Psychology and the Bible
Until I had declared a
dual psychology major, I had never noticed how resistant
and hostile some Christians are to psychology. I
therefore undertook this article to help alleviate some
unfounded fears about the science of psychology. I wrote
it to help others make a rational decision about the
place psychology has in their churches and their
Note that I wrote most of this from my own understanding and research. Then I read Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity by David Entwistle and Psychology and Christianity: Five Views by Eric Johnson. If you want much more definitive information on the subject, I highly recommend these books, especially the book by Entwistle.
Also please be aware that I am not trying to judge others. My attitude in writing this article is of concern and truth-telling, not of judgment and criticism. However, one very big problem that must be addressed while I write this is the high amount of bearing false witness (lying) going on within Christianity on the subject. I can understand concern over psychology from within the ranks of Christians, and I relate to the place it is coming from, but just as I was once convicted, so now I share: if you're spreading lies, you're not helping. And especially if you are a pastor or other teacher, the Bible has harsh words for those who bear false witness. These words apply to all of us, so we must humbly and fully research what we believe before we teach others. There are several key players that are actively trying to discredit psychology by spreading lies. I don't want to partake in the judgment of God for bearing false witness, and I trust you wouldn't want to do that, either.
Please contact me with any of your questions regarding psychology and its relationship to Christianity, and visa versa. I would love to add your concern to this page.
Table Of Contents
is the Science of Psychology?
What is the Bible?
What is Pop Psychology?
The Limits of Psychology
The Complaints Levied Against Psychology
1. "Freud wasn't a godly man."
2. "This isn't the approach Jesus took."
3. "Jesus met everyone's needs."
4. "Psychology says we're products of our environment."
5. "Psychology says we're not responsible for our actions."
6. "Psychology enables people to adopt a victim mentality...."
7. "Psychology says self-esteem is more important than ____."
8. "Psychology denies soul and spirit."
9. "All truth isn't God's truth."
10. "Psychology alleviates suffering in a way that excludes Jesus...."
11. "Paul warned people will become lovers of themselves."
12. "Psychology teaches venting your feelings, but the Bible disagrees."
13. "Psychology deals with past problems, but the Bible says this is unprofitable."
14. "Anti-depressants don't help anyone."
15. "Psychology comes from a secular world view, so it's bad."
16. "Psychology deals with recovered memories, therefore it's bad."
17. "Psychiatric drugs have horrible side effects."
18. "There are too many different psychotherapies."
19. "Time limits, lack of an intimate relationship, and a fixed price are issues...."
20. "Psychology claims the Bible is insufficient."
21. "Psychology teaches us that there is no hope for mankind."
22. "Freud committed suicide."
23. "The problem is sin, not mental illness."
24: "The MBTI is based on astrology / Carl Jung was an occultist"
25: "The Four Temperaments are based in the occult."
26: "The Twelve Steps and codependency theory are heresy."
27: "Why look elsewhere if Jesus is the answer?"
28: "Codependency is a vague term."
29: "Compulsion is a Freudian invention."
30: "The term enabler unjustly labels someone who isn't a sinner [cf alcoholism]."
31: "Psychotherapy is a professionalized conversation containing the opinions of men...."
32: "Counseling is preaching."
33: "The craze to learn ... Bible verses related to certain issues of life is paralytically intimidating...."
34: "Anyone who can lead someone to salvation and/or sanctification is competent to be used by God...."
35: "Only God heals, so I am going to keep praying."
36: "Structure is bad, and ungodly."
37: "Counseling makes people focus on themselves and their problems."
38: "Counseling gives the client center stage in his own drama...."
39: "Counseling presupposes the counselor is some kind of expert."
40: "Counseling is trusting some 'expert' rather than trusting God."
41: "What did the church do without the biblical counseling movement?"
42: "The only way God teaches anyone something is through suffering."
43: "Psychologists deny suffering, or fix suffering before someone learns...."
44: "Counseling has replaced preaching in importance."
