Psychotherapy: popular Paganism – Judges 8
Judges 6-8 is the episodes related to the judgeship of Gideon and Gideon's defeat by 300 man army of 135,000 man army of the coalition of the Amalekites and the Midianites. Last time we came to Judges 8 which is sort of the mopping up operation where he finally wipes out and destroys the remnants of the Midianite army and in the process of looking at that we saw that after the main battle took place, up in the area of the hill of Moreh in the valley of Jezreel, the armies if the Midianite coalition headed south and when they headed south Gideon issued a call for the Ephraimites, the tribe of Ephraim, which occupied the central area of Israel, the hill country, for the Ephraimites to come and cut off their retreat at the fords of the Jordan. The Ephraimites did that and we saw cut off part of the retreat and there they killed two of the generals, Oreb and Zeeb, leaders of the Midianite coalition.
Another segment of about 20,000 or so escaped across the Jordan and Gideon pursued them. On his pursuit of them across the Jordan he went past these towns, Succoth and Penuel, and at those two places he sought aid and sustenance, food and water for his troops, and he was denied. Now there are two things going on here with these two different peoples that indicate teach us some things about the spiritual life. As always what we see here is there are those who reject the grace of God, they just don't want to orient to doctrine, don't want to orient to the grace of God and want to live their life on their own power, their own energy. And we see this represented in really two groups, (1) the Ephraimites and (2) the inhabitants of Succoth and Penuel. So by analogy we can see that these groups represent different types of believers.
There are three different types of believers; we have the grace oriented doctrinally oriented believer as represented by the 300 and by Gideon. They're trusting God, they've got what would appear in human viewpoint terms to be an insurmountable problem, they've got 300 going against 135,000 and yet God has promised that His grace is sufficient for us, that His solution is better than our solution and He's going to demonstrate that through these 300, and He did demonstrate it. They didn't even have to charge in battle against the Midianite encampment, they just did what God said to do and God brought confusion in the Midianites and they began to kill each other and they became so panicked that they fled.
What man does typically is we look at a problem and we say okay, this is my solution, God's solution seems…well, a little idealistic and I'm not sure how that can really work out so I'm going to help God. And we compromise, and that's what the Ephraimites had done, they represented the compromised believer who maintains a façade of Christianity. See, they maintained this overt devotion to Yahweh but in terms of really trusting God in the midst of the battle they were lacking. So they represent that kind of believer who is overtly practicing Christianity, talks the talk, as it were, but doesn't walk the walk, has no real grace orientation.
This can be manifested as either the legalistic believer who is self-righteous and relying upon his own efforts, his own morality to somehow impress God, or it can even be represented by a more carnal believer, but in this case we have more the idea of the legalistic believer who has an external façade of obedience but no real grace orientation and the Ephraimites, we saw, got their reward. They were recognized by Gideon; at the end of the battle they went to Gideon and they complained, why weren't we called initially. That wasn't part of the plan and Gideon very wisely just calmed them down and said what you did was greater than anything I did, you were the ones who defeated Oreb and Zeeb and you got the glory for that. They got their reward. Remember when Jesus was talking to the Pharisees that if you pray in public and you give your alms in public and you do it before men, then truly you have your reward, you've been seen by men and you have that public praise but it doesn't count for anything spiritually.
So they got their reward but they are not honored by God as people who trusted God. You don't find any mention of the Ephraimites in the faith hall of fame chapter in Hebrews 11. You find Gideon mentioned but you don't find them mentioned. They did what they did but it wasn't by trusting God, it was in their own power, their own ability, which shows us that human viewpoint strategies to solve problems in life often work, at least on the surface, but that doesn't mean they have any spiritual value; it doesn't mean that it glorifies God, but somehow it seems to ameliorate the problem for us.
The third type of believer are those who are just antagonistic to doctrine; they are either believers who are in rank carnality and reversionism and they've compromised so much with human viewpoint that now they are antagonistic to doctrine, or perhaps this third group represents unbelievers who are antagonistic to doctrine. Their thinking is so dominated by pagan concepts, by the thinking of the cosmic system, the cosmic system is Satan's thought form; it's always characterized by two primary elements, arrogance and antagonism to God. These are the twin pillars of satanic thought and we will see them displayed again and again: arrogance, which is self-absorption and self-promotion, and antagonism toward God, toward doctrine, and towards the plan and purposes of God.
Now the Succoth and Penuel believers represent those who are antagonistic to God because they won't give any aid or sustenance to Gideon. They are too concerned about taking care of themselves and making sure that… well, Gideon if you ultimately lose the battle we don't want the Midianites to come back and punish us so they were more afraid of man than they were of God. They were more concerned with what the world thought of them than their relationship to God. And so Gideon comes back, after he defeats Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian, after he defeats them he comes back and he physically punishes the inhabitants of Penuel and Succoth in a very violent manner. And he does that because they have compromised with the enemy and they are traitors to God and traitors to Israel.
