Christian Psychology?

See also The Changing Church

Home | News Index | Cultural Christianity


August 2007

Despite prison term, preacher welcomed by Baptist congregation: "A southwest suburban Southern Baptist congregation allowed a convicted child sex offender to preach for the last few years -- despite his past, and a warning from his previous church that he might still be dangerous.... In 1996, Jeff Hannah was sentenced to nine years in prison for having sexual relations with four underage girls -- ages 15 to 17 -- while a married youth minister at Crossroads Church in Libertyville.... Hannah, 42, was unapologetic about his crimes....'" See Biblical versus Cultural Christianity

April 2007

Growing Christian Shrinks: "At Azusa Pacific University, a Christian College northeast of Los Angeles, psychology is one of the most popular majors, and interest in the field is growing.... Psychology is one of the 10 largest majors at the more than 100 schools that are members of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities....

      "Psychologists have long been a secular bunch -- modern psychology itself was built upon the rejection of religion as unscientific. Because Freud and other early 20th-century psychologists were eager to establish psychology as a 'real' science, they went out of their way to denigrate the truth-claims of religious belief....  The Fuller Seminary, in Pasadena, Calif., was the first clinical psychology program outside a university to receive accreditation....  promoting 'the cross in the heart of psychology.'" See The UN Plan for Your Mental Health  


January 2002

Christian Psychology?  Larry Crabb - General Teachings/Activities:  "Larry Crabb is an author, licensed clinical psychologist, and founder and Director of the Institute for Biblical Community (IBC) (formerly the Institute of Biblical Counseling) at Colorado Christian University in Morrison, Colorado, where he is also Distinguished Scholar in Residence. (IBC is an organization Crabb founded in the early-1980s while on the faculty at Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana.)  He has developed a model of counseling that is primarily a psychological system of unconscious needs motivating behavior, which is derived from both Freudian (the unconscious supposedly being a hidden reservoir of the mind with drives and impulses governing a person's thinking and behavior) and humanistic psychology (a hierarchy of needs, with great emphasis on so-called emotional needs).

      "His counseling model is Freudian, Adlerean, and Maslowian in its underlying theories. It is an integrationist model; i.e., it seeks to combine theories, ideas, and opinions from psychotherapy, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, and their underlying psychologies, with the Scriptures. (See the last page of this report for an excellent comparison of Crabb's model of counseling with the Biblical model.)

December 2001

Report on a Consultation on Gospel and Culture (Sponsored by the Lausanne Theology and Education Group): "... a culture cannot be brought under the Lordship of Christ without a radical change of allegiance.... Culture holds people together over a span of time.... In many societies certain elements of the culture are communicated directly in rites of initiation, and by many other forms of deliberate instruction. Action in accordance with the culture is generally at the subconscious level.... At its centre is a world-view, that is, a general understanding of the nature of the universe and of one's place in it. This may be "religious" (concerning God, or gods and spirits, and of our relation to them), or it may express a "secular" concept of reality, as in a Marxist society....
      
"Men and women need a unified existence. Participation in a culture is one of the factors which provide them with a sense of belonging. It gives a sense of security, of identity, of dignity, of being part of a larger whole, and of sharing both in the life of past generations and in the expectancy of society for its own future...." An amazing statement from the Lausanne Committee! Can Christ's disciples seek unity, "belonging" or "dignity" in the culture -- in the world around us? Can we cannot conform to its changing philosophies?"  2 Cor 6:12-18 and Rom 12:2-9 and The Global Church (See also comment on this page: The Changing Church)


Are We Fundamentalists?  "...there are now two kinds of evangelicals.... The old is the authentic, biblical position. The new is far off the track, not in its basic view of salvation, but in its readiness to compromise with doctrinal error and worldly ways. The new is selling the faith for earthly respect and recognition... and churches are being ruined."  Dr. Peter Masters, minister of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in central London.