45: "Christian psychology validates the Bible through psychology."
46: "Hypnotism is of the devil."
47: "Psychotherapy and counseling produce victims."
True psychology is the
science and study of human behavior. For something to be
considered science, it must have the following characteristics:
1. Scientific mindset
2. Systematic observations and experiments
3. The knowledge system of science: no observation can disagree with a different science like medicine or natural / physical sciences.
4. Though psychology is a science in that it utilizes the scientific method and as many other scientific models as possible, it has a few slight limitations.
I believe the Bible is the Word of God. It is supreme in all matters, and without flaw. It is not a science textbook, but where it impacts science, it is correct. It is not a medical handbook, but where it touches medicine, it is correct. It is not a political science textbook, but where it impacts governmental systems, it is correct. It is not a history book, but it records history, and its record is impeccable. It is prescriptive rather than descriptive: it may not explain how norepinephrine jumps over synapses in your brain, but it can tell you where the beginning of wisdom is (the fear of the Lord).
Pop Psychology is the non-scientific fringes of psychology. Pop psychologists often sell books and appear on talk shows (Oprah, Maury, etc) on television. Basically, pop psychology is wrong. They often deny the value of guilt, reframe everything to be positive, etc. Such beliefs are very dangerous: guilt is a good emotion.
Psychology is a very valid and useful science, but there are some limits to it.
First, no counseling can force someone to change. Until the
person is willing and ready to change, change will not
happen. We see this in human experience and in spiritual
growth (or lack thereof) of believers.
Second, man cannot reform himself in God's eyes. Secular counseling can do many good things, but it cannot satisfy that spiritual longing inside of us that only Jesus can.
Third, there is no cure for human sin nature, not in this
lifetime. Though it is completely possible to, upon
salvation, become completely sinless, the sin nature hasn't
left. Complete curing is possible through Jesus, but it is
not probable due to our flesh.
I think a lot of the complaints levied against Psychology are from Christians who don't understand when psychology is useful. Counseling and therapy merely want to help people. Counselors and therapists take the same Hippocratic oath as medical workers.
When I say “Christian Therapist”, I’m referring to Christians involved in therapy. When I say “Christian counselor”, I mean any counselor (therapist or lay counselor) who is a Christian. When I say “Christian Psychology” I refer to the Christian Psychology movement, which aims to reform psychology and bring it back to Christianity. When I say “Christian Psychologist” I am only referring to a licensed psychologist who is a Christian. When I say “Lay Counselor” I am referring to a para-church individual who (usually) works within a church, does not charge fees or file insurance, and is often (but not always) not formally trained to the level of secular career fields.
When I say “Integrationalist”, I am referring to a Christian who (to varying degrees) incorporates psychology into their counseling methods. There are different types of Integrationalists, usually varying by how much of psychology they use in practice. To describe how this works, I’ll use the example of my preferred goal in life. An addiction counselor who runs a Christian rehab center, who on intake lets clients choose if they want a religious or non-religious path in counseling, who is a devout Christian but simply wants to help non-believers as well as believers, and holds a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from a secular university, is an integrationalist.
Because of the problems caused by some faulty lay counseling models, this is actually a growing concern and market, because non-Christian psychologists are running into problems with the expectations of clients who had a (possibly) bad experience in lay counseling.
What's the difference between a Psychology degree in Christian Counseling and a Biblical Counseling degree? At Liberty University, the difference between a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Christian Counseling Cognate and aBachelor of Science in Religion, Christian Counseling Cognate is the background work, as both of these require the same Christian Counseling Cognate of 15 credit hours. Coincidentally, Liberty University's Masters of Arts in Professional Counselingis also CACREP accredited: I could graduate from a Christian University and go work in the secular world.
1. "Freud wasn't a godly man." Those who offer this suggest that because Freud was the founder of psychology, all of psychology is bad. First, this is ad hominem: it's an attack on the person and not the ideas. Second, this is highly illogical. Third, psychology is not a Christian field: do we reject plumbing because some pioneer in plumbing wasn’t a Christian? Fourth, Freud is not the founder of psychology: Wilhelm Wundt is. Honestly, if you read about Freud’s life, he said many things against religion, but he was also profoundly hurt by religious people in his early life.