What this all represents to us is the fact that as believers we are on the same kind of mission. We go back to our generally analogy, that the land of Israel, by analogy, represents the thinking of the believer, the spiritual life, what we have positionally in Christ. It's related to our positional inheritance, it is our possession in Christ. Nevertheless, just as Israel had to go into the land and physically, militarily take possession of it, even though God had given it to them, they had to in God's way…remember it's not only the end but the means, in God's way they had to take the land that God gave them, they had to take possession of it. That represents the process of sanctification in our life. We have all of these possessions positionally in our life but it's our job to learn doctrine and take control of every thought in our lives; we are to take charge of every thought, renewing our mind, taking charge of every thought and removing human viewpoint and replacing it with divine viewpoint in our thinking. That's the process of spiritual growth, so we've been given a "seek and destroy" mission to take out all of the human viewpoint and cosmic thinking that resides in our soul.
Now that's a tremendous task because most of us have become so infected with the human viewpoint thinking around us we're don't even see it any more; it's in the air we breathe, it's in everything we read, and so often it just seems so good. That's the danger of cosmic thinking; ultimately it's based on human self-reliance. It's based on the concept that God helps those who help themselves. It sounds good and so much of human viewpoint sounds good; it sounds like common sense. Why does it sound like common sense? Because this is what we've been taught all our lives, these truisms that are part and parcel of the culture in which we grow up are taught to us from the earliest stages of life so that they become second nature to us and we frequently never or rarely look at them, take these ideas out and look at them. Cosmic thinking has its own problem solving approach, its own way of dealing with problems and personal relationships, its own approach to success, its own way of handling money and we have to root out these ideas.
Now the problem with cosmic thinking is it's deceptive. It often sounds good in theory. We think it makes just good common sense; often it produces the results that we would like to see produced and so we think well, it must be right because we've got the results. That's part of cosmic thinking, that's called pragmatism; it's a human viewpoint system of thinking that if it works it must be right. But that's not what the Bible says. There are a lot of things that seem to work but they are done in the energy of the flesh and they're not done God's way according to God's Word and as a result they're not done with the power of the Holy Spirit and so even though they produce results that we intended to produce, they don't glorify God, they don't count for eternity and they don't have any spiritual value.
As we grow up we develop deeply held convictions about life that we pick up from our parents, from our peers, from newspapers, editorials, people we admire, teachers, all kinds of different things influence us with ideas. At some time along the way we trust the Lord and we start to learn something about the Bible and immediately there comes a conflict. We see that the Bible teaches some things that might run 180 degrees opposite of what we have been taught is true and right, and then we have to make a decision. Are we going to exchange the human viewpoint in our thinking for divine viewpoint or are we going to say well, maybe that's just that person's interpretation, I don't understand it, maybe the Bible just got it wrong because this makes me comfortable, this always seems to work for me, it's worked for a lot of other people so maybe I just don't understand something so what we do is we rationalize away the radical obedience to God's Word because those concepts, that the earth is only 5,000 years old or might only be 5,000 or 6,000 years old, that's so radical, everywhere we go they say the earth, the universe is several millions, millions, hundreds of millions of years old if not billions of years old, how could all those scientists possibly be wrong; let's reinterpret the Scripture. So instead of challenging the human viewpoint concepts that are around us we find it easier to compromise because after all, we don't want to be view as some sort of backwoods, backward, uneducated, non-thinking fundamentalist. I mean, how horrible could it possibly get.
So we have to make a decision, are we going to go with what the Bible says, even though we may not understand it all; are we going to make sure we understand what the Bible says and go with that or are we going to stick with human viewpoint concepts.
Now what happens in this whole process is that we often have to challenge truisms that are accepted by all, they seem to be culturally accepted norms, culturally accepted procedures and practices. What happens is often these truisms become sacred cows, they become untouchable. I remember several years ago when I was talking with a friend of mine who was looking for a pastorate and we had spoken several times over the years about problems in contemporary churches, one of the problems is the influence of psychology and counseling on churches; another was the popularity of the Promise Keepers, this was in the early to mid 90s, there is also the continued influence of contemporary Christian music and contemporary choruses on worship and having a worship leader, he not the pastor any more but a song leader, and a band up in front and all of these different forms, an a number of other things that have become accepted practices in most churches. He said Robby, you can't even question these things, you can't even put them on the table for analysis any more, if you even raise the question, are you sure that's Biblical, you're out the door.
These are sacred cows that have become imbedded within the church, concepts on church growth, concepts of marketing the church are very popular today. Almost every church has some kind of marketing program, marketing plan where you are following a certain way of building your church so that you can go from a church of 100 to a church of 5,000 over five years and you can graph it all out and develop your mission plan and your mission statement and you go out and you use all the techniques and tools of the business world in order to try to build a large organization and if you even question that, in most churches, to most pastors, you're considered some kind of oddity, you're a dinosaur, because everybody is doing this, it's just a normally accepted practice. What do you mean question this; I don't have time to worry about that, you go away, you people that just want to be Biblical all the time, go find something else to do and let me build my church and have mass evangelism programs and everything else. And that's the kind of thinking.
