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Meriam's Guy

Church's Unholy Union with the Four Temperaments
Posted:Dec 7, 2011 1:58 am
Last Updated:Jun 18, 2024 10:56 am

Martin and Deidre Bobgan

Myers asks: “Are there any Scriptural examples of “typifying” people, and would this
give us permission to do it ourselves?” He responds by saying: “There are at least two
systems, maybe more.”108 Myers begins by confusing psychological types with spiritual
gifts. However types and gifts are two entirely different ways of looking at people: one is
secular and speculative (temperament types) and the other is biblical (spiritual gifts). A
person with the gift of evangelism could feasibly be placed in various typology categories
from any number of secular systems devised by men. The spiritual gifts come from God; the
temperament categories come from unproven, extrabiblical sources.
Myers says: “God typifies people according to their spiritual gift. And they’re not
always divorced from natural traits.”109 Again, Myers confuses traits with types. Also, to
say that “God typifies people according to their spiritual gift” makes it sound as though the
spiritual gift intrinsically belongs to the person, rather than that spiritual gifts are given by
the effectual working of God’s power and life in an individual.
We agree that spiritual gifts are “not always divorced from natural traits.” However,
they are often divorced from natural traits—probably so that an individual will not become
puffed up. There are numerous biblical examples from Moses on, as well as saints over the
centuries. Spiritual gifts are dependent upon the indwelling Holy Spirit, rather than on a
person’s natural traits.
The fact that there are so many different personalities who exercise one or more of the
gifts is testimony enough that connecting personality types with gifts is an egregious error.
We recognize a person’s gift by his fruit, not by his personality—by his ministry rather than
by some personality category to which he has been assigned.
Myers confuses the idea of describing a person with typing a person. Descriptions do
not equal types. If we describe a person as generous and kind, that is simply a description.
We are not classifying him as a type and assume all kinds of other characteristics to be
applicable. Indeed, certain characteristics may accompany one another, but that does not
establish types. The Bible abounds with descriptions of people, but it does not set forth or
support a system of types.
Myers presents a second supposed biblical support for using typologies. He contends
that since biblical names had meanings, the name at birth was the individual’s type and that
“the name was accurate (even predictive—shades of astrology??)”110 (Emphasis his.) Let
us analyze this and use one of Myers’ several examples.
Myers says:
Jacob, for instance—born “with his hand holding Esau’s heel”—was typed for
life as “one who takes by the heel, or supplants” (Gen. 25:26). And indeed
this told his life story: the tale of a man who would not let go.111
What is Myers saying here? Is he suggesting Jacob was named because of his
personality or because of his manner of birth? We thought it was because of the manner of
birth. However, let’s say that it’s because of his personality. Was the name the result of
knowing who he would be when he grew up? Let’s say it was. Does this mean that a name
is a way of discerning a person’s future personality? Or is this a matter of causing one to be
the type of person like the meaning of the name?
Bobgan Response to Myers 2
It is obvious that many individuals in the Bible did not turn out according to their
names and that for numerous others we do not have enough information to know whether
they did or not. However, it is unlikely that the names used by Myers were either a
discernment on the part of the namers or a deterministic label. More likely it was prophetic
or the fulfillment of prophecy.
In all Myers’ examples there is not one in which God typed people à la the four
temperaments; nor is there even a hint of their use or presence. The way Myers and Voges
inject the temperaments into Scripture and then discover them there is known as eisegesis.
Almost anyone with almost any system can eisegete what they want out of Scripture by
merely reading into Scripture what is not there in the first place.
Myers says:
A recurring theme of the Bobgan’s [sic] book is that many evangelicals
(especially Ken voges [sic]) are imposing a foreign system upon the
In the parentheses, Myers says “especially Ken voges [sic].” Myers is not only twisting what
we have done, but pandering to the possibility that people in his congregation will get the
impression that we are singling out Ken Voges. Please look at our book; we are critiquing a
number of popularizers of the four temperaments teachings, including that of Voges. As a
matter of fact we analyze the writings of Ken Voges and Ron Braund together . We list them
in that order because they are listed in that order on their book. If Myers would have said
“including,” rather than “especially,” he would have been correct. But throughout his paper,
Myers puts a little spin on information in like manner, even though he should know better.
Myers knows that we have evaluated the writings of a variety of individuals, because he lists
them on page 1 of his paper. Incidentally, Myers’ omission of Ron Braund (Voges’
coauthor) on page 1 of his paper is a little puzzling.
Myers then says:
They [Bobgans] claim that Voges and Braun [sic] (his coauthor) “corrupt the
Scripture with unproved, unscientific, and even peganistic [sic] philosophies
of men;” [sic] and then they land the K-O blow by citing pastor Tommy
Before we discuss Myers’ treatment of Ice’s statement, we must correct a false impression
Myers gives here. Voges and Braund are not the subject of the predicate he quotes. Here is
what we say:
However, such systems present competing views of who man is and how he
changes, and they corrupt the Scriptures with unproven, unscientific, and
even paganistic philosophies of men. Unless a personality theory originates
from studying Scripture and reflects sound biblical theology, it will tend to
divert attention away from God and His Word concerning who man is and
how he is saved and sanctified. Such deviation will present an alternate means
of salvation and/or sanctification in addition to and in opposition to God’s
clear Word on the matter.114 (Emphasis added.)
Bobgan Response to Myers 3
The word they refers to its proper antecedent, which is “such systems.” Myers has a
penchant for misreading, reading into things, and saying that we say what we do not say.
Now here is what Myers refers to as “the K-O blow by citing pastor Tommy Ice.” He
writes the following as a quotation of Ice from our book:
Voges and Braund are imposing an external interpretative grid over the Bible. . .
. an interpretative (unbiblical) [Myers added the word unbiblical and should
have used brackets] framework. Since (they) rival the system in the Bible, in
the Bible, their views are part of the apostasy that Christ, Paul, and the Apostles
warned us to look out for within the Church.115
Myers cites page 83 from Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing as the
source for that quote. Please notice that the Ice quotation as it appears in our book is quite
Voges and Braund are imposing an external interpretative grid over the Bible
which arrives at conclusions that various personalities of the Bible can be said
to be illustrations of the DiSC system, thus giving the impression that this
modern discovery of personality traits has always been there. I cannot see any
difference, epistemologically, between using the DiSC grid as an interpretative
framework for explaining the behavior of those in the Bible and that of the
higher critical literary approaches of the Bible which produced things like the
JEDP theory and two Isaiahs.116
First of all, Myers omits an essential part of what Ice is saying. Then he omits the end of a
sentence and adds material not in the reference he cites. Where did Myers obtain that final
sentence? It is not in our book.
Then after Myers misquotes Ice and us, he says:
These are very serious charges: both for the accused and the accusers. They are
either true or slanderous. (Someday God will call someone to account.)117
(Emphasis his.)
Myers evidently does not know that slander has to do with the spoken word and that libel has
to do with the written word. He means libelous, but says “slanderous.” Either way, this is a
false accusation.
Next comes a long, tedious, tangential section in which Myers attempts to justify the
use of extrabiblical material. In this section, Myers does not address our specific concern
about syncretizing an entire extrabiblical, psychological, theoretical system with Scripture.
Instead, he takes the word extrabiblical away from our specific concern and gives examples
of other instances of what he calls “extrabiblical.”
In building a case for using what he identifies as extrabiblical material, Myers erects a
large umbrella, under which he hopes to protect the DiSC/BPP. A superficial reading might
lead the reader to think that using extrabiblical material is not so serious after all. However,
we are certain that more than a few conservative theologians would have some very serious
questions about the examples and explanations Myers gives of so-called extrabiblical
Bobgan Response to Myers 4
Before responding to Myers’ discussion on the word extrabiblical, we will once again
state our concern in case Myers missed it. Our concern is not with using Greek loan words
or figures of speech. Our concern with extrabiblical material has to do with importing
psychological, religious or occult systems to explain the nature of man and how he is to live
and change.
While we will not address all of what Myers lumps under the term extrabiblical, we
will discuss a few of his items. Myers asks:
Is there any Scriptural precedent for using “extrabiblical paradigms,” ideas, or
even terms? The examples literally abound—all already in the Bible, all
under inspiration: all such “impositions”, [sic] rightly safeguarded,
sanctioned (or at least precedented) by the Holy Spirit Himself. This will free
us to ask the second question: can we (in any way) use the extrabiblical?118
(Emphasis his.)119
Myers is saying here that much of what is already in the Bible is “extrabiblical” How so?
Because the writers used the vocabulary and various figures of speech from the culture?
Myers identifies as extrabiblical what is already in Scripture.
Myers even goes so far as to say that the Holy Spirit authorized the writers to borrow
from pagan philosophies and Jewish legends. Is that what happened? All Myers gives for
proof is a possible (but very problematic) interpretation of the word logos and a reference to
1 Corinthians 10:4: “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that
spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”120 The first instance is simply
a word existing in the culture. The second is a metaphor referring to the preincarnate Christ
being with the of Israel and supplying them both physical water and spiritual water.
Myers argues that when John used the word logos, he, “consciously imported into the
Scripture (then redeemed for God’s use) a concept that stood for an entire paradigm.” Myers
quotes the conservative theologian Leon Morris for support:
It would be impossible to use a term so widely known in Greek philosophy, in
a writing in the Greek language, probably published in a center of Greek
culture, without being mindful of the associations the term would arouse.121
Myers is quoting from a footnote which merely serves as a qualification of what Morris says
in the text. Here is what Morris says in the main body of that text:
When John used the term Logos, then, he used a term that would be widely
recognized among the Greeks. The average man would not know its precise
significance to the philosophers (any more than his modern counterpart knows
what the scientist understands by, say, “nuclear fission”). But he would know
that it meant something very important. John could scarcely have used the
Greek term without arousing in the minds of those who used the Greek
language thoughts of something supremely great in the universe. But, though
he would not have been unmindful of the associations aroused by the
term, his essential thought does not derive from the Greek background.
His Gospel shows little trace of acquaintance with Greek philosophy and
less of dependence upon it.122 (Emphasis added.)
Bobgan Response to Myers 5
As the reader can see, Morris’s statement does not support Myers’ argument. If we had
merely quoted part of a qualifying footnote and ignored the main text in which the author
presents his position, Myers would probably infer dishonest scholarship on our part.
Myers confuses using the Greek word logos with approving Heraclitus’s philosophical
ideas. Myers says:
. . . and if the Apostle John put his seal of partial approval on one of this
philosopher’s ideas, then even more it seems we have some promising (vs.
poisoning) roots: the beginning of a sterling pedigree for the temperamental
But did John “put his seal of partial approval on one of this philosopher’s ideas”? There is
no evidence of it—only vain speculation. Since the Bible uses language within culture, are
we to conclude that it is appropriate for Christians to incorporate the various philosophies
and religions of the culture as well? Did John use logos according to the current meanings,
or did he specifically use logos in such a way as to incorporate the philosophical ideas of
Heraclitus? Using loan words from the culture does not equal using the concepts or
ideologies that may be associated with those words.
Is Scripture to be interpreted according to pagan religions and philosophy or does it
interpret itself? Might John 1:1-2 be better interpreted with Genesis 1 and with Colossians
2:16, 17? Even if one might read John 1 with Heraclitus in mind, John’s intent would have
been to draw the reader away from the erroneous Greek concept of logos as an eternal
principle of order. Jesus was not a principle of order, but a Person, the of God, without
whom “was not anything made that was made” (John 1:2). Nevertheless, Myers seems to
want to make John approve of Heraclitus so that he might be justified in endorsing and
incorporating an entire system of pagan philosophy (the four temperaments).
We believe that every word, every allegory, every metaphor, every simile, and every
other figure of speech in Scripture are inspired by God. We take the following passage
literally and very seriously:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God
may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3: 16,
The purpose of Scripture is not to approve some Greek philosophy or pagan religion, but
rather to accomplish God’s purposes. Myers seems to argue in favor of God borrowing from
Greek philosophy and in favor of adding the four temperaments and the DiSC model to help
accomplish what the Bible says it does.
Next Myers declares: “In 1 Cor. 10 he [Paul] imports a story from Jewish legend.124”
This is the verse that is supposedly extrabiblical.
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock
that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Myers then cites two commentators who give some credence to that notion. However, there
are other theologians who disagree with that idea. For instance, Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.,
Bobgan Response to Myers 6
former Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminary,
The same spiritual drink, a fifth privilege, refers to the events mentioned in
Ex 17:1-9 and Num 20:1-13 (cf. Num 21:16). The words that spiritual rock
that followed them do not mean that Paul believed the rabbinical legend that
a material rock followed the Israelites throughout their journey and that
Miriam, above all others, possessed the secret of obtaining the water (cf.
Godet, op. cit., II, 56). Actually, the apostle says, that Rock was Christ, i.e., it
was the visible means of the supply of water which came ultimately from
Christ. . . . The literal sense of that Rock was Christ is no more to be pressed
than is the literal sense of “I am the true vine” (Jn 15:1). The was, rather than
is, may, however, point to Christ’s pre-existence (cf. II Cor 8:9; Gal 4:4).125
(Emphasis in original.)
Thus Johnson refutes Myers’ argument.
Next Myers attempts to show that Paul “uses a system of interpretation that for the
most part completely distorted the Scripture, and that was rooted in Greek philosophy.”126
As evidence for this Myers quotes Galatians 4:24, 25 in which Paul uses allegory to teach the
difference between the two covenants of law and grace. Myers declares that Paul was using
“the allegorical (or Alexandrian) school of interpretation.”127 Myers further declares:
Paul uses two technical terms from this school in the passage: “allegorically”
and “corresponds to:” [sic] and the allegory itself has several parallels to
Philo’s allegory of Hagar and Sarah. Philo was Paul’s famous contemporary
(whom he surely read) and the founding father of [sic] allegorical school.128
It is amazing to learn from Myers that allegory is rooted in Greek philosophy. Use of
allegory predates even ancient Greek philosophy. While the Greeks may have named it and
have founded an “allegorical school,” they were not the originators of what they named or
defined. There are examples of allegory in the Old Testament. The prophet Nathan used
allegory to confront David (2 Samuel 12:1-9).
In Galatians 4:24, 25, Paul was not interpreting the OT text according to the usual
manner of the Greeks. He was not overlooking the plain meaning of the text in search of
hidden, esoteric meaning. Instead, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to use the true history
of Hagar and Sarah as a picture—an allegory—to teach the difference between the law and
grace. Paul used allegory to teach, and that’s the purpose of allegory according to its
. . . a story in which people, things, and happenings have a hidden or symbolic
meaning: allegories are used for teaching or explaining ideas, moral
principles, etc.129
Jesus used allegory when he taught by way of parables. Surely Myers would not suggest that
Jesus was borrowing from Greek philosophy!
Next Myers introduces Paul’s use of the Greek word musterion, which is translated
mystery. Myers says:
Bobgan Response to Myers 7
Back then the term “mystery” (musterion)—far more than logos—was almost
universally known to have a very special meaning. It came direct from the
“Babyloian [sic] mysteries,” or “mystery cults” far and away the most popular
religion of Paul’s day: and one of the most licentious.130
Is Myers suggesting that Paul is borrowing more than the word and that he is borrowing
something from the mystery cults when he uses that term? The very context of the verses in
which Paul uses the word mystery argue against that idea. The mystery of the Gospel is a
revealed mystery, not a hidden, esoteric mystery. Thus, if Paul made any reference at all to
the mystery religions, he would have used the word polemically to show the vast difference
between Greek religion and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Other Bible scholars relate Paul’s use of musterion to the Greek Septuagint, where it
occurs in Daniel 2:19, 27, 29, as well as in other places.131 Regarding mystery religions, Dr.
Ronald H. Nash says:
Paul would never have borrowed from the pagan religions. All of our
information about Paul makes it highly unlikely that he was influenced by
pagan sources. He placed great emphasis on his early training in a strict form
of Judaism (Phil. 3:5). He warned the Colossians against the very sort of
things that advocates of Christian syncretism attribute to him—namely, letting
their minds be captured by alien speculations (Col. 2:.132
In using the word mystery, Paul is certainly not in any way whatsoever endorsing the mystery
religions any more than he would have endorsed astrology and its four temperaments.
Doesn’t Myers see the difference between using vocabulary and using occult systems?
Language is language. It exists in culture and it reflects culture. To say that the Bible
borrows terms from the culture does not give license for importing philosophical, religious,
occult systems. Myers offers no evidence that those who write about and teach the four
temperaments and the DiSC model are simply using the language of the day to communicate
the message of God.
If we use the arguments for using extrabiblical material by which Myers hopes to
justify using the four temperaments and the syncretism of DiSC with the Bible in the form of
BPP, then anything can presumably be added with impunity. Myers is right when he says,
“Syncretism is the mother of much heresy.”133 Using the DiSC along with the Bible is
syncretism. Using the DiSC/BPP does not simply fall under the language of allegory or
parallel. Myers’ so-called “clear Biblical precedent within Scripture for some creative
parallelism” simply cannot justify the inclusion of a pagan occult system or a twentiethcentury
psychological derivative that does not qualify as science.134,135
Myers further attempts to support the use of extrabiblical material like the four
temperaments and the DiSC by citing Acts 17:23, 28.136 However, when Paul referred “TO
THE UNKNOWN GOD” and quoted pagan poets, he was not borrowing a pagan system.
Nor was he using those examples to add to the doctrines of salvation and sanctification.
Instead, Paul used them as points of contact to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Adding
doctrines of the four temperaments or the DiSC does not constitute a point of contact, but an
entire metaphysical system of attempting to understand and change people. Our concern is
not with words in the Bible, or with allegories, or with points of contact. Our concern is with
extrabiblical material that adds to the Gospel by presenting another philosophical,
Bobgan Response to Myers 8
psychological, religious way to understand and improve a Christian’s spiritual growth and
Myers’ next paragraphs are about the importance of theology and how certain terms
and ideas, such as the Trinity, were brought to Scripture. He says:
The history of orthodox theology is the story of unloading entire extrabiblical
systems onto the text. . . . No one system is without faults, not one is
infallible, but every system with a high view of Scripture shows different
facets of God’s truth through unique lenses.137
By this he seems to be trying to justify using the DiSC model as an aid to understanding
Scripture as well. However, to imply that the DiSC and BPP are the same kinds of
extrabiblical systems as systematic theology “with a high view of Scripture” is to wander far
from the doctrines of the Sacred Text into the never-never land of the opinions of men. And
once a person has taken that journey he may not realize how far his high view of Scripture
has slipped.
Myers continues:
There is is [sic] no escaping theological questions; no getting at the Scripture
without theological lenses. How can one even become a Christian without at
least a vague notion of the trinity [sic] (the Father sending the to die for
us, by the Spirit to live in us)? As we grow our goal is not to become lensfree
(we’d be blind!)—but to try on different lenses as we “study to show
ourselves approved;” [sic] to learn from each theological focal point; and
perhaps to settle on a prescription that helps us see as through a glass least
Thus Myers would like us “to try on different lenses” and “to learn from each theological
focal point.” Does he honestly believe it would be wise to do this, since “each theological
focal point” might include any and all theological perspectives? Furthermore, from the
context, it appears he would approve of the lenses of the four temperaments and the DiSC, as
We agree we need lenses to see, but we would prefer the lenses of Scripture—that we
might more and more see Jesus through His Word—not through the DiSC/BPP model!
That’s the prescription we’ll take—not the prescription Myers offers. We believe it is
especially tragic when Christians view Scripture through faith in unproven psychological
theories about the nature of man and how he is to live and change.
Myers says:
Finally, to think that all “external interpretative grids” (even those drawn from
the secular world) are illegitimate betrays a startling ignorance not only of the
Scripture, of church history, and of the interpretative process, but also of the
gift of teaching and the role of the teacher.
If anything, we’ve seen that God’s priority is to communicate—to reveal
Himself to the world. Clearly we need supernatural illumination, but He
knows we also need a lot of earthy—even some earth—language. Thus we’ve
seen again and again the Spirit of God redeemed the common parlance of
Bobgan Response to Myers 9
Biblical men and women in order to speak through the known idioms and
ideas (even ideologies) of Biblical times. . . .139 (Emphasis his.)
These two paragraphs clearly reveal that Myers is erecting another straw man. As stated
earlier, our concern is not with language or figures of speech.
Our concern is with those extrabiblical systems that subsume, subvert, supplant, or
supplement the Gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way as to deny the sufficiency of Christ and
the Word of God. Those extrabiblical systems are not biblical theology, science, logic, or
even research psychology. They are that part of psychology that is metaphysical, religious,
and based on opinions. They are that part of psychology that does not qualify as science.
For a more complete understanding of our position, we suggest readers examine Chapters 2
and 3 of PsychoHeresy: The Psychological Seduction of Christianity.140
As for the Colossian heresy, we believe Paul was intentionally speaking in general
terms in Colossians 2:8 to include all present and future extrabiblical faith systems,
philosophical world views and occult religions. Throughout Colossians 2, Paul specifically
addresses those heresies active in Colossae at that time. However, Colossians 2:6-9 is
timeless and broad. While we still suspect that Paul may have had in mind some Greek
ideas, such as the four elements and temperaments, we were and are only making the
suggestion as to the possibility. We are not the only ones who have suggested that there
could be a relationship between Colossians 2:8 and the four cosmic elements.141 Even so, we
would certainly not be as dogmatic as Myers is when he declares that Paul “imports a story
from Jewish legend”! (See our Response to Appendix III.)
Suffice it to say, we still contend that using the four temperaments and the DiSC/BPP
goes against Paul’s admonition:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the
tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ
(Colossians 2:.
And Myers has not proved otherwise
A way which seemeth right...
Posted:Dec 7, 2011 1:53 am
Last Updated:Jun 18, 2024 10:56 am