2. "This isn't the approach Jesus took." Many say this about having psychiatrists on staff at churches. Dr Tim Clinton disagrees: "Jesus met people at their point of need, as should we." Jesus regularly counseled people, and in fact His ministry serves as a model of counseling done perfectly. Also, I would point out the experience of many I have interacted with while studying to be an addiction counselor. Many who sit in twelve step meetings were profoundly hurt by being attacked and even kicked out of churches. Jesus didn’t condemn the woman at the well, nor the woman caught in adultery, so any counseling method that attacks those it claims to serve is unlike Jesus. I have also personally been the victim of an overly harsh nouthetic approach by my pastor. It didn’t help me with my addiction.
3. "Jesus met everyone's needs." First, this is not entirely correct, because there are recordings of Jesus leaving the crowds to be alone with God, and for questioning their desire to be with Him only so they can get another free meal. Also, if I may play devil's advocate: did everyone Jesus healed stay healed? Jesus warned the paralytic at pool of Bethesda (John 5) not to sin or something bad would happen to him: do we know the rest of the story? The problem with this logic isn't whether it's true or not. It's that it puts people into a bad situation. For example a friend of mine has bipolar disorder, a chemical imbalance. Some counselors and pastors who practice the exclusively nouthetic approach have claimed Jesus is all he needs and have told him to stop taking his medicine. He has suffered many internal and spiritual conflicts as a result of ill-informed nouthetics. How is he to respond when he gets off medicine and only gets worse, no matter how much he prays, reads his Bible, etc.? The nouthetics would claim (ironically, like the overly-charismatic) that he isn't healed because he doesn't have enough faith. Can you see how that could possibly even drive this person to suicide because apparently not even Jesus can fix him?
The other problem with this mentality is that it presumes upon the will of God. God may be desiring to heal or cure within the context of congregational relationships. The church is the ideal place to experience healing in relationship. Do we know why this person has bipolar?
Also, I've heard stories of people who, upon praying at one church but not receiving their healing, trying a different church the next Sunday. This is known as “church shopping”. I've read tales of men who, trying to overcome pornography, were baptized at no fewer than four churches. Telling them Jesus will immediately cure them is presuming upon God, and often a false prophesy. Do we know why Jesus sometimes doesn’t heal the way we want (Romans 7)?
If the 12 step programs have taught us anything, maybe some addicts don’t get better because there is some defect of character within them that is blocking the cure. Again, addicts need a relationship with Jesus, discipleship, accountability, and spiritual growth in the context of a loving church.
4. "Psychology says we're products of our environment." False. Psychology teaches that a balance between nature and nurture determines our current state. If psychology said people cannot change, and there was no hope (for we are no better than our environment), why would psychologists even bother counseling people?
5. "Psychology says we're not responsible for our actions." Again, incorrect, as outlined in #4. Psychology might try to explain what contributed to our actions, but it also researches what can be done to improve our actions. Some research indicates that situations might bring this about, but it also finds that we have a choice.
The disease model of addictions does not excuse behavior, either. See this article for what I have found about the disease model.
6. "Psychology supports the victim mentality." Again, not true. "Blaming others for one's misfortune is associated with impairments in emotional well-being and physical health." In fact, it is thought that a lack of guilt is a sign of borderline personality disorder.