The issue is, we have to be willing to challenge every single thought in our minds to see if its Biblical or not. That brings up another point and that is there's a lot of question as to just exactly what makes something Biblical. What makes something Biblical is that it derives from the Bible. Most people, it's Biblical if the Bible doesn't say don't do it. That's not what Biblical means; Biblical means that you understand the whole framework of divine viewpoint thinking in the Scripture and out from that you develop your methodology as well as your end goals. But in most churches and most seminaries and most pastors don't concern themselves with methodology as long as it gets the results. Now they don't make it that clear, they don't come right out and say well the end justifies the means, but that's what their practice is and they don't take the time to stop and really evaluate the practice. So Biblical means that it is derived from the Bible, that the Bible tells us not only what the goal is but how to get there, how to live the Christian life and what the function of the local church is.
Now as we look at this whole concept of cosmic thinking, and that as believers our task is to seek and destroy the human viewpoint concepts in our own thinking and to remove those from our soul we have to look at and identify these things. That's part of the first step is to identify them. As I've thought about the historical trends in America over the last 200 years I have identified four basic undertows, strong undercurrents of cosmic thinking that affect every one of us. What under girds all of these, what they all have in common is that they all are supported by a subjective view of knowledge that goes back to Immanuel Kant in the late 18th century. We've studied that a little bit in the past. They basically say you can't know things in themselves, you can only know your perception of things, and that's subjectivity and once you move the central point of knowledge from outside to inside you lose the concept of objective principles and objective standards and now everything is viewed through its subjective, internal grid. It affects law.
I saw the other day where some 12 year old boy had brutally murdered a 6 year old girl and he was sentenced to life in prison and the prosecutor was answering questions; I was cooking or something at the time, during lunch and I wasn't really paying 100% attention to what was going on, didn't hear all the questions, but I could tell from his answers that the questions were well, why are you so harsh, why life imprisonment without parole, and the answer that kept coming back from the prosecutor, from the D.A., was that this is the way the law is written; this was in Florida. One commentator said the judge didn't yield to public pressure, he didn't yield to sentiment, that's emotion, he didn't yield to anything, he just did what the law said he had to do. That's saying that there's an objective standard out there and no matter how you feel, no matter what the extenuating circumstances might be, no matter what the public pressure might be, you do what the objective standard says to do. But when you live in an environment that's affected by subjectivism you do what is determined by your internal perception or your internal feeling, and oh, this poor kid, locked up, only 12 years, I mean, he's going to live another 60-70 years as a ward of the state in the prison, well that's just terrible, isn't there some way we can avoid that. It's just this emotionalism and subjectivism instead of an objective standard.
So what we see is what under girds these four currents, these four undertows of cosmic thinking is this subjectivism of knowledge, that man is the ultimate reference point for truth in the universe. Now doesn't that sound familiar. That's the theme of Judges, "everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes. So there's our point of analogy.
Now what are these four undertows; I'm not going to have time to develop all of them but you can read them on your own; the first is Darwinism, both scientific Darwinism in terms of the whole theory of evolution, the monkey to man or amoeba to man scenario but also social Darwinism. In fact the joining of social Darwinism with capitalism created something that was not true capitalism in the late 19th century and produced a lot of what we know as the robber barons, just the survival of the fittest mentality in business which lost all concepts of any level of compassion or concern. As a result of that you have the equal and opposite reaction, the rise of unions and other things like that. It also impacted about 95% of modern educational theory.
In fact, there's an interesting book out written by a man who formerly was teacher of the year in the state of New York and in his book he basically argues that part of the impact of social Darwinism on the robber barons in the late 19th century was to develop this whole mentality of required public education, that everybody ought to be required to go to school. And his thesis, after several years of teaching, he was an excellent teacher, he finally quit teaching in the public school system, and he's arguing that this whole concept of mandatory education is a fallacy and it comes as a result of social Darwinism. I'm not saying that he's right; I'm just saying that he points out that that's one impact of it. Another impact of social Darwinism was on the thinking of Adolph Hitler and the anti-Semitism of the Nazis. So Darwinism has had extreme impact in a lot of different ways on our history in the last 150 years.
Sociology is another one, and one aspect of sociology is in the realm of salesmanship and marketing and now on the basis of salesmanship and marketing principles you have those applied to church growth and the mission of the church so that most pastors are out there marketing their church according the basic principles of salesmanship and they don't understand any kind of Biblical ecclesiology. You see, God provides the hearers, not man. Jesus said I will build My church, to the pastor He said feed the sheep, but in most churches today who know who's feeding the sheep, they're starving to death because the pastor is building the church. And he's doing it not according to Biblical principles but according to the principles of salesmanship and marketing.
