Psychological Heresy

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by John of Japan, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    On the G. A. Riplinger thread in the Fundamentalist forum, Ed Edwards said, "Typical statements made by the ultra-fundamentalists: (note that the world calls them 'fundies' and we real fundamentalists have to bear their burden unjustly): ... self esteem is evil...."

    I meant to get back and comment on this before the thread was closed, but it would have actually been off topic anyway on that thread, so I am starting this one. Now, I like Ed Edwards but I felt this was unfair to charge to "ultra-fundamentalists" only and would be resented by those good, non-fundamentalist evangelicals who originally opposed the self-esteem movement and other aberrations which have been brought into Christianity by some Christian psychologists.

    Note that in 1970 Presbyterian Jay Adams brought out his landmark book Competent to Counsel, the first important alternative to the mix of secular psychology and Christianity by the likes of Clyde Narramore and others. Adams started a whole movement of Biblical counseling! His method is excellent, and has a bare minimum of input from such methods as Freudian or Rogerian or Jungian counseling.

    Perhaps the most devastating attacks on the self-esteem movement have been by Martin and Deidre Bobgan, beginning with their book Psycho Heresy in 1987. This book was recommended by such non-fundamentalists as: Jay Adams, W. Phillip Keller, J. Vernon McGee, Ed Payne, Leonard Ravenhill and Thomas Szasz. Another important book was Christ Esteem, by Don Matzat, endorsed by no less that D. James Kennedy, the Presbyterian non-fundamentalist.

    Here are some of the elements of this Christian/heathen mixture of psychology: the secular view of self-esteem, non-directive counseling, the neglect of the sin question, medicine as a panacea, etc.

    If anyone is knowledgeable about counseling and wants to discuss this, fine. (There was recently a busy thread in the non-Baptist section about self-esteem, so we don't necessarily need to go there.) If not, I had to get it off my chest.

    God bless.

    John
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    I'm not an expert nor an awfully informed participant in these discussions. I will say that I went to a seminary where the entire counseling faculty was replaced for this nouthetic business while I was there. Good people when I got there, sad to see them leave over politics.

    My only thing about this issue that I can say is I really think we need evaluate statements like "all psychological issues are sin issues" that I've heard before and that the Bible is the only thing we need to diagnose and treat psychological issues. Sometimes medication in needed, not over prescribed like it is in America, but sometimes.

    Again I am not well versed on this topic and think we should leave the discussion to those who are and have degrees. :)
     
  3. John of Japan

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    I can't comment much on this not knowing the seminary or the situation. I will say that there are many good people who have accepted some tenets of secular psychology because they want to be a help and a blessing to others. However, bad thinking produces bad results.
    I disagree with the statement that "all psychological issues are sin issues." However, I believe that the Bible should be the foundation of all psychological thinking. After all, who created the mind and emotions of man? How could Freud or Rogers know better about the heart of Man than the Creator?
    Note that I oppose the use of medicine as a panacea, not all medicine. If a schizophrenic, for example, is hard for the family to manage without medicine, then for the family's sake medicine may be a proper treatment. And of course that is up to a doctor, not a pastor.
    How about if we allow pastors without psychology or counseling degrees to be experts, too? That is how it used to be pre-Freud. Pastors are much more likely than psychologists to know the Word of God, the will of God, the results of sin, etc. And the typical pastor has seen much more of real "psychological problems" than the average psychology grad.

    I'm just a small time missionary who has only pastored little Japanese churches, but I've counseled: a schizophrenic (for years; eventually baptized and married, now a successful author), depression victims, manic-depressives, a man with alcohol and infidelity problems (walking with God, marriage restored), a drug addict (got saved, now in Heaven), a girl whose father had molested her and murdered her mother, etc.
     
  4. Tom Bryant

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    JofJ:
    That's some good statements. Too often we have used not just unbiblical methods but ANTI-Biblical methods in our counseling sessions.
     
  5. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    That is the bottom line John. The bible does not forbid the use of medication or other methods. Sometimes there are physical causes that medication is the best cure for. But all methods need to be evaluated against the true standard.
     
  6. TCGreek

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    Hi John,

    1. Why do you not agree that all psychological issues are sin issues?

    2. That is why I commend men like Dr. Larry Crabb and JM for their take on secular psychology/counseling. JM eliminated his the psychology dept. at his college.