7. "Psychology says self-esteem is more important than ____." Psychology might explain why self-esteem is important, but I don't recall it ever saying that self-esteem is the most important thing. There is a study that states that self-esteem based on external sources can lead to problems. The Christian view of self-esteem (based around God's love for us) differs from the psychology theories on the subject. The psychologist will often recommend and advocate for self-esteem (and/or Maslow's hierarchy of needs). This is more because (see above) a healthy client (believer or not) tends to see the world and his/herself properly. A Christian who does not have their identity in Christ has many of the same problems of someone without healthy self-esteem. Having a realistic view of the self is healthy, for the believer and the non-believer
8. "Psychology denies soul and spirit." It does not deny them so much as (like science) it limits its scope of study to what is observable and repeatable. However, note that the American Psychological Association (APA) has recommended bringing religion into counseling because it can help build bridges towards healing. Not all of psychology is anti-religion: that’s more the old guard.
9. "All truth isn't God's truth." I disagree, and so does John Calvin. But as with all media and works of science one comes in contact with, always think critically.
10. "Psychology relieves suffering in a way that excludes Jesus, therefore it is bad." Didn't Jesus say that whoever isn't against us is for us (Luke 9:50)? If relieving any suffering without Jesus is wrong, then logically medicine and drugs (even Tylenol) is sin. But of course, I disagree with that. Per Phillip Williams, “...brokenness is often a place where people begin to ask the most important questions in life from a theological standpoint….” (Liberty University, 2013).
11. "Paul warned people will become lovers of themselves" (2 Tim. 3:2). I have not been able to confirm that the APA teaches people this. However, note that the Bible says "...husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself" (Eph. 5:28, HCSB). Jesus said that we should love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:39). It could be implied that God wants everyone to love themselves so that they can love their neighbor and their wife properly. And given that God loves us and created us the way we are, I don’t think it’s wrong to say we should love ourselves.
12. "Psychology teaches venting feelings, but the Bible disagrees." Yes, psychology does sort of teach venting; however, never to the harm of others. The Bible sort of does, too. "Be angry and do not sin. Don't let the sun go down on your anger." (Eph. 4:26, HCSB). From what I have read, psychology teaches people to find productive ways to use their feelings. And the Bible says the same: don't take anger to bed.
13. "Psychology deals with past problems, but the Bible says this is unprofitable." Those that say this usually quote Phil. 4:8, but that verse doesn't say "the past". Paul remembered Timothy's tears in 2 Tim. 1:4: did Paul just break the very commandment he recorded? Paul reminds the Ephesians (Eph. 2:11) that they used to be unsaved. I don't find any strong support for this assertion, so it's probably just a desperate attempt to discredit psychology, most likely from someone who views psychology as their enemy.
14. "Anti-depressants don't help anyone." Actually, in this study on treatment-resistant depression, the figure stated is 10-30% "of them do not improve or show a partial response...." This means 70-90% of people with depression show positive response to anti-depressants. So those who are saying this are bearing false witness.
15. "Psychology has a secular world view, so it's bad." Many things in the secular world have a non-Christian world view, but does that make them wrong? Do we thus shun plumbing, business, accounting, and many other college disciplines simply because they are full of the knowledge of (many of) those without a Christian world view? To do so would be to become Amish. Many of the observations and experiments of psychology are objective, and as such, the viewpoint of the person making the observation is irrelevant. Besides which, all truth is God's truth (cf John Calvin). It's their findings, not their personal views, that make psychology good or bad. Thus if one has the Christian world view as their perspective, one can properly sort and classify what they find in any secular discipline and decide, case by case, what is good and what is not. Case in point: sex addiction treatment (an emerging field) is mostly good and mostly agrees with the Bible, while the old sexologist field has been shown to be both immoral and mostly unscientific.
16. "Psychology deals with recovered memories." I understand this a controversial subject. There have been past instances of psychologists accidentally "planting" memories in people. However, this has mostly been fixed with further research in the field. Psychology isn't perfect: it's made mistakes in the past, but so has Christianity.
