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Scripture Reading: Psalm 103:1-10

Psychology and the Bible



1.  Psychology is big business; Millions rely on it for life direction. Jer. 10:23

2.  Religionists have attempted to “integrate” psychology and the Bible.

  a.  Prevailing view: “...without the insights of secular psychology, pastors and churches are simply inadequate to deal with the deepest hurts of modern man.” (Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology, Ed Bulkley, Ph.D., 24)

  b.  On the basis of secular values, research and conclusions, they offer solutions to human dilemmas which they claim are consistent with Biblical truth. [Attempt to integrate the Bible and psychology.]

  c.  cf. Psychoanalysis: Child molester (inner child) v. Bible repentance.

3.  Issue at stake: Ultimate, absolute truth to guide us, or rely on human wisdom (2 Pet. 1:3;1 Pet. 3:10-11).

  a.  Psychology rests upon the premise that there is no ultimate, final, definitive truth for your life. Bible says the opposite, Jno. 17:17; 2 Pet. 1:3

  b.  “Where the sixteenth-century Reformation returned our focus to sacred Scriptures...the new reformation will return our focus to the sacred right of every person to self-esteem.” (Robert Schuller, Self-Esteem, the New Reformation, 38, cited by Bulkley, 196)

4.  Satan's device to weaken confidence in God's word (2 Cor. 2:11).


I.  REDEFINING FAITH, Heb. 11:1; Rom. 10:17.

  -Should we deal with problems of life from a position of faith, or reliance upon the wisdom of men? 1 Cor. 1:21; Col. 2:8

  A.  Man-Centered Rather than God-Centered Faith, Col. 3:1-3. (Seaton)

    1.  Integrated psychology: Man needs a strong dose of “self-esteem” to be spiritually healthy. Told to emphasize “felt needs” and the “whole man” in our preaching/teaching. (Faith in self)  [See quote]

       -Don't want to hear sermons that deal with differences between truth and error; Don't get too specific about sin, Matt. 15:12; etc.

    2.  Bible: Need stronger dose of self-denial and service to others, Lk. 9:23; Gal. 2:20; Jno. 13:13-14.

    3.  Need confidence in God's word, not in ourselves. (Prov. 14:12)

  *  -If we just preach book, chapter and verse of God's word we will be meeting the true needs of men unto the salvation of their souls, 2 Tim. 4:1-5; 2 Thess. 2:15; 1 Pet. 4:11.

  B.    Redefining Sin and Repentance.

    1.  Integrated psychology -- Robert Schuller: Sin is “any act or thought that robs myself or another human being of his or her self-esteem.” (Ibid., 196)

      a.  “The therapeutic view of evil as sickness, not sin, is strong in co-dependency theory--it's not a fire and brimstone theology” (Wendy Kaminer, Ibid.)

      b.  Reason? “ more marketable than sin.” (Ibid.)

    2.  Brethren: Creating an atmosphere that certain sins cannot be fully corrected (repented of and spiritual health restored) without psychological assessment and treatment. cf. Acts 8:18-24: Simon’s bitter heart was corrected through repentance, not psych. therapy.

  C.  Redefining Salvation. (Salvation has become a psychological feeling of well-being; the gospel is offered to awaken self-esteem.)  {See quote on p. 1: “self-growth”/”O.K.-ness”} “I’m spiritual, not religious.”

    1.  Integrated psychology -- Schuller redefined the new birth as changing from a “negative to a positive self-image.” (Ibid.) cf. Jno. 3:3-5

    2.  Brethren: Churches are offering 12-step programs, Counseling Centers, etc. (12-step, University City C of C, Gainesville, FL)

    3.  Bible:

      a.  Man's condition: Sin, Rom. 3:10-18, 23; 5:6-8 (7:24-8:1).

      b.  Man's salvation from wrath (Rom. 1:18), bondage (6:17-18), death (6:23) – the gospel (Rom. 1:16).

      c.  God's plan: Christ, Rom. 6:23; Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16.

  D.  Redefining Worship. (Emotion-based, relationship emphasis, etc.)

    1.  Worship must be emotionally an uplifting experience (worship experience). cf. “Holy Wow”

    2.  It must make you feel good to be true worship (“heart-felt”).

    3.  Bible: Jno. 4:24.

  E.  Redefining Hell. (A person is in hell when he has lost his self-esteem.)

    1.  Integrated psychology -- Schuller: Hell is “the loss of pride.” (Ibid.)

    2.  Bible: Matt. 25:30, 41, 46; Mk. 9:47-48; Rev. 21:8. (Contrite heart – Repent)



1.  Psychology is man’s vain attempt to heal himself without God.

2.  Attempts to integrate it into the gospel corrupts, Gal. 1:8-9.

3.  We need divine truth in our lives, not a redefined religion that guts the gospel of its power, Jno. 14:6; Jas. 1:21-22 (1 Cor. 1:30-31).





“I know a priest in one Catholic church who tells his congregation, “The purpose of Christ's coming was to say, 'You're O.K., and I'm O.K.'“ ...In many evangelical churches, positive thinking seems to have taken the place of faith. Almost everywhere, salvation is becoming equated with self-growth or feelings of O.K.-ness. In short, Christians have let their faith become tangled in net of popular ideas about self-esteem and self-fulfillment that aren't Christian all.”


-Psychologist William Kirk Kilpatrick cited in Why Christians Can't Trust Psychology, 195



Glenn Seaton:


 “Notice this point from Pulpit Helps:

Biblical truth is theocentric (God-centered) whereas psychological counseling systems are anthropocentric (man-centered). The focus of biblical truth is God. The focus of Psychology is self: self-esteem, self-worth, self-image, self-love, self-awareness, and self-actualization.


“With centers of importance that are opposite (God or self) would you expect God's will in believers’ lives to be helped, or hindered, by integrating the theories of psychological counseling systems with God’s Word?”


-Psychology and Truth, Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 21, p. 652, November 1, 1990




By: Joe R. Price

Posted: May 25, 2016