This article concerns how to function as a believer among non-believers who are in control of our government and its agencies, our institutions of higher education, the news media, entertainment; and are slowly creeping into the church.
This series is meant to be pragmatic, addressing specific characteristics, behaviors, and insights.
I’ve going to break from my norm and speak about something of a personal nature, an example I lived out where I found a way to function within a college setting, graduating my secular program on the honor roll while maintaining my Christian beliefs – conducting myself as a Daniel in a Nebuchadnezzar type of world.
I became a born-again believer almost 40 years ago. Five years after dedicating my life to the Lord I became a Youth Leader, then a Minister of Youth in fulltime ministry serving as an Assistant Pastor in a medium-sized church.
Sometime later I left full-time ministry, working in the field of law enforcement and later investigations for the next few decades.
Eventually, I worked part-time as a volunteer organizing and running ministries serving a rest home, an orphanage, a video ministry, and became a volunteer chaplain in 2 large hospitals.
During these years while holding secular occupations, I was required to undergo secular education, as well as training programs.
Currently, I am on paid staff at a regional hospital in North Texas as a Chaplain.
I entered my third secular profession over 12 years ago, which is within the mental health field.
My particular field is chemical dependency counseling (CDC); I am a LCDC (License Chemical Dependency Counselor), and a CCJP (Certified Criminal Justice Addiction Professional).
When I started my training in this field, in my 40s; my college education was in clinical psychology specializing in treating dual diagnosis patients, and working within correction populations.
This is not to say that I practice psychology or support any of its presuppositions; I don’t (See Endnote #1).
Throughout my endeavor in this new occupation, I have learned how to survive within the hallowed halls of atheistic higher education, function within a secular and unbelieving profession (See Endnote #2), thrive under the limitations of being a state employee; yet all without compromising my Christian beliefs (No, I am not talking about utilizing what is referred to as “Christian Psychology,” which is as fraudulent concerning the mixing of Christianity and psychology as the mixing of oil and water. See Endnote #3), while maintaining my integrity as a born-again Christian.
My Pre-Daniel Days
When I first became a Christian I had an immense hunger for God’s Word, and immediately started to use a concordance, Greek dictionaries and word studies; attempting to dabble in the Greek language of the New Testament.
I studied and became an apologist (See Endnote #4), following the teaching of modern apologists such as: C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, R.C. Sproul, Ray Comfort, and Donald Gray Barnhouse. I was even privileged to take classes under one of Barnhouse’s students, Walter Martin; the original “Bible Answer Man.”
When an atheists or agnostic would present something that was un-biblical, or opposed to Christianity I would debate them, sometimes displaying a lack of respect, never realizing it was really my own ego that was in control.
I used the rationality for my lack of humility (which displayed a lack of power under control), that I was “fighting the good fight” (as stated in 1 Tim. 6:12; yet forgetting verse 11, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”).
However, often I came across far too emotional (which unfortunately is far too easy as I am an emotional responder by nature), allowing my feelings to get into the battle.
Most of the time when Christians become emotionally drawn into debating about Christianity, they do not realize that they are NOT defending God, He does not need their defense.
What they are actually doing is defending their own belief system – it is about them and not God at all (Time and maturing in the Lord is what helps counteract this).
And believe me the fallen nature can convince us that anything is good, when in reality it is sinful (I’ve learned, good intentions; along with sincerity have nothing to do with the validity of anything. I have no doubt that Adolf Hitler, Stalin and Mao may have truly believed the trash that they believed, wherein they rationalized the genocide of millions. However, it is never right to do the wrong thing for the right reason, and being a victim is the greatest justification of all. This is the rationality of our current culture, wherein being a victim rationalizes every kind of fraud and evil known to man).
Daniel and His Three Friends ~ The Right Examples
A good biblical example of how believers are to behave in a secular environment can be seen in Daniel and his three friends (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, which are their Hebrew names [Daniel 1:6; 1:11]; as far as God was concerned – not their Babylonian names given to them by their keeper of: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; as the church normally refers to them. Notice throughout the narrative of Daniel, that he uses their Hebrew names. What a shame that we are so concerned about what others calls us, rather than what God names us.).
Daniel 1:8, which says:
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
The first thing we should observe is the use of the word “purposed“ (Hebrew: soon); in which every time this verb is used in the Old Testament, it involves the sovereignty of God concerning that which is purposed (Genesis 2:8; 1 Samuel 7:12; Joe 5:8; Exodus 15:25; Deuteronomy 1:13; 22:14).
When this verse says that Daniel “purposed in his heart;” this is not a proud stand that he is taking (the kind of statement, such as: “I will not be moved!”). It is a pledge to keep that which he has committed to God, knowing that God will work all things out – faith in God is displayed in this word in regards to God’s sovereignty over Daniel’s life.
