Dr. James Dobson is possibly the best-known psychologist in the world. He is highly praised by men in spite of his unbiblical theology regarding self-esteem and psychology.
Hank Hanegraaff, President of Christian Research Institute (CRI), has blatantly joined the Dobson praisers. During a recent broadcast interview of Dobson, Hanegraaff, the “Bible Answer Man,” was exceedingly complimentary of Dobson and Focus on the Family. The degree of Hanegraaff’s puffery of Dobson was perversely excessive. During the interview they discussed abortion, euthanasia, evolution, and the sexual revolution. However, they did not discuss Dobson’s views on psychology and self-esteem, our two major concerns about Dobson, as discussed in our book Dobson’s Gospel of Self-Esteem & Psychology.
As we mentioned in a previous newsletter, Hanegraaff demonstrated his support of psychotherapy by publishing the four-part series of articles by Bob and Gretchen Passantino, “Psychology & the Church,” in the CRI Journal, even though psychotherapy and its underlying psychologies constitute what we identified as “counterfeit means of survival for Christians, because God has given His children all they need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)” (PAL, Vol. 6, No. 5).
Even though Hanegraaff’s interview of Dobson did not cover self-esteem and psychology, the glowing remarks during the interview cannot be separated from Dobson’s strong teachings in this area, since Dobson is arguable the greatest promoter of self-esteem and psychology in the evangelical church. The interview further demonstrates Hanegraaff’s continuing support of the Passantinos’ CRI Journal articles on psychology. While Hanegraaff opposes Counterfeit Revival (the title of his book), he continues to support counterfeit survival.
One reason for Hanegraaff’s interviewing Dobson was to advertise Dobson’s book Home with a Heart, which is being offered by CRI. Hanegraaff indicates he read the book and recommends it. Within the pages of this book, Dobson weaves his ideas about self-esteem and psychology. Hanegraaff obviously supports those ideas since he praises and promotes the book. His wholesale endorsement of Dobson and his book further confirms his commitment to counterfeit survival.
We conclude from Hanegraaff’s ongoing agreement with the Passantinos’ series on psychology and his unqualified support for Dobson and Focus on the Family that Hanegraaff has once more broadcast his endorsement of what is obviously the counterfeit survival of psychotherapy as promoted by Dobson. As we have said before, “The support of psychotherapy and its underlying psychologies under whatever conditions is an opprobrium in the church, but few of God’s people realize it.”
(PAL V8N1 * Jan-Feb 2000)