67: Man vs. God in Counseling


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What You'll Discover in this Episode:

The Message of Psychology Contrasted with the Bible


How does the message of Psychology contrast with the Bible? How is Psychology a competing Worldview?


In this episode of the Biblical Counseling Podcast, Pastor Jeff Christianson shows us how Psychology contrasts with the Bible. Psychology could be described as a pseudoscience or a philosophy that is diametrically opposed to the Bible. The theory of evolution, a foundational truth in Psychology, essentially sees the nature of man as a mere body. The false teaching of Psychology should be warned about and those who are good ministers of Jesus Christ will warn the sheep (1 Tim. 4:1, 1 Tim. 4:6). Calling out false teaching is not about trying to start a fight, but about trying to point people to Jesus and His Word. Biblical Counseling is about equipping the saints for the work of the ministry, people who are hungry for the Word, for the truth. 


In this podcast Pastor Jeff helps us understand a key difference between Psychology and Biblical Counseling. Psychologists have said that the answer to man’s problems is within them and that the job of the therapist is to help them bring it out. The Bible tells us something very different, “I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10). Looking inside of us for the answer is not what we should be doing. We need to look to Christ and His Word.


Additionally, many people today in the Church try to live by their own sense mixed with Pop-psychology. People look to themselves and to highly educated Psychologists for the answer to their problems. The Bible tells us instead to trust in the LORD (Jeremiah 17:5-8). “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12). We must acknowledge the nature of man and the sinfulness that exists in our hearts. We are dependent on God who can sanctify our hearts and conform us into the image of Christ.

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  • Want to learn more from Pastor Jeff? Listen to this podcast to hear Pastor Jeff address:
  • The foundations and principles of counseling within the life of the church
  • 1 John 4:7 and how biblical counseling draws upon divine love in order to minister to

    others within the body of Christ

  • Key Verse:  

    Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8).


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  • Kristie Gallagher says:

    Psychology has crept into the church and has really got a hold of the thoughts of the believer. The truth has been mixed with lies. To hear the quote from Carl Rogers that we have the answers within, we see this permeating our culture. One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Jeremiah 17. It says, Cursed is the man that trusts in man, he will be like a shrub and won’t even know when good comes. Jeremiah contrasts that with a person who places their trust in God. The man who trusts in God will grow and bear fruit even in difficulties because he trusts in the Lord. We can not find the answers within ourself because all of our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. We are only able to find answers within God’s word. I don’t want to be a person that gets caught up in what the world is saying. I want to stand firm on the Word of God and share it with those that are hurting and need sure answers. We have the Words of life and should be bold in declaring it to the hurting world around us.

    • Ritter Savino says:

      Hi Kristie, God has given us the privilege to be ambassadors for Him and to show the love of Christ in the way we serve and love, and as believers, we need to know what is true and declare it to those who are hurt. We have to be careful as believers not to get caught up on this lie which is hurting so many churches today. Thank you, Kristie, for your comments. God bless!

    • David Bowman says:

      You are right, we should be bold in declaring the truth to the hurting world around us. Looking within seems like a subtle form of idolatry. People would rather look within themselves and blame others than to be confronted with a holy and righteous God. It isn’t “fun” telling the truth to someone that is rebellious, but it must be done. The easy and more profitable approach is to promote a man-centered approach that will keep the counseled dependent upon you and lost in a maze of soul-searching.

    • Johan Alarcon says:

      I liked when you said ”Psychology has crept into the church and has really got a hold of the thoughts of the believer”. I see how a lot of believers regardless of how mature in their spiritual walk they may be, still find themselves falling victim to the enemy’s schemes, and I pray that as the body, we will be more vigilant and aware of when the enemy is attacking. I like how people always mix the truth with lies, and I look at this as very simple, if there’s one untruth told, then it is untruth, period. We see how people use the scriptures to justify their sins because they take the scripture out of context. The word is the word and has been from the beginning, like it says in john 1:1, but us men try to add or subtract from the word to whether it fits their agenda, or to justify our sin, God will not be mocked.

      • Michelle Rodriguez says:

        Hi Johan
        I agree with you 100%. It has become an serious problem within the church especially when you’re hearing from the more mature believer. It goes to show that anyone deceived or misguided about truth. That’s why its important to stay in what word and connected to God. Thank you for your insight.

    • Anne Marie Maguire says:

      Very true Kristie, we cannot trust in ourselves because of our sinful heart and tendencies. We can only trust in Christ alone and depend on him daily as we wait to be perfected when Christ returns. But I thank God I have seen the process of sanctification in my life which gives me great hope that I will be conformed to the image of his Son in the end. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:29.
      I am excited about Christ returns! Especially as we see the corruption increasing around us Christ light shines even brighter. He is the beauty I long for.

  • Angela Stephenson says:

    I appreciated the detail shared in this podcast of working with that youth using a man-centered philosophy and the futility in that. I also was blown away by that explanation of how we guard the door to the church from evolution but the psychotherapy comes through the backdoor. That was powerful. You are putting into words the convictions God has put on my heart. Keep the podcasts coming!