A third undertow is social liberalism, social as well as political liberalism which is founded on the concept that man is not necessarily bad; man is not inherently evil. Now if you want to study that or if that's a problem, you don't understand that, I would encourage you to read a book by a black intellectual by the name of Thomas Soule, called Conflict of Vision. It will twist your brain a little bit but in that book he argues very coherently for the fact that the basic difference between liberals and conservatives is that conservatives think that man is inherently evil and liberals think that man is inherently good and therefore perfectible. And that's going to change how you view almost every issue and problem in life. And that was the problem that came out of subjectivism, Kant and subjectivism in the 19th century, part of it was that man's basically good and not evil as Christianity says. One of the problems, I think, is reaction to that; that gave birth to the whole social gospel movement and in reaction to that Biblical conservatives lost any sort of social vision for culture and for society. And that was a problem; that's a problem for conservatives and for conservative churches is that we reacted to the social gospel and said well, all we have to do is sit in church and fold our hands and let society fall apart, and there was little concern expressed for the poor or for social conditions and that was wrong. Prior to that there had been a tremendous impact by conservatives on social situations, so that is something that needs to be addressed.
Then the fourth undertow of cosmic thought is psychology, transpersonal psychology, the idea that by getting involved in talk therapy we can identify our problems and that our problems are based in our environment and we can identify our problems and man can solve his problems. So I started last time looking at this whole concept of the Bible and humanistic or transpersonal psychology because psychology has impacted the vocabulary, the categories and the thinking; transpersonal has impacted all of us to one degree or another. Anybody here who has used a word like self-image in the last week has been impacted, you've picked up a vocabulary word and a category that's non-Biblical and it came directly out of a psychological framework that was in rejection of Christianity. So we all have this and what we have to do is learn to identify these things in our thinking so that we can root them out. That's in essence what Gideon was doing, was rooting out the compromisers in Israel. So we have to root out the compromise in our own thinking.
Now whenever I look at a study like this and engage in this and start talking about psychology I have learned that there's always somebody who gets offended. There's always somebody who reacts subjectively and there's always somebody says well, you know, that's just not realistic or it really doesn't work. And usually what you discover is that this person, somewhere in their past, in almost 50% of Americans or 60% of Americans have in their lifetime been to some kind of counseling or psychological therapy, that usually there's somebody that because of their past, in their past someone they love has been helped by psychology. Now I'm not saying that people aren't helped by psychology; that's not the issue. The issue is not does it work, the first always is is it Biblical. The second issue then is application. It's never asking the question, does it work; when that's the first question out of your mind you're a pragmatist and you're not thinking biblically, you're thinking according to a human viewpoint system. Now what happens is people go through various problems, either it's a problem with addiction or depression, maybe it's a problem with your children's behavior, it's very popular today to talk about kids with ADHD and all sorts of other problems and the first thing we want to do is medicate the kids rather than look at the parents and say hmm, maybe you need to spend a lot more time as a parent teaching discipline to your children and teaching them how to control their sin nature and look at the environment you're providing as a parent and what you're teaching as a parent and quit relying on chemicals to do your job for you. I'm not saying that there are never problems that don't need to be medicated; I'm just saying that I think that too often we jump there too quickly. Or sometimes people have gone through marital problems or intense adversity and in the midst of that they did the culturally accepted thing and they went to a therapy session and somehow over five or six weeks or months their problems were solved or whatever it was and they reached a level of stability and functionality in life, so that was great and they're happy and now all of a sudden I'm saying that maybe that was wrong, it's not Biblical, and you just got involved in the cosmic system so there's reaction. Well, don't get subjective on me, relax and let's look at what the Scripture has to say and let's look at what psychologists have to say about their own system.
We always have to be careful not to be deceived by the world system. The issue is not were you helped, are you functional; the issue is are you advancing spiritually, are you glorifying God, are you living the spiritual life according to the ways that God said to live the spiritual life or are you trying to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and trying to achieve happiness in life through psychological methodology or are you doing it according to the application of doctrine.
Last week I started this study and I've gone back and I've added things to the initial points so we'll have to start over a little bit. In 1941 C. S. Lewis, in his book, The Screwtape Letters forewarned us of the problem of psychology. In his context the old demon Screwtape counsels the young novice demon, Wormwood, on how to successfully tempt believers. And in his counsel he says: "Keep his mind off the plain antithesis between true and false." How many times have you heard somebody say well you're just too rigid, everything you see is black and white, it's either right or its wrong. C. S. Lewis says this is one of the strategies of Satan, "Keep his mind off the plain antithesis between true and false, and keep him in the state of mind, I call 'Christianity and.' You know, Christianity and the crisis, Christianity and the new psychology, Christianity and the new order." See that's what's happened is we have compromised Christianity with psychology.
