Psychology In Prophecy
Pastor Dale Morgan
Apr 04, 2006 15:04 PDT
*Psychology In Prophecy*
T. A. McMahon
I recently gave the title of this article as the topic for one of my
messages to an individual who was putting together a prophecy conference. An
obvious pause on his end of the phone line told me that he was trying to
imagine how psychology might possibly fit in with the rebuilding of the
Jewish Temple, the Great Tribulation, the Battle of Armageddon, the
Antichrist and the False Prophet, and other events and individuals that are
common subjects at prophecy conferences. When his lack of response began to
approach that awkward stage, I slowly and deliberately quoted 2 Timothy
3:1,_2: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves...."
"Go for it!" was his immediate response.
Although the conference organizer didn't know exactly how I was going to
treat the subject, he immediately recognized the fit from the phrases: "the
last days...perilous times...lovers of their own selves." It's very
disturbing (yet understandable, as we will see) that most evangelicals
(especially pastors) have missed the Apostle Paul's very clear, even
strident, warning about the perils of self-love and its connection to
psychology in the last days.
To better understand what Paul's concerns were, we need to start with a
definition of the term "self." It simply means the person himself. It's
me-and all that comprises me. Being a lover of my own self, then, means that
I love me, first and foremost. Self fills up my heart, my mind, my will, my
consciousness. Self, prior to salvation in Christ, is an autonomous being
doing its own thing in rebellion against God. For believers in Jesus who are
new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), self should be in submission
to Him. A true believer denies himself daily, takes up his cross, is
crucified with Christ-and yet he lives, with his life being in Christ by
faith (Matthew 16:24; Galatians 2:20).
Why did Paul put such an emphasis on self as an issue of critical concern in
"the last days"? Hasn't "self" been mankind's common problem ever since the
first act of disobedience against God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3)?
Wasn't Satan's seduction of Eve a lying appeal to enhance her "self"? Satan:
"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be
opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (3:5). And didn't
Eve fall for his lies of self-gratification and self-deification? And wasn't
self-preservation an obvious product of Adam and Eve's sin as they shifted
the blame away from themselves? Adam: "The woman whom thou gavest to be with
me, she gave me of the tree...." Eve: "The serpent beguiled me..." (3:12,
13). Obviously, self took center stage in the life of mankind from the first
act of sin on earth and thereafter!
Yet Paul indicates a special emphasis on self in the "last days." Although
self-seeking and self-serving have been dominant characteristics of mankind
as far back as the Fall, it has only been since the rise of modern
psychology that self has been proclaimed as the solution to all of our
mental, emotional, and behavioral ills. This was a new development of the
19th century that became inevitable as Darwinian "scientists" began
promoting their own theory of man's origin. Why inevitable? Well, as God
"lost" His position as mankind's Creator, He eventually was replaced
altogether. Evolutionary theory eliminated any necessity for God, since all
life, we were told, came about through natural processes. Taking God out of
the picture of life left us with only "self" (or "Self_"), resulting in
humanity becoming the measure of all things. That, however, has left
evolutionists/humanists with a dilemma.
On the one hand, man has been "relieved" of his accountability to his
Creator; on the other hand, he's left by himself to solve all of his
problems. This evolutionary and humanistic belief posits that within man is
the ultimate and necessary potential for coming up with these solutions. The
Humanist Manifesto I declares, "Man is at last becoming aware that he alone
is responsible for the realization of the world of his dreams, that he has
within himself the power for its achievement." If the solutions are not
within self, then godless mankind has nowhere else to turn, and,
consequently, humanity has no hope. But we are assured by today's
psychotherapists that the cures for humanity's ills are indeed found within
mankind. Thus, Paul's prophetic warning regarding the "last days" being
"perilous times" and characterized primarily by men being "lovers of their
own selves" is more fitting to our time than any other period in history.
Replacing God with self leads to the central dogma of the religion of
psychology: mankind is innately good. Psychotherapy is an exercise in
futility unless innate goodness resides within man at his very core. Here's
why: if man has an evil nature, as the Bible teaches, then it's impossible
for him to change himself. In other words, if I'm innately evil, I will
always be evil because there is nothing within me to enable me to change.
