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The views of a Professor of Psychiatry who later became a Christian.
A summary of lectures he has given
SECTION 1 - Pillars of Psychology.
He sees inward turn of Christianity to self etc. To look after me and mine. A false gospel of psychotherapy leads to this kind of thinking.
There are 6 fundamental question that people ask.
(1) Why am I not happy?
(2) What is wrong inside my mind?
(3) How can I understand myself - what is my story?
(4) Who can help me?
(5) How can I become happy?
(6) What is the purpose of my life?
To find answers people go to counsellors - but even Christians fail to realise that the Bible has the answers to those questions. It presents opportunities to teach doctrine.
Replies are the 6 fundamental doctrines of the psychotherapy industry. They also underlie most Biblical counselling. It is truly hollow and deceptive.
Q(1) Why am I not happy ?
Secular answer - Environmental determinism - emotional problems of man all solely due to external sources. Rousseau - vice and error are foreign to natural man. Darwinism - survival of the fittest. Put into a package by Freud. Trouble comes from outside. Man is born with a clean slate. Man has no control over them - therefore looks for perpetrators. Genetic imbalance also now blamed - e.g. depression due to chemical imbalance - everyone thinks this is true but no proof of this whatsoever.
All derived from assertion that evil is outside and abused innocence is on the inside.
We are far more concerned by the WHY's and not by the WHAT.
But Mark 7 - It is what comes from inside a man that defiles him. Out of heart comes sexual immorality, greed etc." Environmental determinism is completely against Christian morality.
[MB - It is so easy to see how the world will hate Christians for saying that EVERYONE is a guilty sinner before God]
In the final judgement, each one of us will stand alone with no one to blame.
Modern psychotherapy takes all the blame from us and puts it on our environment, genes etc.
2nd Pillar - Answers Q 2 - what is wrong inside my mind?
Secular answer = psychic determinism which is basic to the industry.
Outside out cognisance exist perceptions experiences emotions and thoughts - can influence us on a day to day basis = UNCONSCIOUS MIND - kept out of our mind by repression. Real interest of the therapist lies in the why of our lives.
If this is in control and influences us in ways we cannot control, then we are truly in a hopeless bondage over which we have no control. That is why they are motivated to get inside there and plumb the so-called deeper meaning of their thoughts. Therefore WHY is more interesting than WHAT. Freud put this all together at end of century.
Use Strongs Concordance and do a Bible check on heart soul spirit - gives complete psychology on the out-of-awareness of the mind. It tells us that heart of man is naturally wicked - not only not understandable by man but known only to God. Filled with greed and self-indulgence. Heart is the seat of our emotions - our inmost being. Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life - Prov 4:23. But only the Lord understand what goes on there. Jer 17:9-10.
Only God can reliably know of the subconscious contents of our minds. It is out of bounds to humans.
3rd pillar - concept of INSIGHT. (Q3 - How can I understand myself.)
Scripture - we are regenerate by faith. Psychotherapy prescribes insight - to change people - man MUST gain insight into his unconscious. Freud offered ways of doing this - free association - dreams - reliving past experience, catharsis etc. to release us from the pressure of the past - repressions must be released.
BUT the Lord says looking inside a man is barred to man.
Newsreels use psychologists to explain the mind of the criminal - violence of murderers etc. i.e. why he behaved the way he did - this excuses him.
Oklahoma bombing - many papers on this - many did NOT want to be counselled - church members etc. - this led to a post traumatic stress situation among the counsellors (laughter) who were feeling rejected and could not understand these hard Christians! He has 5 papers on this.
Therapeutic personal narrative - useful to the client but it need not be true. From this came the whole "recovered memory" pandemic - memories of past abuse.
Shaping of our lives is VERY different from DETERMINING our lives.
We are not to look into the past for the answer to our problems but trust in the sacrifice of Christ.
The truth shall make you free.
4 Pillar - Q4 - Who can help me?
Secular theory says the therapist. In USA 1 therapist for every 250. In a few years 80% will have paid for solace for their problems. He also wanted to be among the elite - before he became a Christian - read peoples minds - gnostic appeal of special knowledge - elite corps.
In a properly functioning church we have the Holy Spirit who is to be obeyed. We also have the written and authoritative word of God. 1 Cor 2:14. The unbeliever CANNOT understand what God is saying.
The counselling of other believers often occurred. All believers are competent to counsel - Rom. 15:14. Col 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish in all wisdom."