by T A McMahon

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12)

I recently attended the Celebrate Recovery Summit 2005 at Saddleback Church in Southern California. The primary purpose of the conference was to train new leaders who would return to their churches and inaugurate the Celebrate Recovery (CR) program. Saddleback’s pastor, Rick Warren, describes CR as “a biblical and balanced program to help people overcome their hurts, habits, and hang-ups...[that is] based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory [emphasis added].” 1

As a long-time critic of psychological counseling and 12-Steps therapies in the church (see The Seduction of Christianity and archived TBC newsletter articles and Q&As), I was pleased to have the opportunity to learn firsthand from those who are leading and/or participating in the program, to better understand what was intended in CR, and to see how it is implemented. What I learned right away was that the 3,000 or so in attendance had a tremendous zeal for the Lord and an unquestionable sincerity in desiring to help those who were struggling with habitual sin. This was my impression in all of my interactions—with individuals, in small groups, in workshop sessions, and in the general worship sessions. The CR Summit lasted three (eight- to nine-hour) days and covered nearly every aspect of Celebrate Recovery.

Nevertheless, other thoughts ran through my mind as I reviewed whether or not I had missed something significant in my previous criticisms of 12-Steps recovery therapies. Is Celebrate Recovery’s 12-Steps program truly different—that is, “biblical and balanced…rather than psychological”—as Rick Warren believes? Furthermore, is he simply naïve when he says in his “Road to Recovery” series of sermons, “In 1935 a couple of guys formulated, based upon the Scriptures, what are now known as the classic twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and used by hundreds of other recovery groups. Twenty million Americans are in a recovery group every week and there are 500,000 recovery groups. The basis is God’s Word [emphasis added].” Or is Celebrate Recovery another alarming example of a way that seems right to a man but one that is turning believers to ways and means other than the Bible to solve their sin-related problems? Let’s consider these questions in light of some A.A. and 12 Steps background information.

To begin with, 12-Steps programs are not just a Saddleback Church issue. Increasing numbers of evangelical churches are sponsoring Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) meetings and/or creating their own self-help groups based upon A.A.’s 12-Steps principles. Bill Wilson, one of the founders of A.A., created the 12 Steps. Wilson was a habitual drunk who had two life-changing events that he claims helped him achieve sobriety: 1) he was (mis)informed by a doctor that his drinking habit was a disease and was therefore not his fault, and 2) he had an experience (which he viewed as spiritual enlightenment) that convinced him that only “a Power greater than” himself could keep him sober. Attempting to understand his mystical experience, he was led into spiritism, a form of divination condemned in the Scriptures. His official biography indicates that the content of the 12-Steps principles came to him “rapidly” through spirit communication. Certainly not from God.

Celebrate Recovery began 14 years ago at Saddleback and is used in more than 3,500 churches today, making it evangelical Christianity’s most prominent and widely exported 12-Steps church program. Warren considers CR to be “the center of living a purpose-driven life and building a purpose-driven church” and recently announced that Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship would begin implementing CR in every prison where the ministry is functioning.

Celebrate Recovery is a very complex methodology that attempts to bring biblical adjustments to the 12-Steps program originated by A.A. and utilized in numerous other “addiction” recovery programs. The complexity, however, applies to the setting up and implementation of the program as well as to the strict rules that govern its execution. Although there are many problems related to “making it work,” there is only space in this article to address some fundamental issues. Let’s begin with the implications regarding the name of the program.

Reflecting A.A.’s influence upon CR, the term “Recovery” is significant. All those in A.A. are “recovering” alcoholics, who, according to A.A., never completely recover. Recovery is a term that primarily denotes a process of physical healing. A.A. teaches that alcoholism is a disease for which there is no ultimate cure. Although CR rejects A.A.’s view of alcoholism as a disease and calls it sin, the title nevertheless promotes the A.A. concept in contradiction to what the Bible teaches. Sin is not something from which a believer is “in recovery.” Sin is confessed by the sinner and forgiven by God. The believer is cleansed of the sin right then. “I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Ps 32:5).