17. "Psychiatric drugs have horrible side effects." Based on a 2012 study, the top ten prescribed psychiatric drugs at this time were Diazepam, Venlafaxine, Quetiapine, Duloxetine, Trazodone, Fluoxetine, Sertraline, Lorazepam, Escitalopram, and Alprazolam. Of all of these, serious side effects are rare. However, keep in mind that there is a paradoxical problem with anti-depressants among those who are depressed. Depressed people are more likely to commit suicide. Anti-depressants are intended to fix depression and thereby reduce their rate of suicide. However, all anti-depressants must contain a suicide warning on them due to the risk of a rebound into depression that may follow if the patient stops taking the medicine. Currently, Venlafaxine's suicide rate is debated because more recent studies that controlled for suicide risk factors in the patient's life made the suicide risk appear statistically insignificant. With Duloxetine (not available in the US) it's a choice between debilitating depression and nausea.
For people like the bipolar and/or depression, often it's more dangerous not to help them than it is to give them these drugs. Indeed, I've watched bipolar people who refuse to medicate wreck their lives and their families. Isn't helping people not kill themselves, not destroy everything around them, doing God's work, at least in part?
I'll agree that the corollary complaint, that psychologists (really, psychiatrists) rush to medicine seems valid. But given the fact that usually it takes 12 sessions to (as) fully (as possible) remedy someone's situation, and most insurance only covers 10 sessions, I can understand why there's a rush to get the person on medicine so that sessions are as productive and effective as possible. Indeed, someone who is highly depressed, on the manic side of a bipolar manifestation, or suffering from a panic attack, isn't going to be mentally present and aware enough for a session to be effective.
18. "There are too many psychotherapies." Yes, but not all are evidence-based. The APA has cleaned up this area for the most part, in that they strongly advocate for exclusively evidence-based practices. I could say the same thing about the lay counseling, biblical counseling, and Christian counseling models, as there are at least five Christian intervention models. Additionally, there's a lot more conflict within Christian counseling (mostly from ACBC, CCEF, and the Bobgans) than within psychology, or so it seems. I've read Christian authors who say there are thousands of models of therapy within psychology: this is an exaggeration because it doesn't tell the full story. Their are roughly eighty evidence-based therapies. The experimental therapies don't matter. To exaggerate with intent to discredit is to lie.
19. "Time limits, lack of an intimate relationship, and a fixed price are issues in problem-centered counseling." This is not logical. First, time limits are very valid, but I've met therapist who will go over time limit when necessary to help someone. Second, as for a lack of an intimate relationship, that's not a valid complaint. Your therapist can't be your friend: that's an entangling relationship. Even Dr Tim Clinton and Christians put in place healthy relationship boundaries in counseling. (Dr Tim Clinton, Caring For People God's Way, p 49, #6). It is even recommended that pastors don't become friends with those they counsel. Even Jesus had boundaries that prevented Him from being overly influenced by His own disciples, as evidenced when Jesus told Peter "Get behind me, Satan." It would take too much space here to explain, but basically, you cannot become so intimate with a client that the relationship is no longer helping them. The complaint of lack of an intimate relationship is completely invalid. Third, as for a fixed price, this is also invalid: many psychologists now have sliding price scales in an effort to help those whose financial assets are limited. Psychologists don't make a lot of money anyways, not in light of the many years of training it takes to become one. (Based on this report, becoming a counselor can take 6-8 years plus internship and cost $45,000, and a doctorate in psychology can take 10-15 years to earn and cost $95,000.) The oft-implied implication that lay counseling is free is not completely true, as many lay counselors in bigger churches are paid by the church.
20. "Psychology claims the Bible is insufficient." Clinical Psychology is an objective science, so religion is not something it deals with. But this begs the question: do you refuse to see medical professionals because they also do not believe (officially) that the Bible is sufficient? A century ago, some pastors tried to use that argument with medical services. In my opinion, to merely believe the Bible is sufficient is actually to, in some ways, downgrade its significance. The Bible is superior to all other things. It is not exhaustive, or else we could not carry it to church. And for it to be exhaustive and address everything would violate the reason God gave human beings such a high intelligence. Thus the Bible speaks in principles in some places. If the Bible were merely sufficient, it would be like saying my bicycle is sufficient to get me to work, so I should continue to ride my bike and not my car because that would make my bicycle insufficient. My bicycle might be sufficient, but (especially in summer months) my car is better. Really, the whole "sufficiency" argument of Scripture, and all the arguments, are divisions over words, and the Bible cautions us against those (Rom. 14:1, 2 Tim. 2:23, Titus 3:9).