Counselling is not just a gift; it is for all to do. [MB-see comment below]
Gal 6:1-3 "If someone is caught.. restore him gently. Carry each others burdens."
2 Thess 3:6 . Titus 1:13 "Rebuke them sharply so that they will be sound in the faith."
Church is the community health centre. Therapists have their own home-grown wisdom and advice.
[MB Comment added 6 June 2006 - We would disagree here. This was written to a church with elite Romans in membership. In 2 Timothy 4:21 Pudens was a Senator married to Claudia; Linus and Claudia were the children of Caractacus - the BRITISH Warrior feared by the Romans (See "True Science agrees with the Bible" pp.135-141.) The ROMAN congregation was "competent to counsell", but would Paul have said this about the chaotic Corinthian church? Paul complained that they were still "carnal" 1 Cor.3:1-3.]
SECTION 2 - The Contrasting Biblical Approach.
Q5 - "How can I become happy?" The world says; self-sufficiency, self-actualisation, self empowerment, self awareness, self esteem, security and significance.
Results are often embitterdness against parents, desire for revenge, violent out bursts etc.
The Church points to sanctification = progressive work of God in man that makes us more free from sin and like Christ. It is a progressive work.
This peace is the by-product and should not be the primary goal.
Sanctification is both private and shared with others. It leaves no room for self in any corner.
Q6 - What is the purpose of life?
The secular answer; the pleasure principle.
Freedom from guilt shame fear anxiety and suffering = symptoms of disfunction - ALL sell this to the customers. The goal is to rid the client of his discomfort. Move towards self results in suicide, abortion, transcendent states in drugs, etc. Oppositional defiance disorder (= nasty kid).
BUT the Christian says the chief end of man to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Suffering is avoided by men. It is a witness of progressive sanctification. Perseverance is the means by which we grow. He offers no instruction to flee from suffering. James 1; "..they have come so that your faith may be proved genuine." What a contrast to what psychology says - man glorifies man. They are exclusive.
Biblical counselling is often dressed up in Biblical terms. It focuses on self. It sounds so compassionate but it draws us towards the second death. It is a counterfeit gospel.
SECTION 3 - Puritans vs. Modern Counselling.
How did they deal with problems? Today, secular views come out in Christian counselling.
For 400 years they were accused of being too zealous. They created a national conscience. 20,000 sailed for America.
Laboured for the "cure of souls"; the Bible was sufficient. We must distinguish between FELT need and REAL need. They could be in direct opposition. Puritans knew that every man is fundamentally a rebel not a victim. Church today calls for caring relationships and community. "The myth of American Individualism" by Barry Shane; Protestant, communal vision rather than the individualism often ascribed to them. Allowed no Gnostic illusion of man having an inner core of goodness or innocence.
David Fisher in "Albion's Seed" wrote "Individual and corporate duty to love each other in a Godly way to be serviceable to one another, to lovingly give as well as lovingly take admonitions." HE WAS NOT A CHRISTIAN. "Institutions should limit reform and shape the sinful individual." This should be done intrusively as in no other way will the recalcitrant and naturally deformed human being take on a Godly and publicly useful shape.
Family is the root from which good comes. Disorderly children could be sent to other families. "Tithing men" - 10 or more families to be kept under surveillance. They did not like people living alone.
For children, there was the breaking of the will. Done with much love. 15,000 hours of sermons in a lifetime.
"Happiness of the community is to be valued above that of the individual." "The source of all man's unhappiness is his selfishness." All this is in contrast to present day views.
Often talk of burnout, workaholic, balance - how does this fit with kenosis "pouring yourself out".
Some Christianity like the yin and yang - achieving balance!
He urges (women) to give hospitality to outsiders, awkwards, suicides etc. [MB - this can be EXTREMELY stressful to the family. Not sure this is wise.]
Adam Clark "Kill yourself with work and pray yourself alive again." Spurgeon was similar.
[MB - but what about family commitments etc. - the balanced life? Excessive attendance to only one area of life can cause terrible problems in many others that have been ignored. I question whether this is really a Godly way of behaviour.]
SECTION 4 - Answers to questions from the audience
(1) Is depression ever material rather than spiritual therefore treated with drugs?
We have a spiritual body and material. Humans are a special creation. Brian is a supernatural organ. e.g. conscience. Also there are spiritual aspects; we are indwelt by the H. Sp. Therefore depression is both spiritual and physical. Difficult to separate those two aspects.
