Is there any value to Secular Psychology?
Some people have questions hearing some of this as I’ve declared the sufficiency of scripture. Is there any value at all to secular psychology? One argument well isn’t all truth God’s truth, but all error is the devil’s error. Whatever you’re getting in terms of worldview, understanding of man, you need to examine it very very critically that every moral teaching every ethical perspective is rooted in something. And the only safe place for it to be rooted is in the word of God. The clearest way I can say, in terms of the value, I’d say there’s two ways it’s valued for me. One is the description of the problems that humanity faces that they give can be very useful. Through the DSM in describing here’s what this kind of person is facing. That’s a way it can be useful to understand the symptoms. Their description of symptoms can be helpful. I think likewise with psychiatry, on a scientific level, if there’s a brain disease, if there’s a brain problem that identifiable, it can help to understand what that is.
As a biblical counselor to help the person who is facing Alzheimer’s, trying to live either as a schizophrenic or married to one, understanding physically what’s happening there so I can address from the scripture the problems of the soul. Those aspects can be helpful as well. And then the other aspect I see that can be helpful that when you’re surrounded by people who are so psychologized, it helps to understand what the concepts are so that when you hear them describing their problem saying well I have this disease. Well, what do you mean by disease? And they’re just describing the fact that my mother and my grandmother and my great grandfather were what I would call drunkards biblically, alcoholics, that’s why I am. It helps to understand what’s wrong about their perspective so that we can give them biblical answers, which by the way contain far more hope than the diagnosis that they’ve received. So we’re not against everything scientific or everything in the realm of what would be called common grace.
Relying upon secular psychology is a denial of the sufficiency of Scripture
Actually J Adams when he wrote Competing to Counsel and he’s known to be a person who’s all about the sufficiency of scriptures, but he says “I do not want to disregard science. I would welcome it as a useful adjunct for the purposes of illustrating, filling in generalizations with specifics, and challenging wrong human interpretations of scripture, thereby, forcing the student to restudy the scriptures. However, in the area of psychology science has largely given way to humanistic philosophy and gross speculations.” There’s a place to understand. There’s some things we can learn. But it needs to be viewed with great caution because there’s an unbiblical worldview that is really as religious as the Bible in its own way. There can be cases in which outside help may be needed. J Adams made the statement that he could deal with a problem if you give him a doctor, a preacher, and a policeman.
If you have an organic problem, if there’s a body problem, doctors can help, including psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are medical doctors. There are people who may have brain malfunction going on for whatever reason. We’ll talk more about what those reasons could be later. But a brain malfunction going on, and if there is medication or other treatment they can help that person. That’s a perfectly valid thing to do if there’s a real brain malfunction taking place. Sometimes people are completely out of control. And they may need to be forcibly restrained. Sometimes actually, that would fit together. If a person is in the process of trying to take his own life, you may need to call the police to restrain him when you transfer him to some facility where he can be prevented from doing harm to himself. But for spiritual problems, we need people who shepherd, who use the Bible to help. And that’s what we’re trying to do, not neglecting those who can do great things in helping with the body.