Most of what lay counselors and pastors give as advice about finances isn't directly stated in the Bible. Does this mean they don't believe the Bible is enough? Again, the Bible isn't a financial handbook. It's the manual for the spiritual life. Where it touches our lives, it is accurate, but it is not exhaustive on non-spiritual topics. The Bible doesn't say what car to buy, but I can help someone using the principles of Proverbs and recommend that they do like Forbes suggests and not buy a new car. I can also recommend, using Proverbs, again, that they only pay cash for their vehicle (which is echoed by Forbes). Getting into a black-and-white mentality over the sufficiency of the Bible versus psychology is illogical and divisive, and there are admonitions in scripture against being divisive without reason. This divisive mentality makes Christians who have seen a psychologist feel like they betrayed faith. Jesus had many opportunities to make this point in the Bible, if it really was about absolutely never consulting anyone for help other than God and the Bible, but He did not.
21. "Psychology claims there is no hope for mankind." Why would psychologists and counselors dedicate their lives to help people if there is no hope of change? This is illogical on face value.
22. "Freud committed suicide." There's a word missing here: "assisted." This is ad hominem spread by Christians who have an irrational hatred for psychology. And I already disproved Freud being the father of psychology. Freud did not commit suicide, but was given doses of morphine sufficient to kill him. It was more of an assisted suicide late in life, an act that current medicine carries out ("secondary effects"). Even if Freud committed suicide, it doesn't matter. Does one shun the art of Vincent van Gogh?
23. "The problem is sin, not mental illness." True. Psychology doesn't get into sin, though one could bring in the argument that no counseling is values-free, and the language of "maladaptive" as essentially a moral judgment. Counselors can definitely tell someone that what they did was wrong, but their goal is to eliminate the wrong actions and thoughts. As such, counselors, Christian and state-licensed alike, deal with sin and its effects daily. Sometimes sin is caused by mental illness (though there is no excuse), sometimes by cognitive dissonance (wrong thoughts). But at the root of it, the problem is human nature: sin nature. Still, what if someone's untreated chemical imbalance (such as bipolar and anxiety) leads them to sin? Do you continue to guilt such a client by accusing them of sin, or do you help them by treating their chemical imbalance? The body effects the mind and the spirit. I know plenty of Christians who struggle with anxiety yet don't realize their caffeine intake is having a huge negative effect on this part of their life. The effects of sin from the Garden of Eden aren't just what we do, but are seen in all mental illness as a product of entropy and the curse of the earth due to sin.
24: "The MBTI is based on astrology / Carl Jung was an occultist" Carl Jung was not an occultist. Often his memoirs are (intentionally) misquoted. This is nothing more than ad hominem. The MBTI, it is not based on astrology. It asks the person 100+ questions, not their birthday. Those who continue to say the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is based on astrology are lying. Due to their large negative influence, I am not going to mince words: the Bobgans are liars. Most of the falsehoods listed in this article came from their writings, which are freely available on the internet. They give Christianity a bad name. Additionally, ad hominem is unbecoming of anyone with a doctoral degree. The MBTI isn't (strictly speaking) scientific, but it's a useful tool nonetheless.
25: "The Four Temperaments are based in the occult." This is incorrect. They're actually Greek in origin.
26: "The 12 steps (Alcoholics Anonymous) and codependency theory are heresy." First, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was founded by Christians. The 12 steps aren't found in the Bible, strictly speaking, but are taught in principles. Second, Martin and Deidre Bobgan over-use the word heresy until it becomes meaningless. This appears to be a guilting / shaming technique, which is an emotional appeal. This is ironic because the Bobgans claim that emotional appeals are the problem with psychology.
