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Psychotherapy

By Bill Lockwood

religion, articles, christianity

Seeking to establish a wholesome role for psychotherapy, and consequently for psychotherapists, David Benner argues in his book Psychotherapy and the Spiritual Quest, the following:

It is not sufficient to say that we should merely die to self or give up self. Self must be known before it can be given up; we cannot turn over to God things about ourselves of which we can know nothing.... Psychotherapy brings an actualization and strengthening of self. At its best psychotherapy involves the crucifixion of the false self (pp. 124-125).

If the prophets of the Old Testament or apostles of the New, who gave their lives for the Word of God, were to read this, I am certain they would be more than a little amused. They would know that one of the most dangerous courses for the church is that of psychotherapy, and for precisely the reasons we find in Benner's statement above. There is something drastically askew with a system which, in its efforts to find a legitimate niche, will resort to benumbing Jesus' call "to die to self" until the professional therapist has plied his/her trade.

Psychotherapy has seduced Christianity to an alarming degree. Note how many churches are hiring full­time "counselors" or "therapists." Our need to find self has become all­consuming.

Consider the Communist goal for world domination and recognize some of their self­stated efforts along these lines. Communism admits that in their "psychological war" they are designing the breakdown of the American culture to melt us into a pot of world government and global society. This includes, from their own agenda, the following:

Promotion of the United Nations as a World Court,
Gain control of the educational systems of America and oust the Bible-soften the curriculum,
De-emphasize American history in favor of World opinion,
Substitute American art with 'ugliness, repulsive, and meaningless art,'
Infiltrate American churches and replace revealed religion with 'social' religion, and treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand or treat (W. Cleon Skousen, The Naked Communist, pp. 259­262).

Some of the above I have included for good measure. Note what must be done, according to them, to religion. Unfortunately, too many Christians have errantly agreed to have their minds subverted by the fantastic fabrication that we need a staff complete with counselors, therapists, and guidance ministers, demanding that preachers "meet people's needs." Hence, soft­shell dispensers of psychotherapeutic pabulum are today posted behind pulpits while a love­to­have­it­so membership whines for non­judgmental unity with denominationalism. Counseling has replaced preaching.

One speaker observed while explaining Luke 15 that "the road to self is the longest road any one could possibly travel." For, only after trashing his livelihood in "riotous living" did the prodigal, who had pigs for table companions, "come to himself."

Have you ever wondered how the Bible penmen learned "to cope" with the rejection of their message and even of their persons? Which of them was popularly regarded by the masses? The key to psyche­ailments is the Bible, or I have been reading the wrong book.

When Paul was alone in prison, he instructed Timothy to preach the Word of God (2 Tim. 4:1). He did not recommend group therapy. He did not whine about his loneliness and mistreatment. He busied himself with a meditation upon Scripture precepts, and publication of its good news, and prayerful vigil in behalf of others.

Jeremiah was almost overcome by wholesale rejection of peers and family, who put him in a dungeon. His mind rested on duty toward God, and that caused the revealed Word to burn in his heart demanding announcement. Elijah became weak as he mulled over the odds against him. God reminded him first, that he had overdrawn the picture to himself, and then commissioned Elijah to go to work.

Focus on self is never the recommendation given nor is it advised in the Bible. Rather, a realization of our task, while our minds are steeped in his Word, is God's formula. Selfishness erases our dependence upon God and his Word.


Published December 1996