    • Kristie Gallagher says:

      That is a good point that the church “has guarded the door from evolution, but has allowed the psychotherapy to come through the backdoor.” Psychotherapy is as destructive as evolution, it leads people into humanism and away from the Lord. We need to do a better job as a church teaching that in God’s word is found wisdom and life. Nothing else will do.

  • Ritter Savino says:

    Hi Pastor Jeff, thank you for the teaching tonight. It was interesting to me the quote that says “Psychology said that the answer to man’s problems is within them and that the job of the therapist is to help them bring it out.” This to me is demonic and scary, but not surprising. 1 Timothy 4:1 God warned us about people departing from the faith and paying attention to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. I don’t understand how come many Christians and leaders accept this lie and are not seeing what God is saying here and in other parts of the Bible. This is serious stuff and their lives are depending on what they are accepting as truth. It hurt my heart what little they know or choose to know about the sufficiency of Scripture of many Christians today. Our goal as Christians is to point people to Jesus as verse 6 says in 1 Timothy 4. I have a sister in Christ that loves to give books to women that are going through tuff times, and it blows my mind how often she does this and how sure she is that a good book that has some bible verses is going to help with their specific issue. I remembered our Pastor in a meeting said that he didn’t want any books or teachings that were not strictly from the Bible to be given to the congregation. People need to understand that the Bible is sufficient. This was encouraging to me and my husband because we have a Pastor that cares about his flock and knows well how the Word of God is all a person’s needs. I also remembered one of our woman leaders said that if anyone needed counsel, they just needed to listen to our Pastor preach directly from the Word of God. It is very sad what’s going on today in our churches; we need to seek the Lord more deeply; to be equipped for every good work as 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says. We need to stop this nonsense of having the psychology theory going into our churches. This reminds me of 2 Corinthians 6:14 where it says “what communion has light with darkness?”. We need to raise and do what God is calling us to do, which is to expose all these things lovingly and gently but exposed them.

    • David Bowman says:

      Ritter, I share your response to the current state of the modern American church. As I read your comment, I thought about how and why this deceptive doctrine was able to find its way into Christ’s church. I believe that many have found a winning formula with their particular blend of psychotherapy and biblical teaching. This formula allows them to amass large crowds and keep them hooked. The people receive a more user-friendly Christianity, which doesn’t offend or confront at any time. The crowds return and the ministry grows. It can be tempting when you see the response to this kind of “teaching”, but we must stay faithful to the Word He has entrusted to us.

    • Johan Alarcon says:

      The beginning sentence speaks on the culture we have today.” Psychology says that the answer to man’s problems is within them and that the job of the therapist is to help them bring it out”. I’ve had my fair share with counselors, and I’ve seen their tactics when it came to putting things together in how they perceive things and then try to impose their way of thinking upon you as the mentee. Where i work, i too, also have mentees, and since i work full time ministry, i never try to impose what i think of what point i am trying to make, but simply bring them to the word, and find out what the word says about the particular situation or the specific circumstance they maybe going facing. The word is what brings out what needs to be brought out, and I thank God for the convictions that the word brings, for it does not condemn but actually has you want to repent, and fall naked before the lord in repentance.

    • jeffchristianson says:

      Hello, Ritter. This is an important conversation to keep going. You verse, 2 Corinthians 6:14 where it says “what communion has light with darkness?”, reminds me of the battle for the truth in these last day. So much deception in the world around us.

  • Carolyn Ann Kirk says:

    Thank you, Pastor Jeff for your podcast yesterday on Biblical counseling vs Psychology. I have never met a Christian counselor. From reading various books on Christian counseling, there a lot of secular humanist counseling in the articles I read.
    It hard for me to understand how counselors can call themselves Christian counselors when they do not believe in the Bible or God’s Word.

    • David Bowman says:

      Carolyn, I’m sorry that you haven’t met a Biblical counselor before. I used to think that mixing a bit of psychology wasn’t entirely wrong. But, it dilutes the truth by placing man’s wisdom on the same level as God’s Word. It is like trying to mix oil and water. I too am saddened by the reported statistics regarding those that profess Christianity, yet do not believe in the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture. I share your difficulty in understanding this and hope that we can oppose that trend.

  • Michelle Rodriguez says:

    After I listened to this podcast, I researched on the web and found an article about the origins of psychology and I was blown away about how demonic it is. The founding fathers of psychology had a hatred for the things of God and even God himself. This is very scary knowing that this is being allowed in the church.

    I have to admit, many times while I was counseling someone I used my own knowledge and truth thinking that it was sound counsel. Because I was using some bible verses but missing in psychology truths. After listening to the podcast, it has opened my eyes that I need to seek out God’s truth and understanding, so that I’ll be able to give wise and Godly counsel that is filled with his truth. This was a good reminder that on how God takes these things seriously and we must also do it as well.

