199: Psychology Infiltrates The Church!
In this episode, Pastor Jeff talks about how psychology is infiltrating the church.
Instead of the church impacting the world around us, the world is infecting the body of Christ.
So often unbiblical, worldly messages are being brought into the church. The truths of Scripture are the message of the church and must not be mixed with humanistic philosophies.
God’s Word is powerful. The people of God need to hold fast to the Word of God and the Gospel, which is the power of God for salvation and a changed life. Let us not embrace what is popular, but come back to the Word of God.
The Holy Spirit works by the Word of God to transform the people of God.
God’s people are called to make disciples. Biblical Counseling is a form of discipleship. Through discipleship, God transforms a life. God wants to use counselors and direct them to counsel through His mighty Word.
Now Enrolling: The Biblical Counseling Academy! https://www.jeffchristianson.com/counselor-certification-2
I really enjoyed this episode. I see so many in the church that take this for granted in seeing counselors and they don’t consider good advice over God advice. Meaning sometimes people can give you some good advice, but human advice is so temporary. It’ll keep you for a moment maybe, but not for the long haul. Previous to this course I also had a check in my heart concerning even Christian Counseling that focused so much on the philosophy of Psychology. I came here because the focus in college courses was typical psychology and that just didn’t feel right to me. Since I’ve started this course it becomes more and more clear. What grips my heart the most is how quickly even we in the church will minimize the help the Word can give us compared to a “qualified” human person who gives us advice based on a human centric world view. We see the struggle in the church when we put self above self-sacrifice and Him. We also struggle because too many in the church have given their responsibility to counsel one another over to human institutions. I like, and it pricks my heart to read, what Paul Tripp writes in “Instruments in the Redeemers Hand”: “The truth is that we fail to confront, not because we love others too much, but because we love ourselves too much.” This seems central to leaders in the church not using the Word for all of it’s purposes, counseling, discipling and correction being among those. And when we lay aside our responsibilities the world is happy to come in and fill the hole.
Pastor Jeff, thank you so much for your continued pouring God’s Word into us. You are an example of how we are the vessel that God works through to help others, help others.
Listening, I was reminded of a call I received the other day. It was a woman who was looking for another church because the one she and her family go to have begun to change with the worlds view. I was able to commend her on her God-given discernment and tell her a bit about our church. But it brought to mind how integrated (not only in counseling) the church is becoming. She sounded so…looking for the right word, grieved about it. This is such a good lesson for me and hopefully others I share it with, not to condemn the other church but that integration of worldly, humanistic philosophies do not raise the body of Christ, it grieves the body of Christ because it grieves the Holy Spirit. Makes me think of turning from our first love when we integrate.
In counseling, I know it’s so important to always remain the vessel, to press our ear onto the Lord’s heart so we don’t miss Him in any way as we help other’s to freedom in Christ. Such a good word. We don’t cure anything. We lead people to the holiness of God because it’s He who will transform the heart of stone into moldable clay. We, as Biblical Counselors, have to be just as moldable for the Lord and not let anything cloud the Word of God. Such a good word Pastor Jeff!
I really enjoyed the Podcast. Sometimes, for me as a lay counselor/people helper, the lines get blurred. I do always underscore that Jesus and His Word will always be the solution to our soul problems. It gets a little complex for me when there is a clinical diagnosis disclosed. I love the question: “Can Jesus handle the task?”. Of course, He can!! I do provide homework assignment for scripture study and try to communicate it’s a supernatural assignment, not a task. More often than not, some are reluctant to do homework and do share “worldly wisdom” and want a quick answer to their problems or elimination of their problems instead of grace to sustain it or believng the Lord of the Universe truly cares and wants a relationship .
Hi Robin! Thanks for sharing! I bet it takes a moment to work through what you learned from a clinical standpoint to a Biblical perspective. I believe we all have some form of secular psychology in us from things we read, schooling, media, etc. What really helped me was to go to the Word first before my knowledge database. It’s a re-training ground for sure.
