When the Church Declared Herself Incompetent to Counsel

Since God created life He must also possess all the solutions to all of life's problems. If there is one problem God cannot solve, He could not be God. God is also good, therefore the instrument of His revelation to man, the Bible, must also contain all these solutions. If there is one single root problem of life that God's Word does not speak to with solution, He would be a withholding God, a contradiction to His infinite goodness. Therefore, even logically, the Bible must contain all the solutions to all of life's problems . . . just like it claims it does!

Here are some insights from Dr. David Tyler:

"Biblical cures for relational problems are foreign to modern people. The words sound distant and hollow to the average person in the pew. The average Church attending Christian today struggles to understand the depth and magnitude of his sin and, sadly, so do many, many pastors. Psychiatry, on the other hand, sounds scientific and mainstream. The long disease descriptions have abbreviations, categories, and are associated with specific behaviors and medications. The words are familiar and full of present day context thanks to advertising, talk shows, self-help books, government programs, and a psychologized educational system. While the church is talking about what are viewed as ethereal problems like salvation, justification, and sanctification, the psychologists are giving out advice for the problems “real” people face.

The intrusion of psychological thought into the Church is not the “fault” of the social or medical sciences themselves. Fault lies squarely with the local church. Historically, the evangelical church has been weak in dealing with problems occurring between people. Bad or nonexistent counseling coupled with a poor understanding of the fundamentals of theology created a vacuum toward the end of the 19th century just as the fathers of modern day psychological thought were rising to prominence. The Church was mystified by explosions in the sciences and it was becoming more liberal socially. This combination naturally opened the door for the pseudo-scientific theories of Freud, Darwin and others, leading to the mess we are in today.

The psychologized church of the present day generally does not advertise itself as such. One can find psychologized churches within most, if not all, the mainline Protestant denominations. Chief among the psychologized churches are those dedicated, in whole or in part, to recovery. On the one end of the spectrum, some churches offer programs aimed at a particular segment of the population, such as divorce or “addiction” recovery. They offer discipleship programs for hurting people groups assuming this will serve as an outreach activity to an un-churched population. Other churches form small groups, not to study the Bible through sound hermeneutics and exegesis, but to act as de facto psychological group sessions where everyone feels safe discussing all their problems. Recovery churches preach the gospel of the twelve-step program. Regardless of whether the church has dipped its toe in the recovery waters or jumped in head first, some degree of compromise with the sufficiency of Scripture has been made.

We live in a world where there are many interpretations of the same set of facts. One person looks at a butterfly and is moved by the splendor of God who created it. Another looks at the same butterfly and is moved by evolution’s ability to make such a delicate insect. One man looks at a child’s behavior and sees a sickness that is said to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that could be corrected through the use of medications. Another man looks at a child’s behavior and sees rebellion and sin. It is not the facts (the child’s behavior), but the interpretation of those facts (sin vs. sickness) at the core of the issue. Many explanations of life and the world do not recognize the authority of God and are, therefore, incompatible with a biblical worldview. The right things are not said because the right things are not believed. Adam and Eve listened to the serpent and believed an interpretation that was contrary to God’s truth. From that point forward, the war of words has been raging. Today, Christians are listening to sinful man’s (or the serpent’s?) interpretation of the facts, rather than God’s."

Dr. David Tyler is the President of American Association of Biblical Counselors (AABC), and Dean of the Biblical Counseling Department at Master's International University of Divinity (MISD). Visit his new Facebook page: Biblical Counseling