The New Evangelicals and Post-Modern Psychobabble
By Don Koenig - 2006
Almost every seminar and teaching series in Evangelical Christianity is now laced with doctrines of psychology as if psychology was biblical or even scientific truth. Much of psychology is founded on doctrines of humanism and demons. Psychology is the virus in the backbone of so much evangelical teaching that it is getting hard to find evangelical teachers that are not helping to spread the virus. There is not much point in trying to list all the teaching and the programs that have infected the church because there would be no end to the list. I will give a couple of good examples so you get the drift.
First, let me define the type of psychology that I am mainly talking about. It is mostly theories of psychotherapy that originated from satanically inspired men. This would include but not be limited to theories by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.
One of my main concerns is the temperament profiling psychology and psychotherapy that originated in mythology and ancient paganism. It was most likely reinspired by Jung's introvert, extrovert, thinker, feeler theory. Today there are more developed temperament typing theories and testing that are named "Myers-Briggs type indicator" (MBTI), "Keirsey temperament sorter" and "DISC Profiles" as well as some others.
Another concern of mine is Bill Wilson's 12-step program that inspired Christianized 12-step programs. Wilson's solution to his addiction from alcohol was inspired from Carl Jung's idea that sometimes only a spiritual experience will break an addiction. The 12 steps of Bill Wilson's 12-step program mostly originated from doctrine in the Oxford group movement religious cult. Both Carl Jung and Bill Wilson claim in their own writings that they heard the voices of spirits that gave them some of what they wrote. Bill Wilson wrote a letter to Carl Jung and at the end of the letter, he refers to psychic phenomena among AA members and he gives praise for "I Ching" (an ancient Chinese philosophy and system of divination).
My final concern in this section will be on the psychology and the dominionist teachings of Dr. James Dobson who is now the most influential person in "Christian" America.
There are additional unbiblical psychologies and psychotherapies in the church but these examples should be sufficient. I will also explain how all this "Christian psychology" ties into Dominionism in bold type toward the end of this topic.
Temperament or personality typing is a prime example of pop-psychology replacing biblical thinking in the church. Temperament typing now occurs in churches, Christian organizations and even in Christian job hiring placement. The temperament analysis theory of four human temperaments originated from ancient myth and pagan thought. It came from the ancient theory of there being four bodily fluids that when imbalanced display a person's temperament or personality in their physical appearance. It has long been discredited but recently temperament typing is making a comeback in pseudo-psychological practices.
The four temperaments were regurgitated through the spirit guide influence on Carl Jung with his introvert, extrovert, thinker, feeler theory. Others further developed the myth and developed testing to define the temperament of individuals. It was first popularized in evangelical circles through Tim LaHaye's book written in 1966 called "Spirit-Controlled Temperaments". Later LaHaye wrote "Transformed Temperaments". LaHaye's first book drew extensively on the writings of Dr. Ole Hallesby who wrote on this subject in 1940. LaHaye took psychological temperament theories and Christianized them by reinforcing the theories through his unique and rather strange interpretation of a couple of Bible passages. In his books, LaHaye attaches presumptive temperament types to well know biblical characters. For more information on this, see Tim LaHaye & Psychoheresy.
Most psychologists do not accept temperament or personality typing theories nor put these theories into practice but it is now very popular with large corporations, and with government organizations who find it useful as a tool in their tolerance, diversity training and team concept brainwashing. Much of Evangelical Christianity now accepts temperament typing as truth, much the same as they have with marketing, success and self-help psychologies.