At the 2005 Celebrate Recovery Summit, every speaker introduced himself or herself in the A.A. “recovery” mode, with this “Christianized” difference: “Hi, I’m so and so…and I’m a believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with issues of (alcohol, drug, codependency, sex, or whatever) addiction.” The audience then applauded to affirm the individual for overcoming the “denial” of his or her habitual sin. Not to confess some “addiction” or specific sin struggle raises suspicions of “being in denial.” Throughout the three-day conference, there was never a hint from any of the speakers that anything about A.A., 12 Steps, or CR might not be biblical. Moreover, where Celebrate Recovery programs were not available, those “in recovery” were encouraged to attend A.A. or N.A. meetings.

Rick Warren, on video, reassured the Summit attendees that CR was no man-made therapy. He insisted that CR was based upon the “actual words of Jesus Christ from the eight Beatitudes, which parallel the 12 Steps” and identified his own “Higher Power: His name is Jesus Christ.” I don’t find “Higher Power,” which is a misrepresentation of God, in the Bible. Nor can I fathom why a Bible-believing Christian would want to promote Bill Wilson’s concept and methodology. Why not simply rely on what the Bible teaches?

Is God’s way completely sufficient to set one free from so-called addictions? Did A.A.’s founders provide a more effective way? If so, what did the church do for the nearly 2,000 years prior to Bill Wilson’s “spiritually enlightened” way to recovery? Moreover, if Wilson’s method really works, why are some in the church trying to add Jesus as one’s Higher Power and the Beatitudes to it? On the other hand, if the effectiveness of the 12-Steps program is questionable at best and detrimental to the gospel and to a believer’s life and growth in Christ, why attempt to “Christianize” such a program? It is imperative that all believers ask themselves whether or not they truly believe that the Scriptures and the enablement of God’s Holy Spirit are sufficient for “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pt 1:3). A rejection of this biblical teaching is the only possible justification for turning to ways the Bible condemns: “the counsel of the ungodly” (Ps 1:1) and “a way which seemeth right unto a man.”

How dependent is Celebrate Recovery upon (with minor modifications) A.A.’s 12 Steps? Completely! Those going through CR’s small group take from 12 to 16 months to complete the 12-Steps program. Many go through more than one small group and often become leaders in one while attending others. Without Bill Wilson’s principles, the CR program would be reduced to a handful of misapplied Bible verses. Tragically, the most obvious biblical problem with such an approach to overcoming habitual sins seems to be dismissed by all 12-Steps advocates: the Bible never offers a by-the-numbers self-help methodology for deliverance from sin or for living a sanctified life. God’s way involves obedience to His full counsel and maturity in Christ through the enablement of His Holy Spirit.

Warren’s CR program views the 12 Steps as generally compatible with Scripture yet seeks out verses that appear to biblically reinforce each step. In doing so, however, scriptural interpretations are forced upon concepts that either have no direct relationship to the Bible or that pervert the true interpretation of the scripture intended to support the particular step. CR’s attempt to use the Beatitudes as biblical principles for overcoming habitual sins, for example, is a serious distortion of the Word of God.

Search as you may, you’ll find no commentaries that even hint at such a use of the Beatitudes. Why? Simply because the Beatitudes all have to do with seeking the Kingdom of God and nothing to do with solving an individual’s so-called addictions. Again, why try to legitimize from Scripture Wilson’s “ungodly counsel” from “seducing spirits [bringing] doctrines of devils” (1 Tim 4:1)?

Consider, for example, the “Beatitudes-justified” first three steps: (1) We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors. That our lives had become unmanageable. “Happy are those who are spiritually poor.” (2) Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. “Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (3) Made a decision to turn our life and our will over to the care of God (modified from A.A.’s “God as we understood Him”). “Happy are the meek.” This is more than a misdirected attempt to sanctify (in Rick Warren’s words) Bill Wilson’s “biblically vague” 12 Steps.2 It both abuses the Scriptures and reinterprets Wilson.

In these foundational steps, Wilson is summarizing his beliefs based upon his experiences as a “recovering alcoholic.” He felt “powerless” because he believed alcoholism was an incurable disease that consequently made his life “unmanageable.” Since he couldn’t “cure” himself (although millions do without 12-Step or other therapies!), he put his faith in “a power greater than ourselves,” whom he called God, and “understood” Him by fabricating Him out of beliefs discovered in his study of different religions and religious experiences. That’s more than “biblically vague.” It’s a false religion.

So why would Celebrate Recovery or the multitudes of other Christianized 12-Steps groups try to reconcile the Word of God with Wilson’s definitely erroneous and demonically inspired methodology? The deluded response is: “Because it works!” But does it?

Pragmatism is the fuel that powers “the way that seems right” and governs much of what is being lauded in the church today. Not only is this unbiblical, but too often there is nothing beyond enthusiastic testimonials to support the claim that something actually works. The reality for the 12-Steps program of A.A. and N.A. is that there is no research evidence proving that they are more effective than other treatments. Furthermore, the most extensive studies related to “addictions” conclude that most drug and alcohol abusers recover without any psychotherapeutic treatment or self-help therapies.3

The many problems inherent within a Christianized 12-Steps program—and particularly   Celebrate   Recovery—are too numerous for this brief article. Yet, consider these observations: CR is highly promoted as completely biblical and not psychological, yet the key speakers for CR Summit 2005 were clinical psychologists Drs. John Townsend and Henry Cloud. Psychologist David Stoop, the editor of Life Recovery Bible (CR participants’ mandatory paraphrase Bible, polluted with psychotherapy commentary), is a favorite speaker at Saddleback’s CR Large Group meetings. The CR leadership manual advises, “Have Christian psychotherapists volunteer their time to help instruct and support your leaders.”4

CR’s entire program content is marbled with psychobabble such as this “solution” from its Adult of the Chemically Addicted group’s dogmas: “The solution is to become your own loving parent....You will recover the within you, learning to accept and love yourself.”5 This is biblical?! Honoring the psychologically contrived “disorder” of codependency, CR’s Codependency and Christian Living group made this humanistic and biblically false statement: “Jesus taught....A love of self forms the basis for loving others.”6

A.A.’s 12-Steps methodology, along with its antibiblical psychotherapeutic concepts and practices permeates Celebrate Recovery, yet no one at the Summit with whom I spoke seemed concerned. CR’s small group meetings are the antithesis of the way the Bible instructs mature believers to help those young or struggling in the faith to grow. Pastors and elders can be small group leaders, but not for teaching purposes. No leader may biblically instruct or correct but may only affirm the “transparency” of the participant sharing his feelings. “Cross-talk,” or comments by others, are prohibited to allow the freest expression possible. Much of this “expression” reinforces psychotherapeutic myths. The two-hour meetings usually open with the spiritually anemic Serenity Prayer and the recitation of the 12 Steps. Leaders are drawn from those who have completed one or more 12-Step groups. Some leaders work through one “addiction” in a small group while leading another group. It’s not unusual for a leader to put in eight to ten hours in CR functions per week, every week. Serious Bible study and discipleship are not part of the Celebrate Recovery “biblical” emphasis.

Let no one think that presenting these critical concerns about Celebrate Recovery in any way lessens the biblical obligation (Gal 6) of the church to minister to those struggling with habitual sin. The issue is not whether we should minister, but how we should minister: man’s way or God’s way? Man’s way, or a mixture of biblical teaching and ungodly counsel, is contrary to God’s way. Man’s way leads to death. Applying Scripture to man’s way leads to a slower death, akin to what would result when pure water is added to a toxic drinking fountain. We desperately need to take heed to God’s admonition through the Prophet Jeremiah: “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jer 2:13). TBC


1. Celebrate Recovery Summit 2005 Handbook, 61.

2. Celebrate Recovery Senior Pastor Support Video, 2003.

3. The Harvard Mental Health Letter, Vol. 16, No. 12, 1-4; See also:

4. Celebrate, 31.

5. Ibid., 342.

6. Ibid., 350.
A Contrite Heart is Better than an Esteemed Self
Posted:Dec 7, 2011 1:51 am
Last Updated:Jun 18, 2024 10:56 am

How Self-Esteem Ideology Contradicts Reason and the Bible

Bruce W. Davidson


This paper critiques the thinking of both secular and religious advocates of self-esteem. Many in the secular and religious worlds claim that self-esteem is the key to successful and happy living. However, closer examination of the reasoning behind self-esteem ideology shows it to be full of flaws and contradictions, and a number of researchers have found that self-esteem ideology rests on scant solid evidence. Furthermore, the Biblical writers point in the opposite direction. Scriptural texts that are often believed to teach self-esteem actually appear to teach the opposite. The unscriptural nature of self-esteem is especially evident in Biblical teaching on the depraved condition of mankind and the close connection between humility and faith. Finally, texts explicitly condemning human self-regard and those insisting on the preeminence of the glory of God throw the overwhelming weight of the Bible against self-esteem ideology. Biblically, a sense of personal worth can only be obtained through the gracious gift of the believer’s status as a of God.


I. Introduction

II. Self-Esteem in the Light of Reason

A. The Problem of Definitions

B. No Reasonable Grounds

C. Guilt and Moral Failure

III. Self-Esteem in the Light of the Bible

A. Love: A Scriptural Definition

B. “Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”

C. The Divine Image: Cutting Both Ways

D. Bible Texts Against Self-Esteem Ideology

E. Mankind’s Condition and How to Feel About It

F. Self-Confidence: Contrary to Faith

G. Humble, Contrite Faith: The Real Foundation of Moral Virtue

H. Self-Esteem and the Glory of God
I. The Real Source of a Sense of Personal Worth

I. Introduction

The self-love / self-esteem teaching has become an established feature of modern popular culture. Judging by papers delivered at recent conferences on education, the idea is alive and well in the educational world as well. To sum up this idea in a nutshell, it is that everyone ought to think highly of himself or herself. Furthermore, if one does not have self-esteem, then he or she will be emotionally handicapped and unable to do much in life. In other words, a felling of self-approbation is the foundation of all achievement and moral action, and the lack of it probably is the reason why most people fall short in their lives.

Many Christians have also jumped on the self-esteem bandwagon, with a difference: they believe that they have found more Biblical basis for subscribing to this view. One proof for it they fin d in the doctrine that man is made in the image of God. Moreover, some argue that the Biblical injunction to "love your neighbor as yourself" assumes that self-love is something good and necessary to a happy and healthy life. Without self-love, they reason, a person can not obey this command and love his neighbor. However, these two notions ought to be looked at more critically, because the Bible has much more to say on these matters than the advocates of self-esteem seem to think.

In this paper I will examine the concept of self-esteem in two lights: (1) in respect to its logical merits and (2) in respect to a broad survey of scriptural texts that bear on the subject. I believe that both reveal this notion to be lacking in persuasive force. In fact, both reason and Scripture seem consistently to point in the opposite direction.

II. Self-Esteem in the Light of Reason

A. The Problem of Definitions

One issue concerns how to define the main concepts. What does it mean to say that a person "loves himself" or "esteems himself"? I am using the terms self-love, self-esteem, and good self-image interchangeably, since for all practical purposes they are usually used as synonyms by their advocates. When we look at them closely, however, we find a number of inconsistencies and ambiguities. For example, love can be defined in varying conflicting ways, such as sexual attraction, disinterested self-sacrifice, romantic infatuation, friendship-affection, or deep admiration. Furthermore, love is usually thought of as directed toward others rather than toward oneself. So the notion of "loving oneself" presents still greater problems for the understanding.

Some such as Jonathan Edwards have contended that it is impossible for a person not to have an inclination to make himself happy, which can be called "self-love." So not having any love for oneself is an impossibility. That is because we have a faculty of will, and personal choices amount to decisions made for one's own benefit.1 For example, at a restaurant we usually choose to order something that tastes good to us and that will bring us momentary pleasure. It is a manifestation of concern for oneself or "self-love." In fact, basic survival would be impossible without that kind of self-love. If a person without any self-love existed, he would soon die of self-neglect. The first problem that besets the self-love advocate is simply proving that there is such a condition as the absence of love for oneself.

