HomeArticlesWhy Psychology cannot be Christian (Part 2)

Why Psychology cannot be Christian (Part 2)

Dr. Dobson denies a biblical ministry in exchange for a false hope of Norman Vincent Peale’s hybrid religion “Christian psychology” as popularized by the heretic Robert Schuller. Schuller teaches, “What is that basic flaw [in modern Christianity]? I believe it is the failure to proclaim the gospel in a way that can satisfy every person’s deepest need – one’s spiritual hunger for glory. Rather than glorify God’s highest creation – the human being- Christian liturgies, hymns, prayers, and scriptural interpretations have often insensitively and destructively offended the dignity of the person.”1)Robert Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, Word, 1982, p. 31 The Bible teaches God created man to glorify Him (Revelation 4:11), not ourselves. Schuller denies the gospel can satisfy man’s deepest need, which shows Christian psychology is “ashamed of the gospel of Christ” which Paul preached (Romans 1:16), so Christian psychology is “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 1:4); one that is “accursed” (Galatians 1:9). Man’s deepest need is a personal relationship with the Holy God that created us, that relationship which was broken by our sin which we committed because we love self more than God. But Christ died for our sins that we may be reconciled to God. “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Romans 5:9-11)

Schuller teaches: “Self-love is a crowning sense of self-worth. It is an ennobling emotion of self-respect… an abiding faith in yourself. It is sincere belief in yourself.
It comes through self-discovery, self-discipline, self-forgiveness and self-acceptance. It produces self-reliance, self confidence and an inner security, calm as the night.”2)Robert H. Schuller, Self-Love, The Dynamic Force of Success, Hawthorn, 1969, p. 32 We need to “love God” (Romans 8:28), have “faith in God” (Mark 11:22), we need God’s forgiveness (Mark 2:7), that we may be acceptable to God (Romans 12:1-2).
T. A. McMahon documented:

In the mid-20th century. Psychologists such as Erich Fromm began writing about love, and in particular the value of self-love. Abraham Maslow, in the 1940s, included self-esteem near the top of his “hierarchy of needs.” Evangelicals took note. Norman Vincent Peale and psychiatrist Smiley Blanton early in the 1950s established the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry. The Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS), took root at the same time. Also, at that time, the American Psychiatric Association set up luncheons around the US, in which psychiatrists suggested to the religious community that working together to meet the needs of their flock would be a match made in heaven. As that relationship grew, it was impressed upon the pastors and priests that they were ill equipped to deal with most of the issues of their congregations’ problems of living. Many pastors fell into that erroneous idea and returned to school to earn degrees in psychology.3)T. A. McMahon, “The Upcoming Psychologized Generation,” The Berean Call, November 2012, p. 4

Christ promised to send the “Comforter” Who would “teach you all things” (John 14:26). Who would be better equipped to minister unto hurting souls than a Holy Spirit indwelt, biblically minded Christian? This caused Bill Hull to lament, “The influence of the world’s psychology has created a new cult of self-worship…. America is the psychological society, and the language and philosophy of need have seduced the church. Therefore, the people in the pew ask all the wrong questions, based on cultural programming: What can the church do for me? Can I get my needs met here? Do I feel good when I leave here? Does the pastor make me feel guilty? Will I have to do what I don’t feel like doing? These questions and more reflect the corruption of self-idolatry primarily fostered in our society by the secular psychological community.”4)Bill Hull, The Disciple Making Pastor, Fleming H. Revell, 1988, p. 42 This is the ill effect of integrating psychology with the Bible.
Christian apologist Douglas Groothuis declares, “By taking the truths they find in these other psychologies and repositioning them within a system more consistent with Christian truths, they can transform psychology for the glory of God.”5)Douglas Groothuis, Confronting the New Age, InterVarsity Press, 1988, p. 57 So he believes that foundation laid by occultists and humanists can become glorifying to God. Why not just minister with the Word of God which does not originate with unregenerate depraved men? We are told to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16), whereby we are made “clean through” (John 15:3) sanctified by (John 17:17) and made free (John 8:32). H. Newton Maloney rightly states, “We do not get from scripture those basic therapeutic ingredients which establish relationships. We get them from client-centered therapy, the writings of Carl Rogers…”6)H. Newton Maloney, transcript, “Is Christianity Compatible with Psychology?” 1983, p. 21 from the John Ankerberg Show; as cited by John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Facts On False Teaching In The Church, Harvest House Publishers, 1988, p. 42 We can appreciate the honesty that he admits they do not start with Scriptures, nor would they desire to. They begin with psychology seeking to find enough Bible verse to scatter over their occult based, humanistic therapy to deceive biblically illiterate Christians – but we are commanded to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Morton Kelsey revealed that they are breaking away from historical Christianity, which indicates there is no such thing as a Bible based psychology. He said, “But there is a new realization today that the realm of spirit does break through into human psyche and brings changes. This awakening is not tied to historical Christianity. It has come independently in some of the most sophisticated modern psychology, which finds it crucial for our world to discover the realm of spirit once more and learn how men can find God in it.”7)Morton T. Kelsey, God, Dreams, And Revelation: A Christian Interpretation of Dreams, Augsburg Publishing House, 1974, p. viii Kelsey mentioned: “A religiously oriented psychological clinic was established at the church where I was rector…. In 1959 I visited Jung in Zurich and when I told him of what we were doing, he expressed surprise that any present-day church would become so involved with his therapeutic methods.”8)Morton T. Kelsey, God, Dreams, And Revelation: A Christian Interpretation of Dreams, Augsburg Publishing House, 1974, p. 13 Carl Jung has more discernment than many pastors do today. Thomas Ice and Robert Dean, Jr. correctly stated, “Unfortunately, many brands of Christianity today are simply worldly counterfeits…. The world puts its faith in psychology to solve life’s problems, so Christians blend the world’s answers with the Bible and thus destroy both.”9)Thomas Ice, Robert Dean, Jr., Over Run By Demons: The Church’s New Preoccupation With the Demonic, Harvest House Publishers, 1993, p. 73 Jung’s demonic inspired psychological theories brought into the church is one aspect of the prophetic fulfillment of 1 Timothy 4:1 “the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

Ed Bulky wrote: “I would recommend that seminaries return to teaching theology, biblical languages, hermeneutics, prayer, holiness, and principles of biblical counseling. Seminaries should be graduating pastors – not psychologists.”10)Ed Bulkley, Ph.D., Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology, Harvest House Publishers,1993, p. 206 But by mingling a few Bible verses into any psychotherapy for a couple generations, even the leaders of most seminaries today are so biblically illiterate after growing up in churches that taught psychologized theology. “Rather than heeding the warning about psychological infiltration, seminary leaders react with defensive hostility.”11)Ed Bulkley, Ph.D., Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology, Harvest House Publishers,1993, p. 222 Consequently, there is hardly a pastor today that is fit to shepherd God’s flock. William Kirk Kilpatrick related, “Psychology and religion are competing faiths. If you seriously hold to one set of values, you will logically have to reject the other.”12)William Kirk Kilpatrick, Psychology Seduction: The Failure of Modern Psychology, Thomas Nelson, 1983,p. 14 Kevin Reeves wrote: “But psychology, birthed in a pagan environment by ungodly men cannot aid in restoration of the human heart.”13)Kevin Reeves, The Other Side of the River, Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2007, p. 114

Consider the Word of God: “Keep thee far from a false matter… for I will not justify the wicked.” (Exodus 23:7), “Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen” (Jeremiah 10:2), “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16), “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11) “Love not the world, neither the things of the world” (1 John 2:15), “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4), “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). This list identifies a generation who’s foundation is Freud.
Martin and Deidre Bobgan summed it up in a recent three-part article about Focus on the Family on their website where they stated:

We contend that the influx of psychology and humanism into the church is one of the greatest heresies, subtle seductions, and demonic deceptions in the American church today, and Dobson has been a powerful contributor. What is that heresy, seduction, and deception? It is “bowing down” to the unproven, unscientific wisdom of men rather than having total confidence and dependency upon the miraculous power of God and His Word in matters of the soul.14)Martin and Deidre Bobgan, Focus on the Family: A Sham and a Shame – Part One, http://www.christianresearchservice.com/focus-on-the-family-a-sham-and-a-shame-part-one/, accessed 7/6/2013

Paul wrote “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6) This commandment clearly says to withdraw from any professing Christian who has added to the Biblical revelation. This would definitely include those who accept Christian psychology as a valid tool for ministry. Such commandments abound throughout the New Testament: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17) “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15) “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15) “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject” (Titus 3:10) “For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2 John 11)


If you liked this article, you may also be interested in Crept In Unawares: Mysticism by Heath Henning is available for purchase here.



Heath Henning
Heath Henning
Heath heads the Set Free addictions ministry on Friday nights at Mukwonago Baptist Church and is involved in evangelism on the University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus, offering his expertise in apologetics at the weekly Set Free Bible Study every Tuesday evening. He currently lives in East Troy, Wisconsin with his wife and nine children. Read Heath Henning's Testimony

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