The Bobgans also claim the 12 steps are about money, which is laughable: Alcoholics Anonymous states that there are no membership dues or fees. All their "money" comes from contributions, and thus there's really no significant money to speak of.
27: "Why look elsewhere if Jesus is the answer?" Because not everyone you meet believes in Jesus. But this attitude seems to imply that we shouldn't help non-believers because they don't believe in Jesus. In my opinion, this is the wrong attitude to have. Do we refuse to help people who are suffering only because they're not Christians? Does a doctor refuse to treat a patient that is not a Christian? Is it not the kindness of God (Rom. 2:4) that leads us to repent? Shouldn't we be helping people? Doesn't the Bible say that we're to rescue those being led away to death (Prov. 24:11)? Isn't alcohol and addiction in general leading people towards destruction? Then shouldn't we help them escape it? Doesn't Heb. 13:16 tell us not to neglect to do good, because this is pleasing to God? Doesn't 1 John 3:17 say that whoever sees his brother in need yet doesn't help him doesn't reflect the love of God? Doesn't Matt. 25:35-40 say that works such as feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned are all righteous acts that God will reward in the final judgment? No one is forcing Christians to adopt secular psychology. However, I believe those who refuse to help non-believers are doing something wrong.
28: "Codependency is a vague term." Not really, no. In fact, it marries well with the idolatry concept.
29: "Compulsion is a Freudian invention." Wasn't Romans 7 written before Freud was born? The person of Romans 7 has a problem with compulsion and sin. He said "I don't understand what I am doing, because ... I do what I hate. For the desire to do ... good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For ... I practice the evil that I don't want to do. I see a different law ... waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin.... What a wretched man I am!" (Rom. 7:15-24, HCSB) This is the very definition of compulsion. So to say compulsion is a Freudian invention is a lie. Again, this is the Bobgans.
30: "The term enabler unjustly labels someone who isn't a sinner [cf alcoholism]." Maybe, but neither psychology nor the legal system excuse people from the consequences of their actions. In addition, the Bible says "So it is a sin for the person who knows to do what is good and doesn't do it" (James 4:17). So anyone who enables the alcoholic to continue drinking is sinning. Should a Christian spouse keep allowing her husband to drink himself to death by not trying to erect boundaries to protect her and her children from his alcoholism? Shouldn't the church get involved (in love)? If your statement to Christian spouses is to just let the alcoholic spouse continue to drink, you're violating other verses in the Bible (see # 27 for instance).
Many Christians like to disguise this as "love" when you "cover up a sin." I cannot agree. I think we often harm people by letting them continue to sin. This is not to say we should remove their free will so much as we should not enable them. But addiction and intervention are outside the scope of this document.
31: "Psychotherapy is a professionalized conversation that contains the opinions of men and the very wisdom of men against which the Bible warns." (Against Biblical Counseling For The Bible, the Bobgans, 1994). This is a common trope with the enemies of psychology. The answer comes from Dr. Entwistle: "The critique that psychology is 'sinful human beings sinfully thinking about sinful human beings' applies equally to theologians who are concerned with philosophical anthropology." If you're studying human beings in light of the scriptures (philosophical anthropology), it behooves you to exercise humility in recognizing, as you study the Scripture, that you, too, are an imperfect and fallen human being, and that your observations and conclusions from Scripture could be just as easily tainted. The Jonestown Massacre speaks volumes to this.
32: "Counseling is preaching." Negative. They might sometimes overlap, but they are not the same. Those who would make them the same (Bobgans) demonstrate that they understand neither preaching nor counseling. The Law of the Instrument is a logical fallacy that explains this misinterpretation: "if you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail." The parakletos type of Christian counseling models the Holy Spirit's ministry to the believer, though doesn't duplicate it.
34: "Anyone who can lead someone to salvation and/or sanctification competent to be used by God to give wise counsel without specialized counseling training." (ibid) If the Bobgans believe this, why did one of them get a doctoral degree?