In regard to the problem of defining love, Hollywood movies and TV have succeeded in propagating a romantic idea about the irresistible experience of "falling in love" with some person perfect for oneself. Reacting to that common misconception, some psychologists have posited a more realistic, practical definition of love, equating it with benevolent action toward others. While there are problems in this definition as well, it is probably a good corrective to the opposite, destructive illusion spread by the popular media. However, more in line with the Hollywood view of love, self-love advocates often define love simply as a feeling about oneself. Sociologist John Hewitt remarks that self-esteem is most often used in the sense of a set of feelings or a mental mood.2 Love defined as "self-esteem" or "self-acceptance" does not consist in action at all but in a certain attitude or feeling. In his excellent book The Danger of Self-Love, Paul Brownback explores these definitional difficulties in more depth.3

B. No Reasonable Grounds

Whether or not there are actual grounds for such a positive self-image does not seem to matter much to the advocates of this view. Just being human seems to be reason enough to feel good. In many ways, this is a typical example of utilitarian thinking: the results are what matter, so if an idea produces positive results, that is reason enough for adopting it, apart from considerations about whether or not it is really true. But the suitability of any love depends on the true value and worthiness of the object of that love, even if the object happens to be oneself. Educator Richard Paul has this to say about an emphasis on groundless self-esteem:

Healthy self-esteem emerges from a justified sense of self-worth, just as self-worth emerges from competence, ability, and genuine success. If one simply feels good about oneself for no good reason, then one is either arrogant (which is surely not desirable), or alternatively, has a dangerous sense of misplaced confidence. Teenagers, for example, sometimes think so well of themselves that they operate under the illusion that they can safely drive while drunk or safely take drugs.4

So another basic problem with the notion of self-esteem is that the idea rests on some questionable reasoning. Accepting the arguments of self-love advocates requires a kind of leap of faith even greater than that demanded by many irrational religious sects. A believer in self-esteem, Kohn admits that the self-esteem teaching is "a matter less of scientific pedagogy than of faith".5 In other words, self-esteem has no compelling argument or evidence to support it, and believing it depends entirely on whether it "feels true to me." At that level of argument, perhaps anything can pass as believable.

Though an emphasis on self-esteem seems well-established in many quarters, others have noted that little empirical evidence exists that correlates high self-esteem with academic achievement or positive behavior. Commenting on the research report of the California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility, established in 1986, Hewitt remarks "Considering their high expectations and strong beliefs in the importance of self-esteem, it is hard to believe the Task Force members were not disappointed by the research findings. . . the most consistent report in the chapters is that 'the associations between self-esteem and its expected consequences are mixed, insignificant, or absent.'"6 In fact, there is much more empirical evidence for the opposite. Three researchers in the Psychological Review, after extensively examining relevant research literature on the topic, concluded that violence is very often the way that people with irrationally high self-esteem respond to those who do not endorse their high opinion of themselves. In studies of many violent groups including , psychopaths, school bullies, abusers, murderers, and members of street gangs, Baumeister, Smart, and Boden found that violent individuals shared the characteristic of tending to respond to threats to a high level of self-esteem by lashing out violently.7 For example, the code of street gangs has been observed to center around respect, and they have learned "that humility (which is one of the concepts linked to modesty and low self-esteem) is not a virtue."8 In contrast, in studies people measured as having low self-esteem are usually not as violent. They note that modern attempts to solve the problem of increasing violence by aiming at increasing self-esteem actually run the risk of producing the opposite effect, since "it will almost certainly be impossible to insulate everyone against ego threats" which will tend to incite people to violence.9 Along the same lines, psychologist Harold Stevenson found that school in the US have much greater self-confidence about their abilities in math compared with school in Japan, Taiwan, and China. In actuality, however, the math skills of Asian in these places are generally superior.10

C. Guilt and Moral Failure

So it is hard to reconcile the self-esteem teaching with reality. When we hear the exhortation to esteem ourselves more, an inner voice says "Why should I?" How can the self-esteem perspective respond to that? There is not much to say. As Mark Twain put it, "deep down no man much respects himself." That is why the assurances of the self-esteem enthusiasts often ring hollow. We sense that it is a lie that we have an unconditional right to feel good about ourselves. It is because our self-esteem is closely connected with our moral self-approval or the lack of it. Kohn comes close to the truth when he writes, "The need to be best at anything at all, which is to say at everything, actually represents an attempt to stave off a persistent and pronounced sense that one is fundamentally no good" and "one wants to be stronger or smarter than others in order to convince oneself at some level that one is a good person."11 Here we see that the problem seems not to be one of a perceived lack of competence but of moral worth. It is very revealing that Kohn speaks in terms not of ability or giftedness but of goodness. According to this analysis, the real problem would seem to be a sense of shame --in other words, a deep, abiding sense of moral failure; that is, guilt. If so, then any attempt to erase that feeling by either accomplishments or groundless self-esteem is doomed to failure. A sense of moral guilt can only be dealt with in a moral way: by atonement for crimes and forgiveness. Thus the problem of "low self-esteem" leads not to the solution of the instant, painless self-esteem proposed by many, nor can it be dealt with by a sense of greater achievement.

This brings us to another problem with the self-esteem doctrine: its claim to be a moral cure-all. One important facet of the self-esteem movement is its ethical appeal. Its proponents claim that greater self-esteem will enable people to live better lives. However, like many other elements of the self-esteem ideology, there are strong grounds for doubting that notion.

In fact, the reverse is probably closer to the truth. Trying to produce concern for others by focusing more attention on pumping up one's own ego is a little bit like trying to put out a fire by covering it with wood. One could argue that fires spread because they are seeking more fuel to burn. Therefore, if we throw more wood on a spreading fire, it will receive the fuel it needs and will not have to spread and destroy. That analogy seems to me not too far from the logic of the self-love advocates, who say that to heal the self, we need to attend to its wounded vanity. However, obsession with personal well-being --the "me-first" attitude-- can just as easily be charged with many of the evils of the age. If my main concern is to satisfy personal emotional needs, I may justify abandoning my wife and finding another. If my principle concern is my own financial well being, I might resort to unethical means to get it.

One informal observation is as good as another, and mine is that many people do not suffer from any lack of self-regard but rather from too much of it. They can not seem to see or think about anything beyond themselves. They certainly seem to be the most important thing in the universe in their own eyes. In one Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, little Calvin says to his imaginary playmate Hobbes "You know what I hate? I hate when I'm talking and someone turns the conversation to himself! It's so rude! Why do they think I'm talking?! It's so they can hear about me! Who cares what they have to say! If I start a conversation, it should stay on the subject of me!" Most people are not as honest as Calvin, but they also lose interest when the topic of conversation is not themselves.

The Japanese novelist Ayako Miura has written insightfully about this issue. In the third volume of her autobiography Hikari Aru Uchi Ni ("While There Is Still Light"), she has a chapter titled "Various Kinds of Love." In it she argues that human love is fundamentally flawed and weak. When love for someone else has to compete with self-love, self-love will usually win out in the end. As for herself, she confesses that she is terrified of the wild bears that roam the woods of her native Hokkaido, and if she and her husband ever met one while walking outdoors, she admits that she would probably shove him in front and run in terror. In many cases, love for others finishes a poor second to self-love. To illustrate the opposite, Miura discusses a famous incident in which a Japanese ferry named the Doyamaru overturned in a typhoon off the coast of Hokkaido in 1954. As the boat was sinking, many passengers did not have life-preservers, so two missionaries decided to give theirs to two Japanese teenagers who had none. When the ship sank, the missionaries drowned. In view of that kind of sacrifice, Miura observes "real love is a thing that has a severity in it, such that it may even lead to giving up one's life for others."12 Far from originating from self-love, love for others often seems to run counter to it.

At least one study has found no connection between self-esteem and helping others. In a psychological survey of Europeans who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, the researchers described their findings this way: "Rescuers had no more favorable views of themselves than did non-rescuers. Their responses to a self-esteem scale consisting of ten statements showed that they were just as likely as non-rescuers. . . to feel that they had negative qualities and to think ill of themselves." It is also interesting to hear how the researchers try to account for these findings:

The absence of a connection between self-esteem and altruism should not be surprising. . . people who think ill of themselves can become so obsessed by their own distress that they barely register others' needs; however; they can just as easily respond to others needs as a way of enhancing their own self-image. Some rescuers felt they had done nothing of merit in their lives. This, too, should not be surprising, for as William James noted many years ago, people evaluate themselves with respect to their self-expectations. Because of their internal standards, those with high aspirations risk not feeling good about themselves even if they accomplish more than others. As some rescuers noted, 'I didn't do enough.'13

The possible connection between the strictness of one's moral standard and self-evaluation is especially insightful. If the standard were simply brushing one's teeth and flossing after every meal, someone with good dental hygiene could think highly of himself and look down on the rest of us. The lower the standard, the easier to feel self-respect. Conversely, people with morally higher standards tend to be more severe on themselves. This observation appears to contradict conventional wisdom about the moral power of self-esteem.

Self-esteem ideology may even undermine moral accountability. According to advocates of self-esteem such as Kohn, the lack of a connection between performance in life and a good self-image means the best self-concept is completely unconditional. In other words, even if I murdered ten people the previous day, presumably a healthy self-concept would not suffer. Of course, the self-esteem advocates might argue that a person with a healthy self-concept will not commit such horrendous crimes. However, my main point is that if self-esteem is really to be unconditional, it must have absolutely no connection with my moral life. No matter how often I violate my own moral standard, my healthy self-image ought to be able to keep me feeling good about myself. Is this a realistic expectation for a person with a healthy conscience? Furthermore, if there need not be any connection between behavior and self-esteem, then how does self-esteem become a prescription for moral reformation? According to their own reasoning, ideally self-esteem and morality should be independent. On this point it seems as if the self-esteem advocates want to have their cake and eat it too.

Finally, if evil behavior comes merely from an unhealthy self-concept, what happens to punishment and blame? A psychological flaw becomes sufficient to explain everything. There is no basis for blame in evil behavior arising out of a psychological flaw alone. In fact, describing it as evil behavior seems inappropriate. Sickness would be more appropriate. A sickness needs only a cure --not punishment, forgiveness, or repentance. We consider evil behavior to be worthy of condemnation precisely because it arises out of evil dispositions or motives. Evil behavior rooted only in a personality flaw merits no morally critical attention at all. From that new perspective, even a person like Adolph Hitler can be considered a sufferer of low-esteem who ought not to receive the severe moral censure he has had until now. In the end, the self-esteem prescription appears to make the whole notion of moral accountability meaninglessness. In fact, in his book Whatever Became of Sin? psychiatrist Karl Menninger bemoaned the fact that in many respects such psychological explanations for poor behavior have made ideas such as moral accountability irrelevant.14 Furthermore, MacArthur argues in The Vanishing Conscience that self-esteem ideology has indeed helped to extinguish a sense of personal moral responsibility in the minds and hearts of many modern people.15

Self-Esteem in the Light of the Bible

As we have seen, the self-esteem ideology does not make much sense considered by itself. A final point worth making, however, is that it may not really matter much what we think of ourselves. Our views of everything, including ourselves, are limited and unreliable. What we need is an objective, reliable opinion from someone who knows us completely but views us without prejudice or favoritism. Only one such person is available --God. So naturally Scripture should have the final word on the subject.

A. Love: A Scriptural Definition

To begin with, Scripture sheds considerable light on the proper definition of love, a problem we considered earlier. As we have seen already, some define love in terms of feelings; others define it as benevolent, other-directed action. However, Scripture makes it clear that this is a false dilemma. One is not required to choose action and reject feeling or vice versa. In fact, without both, there cannot be love in a Christian, Biblical sense at all. In opposition to various partial, incomplete definitions of love, Scripture defines love as both action and feeling. True love is action arising out of heartfelt concern or affection. As Tom Wells puts it, "love is an affection that leads one person to seek the benefit or promote the interest of another person."16 John teaches "let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth" (I John 3:1. I Corinthians chapter thirteen provides a more detailed description of the characteristics of real love than anything one can find in all secular literature. This passage makes clear that love must be heartfelt and sincere, with concrete, benevolent behavior as the result. In I Corinthians 13:3, Paul sees benevolent action devoid of heartfelt love as worthless: "if I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing," which implies that action to help others by itself does not establish the existence of sincere love. Everyday experience confirms that indeed one can do various self-sacrificing or benevolent acts out of fear, a sense of duty, or a desire for praise. Almost any conceivable outward action can be done from questionable motives. Peter exhorts believers to "have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart" (I Peter 1:22). Conversely, it is possible to have various feelings and express them in many words, without taking any action that benefits the object of this feeling. In such a case most would question the depth, sincerity, or other-directed character of those feelings. In other words, the feeling may simply be infatuation or selfish desire for the object of one's "love." If action alone or feeling alone were proof enough of love's reality, such texts as these would not have been written.

Besides offering a definition that goes directly contrary to a lot of conventional wisdom about love, these verses create problems for self-love advocates. Paul defines love as "not self-seeking" (I Corinthians 13:5). This text seems to indicate that love based on self-concern is an impossibility. Rather than being an impetus to virtuous, other-directed love, it could just as easily be a hindrance. According to Paul, love by definition is completely other-directed. To him, "love oneself" is like saying "kiss oneself" and is just as meaningless a concept. By definition, self-sacrificial love does not draw attention to self.

