Various people have wondered why we don’t simply expose psychological theories without naming names. They evidently think that simply describing the unbiblical teachings would suffice. But, would that be enough? Why do we name names?
Our first book was The Psychological Way/The Spiritual Way (1979, out of print now). We criticized no Christian in that book, but merely identified the problem, presented the biblical and scientific evidence in opposition, and let the reader apply it to those in error. As clear as we thought we were and as much as we naively believed that our book would stem the rising tide of psychology in the church, it didn’t happen. On the contrary, the problem got bigger and those whom we did not identify became more popular. What puzzled us at the time was how Christians could compliment us and then go on supporting Collins, Crabb, Dobson, Meier, Minirth, and other integrationists.
Then we wrote How to Counsel from Scripture (1985) in which we critiqued no individuals. We thought that if only people could see how the Bible can be used for counseling, then they would turn away from psychology. But instead, more and more people turned to psychological answers to understand man, why he does what he does, how he changes, and how he can be helped. And they heaped unto themselves psychological integrationists.
Then, we wrote PsychoHeresy, in which we began to connect names of professing Christians with their psychological teachings. We identified well-known integrationists with the hope that the danger could be more easily recognized.
Before addressing the biblical issue of critiquing teachings of individuals, please note that we are not the only ones who do that. The Agony of Deceit critiqued a number of media evangelists and Witch Hunt critiqued Dave Hunt and us. Were such people as R. C. Sproul, C. Everett Koop, Walter Martin, and others unbiblical for critiquing Christian leaders? Those are only a few of numerous examples that could be mentioned.
Some suggest, on the basis of Matthew 18, that all criticism of teachings should be done on a one to one basis. However, Matthew 18 applies to personal offenses and not doctrinal problems. In all cases of our work there is no personal offense because we do not know these people and they have not personally offended us.
The question is then: why publicly? We recommend Dr. Jay Adams’ book Handbook of Church Discipline. If those whom we critique were not public with their work, it would be inappropriate for us to critique them publicly. Scripture provides a basis for meeting publicly on doctrinal issues, such as in Galatians 2:14: “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all.” While Paul was speaking of Peter’s conduct, what Peter was doing had grave doctrinal implications.
Also in Acts, the Jerusalem council heard both sides of the issue of what was to be done about Gentile converts regarding circumcision. Both sides presented their case. (See Acts 15.)
If you stop to think about it, a book is as public as a live debate. But, a live debate presents both parties to be heard, and the church can judge. The problem in the church is the lack of trust in the sufficiency of Scripture. The Reformation cry was “Sola Scriptura.” Where is the Berean attitude today? Remember how Paul commended the Bereans for checking him out? (Acts 17:10-12.)
History reveals that public critiquing was always part of the church. The various church councils were often heated debates between various men. That’s what the 95 theses on the Wittenberg door were all about. Luther named and debated many men publicly so that others could judge.
Scripture provides a basis for public disagreement in the church, and church history and practice demonstrate this was done from the very beginning.
What the Bible does speak out against, however, is division caused by elevating personalities (1 Corinthians 1); infighting not having to do with essential doctrine, but motivated by selfish desires—having one’s own way (3 John); and division caused by heresy (Galatians 1 and 2 Peter 2).
The most loving thing to do for the Body of Christ is to warn believers of those who propagate false teachings, and the most loving thing to do for the perpetrators of psychoheresy is to continue to speak forth through literature in hopes that they will repent.
(From PAL, V2N1)