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

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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) (Page 4)

The danger of integration.

The Bible teaches that mixing ungodly things and godly things is very dangerous. In 2 Corinthians 6, verses, beginning in verse 14, we’re told, do not be bound together with unbelievers, for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness or what fellowship has light with darkness or what harmony has Christ with Belial? What has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God even as God said. And, again, there is much in psychology that, secular psychology as it’s taught in universities, that it’s not like medicine, it is a worldview contrary to the scriptures that actually pushes people further away from God. Sometimes I visit the Philippines and in the Philippines, it’s interesting ’cause before Roman Catholicism came to the Philippines, they had pagan religions there and it’s interesting because in some cases, there’s been an integration between the form of Christianity that came to the islands and some of the pagan statues, gods, goddesses and they kind of blended it together and this has happened in other parts of the world, as well, with kind of a grotesque mix and I think that’s something of what people are doing, trying to mix psychology and scripture.

A Christian author writes, integration implies a merging of things that can’t be merged. You can’t merge that which is of God with that which is in rebellion against God. David Powlison writes, what Jesus becomes, and he’s describing in psychology, is the one who meets your needs, heals your wounds, convinces you of how valuable you are. Friends, that’s not what the Bible says Jesus is. He’s not there for you. The Bible teaches that it’s about God, it’s not about you. Again, Robert Schuller’s writing says, I don’t think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and hence, counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise, than the often crude, uncouth and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition. That makes sense in psychology, but it’s totally contrary to the scriptures. God’s law reveals our guilt, Paul says in Galatians that then it becomes a tutor to lead us to Christ to be justified by faith and we see that we are sinful and can’t save ourselves. That’s the most loving thing we can do. And yet, in writing Christianity Today, Tim Stafford wrote how there are actually thousands of professionals who’ve staked their careers on Christian counseling by getting this kind of training. And many more pointed in that direction. And I think they’re gonna have some conflicts.

And even the example I gave earlier, that if you’re going to practice and be a licensed therapist in California, when the law starts saying, you can’t help a teenager who struggles with homosexuality to turn from that, because it’s not right practice according to the worldview of the professionals who run the business, it’s gonna be hard. Powlison writes, should professedly Christian psychotherapists be defined as freelance ministers of the word of Christ? Does their education and credentials equip them to engage in the cure of souls as designated experts? He would say no. Just knowing about psychology does not equip you to help people with the problems of the soul.