Integration: psychologists who happen to be Christians are best suited to helping people with their problems.
These people tend to use their psychological training as a starting place, with scripture being applied to support the psychological ideas.
A second approach, which moves in this direction, is approach of trying to integrate psychology and the Bible and they would say, yeah, you should choose psychologists who happen to be Christians and that would be the ideal combination to help people with their problems, that you can take these insights of psychology, but kinda add some scripture, add some biblical principles to it and this is just seen as the ideal. This has been very, very influential in the church in the last generation. Many of the best known figures in Christianity, are really psychologists and one guy was on the radio every day and he was introduced as psychologist and author and yet, he was on Christian radio stations, and there have been many others as well and there also been pastors who really are preaching kind of a pop psychology. And the negative here is that these are people who have spent many, many years of their life, thousands of hours of their life being trained in psychology from this other worldview and they tend to use that as the starting place when they’re trying to help people.
And my observation has been, as I’ve read some of their books, and the books are mixed. Not everything in them is bad, but oftentimes, even the books themselves is where they’re trying to take one of the key tenets of contemporary psychology and then they try to kinda tag on a couple verses as proof texts and they’re actually missing the thrust of what the Bible says. The classic example of this is the teaching on self-esteem. And there’ve been Christian psychologists who’ve written books about self-esteem and they’ll take the verse, for Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And they will say, they will conclude from that that first, you must love yourself and you must learn to love yourself before you can love your neighbor or even love God. And that is not a principle derived from scripture. And that’s not even the proper use of the scripture. The greatest commandment is to love God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength. The second imperative is love your neighbor as yourself and the as yourself is not the main thrust. What Jesus means in that verse is that as yourself, He never says you need to love yourself. You’ll never find that in scripture. He’s gonna say the problem is, I know you love yourself. You love yourself too much. What you need to do is love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. It’s the same thing Paul does in Ephesians 5 where he says, “Husbands love your wives as your own bodies.” He says, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it.” And so, again, it’s actually turning the teaching of scripture on its head.
Now, again, I can see why it’s popular. People who love themselves were probably very happy to be told they don’t love themselves enough. And the reason they don’t get along with other people is they need to learn to love themselves more. That’s attractive to the flesh, but it’s unbiblical. Now you say, well how do you help a person who feels really badly about himself? Well, the Bible would say that the person who’s constantly, from a biblical perspective, the person who’s constantly down on himself and, oh, I’m no good, I’m not attractive, nobody loves and nobody likes me, is just as guilty of self-love and self-obsession as the person who’s very proud saying how great he is because his focus is on himself, rather than on God and others. An interesting verse that’s probably not in these books about self-esteem is in 2 Timothy 3, Paul says, “But realize this, that in the last days, difficult times will come, for men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful arrogant revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving,” and so on, “haters of good.” So the very head of the list of the horrible things that’ll happen and the depravity of humanity sinking to the abyss is lovers of self along with all these other evil things. So that’s one of several examples I could give.
Another would be that the guys on the radio who write the books, sometimes, they’ll often begin a sentence saying, “Well, I’m no theologian,” and a friend of mine said, “Well, then study your Bible, and get off the radio ’till you did.” But then the guy writes a book about the problem of evil and how to deal with bad things in your life. Friends, the only way you can deal with the problem of evil is know some theology. Understand the sovereignty of God and the fallenness of the world and another example would be, typically integrationists will buy into the disease model. Codependency and, you know, whatever it is, whatever your problem is, labeling it a disease, addressing it as a disease.