The following characteristics of Daniel and his three friends exhibit their integrity which can be defined as:
1 ~ HOLINESS – Separation To…
The integrity that Daniel displayed concerning him NOT being willing to defile himself must be seen in an atmosphere of the price that he might pay for this commitment that he made within his heart (this food was an order by the King himself as stated in Daniel 1:5, which states: “And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank…”).
This statement displays that Daniel was “holy.” How often we forget what the word “holy” really needs, it means to be “separated to.”
Unfortunately, many times Christians realizing what this word means, separation; focuses on the separation from sin; which is a good thing.
Yet, when you study the word “holy,” the predominance that is found in the linguistics is that it is a separation to God as seen in the (Greek) word: hagios, from hagos (literally: an awful thing) sacred (physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated): (most) holy (one, thing), saint, consecrated, devoted, sacred, holy, meaning set apart from a common to a sacred use; spoken of places, temples, cities, the priesthood, men (Matt. 4:5; 7:6; 24:15; 27:53; Acts 6:13; 7:33; Rom. 11:16, of firstfruits); of a male opening the womb (Luke 2:23); of apostles (Eph. 3:5); of prophets (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21; 2 Pet. 1:21); of angels (Matt. 25:31). (“The Complete WordStudy Dictionary“; General Editor: Spiros Zodhiates)
You see, we can be separated from sinfulness and still go to hell, we see this in the Eastern religions where they live holier lives than we do, to the extent that they have less sin that is apparent.
However, what God demands of us is far more expensive than separating ourselves from sin (and please do not use this as a rationality to sin, this would display an immaturity that leads to destruction), but to separate ourselves to Him.
In reality, how easy it is to attend church once a week, give 10% of our income, pray and behave in a wholesome manner; as compared to realizing God owns ALL of our time, ALL of our possessions; and be willing, if God commands to act in a manner which others would find a reproach or completely weird (Please do not take my word for it, read the following: Isaiah 20:1-4 ~ God demands for the prophet to walk around naked; Ezekiel 4:9-12 ~ God demands for the prophet to sleep on one side for over year and eat strange food baked with human dung; Ezekiel 5:1-5 ~ God demands for the prophet to cut off his hair and do weird things with it; Ezekiel 12:3-11 ~ God demands for the prophet to move his furniture in and out of his house through a hole in the wall in plain sight for everyone to see; Ezekiel 24:15-18 ~ God will not let the prophet mourn the death of his wife. Also see Jeremiah 13:1-5; 27:1-5;); all at the expense of losing our good name and perhaps everything else in our lives.
You see holiness is far more than cleaning the outside of the cup (Matt. 23:25-26), it is giving God the inside as well; even if He demands things that make no sense to us at the time. This is what we see Daniel doing, putting it all on the line
2 ~ FAITH – Which Is the Foundation Wherein We Separate Ourselves to God.
However, we don’t simply give ourselves to God in blind faith (At first, though there will come a time when we develop trust Him in spite of what things look), which is not what biblical faith is.
We obey God because of faith (Very simply defined: Faith is Action based upon Belief sustained by Competence) that is based upon a track record sustained by confidence; confidence based upon the track record that God has set forth in His Word, wherein we obtain faith (Romans 10:17 ~ “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”).
As Ephesians 2:8-10 states:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
This Scripture very plainly teaches, we are not saved by works; but we are saved to do works.
AND we are not saved by faith, which would be bartering, but we are saved by grace; God’s unmerited favor.
However, it is faith that gives us access to this grace, and faith is how we walk (“For we walk by faith, not by sight” ~ 2 Cor. 5:7; “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” ~ Col 2:6) in our lives, so that we may become God’s workmanship, separated and holy unto Him to produce good works that have been before ordained that we should walk therein.
3 ~ HUMILITY – An Attitude and Quality of being modest and respectful.
Notice Daniel’s humility in that he made no demands concerning his diet, he made a request.
The humility these four men display is far from what we see so prevalent within Christianity today, where condescension, authority, or even when leaders attempt to muscle their way through something exhibits the type of leadership Jesus spoke about regarding how the Gentiles displayed Lordship (Luke 22:25-26).
Today, in our culture we demand our rights, and while Paul shows that this can be correct in the right situations (Acts 22:25); it is when these four individuals who were made slaves to a king (wherein they did not have the rights of citizenship as Paul did), act as slaves of God displaying humility which proves that their integrity was sincere and real.
4 ~ A WILLINGNESS TO SUFFER
It should not go without notice regarding their willingness to suffer as they also did not eat.
Because in spite of the fact that Daniel had permission to display the correctness of his diet, we cannot forget that he had already established in his heart that he would not defile himself and eat the King’s food.
Therefore, he and his three friends were willing to suffer starvation because of their beliefs.
