We received a manual recently titled Healing Touch Ministries: New Images. Below the title is the subtitle: “Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families.” The person who sent it asked us to critique the manual.

Although we cannot possibly critique every ministry or book that seems to incorporate some form of psychoheresy, this one is somewhat representative of a number of psychologically tainted ministries. (Please see our notice regarding requests on page 3.)

A primary purpose of the manual is to help people learn to love themselves. That’s what New Images is all about (p. vii). It is one more recovery manual with a promise: “This manual is 80% of your healing” (p. vii). And, it is one more recovery manual which has borrowed heavily from secular recovery books. But the author of this manual has added just enough Bible to make Christians think this is God’s way of healing.

Many Bible verses are quoted in the Healing Touch Ministries manual. One can easily be fooled by such a manual, because it appears to explain Scripture and make practical applications.

However, psychological meanings and interpretations are imposed on Scripture and the Bible is reinterpreted according to psychological theories and therapies currently in vogue. Thus one finds “new revelations” and “new applications,” while actually following psychological opinions of men. Therefore the presence of numerous Bible verses does not necessarily make a manual biblical.

One of the unbiblical practices promoted in this manual is the emphasis on “uncovering memories” from having grown up in “dysfunctional” families. The belief that past hurts and unmet needs now supposedly residing in an unconscious determine a person’s present behavior was formulated by Sigmund Freud and further developed by Alfred Adler. Many who believe in the kind of unconscious proposed by Freud also believe that only by uncovering those hurts can healing come. Therefore the emphasis is on remembering and confessing the sins of others—a practice never promoted in Scripture.

Besides the unbiblical teachings about why people do what they do and how they change, the entire discussion on memory is filled with dogmatic statements that are not supported in research, such as: “People remember only those events from early childhood that are consistent with their present view of themselves and the world around them. Let that soak in!”

Then the author goes on to talk about “adults from dysfunctional families” who have supposedly repressed important memories and says, “So we are caught in a dilemma; we need to get in touch with these wounds to be healed but we have forgotten or blocked them out of our memory” (p. 45).

Healing Touch Ministries: New Images, with its emphasis on remembering the sins committed against oneself before healing can occur, is an unholy mixture of some biblical doctrines combined with psychological, humanistic, and recovery notions to deal with those issues of life which used to be dealt with by the Bible alone. Why should Christians spend time using a manual that utilizes the jargon, ideologies, and methodologies of recovery programs and psychotherapy?

Two books that address the dangers of using recovery programs and psychotherapy are: Christian Psychology’s War on God’s Word: The Victimization of the Believer by Jim Owen and 12 Steps to Destruction: Codependency/Recovery Heresies by Martin and Deidre Bobgan. These books are written to help you discern, identify, and analyze various forms of psychoheresy and how they distort the Word of God and undermine the sufficiency of Christ.

(PAL V1N2 * May-Jun ’93)