(2) Is brain chemistry the cause of some mental illness?
Chemical tests, brain scans etc. show differences etc.
Psychiatry knows VERY little about the brain. THERE IS NO CONNECTION BETWEEN PATH SCANS ETC. AND DEPRESSION. THEY ARE ALL HYPOTHESES. EVEN THE LOW DOPAMINE VIEW. We cannot measure brain levels of any chemicals that might be involved in this function. This is only done by "interviewing depressed rats". Rats are made to be highly stressed in a maze. They eventually sit in corner, and this is equated to depression. Test its brain for chemicals etc.
BUT this is not certain for humans. We are spiritual, and no science will be able to look at the spiritual aspect of human beings. Science cannot look at anything that is not material. - attitudes, etc.
Much of science is a search for headlines. Be cautious of believing what you see in newspapers.
(3) Christians suffering from depression; should they avoid medical help and medication and counsellors? Any dangers in this approach?
Psychiatric medication; no psychiatrist can say that they know the cause of schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder, neurosis, etc. Similarly they cannot say how the medications actually work.
Medical intern knows the cause of pneumonia illnesses that he treats with penicillin etc. He also knows how the drug works.
Apart from brain diseases, injury etc. psychiatrists have no notion of the concept of what actually causes schizophrenia, depression, neurosis etc. Also they have no idea of how these medication actually work.
They operate on the syndrome level. Then prescribes drugs from an empirical approach.
Drugs do alter function of body. Hallucinations, delusions go away, relax nervous people, sleep tablets etc.
Is there a place for medications in the Christian community? In dire circumstances, if not able to function then medication can be useful for short periods of time. But on other hand - what can be done for a depressed person? Why is he sitting with other depressed people talking about themselves all the time?
All his vectors point inwards. Church should rally round and help him to point outwards. Take arrow by arrow and help him to point outwards. Stay with people, go on holiday, work in business, work in church, Bible study etc. Someone so busy he has not time to be depressed. He forgot to take his Prozac for the last three weeks! He has seen this in action in his own home and elsewhere.
Really crazy people may require some slight medication - but same programme can be applied to strange ones.
Need to get to people before they become chronic patients.
(4) What is the cause of schizophrenia?
Not the faintest idea! We have no idea what we are talking about with that word.
Different textbooks give different definitions. It has broadened considerably; many now called schizophrenic who would not have been called that before. If you cannot make sense of what they are saying etc. they are called schizophrenic. The best cure is to rest those people out of the system, bring them into your arms and homes and they will cease being crazy. The effects of Christian scripture, fellowship and teaching are incompatible with crazyness. I could point out names of people that I have seen this effective in.
(5) I suffer from some depression is drug therapy valid?
I became a psychiatrists before I became a Christian - I wanted to be a shaman, have Gnostic power over people. When I wasconverted in 1975 my mind began to change. I was a high priest in this religion, and it is very diffcult to change. I have seen many depressed people when they come to faith grow and no longer need the lithium, etc. I did not give credence to what the Lord could do in those lives.
The day is coming when most will be on psychotropic medications. Huxley - people took Soma - mellow for the day. Psychiatrists are now nearing that point.
But this raises the question - how does the Lord get our attention? He has equipped us with a conscience. Conscience generates feelings - we start to feel guilty, anxious etc. This could lead to a conviction of sin. We might feel we need a saviour. If you medicate away the feelings, of guilt or shame, then we would be left in a land where the Lord is unnecessary. Similarly, suffering is where we grow in patience, faith etc.
He refers to these drugs as conscience dissolvers - consciolitics. They can be used to hamper the work of the H Spirit in a believers life.
So - these drugs can take feelings away, but what is the purpose of these feelings? What is the theological result of my act? Make your own decision, but do not be ignorant of the theological significance of taking medications. This is important in a believer's life and a non-believer.
(6) He would not recommend a Christian specialising in psychiatry. It has not much to offer for a Christian - exposed to fishy thinking etc. - who we are etc. Doctors are better servers of people.
(7) Advice for Chronic fatigue, ME etc. Labels do not have scientific credibility. No physical basis found. Most likely dealing with something spiritual in their life. Recommend they press on and do a little more each day. Not minimise - not faking - encourage - not fall into inactivity.
(8) Food additives - do these affect our minds? Controversial - strong feelings. No evidence of effects. Sugar - many studies - no scientific evidence of problems from this. Similarly St Johns Wort etc.
A million anecdotes do not data make.
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