35: "Only God heals, so I am going to keep praying." That is true to a point, but it denies the principle of "putting feet on our prayers." I believe God will keep me safe at night, but I'm not going to leave the doors of my house unlocked. In Luke 14:5 (HCSB) Jesus said " Which of you whose son or ox falls into a well, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?" Jesus is teaching that it would be more important to save a life than to obey something like a Sabbath day command. You should pray, but if you need help, you should get help.
36: "Structure is bad, and ungodly." (Bobgans) Then pull out all your bones. Most often, I find people that hate structure usually have something to hide that they aren't proud of. Accountability is structure. The hierarchy and rules of operation of the modern church found in the Bible are structure.
37: "Counseling makes people focus on themselves and their problems." (Bobgans) This is not correct. Psychology has been advocating solution-focused therapy since the 90s. Besides, note that the first thing Isaiah (ch. 6) did when He saw God is focus on his own sin, "Woe is me for I am ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips..." (Isaiah 6:5, HCSB).
38: "Counseling gives the client center stage in his own drama with a ready listener." (Bobgans) Then what do lay counselors focus on when in session with a client? Their favorite sports team? This is an illogical argument.
39: "Counseling presupposes the counselor is some kind of expert." (Bobgans) Actually, even secular wisdom found in psychology says the opposite. Carl Rogers (On Becoming a Person, 1954) said "we are the best experts on ourselves." This is because of our conscience that God gave us. The Bobgans make a hasty generalization. Also, couldn't Dr. Bobgan's doctoral degree be seen as an attempt to become some kind of expert via education?
40: "Counseling is trusting some 'expert' rather than trusting God." The Bobgans are making a faulty generalization. The Christian counselor doesn't act like an expert at any point, for that is pride. The Christian counselor's job is similar to GPS: to know where the client is, where Jesus is, and how to get there. We're all on this journey (sanctification) together, and no one is an expert, only Jesus.
41: "What did the church do without the biblical counseling movement for over nineteen centuries?" One can go read about the history of mental illness from around 1800 to modern times for insight into how people were treated by the church and others. Christians have been counseling people since the dawn of time. The Bobgans are making an argument from ignorance.
42: "The only way God teaches is through suffering." Then why are there so many admonitions in the Bible to listen to and obey God's voice before suffering comes? Deut. 11:26-28 records God (through Moses) calling the people of Israel to attention, and setting a blessing for obedience and a curse for disobedience. Ps. 32:8-9a, (HCSB) " will instruct you and show you the way to go; with My eye on you, I will give counsel. Do not be like a horse or mule, without understanding...." Heb. 3:15 (HCSB) "As it is said: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." The Bobgans are making a huge faulty generalization. The Bobgans should know the scriptures better.
43: "Psychologists deny suffering, or attempt to fix suffering before someone learns from it." First, psychology does not deny suffering, and the Bobgans provide no evidence. Second, the natural response to suffering is to seek a cure for it: this is a human response that is hard-wired into us. Even the lowest of life forms react to and try to avoid pain and suffering. The Bobgans are making an argument from ignorance.
44: "Counseling has replaced preaching in importance." The Bobgans do not provide any evidence, thus this is a hasty generalization. This is a law of the instrument fallacy.
45: "Christian psychology validates the Bible through psychology." Actually, Christian psychology "requires the comprehensive study of the Bible as a primary source for 'true' psychology." Additionally, the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) Code of Ethics states "Jesus Christ—and His revelation in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible as the inspired Word of God—is the preeminent model for Christian counseling practice, ethics, caregiving activities and the final authority for all matters about which it speaks." Those who say this about the Christian Psychology or Christian Counseling movements are incorrect.
46: "Hypnotism is of the devil." I am not into hypnotism, but where is the proof of this? I cannot answer this except to say the Bobgans don't really provide any proof.
47: "Psychotherapy and counseling produce victims." The Bobgans again provide no proof. Even psychology is against the victim identity and they advocate not encouraging this mentality in clients. The AACC also advocates against the victim mentality.