This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. ( 2 Timothy 3:1-5)
There is a heresy which has encompassed the entire world in the last 100 years, which comprises as a great a threat to the Truth of the gospel as anything ever seen before in Christian history. I speak of the ‘discipline ‘ of Psychology.
Psychology purports to be the “study of the soul” and thus claims to be a “science”. In fact that is what the word “psychology’ actually means, i.e. the study of the psuche (greek for soul).
The problem with this definition and the discipline which grew out of it in the previous century, is the fact that the Soul of man is not material, it is Spiritual, therefore One can’t “study” the soul as one would ‘study” insects, clouds , rocks or history.
The Human Brain is material and can be studied in the ‘Scientific” method, but not the mind.
The Mind is not the brain, it belongs to the province of Spirituality, and requires revelation from God in order to know it. Abstract realities such as Love, mercy, Justice and Righteousness are not chemical reactions, they are spiritual concepts which require Divine revelation to understand as well.
The reason I bring this up in this series of articles about ‘Loving God’ is because modern western society has been inundated and saturated with this relatively new religion of “psychology”. It’s presuppositions are currently the conventional Wisdom, it has supplanted the curricula of our schools and Universities, and it’s many schools of thought are de facto rivals of the teaching of the Soul which was once the province of the Church.
Psychology has crowded out the traditional Western reliance on the counsel once found in church. Even the Churches for a large part, have succumbed to Psychological approaches to human problems.
It is not my intention to go into detail on this subject. My Point is that at the core of nearly all of the various schools of Psychology, is an emphasis to the point of idolatry, on the SELF.
Having come of age in the 1970s, many of us, all throughout our schooling were bombarded with concepts such as Self actualization, Self esteem, self introduction, self discovery, Self Love, etc etc etc ad nauseam. There was even a popular magazine called Self, and the Government of California completely revamped the state school system around the concept of self esteem!
Genesis tells us that man was “made in the Image of God”, and this infers that the meaning of our life is to seek to know God and to reflect that Image. As one of the Catechisms rightly says ,“Man’s chief end is to know and enjoy God forever”.
The account of what happened in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3 is a God given revelation of how Satan was able to manipulate our first parents , turning them away from the Knowledge of God, into an inordinate interest in themselves.
Eve and Adam did not consult God or each other when they transgressed, they were already acting as “gods” in their own rite, deciding for themselves what “good” would be. In the process of reaching for that “better Self” , by plucking the fruit God had commanded them not to eat, they trampled under foot Love for God in the pursuit of self love and self improvement.
The Gospel of Jesus flies in the face of the self idolatry which is what all of humanity is so prone to. Coming back to God through Jesus involves Saying No to Self. The entire Christian journey is a constant self denunciation.
At the beginning of a valid Christian pilgrimage, we are saying no to our Self Righteousness, and admitting we are sinners, worthy of death. What is a baptism, if not a burial?
If we are subject to proper Christian doctrine, We are then constantly challenged to cast aside our “own way” and to follow Jesus, we must not “trust our own heart” we are instead told that our own heart is wicked, desperately deceitful, and that we now must allow the Word to retrain and renew our mind. Furthermore we see that we no longer “live for ourselves” but for Him who gave himself for us. We do not seek to know ourselves, we want to press on to know Jesus, this is our live’s pursuit.
But for almost the hundred years that it has been in existence, Psychology has saturated the church, and infiltrated it’s teaching. This is why Todays church is rife with Mega Churches catering to people’s “felt needs” and promoting Books such as “Your Best Life Now” and conferences on “Inner Healing” and Past regression therapy, self esteem, and a host of other Psychologically related topics.
Subjects such as “unconditional Love” , “positive Confession” and “Healing of memories”, come directly from Psychology and yet almost overnight, became integrated into Christian teaching from the 1970s on, as if they were Biblical concepts. Those parts of the Bible which emphasize self denunciation, such as the depravity of man, the vanity of human Wisdom, and the condemnation of pride, have often been ridiculed and denounced as “worm theology”.
Worship also has become “Man Centered”, in so many churches, and one would be forgiven for mistaking some “worship ” services for Concerts. Even the content of the songs tend to center around the self, rather than the theologically rich, God-centered Songs, Hymns and Spiritual songs of the past.
We must renounce humanism and learn again to Love God, and abase ourselves before Him. What is left of the church, must be centered upon Him! We have to want to Know Him, to learn of his attributes and perfections, to fix our souls on God himself, and on the person of Jesus Christ, for there is no higher subject for us to fix our minds on.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)