B. "Love Your Neighbor As Yourself"

Accord to the self-love advocates, "love your neighbor as yourself" means we have to love ourselves first. Without self-love, they say, there can be no other-love, and healthy self-love produces other-love as its natural fruit. However, it might also be the case that the text assumes that people already do love themselves without being taught to do so and bases the command on that. If there were any need to lay a foundation of self-love first, then Jesus and other Biblical writers would surely have taken the trouble to lay that foundation. Since they did not, we can easily conclude that they would have viewed such an undertaking to be superfluous. When Jesus reaffirmed the Old Testament injunction to "love your neighbor as yourself," he was probably assuming that we all tend to love ourselves to the exclusion of others. All we are able to deduce from the command "love your neighbor as yourself" is that self-love is not necessarily an evil thing in every case.

So the Biblical command to "love your neighbor as yourself" proves nothing about a causal relationship between self-love and love for others. If anything, it proves the opposite --that there is no necessary causal link between self-love and other-love. If one led naturally to the other, there would be no need for Jesus to say anything about other-love at all. He would only need to command "love yourself" and other-love would take care of itself, by arising naturally out of self-love. Grammatically, the plain sense of the text is that we should love other people as, meaning "to the extent that," we love ourselves. Nothing more is intended or proven by the construction of the text.

At any rate, not much can be concluded on the basis of a passing reference to love for oneself. In another place Jesus says, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and , his brothers and sisters --yes, even his own life-- he can not be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). Using the same kind of reasoning as the self-love advocates, one could conceivably argue that a person must hate himself and his family before he can become a true Christian. At present we do not see anyone writing books advocating self-hate. Self-love advocates put far too much weight on rather odd interpretations of a few fragments of Biblical texts.

Another problem which texts such as I Corinthians 13 bring to light is this: when we see the full, intense, life-changing character of love in the Biblical sense, it also becomes obvious that this love is not something frail humans are able to produce by extending their own self-regard to include others in its embrace. And the Bible itself has no such expectation. It links love to the inward work of the Holy Spirit, who causes the believer to bear love as a character fruit. Even if it were true that love for others flows from enlightened self-love, the kind of love a believer strives for is something much greater than natural love. He seeks a kind of supernatural love that "God has poured out . . . into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has been given us"(Romans 5:5).

One kind of love that self-love definitely does not naturally lead to is the love of God. So self-love is certainly not an ethical cure-all, since it does not help to fulfill mankind's highest ethical obligation, which is to love God.

C. The Divine Image: Cutting Both Ways

Another favorite Biblical text among believers in self-esteem is the one that refers to men and women being made in the image of God, Genesis 1:27. Some reason simply that if we ourselves are a reflection of the greatest Being in the universe, then we ought to think well of ourselves. This may be true as far as it goes, but in no place in Scripture are people told to draw such an inference from the image-of-God teaching. We are told that we should always treat other people with respect and love as creatures made in His image (James 3:9). But it is another thing entirely for each person to esteem himself because he bears the divine image.

The reason we cannot feel unqualified self-approbation is that the image of God in us can no longer be contemplated apart from its present condition. In other words, humanness is no longer the undefiled, noble example of God's wisdom and workmanship it once was. Fallen and corrupted, it has become a monster instead. Everything once good and noble about it has become tainted with moral ugliness. Since sin has come into the picture, it has become impossible to consider humanness without looking at its subsequent corruption. All the abilities and qualities that make men so unique and amazing have become tools of rebellion against God. Is it possible to rejoice in abilities completely apart from their present use? That would be like admiring a brilliant but sadistic serial murderer. Do his sophistication and intelligence make him an attractive individual worthy of our praise and high regard? On the contrary, since his genius is in the service of brutality, he is that much more frightening and dangerous. The same is true of fallen mankind. All its exalted God-like abilities make it that much more tragically depraved. Of course, the image of God, considered by itself, is a valuable thing, but the point is that it cannot be considered in isolation any longer.

So the truth that men are created in God's image is a two-edged sword. Special blessings are always privileges from God carrying the requirement that they be appreciated and not abused. For example, Jesus predicted that the Jewish towns that rejected him would fare much worse on the Day of Judgment than Sodom, a notoriously evil city (Matt 11:22). In the same way, men made in the image of God are even more liable to blame and condemnation for abusing that privilege. Independently considered, bearing God's image is a reason for considering oneself to be superior to an animal. But then again, animals do not wage wars or lie. It is not animals that have to face the possibility of eternal punishment. So Biblically it is very questionable whether people should encourage themselves to feel unqualified joy about the mere fact of being made in the image of God. It also ought to make them tremble a little.

D. Bible Texts Against Self-Esteem Ideology

After looking at the Biblical definition of love, we examined the main Scripture-based arguments for the importance of encouraging self-esteem in people's lives, and we found those arguments to be very weak. In certain respects, the few oft-quoted texts even provide arguments against the ideology of the self-esteem advocates. Now it is time to look at texts which run explicitly counter to the mentality of the self-esteem movement. In contrast to the handful of texts which the self-love advocates draw upon, these texts are very numerous, so I will limit myself somewhat to a broad sampling, referring the reader to others along the way. I will group these texts thematically into following categories: (1) those which judge the human condition to be extremely bleak, (2) those which enjoin humility, self-loathing, and repentance, (3) those which show faith to be contrary to self-confidence, (4) those which find joy, thankfulness, contentment in sources other than the self, (5) those which direct people to a life of sober self-reflection rather than self-esteem, and finally (6) those which show self-regard to go against a generally God-centered life and outlook.

Before looking at some of the passages in the Bible on humanity's ruined condition, it might be good to clear away an objection. Some do not even want to listen to such negative news. For instance, Schuller believes that the traditional, Biblical description of men as sinners "is not so much inaccurate as it is insulting."17 A negative description of human beings is particularly difficult for modern people to accept, in his opinion. However, people have always been averse to hearing themselves described as evil. Over two hundred and fifty years ago, a British minister named John Taylor felt the same way and wrote a book against the doctrine of original sin. Jonathan Edwards had the following to say about it:

Another objection, which Dr. Taylor and some others offer against this doctrine, is, that it pours contempt upon the human nature. But their declaiming on this topic is like addressing the affections and conceits of , rather than rational arguing with men. . . . I am sensible, it is not suited to the taste of some, who are so very delicate (to say no worse) that they can bear nothing but compliment and flattery. . . If we, as we come into the world, are truly sinful, and consequently miserable, he acts but a friendly part to us, who endeavors to discover and manifest our disease. Whereas on the contrary, he acts an unfriendly part, who to his utmost hides it from us. . . 18

As Edwards points out, it is more helpful to tell the painful truth when that truth can lead to recovery than it is to conceal it. That the Bible does very honestly, for which we can be grateful.

E. Mankind's Condition and How to Feel About It

Among the many Biblical writers who touch on this theme we can consider David. David was not only a poet, a singer, and a man of personal religious experience; he was also a student of mankind. His diagnosis of the human condition was not very positive. One of the most striking things in David's thought is that, along with his exuberant praise of God, there is a repeated emphasis on human depravity in counterpoint to the pure character of God. God's dependability and love he contrasts with the undependability and betrayal of human companions. David learned that the only one he could ultimately depend on was God. Other than a few close friends such as Jonathan, there was no one David could put complete confidence in. But David's descriptions were not only personal. His psalms also contain general descriptions of mankind as an evil race. Many speak of God's looking down, condemning, rebuking, and then punishing and destroying men in their wicked schemes, not only against David himself but against the godly and God's Messiah. Ultimately, God sees their hostility as directed against himself. One passage repeated three times in the Bible is Psalm 14:1-3: "The fool says in his heart 'there is no God.' They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt, there is no one who does good, not even one." David repeats these words also in Psalm 53:1-3, and Paul quotes them in Romans 3:10-12, in the context of establishing the universal badness of mankind. Similar passages about the depth and universality of human wickedness can be found in Ps. 2: 1-3, Ps. 35:1-4, 37:12-14: 50:16-21, 52:1-4, 53:1-4, 55:20-21, 56:1-2, 57:4, 58:1-5, 59:3-4, 6-7, 14-15, and 64:2-4.

One especially pertinent text is Psalm 36. In the first two verses, David declares “An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.” His remark reveals that self-flattery –thinking more highly of oneself than one has a right to—is mainly what stands in the way of confronting one’s personal sin. The evil person deceives himself into thinking he is more righteous than he actually is. David indicates that this attitude is an inherent characteristic of a wicked person. Then it would seem that inculcating more self-esteem could do nothing more than reinforce this inherent self-flattering tendency. David appears to be no advocate of self-esteem.

To the Psalms we can add the testimony of Jesus, the of David. Of all the scriptural judges of mankind, he must be considered the best judge of the human condition. Twice he expressly calls his listeners "evil": "if then you, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your , how much more will you father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him" (Matt. 5:11). Jesus's way of addressing his listeners does not seem designed to bolster their sense of self-worth. In fact, in both passages he deliberately sets the character of God and that of man in opposition. One is exceedingly good, and the other is correspondingly evil. In Matthew 19:16-17 he rejects the praise of a rich young man who calls him "good," not because Jesus did not believe in his own goodness but because the young man took Jesus to be only a man, a "teacher" like other Rabbis, and it bothered Jesus to hear men called "good": "there is only One who is good" (Matt: 19:17), or "No one is good --except God alone" (Mark 10:1. He was obviously concerned, not that men might have too low an opinion of themselves, but that it might be too high. In contrast to Robert Schuller, who thinks men should never be called "sinful," Jesus believed that men should never be called "good."

Included among Jesus's descriptions of his contemporaries are the following: " of the devil," "you who are evil," "you of little faith," "a wicked and perverse generation," "an adulterous and wicked generation," "hypocrites," "blind fools," "whited sepulchers," "liars," and "murderers." Of course, many of the activities of the Lord Jesus must be regarded as very encouraging and positive, such as healing the sick and preaching the good news of God's forgiveness, but in marked contrast to the advice of the self-esteem movement, he also spent a lot of time doing negative things: condemning the religion of the Pharisees, rebuking sins in his own disciples, predicting judgment for the unrepentant, and preaching against many specific sins. For example, Matthew 23 contains a scathing denunciation of the wickedness of the Pharisees and teachers of the law. He knew that sin cannot be dealt with unless it is exposed in all of its ugliness.

Scripture not only emphasizes how ugly mankind's condition is; it also indicates what is the proper attitude people should take toward themselves: self-abhorrence. After his vision of God's greatness, Job, an exemplary man in his own time, says "therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:6). Similarly, predicting the future repentance and restoration of his people, Ezekiel tells them they will one day come to "loathe themselves" for all the sins they committed. Ezekiel 20:43: "you will remember your conduct and all the actions by which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done." The words "loathe themselves" appear also in Ezekiel 6:9 and 36:31. In Ezekiel 16:63 we find it stated somewhat differently: "Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Lord." In this case, the self-loathing is severe enough to silence people completely. If "loathing oneself" is a Biblical synonym for humility and contrition, it follows that "esteeming oneself" could be a synonym for hardness of heart. In contrast, one New Testament text predicts that unrepentant people will one day be "lovers of themselves" (2 Tim. 3:2). Can a person really esteem what he also finds to be "loathsome"?

Once I heard a Christian counselor on a radio interview show discussing self-love. In reply to the criticism that self-esteem only means narcissism, she asserted that narcissists are really insecure and "not comfortable with who they are." If we really know ourselves and all the evil that is in our hearts, how can we "feel comfortable" with it? There is something terribly smug about saying "I feel totally comfortable with myself." At any rate, that does not seem to be the attitude of Ezekiel and Job.

F. Self-Confidence: Contrary To Faith

Besides being contrary to repentance, self-esteem is also contrary to faith. We find in Scripture that heartfelt humility is an essential element of faith. Many passages clearly imply that self-confidence is the opposite of faith, since the man who trusts in himself cannot be said to trust in God alone. Self-confidence means "trust in oneself." By definition, it is an attitude that finds some basis for security in one's own gifts or strengths. Habakkuk condemns this attitude while praising the attitude of faith in the famous passage Hab. 2:4, quoted three times by the apostle Paul: "See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright, but the righteous one will live by his faith." Habakkuk was writing about the Babylonians, whom God criticized for making a religion out of their own military prowess. In other words, they were very self-confident people. Far from being synonymous with faith, as Schuller and other self-esteem teachers have argued, self-esteem is actually the negation of Biblical faith. The man who has a lot of self-confidence has proportionately that much less God-confidence.