Temperament typing analysis, like astrology, is really all about learning about oneself in the flesh. It is rooted in well-established pagan myth and theory expounded on by men who have doctrines of fantasy. The four human temperaments are not taught in the Bible. Those who live by this stuff cast themselves into molds and then find reasons to reinforce their imprisonment. The temperament tests are said to reveal the nature of a person so that that can understand self, work on self-improvement and know what their brain equips them to do in the world and church. It is very much like astrology, which is also said to reveal information on self with just about as much scientific validity. Now we know why temperament typing is so popular. I can hear the conversation now. What is your sign Charlie? "I'm an Aries but Christians don't believe in astrology". O.K., what is your Temperament then? "Well, I'm a blue, compliant, compliance, analytical, perfect melancholic, blue, beaver, idealists. You see, I found my chart....er... I really meant my charted purpose in life, through eight different temperament tests."
I have come to believe that the root of the almost fatalistic "Purpose Driven" doctrine comes from this conjecture that people are molded into some shape from birth. Thus, they seem to think that even before spiritual regeneration, everyone on earth is a pot whose flesh has already been almost unalterably shaped by God for His purpose. I guess we can forget about the Bible verses that tell us to walk by the Spirit, to deny self, and to die daily. We now must learn about this dead earth pot we live in to fit into the plan of God. I guess we can stop singing the song that says, "you are the potter and I am the clay, mold me and make me this I pray". Frankly, I thought we were all crackpots until the Holy Spirit came into the pot and sealed us. I actually believe what is in the pots is far more valuable than the clay that holds this new creation.
What is really crazy about this, is the depth of involvement in this unbiblical practice coming via our "wise" church leadership. Some pastors are taught this junk in Bible College. Many others have taken Saddleback's "purpose driven" church growth package that includes temperament typing. Still others are getting it in various other programs within their denominations. I have been told that you cannot even be a member of the Saddleback mega church unless you take the class they offer on temperament typing. Some places of employment even make you wear a color-coded ID when working so that everyone will deal with you according to your personality type color. Now around the water cooler, you might hear, "You better be cool man, you are talking to a dominant red lion."!
The Saddleback temperament types or profiles are part of the purpose driven SHAPE program that have now been purchased by thousands of churches and offered to their congregations. Temperament testing is also in the church by the names of the "Keirsey temperament sorter" and "DISC Profiles". There are additional names as well; they all do their own twist on the four temperaments. After a person is typecast, the next step is to tell them what ministry or job they will be suited for in the church or organization. Therefore, the temperament profile becomes self-fulfilling and validates the temperament theory. Ministry in the church or organization then becomes more likely to be based on attributes of the flesh than Holy Spirit directed gifts. Sure, some also have programs to tell people how to find out their spiritual gifts but that is a topic of discussion in itself. In any case, pagan mythology that finds the purpose of the crucified flesh is not compatible with determining spiritual gifts. By using psychology and theories of men they put the cart before the horse. Where does the following scripture fit into all this?
Pr 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding 6 in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
"Celebrate Recovery" is a "Christianized" 12-step program that was developed by John Baker and Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in 1991. Thousands of churches that span most denominations now offer this program. Saddleback claims to have Christianized the twelve-step program of Bill Wilson. However, the claim that this "Christianized" program is based on biblical principals is misleading. Instead of using the applications already in scripture to overcome sin they search the scriptures to find passages to take their place or to "Christianize" Bill Wilson's twelve steps. For example, they totally misapply the teaching of Jesus in the beatitudes and use most as principles to overcome addictions. No Bible scholar has ever defined them that way! The Beatitudes are statements of principals for happyness and Godly living in the Messianic kingdom. They are spiritually discerned principals that conflict with the fleshly way of achieving happiness through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. This twisting of the meaning of Bible passages to fit some worldly theory is a fine example of how post modernism pragmatic Christianity uses, or should I says misuses, scripture. They redefine the scriptures to mean what they want it to mean even if they have to twist the meaning or find an obscure paraphrase of the passage. If one questions why they have twisted the meaning, they will justify what they have done by telling you "it works". The original version of the 12-step program also works according to those that are in it, but many also disagree with that statement.