Point one, psychology, therefore, is one of the most destructive aspects of cosmic arrogance that has become a respected member of the Christian scene in the world today. We have just bought it hook, line and sinker. There's not a seminary around that doesn't offer courses in psychology and counseling, and when you get through with your required semester of that you think gosh, I'll never be a successful pastor unless I go study a lot of psychology and counseling techniques because studying the Bible and teaching doctrine just isn't sufficient. And that's the impression that a lot of people give. Christopher Lasch in his book, The Culture of Narcissism, wrote: "The contemporary climate is therapeutic, not religious; people today hunger, not for personal salvation but for the feeling, the momentary illusion of personal well-being, health and psychic security."
You see, psychology is another religious option. Psychology isn't something that's scientific despite all of their claims. All psychological systems are loaded with pagan assumptions about the ultimate nature of reality. When asked if psychology and religion are just two different ways of arriving at the same answer, William Kirkpatrick, who is a professor of educational psychology at Boston University, responds: "It is true that popular psychology shares much in common with eastern religion, in fact, a merger is well under way. But if you're talking about Christianity it is much truer to say that psychology and religion are competing faiths. If you seriously hold to one set of values you will logically have to reject the other."
So let's start off by defining a few terms. When I say that psychology is a destructive aspect of cosmic arrogance and paganism what I mean by paganism is all thought forms erected independent of God and hostile to God. See, that's the essence of satanic thought; it is that I'm going to be God and I'm going to be able to live life and make life work apart from God. So what we see in the twin pillars of Satan's thought in his fall is arrogance, his focus on what I want instead of what God wants, and two, his hostility toward God. So he developed an entire way of thinking about reality, thinking about the universe, explaining the origin of everything and how life can work apart from God and that's what's called in the Bible cosmic thinking, what I also call human viewpoint thinking or paganism.
The second definition of the term is psychology. This derives from the Greek word psuche, plus the Greek word logos, which means the study of knowledge of the soul. Now the Bible claims to have exclusive and sufficient and authoritative information on the soul. God created the human soul; God as creator is the one who has the right and authority to tell us what it's composed of and what its problems are and what the solutions to those problems are. Man, on the basis of empirical data, cannot come up with that information. So there is a competition right there; psychology claims to have a realm of authority based on its own empirical scientific data and the Bible claims to have exclusive authority in the realm of the nature of the soul and problem analysis and problem solving.
The third point by way of definition is that psychology is based on the assumption that man, based on empiricism, and his own rational capabilities has the ability to plumb the depths of the human soul and to explain human behavior based on the principles of scientific methodology. Psychology is claiming that on the basis of observation man has the ability to plumb the depths of the human soul to define what it's made of and how it works, how problems develop and what the solutions are. In other words, it is saying that empiricism is going to give us all of the information necessary. Thus we conclude that there is a conflict between the systems of psychology and their truth claims and the Bible and its truth claims. So what are we going to follow? Are we going to follow the Bible or are we going to follow a humanly devised system of thought.
The third point, all psychological systems, and there are over 400 different models of human behavior…over 400 different models. Let's say you have a marriage problem, you want to go to a marriage counselor. One of the first things you ought to be asking yourself is what is their model of human behavior, how does that individual think the human soul works, how to problems develop, is the human soul material or not. You go to one counselor and they'll have a materialistic view, you go to another counselor it's another view. There are over 400 different models, which one is Biblical? Is there a Biblical model? And if you go to a Christian counselor do they understand that? Frankly they don't, believe me. In my days at seminary this was such a hot issue and for about ten years I studied almost every so-called Christian counselor out there and not one of them builds a system on the basis of exegesis alone; every one of them at some point or another is importing categories and vocabulary. See, whenever you import vocabulary from a pagan system you're bringing with it that baggage…that's a good psychological term, see you bring with it the baggage that goes along with it. So there are over 400 models or theories of human personality and human makeup and there's over 10,000 different therapies. So which one are you going to choose? Which one is Biblical? You know there's not just one monolithic thing out there called psychology. And they all derive their information from empiricism. Now the problem with empiricism, it's always limited by the data. So that means tomorrow you can discover something that invalidates every theory you have today.
In contrast to this the divine solution is derived exclusively from a study of God's Word. For 1850 years Christians were able to deal with the problems, the adversities, the heartaches in life on the basis of doctrine alone, and now all of a sudden we get the idea that you've got to have some knowledge of psychology, otherwise you really can't solve problems. What you're saying by that is that for 1850 years they could never experience the Christian life, they could never have joy, they could never have stability, they could never have happiness, they could never know what real love was, they couldn't have a Christian marriage because Freud hadn't come along yet, or Maslow or anybody else to gives us the insights from psychology. That's absurd and heretical.
