I was conned by Christian counselling [1]


(image courtesy of ChristArt.com)

By Spencer D Gear

Those of you who are observant and have read articles on my home page, Truth Challenge, should notice there is a contradiction between the content of these two articles:

1folder  Pornography: “One day you’ll beat it and

2folderI was conned by Christian counselling [1]

In the first article I was counselling with a person who would not understand biblical counselling. Most of my professional life as a counsellor was working with secular clients who did not operate from a Christian world view, so I had to use secular models – that were effective.

In the second article, I’m critiquing the way secular therapies have crept into Christian counsellor training, all in the name of “Christian counselling.” I entered such a program for my MA and thought it was going to be Christian counselling. It wasn’t. It was an integration of secular psychology/counselling. I voluntarily allowed myself to be conned.

What is causing me to use such a provocative title. To be ‘conned’ is a serious allegation. Let’s examine what has happened to others and me as we have worked in Christian counselling.


I am deeply concerned about something that is contaminating the Christian church. It is already causing deep problems and promises to be destructive — it could tear the heart out of our gospel.

These are quotes from a leading Christian author:

1. Please complete this author’s statement: “The basic personal need of each personal being is _____________. [3]

2. “When we raise our voices in favor of a radical commitment to biblical sufficiency, there is danger of losing depth in our understanding.” [4]

3. “A commitment to biblical sufficiency has sometimes resulted in shallow explanations of complex disorders. And shallow explanations promote the unchallenged acceptance of superficial solutions… The result is a shallow understanding of problems and solutions that sounds biblical but helps very few.” [5]

4. “Reminders of God’s love and exhortations to meditate on Jesus’ care sometimes provide about as much help as handing out recipes to people waiting in a food line.” [6]

5. “Unless we understand sin as rooted in unconscious beliefs and motives and figure out how to expose and deal with these deep forces within the personality, the church will continue to promote superficial adjustment while psychotherapists, with or without biblical foundations, will do a better job than the church of restoring troubled people to more effective functioning. And that is a pitiful tragedy.” [7]

6.  “Although the Scriptures provide the only authoritative information on counseling, psychology and its specialized discipline of psychotherapy offer some valid insights about human behavior which in no way contradict Scripture.” [8]

All of the above quotes are from leading Christian psychologist, Dr. Lawrence J. Crabb Jr. They are a symptom of what is happening in the evangelical, charismatic, Pentecostal and liberal churches today. We expect the liberal church to take that line because it has rejected the infallible Word of God. However, something is desperately wrong when it has invaded the churches that accept the Bible as authoritative and proclaim the gospel.

The tragedy is underlined by Lawrence Crabb’s proclamation: When dealing with sin, “the church will continue to promote superficial adjustment while psychotherapists, with or without biblical foundations, will do a better job than the church of restoring troubled people to more effective functioning.” [9]


1.  Based on Psalm 1, those who try this amalgamation are walking in the “counsel of the wicked”.

2.  Matthew 16:6: “`Be careful,’ Jesus said to them. `Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees’.”

3. I Cor. 5:6: “Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?”

Yeast/leaven has crept into the church and it is sweeping through the church–and most of us don’t know it is happening. It is so subtle.

3.  Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”

I believe deceptive, human philosophies are infiltrating the church and we are being taken captive.

4.  Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. We are unequally yoked together with unbelievers. The end result will be as devastating as if you are yoked with an unbeliever in marriage, or business, etc.

5.  Isaiah 6:20-21: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And clever in their own sight.” [10]  I believe we are calling evil good and darkness light in this invasion in the church.

It may well be a heresy that is unleashed in the church. If it were an attack on:

  • the substitutionary atonement, we would recognise it immediately;
  • the deity of Christ, it would stand out like a sore thumb;
  • the authority of the Scripture, it would be self-evident and we would oppose it.

But here we have an attack on the sufficiency of Christ and the Scriptures to meet your needs as a believer and there seem to be few objectors.

Evangelist, conference speaker and author, Leonard Ravenhill, wrote: “This psychoheresy is a menace and threatening to become a plague in the pulpit. Your trumpet is needed against what is nothing less than heresy.” [11]

In Christian Psychology’s War on God’s Word, Jim Owen writes: “If the church will not take a hard look at ‘Christian’ psychology, then it is well on its way to becoming enmeshed in a modern day heresy.” [12]

It is one thing to buy cars manufactured by unregenerate Shintoists (Japanese) or pharmaceuticals manufactured by some secular humanist, but it is quite another thing to turn to unbelievers to discover:

  • the nature of human beings,
  • the diagnosis of problems of living,
  • the cure of problems of living.