The clearest proof of this, once again, appears in the life of Jesus. On only two occasions did Jesus praise people for their faith. It is no coincidence that in both instances the people did not speak well of their own worth. One was the centurion, who told Jesus that "I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you" (Luke 7:6-7). Rather than dealing with his lack of self-esteem, Jesus responds "I have not found such great faith even in Israel!" The other was the Canaanite woman in Matt. 15:21-28, who accepted Jesus's comparing her to a dog. In ancient Israel and in many Arab countries today, dogs are considered to be unclean, filthy animals. So here is an example of the Lord himself comparing a person to a detested animal! However, the woman counters with "even the dogs take the crumbs that fall from the 's table." Jesus praises the deep faith revealed by her answer and grants her request. Both events reveal that deep faith coincides with a deep sense of unworthiness of God's blessings and presence. Faith in the Bible is intimately linked with humility. It is impossible to have great faith without great humility, because only the humble can acknowledge that God rather than self is worthy of trust.

G. Humble, Contrite Faith: The Real Foundation of Moral Virtue

Humble faith, not self-esteem, leads the believer into a life of thanksgiving, joy, and empowerment to live well. Conventional wisdom holds that you enjoy something in order to reward yourself. The Bible takes the opposite tack: I do not deserve this, but I can be happy in it because God is gracious and generous, and it pleases him to shower his blessings on people like me. It glorifies him for me to give thanks, not for me to be guilt-ridden because I do not deserve it. Our sense of guilt often makes it impossible for us to experience unmixed joy in anything. At the back of our minds there is often the nagging thought "I don't deserve this. Why is it happening? Is some punishment coming later to make up for it?" However, thanks to the atonement of Christ which takes care of guilt and fear of punishment, a believer can experience unmixed enjoyment of all his blessings.

In fact, that sense of joy and release is not possible unless a person has a clear grasp of the desperate nature of his condition. By showing us the blackness of humanity's state, the writers of the Bible display the great justice and grace of God. If we do not see how horrible sin is, we can not see the glory of his victory over it in Christ. How can someone who thinks highly of himself possibly appreciate the grace of God to him? He would be like the Pharisee in the parable, thanking God for his virtues and excellent points (Luke 18:9-14). The Pharisees had very good self-images in the days of Jesus; they thought they were righteous and good. They did not think of themselves as tainted men and were offended when Jesus suggested they were also guilty before God. By minimizing human sin, self-esteem advocates also detract from the glory of God's grace. They present man as a creature needing very little of it. Finally and most importantly, only seeing the horror of our own sin prepares us to appreciate the worth of the blood that atones for it and cleanses from it. It must be very valuable and powerful blood that can wash out so many stains. That blood must be very precious if it can more than compensate in the eyes of God for so much offense. However, what Christ has done will probably not seem very important to people who feel they need very little redeeming to begin with. The death and suffering of Christ might even seem like a waste of effort to people who already have high opinions of themselves. In fact, they are likely to be offended by the idea that they need a bloody salvation.

We have seen how self-love advocates would have us believe that self-esteem is the foundation of all virtuous behavior and a happy life, but various texts indicate that the opposite is really the case. According to such texts, a high opinion of oneself and self-centeredness are the root of all kinds of sin, while self-denial is the root of a better life. "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom," according to Proverbs 11:2. Likewise, in 13:10 we find that "pride only breeds quarrels." This is not surprising, since pride is having an inordinately high opinion of oneself, resulting in looking down on others. This leads to treating them with less respect and consideration. Arguments and conflict come when we feel our pride and dignity being trampled on by others. Contrary to the conventional wisdom on this point, a low opinion of oneself is more likely to make one content, peaceable, and loving toward others. When one's own needs seem less important in one's eyes, it will be easier to see the importance of the needs of others. Similarly, pride is at the bottom of a complaining attitude, because the proud person feels he is getting less than he deserves and resents his circumstances. It is very doubtful that an increased measure of self-regard will lead to a more contented life.

So how should a person think of himself? Instead of higher self-esteem, one text recommends sober, accurate reflection on oneself in order to find one's place of usefulness in Christ's church: "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given you" (Romans 12:3). The text indicates that our tendency is not to think too poorly of ourselves but rather too highly. If after honest self-examination one has grounds to consider that he has a certain gift or strength, it is false humility to deny that fact: "we have different gifts, according to the grace given us" (Romans 12:6). Even in that process of positive self-assessment, though, he is brought back to grace and God, not to self-congratulation.

H. Self-Esteem and the Glory of God

Finally, many texts indicate that human self-regard stands in the way of God glorifying himself. According to them, it forms a barrier that God himself will remove before finally establishing himself in his kingdom on earth. Self can even be an idol, supplanting God: "There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive. . . .lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power" (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Interestingly, nowhere in the Bible is there any prediction that one day multitudes will suffer from a great lack of self-love; instead, the opposite is predicted. Significantly, the passage begins with a description of what people will love --themselves-- and ends with what they will not love --God. Ignoring such passages, Schuller writes that self-esteem "is a divine awareness of personal dignity. It is what the Greeks call a reverence for the self. It is an abiding faith in yourself. It is a sincere belief in yourself."19 The use of words such as divine awareness shows us that we are not just dealing with pop-psychology here; we are dealing with a new kind of deity. In this way, wherever the self-esteem teaching goes, it seems to take God out of the spotlight.

However, God's main concern is not whether or not people feel good about themselves, and his real priority appears clearly in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah predicts that "the eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the Lord alone with be exalted in that day" (Isaiah 2:11). Almost the whole book is devoted to the theme of how human pride will be humbled so that the glory of God can be exalted. Israel, the nations, and mankind in general will face terrible judgment in order to accomplish this feat. Isaiah 2:17, 3:16-22, 5:15, 8, 10:12-13, 13:11, 14:13-14, 16:6, 23:9, 25:11, and 26:5 are just some of the passages that show how God is determined to bring down all evidences of human arrogance, whether in the form of confidence in military power, love of wealth, physical vanity, pleasure-seeking, confidence in economic might, or religious self-righteousness. Without the humbling of human pride, God can never be adequately magnified, since he is the only one who really deserves exaltation. Isaiah makes it clear that his creatures, especially the rebellious ones, are puny in comparison, even whole countries full of them: "Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing" (Isaiah 40:17). If whole nations amount to "less than nothing," what about individual human beings? Scripture is obviously committed to taking humanity off its pedestal and putting God there instead.

I. The Real Source of a Sense of Personal Worth

Nevertheless, Isaiah shows that there is a kind of person for whom the Lord has a very high regard: "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word" (Isaiah 66:2). In the days of the Old Testament, God told people brought out of their slavery in Egypt that "I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high" (Leviticus 26:12). Just like the New Testament believer, the Israelites had their salvation to thank for this new way of walking.

Seeming to speak the language of the self-esteem movement, Jonathan Edwards wrote: "What a sweet calmness, what a calm ecstasy, doth it bring to the soul! How doth it make the soul [to] love itself. . ."20 Here he is talking not about normal human experience but about a state of salvation. There is something in the Biblical Gospel that confers very great worth on people and makes them able to respect themselves. That dignity comes completely from a new relationship to God. As Edwards exclaimed, "How hath he honored us, in that he hath made us to glorify him to all eternity! How are we dignified by our Maker, who has made us for so high and excellent an end!"21 Paradoxically, only when people put themselves far below God, acknowledging that he is the only one who deserves esteem, they are amazed to find that they receive the gift of a real sense of worth, without any aid from the self at all. Or, as John puts it, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called of God! And that is what we are!" (I John 3:1).22 Only by grace through faith people can enjoy forever the most intimate association with the Person from whom all worth flows.


(1) Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards: The “Miscellanies”501-832, Chamerlain, A., ed., (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000) 18: 73-76
(2) John Hewitt, The Myth of Self-Esteem, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 199.
(3) Paul Brownback, The Danger of Self-love, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1982).
(4) Richard Paul, Critical Thinking: What Every Person Needs to Know in a Rapidly Changing World, (Sonoma: Foundation for Critical Thinking, 1992), 11.
(5) Alfie Kohn, No Contest: The Case Against Competition, (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1992), 98-99.
(6) Hewitt, The Myth of Self-Esteem, 59-60.
(7) R. Baumeister, L. Smart, &J. Boden, "Relation of Threatened Egotism to Violence and Aggression: The Dark Side of Self-Esteem." Psychological Review 103:1
(1996): 5-33.
( Ibid. 22.
(9) Ibid. 29.
(10) J. Adler, "The Curse of Self-Esteem: What’s Wrong With the Feel-Good Movement." Newsweek, Feb. 17, 1992, 51.
(11) Kohn, No Contest, 100.
(12) Ayako Miura, Hikari Aru Uchi Ni (While there is still light). In Miura Ayako Zenshu (The collected works of Ayako Miura) (Japan: Shinkoubunkou, 1991) 15: 253.
(13) S. Oliner and P. Oliner, The Altruistic Personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe, (New York: The Free Press, 1992), 177-8.
(14) Karl Menninger, Whatever Became of Sin? (New York: Hawthorne, 1973).
(15) John MacArthur, The Vanishing Conscience, (Dallas: Word, 1995).
(16) Tom Wells, A Price for a People, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1992), 60.
(17) Robert Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, (Waco: Word, 1982), 98ff.
(1 Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards: Original Sin, Holbrook, C. ed., (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1970) 3: 423-4.
(19) Robert Schuller, Self-Love: Dynamic Force of Success, (New York: Hawthorne Books, 1969), 32.
(20) Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards: Sermons and Discourses 1720-1723, Kinnach, W. ed., (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992) 10: 479.
(21) Ibid. 427.
(22) Bible quotations are all from The New International Version, (New York: International Bible Society, 1973).
Yadda Yadda... yea I know...someone... yadda.. hope of Glory
Posted:Dec 4, 2011 4:16 am
Last Updated:Dec 7, 2011 1:35 am

It amazes me and yet saddens me how much we all get off of the path and get caught up in what we can be doing, what we think we should be doing instead of what God did for us. Who we have in us, what we have in us. The Apostle Paul stated that there was a mystery to the Gospel. How come no one ever mentions this. In the days of always wanting something new from God; you would think that someone in the scriptures that mentioned a "mystery"...well people would be all over that right.

Maybe its because this real mystery takes the onus off of you. For some reason, us humans think that if we are good enough, that is enough and somehow better. Non-Christians believe the same thing. But believers seem to think they can somehow make themselves more acceptable to God by their actions. The Jews could not. The old covenant was imperfect, and the new was brought in. (Jer 31:31-34) This is why Jesus came, so that we could all have a personal Love relationship with God. Jesus said I no longer call you servants but friends. Hmmn Jesus calls us friends.

But what is the mystery that Paul spoke of? Do you remember reading it? It is simple really. He said, Christ in us, our hope of Glory. So, its a mystery who Christ is in us? Could that be it? The more I look at what I had been taught in churches etc for 30 years... I think I get it. We have all of these slicker statements out there such as what would Jesus do, what would Jesus do. Its just the opposite, The truth is found in what did Jesus do? What was accomplished on that cross really?

Another backwards statement that puts the onus on people is "Who are you in Christ"? I can tell you who I am. I am human. If I place the emphasis on myself I will always work from my own strength and work from my own determination and personal strength. I will ultimately face frustration and differing levels of failure. The result is that I will always feel like I can not live up to mans concepts of God's standards. The real liberation, and the real truth is found in that mystery Paul spoke of. Who exactly is Christ in me? He is my hope for Glory. Not a Glory for me, but the Glory of God in my life.

The Bible was not just written to the believers. It also addresses situations of non believers as well. It warns the non believer of an eternal damnation that awaits them. The New Testament is full of ongoing explanations and corrections. It is important to always think about the reason that a scripture is put in place. Instead it seems that way too often Christians take a fatalistic approach in what they read.

I often tell couples that disagree and fight; to fight fair. Not everything is a deal breaker. Most things are just issues that need dealt with properly. But when you take a attitude that I either win this disagreement or the relationship is over, then you have lost already.

Good parents work with their through anything. Their rebellions etc. Poor decisions etc. God is called the great parent and how much more patient is he with his ? I could give situation after situation. But you should be able to know that he doesn't follow his around just waiting for them to screw up and spank them any more than you do. Most times our punishment is not from God, but just a natural result of our transgressions to be honest. If he has to get involved he does.

Many people get caught up in the crowns. Rewards for their obedience and diligence. But what happens to those crowns in the end? They are placed of the feet of Jesus. Hmmmn. You do not even get to keep them. So what should our motivation be if we cant even keep our crowns? I mean really...what is the sense?

Then there is the ongoing being caught up in things like the judgement. The Judgement will be a scarry thing to those that have never believed upon Christ. That is an eternal judgement with damnation. But, Christianity is not a works based belief. It is faith based. Yes the Christians will be judged on their obedience and works that they did and they will have rewards. But salvation is not the issue for them. Its just what their life was. Jesus said that who the father places in his hand, no one can take away. It also says Jesus is the author and finisher of each believers faith.