And we should paint some reality within this scene. It is one thing to starve when there’s no food to tempt you; it is quite another thing to starve when you have nothing but great food laid out in front of you at the dining table.
All types of exotic meats, vegetables and fruits; cakes, cookies, and candy; all prepared by the greatest cooks of the day.
Yet, these 4 men were willing to abstain while sitting at the table with some of the greatest foods prepared and laid out in right in front of them. This was suffering.
And if it was noticed that they were not eating by the wrong person, their refusal to follow the King’s order would have ended in suffering, torture, and death for refusing the King’s order.
We must realize that this would also be a personal insult to the king – there’s two words that never go together, “No” and “Lord.”
They Used Reason, Not Emotions to Make Their Point
What should also be observed is the dignity wherein they clothed themselves, and the sound reasoning they exhibited.
When their keeper noticed that they were not eating the food mandated by the King, they did not make a rude demonstrative stand (While peaceful demonstration is an aspect of a free and democratic society, by its nature a demonstration is to draw attention to itself – a quality present in pride which culminates with demanding attention upon itself), displaying pride or arrogance.
They simply explained their belief, and then respectively suggested to their keeper that their dietary requirements would suit them better, and that a test might prove the point – how logical they presented themselves and therefore gave credibility to the God they served.
How often do we see Christians on TV presenting a cause, or representing God; exhibiting shameful emotions which disgrace our Father, making Him look like the gods of men’s hands.
Yet, because their behavior was not outright arrogant brashness, for which they would’ve lost their heads, a test was allowed to occur proving the superiority of their own diet.
What great ambassadors for God they were in displaying humility, faith, and integrity; rationality and elegance, along with a willingness to suffer for their God – these are examples of godly men separated to their God.
Back to my Story
having spent years teaching and attempting to act out some of these principles as found in God’s Word, by the time I was in my 40’s, when I starting a new field of employment in substance-abuse counseling, where I was required to attend secular college; I was more amenable to following Daniel’s example.
I managed better self-control than I would’ve ever thought was possible; attempting to not let my emotions rule my behavior; conducting myself more reasonably displaying more humility and rationality. Knowing I could receive lower grades for openly discussing my own belief system, yet knowing that God was in control.
One of the little secrets I learned on how to survive within a secular college as a Daniel in a Nebuchadnezzar type of world was that it was not my job to correct the teacher or the curriculum. Their responsibility was to teach me information.
What I needed to do was to learn the information they taught and display that I learned it by answering the test questions appropriately, according to what they said was the correct answers.
Again, the professor’s job (though most of them didn’t understand this) was to teach me information; that was it.
So instead of merely doing what was expected of me in studying and preparing for class and doing my papers; I went far and above what was asked. I learned the subject matter better than anyone else, so that if I was asked my opinion I can defend myself using their own criteria mixed with the Bible.
So that during class interaction, when our opinions were sought, I presented my belief system, what I felt the Word of God had to say concerning what they were teaching or what others were stating when it contradicted the Bible.
There were many occasions that I was told to shut up and sit down by the professor. Who stated he was a believer, yet his fruit and behavior displayed otherwise (Matt. 7:15-16).
And as the professor promoted humanism, evolution, world philosophy, and other ungodly and unbiblical principles as facts of life within the classroom setting, when allowed to speak; I simply either used God’s Word directly (though not verbatim using citations in a condescending manner, sitting authority within my statements), or biblical principles in a rational manner, which the professor repetitively stated was a necessary to conducting ourselves as counselors.
Many times I was treated with great disdain for voicing my opinions, yet always stating that it was my opinion based upon my belief system. Having been a Christian for over 30 years at this point my life, and having studied God’s Word intensely I found myself thoroughly equipped to answer them according to their own folly.
“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” ~ Proverbs 26:4-5.
It is in wisdom in studying the Bible that you learn the answer to what this proverb means. Nothing replaces years of studying expositionally – in-depth.
This is the problem that most Christian teenagers have when they enter secular university, they don’t know the Bible; so how can they support their own belief system; yet more importantly how do they defend God’s Word. It’s like having a rifle with no ammunition.
It is in having been a Christian for years which prepared me for the many occasions where my feelings were hurt, and I went home feeling awful, even crying.
But the point was I did much better during those later years in college than I had done in the first 20 years of my Christian walk; as far as learning to survive as a believer in an unbelieving environment (I have an awful long way to go, and because of my own insecurities I will probably never ever get close to the level that Daniel and his three friends did).
But our Christian walk is simply that, a life of progression. And whereas I am not the example, it is when you and I follow God’s Word as our example that we get a little further down the road, and do a little better.
I received honors, being on the Dean’s list each year, receiving an A in every class, as well as on all my assignments, tests, midterms, and term-papers.
Yet, more importantly, I was a better example of a follower of Christ in an unchristian environment.