    3. Secular psychology/counseling gets off on the wrong foot, with man at the center of the universe---it is wrong to believe that man needs psychological help before coming to the Lord.
     
  7. John of Japan

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    I almost completely agree with it. However, though it is rare, occasionally there is a psychological problem that originates with a brain disorder. The counselee may act in a bizarre way psychologically when it is a brain disorder, and if we try to counsel that by looking for sin problems we will fail. If we have a blanket philosophy that all psychological issues are sin issues, we might not as counselors recognize when to take the counselee to the doctor.
    Good for JM. As for Crabb, unless he has changed (I only have one of his books) he has a habit of injecting secular views into his method. For example, in Effective Biblical Counseling he works from the secular psy. view of guilt on pp. 128-129. Again, on p. 51 of the same book he says, "Erich Fromm offers a useful discussion of love in his book, The Art of Loving." No way! Fromm is junk!

    On p. 52, Crabb says, "A Christian who has spoiled the Egyptians of secular psychology, carefully weeding out the elements which oppose his commitment to the revelation of Schripture, will be better equipped to counsel...." Then through p. 56 he recommends a huge array of secular books, many of which are garbage and indeed which contradict each other, such as Glasser, Frankl, Sartre, Fromm, Harris (I'm OK, You're OK), Skinner, etc.
    Amen!! :thumbs:
     
    #7 John of Japan, Dec 6, 2007
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  8. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Very true!
     
  9. John of Japan

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    Amen and amen! :thumbs:
     
  10. TCGreek

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    1. I quite agree with you here, and this is often what must take place.

    2. In a Bible college I went to my Psychology class was purely secular (how sad), but then my Counseling class combined both the secular and spiritual--I had to read Dr. Crabb Understanding People.

    3. Crabb has struck the balanced then---I haven't read Jay Adams, but is there a balance in Competent to Counsel?
     
  11. JustChristian

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    Are you claiming that all psychological missues are "sin issues?" What is your justificationj for saying that? Why not just extend this to claim that all medical issues are sin issues?
     
  12. John of Japan

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    Crabb rightly opposes what he calls the "tossed salad" method of indiscriminately accepting secular psychology. However, Crabb is an integrationist who calls his approach "spoil the Egyptians." By this he means that we should start with a Biblical basis, then get all we can from secular psychology. This means, though, that he doesn't simply use the results of applying the scientific method to psychology, but he accepts various secular views that contradict Biblical truth. For example, in Effective Biblical Counseling he accepts needs-based psychology in Ch. 3, the view of Freud that there is an unconscious element to personality on pp. 91-96, then says on p. 96 that, "Christians would do well to read Carl Rogers on the need for profoundly accepting the client as a worthwhile human being." (Rogers denies the sin nature and total depravity.)

    Crabb calls the view that we should reject secular psychology the "Nothing Buttery" view. He then over simplifies the view of those who hold such a view, people like Jay Adams (though he mentions no one by name). I have taken a week long seminar from the Jay Adams people (NANC) and found them to have a balanced, complete method of counseling even though they reject virtually all secular psychology. (What they don't reject are proven scientific results, a rare item with most secular sources.) I've used their homework methodology with good effect.

    Where I disagree with Adams is that his method is based on dichotomy, and I much prefer trichotomy. However, Adams is doing a good work and I recommend him far more readily than Crabb. This is not to say that Crabb is never a help, because he does use the Bible. But to add theories from Rogers and Freud to our Biblical counseling then works against the Bible.
     
  13. TCGreek

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    1. So not much of a balanced approach in your opinion? But if Crabb starts with a biblical paradigm, why would he accept scientific data contradict biblical views? Is he not doing a good job at filtering?

    2. Ok, I see what you are saying his acceptance of Rogers, but is this indiscriminately?

    3. I have to invest in Dr. Adams Competent to Counsel to really appreciate what you are saying from Adams perspective.

    4. I tend to be dichotomic, so I might really appreciate Adams. :) I've found Crabb to be useful, esp. his The Essentials of Biblical Counseling.
     