 

Terrorist attacks did not change most Americans spiritually: "Americans went to church in droves after September 11th, but few of them found anything 'sufficiently life- changing' to keep them there, says George Barna, whose most recent poll was released this week. Barna also found that after Black Tuesday fewer people believe in absolute truth, rather they lean toward a circumstantial ethic....The most 'startling shift,' according to Barna, was that moral truth got muddier among Americans after the attacks. Prior to Sept. 11, four out of ten adults [38 percent] agreed there were absolute moral truths that fit into any circumstance, yet after the attacks only two of ten adults [22 percent] claimed to believe in the existence of absolute moral truth.
       "Barna also found that the most common source of moral guidance among Americans is their feelings [25 percent] followed by the lessons and values they learned from their parents [14 percent]. Only one out of eight [13 percent] adults look to the Bible when they make moral and ethical decisions." Statistics for the Changing Church
and Deliver us from evil

 

Post-Modernity - A Global Weather Change? (long but important) "Modernity - the sum total of such shapers of today's society as urbanisation, industrialisation, science and technology - has created a prevailing climate of unbelief. Issues of faith have been sidelined in our modern world. Religion is tolerated only in the private arena. The result has been a steady exodus of church-goers, especially from traditional churches. Morality and ethics have been increasingly shaped by personal convenience and self-gratification, creating an alarmingly large hole in the 'moral ozone layer'. ...
      "Post-modernists today, however, spurn Modernity's promise of progress. ...All sorts of irrational and contradictory beliefs have flooded into the resulting vacuum, creating a chaos of ideas in which there is no ultimate meaning or direction....
In contrast to the modern, scientific perspective, it is open to the transcendent, to the mysterious, to spirituality and even to the Spirit. It emphasizes the story rather than the creed or logical proposition, the need to discover life for oneself. It stresses the personal journey, the process of discovery. ...
       "But there is an obvious 'down' side too. Postmodernity clashes head on with scriptural revelation by claiming there is no Truth, only 'truths' for oneself. There are no criteria outside of oneself. Objective knowledge is not possible ("everything you know is false"). Sin and evil do not exist. There are no absolutes - only relativism and pluralism....
       "We are free to choose and create our own identity, including our sexuality. We can be homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual. We can change our identity at will. No one has the right to judge us. We should be tolerant of others' lifestyles. There are no right or wrong lifestyles. ...
     "In a relativistic world, the old distinctions of right and wrong, good and bad, reality and fantasy, truth and error, even past, present and future, have lost meaning. Truth, capital "T", does not exist. "That may be true for you but it's not true for me" is a typical postmodern response to Christians sharing their faith. Traditional, rational apologetics may be appropriate for modern people, but becomes irrelevant for postmodernists. Postmoderns have no problem mixing and matching elements from various religious belief systems, however contradictory and illogical that may seem. What counts is not Truth, but the 'feel good' factor.

     "Evangelistic methods effective among modern audiences leave postmoderns untouched. Traditional forms of church life no longer appeal to most modern.... Yet Paul said he wanted to be all things to all people in order the reach some. Can we be 'postmodern' to the postmoderns, in order to reach some?"

      Many say yes, but we say no. We cannot yield our stand on God's absolute truth nor conform to the world's thinking. A decade ago, we warned that the emphasis of the consensus process and dialectic thinking in the global education program would literally immunize children and youth against Biblical Christianity. If we conform our thinking to the same process, we would join the spreading apostasy." See Mind Control and Brainwashing in America.

Harry Potter - a spiritual perspective (from Spirituality & Health, Trinity Church's "magazine for spiritual outreach"): 'We live in a story-shaped world. As children we were introduced to realms of enchantment in fairy tales. Each of us can recall at least one favorite that spoke to the deepest part of ourselves. As we grew older, we looked to a variety of other story forms to entertain, instruct, and sometimes even transform us....'
     "We are invited to step into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and learn some things about ourselves and what is most important to us. Think of this Values & Visions Film Guide as a magic wand that will help you unlock seven different doors inside yourself. ...Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is an occasion for us all to consider the spiritual vibrancies of imagination, birthdays, friends, flights of fantasy, desire, the mark of love, and heroism."
Gen 8:21 and Harry Potter and the Power of Suggestion

 

Coach People to Take Risks by Dr. Gary R. Collins, first president of the American Association of Christian Counselors: "We guide people into new ventures and encourage them to take on fresh challenges they might have neither the courage nor the insight to embrace otherwise.... As part of His training program, Jesus sent out 72 people in pairs, telling them to preach, heal, and spread the Word about the Kingdom of God. When they returned, they all got together for feedback. Maybe Jesus listened to their stories, cheered their efforts, and gave them coaching hints about how they could do better next time." He probably did not cheer their efforts, since His aim was to train them to walk by faith and obedience, not self-effort and human success.

