036: Psychology Contrasted With The Bible


What You'll Discover in this Episode:

As we speak about humanistic philosophical psychology we are speaking directly about what is not scientific. This type of humanistic psychology deals with moral dilemmas and the humanistic worldview that has captured a broad audience today, not only within the world but also within the church. Church, we need to wake up and see that this type of worldview has crept into the church. Scripture tells us that in the latter times that some will depart from the faith and turn to human teachings. As believers we need to be aware that God is sufficient, His Word is all that we need. 


The knowledge of psychology is human understanding that we get from a fallen man.  We have turned away from God and we turned to emotions or our intellect. The way of the world is now turned away from the supernatural which is God and turned to human understanding. Psychology has captured peopled and turned them away from God. You need to ask yourself as an individual, "do I know the difference between soul and spirit?".  Are you able to determine what is from God and what is from man? These are questions we need to be able to answer in order to discern if we are stuck in human flesh or led by the Holy Spirit. Living in the flesh is living at enmity with God. We need to be in the Spirit and led by God. You do this by turning away from the flesh and dive into your Bible. 


In this episode Pastor Jeff contrasts psychology with the Bible. We need to not live in the flesh but live in the Spirit. As biblical counselors, we must be able to differentiate the difference between soul and spirit. 

 


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Highlights

  • Psychology deals with the meaning of life and morals and does not deal with what is scientific.  
  • Psychology has crept into the church and the church needs to wake up. 
  • Scripture tells us that in the latter times we will depart from the faith and turn to human teachings.  
  • You can live in the flesh or live in the Spirit. As a Christian we need to live in the Spirit and not in the flesh. 
  •  Do you know the difference between flesh and Spirit? One is from this world and one is from God. 
  • As a Biblical counselor you must understand the difference between soul and Spirit. 

Resources:

  • Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
  • 1 Timothy 4:6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.
  • 1 Timothy 4: 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify​ you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
  • Galatians 5:16-18 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.... 
  • Romans 8:5-7 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit....
  • 1 Corinthians 2:12-14 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God...
  • Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

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  • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

    In this week’s Podcast, Pastor Jeff contrasts ‘psychology with the Bible, Part 3’, declaring that psychology is having its heavy duty impact on our culture/ nation and already creeping into the Church and we must endeavor to keep the front door of the Church secured and not allow the Darwinian evolutionary to come into the Church, holding fast the truths of creation (Genesis 1 and 2, Psalm 19) and God is in charge, the Almighty (Psalm 91); although, the back door is opened to a very similar threat to the Church, which is psychology and is strongly entrenched in the Church.
    Pastor Jeff believes that the Lord wants to wake up the Church in America (although I think it’s a wakeup call to the Church universal) to see what’s going on.
    1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.
    1 Timothy 4:6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.
    This is why this Podcast is key; to instruct the brethren of these things so that we would be good servants/ ministers of Jesus Christ.
    Psychology, humanistic counseling/ psychology can be likened to two-way competing religion; looked at ‘a religion versus the faith’, now we shall look at psychology in the Bible: ‘the soul versus the spirit’; talking about soulishness and the walk in the Spirit.
    Pastor Jeff reiterated that we need not live in the flesh but live in the Spirit, particularly as biblical counselors, we must be able to differentiate the difference between soul and spirit, agreeing with him that we mustn’t integrate the Word of God and the psychological theories of man.

  • Brother Jose Garcia says:

    I loved the idea of renouncing the psychology views and doctorate learning, in order to be able to counsel God’s way. It reminds me of several passages. Matthew 16:24 Jesus said, “if you want to be My disciple, you must deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow me.” And also “no one can serve two masters. You will love one and hate the other (Matthew 6:24). We have to die daily to self in our walk, ministry, and counseling/discipleship opportunities. We need to shine the light of Christ. Amen.

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      Thanks for your post Brother Jose and I agree with you that we have to die daily to self in our walk, ministry, counseling and discipleship opportunities, especially in order to contend for the faith, remembering the Scriptures (Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.).