1. Psychology ~ Why has it Gained its Credibility
Have you ever asked yourself as a Christian, why does humanistic psychology have so much credibility within our culture.
We understand that the un-saved individuals lack an aspect of discernment which renders them spiritually blind.
However, we must remember at the same time that the imageness of God, which was placed in Adam (though affected by man’s fall unto degradation); is still a part of humanity, as seen in the immense intelligence of man, and man’s abilities to yet discern his environment, and others (“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” ~ Gen 11:6).
Man’s perception may be limited in certain areas, or at certain times; yet the unbeliever still bears a perception that God placed within man.
Therefore, how do we explain the hundred years of radical acceptance of psychology by the masses, both believers and unbelievers all over the world? I believe the reason for this is that psychology, as a supposed scientific pursuit has made many thoughtful observations concerning man and his behavior.
Psychologists learn from these observations, and can therefore make predictions; they thereby gain credibility from the masses.
Example: you can watch a dog for weeks, perceiving and recording its reactions to its environment; and therefore conclude a very thorough sophisticated outline concerning the dog’s actions and the probability of future actions. However, this does not give you any formation concerning the true internal aspects of the dog. You cannot tell if the dog has a spiritual aspect – a soul, and if so, where it’s soul came from prior to its physical existence. Even if this could be true, you could not determine if there was a master designer – a God who originally created the dog; or who that personage may have been.
Nor can you tell what happens after its death. And though you may be able to make certain somewhat qualified predictions concerning its behavior, you would only be guessing concerning the working of its motivation, and it’s understanding of life, both would actually be foreign to your endeavor.
The best you could do is gasp some basic ideas, however they would be solely guesses founded upon your insights into the thinking process as a man, not a dog, understanding that a dog is not the same and could not truly be compared.
This is what psychology has done concerning humans (as they have concerning their observation of dogs), and psychology makes conclusions concerning humans in reference to their belief that humans are just animals themselves.
Psychologist, whether stated or not must group man within the same arena as animals, explaining how experiments can be done to animals that will reflect aspects concerning humanity. This is true in the physical world of biology as well as the theoretic world of psychology. This explains that within the realm of biology, lavatories are set up to test products on animals before human consumption, and psychology just takes it one step further than.
Example: one of the many psychological insights that has given psychology such credibility is referred to as “Birth Order Personalities,” as originally created by Kevin Leman.
This hypothesis conjectures that within an original family group, that certain personalities will develop according to which child is born in what order. The first child normally becomes the hero, the achiever; the second child normally becomes the rebel, the third child becomes the clown, and the fourth child becomes the silent child.
Now this all breaks down whenever you bring in blended families due to divorce, where conflict between the chronology breaks down as prior established personality’s conflict within the new blended family unit.
Where there are now two heroes who duke it out, and so on.
However, within traditional non-blended families, “Birth Order Personalities” observation of personality development is a very understandable phenomenon. Allow me to explain.
The first thing to understand is that we humans always search for identity, something that makes us fit within our environment, even if it’s being in the rebel, the outcast. This still gives us identity as a person.
Though the psychologist would say that this is forming personality, but the observation may have to do with seeking identity rather than forming personality. It may have more to do with finding how to fit within our own cog within this wheel; then the idea that the environment makes us who we are.
From a Christian standpoint, I believe God forms our personality.
The matter what the reality is, God has made us this way will we seek identity and how we interact with the world around us, otherwise we would all be robots mimicking each other with no originality and no sense of uniqueness.
With the first child, the parents having no experience, and treat the child as if it is gold, treating as if it would not grow up right unless they treated like the center of their world. It is common that this child is spoiled, having been doted over by parents and grandparents alike as the first introduction of a child into the family. They invest more time and energy into this child, which creates a sense of empowerment and entitlement in the child which normally leads to this child being a leader, a winner, more dominant than others.
The second child may attempt to usurp the first child’s station in the family, yet the parents and others have already accepted the role of the first child, so the second child would search for identity, and normally finds it as being the opposite of the first child, as the antagonist; in the form of being in the rebel, where they gain attention in this way.
The third child, in searching for identity finds acceptance by being non-threatening in getting attention as the family clown, he receives attention from others by being the funniest.
The fourth child, finding no ready acceptance becomes more introverted, usually astute and excels academically.
The commonality that all of these children have is in them seeking love and acceptance, which is manifest in seeking attention through identity.
It has been wisely said that the opposite of love is not hate, but in the refusal to acknowledge the other person’s existence.
If two people were in love and broke up, and the one that left still hated the one that wanted the relationship to continue, the rejected one still is involved in a relationship even though it is based upon hate – there are emotions still being churned.
Yet, there is nothing worse for the rejected one than to sense that there is completely no feelings whatsoever from the other; they are nonexistent in the world of the person they love.
