Before saying, “Tim Keller is guilty of psychoheresy,” we will first review the fact that we have given similar revelations about other popular pastors throughout America and indicated in each case why they are guilty of psychoheresy. Some years back we visited the websites and called the seven largest churches in America beginning with Lakewood Church (Joel Osteen). We demonstrated that those pastors and their churches were guilty of psychoheresy. In recent years we did the same with the presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), which is the largest Protestant denomination in the United states, if not in the world. Three of the past presidents of the SBC, Dr. Frank Page, Dr. Johnny M. Hunt, and Bryant Wright, were all guilty of psychoheresy. Again, we confirmed this by viewing their websites and calling their churches. The current president of the SBC is Dr. Ronnie Floyd, who is pastor of Cross Church, which “has five campuses throughout Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri.”1 By visiting the Cross Church website and calling the church office, we learned that Floyd is also guilty of psychoheresy. In addition, we list many other pastors and churches that are guilty of psychoheresy in our book PsychoHeresy (Revised & Expanded).2
We begin saying once more, as we have said for years: Psychoheresy involves trusting, believing, practicing, and pursuing the psychological wisdom of man for the issues of life where God has already spoken in His Word. We have also repeatedly said: “Psychoheresy” is a shift in faith from confidence in the Word of God for the issues of life to confidence in the unproven, unscientific psychological opinions of men about what God has already addressed in His Word. And we again repeat: The most important aspect of psychoheresy is this denial of the sufficiency of Scripture for caring for souls and living the Christian life.
We have demonstrated and concluded in past writings: Psychotherapy with its underlying psychologies is one of the biggest and most demonic deceptions in the church today! Our research leads us to conclude that psychoheresy has infected practically every facet of the church. Almost every pastor, church, Bible college, seminary, Christian university, mission agency, and denomination are influenced by or infected with psychoheresy. In our writings over the years, we have given numerous examples of this throughout the entire church from liberals to the most conservative.
According to Wikipedia, “Timothy J. Keller (born 1950) is an American Christian apologist, author, speaker, and the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, New York…. Keller is considered to be a leading figure of the evangelical intelligentsia movement.”3 Before revealing why Keller is guilty of psychoheresy, we digress to say, as with many other pastors who are guilty of psychoheresy, we have never read any of the many popular books he has authored or listened to any of his numerous messages. As with the many other pastors and their churches, we went to the Redeemer Presbyterian Church (RPC) website and followed up with a phone call to confirm what we saw on the website.
Listed at the RPC website are the three RPC locations with information about each one and the counseling provided. In describing their page titled “Our Approach” for counseling at RPC, they include the following: “We believe healing and growth can take place when the power of the Holy Spirit and the truth of the gospel operate together in our hearts. We believe our role as counselors is to direct people to the sure hope and power of Christ to restore and heal,” and, “We believe there cannot be lasting transformation apart from Jesus Christ. Change is experienced in a covenant relationship with him.”4 We read the entire description of their counseling approach and said, “Amen,” to most of it.
However, we went to the profiles of those who counsel, found over 30 counselors, and read their backgrounds. There is no question that their backgrounds, licenses, and experience, and therefore practice will be psychological or psychologically tainted, or why employ counselors with such backgrounds? In the counselors’ backgrounds we read psychological and sociological academic degrees, psychological and sociological state mental health licenses, and one individual who is a “certified administrator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the seminar director and trainer for the Prepare/Enrich Assessment,”5 about which we will comment later.
Every time we refer to RPC please remember that Tim Keller is responsible for all the activities of the church, including counseling. One of the counselors at RPC uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques with concepts from Buddhist meditative practice! Some years back, psychologist Daniel Goleman quoted Chogyam Trungpa as saying, “Buddhism will come to the West as psychology.” At the time Goleman pointed out how Oriental religions “seem to be making gradual headway as psychologies, not as religions.”6
MBTI & Prepare/Enrich
The two personality inventories used by the counselors at Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church are the Myers-Briggs type Indicator (MBTI) and the Prepare/Enrich Indicator, for which there is a fee. RPC says, “The Myers-Briggs type Indicator (MBTI) instrument is a personality assessment questionnaire designed to make Jung’s ideas about psychological type useful in everyday life.”7 We have written about personality inventories in the past and referred to Annie Murphy Paul’s book The Cult of Personality Testing. Her subtitle is How Personality Tests Are Leading Us to Miseducate Our Children, Mismanage Our Companies, and Misunderstand Ourselves. The jacket cover of Annie Paul’s book summarizes well what she reveals in her book.
And she exposes the flawed theories and faulty methods that render their results unreliable and invalid. Personality tests, she contends, produce descriptions of people that are nothing like human beings as they actually are: complicated, contradictory, changeable across time and place.8
We have covered some of the same ground in our books and articles.9 If we were writing a book titled The Cult of Personality Testing, our subtitle would be How Personality Tests Are Leading Christians to Miseducate their Children, Mismanage Christian Organizations, and Misunderstand Themselves.
In spite of our warnings and those of others, Christians have rushed pell-mell into personality testing. We agree with the statement on Annie Paul’s book cover that personality testing is a cult “that celebrates the superficial over the substantive, the static over the dynamic, the standard and average over the distinctive and unique.” As we have suggested, the Apostle Paul was no doubt a substantive, dynamic, distinctive, and unique individual who, by the worldly and fleshly standards of the personality-testing cult, would have been rejected for missionary service.