But what we lose sight of is the Love relationship that God desires with everyone.We focus on a second coming which will happen and we lose focus on the blessings of this everyday life.We lose focus on a natural walk with God and make it all about towing a straight line. In doing so we encompass a sad life filled with the end of each tunnel we know our inadequacies. This is easy to over come. Jesus said what?:

To trade our burdens for his

To allow him to live through us

To embrace the Holy Spirit who resides in us to comfort us and teach us all things.

Yet we get caught up in our own strengths and our own weaknesses and somehow think we can earn God. We can't. We aren't asked to either. Jesus abode in the father. He taught abiding and Paul explained what? It is no longer he that lived, but Christ lived through him.

Be Blessed
Self-Exaltation and Humility
Posted:Dec 3, 2011 4:59 am
Last Updated:Jun 18, 2024 10:56 am

by Dave Hunt, excerpted from Beyond Seduction, chapter 9

Many Christians living under persecution in Communist countries are confused when they hear how socially acceptable Christianity seems to be in the West. Since Paul's statement that "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12) has proved true for Russian or Polish or Chinese believers, they wonder why the same is not true for Christians in the West. And they pray that God will help us not to compromise under the pressures of popularity and success, just as they have refused to be corrupted by Communism. These believers would find it astonishing that Christians in the West spend months and even years in "therapy" to overcome the damage to their psyches allegedly caused by "rejection." Those who grow up under totalitarian regimes hostile to the gospel expect to be rejected, despised, ridiculed, and even imprisoned or killed for their faith, and would not understand the importance that Christians in the West place upon self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-fulfillment.

It would be even more incomprehensible to such suffering Christians, many of whom have never owned a Bible (and who long for the day when they will receive one smuggled in from the West), to be told that the church in the West considers the Bible to be inadequate and the Holy Spirit insufficient to provide complete spiritual guidance and power for living the Christian life. Indeed, they would find it astonishing that the Western church would so enthusiastically open its arms to embrace new theologies that are founded upon the theories of psychology....

Part of the problem [in the West] with such thinking is caused by confusing inferiority feelings with lack of self-esteem. The former involves performance or ability while the latter pertains to one's feelings of personal worth. Clearly the greater a person's self-esteem and self-love, the more disappointment there will be if abilities and performance are not comparable. No one hates himself, but he may hate his circumstances or appearance or lack of ability. The very fact that we dislike our appearance or lament our inability or become upset when people or circumstances abuse us is proof that we love and esteem ourselves, for if we did not esteem ourselves we would be glad when things go against us....

To feel inferior to others or to feel inadequate for the task at hand is not a defect that must be remedied before one can be useful. On the contrary, recognizing one's inability is the prerequisite for genuine victory, for it is when we are delivered from self-confidence that God can use us to His glory. Jonathan's lame , Mephibosheth, called himself a "dead dog," but King David insisted that he eat with him daily at the royal table (2 Samuel 9:6-13). Gideon considered himself incapable, his family poor, and himself "least in my father's house" (Judges 6:15), yet he learned to trust God and became one of Israel's greatest deliverers. Isaiah shrank from God's call, considering his "unclean lips" unworthy to speak for his Lord (Isaiah 6:5). Amos was no prophet but a mere herdsman (Amos 7:14) whom God used to pronounce judgment upon nations. The turning point in Job's life came when he finally hated himself (Job 42:6): Then and only then could God restore him. When called by God, Moses responded, "Who am I that I should go unto Pharaoh?" (Exodus 3:11) and he insisted that he was "slow of speech" and incapable (Exodus 4:10-13). God's answer to Moses should bring courage to everyone who feels inferior: "I will be with thee!"

Far from dealing with Moses' inferiority and building his "poor self-image," God promised His presence and power. In fact He chose Moses, the meekest man on earth (Numbers 12:3), to confront the world's mightiest emperor in his palace and deliver His people so that God and not man would have the glory. So it can be with everyone who admits his own inability and unworthiness and then, instead of either groveling in self-deprecation or seeking to overcome his inferiority through humanistic methods, turns from himself to God and in his weakness relies upon God's strength. Instead of bemoaning his handicap, Paul gloried in his weakness:

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake, for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10)

Of course, those who brought selfism into the church (even though they acknowledge that the idea first came from humanistic psychology) attempt to support it from Scripture. One leading Christian psychologist quotes Psalm 139 and suggests that the "wonderful pattern for growth, fulfillment and development" that "God built into our the ultimate basis for self-esteem." Surely the genius of the genetic code should cause me to bow in wonder and worship at the wisdom and power of God--but self-esteem? [This] is no more cause for self-exaltation than seeing God's creative power in genes in general or in a sunset or in a beautiful flower--I had nothing to do with creating any of it. Standing awestruck before the beauties and marvels of creation doesn't...cause me to feel good about myself, but it does move me to worship the Creator. "The heavens declare the glory of God," not my glory....

Even if I were physically or mentally or socially better endowed than anyone else in the world, that would be no basis for boasting, according to Paul: "For who maketh thee to differ from another?" he asked. The answer, obviously, is God, though I can't blame Him for defects I have inherited from sinful ancestors. But as to his talents and opportunities, and any goodness that was manifested through his life (and particularly his apostleship), Paul declared, "By the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Corinthians 15:10). No basis for self-esteem there!...

No one but saved sinners will be in heaven....Christ will forever bear the marks of Calvary. The scars of what He suffered for our sins will never be erased. Dare we think that we will ever be able to erase from our memories the fact that we are sinners saved by grace? Who would wish to forget the debt that we owe to the One who redeemed us? The throne of God will be forever known as the throne of the Lamb (Revelation 22:3). Our glorified Lord and Savior in His resurrection body will appear throughout eternity as the newly slain Lamb, and our song will be forever "unto Him who loved us and loosed us from our sins in His own blood!" The crucified and risen Savior bearing the marks of Calvary will be the glory of heaven. [Martyn] Lloyd-Jones expressed it well:

Pride is ever the cause of the trouble, and there is nothing that so hurts the natural man's pride as the cross of Christ.

How does the cross do that? What has happened that there should ever have been a cross? It is because we are failures, because we are sinners, because we are lost.

The Christian is not a good man. He is a vile wretch who has been saved by the grace of God.

It is impossible to know the true God in His splendor without seeing ourselves as very small indeed. There is no surer way to lose one's inflated sense of self-importance.
The Seduction
Posted:Dec 3, 2011 4:52 am
Last Updated:Dec 13, 2011 5:08 am

Roots of Seduction

An excerpt from Chapter 6 of The Seduction of Christianity

by Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon

"From this root of delusion the entire tree of sorcery has sprung forth and blossomed."

One cannot possibly investigate what is happening in both the world and the church today without becoming convinced that end-time prophecy is being uniquely fulfilled. The lie that will be believed by everyone when that "deluding influence" sweeps the world during the end times is already becoming the "new truth." Not only is this lie the foundation of the New Age movement, but it is being embraced within the church....

Only a few years ago it was extremely difficult to convince Christians that Mormons hoped to become gods. Anyone who said that was likely to be accused of having it in for Mormons and spreading lies about them. Today many Christians themselves believe not that they are going to become gods like the Mormons, but that they already are god, like the Hindus, and just need to "realize" it. And they even support this idea with selected Bible verses....In Psalm 82 God's judgment was pronounced against the rulers of Israel because they were acting like gods who were a law unto themselves. In verses 6 and 7 God stated: "I said, 'You are gods....Nevertheless you will die like men."

This Scripture and Jesus' quotation of it [John 10:34] has given comfort to cultists and occultists and caused confusion among the unlearned. Mormons, for example, point to it as justification for their goal of godhood and support for their teaching that Satan told the truth when he offered godhood to Eve. Clearly that is a false application, for Psalm 82 does not say, "Ye shall become gods," as Mormons hope, but "Ye are gods." So whatever is meant by this statement, it refers to something that humans already are, not to some new status that we will eventually attain.

There is only one true God. All other gods are false and are demonic beings in rebellion against the true God. Through the fall, man had become like one of these false gods. Not only did Jesus say to the religious leaders of His day, "Ye are gods," but He also said, "You are of your father the devil" (John 8:44). It was a terrible indictment....

The noted historian Arnold Toynbee, after studying civilizations across the whole span of history, concluded that self-worship was the paramount religion of mankind, although it appeared in various guises. Man (i.e., self) is the "God" of atheistic humanism. Of course he is not God in the classical biblical sense of the Creator who made everything out of nothing and is separate and distinct from His creation.

This true God is denied in the religion of Antichrist, as we have already seen, so that self may be enthroned in His place (2 Thessalonians 2:4). In humanism, as in Mormonism, Unity, Religious Science, Hinduism, and other New Age philosophies, man has become god, 1) through an evolutionary process, and 2) by mastering the forces inherent in nature or the cosmos. This was the superman of Nietzsche and Hitler. It is only within the past 25 years, however [as of 1985], that this obsession has become the popular religion of the masses. Historian Herbert Schlossberg has said:

Exalting mankind to the status of deity therefore dates from the furthest reaches of antiquity, but its development into an ideology embracing the masses is a characteristic of modernity.

It should be added that "its development into an ideology embracing the masses" and its spreading in the church would seem to be a clear fulfillment of prophecy and a solemn indication that the second coming of Christ could be very near. For those who reject the Positive Confession point of view, Satan cleverly puts the same lie in a package that will appeal to them: the pseudoscientific language of psychology. The magician's deep silk hat from which Christian intellectuals have been persuaded that they can pull forth magic mind powers is called the subconscious. This supposedly holds the key to miraculous healings of body, soul, spirit, mind, and emotions. Satan reinforces his promise of godhood with the lie that we have all we need within us. If we only know how to get in touch with our true self, then we can tap into this power.

The entire smorgasbord of therapies being encouraged by some Christian leaders is being sampled by Christians in one form or another, either out in the secular world or inside the church. Much of this influence has come into the church through Christian psychology and the pseudopsychologies of inner healing and healing of memories. The common denominator is self. Not everyone would identify with the desire to become a god, but that is the lie that hooked not only Eve but her descendants. And to whatever extent we seek our own will, seek to use God to bring about our will, pander to our self-centered desires, or in any way are afraid or unwilling to surrender wholly to God's will--to that extent we are exalting ourselves to the position of gods, whether we call it that or not. The teaching is spreading that we don't ask God, but command Him to give us all that is our divine right to possess and enjoy.

Whatever the label on the package, the product inside is the same old satanic ploy: "The answer is within ourselves." We can "do it" if we only learn the "laws" and "principles" that apply and put them into operation by "faith." The goal is always to reward self in some way. Though called by many names, it is still the lie that the Bible prophesies will become the new "truth" upon which Antichrist's kingdom will be built and which will eventually prove to be a foundation of sand. From this root of delusion the entire tree of sorcery has sprung forth and blossomed, and is now bearing the evil fruit that is so greedily being devoured by this generation.
There is no proof mental illness is rooted in biology
Posted:Dec 2, 2011 11:58 pm
Last Updated:Jun 18, 2024 10:56 am

No proof mental illness rooted in biology

By KEITH HOELLER editor of the "Review of Existential Psychology & Psychiatry" in Seattle.

What is "the mental health movement?" Its proponents claim that millions of Americans are afflicted with a mental illness, which is a disease "just like any other" and that the mentally ill suffer from a chemical imbalance in the brain that is corrected by psychiatric drugs.

Mental illness is said to be the cause of many of our society's social ills, such as suicide, murder, divorce, abuse, sex offenses, depression and various addictions. If only mental illness could be cured, mental health supporters say, all of these ills could be prevented.

Because the mentally ill often are unaware of their disease, treatment must be forced on the mentally ill. All 50 states have laws that allow involuntary treatment if professionals deem they are a danger to self and others.

Psychiatrists, we are told, can now accurately diagnose mental illness and have safe and effective treatments. Psychiatry is considered a valid medical specialty, like cardiology, and the claims of the movement are based on scientific research.

The largest lay group is the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAM. The media routinely refer to NAMI as advocates for the mentally ill, although its membership consists almost entirely of family members and not the mentally ill themselves. NAMI ascribes to the "biological basis of mental illness," and endorses forced treatment of the mentally ill.

The movement's major source of funding is the highly profitable pharmaceutical industry, which funds the drug research; which funds psychiatric journals, and even the American Psychiatric Association itself; which funds advertising to doctors and the public; and even funds lay groups such as NAMI (at least $11 million) and and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (at least $1 million).

Yet many professionals claim that the mental health movement is not a legitimate medical or scientific endeavor, let alone a civil rights movement, but a political ideology of intolerance and inhumanity. Numerous psychiatrists and psychologists have examined the psychiatric research literature and found it to range from smoke and mirrors to quackery.