    • Tom Zimbelman says:

      Hey Brother,

      Yes, as Pastor Jeff had said in this podcast, it’s rare to find someone who is willing to renounce all those years of psychological training and study. It must be done though if one is to truly follow Christ’s ways. Great verse you mentioned in Matthew 16:24, it fits for this contacts. Thanks for your post!

    • Steve G says:

      Thanks Jose, I agree Psychological thinking and degree’s, in that study, are a series problem if we want to stay on tract with the sufficiency of the scriptures, they really have to renounce their foundations because it superimposes the truth and the Word of God. If they have not been trained in theology it is going to be a battle for that person the world system, man centered system that they have been brainwashed in, or the Truth. What is going to drive them, mans wisdom or Gods wisdom. The Psychological issues of mans wisdom being taught, is a matter of life and death spiritually speaking. It is not a matter of personal preference, it is a matter of soul (man) and Spirit, natural and divine! We can’t say they have some good things to say, they don’t independently of the scriptures, everything good spiritually speaking has been said, unregenerate or regenerate men can not improve on what has already been said!? These things have been created by sinful men who can’t trust their own thinking and heart verse the Truth.
      1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 1Co 2:13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 1Co 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Psychological theories are mans wisdom, with mans words often redefining terms and definitions contrary to Gods Word.

  • Rev.Rick says:

    This is precisely what Paul meant when he wrote that we were “temples” of the Holy Spirit. It is warm and cozy to think of the Holy Spirit making Himself at home in our hearts, but because Paul used the word naos (“temple”) in First Corinthians 6:19 to describe us, he was painting a very different and much more magnificent picture of our spiritual interiors.
    The Holy Spirit performed the ultimate miracle when He came to dwell in our hearts. He came to occupy our spirits, which were dead in trespasses and sins (see Ephesians 2:1) and then He quickened us together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5). In that miraculous moment, He created us to be like God in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24). The work inside us was so glorious and perfect that when it was all finished, He declared we were His workmanship created in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:10). From start to finish, we were apprehended by Him, regenerated by Him, and molded and fashioned to be a magnificent temple, fit for the Spirit of God Himself to make His permanent habitation.
    The change in our previously dead spiritual nature is truly miraculous. He resurrected it with glory and power and recreated us to contain the revelation, holiness, splendor, righteousness, the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, and the life and character of Christ. He adorned our inner man until, spiritually speaking, we became a shrine unto God!
    Inwardly we are so beautiful and magnificently created that Almighty God, through His Spirit, is willing to take up permanent residency within us. What kind of home do you think God would require? Would He desire a shabby shack of dirt and sticks? No! He has built for Himself an unspeakably beautiful temple, fit for His glory, within our hearts!

    • Rev. Rick, that is an interesting aspect to this idea – God indwelling us by the Holy Spirit, as God filled the temple with His presence in the Old Testament. I wonder if someone would say the Holy Spirit lives in our body, our soul, or our spirit – or all three, or a combination of them? That may be overthinking it, and maybe it is better to just say that the Holy Spirit dwells in my person, and as a person I am made up of body, soul, and spirit. I find these interesting things to think about.

  • Kristie Gallagher says:

    Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
    The Bible makes a clear distinction between the soul and the spirit.
    The Soul is the seat of emotions, while the Spirit is the part of us that comes alive when we put our faith in Jesus. Scripture is able to speak to our spirit and to draw us into a deeper relationship with Jesus. It is able to cut away the things that don’t belong, our flesh, and to build up and strengthen our spirit.
    As biblical counselors we need to understand the power of the Word. When we are counseling we want to first identify if the person is a believer. Has their spirit been brought to life through Jesus? Next are they walking in the spirit or are they walking in the flesh? Even as believers we are not always walking in the spirit. Are they willing to allow the Lord to cut away the things that don’t belong? It is so important for them to be in the word and allowing God to speak to them. Get them in a routine of spending time with the Lord. This is the only way they will grow spiritually and allow the Lord to speak to them. Romans 8:6 says, to be spiritually minded is life and peace. As a person seeks counseling this is what they truly want and it is only found in scripture. We want to make sure this is what we are giving them.