Just the fact that Saddleback had to Christianize Wilson's 12 steps to recovery should say wonders about the whole theory and modern practices like this in Christian churches. Was there no overcoming addiction before Bill Wilson? Do Christians now need to study the philosophies of men that were actually inspired by demons? Some have said, "All truth is God's truth". Of course, it is, but there can be no truth that conflicts with the truth that God revealed in scripture. His word is totally sufficient to overcome sin in our lives by confessing it, submitting to His will and by growing in maturity. This maturity comes through Bible study, meditating on His word, through prayer, applying biblical truths in our lives and walking in faith. Sanctification and God's truth does not come in a 12-step formula inspired by demonic sources.
The "Celebrate Recovery" program has additional problem besides the 12-steps. The whole program is laced with theories of pop psychobabble. It seems that Christian leaders cannot get enough worldly counsel from pop psychology these days. For many in post-modern Christianity, the Bible is simply a textbook of passages to search to find a passage to validate their own preconceived philosophies. If they cannot find a passage in the Bible to support their preconceived notions, they will redefine one. By the way, you will not find any serious Bible study or anyone with solid teaching credentials doing any Biblical instruction in Celebrate Recovery small groups since this is not permitted. This alone should say the foundation of the program is built on sand. For more information about the "Celebrate Recovery" program please read the excellent review of this program from T.A. McMahon of The Berean Call Ministries.
Dr. James Dobson with his Focus on the Family Organization is the most influential person in "Christian" America. Dobson is a child development psychologist. He is not a minister of the gospel, yet Dr. Dobson has more influence on Christians in America than any other religious figure today. Dobson has done more to bring in psychology and theories of self-esteem into the church then probably any other individual. Dobson's theory on self-esteem and other pop psychology that he supports (such as temperament typing) is simply not compatible with the Bible.
Most of Dobson's platform focuses on establishing, maintaining and enforcing biblical morality in American. I guess someone has to try to do it since America has now embraced moral relativism in place of biblical moral standards. Yet, Dobson's views much too often are psychological theories dressed in biblical jargon. They may sound good to Christians who desire biblical morality in the world but it really is a humanistic substitute for the work of the Holy Spirit. The conversion and sanctification process that brings morality cannot occur through psychological techniques. Moreover, the unbeliever knows nothing of the Spirit and they can only know the moral reasoning of their own mind. Dobson teaches a mixture of psychological techniques and biblical law for morality in America. He makes no claim about knowing much theology, so one has to wonder why so many "Christians" have made him their theologian.
James Dobson is a Nazarene, This denomination takes no position on eschatology other than that Jesus will return. Dobson does not display understanding of prophetic scriptures but his organization does display a Dominion Theology type of worldview that the Church will overcome evil through her social and political action. Dobson's agenda implies that Christians are to confront the world system through efforts of social and political action. This is so much like Dominion Theology that it probably has to be labeled as such. When Christians believe they will succeed in the world system through psychological, social and political techniques and through their own self-efforts, they have missed the scriptures that indicate that the world will hate Christians and that our kingdom is not of this world.
I am not implying that Christians should not take part in the political process nor do good social works. Focus on the Family has been a very productive force against certain evils in the United States. Nevertheless, it does seem to me that the focus of Focus on the Family is somewhat out of adjustment, as is the focus of much of Evangelical Christianity. Dobson's expertise is in child psychology yet somehow a psychologist has become the foremost moral authority for Evangelical Christianity against all unpopular adult sinful lifestyles in American (there are popular ones such as materialism, laziness, gossip, and gluttony but few Evangelicals focus on them). The focus seems to be to educate Christians to take political action or economic action against a sinful unregenerate group of non-Christians as if sinful people can live a moral lifestyle. The only logic is that Dobson and his supporters must believe that most Americans are Christians and that this "moral majority" in America will live by the teachings in the Bible. If that were truly the case, the educational cause would have more meaning. However, polls and the lifestyles of those that call themselves by the name "Christian" in America demonstrates otherwise.
