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CDC1-02. What is Biblical Counseling? 2 {Transcript}

About This Transcript

What are some common Christian approaches to counseling in our day? Why might it be useful to learn about psychology? This session explores several Christian approaches to counseling including integration and synergism.

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Continued from Integration: psychologists who happen to be Christians are best suited to helping people with their problems. (Page 3)

They tend to accept psychological findings uncritically while neglecting sound in-depth Bible teaching.

They tend to rely upon and accept psychological findings and research very uncritically while neglecting solid in-depth Bible teaching. And again, when push comes to shove, what do they know? What have they spent thousands of hours and years of their life studying? Not the scriptures, but psychology. In some of these five views books where you have people who are professing Christians, what I’ve seen is some of them who are really into the psychology and that’s their training, is they’re accepting the presuppositions of psychology almost uncritically and are willing to go against the scriptures. And in one chapter, and I admired the guy for his honesty, but a guy who teaches in a Christian college says that he’s prepared to accept homosexuality as being something normal. I think he has guts to say that as a Christian, but he’s dead wrong. The Bible makes it very plain that homosexuality, like adultery and fornication and lust is a sinful behavior, but again, because it’s accepted as normal in psychology, that’s where he’s coming from. Likewise, another place an author just assumes that we would all agree that self-esteem is really a great thing and that we should be working and that’s a premise that I would question and want to refine a great deal.

Sometimes, people with these trainings will speak of those who don’t have the training including pastors in very condescending terms, you know, that we are limited pastors or limited in their understanding of people because we don’t have the insight the psychologist does into human behavior in all of its complexity. That’s actually a paraphrase of a quote. Sometimes they’ll even denigrate the sufficiency of scripture in criticizing those who have these very simplistic principles. Life in the 21st century’s too complicated to, you know, rely merely on the scriptures. Again, I’m sure there are people who are psychologists practicing psychology who are really seeking to please God and some are much better than others.

I have heard stories from my counselees of some of the kind of therapies they’ve received from Christian psychologists that you would almost not believe. I’ve actually had a case of a couple who had been married a short time and they’d gone to a Christian psychologist in our region and because they had not had sex or even got close to having sex before they got married, which by the way, I think is a really biblical thing not to do, to not have sex before you’re married, but the counselor questioned the sex drive of the man and had him look at what we would say is pornographic pictures to make sure that it aroused him, which is, I guess, a fairly common practice among some in psychology, but when Jesus says, “If you look upon a woman for the purpose of lusting after her, you’ve committed adultery in your heart,” that’s just something, I think, if you’re thinking from a biblical perspective would never occur to you to do something that wrong.

Another case, I was actually driving and listening to the Christian radio station and there was a call-in show with a guy we’d consider to be an integrationist where he’s a psychologist who’s a Christian, on a Christian radio station, and he was talking about boundaries. I don’t think he was one of the people who wrote the book, but he was talking about that concept and how we need to set boundaries in our lives and a woman called in whose husband wasn’t a believer and she was describing how her husband is just not a very grateful man, how he’s kind of a grouchy man, and so the guy on the radio program, the expert PhD guy says essentially, “Well, what you need to do is set some boundaries. You can’t let him treat you this way.” And again, it wasn’t physical abuse, it wasn’t right, but his answer was that you need to, if he doesn’t treat you better, basically one night, just put a can of beans unopened on his plate and saying, until you start treating me with respect, this is what you’re gonna get. And I think there may have been something about separate beds as well, and the lady said, “But I thought the Bible says that I should submit to him and be quiet and treat him well”, and actually, she was right. It was the first time the Bible had been mentioned in that call and it’s 1 Peter 3:1-2 that she was paraphrasing, but Mr. So-and-so, Dr. So-and-so, actually said, “Oh, no, that never works.” Well, actually it does work. It has worked. But again, his mentality was his boundaries thing and his expertise.

Rich Ganz, again, who had gotten all of his training in psychology, psychotherapy, very impressive academic background, when he became a Christian, trying to figure out what he’s gonna do when he got kicked out of the hospital, he described how Christian universities with psychology programs wanted him to teach there. And he says, “But I don’t know the Bible very well. I’m a brand new Christian.” And they say, “Well, that doesn’t matter.” They just wanted a Christian, a psychologist who happens to be a Christian.

Next: The danger of integration. (Page 5)