I agree that all of us, particularly leaders, must not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine and that we must stand on the word of God alone in our counsel. The Word of God is sufficient for all of our needs. While I have seen bits of secular ideas infiltrating the church, I have also seen the effect of scripture being used harshly and dogmatically in order to keep these doctrines out of the church.
I am thankful to be learning correct and appropriate ways of counseling God’s way in this counseling course.
A statement was made in this podcast that I have a question about. It was that Christians who have as their title ‘psychologist’ are not being true to the word of God. I guess I feel it is throwing the baby out with the bath water?
It is my opinion, at this point in time at least, that God may call some of His people to get a degree in psychology along with biblical counseling training, for the sole reason of having the credentials that would allow them to work with people in their communities, ministering God’s counsel to those who might not otherwise hear the Word of God or know the counsel and sufficiency of Jesus. I would say this aligns with Jesus calling us to be in the world, not of the world. Thoughts?
Other than that, I think the teaching and admonition in this podcast have been very insightful and critical for me as I desire to learn to counsel with wisdom, knowledge, and discernment.
Hi Belinda! You make interesting, thoughtful comments. I would never put God in a box but I know when I sought my advanced degree in counseling, I had a choice to make. I could pursue a degree that would allow me to get licensed with the state or I could get a degree that wouldn’t lead to licensure but would be truly Christ-centered and that is what I chose with His leading. I am working with women in the community though I have had a woman turn down my counseling because she said she “needed someone who is licensed”. It is sad that people believe that a license is needed, but they do at times. I believe that licensure would not allow me to be faithful to God in my counseling.
What a faithful walk – choosing scripture-based counsel instead of secular licensing. People do not realize the “treasure” they have within their reach. <3
Fantastic podcast Pastor Jeff. Your message hits very close to home. It does amaze me how professing Christians buy into ‘Christian’ counseling or even secular therapy versus Biblical counsel. People are hurting and will seek help wherever they can find it. Honestly, I was one of those people. I was a hurting soul and needed someone to talk to. I finally came to the end of myself and was ready to change in 2015. At this time I had been a follower of Christ for 40 years and I loved God, desired to do His will, served in church, attended Bible studies, led worship, but I was bound and could not walk in the freedom of Christ that I knew was mine. I knew I wanted to see a Christian counselor over a secular one and I assumed the counsel I would receive would be Christian. But, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. But, I stepped into the world of therapy anyway in hopes that it would be the answer I was looking for. I had no idea that God would use this world to eventually lead me onto the path of Biblical Counseling. It was a beautiful adventure…hard, but transformative. So, for that reason I am very glad I sought counseling. My therapist very quickly and easily diagnosed me with PTSD after hearing my story of a childhood trauma and a trauma as a teenager. The diagnosis was actually a relief because it seemed to be the answer. I went through the process as best I could and tried EMDR to heal from my traumas. But, something didn’t sit well within my spirit during those sessions. I would pray during them and the Holy Spirit would meet me there every time. He guarded my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. I took some of the methods for coping, but I wasn’t changing. Don’t get me wrong she was very smart and was very helpful but her counsel was not transformative. I was tired of being a victim. After a year of me seeking so diligently for ‘healing’ I still felt something was missing. My soul was hungry. I knew my hunger and the missing piece was only fulfilled and found in Jesus. One day it hit me that all of what I was being given was not God centered or Biblical, but very me-centered and godless. My discernment button was flashing red! I began testing psychology-psychotherapy against God’s Word. It was no match. I didn’t even realize it but all the while my Wonderful Counselor was doing the work in me throughout the day every day. He protected me by wooing me unto Himself and His Word. So that’s what I did. I sought Him daily. I consumed the Word daily. I would spend hours studying, meditating, and praying scripture over my life daily. I listened to hours of sermons on a daily basis and began to study eschatology and my hope returned (Titus 2:13). Funny