Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Best Case Against Therapy...
The Word of God

The Sufficiency of God's Word and Jesus Christ
Heb. 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Heb. 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Heb. 4:14 ¶ Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. Heb. 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Heb. 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Col 2:6 ¶ Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, Col. 2:7 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. Col. 2:8 ¶ 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. Col. 2:9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,

Psychology is a failed profession.
It offers no hope for life transformation; only possible behavior modification at best - and there are no guarantees. The psychological profession will categorically tell you that any improvement upon your current condition will take years of therapy. It will be slow, painful, embarrassing, humiliating; and will leave you drained, questioning, and unfulfilled. For one hour a week (maybe more) the therapist will pretend that they really care about you, offering you little more than pat answers, claiming special abilities to look into your heart and mind, and offer you "salvation" from your problems. But here is the real kicker: they will charge you handsomely - anywhere from $75.00 to $200.00 per hour for their compassion and wisdom. And if you can't afford it or your insurance fails to pay, they will abandon your treatment more quickly than a New York audience listening to Kathy Lee Gifford sing, "You Light Up My Life" at the Apollo Theater.

On a pragmatic scale, you would be better off to watch Bill Murry's psychological comedy, "What About Bob" a few dozen times; feast on some really good Haagen Daaz Black Rasberry Chip Ice Cream, and buy a loveable dog. Pets can be very healing, ice cream very soothing, and "Bob" very humoring. All kidding aside, in reality, those things won't get to the root of any problem... will they? No. But it will save you thousands of dollars that the psychological community wants to fleece from you and in the end you will emerge more "balanced and adjusted" and without any addicting drugs or theraputic habits.

What is the Real Solution?
Here is the anser: biblical counsel from the truth of God's Word effectively, practically, wisely, and faithfully applied to the deep hurts, struggles, fears, and needs of our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Sword and The Swordsman. His Word is enough and He is enough to meet all of our needs. No wonder King David said, "Your testimonies also are my delight; they are my counselors." (Psalm 119:24)

Listen to how the Psalmist further speaks of the complete sufficiency of God's Word:

Psa. 19:7 ¶ The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. Psa. 19:8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. Psa. 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. Psa. 19:10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Psa. 19:11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.
Come to the Wonderful Counselor; come to His truth; come to Jesus Christ. You will not be charged a dime; and you will be changed--forever! If you have been lured into the psychological blame game and find yourself trapped in endless counseling sessions that are eating away at your life savings, I would like to invite you to trust in the One who made you; the One who keeps His eye on you; to the One who truly sees your heart and knows ever detail of your life--and still loves you. He will never leave you nor forsake you, and He will even take the most painful, sinful, tragic things that others have meant for evil in your life and He will use them for good. If you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, run to no other remedy and find your contentment, rest and restoration in Him.

Through the fellowship of the saints, may other believers in the Lord faithfully walk with you, pray with you, and encourage you to trust in His Word, in Jesus, to run to God, to be filled with His Spirit in midst of your trials and brokenness.

Read the brief article below and may it encourage you today in the sufficiency of Jesus Christ, His truth and His Spirit. Find your rest, hope, healing and strength in Him.

His grace is sufficient,
Col. 2:6-9

by Isaac Ambrose

The wounded soul, who is seeking for comfort, should never go for advice to unregenerate men; this is not God's appointed way. Alas! such men will think you mad, for they do not know what trouble for sin means. Why, then, reveal your disease to those who are not physicians? Go to Him who heals all manner of diseases, for so does God direct you. When Paul was converted by divine grace, he did not confer with flesh and blood, but instantly obeyed God. So should you do. Does God, by His ministry, convince you of the danger of wicked ways and of your duty to come to Him for safety and comfort? Obey instantly, and consult not with flesh and blood.

What your sinful companions offer to you is not suitable for the healing of your sorrowful, sin-sick soul. What can idle companions do to quiet your conscience, forgive your sin, support your spirit, or fill you with spiritual joy? Alas! all their joys "are but the crackling of thorns under a pot;" dreams and vanity from their highest mirth. What agreement is there between carnal mirth and spiritual sorrow? No more than between light and darkness. Away with them all; depart from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all your sins.


Stephen A Morse said...

"Firmly Oh Lord, Your Word is Firmly Fixed in the Heavens" Psalm 119:89

Why do we spend so much of our time in worthless dialogue about topics and troubles that God has already responded to in Christ?
Steve, thanks for posting these words of Ambrose's, I need to search out God and godly men when I am in need of therapy. His Word is secure!

Bhedr said...

Oh Amen!

vegemitechristian said...

following from bhedr......"and Amen!"

Working through the classic, "Spiritual Depression" shows that God has provided in His Word, deep counsel that truly gets to the heart of the matter, which seems to always be lying underneath our apparent woes. By His Spirit, that word brings it all to light, and brings joyous change in our lives. Little bit, by little bit - in His time.

Michele Rayburn said...

