When I first became a Christian in 1971, I heard countless Bible Studies and sermons proclaiming, very unmistakably, that salvation comes exclusively through the Lord Jesus Christ. I clung tenaciously to Christ’s declaration in John 14:6.
I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ~~John 14:6 (ESV)
Needless to say, many people had difficulty appreciating my hard-line stance on this matter. Close relatives censured me as an intolerant fanatic. But I stood firm, in those early days, resolute in my conviction that Jesus wouldn’t mislead His disciples on the most important issue facing humanity. If people could come to God apart from Him, He wasted His time dying on the cross as the substitute for our sin. My confidence in this truth kept me immovable for several years.
As I got involved in counseling ministry, however, my spiritual emphasis shifted. Mind you, the shift was subtle. Almost imperceptible, in fact. And intellectually, I continued to affirm John 14:6. But, enamored by the integration of Biblical principles and psychological models, I slowly drifted into a more therapeutic idea of Christianity.
I can remember hanging up the phone after chatting with a friend in 1996. After over twenty years of witnessing to her, I wondered if perhaps she was saved. She’d said nothing about the Lord, nor had she quoted the Bible, but she’d mentioned some of the same psychological principles that I’d offered in counseling letters earlier that week. Although I can’t recall precisely what she said, I’m pretty sure that it had to do with self-esteem.
Over the subsequent two years, I noticed other people (none of whom professed Biblical faith) applying psychological principles that I’d used as ministry tools. I began to consider the possibility that, even through none of them believed that Jesus was the only Savior, or that the Bible was the Word of God, just maybe they knew the Lord in spite of themselves. Perhaps I’d been too narrow in my understanding of salvation.
As regular readers of this blog know, the Lord has graciously restored me to Biblical faith. Of course I understand that John 14:6 means precisely what it says. Furthermore, He has brought me back into Scripture, where I can see that psychology directly contradicts the Gospel. I’ve written numerous blog posts, which you can access here, demonstrating various problems with mingling psychology with Scripture, and I’m quite sure I’ll write more. I believe psychology threatens Biblical Christianity enormously.
It definitely threatened my view of the Gospel for a while!
Beloved sisters in Christ, please think carefully before you adopt concepts of “Christian” psychology. In reality, these belief systems are mutually exclusive, despite all the attempts to bind them together. In the end, psychology will always claim authority over the Bible, insisting that it has insights into the soul that go far deeper than Scripture ever could.
Don’t fall under the spell of psychology, as I once did. It distracts from the Gospel, even to the degree that we think it brings salvation. But as Bible-believing Christians, we must, without equivocation, hold tight to the truth that Jesus alone provides access to the Father.