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      True Kristie; the Bible makes a clear distinction between the soul and spirit of man; as explicitly explained by Pastor Jeff in this week’s Podcast and we should know the difference between them; to discern what is from God and what is from men.
      Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
      Job 32:8; Proverbs 18:14; Proverbs 20:27; Ecclesiastes 8:8; Hebrews 4:12; 3 John 1:2
      Zechariah 12:1 The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
      1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
      Man is a spirit; he has a soul and he lives in a body.

    • Sherra Krabbenhoft says:

      I think that you make a really important point. Often, even those who love the Lord and do desire to see change in their lives are not actually willing to allow the Lord to work. It reminds me of how so many of us truly desire to be physically fit, but have no interest in exercising.

  • Tom Zimbelman says:

    Pastor Christianson mentioned he believes people are made up of three main aspects: body, soul and spirit. Hebrews 4:12 seems to validate that there is a division between even soul and spirit that only God can get into. Jeff says, “The Word of God is sharp enough to pierce down into a person’s life even to the division of soul and spirit.” It is that powerful, and without the Scriptures as our guide we can often confuse or even merge the two into one human aspect. I believe it’s the spiritual aspect that is needed to understand our true needs; our solutions are spiritual in nature. The soul (our thinking, will – maybe even our common sense) is separate from the spirit – the part of us that sees beyond ourselves and can rely on God Himself – fellowshiping with and empowered by His Spirit.

    So, when we counsel others (and when we are seeking solutions to our own problems), we need to pray diligently in faith – seeking God through Jesus Christ. I am amazed at how many problems in my own life have been resolved by the Holy Spirit teaching me through His Word – it’s truly miraculous.

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      Thanks Tom for your post (the soul (our thinking, will – maybe even our common sense) is separate from the spirit – the part of us that sees beyond ourselves and can rely on God Himself – fellowshipping with and empowered by His Spirit.).
      Sometimes, a soul (psuche/ psyche) is interchangeably used for an individual or a person or life.
      Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
      1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

    • Sherra Krabbenhoft says:

      I agree, prayer is such an essential part of counsel. Often we are too quick to answer, even speaking truth to people, but out of turn. I have found that there are times when I have stopped to pray and God has had me speak to a person about something completely different than I would have assumed that they were dealing with. Pointing people to the truth, even Godly truth, without the Lord’s direction can be a distraction sometimes from what it is that God is actually working on in their lives.

    • Steve G says:

      I agree with Tom, Jeff said we understand that at times the word of God, soul and spirit can be used synonymously as non material and non organic live forever component of man but there are also times were it shows they are different? 1 Thes 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Depending on the context of the scriptures you can see were they are used interchangeable or separately. We need to ask the question ourselves, are we walking in the flesh or in the Spirit? Jeff said he can see growth in his life in this arena as a young Christian he could not discern but as he grew in Christ he became more able to discern flesh and Spirit!
      Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires). When the Word of God is being taught, read used in counseling, it has a supernatural, natural impact in areas only the Word of God can. It has the ability to impact a life change a soul, cause repentance and growth, show evil desires and sin. The Word of God can show us the differences between soullessness and Spirituality. We have many carnal churches in American and many are enamored with Psychology, being dominated by the mind (intellectual ascensions), feelings, personality, emotions and will or in contrast by the Spirit (Holy Spirit). We see here the Word of God can distinguish between soul and Spirit it can separate and declare the difference. Word of God can expose our motives and intentions. In life we need to know when we are being dominating by flesh (old man efforts or Holy Spirit efforts). We need to ask ourselves as individuals, “do I know the difference between soullessness and spirituality?” Are you able to determine what is from God and what is from man? These are questions we need to be able to answer in order to discern if we are relying on human flesh or led by the Holy Spirit. Living in the flesh is living at enmity with God. We need to be in the Spirit and led by God. You do this by turning away from the fleshly thoughts and live in and study your Bible.

