Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Where on Earth is God?

I believe having my PhD in psychology allows me ‘license’ to make the following statement. Over the last 4 decades, psychology has gained significant influence in Christian preaching and programs. And speaking as a Bible teacher, I believe the attempt to integrate psychology and the Bible, i.e., interpreting doctrine through a psychological grid, is hazardous to sound doctrine. The psychologizing of Jesus’ message has led to a man-centered message: self-development over improving one’s relationship with God.

Any pastor knows that a seminar on the 'Holiness of God’ will draw smaller crowds than one called ‘How Christians can have a healthy sex life.’ (By the way, which would you rather attend?) In our hug yourself culture, the popularity of self-centered, ‘you can have it now’ messages should not surprise us. You don’t have to listen long to these psychologized messages before you ask: “Where on Earth Is God?"

We must all—including myself—pay close attention to our teaching
(1 Tim 4:16) to question how the philosophy of psychology has affected our thought process, our biblical interpretation, our world view. Even in teaching the treasured truth of “abundant life,” I must be alert to doctrinal distortions. The precious truth of “Christ in me” can be inadvertently displaced with a focus on “who I am”—more about my son-ship than his Lordship. Is this why Paul said: “For I resolved to know nothing… except Jesus Christ and him crucified...for 'I' have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer 'I' who live but Christ lives in me” (1 Cor. 2:2; Gal. 2:20)?


  1. Good word Greg! This message is important, especially in America, and will need preaching until Jesus' return!

    I especially 'like' (sarcasm required) the tele-evangelist message on how to get rich by giving money to their ministry! We are far too concerned with becoming physically successful than intimacy with Christ.

    My desire has been, and is, to manifest the power and presense of God in my daily life. That He would be SO present, and free to work through me, that the world around me would be changed by Him. That, still ever-reaching goal, can't be self-helped, coached or manipulated by my financial offering. Only by a life surrendered wholly unto the Lord.

    If only Christiandom cared less about their name in lights, their business cards and jetliners...or our self-improvement.

    -David S

  2. Thanks David. When the Pope visited U.S. a few years ago, and his mass at the big cathedral in NYC was televised on TV, I wished he would have stripped himself of his majestic robes, and wrapped himself in a towel and begun washing the feet of the cardinals. But the humility of Jesus is rarely seen and seldom demonstrated.