Look at what the Bible says, 2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness," why, purpose clause in verse 17, "that the man of God," that's a term for a believer, "might be adequate," now "adequate" sounds like sort of a weak word in English, it translates the Greek word artios, artios means qualified, proficient, competent, skillful. In other words, the Scriptures are given so that you as a believer may be qualified, proficient, confident and skillful to handle everything in life. So "that you may be adequate, equipped," and then we have the word exartizo, notice the a-r-t in the middle, this is the verb form plus the preposition ek of the noun qualified. And exartizo means to be equipped, educated, edified and prepared. So this verse is saying that "all Scripture is breathed out by God so that the believer can be qualified, proficient, competent and skillful and be equipped, educated, edified and prepared for every good work," not some, "every good work."
That means every single problem, every difficulty we face in life we can find solutions in the Scripture. The ultimate issue is that God solved the greatest problem we'll ever face which is sin, and if God solved the greatest problem we'll ever face He can solve every other problem we face and He has told us how. 2 Peter 1:3-4 states that, "His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness," everything, not some things, not most things, "everything pertaining to life and godliness," and the word godliness is the Greek word eusebeia which refers to the spiritual life. There is nothing we face in life that ultimately does not relate to our relationship with God, or that our relationship with God doesn't impact. So when the Bible claims to give us everything pertaining to life and the spiritual life, there's nothing that doesn't fit into one of those two categories. So to say that we need to go into any kind of empirical date in order to find solutions to problem in life we are rejecting the provision of God. This is given through the true knowledge of Him, of God, who called us by His own glory and excellence [can't understand word/s] that is His character, His glory and excellence; He has granted us His precious and magnificent promises. It's doctrine that gives us the solution.
Now when I say that the Scripture is sufficient for everything in life, what do I mean by "sufficient?" We talk about the sufficiency of grace, we talk about the sufficiency of the cross, we talk about the sufficiency of the Scriptures. What does that word mean? That means as much as needed. God has given us as much as we need, He doesn't give us more than we need, that would be in excess. He gives us as much as we need, we don't need anything else. It's ample, it is satisfactory, it is all that is needed to accomplish a task. That's what's sufficiency means, that God's grace is sufficient for our weaknesses; that means that God's grace provides everything we need and nothing more; it's not lacking in anything.
Now what happens, and maybe you've never run across this but what always happens whenever I've gotten engaged in any kind of discussion with anybody over these subjects is they come up with a wonderful little statement so popular, "all truth is God's truth." This is point number five. Point number four was that the divine solution is derived from a study of God's Word which claims to be sufficient and immutable.
Point number five is that the basic rationale used to refute Biblical sufficiency is the saying that "all truth is God's truth." Now what this is saying is that all truth relates to truth that comes from the natural realm, from observation, from empirical data, from scientific study, that all truth is that truth, it is just as true and just as valid as God's truth. So when we come to truth as a result of scientific empirical observation, using a scientific method we arrive at truth, then that is just as good, so we can merge those together and we can bring our conclusions from psychology in and merge them with the Bible and that will help us to solve our problem. Now there are real problems with this whole concept and we need to really understand this. This is a vital thing; you may have never run across it but trust me, after I go through teaching this you'll hit this. This is always there and if somebody doesn't come right out and say it, then they're thinking about it. Not only does this affect psychology it affects all other areas. Some of you guys are interested in reading about Bible study and hermeneutics, it's affecting hermeneutics, it's affecting linguistic theory, language study, exegesis, this concept that you can go into other realms of human study and find truth on the same level as the truth in God's Word and merge them together for insight is infecting many areas of Biblical study and theology, but the problems are all the same.
The claim here is based on a concept called general revelation. General revelation is defined as the non-verbal disclosure of the existence, reality and power of God through His creation. It's the non-verbal disclosure; it's the concept in Psalm 19:1, "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows forth His handiwork." It's that as we look out at creation we can see the intricacy, the power and the marvel of creation and know that this must have been created by an immensely knowledgeable and powerful Creator. So it doesn't tell us any facts, it doesn't communicate specific propositional information about God, or salvation but it does indicate non-verbally that He exists, that He is real, and it says something about His power. This is seen in Romans 1:18-20, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,  because that which is known about God is evident within them," that means that every human being knows about God, "for God made it evident to them." That means every unbeliever, every atheist knows God exists and "God has made it evident to them" and you say why, how can we know that?  "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen," it's not clouded, it's no obfuscated, it's clear, they "have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." [Tape turns]
It doesn't give us the detailed knowledge of God in a systematic theology but it's enough knowledge and enough information to where they are without excuse, they are accountable for that information. That's general revelation.
The second term is special revelation. Special revelation describes what's in the canon of Scripture. It is the verbal propositional disclosure of the specifics of God's existence, attributes, works, plan, purposes and policies for mankind. In other words, it's Scripture, it's the details of Scripture that God is omniscient, He's sovereign, He's just, He's righteous, He's love, He's eternal, the specifics tell us what man's problem is, that it's sin, and what the solution is, that it's trusting Christ as our Savior. And that with our salvation God gives us the Holy Spirit as believers in the Church Age and by walking by the Spirit and being filling of the Holy Spirit we can advance to spiritual maturity. And that God has given us a solution to every problem we face. That's special revelation.