For the first 1900 years of the church’s existence, the “cure of souls” ministry (helping people with their personal problems) was given to the churches. Since the time of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, about 100 years ago, the “cure of souls” has become the “cure of minds” as we have handed people’s problems over to the psychotherapists, psychiatrists, social workers, counsellors, and other mental health professionals.

When we integrate psychology and the Bible, we are implying that God gave commands and instructions for living without providing all the necessary means of obedience until the coming of psychology.

When I speak of the danger of psychology, I am referring to the secular theories and techniques which “depend on human tradition”. They are human-made ideas which offer substitutes for salvation and sanctification.

I am “not referring to the entire field of psychological study”. But I am “referring to that part of psychology which deals with the nature of [human beings], how [they] should live, and how [they] can change. It involves values, attitudes and behavior.” [13]


1.  The psychological society is leading to the psychological church.

The church is being seduced by departing from the fundamental truth of the gospel and what leads to Christian growth. It is using unproven and unscientific psychological opinions of secular people, in place of absolute confidence in the biblical truth of God. Theories of psychological counselling are becoming poison to the soul.

The church has bought into these myths:

    a. Psychology is science rather than religion.

b. The best kind of counselling combines psychology and the Bible.

c. People who are experiencing mental-emotional-behavioural problems are mentally ill. They are supposedly psychologically sick. We take the line that a medical doctor treats the body, a psychologist treats the mind and emotions, and a Christian minister deals with strictly spiritual things.

d. Another myth: Psychotherapy has a high record of success. [14]

Christian psychologist, William Kirk Kilpatrick, concludes that, “True Christianity does not mix well with psychology. When you try to mix them, you often end up with a watered-down Christianity instead of a Christianized psychology. But the process is subtle and is rarely noticed.” [15]

2.  We are becoming the psychologised church by integrating psychology with the Bible.

We see this in:

  • Psychologised sermons with pastors quoting psychologists as the experts and using psychological concepts in their sermons;
  • Church counselling has become psychologised–the Bible is supposedly not enough.
  • Those who want to help people in the church get psychological training.
  • When people have problems of living and go to the pastor for help, he quickly refers them to the psychological professionals.

A pastor friend of mine, who pastors in one of our capital cities, said that he doesn’t have time for counselling so he does one interview and then refers his parishioners to psychological professionals. Even conservative churches are now hiring people with psychological training to pursue church based counselling ministries.

Christian schools and Bible colleges are partially or entirely teaching psychological rather than biblical solutions to problems.

It is almost compulsory that marriage and family counsellors or psychologists be speakers at conferences, camps, or guests on radio shows.

Psychology has invaded the church and it is not a good thing, as we shall see.

There is an international organisation, based in the United States, called the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS), an organisation composed of practising therapists.  Martin & Deidre Bobgan surveyed them to discover which psychotherapeutic approaches most influenced their private practices of psychology/counselling. They listed 10 approaches. The results were:

  • Client-Centred Therapy (Carl Rogers) and Reality Therapy (William Glasser) were the top two choices.
  • Freud’s psychoanalysis and Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Therapy followed closely behind.
  • The only biblical approach, Jay Adams’ Nouthetic Counselling, tied for last place.

Many of the psychotherapists were eclectic–using a variety of approaches. There are over 250 competing and often contradictory therapies using over 10,000 techniques that are not always compatible. [16]

What I find so alarming is that the number one method used by Christian psychotherapists is Carl Rogers’ method of counselling. Christians often find his active listening, client-centred, non-judgmental approach very attractive. I know of one Bible College in Australia whose counselling department is dominated by Rogerian counselling.

However, never let us forget that Rogers’ basic premise is that human beings are good and can solve their own problems. That’s why he believes in active listening and unconditional positive regard of the client. No matter how much prayer and Bible reading you have in counselling, if you are acting from Rogers’ premise it can’t be biblical. Rogers also said that the crowning discovery of his lifetime of counselling was love. For him it means “love between persons.” [17]  Freud said the basic problem was your psychosexual urges in the unconscious.