    Thank you for the reminder Pastor Jeff.

  • David Bowman says:

    This week’s podcast added another layer to the contrast between man-centered and Christ-centered counseling. Psychological theory is a subtly deceptive philosophy. It didn’t just enter into the culture but has burrowed its way over the last few decades. The fact that it can mix so easily alongside true biblical teaching is worth our sincere attention. Pastor Jeff rightly reminded me that as a shepherd I must warn and protect the sheep from these doctrines of demons. Any skepticism to the validity of this philosophical intrusion was erased when he spoke about the popular phrases we hear both inside and outside of the church. “Be yourself”, “I’m living my best life now”, and “Be true to yourself” are just a few examples of this. I found the verses within Jeremiah 17 (especially verses 5-10) to be very compelling and straightforward in their assessment of man’s ability to find answers within themselves. Another great episode, thank you, Pastor Jeff.

  • Johan Alarcon says:

    Psychology has a foothold in the church, which we all know that the gospel is far from psychology and its teachings. 1Timothy chapter 4 verse 1 is self explanatory, about taking heed as some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits, and things taught by demons, which to me keeps me on my toes on what I allow in my ears. When People won’t cling to the word, when doing so they will be wide open to fall into deception. I really like the term you mention by saying “The depravity of man”, for which expresses the fallen state of human beings as a result of original sin. Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things”. i’ve heard so many people say “ God knows my heart”, and i would always think of this specific scripture or when you mentioned how people would always look inside themselves for the answers, and i know personally that this is one of the enemy’s schemes, for this is contrary to the word, and what it teaches, (Jeremiah 17:5-8) is a great and foundational scripture, and i’d like to memorize this one day.

  • Anne Marie Maguire says:

    Thanks Jeff for another thought provoking podcast. It is sad but true to hear that quote from J I packer that “Modern christians… spread a thin layer of bible teaching over a mixture of pop psychology and common sense that they offer but their overall approach clearly reflects the narcissism – “selfism” or “me-ism” as it is sometimes called that is the way of the world in the modern west.” (Keep in Step with the Spirit)
    That book has alot of insight into the problem with the obsession with self and how if we wish to pursue holiness we need to be Christ focused.

    • jeffchristianson says:

      Hi Anne! You are right about JI Packer. He wrote about things many do not want to hear.

      • Anne Marie Maguire says:

        Ya J.I. Packer points out our heart problem and that quote is a good wake up call to stop being so selfish and reach out and help others even if it cost us!

        Reminds me of Luke 14:27 when Jesus talks about the cost of being a disciple: “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” And verse 33 “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”

        We must put Christ first in everything.

    • Michelle Rodriguez says:

      Hi Anne Marie
      How true is it that we christians have allowed ourselves to become narcissistic and rely on our “selfism” or “me-ism” wisdom into our minsteries and not let the power of the Holy Spirit lead us.

  • Margaret Deherrera says:

    Thanks for another informative pod cast Pastor Jeff. It’s sad to see how much psychology has such a foothold in the church and more and more people are looking at things through a psychological theory because it’s more persuasive to people and getting them to look at thing less and less in the biblical truth. The psychological theory is trying to please ourselves, the heart is very deceitful. We should not trust in ourselves or finding answers in man. We need to stand firm in truth, God’s Word and always look at what The bible says and not listen to what the world thinks. It’s very easy to get everything twisted because some people can paint such a good picture of the worldly view it can sound pleasing to others.

    • Kyle Fox says:

      Hello Margaret, It is a very sad thing indeed. As you said, we need to keep our focus on the Lord, not on ourselves. The enemy is so good at what he does. He always takes a lie and wraps it in truth, but when you examine it deep, he is always working in complete opposition to God.

  • Kyle Fox says:

    Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.”
    This verse gets straight to the heart of the point of this message. It is such a foolish thing to look to man for answers. As Jeremiah says in verse 5, “cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength”, and later in verse 9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
    As Pastor Jeff stated, the foundation for psychological counseling is the belief that man in basically good and that the answers are found within. This foundation is perfectly contrary to what the Bible has to say. Man in inherently bad, there is nothing good in him, he is evil from head to toe. The foundation of psychological counseling couldn’t be more opposed to the word of God. It is a wonder how this teaching has been welcomed by so many within the church. This goes back to the the initial verse that was referenced, 1 Timothy 4. We need to be good ministers of Jesus crest, nourished in the Word of God.

  • Josh H. says:

    The Lord said cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from HIm. They have no hope for the future. Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not affected by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. The human heart is the most deceitful of all, and desperately wicked. Only the Lord knows how bad it really is. The Lord searches all hearts and examines all secret motives. He gives all people their due rewards according to what their actions deserve.

  • Jon Rissmiller says:

    I am going back to listen to the previous podcasts. What you are sharing about Psychology vs. the Bible is a HUGE issue within the church. Many Christians / Pastors believe that Psychology has the answers to change people and then they tag on the Bible where they can.

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