Can you imagine analyzing, diagnosing, and categorizing the saints recorded in Scripture according to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel (DSM) and according to such temperament typologies as the DiSC Personal Profile System (updated version of the four temperaments)? Well, people have had the audacity to do just that! In doing so, they have distorted the amazing and complex personalities of God’s chosen saints and ignored the unique way in which God used these holy men for His purposes.

In an earlier issue of a past PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter (PAL), we revealed how four psychiatrists unprofessionally labeled the biblical Samson as having an “antisocial personality disorder.” Later in another article we revealed that one of the psychiatrists had labeled the biblical Ezekiel as showing “extreme classical symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy.” However, labelling Samson and Ezekiel as they did is in violation of the “Goldwater rule,” which Wikipedia describes:

The Goldwater rule is Section 7 in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Principles of Medical Ethics, which states that psychiatrists have a responsibility to participate in activities contributing to the improvement of the community and the betterment of public health, but they should not give a professional opinion about public figures whom they have not examined in person, and from whom they have not obtained consent to discuss their mental health in public statements. – cite_note-2 It is named after former US Senator and 1964 presidential nomineeBarry Goldwater.

The issue arose in 1964 when Fact magazine published “The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater.” This title played on the title of Goldwater’s bestseller The Conscience of a Conservative. The magazine polled psychiatrists about US Senator Barry Goldwater and whether he was fit to be president. Goldwater sued magazine editor Ralph Ginzburg and managing editor Warren Boroson, and in Goldwater v. Ginzburg (July 1969) received damages totaling $75,000 ($554,000 today).[1]

Even the American Psychological Association follows the Goldwater rule. What these psychiatrists did is clearly unethical and irresponsible by violating the Goldwater rule through falsely denigrating two godly men of the Bible “whom they have not examined in person, and from whom they have not obtained consent to discuss their mental health in public statements.”

Psychiatric labels can be wrong and dangerous to begin with, especially when misapplied, but at the least they should only be used under the Goldwater rule restrictions and not at the whim and wickedness of these and other psychiatrists who have placed a DSM label on Bible persons, whom they have not seen and apparently for whom they have no respect.

Surveys have shown that psychiatrists are the least religious physicians. These psychiatrists have not only violated their own code of ethics; they have audaciously violated the holiness of God and His Word. The following two sections of this current article are adapted from two of our previously published articles.

The DSM Versus the Bible[2]

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the official “bible” for identifying and categorizing mental disorders. The DSM provides lists of descriptions of thinking, feeling, or behaving that fit the various diagnostic categories. Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals then use these DSM categories to diagnose mental disorders.

In direct violation of the Goldwater rule, four medical doctors from the University of California, San Diego, used the DSM in their attempt to diagnose a person from the past, whom they had never met. In their article in the Archives of General Psychiatry, Eric Lewin Altschuler et al. consider whether Samson from the Bible (Judges 13-16) had “Antisocial Personality Disorder” (ASPD).[3] They say, “The DSM-IV requires that 3 of the criteria be met for the diagnosis of ASPD. Samson meets 6.” They list the 6 with the verses from Judges as proof:

“(1) Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior” (ref. Judges 15:6; 16:1).

“(2) Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying” (ref. Judges14:9).

“(3) Impulsivity” (ref. Judges 15:5).

“(4) Irritability and aggressiveness” (ref. his various physical fights).

“(5) Reckless disregard for safety of self or others” (ref. Judges 15:15; 16:17).

“(6) Lack of remorse” (ref. Judges 15:16).

These medical doctors contend that the ASPD started when Samson was quite young. However, they assure their readers that “Samson shows no evidence of schizophrenia” and that “Some of his behaviors . . . seem to have been done during a nonmanic state.”

Consider this diagnosis of Samson in the context of diagnostic shifts. Homosexuality used to be listed as a mental disorder but was later changed to be a disorder only if the person felt uncomfortable about his condition. In considering the logic of this determining whether or not homosexuality is a mental disorder, Psychiatrist-lawyer Jonas Robitscher says, “The subject’s evaluation of his own condition thus became the criterion for inclusion in the disease or nondisease category” (Powers of Psychiatry, p. 175).

This is only one of many paradoxes in psychiatry. On the one hand, the psychiatric profession wants to be regarded as scientific in the classification of human behavior. On the other hand, they reveal the unscientific nature of their means of classification and diagnosis of disease by their labeling contradictions. They saddle Samson with a diagnostic label without so much as a diagnostic interview (as subjective as that is), even while permitting homosexuals to choose whether or not to be DSM labeled, according to how the homosexual feels about his condition, which would determine whether they have a mental disorder according to the DSM.