Albert Ellis says your problem is with irrational self talk that needs to be changed. He is an atheist who would drive any religion that believes in absolutes out of any counsellee. Yet this is what is being used in the name of Christian psychology by Christian therapists. Several Christian counsellors have developed a Christianised version of Ellis’s Rational Emotive Therapy, calling it Rational Christian Thinking: Renewing the Mind. [18]

Secular psychological theories are built on the secular psychologist’s view of human nature and his/her personality. Secular therapist Dr. Linda Riebel acknowledges this. She says: “Theories of human nature reflect the theorist’s personality as he or she externalizes it or projects it onto humanity at large… The theory of human nature is a self-portrait of the theorist . . . emphasizing what the theorist needs.” [19]

In the book, Makers of Psychology: The Personal Factor, Dr. Harvey Mindess states it clearly: “The leaders of the field portray humanity in their own image. . .  Each one’s theories and techniques are a means of validating his own identity.” [20]

They portray “humanity in their own image” and yet that is what Christian psychologists want to integrate with biblical Christianity. From this premise, you can expect psychologised religion that drifts away from the Bible.

This is all done in the name of integrating psychology with theology. Martin & Deidre Bobgan call it “amalgamania” [21].

Why is it done? All in the belief that:

3. All Truth is God’s Truth

They pick up this mish-mash of psychological opinion, try to glean some facts from it, and proclaim “All truth is God’s truth”. I don’t believe they are sure what God’s truth is. Is God’s truth what Freud says about obsessive neurosis? Or Carl Rogers’ ideas on human love? Or B.F. Skinner’s behaviourism that wants to manipulate your environment?

Similarities do not make psychology and Christianity compatible. Christianity and other world religions have similarities, but that does not make them compatible.

To say that the discoveries of unredeemed people like Freud, Rogers, Jung, etc. are God’s truth is to undermine the very basis of the Word of God. They are confusing facts with truth. [22]

There is a great deal of difference between taking your car to an unbelieving motor mechanic and seeking answers to life’s problems from an unregenerate psychologist.

What else is happening?

4. Secular values are invading the church

Even secular psychologists admit this. Dr. Hans Strupp says: “There can be no doubt that the therapist’s moral and ethical values are always `in the picture.’” [23]

Psychiatrist, Dr. Perry London, agrees: “Every aspect of psychotherapy presupposes some implicit moral doctrine… Moral considerations may dictate, in large part, how the therapist defines his client’s needs, how he operates in the therapeutic situation, how he defines `treatment,’ and `cure,’ and even `reality.’” [24]

Yet Christian psychologists want to take this secular morality and integrate it with Christianity. It will make a poisonous mixture.

What is really happening?

5. It is subverting the Christian faith

The antagonism of psychology towards Christianity gradually seeps into the church. We use psychological ideas to explain why we are the way we are, how we should live, what we need, and how we change. The claims of Christ are compromised.

Instead of denying the validity of the Word of God, we simply tell pastors and gifted Christians that they are not qualified to minister to the deep levels of human need — and we refer them to psychologists.

Pastors and Christians: You are ministers of the Word. Everything, including counselling, must be guided by the Word. Psychologists want to see the counsellee restored to what society considers normal. Our goal is to have the counsellee restored to right relationship with God. That is not the goal of secular counselling. How dare we allow such heresy to invade the church.

Carl Rogers confessed: “Yes, it is true, psychotherapy is subversive. . . Therapy, theories and techniques promote a new model of man contrary to that which has been traditionally accepted.” [25]

Bernie Zilbergeld, in his book, The Shrinking of America writes:

Psychology has become something of a substitute for old belief systems. Different schools of therapy offer visions of the good life and how to live it, and those whose ancestors took comfort from the words of God and worshipped at the altars of Christ and Yahweh now take solace from and worship at the altars of Freud, Jung, Carl Rogers, Albert Ellis, Werner Erhard, and a host of similar authorities. While in the past the common reference point was the Bible and its commentaries and commentators, the common reference today is a therapeutic language and the success stories of mostly secular people changers. [26]Psychology is undermining the church.


I’ll have to be brief here because each one of these areas is a sermon in itself:

1. The Self

Psychology is self-centred. Listen to the terms: self-fulfilment, self-love, and self-actualisation. Self denial and dying to self are out!