  • pablo Valdez Acosta says:

    Deny ourselves in order to be sanctified and put to work, what a great motivator. It is easier said than done but yet our strength is drawn from Him. I am quite happy to find deeper meaning to God’s counseling instead of man made counseling, I have witness people go through psychology counseling only to come out just as much and even more confused with a answer that was given to them based on a study or a box lunch idea that does not fit. In order to get the troubleshooting answer we must go to the appropriate instruction booklet (bible) and be in the Spirit and not flesh. This one hit me hard as I had a flesh attack that caused me to make a choice based on that and I truly felt dead for a bit but God had me do soul searching and corrected me with scripture where I found the proper way to deal with decision making based on what God has for me . Thank you Pastor Jeff

    • Hannah SOMERVILLE says:

      Glad you can share a true life testimony of how psychotherapy does not work. It does seem to make many even more confused.

      God made us, so he knows us thoroughly. So why wouldn’t we turn to the word of our maker for answers , rather than more confused peers.

      I also agree, it’s His Strength we draw upon that is available for all he calls us to. Even in sanctification. He is an initiator and provider.

      Thank you for sharing, great points !

  • Brandoon James Ingram says:

    It struck me and confirmed something to me that Ps Jeff mentioned which was these people that are heavily steeped in psychotherapy are not very well versed in the Bible and often not at all. This proves to us that this is not the answer but it needs to bring us back to the place where we acknowledge the authority of the Scriptures when it comes to counseling and the Person of Jesus Christ Who is the Wonderful Counselor. I also was reminded that each person we are counseling we need to bring them back to the place where they are doing there daily personal devotions where God can speak to them specifically through the Word and strengthen them not just the human counselor but God Himself who ministers to them

    • Tom Zimbelman says:

      Hi Brandoon,

      It is concerning when we learn how little psychologists understand what scripture says about the human condition and the solutions that are provided in the Bible. We have heard about the subtlety of psychology, how the Bible takes more and more of a backseat to solving problems, even within Christianity. it’s so concerning, but I am also so grateful for the rise over the past few decades of the Christian biblical counseling movement to combat the rise of humanism in psychology.

    • Brandon, I think that is a great insight – that many (not all) of those heavily invested in psychology and doing Christian counseling from a psychological perspective just don’t know the Bible very well. It reminds me of what Jesus said to some of the religious leaders of His day: “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). They were probably very offended that Jesus said to them that they didn’t know their Bibles, but it was true.

    • Hannah SOMERVILLE says:

      Brandon, I agree. I think leading people back to a personal, devotional life in the word is key. Jesus wants us to be in relationship with him and the word is how he speaks.

      This is where sanctification , growth and learning about our God takes place. I definitely want to implement that as my main focus in counseling. I don’t think there will ever be a time where someone won’t benefit from that. Thanks for sharing!

    • Neil says:

      Hi Brandon, the two take-aways that you mention here are so important — bring us back to the place where we acknowledge the authority of the Scriptures and that each person we are counseling we need to bring them back to the place where they are doing there daily personal devotions where God can speak to them specifically through the Word and strengthen them not just the human counselor but God Himself who ministers to them. So good!

  • I really appreciated the contrast Professor Christianson made between the soul and the spirit, or more properly, the distinction between a soulish type of Christianity and a genuinely spiritual Christianity. I think this is a significant difference and distinction that many Christians and church movements don’t really understand or appreciate. Using the Hebrews 4:12 as one example, the Scriptures do make at least some distinction between the concept of the soul and the concept of the spirit. Christianity that is focused purely upon the soul – that is, on the mind, the will, and the emotions – will invariably be shallow, and in extreme cases, false altogether. God does not despise the soul and its expressions in the mind, the will, and the emotions – but there is a spiritual aspect and dimension that is above the soulish level, and the Biblical counselor will do his or her best to speak beyond the merely soulish to the spiritual.