  14. John of Japan

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    True scientific data will not contradict Scripture. The problem is that secular psychology is rife with contradictory theories and methods, literally hundreds of them. Mere theory is not science, of course, without data to prove it. Crabb accepts several of these theories in his method. I am appalled that on 52 to 55 of the book I have Crabb recommends (with no caveats) 24 different books by secular authors
    How can we as Christians accept the theories of someone like Rogers, who appears not to even believe in the existence of sin? Rogerian counseling omits any method of telling a person they are wrong or sinning. Basically you just sit there and listen to the person bare his soul, hoping for catharsis I guess.
    That's a good place to start, but Adams' method is much more than that. Try also some of the tools by NANC people, like A Hpomework Manual for Biblical Living vol. 1 & 2 by Wayne Mack, or Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling by John G. Kruis. Adams himself also has a practical little book that is helpful, Helps for Counselors. I'm sure they'll be a blessing in your pastoral counseling. :type:
    I only have the one book by Crabb, so I can't comment on his other books. I'm afraid the one book turned me off on anything else by him.
     
    #14 John of Japan, Dec 6, 2007
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  15. mcdirector

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    can I interject here? I hope I'm halfway on topic.

    First, I have read only excerpts from Crabb and I'm not familiar with the other authors. I have recently HAD to start doing some reading on borderline personality disorder and the only sources were secular. (or at least the only ones that I could find).

    I have had to pray through much of what I read, but I did receive a great deal of help from the various authors I read - BUT I read with discernment.

    Is is possible that the lack of reference of Christians in these books is because we are not encouraging Christians to go into these fields? In this thread there have been mentions of schools removing programs.

    One of the things that I found from reading these obviously secular books is that BPD most often stems from one cause - severe abuse - most often sexual abuse and that the abuse is never dealt with, which lends credence to the unrecognized sin issue. The secular world is going to pin some other label on this. Is going to deal with it in some other way. Is going to call it untreatable. When we know that all things laid at the foot of the cross are treatable - in psychological terms.
     
  16. John of Japan

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    Good post, sister. Much of what you are saying resonates with me.

    I first started researching the whole thing when I was asked to counsel a schizophrenic girl in my church who wanted to get married. I was appalled at what was expected of me, and driven to my knees in prayer. I found that there was very little by Christians on the subject, and bought several secular books to get me started in a bewildering field. I also bought lots of books on Christian counseling and tried to work out what was going on. Then on furlough I got to take a full week NANC seminar that answered a lot of my questions. To make a long story short, to His glory God worked wonderfully. I baptized her, married her and her boyfriend, and she is now a mommy and a successful author writing Japanese books on her condition.

    You are right that the world calls such conditions untreatable. Nowadays they usually just medicate and/or institutionalize the problem. Just visit the psych ward of a hospital nowadays. Secular theories rarely offer hope, though secular authors can give us data about the problems.

    We have to deal with the sins, there is no other way to victory. In the case of my schizophrenic girl, her parents first took her for counseling after she punched her mother and knocked out a tooth. It snowballed from there. In cases of abuse, the sin must especially be dealt with, both the sin of the abuser and the reaction of the abused.

    It takes a special amount of God's grace and love and patience to help such people, but God's power can do it. It may take years, but such great victories can be achieved!

    Mr. Togo was an amphetamine addict when he came to our church in Yokohama. He was so self-centered and narrow-focused that I never felt anything I said helped. But he was miraculously saved after reading Hal Lindsey's book on Satan until 3 in the morning. Mr. Togo wanted to preach the Gospel, but never could get past that addiction and its damage.

    However, he did serve God me in several ways by proof-reading a Japanese book I wrote, and designing a logo for our new church up here in Hokkaido. (He was a talented artist.) He died young, but his girlfriend found his body and called me in Hokkaido. Mr. Togo's witness won his girl friend to Christ after his death!
     
  17. TCGreek

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    1. Thanks for sharing these stories---I guess you experience a lot of things by being on the mission field.

    2. There's a place for the secular contribution as long as what is being contributed doesn't dishonor God and his word.
     
  18. tinytim

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    I love Jay Adam's book, and refer to it occasionally when counselling...
    The best book I have read on the subject....

    TC, I would encourage you to get the book...He does an excellent job of balancing the subject.
     
  19. TCGreek

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    1. I friend of mine did his PhD in philosophy because he felt not many Christians were doing their doctorate in philosophy proper.

    2. I guess the same can be said of psychology, but we are talking about putting out stuff from a scientific standpoint, to have any secular stamp of approval. Can the Christian community get caught up with the world in this dept.? I don't know. Should the Christian community try to compete? I don't know.
     
  20. TCGreek

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    For the new year I will---there's one of my new year resolutions. :laugh:
     

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