This is devastating, even worse than being hated. There is nothing worse in the world then isolation, and isolation is based upon a lack of relationship, it is based upon a lack of acceptance, acknowledgment, and love.
Therefore, as a child grows up it is natural for them to seek the feeling of love, and to be accepted and acknowledged as who they are in order to validate their existence.
Therefore, this observation; if true is not based on any great accomplishment of psychology, simply an observation of reality.
Before I ever heard of Kevin Leman, my grandfather spoke about the same kind of phenomena concerning humanity having never went to college a day in his life.
As it goes there always breakdowns in classifying anything, and exceptions to the rule, and the same is true concerning this type of observation; especially within a culture where divorce and remarriage is the standard rather than the exception.
Also exceptions are seen in the length of time between the different births. Such as a baby that is born 5 to 10 years after the rest; which may become the golden-haired child because it’s siblings, if female will nurture it, and it becomes spoiled having many more people to render time to its parenting – it’s the “baby”.
The point is that this type of observation wherein psychology has grained such credibility is merely based upon spending time studying something.
It does not validate the science as a whole concerning any conclusions or treatment that psychologist may render, hence the reason why today we have over 500 different types of psychological pursuits, referred to as disciplines or modalities.
And despite all of the clamor and rhetoric concerning psychology, these observations may or may not help in assisting individuals in the treatment of how to deal with (what psychology terms as), Mood Disorders, Personality Disorders, or physical or environmental stressors (as identified and classified in the “DMS-IV-TR”, the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” utilized by the medical and psychological establishments), as well as any other psychological condition people display.
2. Psychology ~ Its History in a Nutshell
While many say that Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939), and his apprentice Carl Jung (1875 – 1961) are the fathers of European psychology, William James (1842 – 1910) and Wilhelm Wundt (1832 – 1920) are considered by most to be the fathers of modern psychology in America.
By the late 1970s there were over 250 different psychological disciplines – forms of therapeutic approaches to the treatment of mental deficiencies or problems; with this number increasing almost 500 by the turn-of-the-century. What most people don’t understand is that each new psychological approach was created usually in deference to another approach, so within these 500 different forms of treatment while there may be an eclectic use of the same terms, or tools; most of them seem to be antithetical one to the other.
The point is there is NOT a uniform consensus that can be addressed when one form is used to attack Christianity. The devil was very smart in this, rather than having one arch-enemy where a template could be devised where Christians could understand how to deal with these philosophies which are antithetical to Christianity, Satan helped create hundreds of different modalities, with different presuppositions.
However, there are certain presuppositions which a majority of these forms of modalities hold to as foundational.
A random listing might consist of: Determinism, Experimentalism, Reductionism, Naturalism, and Relativism. Others might also add Materialism, Evolution, Empiricism, Humanism, and even Occultism.
Therefore, attempting to make overboard statements concerning the field of psychology becomes difficult whenever we approach the methodology or foundational presuppositions of these diverse therapies.
Yet, many of these approaches state that they deal with thinking processes that have been disturbed because of past experiences and or physical trauma to the muscle referred to as a brain.
The mind is not a physical description, the brain is. And as many of these disciplines seek to understand those activating events which initiated trauma to the human mind, many believe that this knowledge will indicate the proper course to addressing the treatment of these traumas.
In the early part of the 20th century a divergent philosophy concerning psychology, which was antithetical in many aspects to psychology emerged.
This new approach rejected introspective methods or mere talk therapy and sought to restrict psychology to experimental methods which reduced problems to behaviors, behaviors which could be learned and unlearned.
All of us have heard of “Pavlov’s Dog,” where Ivan Pavlov (1849 – 1936) observed the connection between behavior and thought processes within animals. Where he would ring a bell every time he would feed a dog until eventually he could ring the bell without feeding the dog, yet the dog would salivate connecting the two events; referred to as “Classical Conditioning.”
It was B. F. Skinner (1904 – 1990) who perfected many of the insights gained within behaviorism. And while an avowed atheist and humanist, Skinner dealt with behaviors and conditioning as opposed to delving into the psyche of the subject.
Skinner’s modality, termed “Radical behaviorism is the philosophy of the science of behavior. It seeks to understand behavior as a function of environmental histories of reinforcing consequences. Such a functional analysis makes it capable of producing technologies of behavior. Unlike less austere behaviorism, it does not accept private events such as thinking, perceptions, and unobservable emotions in a causal account of an organism’s behavior” Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B.F. Skinner).
Of all the forms of psychology, over 500; this approach to the human condition is much more conducive to dealing with training or retraining human behaviors. Yet, this as all psychological approaches must be understood to be humanistic and man oriented as opposed to Christian and God oriented.
3. Psychology ~ When Mixed with Christianity
Today there are many in the church that practice what they refer to as “Christian Psychology.”