thing is I felt like I knew these people personally because of the amount of time I spent listening to their messages that I actually called these pastors, ‘my peeps’. My family would laugh, but they also were reaping the fruit that was beginning to be seen in my life after so many years of seeing the good, bad and ugly of me. God was not only counseling me, He was healing me, redeeming me, sanctifying me and making me new! He was transforming my life. In my time of study one morning this verse 2 Corinthians12:9, ‘And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness;” literally jumped off the page and hit me straight in my heart. I hated the label of PTSD and wondered if anyone had suffered from this condition in the Bible and I’m like duh, of course, if anyone had PTSD it was Paul. After all, he had been shipped, stoned, beaten, imprisoned, and on and on. But, Paul was not a victim of the trauma and distresses he endured he was an overcomer by the transforming power of God’s grace. Paul boasted in his infirmities and the thorn in the flesh. Who knows maybe the thorn was PTSD. It’s a miserable condition and without God I don’t know how people work through it. Paul’s life and this portion of scripture was the very breakthrough that God used to move me along the path towards my discovery of Biblical Counseling in my church in 2020. I saw the class enrollment and signed up immediately. I can attest to the treasures of knowledge and wisdom that are hidden in Christ. Pastor Jeff is right they aren’t easily picked up, but must be sought after. It’s so true how God illuminates our path and empowers us to continue growing in His grace as we dive deeper in His Word. I am His instrument and He deserves all the glory for how He has transformed my life. I am certainly still a work in progress, but I’m beyond grateful to be walking in the freedom of Christ and no longer bound to my past, anger, un-forgiveness towards those who hurt me and reconciliation with those I’ve hurt. I appreciate Pastor Jeff mentioning that many therapists truly want to help people and have very compassionate hearts. I agree. The few I saw did. However, the reason they can’t transform people is because they are human. Humanity doesn’t hold the role as being a wonderful counselor. Only Jesus Himself gives Himself the role and the name, the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6). If you read all of this…bless you :). If psychology infiltrating the church breaks my heart then I can’t imagine how this grieves God’s heart. It’s also grievous that some Christians simply don’t believe in the sufficiency of scripture to be the remedy for their problems. I wish they did. But, we can stand and pray that Biblical counsel and soul care will be on the rise in the future and that pastors and those in authority will provide soul care for their flock and that Christians will not only believe on the Lord Jesus for salvation, but for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
What a great testimony Melisa!! So powerful that you have a first hand experience with how psychology falls short. I would say that I have had similar experiences as well. There are a couple times in my life that I went to a counselor but the best counselors have been my friends that love Jesus and rely on Him.
Melisa, Thank you for sharing your personal story of how our Personal God has met you! I think you hit the nail right on the head when you said that the well intentioned counselors you saw couldn’t transform people because they are human! What an incredible testimony of incredible riches available to us in Christ Jesus!
Such a good word delivered in a graceful way! I thought the explanation of Psychological Theory being defined as a theory attempting to explain humankind. So much of our deepest questions stem back to the core questions of who am I and why am I here? If we attempt to answer these with a “neutral” perspective of life apart from our Creator, there is no way we can come to hit even close to the mark of truth!
I also loved the emphasis of Christ being our Wonderful Counselor. Like Pastor Jeff said, so often church leadership has forgotten just how true this identity is of Christ. Why are we so often farming out soul care to the professionals, when Christ has promised to give us “everything we need for life and godliness in Christ Jesus”?
Behavioral and philosophical “truths” have infiltrated God’s church… and me!! I am so grateful to the Lord for connecting me to Pastor Jeff and BCA and for awakening me to this.
To think that psychology is philosophy is sobering. To know that the root system of both is godless is even more sobering.
The Bible is fully sufficient and “in him (Jesus) lie hidden ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (Colossians 2:3).” Therefore the Word of God is enough. Enough to save and enough to restore.
Soul care is a great term for Biblical counselors. It reminds us that the soul, not the mind, is the focus.