       "...In describing our increasingly influential postmodern generation, futurist Leonard Sweet suggests that the church needs to take what he calls an EPIC approach -- an approach that emphasizes individual experience, participation, image, and connectedness. Most of the people we coach don't want how-to-do-it lectures from aloof teachers dispensing advice. They want involvement at every stage of the coaching. They want to participate in the process of clarifying the issues, determining where they are, getting a vision and mission, coming up with a strategy, and taking action to make the plan work. They can't remove obstacles to their progress unless they have a say in how they will be handled. People in our postmodern culture are into stories, metaphors, symbols, fantasy games, and images on screens. They want ownership in any plan and they value connectedness with others."  Col 2:8, The Global Church and the next link.

Ministers encouraged to teach doctrinal truth by storytelling: "Ministers wanting to shape important doctrinal understandings and education in people's lives today must become good storytellers, declared a Southern Baptist seminary professor. ...    Durst cited three converging trends demanding good storytelling as a tool for education - postmodernism, narrative theology and 'storying' as a current communication method. ....'Storytelling is gaining broad attention as a critical method for communicating truth to the emerging generation,' he said. 'In the postmodern world, to be a storyteller is no longer a euphemism for someone with a loose grip on truth....
            "'When you can capture the imagination of a person, then you have 'captured' that person,' he observed. 'If a truth cannot be imagined, how then can it ever be retained? If it cannot be retained, how can it transform? But if it could transform the individual through the imagination, how could it ever be forgotten?'"
Gen 8:21   It can't, but what will the people remember? The actual Scriptures, which God gave us as Swords of the Spirit to enable us to discern between truth and error -- and to take an uncompromising stand in Him? Or today's enticing images and feel-good suggestions which stir the imagination, twist God's truth and draw Christians into The Global Church? Gal 1:6-10

November 2001

The 10 Commandments of Soulistic Health (Architecture for the Postmodern Reformation) by "Christian"  futurist Leonard Sweet: What planet can a church be living on when it can build in 1997 a multi-million dollar education wing, and not only not have fibre optic cable, but not have space that accommodates new structures and new core tools for learning: active learning, interactive learning, mutual learning, service learning, game learning, leisure learning, team learning, digital learning, network learning, entertainment learning, etc?  [These are all strategies for change in UNESCO's global education program] One day the trustees of this church will have to answer at Judgment Day a God who demands to know: "Now tell me this again: you spent on the verge of the 21st century millions of my money to teach my children about my Son using blackboards, boxed classrooms, and lecture-drill-test methods of instruction?" [But God says, "do not be conformed to this world...." Rom 12:2-9]

      "...I want to discuss what changes might be required of architects if you are to move the church from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, if you are to shift church architecture from the factory model of corridors/classrooms to the bionomic model of a living, transformational learning organism."

      To make his point, Mr. Sweet quotes Georg Hegel, the mind behind the Hegelian dialectic (consensus) process used to brainwash the entire Soviet society: "Architecture is in fact the first pioneer on the highway toward the adequate realization of the Godhead. ... By this means it levels a space for the God, informs His external environment, and builds Him his temple, as a fit place for he concentration of Spirit, and its direction to the absolute objects of intelligent life." Hegel's god is not our God -- His monument honors a cosmic form of humanism, not the wisdom of God. Col 2:8 and Comparing the U.S. & the UNESCO Education Plan,
 

Church puts faith in Harry Potter: "The St Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Syracuse, New York state, is running classes comparing Potter - the creation of Edinburgh-based writer J K Rowling - with Jesus Christ. ...During the lessons the baptism of Christ is compared to Harry's 'calling' to be a wizard where he overcomes the evil Lord Voldemort. Children aged 10 to 12 are taught how Christians are redeemed by Christ, just as Harry is quick to forgive his friend Ron and his teacher Dumbledore when they argue. ... Father John Wagner, priest at the St Elizabeth Ann Seton church, was congratulated by his superiors at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse for the lessons. 'With this approach you are teaching the children about religion and they don't even realise until it's all over,' he said."