Observe Christian book titles: Love Yourself; the Art of Learning to Love Yourself; Loving Yourselves; Celebrate Yourself; You’re Someone Special; Self-Esteem: You’re Better than You Think; Self Esteem: The New Reformation. [27]

Something else is happening to the church and Christians:

2. Self-esteem

Most secular and Christian psychologists accept the premise that low self-esteem is the cause of most human behavioural problems. The good news of the psychologised gospel is that

People who realize their self-worth don’t have any need to do ugly or unkind things. And this is the point, please note, where Christianity and psychology part company. People will continue to behave badly, says the Christian, because human nature is twisted, and liking yourself doesn’t remove the twist. But psychological theory doesn’t take account of the Fall; it takes the position that there are no bad natural inclinations. [28]We don’t need a pat on the back or a regular positive affirmation. We need radical surgery. Humanity’s problem is not poor self-esteem.

“G.K. Chesterton once observed that the doctrine of fallen man is the only Christian belief for which there is overwhelming empirical evidence.” [29]

Another invasion in the church:

3. Recovery groups

Christians have bought into the “disease” model of Alcoholics Anonymous and so we have “New Hope” groups for those from dysfunctional families, recovery groups for children of alcoholic families. Based on the A-A model, they are 12-step programs that say your problem is sickness, not sin. You will always be an alcoholic. It’s a disease. The Bible calls drunkenness sin. The disease approach denies the spiritual dimensions of the problem.

An advertisement for a “Christians in Recovery” conference said that 90% of Americans come from

Dysfunctional homes–that is, homes that are not just damaged by, say, alcoholism or drugs, but also by such disorders” as workaholism, perfectionism, depression, compulsive behavior, intimacy problems, etc. These problems, we are informed, affect the family as much as does alcoholism.The advertisement continued:

For years millions of Americans have had to struggle alone with these kinds of dysfunctions. But times are changing and many of these individuals, including Christians, are tearing down the ‘walls of denials’ and opening doors of opportunity for emotional and spiritual healing. [30]How? Through “Recovery Groups” which call sin disease.

Closely related to this is:

4. Codependency

This is the psychological “disease of those with a `caretaker’ mentality, who are over committed and over involved in the lives of needy individuals… They have a high need for keeping people dependent on them.” 31]

Codependency is an extremely subjective definition and runs counter to the biblical view of self-denial. If you blame some addictive behaviour of another person for your problem, you are not taking personal responsibility.

Another example of how psychology has invaded the church is:

5. Healing of the Memories

This uses the occult technique of visualisation. The positive confession heresy uses a similar technique. I cannot and must not use such pagan procedures.

6. Victimisation

This is sanctification by victimisation therapy. You are a victim of your past, your environment, somebody else’s behaviour. This threatens to destroy biblical teaching on progressive sanctification.

Here’s a paraphrase of Luke 9:59-61 (our Lord’s call to obedience): The Lord said to one man, “Follow me.”

But the man replied: “Lord, first let me go back and analyze my childhood. Bad and harmful things were done to me then. My family failed to affirm me properly. Let me go back and again feel deeply the hurts and disappointments I experienced. Only then can I forgive those who inflicted them upon me. Only then can I overcome my dysfunctional behavior. Only then will I be able to develop an appropriate self-esteem. Only then can I truly ask your forgiveness. Only then, Lord, will I be free to follow you.”Jesus replied: “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God. No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” [32]

We see psychology in the church in the doctrine of rejection being preached and counselled in some quarters.

7. Rejection

My wife was adopted into a loving, caring family when she was a baby just three weeks’ old. She read recently: “Every person who has been adopted suffers from a spirit of rejection.”  This is psychological confusion, not biblical Christianity. In addition, that is NOT what my wife experiences.

Christian counsellor, Charles Solomon says: “Research has also substantiated a cause-and-effect relationship between a mother’s rejection of the unborn child and the psychological difficulties of the child later in life.” [33]

That’s an interesting psychological idea, but research has not substantiated it. Just phone any medical school with faculty in child development and you’ll find there is no such evidence. How could that be quantified?

8. The four temperaments & personality testing

Space doesn’t permit us to go into these, except to say that the four temperaments are based on an occult model.  For a detailed assessment, see Martin & Deidre Bobgan, Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing. [33a]

9.    New language

  • disease for sin nature and bondage to lust,
  • addiction — people don’t lust any more, they have an addiction,
  • dysfunctional is a substitute for sin,
  • self-actualisation is equated with sanctification,
  • reprogramming in place of what the Bible terms “renewing the mind”

We are uneasy with sinners, salvation and sanctification so we say people hurt, have diseases, are traumatised, are addicted and dysfunctional. In a victimised world, these words sound better than sinner, rebel and wicked.

