As we have often said, there is at least a little psychological leaven in practically every Bible College, seminary, denomination and church. We chose to examine the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) because it is the largest Protestant denomination in America and is number one on the list of the one hundred largest mission agencies by number of overseas personnel serving over four years. In fact, it has more missionaries than the combined total of missionaries from the last forty agencies on the list.
The SBC is comprised of two groups, generally referred to as “conservatives” and “moderates.” However, there is one platform upon which both the conservatives and the moderates stand yoked together, which is neither conservative nor moderate. It is the “science falsely so-called” (1 Tim 6:20), liberal platform of psychoheresy. Psychoheresyis 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.
We give two examples to demonstrate that psychoheresy abounds in the SBC. The first example is from the SBC mission agency and the other is from two SBC seminaries.
As we reported in Missions and Psychoheresy (M&PH):
The SBC representative reported that missionary candidates must see a psychiatrist as part of the screening process. Two of the tests that all candidates must take, which we will discuss later, are the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. We were told that, if any issues come out in the psychiatric interview and psychological testing, a clinical psychologist is used to counsel the individual.
With respect to mental health care of missionaries who are experiencing problems of living, the SBC has a self-funded health program, which includes the provision for mental health professionals. The representative said that their concern is to have the missionary who experiences problems see a professional, licensed, mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or marriage and family counselor. The SBC representative emphasized that the license, training, degrees and professional background of the mental health professional were all important (pp. 15, 16).
We demonstrate the heresy of this throughout the balance of M&PH.
The second example is a comparison of two seminaries, one known to be conservative and the other moderate. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Southern Seminary) in Louisville, Kentucky is regarded as an excellent representation of the conservative wing of the SBC. Logsdon Seminary at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas would be regarded as an example of the moderate wing of the SBC.
Southern Seminary and Logsdon are merely examples. All six SBC-owned seminaries, as well as other such seminaries, are guilty of psychoheresy to a greater or lesser degree. While a statement of faith is important, the application of that statement of faith is its true test. The application of the statement of faith through classes and programs offered at these seminaries, within which psychoheresy exists and thrives unchallenged from within, creates equality among the entire group of SBC conservative and moderate seminaries.
By reading pages 190 -194 in the Southern Seminary catalog, one will find course offerings that integrate clinical psychology and psychological testing with Scripture. The course description for “Psychological Testing for Pastoral Counselors” states “students will be exposed to the various types of psychological tests and their application to the assessment and treatment of individuals, couples, and families” (p. 192). The “Advanced Marriage and Family Counseling I, II” course description says:
This course is an advanced theoretical two-semester exploration of the prevailing models for doing marriage and family counseling. Attention will be given to a variety of models for the assessment of marital and family dysfunction as well as a review of the dominant theoreticians in the field of marriage and family therapy. Furthermore, the course will explore the historical foundations and evolution of marriage and family therapy as a profession within the mental health field as well as practical, ethical and legal issues related to the practice of marriage and family counseling as a specialization within pastoral care and counseling (p. 192).
The “Advanced Pastoral Counseling I, II” course description begins:
Supervised pastoral counseling of individuals, couples, families, and groups with guided clinical reading, case conferences, and in-depth study of personality theories of pastoral psychotherapy (p. 192).
One of the professors in the area of “Christian Counseling and Marriage and Family Studies” was interviewed about the various classes offered and general orientation of the program. This professor is a licensed clinical psychologist and a member of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) and also a member of the Kentucky Psychological Association (KPA). CAPS is a group of psychologists who believe in integration. KPA is a secular group of psychologists. As a result of this interview and investigation of courses offered such as the ones above, we conclude that Southern Seminary is guilty of psychoheresy.
Logsdon School of Theology (Logsdon) is at Hardin-Simmons University (HSU). Of particular interest is Logsdon’s Family Ministry program (FMIN). The FMIN lists core classes some of which are offered in the Family Psychology (FPSY) program of HSU. The FMIN course description for “Principles of Counseling Ministry” says:
The course will include subject areas such as marriage and family (systems), grief, crisis, group counseling, brief counseling, making referrals, and ethics of counseling.
The FMIN course description for “Clinical Supervision” declares:
Students gain experience in marital and family therapy through direct client contact.
Logsdon has the following “Clinical Experience Requirement”:
Each student is required to complete successfully a semester of clinical work at the Family Psychology Center on the Hardin-Simmons campus.
After one reads the descriptions of the Family Ministry and Family Psychology classes one is led to conclude that Logsdon School of Theology has an integrated program of psychology and the Bible and is therefore guilty of psychoheresy.
Regardless of what may separate SBC conservatives and moderates there is one liberal, false teaching that comes right from the wisdom of men about which Christians have been warned (1 Cor. 2:5), which joins them together and upon which they have apostatized. It is the joining together of the Bible and the worldly, psychological wisdom of men, in a word: PSYCHOHERESY.
How You Can Help
How can you help? Ask any mission agency you are acquainted with about their possible psychological screening of missionary candidates and provision of mental health professionals to help missionaries in need. Obtain a catalog of Bible colleges and seminaries of interest to you and read the course descriptions of psychology, pastoral care, counseling and other similar classes. Missions and Psychoheresy would be a good book to send to mission agencies; The End of Christian Psychology and Competent to Minister would be helpful books to send to Bible colleges and seminaries.
The reason we encourage you to do this is because psychoheresy is rarely, if ever, opposed or confronted from within these mission agencies, Bible colleges, seminaries, denominations and churches. We challenge you to find one administrator or professor at any mission agency, Bible college, seminary, or denomination where psychoheresy exists who publicly opposes its presence in that institution.
PAL V9N1(January-February 2001)