Dr. Margaret Hagen, in her book Whores of the Court: The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of American Justice, describes the ubiquitous use of the DSM and how necessary it is to be able to bill and receive payments from third-party providers (p. 77).

The newest (1994) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders provides the civil litigant with literally hundreds of possible disorders, each neatly laid out with the necessary symptoms. It is hard to imagine that anyone could live in today’s society and not be diagnosed with at least one of these many disorders. After all, they include such exotic stuff as smoking cigarettes, having lousy sex, feeling rotten about your life or trapped in your job or marriage, and hating your body because you think you are too fat or too ugly. Anybody out there with low self-esteem?

If you are not Pollyanna-happy—and complain loudly about the fact that you are not—the odds are great that a psychoexpert can and will diagnose a mental problem for you.

Once society has accepted that the hundreds of ways people can be unhappy can all be labeled as specific mental disorders, then the diagnosis of those states of unhappiness, those disorders, becomes the special province of mental disorder experts (p. 250).

The most central scientific claim about the DSM is that it is a highly reliable system. This would mean that if the DSM guidelines were followed different psychiatrists would give the same label to a given person. In their book Making Us Crazy, DSM: The Psychiatric Bible and the Creation of Mental Disorders, Herb Kutchins and Stuart Kirk say the following about the claim of reliability for the DSM:

No study of DSM as a whole in a regular clinical setting has shown uniformly high reliability. And most studies, including the DSM field trials themselves, provide little evidence that reliability has markedly improved, much less been “solved” as a problem (p. 52).

Twenty years after the reliability problem became the central scientific focus of DSM, there is still not a single major study showing that DSM (any version) is routinely used with high reliability by regular mental health clinicians (bold added, p. 53).

The illusion that psychiatrists are in agreement when making diagnoses creates the appearance of a united professional consensus. In fact, there is considerable professional confusion. Serious confusion about distinguishing mental disorders from nondisordered conditions and the inability of clinicians to use the manual reliably make the development and use of DSM vulnerable to a host of nonscientific pressures. If well-trained and well-intentioned therapists often fail to agree on specific diagnoses, how can the incompetent or purposely deceptive diagnostician be identified? (p. 53).

Think about the fact that, compounding the absence of an agreed-upon definition for mental health, the most sophisticated system of classification of mental disorders (DSM) results in “well-trained and well-intentioned therapists” failing “to agree on specific diagnoses.”

Altschuler and his colleagues labeled Samson ASPD according to an unreliable DSM system. In contrast, the Bible lists Samson as a man of faith (Hebrews 11:32). True believers will take the Word of God over the DSM worldly wisdom, about which we are warned in Scripture.

Now we will guess at a diagnosis for Altschuler et al., based upon a perfect, valid, and reliable “system” of diagnosis called the Bible. The Bible describes the fool: “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Any fool, believing there is no God and that the Bible is not the very Word of God, can make any foolish and faulty diagnosis according to any worldly system.

Was the Wheel in Ezekiel Real[4]

One of the four medical doctors responsible for saddling Samson with the ASPD label has now pilloried the prophet Ezekiel with a nonsensical neurological nosology (systematic classification of disease). According to an article in The New Scientist, Eric Altschuler “says that records in the Bible reveal that Ezekiel, who lived about 2600 years ago, showed extreme classic symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy.”[5] The article reveals Altschuler’s findings as follows:

Neurologically Ezekiel displayed some obvious signs of epilepsy, such as frequent fainting spells and episodes of not being able to speak.

The Biblical figure, who chronicled the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC, exhibited other peculiarities associated with the disease. For instance, he wrote compulsively, a trait known as hypergraphia.

The article further says:

Altschuler points out that the Book of Ezekiel is the fourth longest in the Bible—only slightly shorter than Genesis. ‘It’s impenetrable,’ he says. ‘He goes on and on.’”

Ezekiel was also extremely religious, another characteristic associated with this form of epilepsy. While many Biblical figures are pious, none was as aggressively religious as Ezekiel, says Altschuler. Other signs of epilepsy can include aggression, delusions and pedantic speech—and the man had them all.[6]

Altschuler et al. have already shown disrespect for Samson (a Judge of Israel and listed among the examples of faith in Hebrews 11) by considering him a psychiatric case and slamming him with the DSM label ASPD. Now Altschuler adds insult to injury against the Bible by explaining away the prophet Ezekiel’s divine calling by describing his work as “extreme classic symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy.”