       The last sentence is true, but the religion taught is a pagan blend, not Biblical Christianity. The end product of this popular compromise is distortion and deception, not truth or understanding. Apart from the promotion of witchcraft, the simplistic explanation of redemption mocks God's justice, trivializes the cross, and distort the message of redemption. 2 Cor 6:12-18, Twelve reasons not to see Harry Potter movies and America's Spiritual Slide

 

Stores, Not Churches, Seeing Post-Terrorism Spiritual Awakening: "If the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks really did spark a significant religious revival in America, it's being experienced in stores rather than churches. For if more people are still looking for God, they are doing so at the checkouts rather than in the pews. That is according to mixed reports that have church leaders reporting attendance at back-to-normal levels, while bookstores post booming sales for Christian titles and music.
     "In the early days after Sept. 11, newspapers and local TV news stations across the country reported churches being crowded as people looked for comfort and hope. But Frank M. Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup research group, now says there is little indication of 'great awakening or profound change in America's religious practices.' ... 'It looks like people were treating this like a bereavement, a shorter-term funeral kind of thing, where they went to church or synagogue to grieve,' Newport said. 'But once past that, their normal churchgoing behavior passed back to where it was.'"
Josh 24:15-16

 

Visual worship: "Have you noticed the shift in visual advertising? There is a move away from product information toward story-based communication. The emphasis is placed on images, not information. ...Images are the language of our culture. And they are tools that help connect us to God’s unchanging truth. To fully minister to our culture in the 21st century, we have to be able to speak its language -- visual communication....
       "It is absolutely critical for the church once again to embrace images and art. This certainly isn’t new territory. A few centuries ago, the secular world used to look to the church as the leader of artistic communication and interpretation. We were the benefactors of the world’s great artists, and their principal topic was the gospel.... [but a distorted gospel -- a popular man-made message marketed through art and twisting God's truths]

       Then in the 15th century the printing press came along and completely revolutionized the way we communicate. The word -- printed and spoken -- was brought front and center in our culture and in our churches."  [As in the early church when the written word was emphasized and believers would read and memorize the Scriptures]

      "Today we are once again at a hinge-point in history. ...churches are rediscovering the power of image and art. There is a longing in the soul for art, and visual imagery connects in a way words cannot. Our “new stained glass” is electronic. It’s video, film and digital imagery. Through the magic of technology, our “stained glass” can change every week!" 

       This shift from the written word and the actual gospel to changeable but powerful images designed by leaders who now call themselves "change agents" will indeed transform the church. It may even usher in the prophesied "apostasy" - a "turning away" from the actual truth written in the Bible to a deceptive counterfeit." Jesus, the living Word, told us that the truths of the word sets us free - not subjective images that can manipulate minds into accepting the latest politically correct message. That's why the Old Testament warned against the use of images that could become idols or distort the message that was meticulously written over three thousand years ago. Should we be less able to handle the Word than they were?  Let's thank God for His eternal, unchanging Scriptures -- and for making them available around the world. Col 2:8 and thanks for this promise: Psalm 32:7

What's your church's genetic code? "Knowing it can disarm conflict, cure dysfunction and clarify direction.... Tom Bandy, a popular church consultant, has devoted his career to making churches healthy and effective. ...'My sense is that every church needs to be changing,' says Bandy...
    "Bandy's not talking about minor redecorating or reorganizing the Sunday school, but revolutionary, transformational change ... A church's first step, he says, is to quit fighting over things that don't matter -- issues of style and methodology -- and dive into the hard work of hammering out 'a clear congregational consensus' about the its unique role in God's purpose -- its genetic code. A church writes its own DNA by identifying its core values, bedrock beliefs, a challenging vision, and a focused mission, Bandy says. ...That new identity empowers church members and staffers to launch out in creative directions, since they are not limited by 'the way we've always done it.'"
What if that old "way" is based on Biblical truth, not tradition? God Word  doesn't change.  It will always conflict with the ever-changing world and secular communities. See The Global Church

