upon us, but we are unable to distinguish whether these actions emanate from God or from the unconscious. We cannot tell whether God and the unconscious are two different entities. Both are border-line concepts for transcendental contents. But empirically it can be established, with a sufficient degree of probability, that there is in the unconscious an archetype of wholeness. Strictly speaking, the God-image does not coincide with the unconscious as such, but with this special content of it, namely the archetype of the Self.”
Jungian psychology emphasizes “balancing” the conscious and unconscious parts of personality–a philosophy he developed as a result of his lifelong contact with a spirit guide (probably a demon) named Philemon. As a child he participated in seances. He believed in a spirituality that denied the existence of sin. Jungian psychology, which generally requires several years of counseling sessions, promises to uncover the counselee’s unconscious, therefore being a rebranded form of gnosticism (one of Satan’s oldest lies).
Neither of these men believed the Bible, and therefore they constructed psychological models based on human reasoning and demonic influences. If you’ll examine their histories (even at a surface-level), you’ll find their beliefs to be antithetical to the clear teachings of Scripture. Yet Christian counseling, like all forms of Christian ministry, must rely exclusively on God’s wisdom, which sets itself apart from human theories and philosophies.
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. ~~1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (ESV)