Cindy Bergenback • 2016/04/04

In Helping Others Find Freedom in Christ, we spend the first five chapters explaining our view of how to biblically help other people find spiritual victory. Please read this material very carefully before forming an opinion about what we teach regarding counseling and Christian Counseling.

In answer to the question, let us say briefly that the theory of integration looks at the relationship between psychological research (Christian and secular) and biblical information about people, problems, and solutions. We do not believe that you can take equal input from psychological theory and research and from biblical data and arrive at “biblical counseling.” The Bible is the authoritative source and must be foundational to our view of people, problems and solutions. We must carefully develop a biblical worldview from which to evaluate all data and every approach to helping others.

At the same time, we do not believe that all research is inherently evil and anti-biblical. After all, every pastor relies on historical and geographical data gathered by people who do not believe in the miracles of the Bible. We use their data about possible routes of the Exodus and the geography of Sinai, but—unlike them—we nevertheless believe in the reality of the parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of the Egyptians and the Almighty God who was and is active in human history.

Unlike history and geography, psychology and sociology are not precise sciences. What researchers in these fields have observed is helpful in describing what is, but it is not helpful in determining what should be. For example, the Bible clearly teaches that sin is perpetuated through the world (environmental factors), the flesh (internal factors), and the devil (spiritual factors) (see Ephesians 2:1-3). We have found that defense mechanisms identified in psychological research (denial, fantasy, emotional insulation, displacement, etc.) are useful descriptions of how Satan has deceived us, programming our flesh to respond in sinful, self-protective ways to environmental factors (the world). The solution to these defense mechanisms, however is not found in psychology. These false ways of coping with life must be repented of and replaced with trust in God and His truth. Only then can we let go of the defense mechanisms because then, having found freedom in Christ, we won’t need them.

A brief postscript: Psalm 19 describes the relative value of both natural and special revelation. Only special revelation—God’s written Word—can guide us to victory over sin and our relationship with God, but natural revelation (in general, what we see in nature; in this discussion, psychology) can give us insight into God and the world He has created. The critical factor is developing a thoroughly biblical worldview as a frame of reference.

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