Archive for June, 2012


“Reverence does not pertain to things but to persons. To reverence the impersonal creation instead of the personal God who created us is a perversion designed for escaping moral accountability to the Creator.” ~Dave Hunt

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“MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL…”


Most would readily recognize a queen talking to herself in a mirror about her own beauty as prideful and foolish. So why is it that so many have been duped by the popular psychological doctrine of self-esteem which in essence teaches the same prideful notions of self-adoration?

Possibly part of the reason is because of the psychotherapeutic community’s stellar job of making their field appear more scientific than it really is. Another could be the lack of discernment in many who trust almost any teaching as long as it’s called “scientific”. Interestingly, in the minds of many, once a belief receives the stamp of approval from “science”,  it somehow moves out from the realm of fiction (or hypothesis) and into the world of facts and, it seems, is no longer open to scrutiny.  As the adage goes, “Perception is reality.”

But what if the real research and observational science contradict the popular belief of something? To go a step further, what if the Bible contradicts the idea? Arguably, two of the most popular and influential ideas in today’s world; two that use “science” as their shield  and cleverly rule over our self-centered, post-modern society are evolution and clinical psychotherapy. When dealing with either, the Christian is unconditionally obligated without pause to examine them under the scrutiny of God’s sufficient Scriptures. As we stand on His Word, we need not fear.  The truth of God’s creation will always confirm, never contradict the Bible.  The problem occurs when someone gives himself permission to use God’s Word in conjunction with man’s ideas.  Here is where the road splits.  Also, here is where a clever debater will raise up a straw man hoping to cause as many as possible to make a sharp left turn when we should stay straight on the narrow way.

“You see,” an orator might argue, “we don’t use the Bible for fixing a car or building a skyscraper, so clearly there are writings and teachings by men that require us to go outside the Bible. ”  This is foolish at best, and detrimental at worst.  No one would say that we don’t find some of man’s discoveries and teaching useful as they pertain to our day-to-day lives on planet earth.  The problem comes when we make the unnecessary leap of holding to those that lay claim to answers exclusive to the Word of God.  The Bible clearly states that it is sufficient for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), so if any doctrine in these areas contradicts the 66 books of the Bible, a born-again believer must throw them out.  We do not first and foremost need men, rather the Holy Spirit and His Word in these matters.  However, this attack to turn a person from trusting God’s Word is not always easy to detect. Most often they are subtle and unannounced, claiming all the while to be benevolent in intent.

Why not announce your full intentions?  Why such subtly? Simply stated, it’s not always advantageous to attack your opponent head on.  A good strategist will come at his enemy in a variety of covert ways, but the goal is always the same- overtake and destroy.  If I were to stand in front of a Bible-believing congregation and plainly teach that we don’t need God’s Word for all areas of life, many would hopefully correct me on the spot, asking me to step down.  However, if I begin to teach a contrary view to the Bible concerning the history of this universe (evolution) or the nature of man (pop-psychology, self-esteem), all the while invoking “science” to make my claims, many might feel ill-equipped to disagree. Why? Because they feel “scientifically” under equipped to do so.  This reason alone reveals that, at some level, they have been convinced that the “science” in these historical and sociological areas is superior to God’s Word. Once a person has been convinced of the insufficiency of God’s Word, he will undoubtedly be susceptible to even more science fiction, much of which is only covered in a thin veneer of so-called facts. Once a person has bowed the knee to the superiority of man’s ideas to life and godliness in any area,  the battle and even perhaps much of the war has been won.  Once the door is unlocked, allowing in man’s vain philosophies, a person has, in essence, given permission for any and all foolish ideas to enter his heart and mind.

Anytime anyone says that we can add false doctrines to God’s Word, whether claiming to be spiritual or scientific, we are in actuality moving ourselves off the bedrock of the Bible onto the sinking sands of sinful men. The question is simple.  Do we really want the Rock or are we satisfied with the sand?

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker…” 2 Timothy 2:15-17a

Below is a current article providing one of the many examples where the facts diverge from one of today’s most popular teachings.

Dark Side of Self-Esteem

“The media recently reported “new” research findings to the effect that rewards often backfire and self-esteem is not the wonderful, uplifting personal attribute once thought. As a result, schools are rethinking their teaching and classroom management philosophies…

“For almost two decades, research done by people like Roy Baumeister of Florida State University has shown, as conclusively as social science research is capable of showing, that high self-esteem is associated with anti-social behavior. Think, for example, bullying. It appears that the higher one’s self-regard, the lower his regard for others.  People with high self-regard believe themselves to be entitled. What they want, they believe they deserve to have. Because they deserve what they want, they believe they deserve to have.  Because they deserve what they want, the ends justify the means. Think, for example, Bernie Madoff.  They are never wrong; therefore, they are right to act on whatever idea they have. Think, for example, Adolph Hitler.”  (excerpted from http://www.onenewsnow.com/Perspectives/Default.aspx?id=1545284).