I have a testimony of how God by His grace can deliver a person from mental illness. I'll try to make it brief:

My Dad served in World War II. Whatever happened to him there, he returned home severely mentally ill. He was diagnosed as paranoid-schizophrenic. He spent a lot of time in the Veterans Hospital, received shock treatments, and was on Thorazine for the rest of his life.

When he went off his medication, he sometimes became dangerous, hallucinating and hearing voices. I lived in fear for my life. So, I decided to use my Dad's Child of Veteran Scholarship to go to college to get some answers to this problem.

I knew the answer wasn't psychology, because he had already tried that. But I majored in psychology anyway, because my scholarship wouldn't allow me to go to a Bible College. I needed to start somewhere, and I needed a place of refuge.

I wasn't a Christian back then, but God was drawing me to Himself for many years to seek His help. So, I would often ask God to help my family. And He did.

In spite of the fact that I was at a secular college, wouldn't you know, the Lord brought Christians to me from every direction, witnessing to me until I got saved!

I shared this salvation message with my Dad, Mom, brother, and sister. Today, my Mom professes to trust in the Lord, my sister is saved, and my Dad...he was becoming transformed. He began to think and talk coherently and soberly with me, especially about God.

He was always a religious man, a Roman Catholic. But now, finally, someone was telling him who Jesus was, and why He died on the cross. And many other questions were finally being answered that helped my Dad work through the pain and confusion that he was in.

I think he had a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. But I'm not sure. He died about three years later. But I do know one thing. My Dad was finally at peace with himself, and appeared to be at peace with God.

We all suffered a great deal in our home. But the Lord continues to heal us by His Spirit of love, by His Word and by the prayers of so many brethren over the years.

Psychology deals only with the soul (mind, emotions, and will). God deals with spirit and soul. Psychology is man trying to change himself. Christianity is God changing the man.

After my Dad died, my Mom told me that my Dad had said that I was the only one who ever understood him. All I could think was that it was God who understood my Dad, and that God reached out to my Dad through me, with His wisdom and His love. To God be the glory.

In His Love,

vegemitechristian said...

Yes, to God be the glory.
Thank you for sharing that Michele, I was blessed.

ann_in_grace said...

I agree wholeheartedly. This is something that struck me early on my way in Faith, and has been with me all the time.
Only I could not put in in words the way it should be put.
A therapy for the soul must be based on truth, and the only truth is provided by the creator. Based upon a lie any therapy is bound to fail.

Puritan Lad said...


The modern church itself is bound by the worldview of pop-psychology, sort of a "baptized existentialism". I just completed a five part series on the Neo-Freudian Captivity of the Church.

Pop-Psychology is not some "religiously neutral" item that the church can safely import. It is a competing religion altogether.

William Kirk Kilpatrick's "Psychological Seduction" is a must read. It's an oldie, but a goodie.

Anonymous said...

What a great post Steve. Thanks. I sometimes think that the church relys to much on councelling and not enough on the transforming power of God. I have a personal story which fits with this.

My last ministry experience was difficult (to say the least) and three months before they asked me to leave we lost our baby (23 weeks gestation, was born and lived for 30 minutes). A few months ago some denomitational leaders asked me if I had gone for counselling. I said no, God told me I was to rely on Him for my healing (God spoke very clearly to me about this). They said that wasn't good enough. I remained obedinent to God and allowed Him to work in my heart. God reminded me that I was to forgive this church, seventy times seven. I have done so, even through I may never receive an apology from them for how they treated me. By choosing to forgive them, God has released me from the burdens that bound me from healing and being effective for Him. I had to heal and learn from God in His time. Had I not been obedient I fear where I would be now.

Don't get me wrong. God can and does use counselling. I just think that we use it in place of God sometimes. After all God is the Great Physician.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Steve! I know so many Christians who've been romanced by psychology--after all, how can you disprove it? it's like math... right?

That God would open their eyes to the sufficiency of Scripture.

SJ Camp said...

Wonderful comments from you all... Naomi, your comment really sums it up - thank you!

Armchair NASCAR said...

As much as I agree in principle with this post, I am concerned that you've broad-brushed this whole subject. I believe in Biblical counseling; put little trust in psychology; was "converted" to this way of thinking by Dr. MacArthur's "Our Sufficiency in Christ" many years ago. That said, your over-the-top words have smeared many well-meaning folks, and create the impression that there is an "either/or" approach to counseling, when in fact there are shades, I think. To the degree that any counselor relies upon psychology training and allows it to trump the Bible, that counselor is leading folks astray, to be sure. But there are Christian psychologists who greatly utilize the Bible, who deeply care for people instead of just seeing them as a meal ticket, who are giving their lives to try to help people. We can have a discussion about their methodology without impugning their motives or creating straw men. Steve, you've done so much good writing through the years that I'm disappointed with this over-the-top piece, even while I agree substantially with your basic viewpoint.