These individuals are normally well-meaning believers that have great empathy (to experience compassion for someone who is going through something that YOU HAVE went through yourself) or sympathy (to experience compassion for someone who is going through something that YOU HAVE NOT went through yourself) for others; however, it is their training in psychology that we should question, not their motives.
If you take the time to thoroughly examine this practice, you will find that it is a psychologist or therapist that uses biblical citations, merely as props, yet does not fully follow biblical doctrine.
Even those that use a lot of Scripture, MAINLY do so loosely and merely to make their own presuppositions (I am not ONLY referring to psychological premises, but also to the positive side of the human conscience. Many of the teachings found in God’s Word are just good common sense. This is because we are made in the imageness of God Himself, through Adam. Therefore, these presuppositions, common sense may line up with the Bible, but the question becomes what came first the presupposition or the Bible that they use to find Scriptures that validate their beliefs), while practicing a psychological framework which is their ultimate guide; rather it is antithetical to the Bible or not.
Many times what they state is simply common sense, and may even be neutral. But it is when they present psychological presuppositions concerning discretion that you must be alarmed. Remember the old adage, simply because the poison is only a drop within a large glass, does not nullify the death that follows.
Since there over 500 different types of psychological disciplines or modalities, and it is impossible to address them all, yet if you take them one by one you will find that their practitioners are psychologist first and foremost, and that the use of Scriptures as props does not validate their forms of therapy, even if they call it Christian psychology.
Psychology, according to the popular Rogerian (Carl Rogers) example, is “client centered,” which is anathema to the Bible which is God centered.
Foundational to any therapeutic pursuit is a relationship between counselor and counselee; wherein the counselor is always on the side of the counselee, taking what they say at face value, rather than the pursuit of truth.
Often I have heard supposedly Christian psychologist (such as on “The Word” 107.1; and the program “New Life Ministries,” with Doctors Steve Arterburn, Henry Cloud, Sheri Denham, Jill Hubbard, David Stoop, and John Townsend, to name a few) advise Christian women to divorce a man who the woman states is verbally or emotionally abusive, which is not validated in the Bible; nor do they even attempt to use Scripture concerning these types of cases.
Many of their on air counseling sessions seem to make common sense, yet the common sense is because we have been so inundated through the media with psychological premises and jargon that are common sense, yet this is not the same as biblical sense.
They speak about past tragedies the same as modern psychologist and attempting to utilize therapeutic approaches to dealing with these issues. They use Scriptures to back up their premises, as opposed to the Bible describing premises that they can utilize.
And they are client centered, the truth is not what they really seek. What they seek is to aid the counselee in what they perceive is the best manner.
However, if the premise starts off with a lie, even if the light is self-denial; the conclusion can never be the remedy.
A false narrative can never lead to a correct conclusion. And better yet, attempting to use psychological tools are not the same as spiritual and biblical answers.
They do attempt to validate the merit of what the counselee says by meeting with the husband.
Even within the secular practice psychology many practitioners believe that radio talk therapy is a sham. While many callers talk about how they been helped, it always depends on what the definition of help is.
One of the best insights I ever learned was from a little old ladies at one time said, “you must define success before you understand how to achieve it.”
Within pastoral counseling, it is common to find that both marriage partners perceive the situation antithetical to each other, and without even attempting to do so; cannot correctly deduce what are legitimate issues and what are not.
Within a marriage is an abomination to have an outsider take one side of the story and make pronouncements which are antithetical to the Bible, such as advising people to seek divorce which does not follow the guidelines that Christ set when he stated that adultery was the only reason for divorce.
Success within marriage counseling is not to make all the problems go away. Success within marriage counseling is not to make one person feel vindicated for dissolving the relationship. Success is defined as pleasing God in the marriage.
Many Christian psychologist attempt to rationalize divorce concerning what they refer to as global or psychological abuse by misusing God’s word, sidestepping what Jesus said directly concerning the subject.
Yet these doctors who prefer to refer to themselves as such; are never there to witness these declarations that they assist occur based upon one person’s perspective. As a biblical counselor, how arrogant is it to believe that you can discern the reality by only hearing one side of the issue.
The arrogance and pride that is submitted by a biblical psychologist who thinks that they can judge a situation by hearing the counselee only displays a lack of humility, as well as a lack of faith in God that trusting in Him will result in a righteous conclusion.
Personally, within pastoral counseling I have repeatedly found how Christians that are uncomfortable in a situation; wishing for an excuse to leave, rather voluntarily or not distort the situation.
A good counselor looks for the truth, not for simply building a good relationship with the counselee which is the center of most modalities of psychology, and always prevalent within Christian psychology as well.
Biblically speaking, the way to deal with an abusive husband is set for in God’s Word, which I’ve never seen a Christian psychologist ever use, usually stating how simplistic the Scripture is concerning this, not achieving the same goals as therapy.