"Quality Management" for the Church: Involve Everybody Who Cares: "... building participation is not optional. As leaders, we have no choice but to figure out how to invite in everybody who is going to be affected by change. Those we fail to invite into the creation process will surely and always show up as resistors and saboteurs. But I haven't become insistent on broad-based participation just to avoid resistance, or to get people to support my efforts. I've learned that I'm not smart enough to design anything for the whole system. None of us these days can know what will work inside the dense networks we call organizations. We can't see what's meaningful to people, or even understand how they get their work done. We have no option but to ask them into the design process." See The Global Church

 

Organizational Learning Ventures - Helping church leaders transition from the present to the future: "The convergence of three shifts in culture has combined to provide a new opportunity for effective [church] organizational and staff development in the 21st century. [1] Over the past three decades, the US culture has moved from one of observation to participation, from involvement to experience. [2] A second shift is from training to learning, for a one-time transfer of information based on a classroom model to a life long process of discovery and learning that is interactive...... [3] A final shift is from individual learning to collaborative learning or shared leaning in the context of a team."  This shift in from facts to feeling or experience -- and from individual to group our collective learning -- parallels UNESCO's global education system. See Molding Human Resources for a Global Workforce

 

Preaching in Today's Culture: "Yes, people are used to images but good storytellers pay less attention to the sound byte rules. Since we are a story soaked culture, to preach in any other way is just not going to attract people." This message from "The Leadership Network" is part of a series called "Helping Church Leaders Transition from the Present to the Future." This transition includes training church leaders to persuade their people through stories that manipulate feelings rather than through the facts and truths that build a solid foundation.

 

Peter Drucker on the Church and Denominations: "...there is a substantial critical mass of people and churches that are already moving.' ...While acknowledging that there are still many unhealthy churches, there is a justified 'change in basic premises, basic attitudes, basic mind set... on the whole, we are on the march.... The congregation we are dealing with is a very different congregation that the one in which most of us bean... It is a congregation that sees itself in partnership...." See The Global Church

October 2001

Moved by the spirit: "Dance. In some places of worship, it's becoming as routine as the sermon and the offering. 'We want to encourage young people throughout the city to experience dance in a religious setting,' said Paula Egins, director of the Praise Dance Ministry at St. Marys Road United Methodist Church....'
       "The main guest presenter, Patdro Harris of Atlanta, taught children as well as adults. About 40 people attended the three-day workshop, featuring everything from ballet to flags and streamers to hip-hop featuring a song by CeCe Winans called 'Somebody Wanna Pray With Me.' ...

      "Most people don't have an icon for dance being holy. They don't know how being funky or groovy can reveal the Spirit. God made me funky - it wasn't my choice," said Harris. To see how this  phenomenon fits into the Church Growth Movement, see this new page: Q&A: Hip-Hop

An Idolatrous Silence - Evangelicals & the Egalitarianism of Sin: "...I woke up to find myself the campus minister of a banned Christian fellowship. In a trial held over the preceding midnight, the Tufts University student judiciary met secretly to "derecognize" the Tufts Christian Fellowship for its refusal to allow a gay advocate into leadership. We were politically isolated on the Tufts campus and abandoned even by other Christian groups at Tufts....
        "Many Christians (not just Evangelicals) swallowed the argument: 'Jesus talked more about greed than about sexuality, and aren’t we also guilty of being greedy?' The philosophical laziness of their reasoning should be apparent–although it is not to them or to much of their audience–since they fail to make the obvious distinction between acknowledged moral lapses and the wholesale abandonment of a moral standard. ..." 
Rom 1:22-32