Christian psychology is writing a different gospel. The Bible points me to the cross and says, “Stand there, or be lost.” [34]

10. Whatever became of sin?

A Gallup poll of evangelical college students in the USA asked if they disapproved of premarital sex. Forty-eight percent answered “No”. I am disturbed by the deliberate avoidance of “sin” and “sinners” by evangelicals. This is a foreign gospel. [35]


What I write is not theory. I have learned from bitter experience what happens when you mix secular psychology with the Bible. I wasted 10 years of my life pursuing the psychological integration model. I came out of a fine evangelical seminary in the USA with a master’s degree in pastoral psychology and counseling (counselling is the Aussie spelling).

I was convinced that the teachings of Albert Ellis (Rational Emotive Therapy) and his changing your irrational self-talk to his definition of rational self-talk, was the equivalent of “renewing the mind.” I was deluded. When a Christian came to me for counselling, say, for depression, anger, anxiety, marriage breakdown, etc., I never began with what the Bible says. I began with Albert Ellis. I counselled according to his model for over 10 years.

This is what a Rational Emotive Therapy text says:

What is ethical, then, is specific to each situation; there are no absolute rights and wrongs… The ethics that RET advocates are not based upon rigid dogmatism. In fact, RET holds that rigidity, authoritarianism, dogmatism, and absolutism are among the worst features of any philosophic system and are the very styles of thinking that lead to neurosis and disturbance (Walen et al 1980:9; details at note [36]).In humanism, the reasoning individual is the source of wisdom, not the almighty God. The existence of God is questioned or even denied entirely, since God is not needed to explain the creation of things (that is the job of science), nor is He needed to create an ethical code (for that can be done by clear thinking). . .

While Ellis is an unabashed hedonist, humanist, and atheist, one can retain a form of religion and practice RET. Many Christian and Jewish clergy do just that, although they do not share Ellis’ atheism. . .

A rational belief is not absolutistic…. An irrational belief is a command. [36]

Conclusion: For the above promoters of Rational Emotive Therapy, God’s absolutes are an irrational belief, but you can retain a form of religion and still practice RET. I concluded that the RET model is riddled with Ellis’s castigation of absolutes and his promotion of humanistic ethics. I forsook it in 1990.

It took a friendly debate with international author, Dave Hunt, at the church I pastored in Canberra, ACT, Australia in 1990 and encouragement by my wife, Desley, to investigate the sufficiency of the Bible for counselling.

I went to a secular university pursuing a Ph.D. in counselling psychology. But even my confrontation with this secular mentality in 1982-84, did not cause me to turn around. But my debate with Dave Hunt did.

Since then, I have sought to counsel according to the sufficiency of Scripture as a biblical counsellor (and it has not been an easy job in` putting off’ the psychology that I had imbibed into my counselling). Naive, you might say. Not when I read, 2 Peter 1:3-4:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. [37]I studied under Christian psychologist and ordained minister, Dr Richard Dobbins. When I pastored a church in Ohio, I showed his film series, “The Believer and His Self Concept.” In that film he leads the viewers through a series of steps and ends up reciting together: “I am a lovable person. I am a valuable person. I am a forgivable person.” [38]

Here’s the confusion. The biblical fact is that God loves and forgives us. But it is a humanistic psychological lie that we are intrinsically lovable, valuable and forgivable.

The hymn writer puts its in much better theology: “Nothing in my hand I bring. Simply to Thy cross I cling.” I bring nothing. The biblical truth is: “I am not a lovable person. I am not a valuable person. I am not a forgivable person. But, Christ died for me!” That’s the grace of God. How dare we confuse psychology with Bible. We do so to our own downfall and the church’s seduction. Our focus must be Christ — he’s the lovable person, the valuable person and the forgiving person. [39]

The psychological message sounded so convincing to me. But I was conned by Christian counselling.


1. I encourage all Christian counsellors to practise biblical counselling.

God’s word says: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” [40]

Everything you need for life and godliness through your knowledge of him. That includes every counselling problem. On the basis of the Word of God, does psychological counselling and its theories have something better to offer the Christian than ministry through the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, prayer and the church?