The scriptural basis is very simple, found in Matthew 18:15-18. This has to do with when Christians violate other Christians. Yet the one thing I have never seen happen with a Christian psychologist is to state that marriage is to be honored even if its participants do not do so. And that divorce is not recognized except in the case of adultery as per Jesus very own words.
I have seen situations where women have been physically abused, and for their own physical safety as well as the safety of their children have left the husband, yet without divorcing them. I have also seen God bring these families together by using the separation of losing a family to motivate the man to again seek God and correct his behaviors.
However, the Christian psychologist who set their priority as the happiness of their client never speaks of leaving the abuser without divorcing them. Their reasoning is, “why should the woman be tied to an abusive man and be unhappy”?
However, believing that the end goal for the Christian is happiness is selfish and self-centered; misunderstanding that pain and tribulation are tools that God can use in a believer’s life to grow their faith.
The Process of Faith
Faith only grows when it is stretched by tribulations (problems, hard times, difficulties, calamities, trials, and testing; they’re all synonymous concerning the “trying of our faith”). Faith can only grow incrementally, as more and more is demanded of it. This is because trust is a process contingent upon experience, as someone proves they are trustworthy situation after situation, we trust them more and more. In this way faith is analogous to a muscle which must be torn before growth can occur. Therefore, we must always realize and therefore understand that testing is not done simply as a process whereby God attempts to validate the existence of our faith, or its degree, which might appear cruel on the surface; but that these trials are necessary for faith to grow, and that without these trials, it is impossible for faith to mature ~ James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:7; 4:12.
And beyond this, there are over 10 reasons why tribulations in a believer’s life, some of which are necessary for personal growth in order to be used of God, to mature and minister to others.
10 Reasons for God to Use Trials in the Life of Believers
To glorify God – The most important for us (Dan. 3:16-18, 24-25)
To build faith – The most important to us (1 Pet. 1:6-7; James 1:2-4)
To cause growth (Rom. 5:3-5)
To prove the reality of Christ in us (2 Cor. 4:7-11)
To testify to Angels (Job 1:8; Eph. 3:8-11; 1 Pet. 1:12)
To equip us to comfort others (2 Cor. 1:3-4)
To prevent us from falling into sin (1 Pet. 4:1-2)
To keep us from pride. Paul’s thorn (2 Cor. 12:7)
To teach obedience & discipline (Act 9:15-16; Philp. 4:11-13)
To Discipline for known sin (Heb. 12:5-11; James 4:17; Rom. 14:23; 1 John 1:9)
Christian psychologist almost without reservation follow and teach the false belief that believers were created to be happy, as opposed to the Bible which states that believers were created to glorify their God (“Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” ~ Isa. 43:7).
This is why I say that Christian psychologist build their practice upon psychology first and foremost; because they do not have the courage to totally reiterate what God’s Word has to say within these kind of devastating situations.
Therefore, the psychologist is not allowing God to work in the situation, but they must manipulate based solely upon man’s ability, as opposed to God’s superiority. Within the biblical framework for pastoral counseling, is a pastor already has built credibility in a relationship with the individuals prior to those situations that biblical counseling is needed.
Also, those that refer to themselves as Christian Counselors (those trained in psychology that utilize psychological theories and tools; rather they call themselves “Christian Psychologist,” or “Christian Counselor;” it is simply semantics, it is their premise and tools that define their behavior that counts), and charge money (even if they have to pay for higher education, this does not mandate that they make money from pastoral counseling to do so – it’s not about making money online it’s about serving God. If He owns everything in my life, then why do I need to use Him to make money to pay for those tools that have equip me to better serve Him) for that which they have freely received of God, according to and through God’s Word (if they truly do use God’s Word as a foundation for their work), do so in violation of God’s Word (Matthew 10:5-8, as an example to us now).
There are no biblical allowances for an outside paid occupation of being a Christian psychologist.
The presuppositions that are necessary to practice psychology are antithetical to God and His Word; it is like mixing oil and water.
Either you serve one, or you serve the other, period (Matthew 6:24).
They do not mix, at all.
When I first became a believer I spent years as a proponent of Christian psychology, always fighting my internal biblical reasoning, until finally I had to stop following the vanity of my own mind in order to legitimize my wholesale commitment of time and energy that I had made to psychology.
Many Christians are won over to Christian psychology because it legitimizes their behaviors, and many times appears to free them from challenging themselves as well as spiritually dangerous situations.
It is God and His Word that is to be supreme in our life, not humanistic philosophies which can APPEAR so helpful, or even logical. Remember Colossians 2:8-10, which states:
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
4. Apologetics ~ A Rudimentary Example of External Biblical Evidence
According to secular history we know that the man Jesus existed in the place and time which the New Testament records. Even false religions (Islam, Hinduism) record these facts as well as His crucifixion as a criminal.