I agree Laura! I think that the term soul care is a beautiful definition that can delineate more what we are after in biblical counseling. The mind/brain may have chemical imbalances, and injuries just like any other organ. But our soul is the eternal part of us. Who we are. When we go to just treating the brain, we are missing an essential component of what makes us who we are and why we are 😉
I think it’s just so beautiful that when we take advantage of our being able to “boldly approach the thrown of grace with confidence” and ask for those treasures of wisdom and knowledge, they not only start to change our soul, but our mind and physical body benefit too!
Amen Laura! I agree that the Bible is sufficient to handle all of what life throws at us. It truly saddens my heart when so many people I know are Christians seeking therapy or medications to deal with their issues. They are using the Word as supplication not as being the sole resource. They may be okay for a season, but then another thing comes their way. Jesus is enough to save and why would He not be enough to give us what we need to live a life of godliness. He is our Wonderful Counselor and is the answer.
It makes sense though that psychology is in reality philosophy of life. Wow. Never thought of it that way.
I love the term soul care! I think that might draw more people to seek counseling at their church. Biblical counseling sounds off-putting and a bit intimidating. Whenever I use the term people are not sure how to respond.
Hello everyone! Good word Pastor Jeff. What really stuck with me was Jude. I know a Christian Counselor that is a godly woman, however, how she counsels, whether solely on the Word of God, I am not sure. We did have a conversation one time and I told her our counseling (Biblical Counseling) focus is different. She was trained by a Christian entity that was integrated with science and worldly philosophies. I think she has a slight problem with me not charging because she does. She reminded me that we need to be a help to others. Yes, but here is what Jude is talking about. First, we both have been given the Gospel. Whatever mental, thought, speech, or actions we had in the secular world have been transformed by HIS word in us both.
I agree with Angela, the Lord is using her and she is proficient in Scripture. She has a great compassion for hurting people. My prayer for her is that she is presenting the Gospel each time.
Back to Jude. He teaches us how to understand man and the work of Christ. I believe we as Soul Care workers in the Biblical Counseling role is the same. We learn about the person to understand their trauma-drama, and then see Christ work in it all. Good word!!!!
I am so glad to have found refuge in the Biblical Counseling Academy and also grateful for the biblical counseling movement at large. I earned a degree in psychology in the years right after high school. I didn’t know the Lord yet and shortly after I was born again at 26 and started reading the Bible for myself, I realized that the Word of God was the best psychology book!! I knew then that nothing else was needed. The Lord convicted my heart about this and it was so comforting to find other people with this same conviction as I started getting exposed to “biblical counseling” in 2019. The Lord truly is the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6) and what a blessing it is to point people to Him. I am amazed at how quickly a person can turn around once they just start spending some time in the Word of God. Women I meet at a first appt can be depressed, on the verge of divorce, in the middle of a crisis and it can look really rough. But then off they go to get into the Word and we meet in a week and new life has been breathed into them. It is like a deflated balloon that has been filled back up!! It can happen pretty quick and their countenance completely changes and brightens. He is all we need to face the trials of this life! I loved how Pastor Jeff said that we send them away to have an appt. with the True Counselor. Everything falls into perspective through His Word and I find that ladies come back wanting to discuss more of what they are seeing in Scripture rather than discussing their problems. That is so cool!
Amen! I was subject to many years of secular counsel and never found a permanent solution to my needs. It wasn’t until I came to Christ and submitted myself to Him and the work that is done by the holy Spirit that my life changed, and continues to change daily! I’m happy for you that you found your way out of the world of Psychology and the confusion that revolves around it. also blessed to hear that the Lady’s your counseling are being truly affected through Christ and your hard work.
Hi Travis, I agree with you. Since psychology is always a moving target, how can we find lasting change? Only the Word of God is consistent and stable and therefore an unshakable foundation we can build our lives on.
I am right there with you. I am so beyond grateful for the world of Biblical Counseling. After going through the training at my church I wanted to educate myself even more and that’s when I discovered BCA. I was encouraged to hear how you are such a blessing to the women in your church and that you are pointing them to our Wonderful Counselor. I have worked with a few women as well and it is a joy to see them light up when God meets them in their situation by the power of His Word. He is all we need in life and we are blessed to be a part of the biblical counseling movement. To God be the glory!