  • Hannah SOMERVILLE says:

    As Hebrews 4:12 indicates, there is a division between flesh and spirit.

    The word can cut deep to the core and speak something into a person’s life and heart , this is spiritual not just soul-ishness, as psychology deals with.

    1 Thess 5:23 demonstrates that there is a spirit, soul and body. The humanness aspect needs to be divided from the spiritual life.The spiritual life ( letting christ rule) is different from just our naturally daily personhood.

    It was challenging and convicting to realize how much of the spirit of God is controlling and how much is just me in the flesh ruling it. Romans 8:5-7. I definitely needed to ask God for forgiveness and for a fresh filling of the spirit. I need his help.

    I like what Jeff said, the true magic hour is when the counselee goes into the word and hears from the lord. He also mentions that the word is where we are cut and can grow

  • Sherra Krabbenhoft says:

    This podcast makes an important point that people can read and comprehend the Word of God without the Word doing regenerative work in their lives. So many people in the world are seeking the next and newest fix for their problems. They find success for a time, but never are truly free because the solutions that they use are only superficial. The lasting soul deep change only can occur through the work of the Holy Spirit. This highlights for me the importance of first establishing with those we counsel that they have a genuine relationship with God. That is the foundation for any real help that we can offer to those that we seek to help.

    • Neil says:

      Great point, Sherra! A living relationship with God must come first. Biblical counseling doesn’t exist just to solve people’s problems, but to connect them to THE ONE who has solved our biggest problem — the problem of sin. Thanks so much for the comment!

  • Bill Wynne says:

    This is one of the most difficult things to discern, the mind has been trained always to know the answers but we must learn to listen for and to the spirit and the spirit must lead. The world teaches us from day one to trust in our mind, we must unlearn this domination our our own logic and reason and acknowledge when God is prompting us through the spirit. The Lord is way more discerning and knows what’s best for us. He has an eternal perspective ours is woefully short term.

  • Josh Halan says:

    In regards to humanistic philosophical psychology, there is a distinct difference between incorrect thoughts, ideas, opinions and the actual proven science of factual research and data. humanistic psychology deals with moral issues and the way in which humans view the world. This has been adopted and accepted by a large population, not just in the world but also within the church. The Bible tells us that in the “last days” many will depart from their faith and turn to false teachings of the modern world. We must show that His Word is the only truth there ever was and ever will be.

  • Steve G says:

    Psychological thinking and degree’s in that study, are a series problem if we want to stay on tract with the sufficiency of the scriptures, they really have to renounce their foundations because it superimposes the truth and the Word of God. If they have not been trained in theology it is going to be a battle for that person the world system, or the Truth. What is going to drive them, mans wisdom or Gods wisdom. The Psychological issues of mans wisdom being taught, is a matter of life and death spiritually speaking. It is not a matter of personal preference, it is a matter of soul (man) and Spirit, natural and divine! We can’t say they have some good things to say, they don’t independently of the scriptures, everything good spiritually speaking has been said, unregenerate or regenerate men can not improve on what has already been said!? These things have been created by sinful men who can’t trust their own thinking and heart verses the Truth (The Word of God).

  • Neil says:

    One the most memorable statements from this podcast for me is Pastor Jeff’s comment that what we see in the church so often is that we keep the front door of the church guarded theologically (against things like evolution), yet we keep the back door wide open to dangerous ideologies like psychology in the church. Pastor Jeff makes the point that there will always be this battle between the flesh and the spirit. Psychology seeks to solve fleshly problems with fleshly solutions and it seeks to solve spiritual problems with soulish answers. However, the Bible makes it clear that we are to put to death the flesh and walk according to the Spirit. I really appreciate his comment that reading the Bible and consistently taking in the BIble is what’s key. We live in a culture in which people are biblically illiterate. The Word of God has the power to separate the flesh and the spirit. There is a dynamic of life and death and should be taken with the upmost care and concern.

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