The question then becomes from a secular point of view, in order to explain His death, what was Jesus Christ. When all is said and done there can only be three answers to this question.
He either was a liar, a lunatic, or who He said He was, the Lord; the Son of God (and for those individuals that say that Jesus never made this claim to be God, they have never really read the Gospels ~ Matt. 5:18, Luke 24:27, Luke 24:44-47, John 1:1, John 1:14, John 1:29, John 1:45, John 5:39, John 8:13-58; John 12:16, John 13:13,14; John 14:6, John 14:9; John 15:25, John 17:6-7, for starters).
We see there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate He was a lunatic, and if He was, we are at a total absence to explain how hundreds of individuals living at the time and place of Christ never once brought this for as a consideration. Therefore, due to a lack of evidence it does not appear that Jesus was a lunatic.
Then the question now becomes either Christ was a liar, or He was who He said He was, Lord of all (which is why the Pharisees kept trying to stone Him, because of him claiming to be God, which is what the Torah demands as punishment).
If Jesus was a liar and the resurrection was a fraud, how do we explain His post-resurrection appearances where He was seen by over 500 individuals who were living when the Gospels were penned (meaning as the letters were being circulated, there would people who could give creditability or dispute those claims), and could have come out publicly and said it was a lie?
The hypothesis referred to as “Swooning,” where Jesus was not actually killed, but due to the temperature of the cave and other conditions, wherein He later revived. This displays a lack of insight concerning Roman crucifixion, wherein death was from suffocation and the inability to hold oneself up by their legs, which is why when the soldiers would get tired of waiting for a prisoner to die, they would break their legs (and if a prisoner got away, the soldier would take his place – do you think that a Roman soldier would take any chances – there has never a record of this occurring, no man crucified has ever lived to tell about it).
Yet, Jesus only lasted six hours, and to verify His death, a soldier plunged a spear into His side up into His heart cavity, wherein both water and blood flowed (this is repeated and told in the least three secular sources).
Again, there has never been recorded case of a prisoner of crucifixion surviving the practice.
Therefore, if Christ was a liar, he must have had other accomplices in His conspiracy to fake everyone one out, but who; it could only be the apostles.
What is amazing about the 12 apostles is that Judas (who fulfilled prophesy’s Psa. 41:9; Zech. 11:12-13; Acts 1:15-20 quoting Psa. 69:25 & Psa. 109:8), who took his own life, and John who lived to a ripe old age of 100 (which appears to be somehow related to Christ’s words? ~ John 21:22), are the only ones who did not suffer as martyrs (according to secular history faith), the other 10 died being tortured claiming that the resurrection was true.
Now presuppose that you were one of the 10 disciples living during this time. A time when there was no common communications as we know today. Where letters could take weeks or months to arrive at destinations a few hundred miles away. And let’s say that you were Thomas witnessing in India, over 2500 miles away from Jerusalem, and the local authorities arrest you and advise you that unless you recant you will be tortured and murdered, what would you do?
Would you die for a lie? Especially when you knew that you’d never get caught having recanted. I mean who in Jerusalem when you returned with no that you confess that it was a lie back in India?
Therefore it makes no logical sense that Thomas would die for something he knew was a lie, when it wasn’t necessary in order to maintain is standing back in Jerusalem.
Yet, there has never been a story found in all of secular history of this occurring.
What secular history has recorded is that the 10 apostles of Jesus Christ were all tortured and murdered for claiming that Jesus Christ was the divine Son of God, that was resurrected three days after his death.
Peradventure, that a virtuous man would give his life for his brother; could we imagine that a liar would ever give his life for a lie, that he knew was a lie, when it wasn’t necessary to do so in order to maintain his integrity with his co-conspirators.
This is merely one of the external evidences which gave credibility that Christ could not have been a lunatic as there is never been any declaration or stories of this; and that he could not be a liar and having faked the resurrection at least not without the help of some associates. Then we find out that is 10 closest friends who saw him after the resurrection and would’ve had to know if it was a hoax or not, all died being tortured claiming that Jesus was the divine Son of God that was resurrected from the dead. Therefore, the only conclusion is that he had to be who he says he was, the Lord of glory; the divine Son of God – God incarnate.
Yet this is only one external issue concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the claims that He made.
We could ask what about the Roman soldiers that according to Roman law would be executed for allowing a grade that they were watching to be rated. And the fact that none of them were executed due to the intervention of the priesthood to Pontius Pilate. And the fact that two of the soldiers eventually moved back to Rome where tablets of their names were found in Romans.
Apologetics is a biblical science of presenting logical evidence that the Bible is inspired word of God, which presents the revelation of God concerning the preeminence of His Son Jesus Christ; and their dealings with humanity, wherein salvation is offered due to God’s grace, made accessible by faith in Jesus Christ atoning death on the cross as a perpetuation for a man’s sins.