Now let's critique this statement, develop your critical thinking skills a little bit this morning. Let's critique this statement, "all truth is God's truth." It sounds good and in some level it is true. But let's evaluate it a little more thoroughly. First of all, it assumes that all truth is equal, that all truth is equal but the fact is truth exists in varying degrees of certitude. The truth that we derive through scientific observation or specially clinical psychology can be changed next week by further observations. To use a metaphor and an image that is very popular among psychologists and psychotherapists, they haven't even gotten below the surface of the iceberg yet. An iceberg, 10% is visible, 90% is below the surface, and they use that to illustrate the subconscious and unconscious. But 90% of what can be known about the soul is hidden from empirical observation, so anything they discover tomorrow can change what they hold to today so the truth is not absolute truth, it is a tentative truth. And we mentioned last time when I went through this examples from Mesmer who was one of the fountainhead thinkers that influenced Freud and Carl Jung, that he thought that all illness were due to some invisible fluid in the body system. Now we know that's not true any more, so some of the original thinking of even people like Freud and Jung is rejected now by psychotherapists because subsequent data that was discovered invalidated their theory. So these theories are always in a state of flux.
I said last time that Anton Mesmer who was one of the fountain heads of upper hypnosis and mesmerism in the early 19th century is one of the key influential people in psychology and here's a quote from the American Psychological Association's book on the history of psychotherapy, "A Century of Change." "Historians have found several aspects of mesmerism and its offshoots that set the stage for 10th century psychotherapy. They promoted ideas that are quintessentially American," notice that, it's quintessentially American, "and have become permanent theoretical features of our 20th century psychological landscape." But much of it was rejected. Also much of Freud's original thinking was rejected, even though he set the stage.
"There are very few analysts who follow all of Freud's formulation," says Morris Eagle, the president of the APA psychoanalysis division. "Nevertheless," he says, "psychotherapists of all stripes still tend to share two of Freud's core belief." Notice, "One is that our behavior, thoughts and emotions stem from unconscious fears and desires." Notice that; that's a core concept, the whole idea of the unconscious is so rooted and imbedded in the everyday thought of late 20th early 21st century American culture that to even question the use of terms like your subconscious and your unconscious is not even acceptable to most people. It's a Freudian concept; nobody ever heard of that before Freud came along, it's not Biblical. Nobody in 1850 years of biblical exegesis ever thought of man as having an unconscious or subconscious. We have memory, we have habits, the Bible says, but we don't have a subconscious or unconscious that controls our behavior. That destroys personal responsibility in decision making. Eagle goes on to say, "The first of these is that our behavior, thoughts and emotions all come from this unconscious, often rooted in childhood experiences, and the other is that with the help of the trained therapist we can understand the source of our troubles and thereby attain some relief."
Now these two ideas are ingrained in most people in our culture. But, that could be change; there's another way of looking at life completely and that's the Scripture.
A second critique of the statement, "all truth is God's truth" is that all truth does not rest on the same authority. All truth does not rest on the same authority. There's a vast difference between the authority of truth derived from human experience and reason and truth that is revealed by God. Scripture says that Jesus prayed to the Father, "Sanctify them by means of truth, Thy Word is truth." That's a different category of truth and a higher level of truth than that which we derive on the basis of observation and reason.
A third critique is that there are wrong assumptions here about the range and content of general revelation. When they say "all truth is God's truth" they want to make the "all truth" relative to general revelation, that I can go out and discover things by observing human behavior and that's part of general revelation. Well, that's wrong; general revelation is restricted to non-verbal information about God's existence, not the nature of man, not the nature of mathematics, not the nature of the laws of thermodynamics, but the nature of God and that God exists. So all truth is not related to other categories in nature; just general revelation just gives us information about God. This gives us, then, five things that we must realize in terms of wrong assumptions about general revelation.
First of all we must realize that the soul is immaterial and it's not open to empirical study. How much does it weigh? How big is it? Where is it located? How does it get there? That's not open to empirical study, it's immaterial; we can't observe it, it's not open to human observation. We can observe its results, its effects, but we can't observe it directly. Morality, spirituality, and human personality are subjects that are beyond the comprehension of science. You talk to any psychotherapist and his view of personality is going to be different from the next one you talk to. We can't observe it directly so we can't come up with any absolutes.
Second, man can observe many things about human behavior but this is superficial and is open to distortion from insufficient evidence or rejection of human depravity. See, if you reject man's sinfulness, that man is inherently evil, that's going to shape how you interpret all the data. It's going to skew the conclusion. So the framework, the metaphysical framework that a psychotherapist brings to the data is going to affect his conclusion. Scripture clearly teaches the limitations of man; "the heart is deceitful above all things, who can know it? Only God can speak authoritatively and finally about the nature of man's immaterial soul.