But if I'm good within but am experiencing problems of living, then through
various psychological methods or techniques, I should be able to tap into,
utilize, or realize that goodness and thus remedy the adversities I
experience. All the psychotherapeutic selfisms, from self-love to
self-esteem to self-image to self-actualization to self-realization-and
ultimately to self-deification-are predicated upon the innate goodness of
Humanistic psychology-to which all psychotherapies are related-is the
pseudo-scientific belief system of the Antichrist, who is the
personification of human evil. The basics of his religion were introduced to
mankind by Satan in his seduction of Eve (turning her away from obedience to
God and toward her own self-interests, even godhood-Genesis 3) and culminate
in a man, the Antichrist, setting himself up in the temple of God to be
worshiped as God (2 Thessalonians 2:4). It's all about the worship of self.
This Humanist/Selfist religion of the Antichrist does not just suddenly
appear on the scene when the Antichrist is revealed. As noted, the religion
of selfism has been in development since the Garden of Eden. Moreover, it
can be seen in the Tower of Babel and the idolatry of the Gentiles
throughout the Old Testament and is prevalent in all the religions of the
Only biblical Christianity stands against the exaltation of self that ties
all other religions together. The Bible declares self to be evil and
hopeless and says that man's salvation can come only from God as it is
received by faith in Jesus alone, who satisfied divine justice by His full
payment for the sins of mankind, according to the Scriptures. All other
religions look to self to obtain salvation, ultimately through one's own
efforts, whether by rituals, sacraments, meditation, liturgies, good works,
and so forth. Human achievement versus Divine accomplishment-this is the
critical difference between man's way of salvation and God's way.
The Apostle Paul's caveat about the "last days" is directed at believers,
warning them and indicating the peril that will follow the practice of
loving themselves. Therefore, it's rather shocking to witness the humanistic
"self_" concepts of the apostate religion of the Antichrist taking hold in
unprecedented fashion within evangelical Christianity. Last month we quoted
a well-known Christian psychologist who credited humanistic psychologists
and New Agers Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow for helping evangelicals to
recognize their "need for self-love and self-esteem." That certainly cannot
be derived from the writers of Scripture! Nevertheless, there have been many
influential professing Christians who have wittingly or unwittingly sown the
seeds of the humanistic self-love teachings so far and wide and for so long
among Christians that the heresies have taken root and their deadly fruit
has been eagerly consumed throughout the church.
Norman Vincent Peale is widely recognized as the one who pioneered the
merger of theology and psychology that became known as "Christian
psychology." Consistent with his humanistic beliefs, which he spread through
his nationally broadcast radio sermons and his highly popular Guideposts
magazine, he explained that people "are inherently good; the bad reactions
[sin?] aren't basic." Robert Schuller, whose "Possibility Thinking"
reflected (his mentor) Peale's "Positive Thinking," both of which mirror the
teachings of the Mind Science cults, sent 250,000 copies of his book,
Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, to pastors all around the U.S. Schuller's
"Hour of Power" is the world's most popular religious television program.
Yet to millions, his humanistic views presented under the guise of
Christianity are not recognized for their blasphemy: "Jesus knew his worth,
his success fed his self- esteem....He suffered the cross to sanctify his
self-esteem. And he bore the cross to sanctify your self-esteem. And the
cross will sanctify the ego trip!"1 Could the Antichrist himself add
anything more unbiblical?!