Amen Angela, I tell you, secular psychology can be very confusing as it almost forces you to label (and there are soooo many) the issues. And, these labels change. But counseling from God’s Word never changes and He has something to say about everything we go through. He is the True and Perfect counselor. It makes us breathe easy when we help others.
It is surprising how offensive these ideas are within many churches, and certainly many individuals within the church at large. Pastor Jeff pointed out that there is only a very small percentage of psychological theory that has been proven, and even those things are not necessary for “life and godliness,” but draw directly from the true source of wisdom- the Word of God. Jeremiah’s words regarding the forsaking of the fount of living water and going after the world’s method of satiating our thirst is so applicable to today’s church. Only the living water will quench the thirst that every soul has in a way that will satisfy. Our utter dependence upon Jesus for that sustenance may be offensive to the heart that is opposed to God in pride, but also carries with it the promise that Jesus alone is enough for life (and life abundant). Colossians 2:3 and 2 Peter 1:3 are beautiful promises that clearly point to not only the ability that Jesus has to fulfill His title “Wonderful Counselor,” but as Pastor pointed out, that we know where to find them. I appreciate Pastor Jeff’s assertion that although God will work through even those people using lesser theories because “God’s not a Pharisee,” there are “good, better, and best” ways of doing things. I am reminded of Colossians 1, where Paul expresses his prayer for the church at Colossae that they may “grow in the knowledge of the will of God in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work..” May we be faithful to drink from the wellspring of life rather than preferring more base sources, and may God bless our efforts to draw others near to Him alone to the praise of His glory!
Amen Erin!! I liked how Pastor Jeff pointed out that integrationists have a heart to help others and how God is still going to use them to the degree that they allow Him an opportunity (prayer, God’s Word) but how there is a more excellent way of focusing solely on Him and not the philosophies of men. I have friends who are integrationists and I recognize that God has to convict their heart that God’s Word is sufficient just like He did with me by His grace! We can still share fellowship in Christ.
Hi Angela, I also have friends who are therapists and integrationists. I have been delighted to see their responses to having this conversation about them focusing on the Word of God versus ungodly theories. I even had one Christian therapist who rejoiced with me the other day that she shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with her client. This was a huge breakthrough!
I second this as well! I know that I have a friend that feels he’s a “Christian Counselor” because he is a christian, but he integrates his degrees in psychology in with his counseling. He works for the state so there are certain things such as biblical truth that he cannot incorporate in with his counseling but he tries and that’s where I think “his” counseling takes priority over the Lords counseling. What’s weird is he’s been doing this so long that I don’t think he’s aware of how far from the Lord he’s traveled in his work. Or that he sets finances (his job) over truth. I understand providing for your family but i just can’t consciously put finances over the the damage that is being done through this integration in the counseling world that Christians are performing.
Thank you for sharing Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1. This is at the heart of counseling and discipling one another. We must continually grow in the knowledge of the will of God in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Returning to the Word of God with the help of the Holy Spirit so that we can counsel according to His will.
Great podcast! Pastor Jeff shares the foundations of Biblical counseling and their importance in view of the infiltration of psychological philosophies and humanist thinking into the church. One Scripture that stood out to me was Colossians 2:2-3, “…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” This speaks to the perfect wisdom of God and the sufficiency of Scripture – He is the true counselor!
Amen Randy- psychology has infiltrated the church and it is a blessing to be able to stand firm in Him and point others back to the Scriptures as the sole authority for our lives. Many believe in the “science” of psychology and believe that psychology is needed to help people. They think we are being ignorant if we don’t lean on professional licensed counselors. I had a woman reach out to me for counseling recently but she ended up going with someone else because she “needed someone who was licensed”. It’s sad that so many have bought the lie that a license from the state makes you an expert to help.
Another Amen on Colossians 2. I must remember that when that self-doubt is sneaking in – its not me at all! It is the perfect wisdom of God that will be revealed to hurting souls when they are willing to seek Him. Thank you!