As you move closer to God through His love and the ministry of truth and mercy expressed through His Word, the Holy Spirit and caring Christians, you will change in areas of thoughts, emotions and actions.

2. You don’t need professional psychological training.

Pastors and church members seem to have bought into the confusion that they need to have professional psychological training to be successful.

Truax and Mitchell state that, “There is no evidence that the usual traditional graduate training program has any positive value in producing therapists who are more helpful than nonprofessionals.” [41]

Psychologist Robert Carkhuff conducted a careful survey of all the research that had studied the effectiveness of what he called “lay helpers.” The findings are startling: “When lay counselors, with or without training, were compared with professionals it was discovered that ‘the patients of lay counselors do as well as or better than the patients of professional counselors.’” [42]

Say “No” to professional psychological training.  It may hinder your practice as a counsellor.

3. Say “YES” to the Holy Spirit and the Word

The primary training for biblical counsellors is:

  • learning how to live in obedient relationship with God;
  • so you reflect God’s character and do his will in daily challenges;
  • know the Word.

In nearly every church fellowship there are mature believers who have been prepared and trained by the Lord for this ministry of teaching, caring and encouragement– called counselling. In most congregations you can identify those who:

  • know the Word,
  • have responded to the work of the Holy Spirit,
  • and are gifted in this way.

If there is a need for counselling in the local church, these are the people who are prepared to do this in mercy and truth.

I believe Martin & Deidre Bobgan hit the mark when they state:

There is some justification to conclude that for all problems of living the best way out is by individual effort; the next best help is the informal support group; then the formal support group; and finally least effective is individual therapy. [43]This is why, in addition to biblical counselling, I recommend that counsellees attend the regular services of the church and are involved in the loving environment of a small home group.  However, I urge you to practise your Christian counselling in subjection to the leaders of your local church and their “equipping” ministry (see Eph. 4:11-12].  I urge you neverto be a lone ranger Christian counsellor.  There is always safety in being subject to the supervision of God’s leaders in the church.

4. The cure of souls’ ministry belongs in the church

“For Christians, problems that can be treated by psychological counselling can be better ministered to by biblical counsel within the Body of Christ.” [44]

The psychological way provides man-made solutions. The spiritual way provides biblical solutions.


  • The choice is God’s way or the human way;
  • The flesh or the Spirit;
  • Self effort or faith in God;
  • Are you a victim or a sinner?
  • Will it be psychological referral or repentance and restoration?

Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, who is not a Christian, “recommends that mental health care be taken away from professionals, such as psychiatrists and psychologists, and given back to the church.” [45]

These have been the cherished friends of believers down through the centuries:

  • love of the Scriptures,
  • the wonder and power of prayer,
  • fellowship with other believers in the Spirit,
  • the obedience of self-denial,
  • the longing to see our Lord,
  • and joy unspeakable and full or glory, no matter what the circumstances.

What has happened to these friends who have helped us to grow in grace, say no to sin and bear fruit in Jesus’ Name? The grace of the Lord has been replaced by the worldly wisdom of psychology. It is another gospel, a hybrid, that is overtaking the church and I am angry that we are letting it happen.

I call you back to the all-sufficient Christ and the sufficiency of His Word. When we emphasise people as victims instead of sinners, we radically challenge the biblical teachings on a person’s guilt and need of the cross, the supremacy of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s sanctification, and most importantly, the sufficiency and authority of the Scripture for the believer. [46]

I am firmly convinced that Christian psychology represents one of the most dangerous challenges to the sufficiency of Christ and the authority of Scripture that the church has confronted this century. If this poison is allowed to continue, it will destroy the heart of Christianity. Christian psychology is, I believe, a modern day heresy. I was conned by Christian counselling. Will you join me in renouncing this heresy and getting back to biblical counselling?


1. When I say that I was `conned’ by Christian counselling, I in no way suggest that I was a victim of some subversive activity. I voluntarily subjected myself to the integration of psychology with the Bible, thanks to the influential professors who taught counselling psychology in the evangelical seminary that I attended in the USA. It was my own lack of discernment that resulted in my accepting the unbiblical doctrines promoted in this program. Perhaps a better title would be, “How I allowed myself to be conned by the secular messages integrated into Christian counselling.” But that kind of title is too long — but accurate.

