As I’ve tried to document in past blog posts, modern psychology emanates from Sigmund Freud (who bore open contempt for religion) and Carl Jung (who practiced various forms of New Age and occult spirituality). Certainly I realize that there are other strains of psychology, most of which I’ve yet to research. Nevertheless I would ardently contend that psychology has its roots in Freud and Jung. Call me simplistic and reductionist if you wish, but I believe that I make a reasonable assessment.
And even if you can show me psychological models that don’t depend on either Freud or Jung, you can’t escape the reality that psychology is a man-made construct. Therefore, despite claims of “Christian psychology,” it is one of the philosophies that the apostle Paul warned the Colossian church to avoid.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.~~Colossians 2:8-10 (ESV)
Okay, I understand the allure of psychological principles. Almost everybody nurtures a fascination with self, and consequently craves anything that promises a “deeper understanding” of that self. And when that deeper understanding also minimizes the identify of sin and personal responsibility, so much the better!
Having spent over forty years in churches (and having worked for twelve years in a ministry) which mingled psychological principles with theology, I can attest to the narcissism that results. When coupled with psychology, Scripture degenerates into a self-help tool, and Jesus becomes a Coach Who encourages you in your search for self-esteem.These types of ministries appear to be grounded in God’s Word, but they couldn’t deviate from it more!
For instance, “Christian” psychology blatantly teaches that Christ’s death on the cross proves our intrinsic value.The reasoning argues that He saw such value in each of us that He came to die so that He could enjoy fellowship with us throughout eternity. Did you catch that subtle shift in emphasis? Rather than than recognizing that Christ’s sacrifice gives us value, the idea is that, in and of ourselves, we somehow possess an inherent worth “to die for.” We become the cherished treasure, not the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, we get to keep the attention squarely on ourselves. Christ takes on an auxiliary role as He facilitates our spiritual growth and self-identify.
Time prevents me from enumerating all the ways I’ve seen psychology violate the clear teachings of Scripture. I fully intend to devote additional blog posts to this topic because I believe it has severely damaged the evangelical church. As I will explain next time I write about this subject, I believe far too many professing Christians who mix psychological precepts and practices with Christianity stand guilty (as I did) of attempting to blend true worship with false religion.
You read that correctly. I just referred to psychology as a religion (wouldn’t Freud be appalled?). Psychology is, at its very root, the worship of self. I can’t find a gentler way to say it.This human (at best) philosophy shifts the focus from Christ to self, no matter how much you sprinkle it with misapplied Bible verses affirming a person’s special place in the universe. All the Christian terminology in the world can’t erase the horrifying truth that psychology is a religion and self is its god.
It requires a lot of humility and prayerful consideration in order to come to terms with my last remark. But I ask you to look at the matter for yourselves, holding everything up to the light of Scripture. Ask yourselves if psychology points to you, or if it exalts the Lord Jesus Christ. If it fails to give Him the preeminence, you might want to seriously question its validity.