Sadly, many conservative evangelical preachers and teachers of note such as
Chuck Swindoll, Charles Stanley, Josh McDowell, Anthony Hoekema, Norm
Geisler, and others, bought into, taught, Christianized, and further
popularized the concepts of self-love, self-esteem, self-worth, and
self-image. It is the "new priesthood" of Christian psychologists, however,
with credentials that falsely imply the anointing of science, that has
convinced both shepherds and sheep of the legitimacy of the theories and
methods of humanistic psychology. Among the
swelling numbers of highly regarded, degreed professionals who teach the
church what they have gleaned from "the counsel of the ungodly" is Dr. James
Dobson, who, no doubt, is and has been the most influential individual among
evangelicals for the last quarter-century. Concerning self-love and
self-esteem he writes:
In a real sense, the health of an entire society depends on the ease with
which its individual members can gain personal acceptance. Thus, whenever
the keys to self-esteem are seemingly out of reach for a large percentage of
the people, as in twentieth-century America, then widespread "mental
illness," neuroticism, hatred, alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and social
disorder will certainly occur....2
If I could write a prescription for the women of the world, it would provide
each one of them with a healthy dose of self-esteem and personal worth
(taken three times a day until the symptoms disappear). I have no doubt
that this is their greatest need.3
Right behind Dobson in terms of his influence in the church today is Rick
Warren. Although he has distanced himself of late from one of his early
mentors, Robert Schuller (Warren was a frequent speaker in the nineties at
the Robert Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership), his article
in Ladies' Home Journal titled "Learn to Love Yourself" (see TBC 4/05) is
classic Schuller-and pure humanistic psychology. Warren lists "five truths,"
none of which is either a "truth" or biblical:
1) Accept yourself; 2) Love yourself; 3) Be true to yourself; 4) Forgive
yourself; and 5) Believe in yourself. Yet these humanistic, antibiblical
doctrines have been taught so often from so many pulpits that most
Christians, when presented with what the Bible actually teaches about self
and the selfisms, are either shocked that they've been misled or bitterly
resent hearing the truth.
Although I could not adequately cover in this brief article the details of
how terribly subversive and destructive humanistic psychology (especially as
championed in "Christian" psychology) is to Bible-believing Christians, here
are a few concerns that we all need to seriously and prayerfully consider:
One, humanistic psychology's theories came from the atheistic,
anti-Christian founders of psychotherapy, whose concepts qualify for what
the Scriptures condemn as "the counsel of the ungodly" (Psalm 1:1); Two, the
humanistic emphasis upon loving and esteeming self rejects the biblical
commandment to "deny self," which Jesus admonished us to do in Matthew
16:24; Three, the increasing focus on esteeming one's self gradually
distorts a believer's understanding of the truth regarding the sinful nature
of man and hides conviction of sin in a morass of humanistic
rationalizations; Four, the subjective feelings orientation of humanistic
psychology undermines the absolutes of God's objective truth; and Five, as
the leaven of humanism grows in the mind of a believer, his interpretation
of the Scriptures gradually shifts from what God has indeed said (Genesis
3:1) to "a way which seemeth right unto a man..." (Proverbs 14:12).
Scripture tells us that man's ways, i.e., all his self and humanistic
teachings, "are the ways of death," a death that separates a believer from
the truth and robs him of his faith and fruitfulness.
How "perilous" will all of this become in these "last days"? Consider the
following and, should the Lord tarry, weep for your children. Generally,
evangelical youth recognize the pseudo-science and myths of evolution,
thanks to the instruction of organizations such as the Institute for
Creation Research and Answers In Genesis, as well as numerous other
apologetic ministries, creation scientists, gifted teachers, and so forth.
Although the battle continues to rage in this area, not many evangelical
young people go off to college intent on becoming "evolutionists."
Yet what of the pseudo-science and myths of psychology? Who is teaching our
children about that? Certainly not the rapidly growing, 50,000-member
American Association of Christian Counselors, whose main goal is the
"integration" of psychotherapy and Christianity. How serious is this
ignorance of the evil of psychology for our young people? The prestigious
Princeton Review reports that psychology is the number two career choice for
all those attending college. It's even more popular in professing Christian
universities, from Liberty University on the East coast to Fuller
Theological Seminary on the West coast and nearly all that reside between.
Who is telling the truth to our children? Not Dr. James Dobson of Focus on
the Family, who ironically advises, "Christian psychology is a worthy
profession for a young believer, provided his faith is strong enough to
withstand the humanistic concepts to which he will be exposed...[emphasis
added]"4 Weep and pray for our next generation of evangelicals who are being
led into the humanistic priesthood of what is tragically and deceptively
called Christian psychology.
1 Schuller, Robert, Living Positively One Day at a Time, Revell, 1981, 201;
Self-Esteem, the New Reformation, Word Books, 1982, 14-15.
2 Dobson, James, Hide or Seek, Revell Pub., 1974, 12-13.
3 Dobson, James, What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew about Women, Tyndale
House, 1975, 60.
4 Dobson, James, Dr. Dobson Answers Your Questions, Tyndale, Wheaton, IL,