3. Answer: “To regard himself as a worthwhile human being. Nothing is sinful about the need to be worthwhile. . . To accept oneself as a worthwhile creature is absolutely necessary for effective, spiritual, joyful living.” (Lawrence J. Crabb Jr., Basic Principles of Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975, 53).

4. Lawrence J. Crabb, Jr., Understanding People. Melbourne, Australia: Interbac (S. John Bacon), 1987, 55.

5. Ibid., 57-58.

6. Dr. Larry Crabb, Inside Out. Colorado Springs, Colorado: NavPress, 1988, 194.

7. Crabb, Understanding People, 129.

8. Lawrence J. Crabb Jr., Effective Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1977, 15.

9. Crabb, Understanding People, 129.

10. New American Standard Bible (NASB).

11. In Martin & Deidre Bobgan, Psychoheresy. Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1989, in the “about this book” section, at beginning of this publication, emphasis added — no page number given.

12. Jim Owen, Christian Psychology’s War on God’s Word. Santa Barbara, CA: Eastgate Publishers, 1993, 21.

13. Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 4.

14. From ibid., 8.

15. William Kirk Kilpatrick, Psychological Seduction. Nashville (USA): Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, 23.

16. Martin & Deidre Bobgan, How to Counsel from Scripture. Chicago: Moody Press, 1985, 40; Martin Bobgan & Deidre Bobgan, Prophets of Psychoheresy I. Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1989, 50.

17. In Bobgan, Prophets of Psychoheresy I, 51, Carl Rogers, “Some Personal Learnings about Interpersonal Relationships,” 16mm film developed by Dr. Charles K. Ferguson. University of California Extension Media Center, Berkeley, CA, film #6785.

18. Alice Petersen, Gary R. Sweeten, & Dorothy Faye Geverdt, Rational Christian Thinking. Cincinnati, Ohio: Christian Information Committee, 1987. This manual is available from the publishers, Box 24080, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45224, USA.

19. “Theory as Self-Portrait and the Ideal of Objectivity,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Spring 1982, pp. 91-92.

20. p. 15. This and the previous quote are from Bobgan, Prophets of Psychoheresy I, 53.

21. Bobgan, Psychoheresy, chapter 5.

22. Ibid., 31.

23. “Some Observations on the Fallacy of Value-free Therapy and the Empty Organism,” in Steven Morse and Robert Watson (Eds), Psychotherapies: A Comparative Casebook. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1977, 313.

24. The Modes and Morals of Psychotherapy. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1964, 6, 5). [Quotes from Bobgan, Prophets of Psychoheresy I, 41.

25. In Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 20, quoted by Allen Bergin, “Psychotherapy and Religious Values,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 48, p. 101, emphasis added.

26. In Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 20, The Shrinking of America, 5.

27. In Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 58.

28. Kilpatrick, Psychological Seduction, 37.

29. Ibid., 40.

30. In Owen, 190.

31. Ibid., 153.

32. Ibid, 121.

33. The Rejection Syndrome, Tyndale, 21, in Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 96.

33a.  Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1992.

34. Based on Owen, 13, 109.

35. In Owen, 29. “Religious Belief vs. Behavior,” The Church Around the World, September 1989.

36. Susan R. Walen, Raymond DiGiuseppe, Richard L. Wessler, A Practitioner’s Guide to Rational-Emotive Therapy. Oxford University Press, 1980, pp. 8-11,72, 74).

37. New International Version of the Bible (NIV).

38. In the brochure advertising the film, 6.

39. Based on Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 67-68.

40. 2 Peter 1:3, NIV.

41. In Bobgan, How to Counsel from Scripture, 87, quoted by Sol Garfield, “Psychotherapy Training and Outcome in Psychotherapy,” BMA audio cassette #T-305. New York: Guilford, 1979.

42. In Gary Collins, How To Be a People Helper. Santa Ana, California: Vision House Publishers, 1976, 58; R.R. Carkhuff, “Differential Functioning of Lay and Professional Helpers,” in Journal of Counseling Psychology, vol. 15, 1968, 117.

43. Bobgan, How to Counsel from Scripture, 43.

44. Ibid., 7.

45. In Bobgan, Prophets of Psychoheresy I, 101.

46. Based on Owen, p. 18.

I call you back to the all-sufficient Christ and the sufficiency of His Word in Christian counselling.

Copyright © 2011 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 16 May 2016.