The idea that the United States can be Christianized by political and social action is very compatible with the views of Dominion Theology. The worldly method of using a confrontational attitude toward those living in unpopular sinful lifestyles actually makes these people less receptive to Christians who preach the message of salvation. The Church is not Israel nor is America Israel. No enforcement of biblical law can bring a nation to morality; morality comes when a person or nation has a change from within. The Church was directed to preach the good news so that people can overcome sin by believing in Jesus and receiving God's Holy Spirit.
The ungodliness that is going on in America is the norm for those in the world. The fact that Evangelicals think they have to bring America back to morality (as if it ever was moral), so that we can comfortably live in this world, tells me that we all value this world a bit too much. Dobson is so popular in America because he tells Evangelicals what they want to hear and not what they need to hear. Evangelicals rightly see trouble is coming by the downward spiral of morality in America but they expect simple humanistic solutions. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal! I totally expect the world and much of America to be in opposition to Christian values. If it is not happening in your neck of the woods yet, just wait a few years, it will. The Bible tells us to expect it. Those who make great social and political efforts to change a fallen world before God establishes His kingdom of righteousness on earth are spitting into the wind.
Gods laws were given to us show us how much we are missing the mark so we will seek God's Savior by faith (Gal 3:24). Dobson and Dominionists use Jewish law to try to reform sinful society. This cart before the horse method of Christianizing the world is quite impossible no matter how noble their motives. It never worked in unbelieving Israel and it will not work in the Gentile unbelieving world. Those who use this method will bring a worldly backlash of hatred on their own head.
Dobson also has a very ecumenical worldview of the church proven by his associations and his endorsements. Sound biblical salvation doctrine is obviously not the main criteria for unity among denominations with Dr. Dobson.
There is a book available from psycoheresy-aware.org that analyzes the teaching of Dr. Dobson if you wish further information. This link to the book also has a very good short brief on the major points in the book, James Dobson's Gospel of Self-Esteem and Philosophy. Reputable discernment ministries such as Dave Hunt's The Berean Call endorse and sell the book.
Psychologies with underlining theories of psychotherapy are major tools of Satan to bring Eastern pagan thought and doctrines of demons into the Church. The view of psychotherapy is that everyone is a victim and any bad behaviors that people might display are caused by physiological illnesses from which they can recover through using the right techniques. In contrast, the Bible tells us that all people of flesh are sinful and they must turn to Jesus, die to self and become reborn into a new spiritual creation. Only this spiritual rebirth will begin the process through which the soul of a person starts a transformation by the renewing of the mind toward the Spirit that is in him (the process of sanctification).
Psychology programs might bring some change in outward behavior in people but the heart of the unregenerate man is still wicked. Putting a coat of paint over a cracked pot does not fix the pot. Control over the flesh comes by the soul conforming to the likeness of the Spirit. Psychotherapy is a worldly substitute for sanctification and true healing but it is now being taught in churches, Christian seminars and Christian groups like it was biblical truth. They Christianize the terms and use scripture out of correct context but the information in these programs still originated from the theories of psychotherapy that we ought to know came from atheistic men and spiritualists.
If a proper analysis is done of the post-modern "Seeker Friendly" and "Emerging Church" one should see that their whole approach to evangelism and church growth derives from theories of marketing and psychotherapy psychology. These churches see these programs as a door to get people into their church. Therefore, they present popular psychology wrapped in pages torn out of the Bible. Few are the wiser, and their church is numerically and monetarily richer. So many people have now come in the church through the psycho-door that they perpetuate these theories for subsequent generations. Church leaders that went through this door have been so thoroughly brainwashed into supporting psychology as practical Christianity that the average "Saddleback Joe" and "Emerging Sally" think this Western psycho-Christianity is true Christianity.