Psychiatrists have yet to conclusively prove that a single mental illness has a biological or physical cause, or a genetic origin. Psychiatry has yet to develop a single physical test that can determine that an individual actually has a particular mental illness. Indeed, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders uses behavior, not physical symptoms, to diagnose mental illness, and it lacks both scientific reliability and validity.

On Aug. 16, eight members of MindFreedom (, an umbrella organization of mental patients who call themselves "psychiatric survivors," began a Fast for Freedom "to press for human rights and choice in psychiatry" and to "demand that the mental health industry produce even one study proving the common industry claim that 'mental illness is biologically-based.' "

Dr. James Scully of the American Psychiatric Association responded to the hunger strikers by claiming the evidence was so vast one need only look at "Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General" (1999) or a recent psychiatry textbook.

An expert panel for the strikers, made up of members (like myself) of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (, quickly responded by pointing out that neither of these works contains any such conclusive proof. Actually, the surgeon general's report on mental health states that "the precise causes (etiology) of mental disorders are not known" and "there is no definitive lesion, laboratory test, or abnormality in brain tissue that can identify (a mental) illness." The Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry (1999) states: " ... Validation of the diagnostic categories as specific entities has not been established."

In its reply to the fasters, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill did not cite any scientific evidence at all.

In 1784, a similar debate raged in Paris about the scientific validity of the latest psychiatric nostrum (hypnotism) and its inventor, Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer, who claimed to have discovered a physical mechanism he called animal magnetism. The Academy of Sciences formed a panel, including American scientist Benjamin Franklin and French chemist Antoine Lavoisier, to assess the movement sweeping the city, and concluded that Mesmer's "cures" had no scientific basis. They were due entirely to the power of suggestion, now called the placebo effect. The Royal Society of Medicine issued a report with similar findings on Aug. 16, 1784.

Let us hope the Fast for Freedom has a positive outcome for all involved.

If not, let us insist that the American Medical Association (or similar body) form a panel of objective, non-psychiatric scientists, without any ties to drug companies, to examine whether psychiatry should continue as a medical specialty or if it should join the historical ranks of alchemy, astrology and phrenology as a pseudoscience
4 myths about Psychology
Posted:Dec 2, 2011 11:52 pm
Last Updated:Jun 18, 2024 10:56 am

by J Beard

Among professing Christians, there are four major myths about psychology which have become entrenched in the Church:

The first major myth is common to Christians and non-Christians alike: that psychotherapy (psychological counseling along with its theories and techniques) is a science -- a means of understanding and helping humanity based on empirical evidence gleaned from measurable and consistent data.

The second major myth is that the best kind of counseling utilizes both psychology and the Bible. Psychologists who also claim to be Christians generally claim that they are more qualified to help people understand themselves and change their behavior than are other Christians (including pastors and elders) who are not trained in psychology.

The third major myth is that people who are experiencing mental-emotional behavioral problems are mentally ill. They are supposedly psychologically sick and, therefore, need psychological therapy. The common argument is that the doctor treats the body, the minister treats the spirit, and the psychologist treats the mind and emotions. Ministers, unless they are trained in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, are then supposedly unqualified to help people who are suffering from serious problems of living.

The fourth major myth is that psychotherapy has a high record of success -- that professional psychological counseling produces greater results than other forms of help, such as self-help or that provided by family, friends, or pastors. Thus, psychological counseling is seen as more effective than Biblical counseling in helping some Christians. This is one of the main reasons why so many professing Christians are training to become psychotherapists.


Men and women of God seek wisdom and knowledge from both the revelation of Scripture and the physical world. Paul contends that everyone is accountable before God because of the evidence that creation gives of His existence (Rom. 1:20).

Scientific study is a valid way of coming to an understanding of God's work, and can be very useful in many walks of life.

True science develops theories based on what is observed. It examines each theory with rigorous tests to see if it describes reality. The scientific method works well in observing and recording physical data and in reaching conclusions which either confirm or nullify a theory.

During the mid-19th century, scholars (philosophers, really) desired to study human nature in the hope of applying the scientific method to observe, record, and treat human behavior. They believed that if people could be studied in a scientific manner, there would be greater accuracy in understanding present behavior, in predicting future behavior, and in altering behavior through scientific intervention.

Psychology, and its active arm of psychotherapy, have indeed adopted the scientific posture. However, from a strictly scientific point of view, they have not been able to meet the requirements of true science.

In attempting to evaluate the status of psychology, the American Psychological Association appointed Sigmund Koch to plan and direct a study which was subsidized by the National Science Foundation. This study involved eighty eminent scholars in assessing the facts, theories, and methods of psychology. In 1983, the results were published in a seven-volume series entitled Psychology: A Study of Science. Koch describes the delusion in thinking of psychology as a science:

"The hope of a psychological science became indistinguishable from the fact of psychological science. The entire subsequent history of psychology can be seen as a ritualistic endeavor to emulate the forms of science in order to sustain the delusion that it already is a science."

Koch also says, "Throughout psychology's history as 'science,' the hard knowledge it has deposited has been uniformly negative."

The fact is that psychological statements which describe human behavior or which report results from research can be scientific. However, when we move from describing human behavior to explaining it, and particularly changing it, we move from science to opinion.

To move from description to prescription is to move from objectivity to opinion. And opinion about human behavior, when presented as truth or scientific fact, is mere pseudoscience. It rests upon false premises (opinions, guesses, subjective explanations) and leads to false conclusions.

The dictionary defines pseudoscience as "a system of theories, assumptions, and methods erroneously regarded as scientific." Pseudoscience, or pseudoscientism, includes the use of the scientific label to protect and promote opinions which are neither provable nor refutable.

One aspect of psychology riddled with pseudoscience is that of psychotherapy. Had psychotherapy succeeded as a science, we would have some consensus in the field regarding mental-emotional-behavioral problems and how to treat them. Instead, the field is filled with contradictory theories and techniques, all of which communicate confusion rather than anything approximating scientific order.

Psychotherapy proliferates with many conflicting explanations of man and his behavior. Psychologist Roger Mills, in his 1980 article, "Psychology Goes Insane, Botches Role as Science," says:

"The field of psychology today is literally a mess. There are as many techniques, methods and theories around as there are researchers and therapists. I have personally seen therapists convince their that all of their problems come from their mothers, the stars, their bio-chemical make-up, their diet, their life-style and even the "kharma" from their past lives."

With over 250 separate systems of psychotherapy, each claiming superiority over the rest, it is hard to view such diverse opinions as scientific or even factual.

The actual foundations of psychotherapy are not science, but rather various philosophical world views, especially those of determinism, secular humanism, behaviorism, existentialism, and even evolutionism. World-renowned research psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey is very blunt when he says:

"The techniques used by Western psychiatrists are, with few exceptions, on exactly the same scientific plane as the techniques used by witch doctors."
Both Canada and USA require new labels for AHDH drugs
Posted:Dec 2, 2011 11:47 pm
Last Updated:Jun 18, 2024 10:56 am

ADHD drug info revised

Sharon Kirkey, CanWest News Service
Published: Friday, September 22, 2006

All drugs for attention deficit disorder may cause psychotic reactions, including rare cases of hallucinations and agitation in , Health Canada is warning.

In a public advisory issued Thursday, the agency said patient and labelling information for a raft of medicines prescribed for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, will be changed to reflect "the potential for psychiatric adverse events."

The brain stimulants are among the most commonly prescribed drugs to Canadian . More than 1.9 million prescriptions were filled by retail drugstores between September 2005 and August 2006, according to IMS Health Canada, a prescription drug tracking firm.

Health Canada says ADHD drugs are "generally safe" and effective when used properly. "Patients taking ADHD drugs should consult with their physicians if they have any questions or concerns."

The new safety concerns come four months after Health Canada warned ADHD drugs can carry rare heart risks, including a risk of sudden death. That public advisory cautioned that any or adult with high blood pressure, heart disease or heart abnormalities, hardening of the arteries or an overactive thyroid gland should not use Ritalin or seven other medications.

The new advisory applies to those same drugs: Ritalin and Ritalin SR (a slow-release version), Adderall XR, Attenade, Biphentin, Concerta, Dexedrine and Strattera.

"We've been in discussions with the manufacturers and we expect to have the label changes made by December," Health Canada spokesman Paul Duchesne said.

In March, a U.S. Food and drug Administration advisory committee heard that as many as six per cent of on ADHD drugs may be at risk of a psychiatric side effect.

The FDA's Kate Gelperin, an expert on drug safety, described cases of "hallucinations, both visual and tactile, involving insects, snakes and worms", according to Knight-Ridder newspapers. Hallucinations have been reported in with no identified risk factors, and at usual doses.

A review of post-marketing safety data found a "substantial portion" occurred in 10 or younger, age groups where hallucinations are not common.

The FDA has received reports of manic symptoms, hallucinations and abnormal behaviour -- including one six-year-old boy who started licking the table one day after starting treatment.

Suzanne VanAmstel, of Janssen-Ortho, makers of Concerta, would say only that the drug company is "in discussions with Health Canada regarding an update to Concerta."

From 2000 to 2005, Health Canada received 187 suspected adverse drug reaction reports for methylphenidate, the main ingredient in Ritalin and Concerta. They included three deaths (two suicides and one sudden death), seven convulsions, eight "mood/personality/psychological" reports, and eight reports of aggressive behaviour.

Of the 55 reports involving Stattera, 11 involved mood or psychological changes, and seven aggressive behaviours.

There were 68 suspected adverse drug reactions for dextroamphetamine, which includes Dexedrine and Adderall. Of those, six involved mood/personality/psychological reports, two aggressive behaviour, seven tics or twitching and two movement disorders.
Psychology as a Religion
Posted:Dec 2, 2011 11:44 pm
Last Updated:Dec 3, 2011 4:54 am

by Bible Discernment Ministries


Explanations of why people behave the way they do and how they change have concerned philosophers, theologians, cultists, and occultists throughout the centuries. These explanations form the basis of modern psychology. Yet psychology deals with the very same areas of concern already dealt with in Scripture.

Since God's Word tells us how to live, all ideas about the why's of behavior and the how's of change must be viewed as religious in nature. Whereas the Bible claims divine revelation, psychotherapy claims scientific substantiation. Nevertheless, when it comes to behavior and attitudes, and morals and values, we are dealing with religion -- either the Christian faith or any one of a number of other religions, including secular humanism.

Nobelist Richard Feynman, in considering the claimed scientific status of psychotherapy, says that "psychoanalysis is not a science" and that it is "perhaps even more like witch-doctoring."

Carl Jung himself wrote:

"Religions are systems of healing for psychic illness. ... That is why patients force the psychotherapist into the role of a priest, and expect and demand of him that he shall free them from their distress. That is why we psychotherapists must occupy ourselves with problems which, strictly speaking, belong to the theologian."

Note that Jung used the word "religions" rather than Christianity. Jung had repudiated Christianity and explored other forms of religious experience, including the occult. Without throwing out the religious nature of man, Jung dispensed with the God of the Bible and assumed the role of priest himself.

Jung viewed all religions, including Christianity, as collective mythologies. He did not believe they were real in essence, but that they could affect the human personality, and might serve as solutions to human problems.

In contrast to Jung, Sigmund Freud reduced all religious beliefs to the status of illusion and called religion "the obsessional neurosis of humanity." He viewed religion as delusionary and, therefore, evil and the source of mental problems.

Both Jung's and Freud's positions are true in respect to the world's religions, but they are also anti-Christian. One denies Christianity and the other mythologizes it.

Repudiating the God of the Bible, both Freud and Jung led their followers in the quest for alternative understandings of mankind and alternative solutions to problems of living. They turned inward to their own limited imaginations and viewed their subjects from their own anti-Christian subjectivity.

The faith once delivered to the saints was displaced by a substitute faith disguising itself as medicine or science, but based upon foundations which are in direct contradiction to the Bible.

Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, in his 1978 book The Myth of Psychotherapy, says, "The basic ingredients of psychotherapy does not always involve repression." He points out that while psychotherapy does not always involve repression, it does always involve religion and rhetoric (conversation). Szasz says very strongly that "the human relations we now call 'psychotherapy,' are, in fact, matters of religion -- and that we mislabel them as 'therapeutic' at great risk to our spiritual well-being." Elsewhere, in referring to psychotherapy as a religion, Szasz says:

"It is not merely a religion that pretends to be a science, it is actually a fake religion that seeks to destroy true religion."

Szasz also says that "psychotherapy is a modern, scientific-sounding name for what used to be called the 'cure of souls.'" One of his primary purposes for writing The Myth of Psychotherapy was:

"... to show how, with the decline of religion and the growth of science in the eighteenth century, the cure of (sinful) souls, which had been an integral part of the Christian religions, was recast as the cure of (sick) minds, and became an integral part of medicine."

The cure of souls, which once was a vital ministry of the Church, has now in this century been displaced by a cure of minds called "psychotherapy." True "Biblical" counseling has waned until presently it is almost nonexistent.

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