We have written about the personality tests and the four temperaments in articles and in our book Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing. In spite of all the warnings about the use of such personality tests, Christians continue to use them and they are more popular today than they have ever been. For example, we reveal the prolific use of such tests for screening missionary candidates in our book Missions & PsychoHeresy. Many churches are now requiring pastoral candidates and potential staff members to take such tests prior to being considered.
We were recently asked about the DiSC, a very popular personality test that is designed to identify personality types. We have a chapter about the DiSC in our book on the four temperaments in which we critique Ken Voges and Ron Braund’s use of the DiSC in their book Understanding How Others Misunderstand You. Voges and Braund admit that the four temperament types “are synonymous terms to the DiSC.” After a careful examination of the DiSC and Voges and Braund’s use of it to explain behavior of those in the Bible such as Joshua, Moses, David, Paul, and even Jesus, we condemned its usage.
In spite of our exposé of the DiSC and other equally fallacious personality tests, they have grown in popularity. Considering the number of books published, training seminars, and offerings on web sites, we believe that numerous Christians are spending millions of dollars for the DiSC or some other similar test. What a waste!
We say a waste for a variety of both biblical and scientific reasons given in our book on the four temperaments. Added to these reasons is the upcoming evaluation of the DiSC in The Sixteenth Mental Measurements Yearbook (MMY). The Buros Institute of Mental Measurements (BIMM) publishes the MMY. The BIMM is highly regarded in the testing and measurement field as a trustworthy source of information and evaluation of mental/psychological tests. It has worked for more than 65 years to advance the field of these measurements.
We received an advance copy of the evaluation of the DiSC in the upcoming MMY, which reports that the DiSC is an “update of the Personal Profile System (PPS),” which had been evaluated in The Tenth MMY. The reviewers’ evaluation of the PPS ends by saying: “The clear lack of data to support this instrument should preclude its use” (bold added). Not surprisingly, the reviewers’ conclusion about the DiSC, which will appear in The Sixteenth Mental Measurements Yearbook, says: “The use of the DiSC is not recommended” (bold added).
Even though one of the purposes for Christians using the DiSC and other four temperament typologies is to encourage people to walk in the Spirit, such a plan contradicts the clear Word of God. Temperament and personality typologies cause people to “mind the things of the flesh.” We do not become more spiritual through minding the things of the flesh.
As much as psychologists attempt to utilize the wisdom of man to improve the natural man or to enhance the sanctification process, the theories and therapies of the world are both intrinsically and ultimately at odds with the Word of God and the Work of the Holy Spirit. There is no biblical mandate to understand ourselves according to four categories of traits. Great theological confusion arises when anyone attempts to mix godless systems of understanding the nature of man with what the Bible says about mankind and the dynamics of human behavior.
Such systems present competing views of who man is and how he changes, and they corrupt the Scriptures with unproven, unscientific, and even paganistic philosophies of men. Unless our understanding of the human condition originates from Scripture and reflects sound biblical theology, it will tend to divert attention away from God and His Word concerning who man is and how he is saved and sanctified. Such deviation will present another means of salvation and/or sanctification in addition to and in opposition to God’s clear Word on the matter.
Christ has given Christians His righteousness. They need not establish their own. Nor can they attain their own righteousness through any kind of psychological system of self-knowledge or self improvement. God is the One who works in believers through His Word and His Spirit to conform them unto the image of Christ. There is no need to use the wisdom of men.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:12-13).
The Lord, the discerner of hearts, sees what needs to be changed. Believers do not have to hide from their own sin, because Christ Jesus is their High Priest.
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:14-15).
And through all of this He is conforming us unto His own image, “that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).
The Lord knows each person’s individual uniqueness. He knows how many hairs are on the head of each person at any given time. He knows the exact genetic makeup of every person born on this planet. Nevertheless, in His Word He did not set forth a system for understanding people according to temperament types. Nor did He set forth a plan by which people could analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their temperaments or personalities to find success and happiness.
Instead, He gave us His Word and His Son. He gave us new life to enable us to live in love and obedience to Him. His work in a person and that person’s response of love and obedience will bring out the beauty of individual differences to reflect His glory in a unique and living way. The Bible’s focus is not the mystery of individual differences of temperament and personality. The biblical focus is Jesus Christ and the mystery of Christ in you, the hope of glory!
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, September-October, Vol. 13, No. 5)