Mental health professionals1 wield a great deal of power and authority in numerous sectors of society, including business, industry, schools and colleges, and lamentably also in churches, Bible colleges, seminaries, and Christian schools. Psychoexperts have infiltrated and occupied many areas of life. Their power is tremendous even though what they do lacks scientific support.

Numerous books and articles have been written about the chasm between psychological claims and research revelations, between the psychological promises and the produced results. We have written extensively over the years warning about the unbiblical and unscientifically supported psychologizing of the faith. Some years ago we coined the term “psychoheresy” and titled one of our books with that name. In it we described “psychoheresy” as the integration of secular psychological counseling theories and therapies with the Bible. Psychoheresy is also the intrusion of such theories into the preaching and practice of Christianity, especially when they contradict or compromise biblical Christianity in terms of the nature of man, how he is to live, and how he changes. The subtitle of our book PsychoHeresy is The Psychological Seduction of Christianity, which is a seduction that we documented as having already happened and that continues to deceive many professing Christians. Our book The End of “Christian Psychology” provides further research and reasons why Christians need to throw off the shackles of psychoheresy.

In this present book we focus attention on the use of mental health professionals and psychological tests for evaluating missionary candidates and the use of mental health professionals for providing treatment for missionaries on the field who are suffering from problems of living. The psychology and psychological tests used to evaluate missionary candidates not only contradict and compromise biblical Christianity, but also do not meet the standards of science in theory or in practice. Furthermore, the care of missionaries provided by mental health professionals denigrates the doctrines of Scripture and bypasses the help that God has already given in His Word.

From all the evidence, it is surely an understatement to say that the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3) has been thoroughly psychologized and undermined. The evidence is found in numerous places from seminaries to Bible colleges and from churches to Christian schools. A plethora of mental health professionals and their surrogates are found therapizing and falsely theologizing the saints for a variety of problems from real to imaginary. For decades now, those who identify themselves as “Christian psychologists” have been peddling their secular wares behind closed counseling doors; within the walls of seminaries, schools, Bible colleges and churches; throughout Christian media; and in a multitude of books. Is it any wonder that they have intruded into the very heart of missions? They are the professional experts called upon to evaluate missionary candidates, above and beyond the call of God, through their gnostic psychological knowledge and psychological tests. They are the professional experts called upon to provide mental health treatment to missionaries who experience problems of living.

While we cannot say how much psychology is being spread throughout the world through missions, we do know that it has influenced missionary candidates who have been trained in seminaries and Bible colleges. They have already had a good deal of psychology mixed into their understanding of Scripture and its application in people’s lives through pastoral ministry classes, as well as through direct psychology classes. Unless they are in the small minority, they have accepted this blending of psychology with Scripture and hold “Christian psychologists” in high esteem. Therefore, a psychological evaluation and psychological test will generally be accepted as a necessary hurdle. Moreover, the assurance of psychological help in the future, should problems arise, is no doubt seen in the same way as medical health care coverage, necessary when needed.

This book is primarily about the prolific practice of using mental health professionals and psychological tests to evaluate missionary candidates and to provide psychological care for missionaries. However, this focus of concern is appropriate wherever the psychoexperts vend their wares and services.

In this volume we expose the mental health professionals’ false façade of expertise for screening missionary candidates and caring for missionaries, and we intend to explode the myths that surround the psychological testing used on these hapless men and women. We will first report on the responses of a number of Christian mission agencies2 to a survey having to do with approving missionary candidates and the care of missionaries. These are merely examples of the similar practices of numerous other mission agencies and are only meant to demonstrate this dark side of missionary selection and care. Our focus is missionary selection and care, but many of the same tests and practices are used in the training and selection of pastoral candidates and others interested in Christian service.

To conduct this survey we decided to ask only a few questions, and, to simplify the interview, these questions could be answered with “yes” or “no.” Our goal was to find out about the involvement of mental health professionals and psychological tests in the screening of missionary candidates and the use of mental health professionals in assisting missionaries experiencing problems of living.

After considering a variety of questions, we decided on the following three:

  1. Do you use mental health professionals to screen or evaluate missionary candidates?
  2. Do you use psychological tests to screen or evaluate missionary candidates?
  3. Do you use or favor the use of mental health professionals to assist missionaries if they are experiencing problems of living?

While we are examining only a few ways in which psychoheresy has invaded missions, these are clear and objective facts. They reveal the obvious use of psychology in both evaluating missionary candidates and providing treatment for missionaries experiencing problems of living. In giving psychology such a place in selecting missionary candidates and in providing treatment of missionaries, mission agencies clearly demonstrate their trust in psychologists and psychological devices and their veneration of the psychological wisdom of men, which is the very wisdom of men that God warns us about.

(Excerpted from Chapter One.)

.Mental health professionals include such persons as psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, clinical psychologists, marriage and family counselors, and some social workers. We reluctantly use the words “mental health” and “mental illness,” because they tend to confuse the visible and invisible, the body and the soul, and the tangible and the intangible. These terms therefore lead to illogical conclusions and applications. Please regard the terms as “in quotes” throughout.
2. The following definition of “Christian mission agencies” is used in World Vision’s Mission Handbook 1998-2000, which we follow throughout this book: “Please note that the term ‘agency’ is used throughout the Handbook in the broad sense, referring to denominational boards and other kinds of organizations involved in overseas mission.”

(PAL V8N3 * May-June 2000)