When Jesus prayed for His disciples and for the multitudes of saints that would come into His Kingdom, He prayed:
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world (John 17:15-18).
Jesus describes His own as being “not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” They have been born of the Spirit and their new life is not of this world. When believers are walking according to the Spirit they are not of this world, but sadly, when they walk according to the flesh, the world seeps in to the degree that even their understanding of Scripture and of their new life in Christ becomes distorted.
More and more we are seeing the ways of the world being brought into the church. Indeed, many are attempting to live the Christian life by the deceptive ways of the world. Nevertheless, they may have no idea that their energy, enthusiasm, motivation, and even steadfastness are expressions of the flesh rather than the Spirit. These ways sap the saints of spiritual fortitude all the while deceiving them into believing they are truly following God.
The world creeps in through many means, all insidious and deceptive. While all are evil, we address one of the most pervasive, subtle, and successful invasions the world has made into the church: psychoheresy, which is the integration of secular psychological counseling theories and therapies with the Bible. It contradicts or compromises biblical Christianity in terms of the nature of man, how he is to live, and how he changes. This infestation of psychoheresy has reached gigantic proportions throughout the church world. Its fingers have even reached into the most conservative corners. The infection is generated through popular authors, speakers, media personalities, pastors and teachers and spread from mouth to mouth by their followers.
We have been attempting to inform, educate, and warn about this pervasive intrusion of the world, but the forces of psychoheresy have continued to mutate throughout the church to the degree that one does not have to be educated in psychology to spread the infection. Whether intentionally or through ignorance or naiveté, numerous Christian individuals and organizations follow various aspects of psychotherapy and its underlying psychologies.
One of the largest and fastest growing promoters of psychoheresy is Rick Warren and the multitude of pastors who have been purchasing and preaching his sermons. Warren has magically merged his own charisma, effective marketing and managing techniques, popular group dynamics, and psychological theories and techniques with the Bible. In other words, he is a master at using the ways of the world to promote the kingdom of God. But, this goes against what Jesus prayed. This is OF the world for those who are in the world. Warren is not the only one using the ways of the world. However, he is presently one of the most popular purveyors of them.
How can believers in Jesus Christ remain in the world without being part of it? “His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). A mindfulness of what God has said in His Word, a dependence on the inner work of the Holy Spirit, and a continual drawing close to the Lord are all part of this unique spiritual walk of the new creation in Christ:
… put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:17, 22-24).
The Bible gives many descriptions of what walking according to the Spirit looks like. For instance, a number of examples of behavior change are listed throughout the remainder of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In addition, Paul’s letter to the Galatians urges believers to walk according to the Spirit. He says: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). After contrasting the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit, Paul says: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:24, 25).
Again and again, people want to know how and what to do. Go to the Lord and His Word. Humble yourself before Him and seek Him, honor and glorify Him, thank Him, and trust in Him, for He is the Life of every believer. The is a step by step walk of faith. Paul called the Galatians “foolish Galatians,” because they were trying to live the Christian life by works of the law. He asked: “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:2, 3). Therefore, we say with Paul:
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power (Col. 2:6-9).
We need to ask ourselves and one another, Do we really believe these things? Do we really trust God to work in us according to His Word? Is it really possible to do what these few verses tell us to do through the power of His indwelling Spirit? If we believe these things, let us walk accordingly and urge one another to continue in “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, March-April 2006, Vol. 14, No. 2)