ImageToo often worldly ideas get circulated by popular preachers from the pulpits of many of today’s churches.  Sadly, once these ideas are shared enough times, they soon become accepted teachings and few people stop to check them out from God’s Word. One such teaching today is a popular psychological philosophy many call “Idols of the Heart”.

Over the last several years “Idols of the Heart” has grown to become a mainstream psychological idea within many Christian communities and is claimed by its adherents to be biblical in approach and doctrine.  Unfortunately it is at best humanistic, centering itself on the flesh, not the Spirit. In general, the philosophy teaches that the sinful human heart desires to worship self, constructing idols from early on in life. Once becoming a Christian, the teaching goes, we must explore our hearts to examine, expose, and eradicate any and all idols.

Four general problems with this psychology:

  • First, in order to locate them, we are told that we must sit down with “professionals” to talk about all the things that have gone on in our lives in hopes of exposing these idols. This “talking” often times falls under gossip and tends to be self-focused and problem-centered, not Christ-centered.
  • Secondly, even if idols are discovered, the question will always remain, when do we know if all our idols have been exposed?  We could spend a lifetime examining our old hearts and still not be sure we’ve gotten rid of them all.
  • Next, if there are idols in our hearts, they would have been constructed by the old, unregenerate man.  So in order to find them, we are forced to peruse the old man, not the new man, born again by the Spirit of God.  Instead of digging through the old flesh, Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned, “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ…[putting] on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” Colossians 2:11; 3:10. (Emphasis mine.)
  • Finally, perhaps the most deceptive part is while attempting to grow in the Spirit, one is actually only able to prop up the fleshly, old man and all if its self-focused desires.  In this process we very well may believe we are overcoming sin by the power of the Spirit, when in actuality we are simply bringing attention and satisfaction to the old man.  In doing so, this often leads to confusion and even deception for the one practicing such methods.

Below are several exerpts from a recent article written by Martin and Deidre Bobgan which serve as a further biblical response.

THE IDOLATROUS HEART

“The self focus of introspection that comes with counseling that stresses insight into one’s idolatrous heart can actually strengthen the flesh as it becomes self-centered rather than Christ-centered.  An emphasis on the idolatrous heart also poses a danger of too much self-centered introspection, which can lead to despair on the one hand and prideful self-righteousness on the other.

One may become stuck in trying to fix the flesh, which must be put off.  Therefore the idolatrous heart should not be the primary emphasis in the spiritual ministry of soul care.  Any attention given to the idolatrous heart is only useful as a means of teaching the doctrine of human depravity and identifying when one is living according to the old nature. But one can come to the same conclusion by reading the Word and then paying attention to one’s thoughts and behavior in relation to what God has said.  When the Bible calls for self-examination, the purpose is to discover whether one is in the faith and walking according to the new life in Christ (1 Cor. 11:28; 2 Cor. 13:5).  Spiritual growth comes by focusing on Christ, His very Person, His life, and all He has accomplished for the believer and continues to accomplish at the right hand of the Father.

While many in the Biblical Counseling Movement may indeed intend to “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28), because of their problem-centeredness, they grievously fall into another form of idolatry: sinful conversations as a means to a better marriage, a better life, and a more satisfied self.

Why Christians who have been born again by the Holy Spirit, given new life in Christ, and have the very Word of God at their finger tips subject themselves to such sin-centered activities escapes reason.  However, one possible reason is that they are walking according to the flesh and attempting to have their lives fixed by someone else instead of through following the Lord Jesus Himself.

One does not need to seek the specific motivation for every sin, but recognize that whenever one sins one is walking according to the flesh with its deceitful heart.  This involves recognition of sin (not analysis), repentance (1 John 1:9) , and walking again according to the indwelling Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16), which involves trusting and obeying Christ.  Throughout the ages the Holy Spirit used the Word of God directly and through sound preaching and teaching to convict the sinner and the sinning saint, to show the way of life, and to enable the believer to live by that new life. The Christian life is one of grace and hope because all is given by God, including the [power] to trust and obey.”

See: http://psychoheresy-aware.org/powlison_cure_3.html for the full article.

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