We have enumerated both academic and biblical reasons why Christians should not use personality tests and particularly condemned the use of the MBTI. RPC mentions the MBTI and its relationship to Jung (Carl Gustav Jung). These counselors at RPC know that Jung was an occult psychiatrist and during his career he was involved in magic, alchemy, spirit guides, and other forms of occultism. In our book Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing, we concluded the following:
At minimum, Jung’s theory, upon which the MBTI is based, is merely vain philosophies of men against which we are warned in Scripture. At worst, it originated from Satan through a spirit guide. We would think that no Christian would want Jung’s psychological theory or any test that derives from it.10
Why would RPC believe that an occultist, which is what Jung was, would, influenced by his occultism and spirit guides, have anything to offer Christians about the human soul?
The RPC website also describes the Prepare/Enrich Assessment as “an online survey that you take with your significant other to help you identify the unique strengths and potential growth areas of your relationship.” The Buros Institute of Mental Measurements Yearbook, which is the most reliable source of information regarding whether a particular psychological test does what it purports to do, has only two reviews of Prepare/Enrich. Neither summary provides a whole-hearted endorsement of Prepare/Enrich.
Please excuse the following jargon, but it is necessary to reveal the fallibility of personality testing. Validity is the soul of a test. Anne Anastasi, in the Sixth Edition of her textbook Psychological Testing, says, “The validity of a test concerns what the test measures and how well it does so”11 (emphasis hers). She says, “Undoubtedly the most important question to be asked about any psychological test concerns its validity.”12
Drs. L. J. Cronbach and P. E. Meehl say: “Unless substantially the same nomological net is accepted by the several users of the construct public validation is impossible. A consumer of the test who rejects the author’s theory cannot accept the author’s validation.”13 In other words, the validity (integrity) of the test and the validity (integrity) of the theory are inextricably bound together. Since you cannot easily quantify personality traits or temperament types, it is necessary to infer validity. Consider the vast difference between the accuracy of God’s Word, the Bible, with respect to the human mind, in contrast to the often contradictory, almost 500 psychological theoretical systems about the human mind, which are merely guesses and opinions and contain only the biblically questionable wisdom of man about which God warns us (1 Cor. 1, 2).
It is well known that validity and the predictive power of personality inventories are among the lowest of the psychological tests, but in contrast:
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward (Psalm 19:7-11).
In reporting on their counseling “Fees” RPC says:
We have a set fee of $160 for each 50-minute session of individual, couples or family counseling…. Payment is due at each session…. We are not able to accept any type of health insurance…. If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, you must notify your counselor 48 hours before your scheduled appointment time. You will be charged in full for your scheduled session if you fail to contact your counselor in advance.14
It is likely that, because RPC is an “out-of-network” entity, fees will likely be paid by the client. We say “client” to alert the reader that this is a client in a professional (paid) relationship, not a believer to believer relationship. If a client comes to an RPC counselor weekly for a month, the cost is $640; if for 10 months it will be $6,400! Charging money for soul care in a church is unconscionable at least, but unbiblical at worst! Even some unbelievers along the way, as a matter of conscience, are opposed to charging. It is said that Ernest R. Groves, an early secular marriage counselor and advocate of marriage education, when he was asked if he charged for counseling, had decided not to because “it seemed like taking pay for throwing a drowning man a rope”15 (bold added). Please forgive this alliteration, but these hideous hirelings with their hapless hoaxes have hypnotized the church with their hocus-pocus hogwash—all with the blessings of Pastor Tim Keller.
In spite of the description of their services in “Our approach,” the inclusion of any of the secular psychological counseling theories or therapies combined with Scripture will result in faith in the wisdom of men rather than in the power of God (1 Cor. 2:5). The apostle Paul declares that Christ sent him to “preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (1 Cor. 1:17). Consider the truth of Colossians 2:8 as it applies in our era: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy [psychological theories] and vain deceit [psychological promises], after the tradition of men [psychological counseling], after the rudiments of the world [psychological testing], and not after Christ.”
If Tim Keller truly believed most of what is said in the RPC “Our Approach,” quoted earlier, the “tables” of the current slate of “money-changer” counselors would be overturned. The fees, personality testing, and all the psychology-related promotions and practices would be gone. However, Tim Keller clearly demonstrates by his actions that he trusts in, believes in, and has endorsed the practicing and pursuing of the psychological wisdom of man for the issues of life where God has already spoken in His Word and is therefore guilty of psychoheresy!
2 Martin & Deidre Bobgan. PsychoHeresy (Revised & Expanded). Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 2012, p. 360.
6 Daniel Goleman, “An Eastern Toe in the Stream of Consciousness,” Psychology Today, January 1981, p. 84.
8 Annie Murphy Paul. The Cult of Personality Testing. New York: Free Press, 2004.
9 Martin & Deidre Bobgan. Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing. Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1992; Martin & Deidre Bobgan. Missions & PsychoHeresy. Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 2000; www.pamweb.org.
10 Bobgan, Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing, op. cit., p. 154.
11 Anne Anastasi. Psychological Testing, Sixth Edition. New York: Macmillan Publishers, 1988, p. 139.
12 Ibid., p. 28.
13 L. J. Cronbach and P. E. Meehl quoted by Jerry S. Wiggins, “Review of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator,” Tenth Mental Measurements Yearbook. Jane Close Conoley and Jack J. Kramer, eds. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989, pp. 537-538.
15 Eva S. Moskowitz. In Therapy We Trust: America’s Obsession with Self-Fulfillment. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001, p. 83.
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, November-December 2014, Vol. 22, No. 6)