They have substituted psychology from demonic men for Godly counsel by elders, counsel from the scriptures and counsel from the Holy Spirit. They learn pre-packaged psychological techniques to control the flesh instead of putting on the spiritual man with a renewed mind. This sanctification process is the program God designed to bring a believer to true repentance and a more abundant life. In contrast, learning psychological techniques to control the flesh is really conforming to the ways of the world.
Rom12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
"Christian psychology" ties into Dominion Theology because leaders and churches who teach Dominion Theology extensively use tools of psychology. Go to any large church that practices any form of Dominion Theology and you will also find programs that are more likely to be based on theories of psychology than on sound biblical doctrine - Observe the prosperity teaching, the success seminars and the sensual emphasis. Many who say they do not believe in Dominion Theology indicate differently in their worldly lifestyle. The only kingdom they are really concerned with is the earthly one they now live in. They give little thought to spiritual matters. These real or defacto dominionists wish to make the flesh and the spiritual kingdom compatible. This of course is quite impossible but many will certainly die trying.
"Word of Faith" leadership uses another form of psychology. They knowingly or unknowingly use psychological mind control techniques that bring on mass suggestion, hypnotism and altered states of consciousness. They use these tools to lord over their flock and to make their presumptions plausible. When mystical experiences occur in their presence through using these psychological techniques it validates to the sheeple that these leaders are anointed. The leaders then tell their subjects that they are latter day apostles, prophets, and healers anointed to lead the Church to take the world back from the Dominion of Satan before the return of Jesus and these sheeple believe them.
Additional psychologies that have infiltrated the church include theories on visualization, inner healing and contemplative prayer. These and more are beyond the scope of this paper on Dominion Theology but The Intrusion of Psychology into Christian Theology by Don Matzat will tell you much about it. (This really is a must read - I believe I disagree with only one point - Matzat's Lutheran view of Jesus coming through sacraments).
We now also have philosophies that originated from psychology that teach that all truth is relative and if you get the results you want, it is your truth. Without holding groups to the absolute truth that salvation comes by God's grace through faith (trust) some Evangelicals now take some rather strange unbiblical positions about salvation. With their pragmatic philosophy, if a program is growing, then God is in it regardless if it is biblical. If it does not appear biblical, they will just redefine the scriptures.
We have Evangelical leaders uniting with Catholics on the common ground of completely different gospels. We have some Evangelical leaders saying that we should not proselytize other religions. We have Evangelical leaders who evangelize and then turn the converts back to the same denominational theology that never presented them a path for salvation. I suppose they think that these reborn Christians will now be sanctified within a theology of works and mysticism. We have Evangelical leaders saying that Moslems and Mormons worship the same God. We have Evangelical leaders joining with the ultra liberal World Counsel of Churches and signing agreements with them on their socialistic agendas of secular humanism.
These neo-Evangelicals take the position that being one in Christ is saying we have agreement on one or more worldviews. They think this "unity" is then fulfilling the prayer of Jesus that the Church be one as Jesus and the Father are one. If unification on programs of secular humanism makes us one body then we might as well throw out the Bible because what is written there has no meaning. Indeed, some "Evangelicals" apparently have stopped using parts of the Bible, especially the prophetic passages that do not fit their worldview.
The name "Evangelical" has lost its meaning. Neo-liberals wolves in sheep's clothing have crept into the Evangelical movement and have eaten the choice cuts. Old Evangelicals need to drop the name Evangelical and just start calling themselves what they are - Bible believing Christians. I am sure the wolves will work on that name next, as they did with the name "fundamentalist".
By now you should get my drift that worldly psychology has infiltrated the church and has corrupted the church to conform to the secular humanistic dream of a utopian society on earth brought through man's own efforts. Much of "Christianity" wants a flesh appealing utopian society on the earth before the return of Jesus but the Bible teaches that Christians will be persecuted and hated by the world as Jesus was (Joh 15:18-20). Many who follow the teachers of Dominion Theology do not have a clue about what they believe. Most are just playing following the leader and have never even read through the Bible themselves. Most are just following preachers who tickle their ears.