Theophostic Counseling: "We live in an era of Church history that is witnessing the penetration of a pagan American worldview and culture into the theology and sociology of Christian churches.... Plainly stated, the eventual fruit of the unholy synthesis of psychology and creedal Christianity is that orthodoxy...is displaced or minimized, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is then compromised and rejected." Prov 3:5

Unorthodox Ministry Invites the Alienated Back to Church: "We're enabling people to discover God themselves, maybe through Jesus, maybe through Buddha, maybe through any number of ways," Brunett said. "It's not a back-door way to catch people and bring them to the Episcopal Church."
       "I like the intent of people coming together to seek something -- not having the answers is a nice part of it," said Sheila Campbell, who grew up in a Southern Baptist family and now is a member of a Unitarian Universalist Church in Washington. "You can give yourself over to the moment."
Col 2:8

 

The Passion Experience Tour: "Dive in to all of who God is! One hundred eighty minutes worth... and all your life. Undignified reverence." This "experience" seems to major on emotional highs while minimizing truth -- a shift that is transforming the church. It may sound exciting, but you don't become a Christian through a "dive into all of who God is!" See The Global Church and What it means to be a Christian.

 

Walk through life with purpose: This upcoming conference blends the main themes of two leaders in the church growth movement: Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, founder of Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, and Dr. Rick Warren,well known as the pioneer of the Purpose-Driven church paradigm for church health and growth. Peter Drucker calls him ‘the inventor of perpetual revival.’ Over 180,000 pastors and church leaders from over 100 denominations have attended Purpose-Driven training sessions. Over 1 million copies of The Purpose Driven Church book have been distributed in seventeen languages.”

         We hope to write a glossary showing the new meanings of the old familiar church words soon. Like the phrase, "outcome-based education," the nice-sounding "Purpose-Driven Church" is part of the network of global systems designed to manage people everywhere through the consensus process. See The Global Church

 

How John Calvin Led Me to Repent Of Christian Psychology: "The contrast between Calvin on the one hand, and the Christian psychology book on the other was like day and night. God drew a line in the dirt and pointedly said, “Which side are you on?” I couldn’t straddle the line. I had to repent of the psychologized version of the faith I had drifted into and turn back to God-centered Christianity, founded on the all-sufficiency of Christ and the Scriptures. That was in 1991, and since then I have grown more certain of the evil of blending Christianity and psychology. Just as in Israel of old, men both “feared the Lord and served their own gods according to the custom of the nations” (2 Kings 17:33), so I believe many American Christians have fallen into a syncretistic blending of Christianity and worldly psychology. But the two do not mix!

        "...there are many people in evangelical churches who have been told, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.”  They think they’re right with God because they went forward or prayed a prayer, but they have never known anything of their own corruption of heart through the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit.  They do not feel, as Spurgeon put it, the noose around their neck, and so they do not weep for joy when the Savior cuts the rope.  In many cases, they have not been truly converted.  I believe that the Christian psychology movement is built on this faulty view of salvation that minimizes depravity and makes conversion something the sinner can do by deciding for Jesus." See What it means to be a Christian

 

 

Articles on Christian psychology linked in September or earlier can be found in  The Changing Church

 

Links to the Church Growth and Management System 

Biblical Perspective Church Growth Perspective
The People's Church  Leading a Healthy Church - Rick Warren
What's Wrong with the 21st Century Church

Synopsis - Part 2 - Part 3  (by Dr. Robert Klenck)

United Methodist Church Mission Statement 
Structure & Strategy of a Purpose-Driven Pure CellChurch System
The Market-Driven Church: A Look Behind the Scenes Growing Congregations Spur Church Construction Boom
Robert SchullerGeneral Teachings/Activities Association for Church Renewal
Bill Hybels: General Teachings/Activities The Great Commission Roundtable  

Willow Creek: Conversion Without Commitment

Covey's 7 Principles for effective national and local strategies  

The Travesty of Tolerance - A Global Gospel

Hope for Europe: Sun Tzu: Art of War & YWAM Books  
  Faithworks: Glossary | Bob Buford | Drucker

  Index & More Links to Church Growth and Global Networks

The Global Church 


| Home | Armor of God | Persecution | His Word | Articles | Books | Links |