Altschuler claims to have seen something significant in Ezekiel, but his lack of faith in the Bible and in its divine inspiration blinds him to the truth, and so he must turn to nonsensical neurological and nosological myths to understand the complexity of Ezekiel. Altschuler provides one more example of the contrast between the wisdom of men and the Word of God and one more example of the foolishness of the worldly-wise.

Disastrous DiSC “Discoveries”[7]

The DiSC is a highly popular secular personality assessment tool, even though it does not have substantial proof of its validity.[8] Christians were already imbibing in the four temperaments, and the DiSC looked even more attractive. Ken Voges and Ron Braund, authors of Understanding How Others Misunderstand You, joined ranks with the popularizers of personality types. Rather than using ancient categories from the Greeks, they use the DiSC model developed by William Marston. [9]

The DiSC categorizes people into four types, just like the four temperaments. The comparison between the two can be seen in the following:

Four Temperaments                                     DiSC

Choleric                                                          Dominance

Sanguine                                                         Influencing

Phlegmatic                                                      Steadiness

Melancholy                                                     Compliance[10]


Besides being a revised and updated version of the four temperaments, the DiSC model is accompanied by the Personal Profile System,[11] an instrument for classifying people according to the following behavior styles: “Dominance,” “Influencing,” “Steadiness,” “Compliance.”[12] Voges liked the Personal Profile System and saw great potential for its use among Christians. In fact, he enjoyed categorizing people with the DiSC model so much that he used it to analyze and classify men and women from the Bible. He says:

Since others [e.g., LaHaye] had done some initial association of temperaments with biblical characters, I cross-referenced that material to the DiSC materials and carried out my own study of the Scriptures.[13]

Thus he admits to using an extrabiblical paradigm by which to study and interpret Scripture. When one remembers the four temperaments’ roots, modifications and revisions, one has to conclude that this extrabiblical paradigm is pagan—wedded to all of man’s ways to live without God. Yet, this is now a Bible study tool, eagerly embraced by Christians who should know better.

After his extensive “Bible study” with the DiSC paradigm, Voges devised the Biblical Personal Profile, an inventive marketing device to inspire the faith of Christians. He then joined with the DiSC people to promote his Biblical Personal Profile together with the secular Personal Profile System. The end result is a scientific-sounding, unbiblical four temperaments model for understanding people plus a biblical facade painted with Bible characters molded to fit the DiSC categories.

In an attempt to make paganistic and worldly systems of temperament theories and personality profiles appear biblical, the promoters attempt to analyze and classify various biblical characters.

Voges and Braund boldly assert that Joshua was a High D (Dominant), since that would have to be the personality type of someone who could lead the Israelite army. Then they say: “In order to keep Joshua from becoming overconfident in his ability to lead, God gave him an important personal assignment: to meditate on ‘the Book of the Law’ ‘day and night’ so that he would be able to follow God’s leading (Joshua 1:8).”[14] But, did God direct Joshua to meditate on the Law of God to overcome a particular personality weakness? Or does the Law of God have to do with sin and righteousness? Joshua was to meditate on the Law of God so that he would know it thoroughly in order to lead the Israelites. There is no indication in Scripture that God told Joshua that he had a personality weakness of being overconfident. All of Joshua’s confidence recorded in Scripture had to do with his faith in God. After all, he had accompanied Moses to Mount Sinai and had seen God’s power. Joshua’s confidence was in the Lord, not in himself. Voges and Braund’s reasoning is absurd. It undermines Scripture.

Voges and Braund also identify Sarah as a High D (Dominant) personality. They say that Sarah “argued for a new approach to achieving their goal”[15] to have a child. The biblical record doesn’t even hint at an argument from a dominant personality. The attitude seems to be one of supplication:

And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai (Genesis 16:2).

Sarah is the biblical example of submission, not dominance:

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement (1 Peter 3:1-6). (Emphasis added.)

God is concerned about a person’s faith, character, integrity, and obedience to His Word, rather than personality type. He is in the business of conforming believers into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). He has neither established personality categories in Scripture nor identified people according to any temperament typology. Nevertheless, Voges and Braund subject numerous men and women of God to such an analysis and classification and make Abraham into a High S (Steadiness) personality. In so doing, they attempt to explain why he did what he did in terms of the general traits assigned to that personality type. They say:

Abraham is a marvelous example from Scripture of a Steadiness personality style. His life illustrates practical choices, teamwork, and always striving to be a peacemaker. . . . To resolve the conflict, Abraham was willing to allow Lot to choose where he wished to settle and then go in the opposite direction.[16]

Thus, Abraham’s actions are explained in terms of his inborn traits and personality type rather than in terms of his relationship to God.

