“Your Word is very pure, therefore Your servant loves it.” – Psalm 119:140
Last Week, as we continued our look at Biblical Counseling, we emphasized the necessity and importance of the Christian Counselor to hold high the Sufficiency of Scripture. Posing the question; “How do we know the Scriptures are Sufficient?” We turned our attention to Psalm 19:7-9 and also 2 Timothy 3:16-17. In these two passages we were able to see the amazing clarity to which the Word of God speaks regarding its own sufficiency. Both David and Paul testified that the Word of God is capable and competent to handle the issues and dilemmas that the Christian struggles with on a day to day basis. Clearly, God’s Word is sufficient and competent for all counseling.
As we continue to look at the sufficiency of Scripture in Biblical Counseling, another question comes to mind: “Why do we place such a heavy emphasis on the Sufficiency of Scripture?” The answer to our question posed above is simply this: The Sufficiency of Scripture is under attack, and it is not only under attack by those outside the church, but also by those inside the church. This attack comes in different forms, but perhaps the most harmful attack against the sufficiency of Scripture is that of modern psychology. Psychology, or “Christian Psychology” attacks the Sufficiency of the Word of God in Biblical Counseling. This is why the Scripture’s must be held high as sufficient. This is why the Biblical Counselor must immerse himself in the Word of God. It alone has to be our sole and final authority.
The Attack of Psychology against Biblical Christianity.
Psychology at its core, is a direct and frontal attack against the Word of God, God’s commands, and a correct Christian worldview. It poses a great threat to all forms of true Biblical Counseling today because at its foundation are unbiblical and ungodly presuppositions about life, sin, hope, and how people change. We know that the foundation of Biblical Counseling is the Word of God alone; quite contrary to that, the foundation of Psychology is the wisdom of man. This indeed is a shaky foundation. It is here that we see the grave danger of attempting to integrate modern psychology with the Words of God. In reality, you can’t; the two don’t mix, they don’t stick together. Why? Because the house of psychology is built on the sand of man’s word while the house of Biblical Counseling is built upon the rock of God’s Word. They are different, not only in appearance on the outside, but also in a fundamental way.
The harmful errors and presuppositions of modern psychology must be exposed and held up to the light of the Word of God. Against this brilliant backdrop these presuppositions must be tested and shown whether or not they are valid or invalid for helping and aiding the Biblical Counselor in Christ’s church today.
(1) Psychology: has a faulty view of mankind. Psychology teaches an evolutionary (or something similar) model to the creation of man, and believes that mankind is merely an advanced animal. The founders of psychology; Freud, Rogers, Skinner, Ackerman and many more deny God therefore they cannot have a correct view of mankind. This is in direct contradiction to the Word of God that states mankind was made in God’s image (Gen. 1:17-28.) This faulty view contains the teaching that man is autonomous. This teaching essentially declares that man can solve his problems on his own without the help of God or His Word. This clearly contradicts our Lord’s teaching in John 15:5 where He states, “…for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Moreover, the psychological model also promotes the inherent goodness of mankind. It teaches that mankind is ‘basically good’ and not totally depraved. This is a direct violation of what the Scriptures clearly teach in passages such as Romans. 3:10-18, 23, and Jeremiah 17:9.
(2) Psychology: denies human responsibility for sin. Psychology denies human responsibility, and tries to blame sinful actions and responses on others, the past, one’s family, one’s surroundings, mental illness, or biology. Although each one of these things can have an influence on the life of a person, they are more often than not used as an excuse for sinful behaviour. This too contradicts the Bible which clearly describes man as responsible for his own sin (1 John 1:8; Ezek. 18:4).
(3) Psychology: has no absolute moral authority. Psychology has no absolute morality; there are countless ‘solutions’ to the same problem. Moreover, they excuse many sins as ‘guilty pleasures’ that all people experience. On the other hand, the Scripture teaches an absolute standard for morality and all decision-making (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Ps. 119:160).
(4) Psychology: has no ability to bring about real or lasting change. Psychology is absolutely useless to bring about any real or lasting change. At best they can only effect behaviour modification but never lasting change because their system of thought is flawed and it is not based upon the Word of God. The Scriptures teach that lasting change can only be effected by the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer (Rom. 8:5-11; 2 Cor. 4:16; John 15:4-5).
(5) Psychology: therefore denies the absolute authority and sufficiency of Scripture. Once you take a survey of these unbiblical presuppositions that are championed by modern psychological thought, it becomes very clear that at its core, psychology attacks the sufficiency of Scripture. Step by step it completely undoes what the Bible accurately portrays about mankind, sin, morality, and Biblical lasting change. The model and methods of psychology therefore must be laid aside, they cannot be integrated with the Scriptures. The moment the Biblical Counselor steps off of the Word of God in favour of adding to it the system of man he begins a descent on a very slippery slope that will eventually lead to compromising the Word of God when dealing with sin in the lives of others.
We must see that the introduction of Psychology and its unbiblical presuppositions and practices has been extremely destructive to the Biblical Counseling movement. First and foremost it has robbed glory from God and His Word as it inherently calls the sufficiency of the Word of God into question. It robs the hope of lasting change by excusing sin and being indirect with how to deal with it biblically and rightly. Worst of all, it has created a great confusion in church today as to where hope is found. Hope must be and always will be found in Christ Jesus, yet psychology places its hope in the wisdom of mankind. May the Biblical counselor stand unwavering upon the Word of God! It alone has the answers and it alone will provide us with all that we need for life and godliness. We must be willing to declare that the Scripture and the Scriptures alone are Sufficient!
“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been make complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority…” – Colossians 2:6-10
For a comprehensive guide to Psychology and Biblical Counseling see the Resources: (1) Competent to Counsel, Jay Adams (2) Psychologized Man, Martha Peace. Much help from: Training in Biblical Counseling; The Masters Seminary, PM 711 Pastoral Counseling (Pg. 20-21)