Dr. David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church (SMCC) in El Cajon, California, a suburb of San Diego.1 We have heard loud praises of Jeremiah’s preaching, teaching, and authoring. However, when we went to the SMCC website we found an abundance of information demonstrating that Jeremiah and his church are guilty of psychoheresy. They are guilty of psychoheresy as we shall show, because they do not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture for the issues of life now counseled by psychotherapists and preach a mixed message by promoting the very psychological wisdom of man about which God has warned His people (1 Cor. 1).
On the SMCC website in the “Leadership Packet” there is a “Referral List,” in which SMCC recommends counselors. When do individuals seek counseling? Obviously when they are experiencing the trials tribulations, and sufferings of life. Problems, trials, tribulations, and suffering serve as fertile soil for knowing God experientially and growing spiritually. The Bible is clear about the value of suffering when a person turns to the Lord through it. The entire book of Job is about suffering, knowing God aright, and spiritual growth. The apostles knew God through suffering. So what is recommended by SMCC? Licensed psychological counselors! At the difficult points of life when great help is needed, the Word of God in the fellowship of the saints can be ministered by like-minded believers empowered by the Holy Spirit to those in need. However, SMCC‘s “Leadership Packet” provides a list of state psychologically licensed individuals trained in secular theories and therapies to come to the rescue!
We called SMCC and were referred to three psychologically licensed offices from the list titled “Local Christian Counselors.”2 However, according to the California Board of Psychology, if one is licensed in California, the license holder is required to practice psychologically and not otherwise, e.g., biblically. We assume other states have similar expectations. That means the state licensed individual, whether a clinical psychologist or marriage and family therapist, must counsel psychologically — period!
SMCC does provide counseling through lay counselors, but under the leadership of a woman who has a master’s degree in counseling psychology and a master’s in biblical studies, which is the ideal combination at SMCC. The description of the counseling provided is “no-fee, short term.” However if more counseling is needed, professional, licensed mental health counselors become the answer.
The default setting for life’s issues at SMCC is psychological, whether a recommended book or referral to a local psychotherapist. Under “Family Ministries” there is a section titled “Pressure Points,” described as: “A topical series taught by local Christian Psychologists & Therapists with expertise in each field…. Topics covered have included Depression, Anger, Family & Blended Family, Grief & Trauma, Fear, Anxiety & Worry.” So for the pressure points of life the answers are, by SMCC standards, to be found by following the advice of “local Christian Psychologists & Therapists,” rather than the Bible.
SMCC has handed “out scores of copies of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life and prolifically promoted Warren’s Celebrate Recovery (CR). The CR program is an integral and significant part of SMCC. We have warned against the use of CR and its corrupted combination of the Beatitudes combined with a “Christianized” version of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 12 Steps.
Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, both psychologists, are highly promoted in various ministries of SMCC. For example, “The Foundations for Women series includes three separate counseling groups based on books by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Changes that Heal, Boundaries, and Safe People are studied over the course of one year.” These books are psychologically oriented and have greatly influenced Christians to think more psychologically and less biblically.
SMCC’s “Bibliography for Church Leaders” reveals their integrationist commitment, i.e., not the Bible alone where God has already spoken in His Word, but rather the Bible plus the psychological wisdom of men, where it is not needed and which did not exist prior to 60 years ago. The book list contains like-minded integrationists plus psychologists. It lists books from Steve Arterburn to H. Norman Wright, who are integrationists, to Cloud and Townsend, who are psychologists.
SMCC ministries are also psychometrically afflicted as they are “addicted” to personality tests, such as “Life Innovations Prepare inventory and the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis.” This adds one more layer of confidence in a psychological view of mankind to be integrated with a biblical view of mankind.
David Jeremiah is the Chancellor of Southern California Seminary (SCS), which offers a Doctor of Psychology (Psy. D.) and a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (MACP). The website reveals: “The SCS Doctor of Psychology program is approved by the California Board of Psychology and meets the degree requirements toward licensure,” and “The MACP (Licensure Track) is focused on preparing students to be licensed in California as a Marriage and Family Therapist or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.”3 These programs contradict SCS’s mission “to bring Glory to God.” One cannot bring glory to God while at the same time promoting the very wisdom of man about which God has warned His people (1 Cor. 2:5). Sadly, this psychological leaven has come to full loaf at SMCC and at SCS and casts a dark psychological shadow over SMCC, SCS, and Jeremiah, who heads them both.
SMCC is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). In past writings we have demonstrated that three of the past presidents of the SBC, Dr. Frank Page, Dr. Johnny M. Hunt, and Bryant Wright, were all guilty of psychoheresy. We confirmed this by viewing their websites and calling their churches. The current SBC president, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, is also guilty of psychoheresy. Thus Jeremiah is not alone in being guilty of psychoheresy.
Regardless of how biblical Jeremiah is in other respects, he nonetheless is guilty of psychoheresy, which trumps his biblical preaching, teaching, and authoring. Thus Jeremiah’s fatal biblical flaw is that he does not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture for the issues of life.
Endnotes from page 3
2 Phone call to SMCC 2/5/15.
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, March-April 2015, Vol. 23, No. 2)