But what about when Abraham led his men in pursuit of the kings who had defeated the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and had kidnaped Lot? If one were to take that example, one might accuse Abraham of being High D (Dominant) instead of High S (Steadiness). According to Voges and Braund, a High S person avoids conflict. They say

Their need for security, peace, and support influences most High S people to place a tremendous importance on stability within their family. Should conflict exist among family members, they tend to become distressed and prone to worry and anxiety. This often leads to avoiding the conflict and letting others take the lead in creating solutions.[17]

Abraham certainly did not avoid the conflict or look to someone else to take the lead! Nevertheless, once someone has assigned a person to a category everything is interpreted in terms of that category. For instance, his trait of faithfulness and loyalty to his family took precedence over his so-called needs for security and peace. According to the temperament theories and personality profiles, all behavior can be understood, interpreted, and explained on the basis of temperament/personality. Anything a person does can be reduced to a person’s basic temperament/personality type, because they see everything through that system.

Voges and Braund offer a secular system with a biblical facade, a simple device packaged in a scientific-looking format, and four updated labels by which to identify “behavioral styles.” They use the exact same test and categories as in the secular instrument. Simply by interpreting biblical characters according to the Classical Profile Patterns, which is part of the Personal Profile System, they make their version “biblical” rather than secular.[18] However, 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 a personality theory originates from studying 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 an alternate means of salvation and/or sanctification in addition to and in opposition to God’s clear Word on the matter

Psychological Cisterns

Countless Christians are adding psychological systems to understand themselves and others, but they are looking in to the worldly wisdom of sinful mankind rather than the efficacy of the Bible in terms of sanctification. In placing faith in the idolatry of psychological systems of types and tests, they are saying that Jesus’ death and resurrection are inadequate, that God’s grace is insufficient, that God’s Word is incomplete, that the Holy Spirit needs “another helper,” and that the Gospel is limited to saving us from the final judgment. Today, mere psychological opinions of men are being added to the Cross of Christ and the Gospel of grace. The situation is much like in the Old Testament when the Israelites were incorporating the surrounding nations’ idolatry. The Lord grieved over the people who turned away from His absolute sufficiency:

Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water (Jeremiah 2:11-13)

The Lord knows each person’s individual uniqueness. He knows how many hairs are on the head of each person at any given time. And 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 ourselves and others through man-made psychological means. He set forth a plan by which people could analyze one another. 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 on the mystery of individual differences. The biblical focus is on Jesus Christ and the mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).


[1] “Goldwater Rule,” Wikipedia, 04-25-2022.

[2] Martin and Deidre Bobgan, “The DSM Versus the Bible,” PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, May-June 2002, Vol. 10, No. 3.

[3] Eric Lewin Altschuler et al, “Did Samson Nave Antisocial Personality Disorder?” Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 58, Feb. 2001, p. 202.

[4] Martin and Deidre Bobgan, “Was the Wheel in Ezekiel Real? PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, July-August 2002, Vol. 10, No. 4.

[5] Alison Motluk, “Seized by God: Ezekiel’s Visions May owe as Much to Disease as to Divine Inspiration,”” The New Scientist, Vol. 172, No. 2317, p. 20.


[7] Adapted and excerpted from Martin and Deidre Bobgan. “Personality DiSCcovery?” Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing. Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1992, pp. 77-82.

[8] “DISC Assessment, Wikipedia,, 04-26-2022.

[9] Ken Voges and Ron Braund. Understanding How Others Misunderstand You: A Unique and Proven Plan for Strengthening Personal Relationships. Chicago: Moody Press, 1990, pp. 41-42.

[10]Ibid., p. 42.

[11] The Personal Profile System is copyrighted by Performaz Systems International, Inc. Minneapolis, 1985. Also note that in most of their material the “I” is lower case in DiSC.

[12] Voges and Braund, op. cit., pp. 39-40.

[13]Ibid., p. 42.

[14]Ibid., p. 81.

[15]Ibid., p. 83.

[16]Ibid., p. 168.

[17]Ibid., p. 169.

[18]Ibid., pp. 41-42.