Fourth, there's a vast difference between observing general trends or patterns of behavior and the type of specificity found in psychological models and explanations of personality, behavior and problem solving. Psychology comes along with all these diagrams and flow charts about how everything works and everything is interconnected, tells you that okay, if you're in a situation and there's abuse then this is necessarily going to result in certain types of behavior twenty or thirty years later. See, that's what they're really saying, and that kind of specificity cannot be derived from the kind of general observation that we're restricted to. So general observation can only produce general trends, it can't produce the kind of specificity that's found in most psychological models.
And fifth, general revelation cannot and does not give information about sin, salvation and sanctification. And that's what we're talking about; when you as a believer have problems in life it's a sanctification issue, and you can't get information about that from general revelation.
The fourth critique of "all truth is God's truth" is that all truth does not fall on receptive ears. All truth does not fall on receptive ears. Now I quoted earlier Romans 1:18-20. What we see there is men suppress the truth in unrighteousness, they're suppressing the truth of general revelation in unrighteousness so what you're ultimately telling me is that people who have rejected Christianity and rejected the God of the Bible have rejected absolute truth, so they've shut themselves up to only a relativistic understanding of truth.
So what you're telling me, then, is this fifth critique, that fallible fallen men, who have rejected God presuppositional, fallen men who reject Christianity, like Freud, Jung, Maslow, many, many others, that these fallen fallible men who have rejected general revelation about God are then going to be able to correctly categorize, classify and interpret data from observing God's creation about man? I don't think so. See, they have begun by rejecting the only framework within which they can ever understand the data. And now you're saying that just on the basis of observation they're going to come up… and see, there's a difference between observing personality theory and human behavior and coming up with a scientific law or mathematical law. Those are different; those are testable, verifiable and repeatable. When we're talking about the human soul and human personality it's not testable, verifiable and repeatable. Romans 1:22 says that these men, "Professing to be wise," these who reject God, "professing to be wise, they became fools."
Now the sixth point is that there is no such thing as Christian psychology. This is a misnomer. We often think well, I'll go to a Christian counselor. There's no such thing as Christian psychology. A statement by the Christian Association for Psychological Studies: "We are often asked if we are Christian psychologists. I find it difficult to answer since we don't know what the question implies. We are Christians who are psychologists, but at the present time there is no acceptable Christian psychology that is markedly different from non-Christian psychology." I want you to listen to that: "We are Christians who are psychologists, but at the present time there is no acceptable Christian psychology that is markedly different from non-Christian psychology. I know Christian psychologists who are into primal therapy; I know Christian psychologists who are Freudian; I know Christian psychologists are in rational emotive therapy; I know Christian psychologists in reality therapy but there is not such thing as a (quote) "Christian psychology." That's the point that this quote is making. He goes on to say, "It is difficult to imply that we function in a manner that is fundamentally distinct from our non-Christian colleagues. As yet there is not an acceptable theory, mode of research or treatment methodology that is distinctly Christian."
See, they're rejecting the Bible as their starting point just as much as the secular psychologist. Now there is such a thing as Biblical psychology. That's when you get into the Scriptures and you study the soul and the immaterial parts of man and you study what problems are and we've studied stress and adversity and how the Bible says to call problems. That's called Biblical psychology but that's not what is known as Christian psychology. The problem is that we often, in our environment and the world around us, we pick up a lot of psychological vocabulary, terms like self-esteem, self-love, the child within, subconscious, [can't understand word] complex, terms like repression, we pick up those terms from the world around us and they are all part of this psychological framework and then we bring that category in and reinterpret the Bible in terms of a modern psychological framework. Instead the Bible talks about sinful habits, sinful patterns that we get into; it talks about self-deception, ignoring reality, denying our sinfulness, ignoring God, suppressing the truth in unrighteousness; that's the terminology the Bible uses and we need to stick with a Biblical terminology when discussing human problems and divine solutions. When we use modern psycho-babble to define this then we bring psycho-babble concepts into the Scriptures.
Psychotherapy has seduced modern American culture as well as Christian culture with its pseudo success and its false claims. In the book, Manufacturing Victims, Dr. Tana Dineen says that over ten million Americans seek the services of the psychology industry each year. She goes on to say "in the early 1960s 14% of the U.S. population had ever received psychological services. By 1976 that number had risen to 26%, however by 1990 at least 33% have been psychological users at some point in their lives and in 1995 the American Psychological Association stated that 46% of the U. S. population had seen a mental health professional. Some even predict that by the year 2000 users will be the majority constituting 80% of the population." The number of licensed psychologists is doubling every ten years. Why is it so popular? [blank spot]
Dr. Jerome Frank who is a researcher in psychotherapy states: "Psychotherapy is the only form of treatment which at least to some extent appears to create the illness it treats." Ralph Nader's group came to this conclusion. "A distressingly large number of mental health professionals take the position that everyone who walks into their office needs therapy, frequently long-term therapy which often stretches for several years to the tune of thousands of dollars; they create their own market."
That's only the first seven of about fifteen points; the good stuff is yet to come.