Thursday, September 6, 2012

From Secular Psychology to Christian Psychology

The care and cure of souls has been the primary calling of Ministers for thousands of years. Yet, ever since Freud crashed our party Christians have assumed that psychology was always against Christian spirituality.  In fact, some people who call themselves Ministers and Counselors insist that by using psychological insights we are defying the Bible.

the people who research and think about how the brain and soul operate in health and sickness are imperfect people with imperfect theologies. However, some of their insights and ideas are very helpful to those of us who know and serve Christ.

For example, the most popular brand of psychology today is probably Cognitive Behavior Therapy. One of the most popular and outrageous of  CBT is Albert Ellis. Dr. Ellis is shows great insight about how the brain works to impact feelings but he is at a complete loss to understand God. Ellis and others have developed several ways to help people with emotional problems look at their thinking process and understand how to change from Stinking Thinking to Rational Thinking. 

Despite the fact that his own out of control anger and bitterness at God and religion hampers his effectiveness, we who love God can borrow the insights he developed with the assistance of using God's truth. All truth is God's truth so the understanding of the atheist must have come from God if his facts are correct. he can deny that God rules the universe but we know differently.

The following chart as well as the one I posted yesterday borrows the ideas from CBT and applies their factual processes to Christians by applying the Bible instead of secular humanist ideas. Good theology brings health and healing but bad theology brings dysfunction and behavioral sickness including depression and anxiety. Take a look at my second chart on thinking with good, sound theology!

A Conflict of Law and Human Nature

Most people know that a life of perfection is impossible.  Christians think we “should” be living in accord with the Law but just cannot do it.  “Memories of Eden” are deep in our souls and drive us to attempt perfection. The Memory of a Lost Identity leads to Shame as we wander outside the Garden.

Taking every thought captive to the mind of Christ!

God’s Options
Human Options
1. God centered intimacy
Jo 14, 15; Gal 4, 5, 6; Eph 1,2
a. Human centered obedience
Gal 5:2-15
2. Punishment required
  1. Awe/fear of God
  2. Want to restore relationship
  3. Recognizes depravity
  4. Confesses guilt
  5. Repents
  6. Accepts forgiveness
  7. Thanks for restored relationship
b. Punishment required
    1. Fear for self
    2. Wants to lower penalty
    3. Self-condemnation
    4. Self-rejection
    5. Damages-self esteem
    6. Inferiority/Insecurity
    7. Hides from self & others
  1. Humility-Perfect in weakness

c. Loss of Identity, Legalism, Works, Self -Pity, Anger
  1. Celebrates intimacy with God
    1. Empathy for others’ sins
    2. Prays for others
d. Self Justifies
  1. Compares self with others
  2. Anger & bitterness
  1. Relationships grow
    1. Fruit of the Spirit
    2. Affirms others
    3. Appreciates others
    4. Serves
    5. Trusts God for good
e. Relationships suffer
  1. Depressive withdrawal
  2. Lashes out
  3. Closest people suffer
  4. Fears others
  5. No trust in God
  1. Cycle of Growth
    1. Freedom
    2. Confidence
    3. Joy
    4. Power
f. Cycle of Pain
  1. New resolutions
  2. Represses feelings
  3. Shame grows
  4. Anxiety & Compulsions
  1. God Centered Lifestyle
    1. Joy
    2. Confidence
    3. Peace
    4. Godliness
    5. Good relationships
    6. Health
    7. Maturity (Gal 5:22 ff)
g. Human Centered Lifestyle
  1. Anxiety
  2. Negative thinking
  3. Pessimism
  4. Low Self Esteem
  5. Shame
  6. Relational problems
  7. Defensiveness (Gal 5:19-21)
  1. Life Abundant; soul prospers
h. Death of the soul What profit if we gain the world and lose our soul?

This chart shows what happens when we substitute secular humanist philosophy for good theology. We can see the importance of staying focused on our new identity in Christ and how to think like a new person as opposed to thinking like the old person who has died.

No comments: