Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Psychology and Theology (4)

Writing about Christian psychologists, I have not mentioned Dr. Gary R. Collins yet. I have his two books - Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide and Christian Coaching: Helping Others Turn Potential into Reality. After reading about various kinds of Christian counseling, I was quite interested about Christian coaching.

The difference between coaching and counseling, as Collins puts it, is that counseling deals with people's problems and their past, while coaching deals with their realization of their potential and their future. Counseling deals with the negative side and brings people to "zero," while coaching deals with the positive side and brings people from "zero" forward.

It seems that Christian counseling and Christian coaching are not always so clearly divided as Collins describes it. Some things from the realm of Christian coaching (for example, setting life goals) are sometimes included into Christian counseling. On the other hand, some things from the realm Christian counseling (not only such things as stress management, grief and loss, but even such things as phobias, anxiety, depression, etc.) are sometimes included into Christian coaching.

It may be that sometimes it is hard to divide counseling and coaching. For example, during the process of coaching, a coach may find out that a client has some problems that need to be dealt with. If the coach has sufficient qualification in counseling, he or she may counsel the client instead of sending him or her to a counselor.

However, the main idea is that counseling helps people to get rid of their problems, while coaching helps people to realize their potential. So, counseling is for people who have problems (who might have mental disorders), while coaching is for mentally healthy people.

In another blog post, I considered the difference between spiritual aspects of the post-cult recovery and post-cult spiritual quest. Spiritual aspects of the post-cult recovery are in the realm of counseling, while post-cult spiritual quest is in the realm of coaching. This is one of the applications of the distinction between the realms of counseling and of coaching.

On the other hand, I believe that even purely psychological aspects of the post-cult recovery include not only matters inside the realm of counseling, but also matters inside the realm of coaching. On the one hand, ex-cult members may have some psychological problems, and these problems are in the realm of counseling. On the other hand, they also may need, for example, to set life goals and to reach them. This is the realm of coaching. In other words, "negative" aspects of the post-cult recovery are in the realm of counseling, while "positive" aspects of the post-cult recovery are in the realm of coaching.

I believe that it is possible to get rid of all the post-cult problems. They do not need to be permanent. In other words, the "negative" side of the post-cult recovery does not need to take the whole life. On the other hand, I do not think that the "positive" side of the post-cult recovery should take the whole life either. Well, during various transitional periods of life (moving to another city, getting a new job, getting married or divorced, and so on), people need to deal with things in the realm of coaching. Exiting a cult is also a transitional period of life. This is why the post-cult recovery includes some matters within the realm of coaching. However, when ex-cult members have other transitional periods of life, which have nothing to do with cults, although these periods will be within the realm of coaching, they will have nothing to do with the post-cult recovery. In other words, I believe that the "positive" side of the post-cult recovery, which is within the realm of coaching, only has to do with the transitional period of life after leaving a cult and has nothing to do with other transitional periods of life or other kinds of situations that may be in the realm of coaching.

Although there is a tendency to pay much more attention to the "negative" side of the post-cult recovery, I think that a more balanced approach would be to view it as a combination of the "negative" and "positive" sides.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Psychology and Theology (3)

In another blog post, I mentioned Dr. Jay E. Adams, the founder of so called nothetic counseling who promotes the idea that, with the exception of organic reasons (such as brain damage), all the mental disorders come from sins committed by people who suffer from these disorders, and that, instead of psychotherapy, they need to confess their sins. As I mentioned, one of the problems with this approach that it may lead to spiritual abuse.

It is usually believed that this approach uses only biblical and Christian principles and does not use psychology. It seems to be the most popular approach within The Scripture Against Psychology aka "Nothing Buttery" view. However, reading his book Competent to Counsel: Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling (published in 1970) where he introduces his approach, I found out that his approach has much to do with psychology. In this book, Adams criticizes Freud and Rogers, but admires ideas of secular psychologist Dr. Orval Hobart Mowrer, and actually admits that he used Mowrer's ideas for his nouthethic counseling.

Adams writes in Introduction to Competent to Counsel: Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling (pp. xiv-xviii):
... I remembered the name of a man whose works a Christian psychologist had once mentioned to me. That man was O. Hobart Mowrer.

I read some of Mowrer's works, including The Crisis in Psychiatry and Religion, and The New Group Therapy, which he had just published. These books astounded me. Mowrer had gone far beyond my own thinking. He was flatly challenging the very existence of institutionalized psychiatry. He stated outrightly that he believed that current psychiatric dogmas were false. He cited evidence to demonstrate that psychiatry largely had failed. I corresponded with Mowrer over certain points. In that correspondence Mowrer invited me to participate in his Eli Lilly Fellowship program at the University of Illinois, where he is Research Professor of Psychology. I went to the University of Illinois, where I worked under Mowrer during the summer session. That was an unforgettable experience for which I shall always be grateful. Getting away from all else and concentrating on the question of counseling for two months was exactly what I needed.

During the summer of 1965 we worked in two state mental institutions, one at Kankakee, Illinois, and the other at Galesburg, Illinois. In these two mental institutions, we conducted group therapy with Mowrer for seven hours a day. Along with five others, I flew with him, drove with him, ate with him, counseled with him and argued with him five days a week. I learned much during that time, and while today I certainly would not classify myself as a member of Mowrer's school, I feel that the summer program was a turning point in my thinking. There in those mental institutions, under Mowrer's methods, we began to see people labeled "neurotic, psychoneurotic, and psychotic" (people of all stripes) helped by confessing deviant behavior and assuming personal responsibility for it. Mowrer's emphasis upon responsibility was central. Mowrer urged people to "confess" their wrongs (not to God, but) to others whom they had wronged and to make restitution wherever possible. Mowrer is not a Christian. He is not even a theist, and we debated the issue of humanism all summer.

During that time I made a study of the principal biblical data on the subject of counseling, which special reference to what Scripture says about conscience. That summer's experience left me with some large convictions. First, I discovered why the large majority of people in mental institutions are there. Spending so much time with such persons afforded the opportunity to get to know and understand them. Apart from those who had organic problems, like brain damage, the people I met in the two institutions in Illinois were there because of their own failure to meet life's problems. To put it simply, they were there because of their unforgiven and unaltered sinful behavior. Secondly, the whole experience drove me back to the Bible to ask once again, "What do the Scriptures say about such people and the solution to their problems?"

Reading Mowrer's book The Crisis in Psychiatry and Religion, as I said, was an earth-shaking experience. In this book Mowrer, a noted research psychologist who had been honored with the Presidency of the American Psychological Association for his breakthrough in learning theory, challenged the entire field of psychiatry, declaring it a failure, and sought to refute its fundamental Freudian presuppositions. Boldly he threw down the gauntlet to conservative Christians as well. He asked: "Has Evangelical religion sold its birthright for a mess of psychological pottage?"

In Crisis, Mowrer particularly opposed the Medical Model from which the concept of mental illness was derived. He showed how this model removed responsibility from the counselee. Since one is not considered blameworthy for catching Asian Flu, his family treats him with sympathetic understanding, and others make allowances for him. This is because they know he can't help his sickness. He was invaded from without. Moreover, he must helplessly rely on experts to help him get well. Mowrer rightly maintained that the Medical Model took away the sense of personal responsibility. As a result, psychotherapy became a search into the past to find others (parents, the church, society, grandmother) on whom to place the blame. Therapy consists of siding against the too-strict Super-ego (conscience) which these culprits have socialized into the poor sick victim.

In contrast, Mowrer antithetically proposed a Moral Model of responsibility. He said that the "patient's" problems are moral, not medical. He suffers from real guilt, not guilt feelings (false guilt). The basic irregularity is not emotional, but behavioral. He is not a victim of his conscience, but a violator of it. He must stop blaming others and accept responsibility for his own poor behavior. Problems may be solved, not by ventilation of feelings, but rather by confession of sin.

From my protracted involvement with the inmates of the mental institutions at Kankakee and Galesburg, I was convinced that most of them were there, as I said, not because they were sick, but because they were sinful. In counseling sessions, we discovered with astonishing consistency that the main problems people were having were of their own making. Others (grandmother, et al.) were not their problem; they themselves were their own worst enemies. Some had written bad checks, some had become entangled in the consequences of immorality, others had cheated on income tax, and so on. Many had fled to the institution to escape the consequences of their wrong doing. A number had sought to avoid the responsibility of difficult decisions. We also saw evidence of dramatic recovery when people straightened out these matters. Humanistic as his methods were, Mowrer clearly demonstrated that even his approach could achieve in a few weeks what in many cases psychotherapy had been unable to do in years.

I came home deeply indebted to Mowrer for indirectly driving me to a conclusion that I as a Christian minister should have known all along, namely, that many of the "mentally ill" are people who can be helped by the ministry of God's Word. I have been trying to do so ever since.

So, this idea that all the people who have mental disorders and various psychological problems are responsible for their problems comes not from the Bible, but from secular psychology. In fact, it seems that Adams' approach is better than Mowrer's because he emphasizes that counselees should be treated with love and sympathy, while he never mentioned that Mowrer treated his clients this way.

Well, maybe this approach is currently more popular among Christian ministers than among secular psychologists, but the fact is that it comes from secular psychology and not from the Bible. In fact, there are some biblical objections to this approach.

The Bible does not make such emphasis on admonition as Adams does. The Bible speaks not only about admonishing, but also about comforting one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NASB): "We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone." The Bible often encourages Christians to sympathize with one another, for example, Rom. 12:15 (NIV): "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."

In chapter 9 of Effective Biblical Counseling, Larry Crabb writes:
Jay Adams has become widely known for his confrontational approach. In his insistence that his model is the only truly biblical one, he argues that the Greek word noutheteo, which includes the idea of verbal, directive, instructive confrontation, provides the central concept of Christian counseling. In chapter 1 I referred to Colossians 1:28 where Paul states that he "nouthetically confronts" people in an effort to promote their maturity. Although I agree with Adams that Christian maturity is the central goal of biblical counseling, I do not think that the strategy of confrontation exhausts all possible ways to achieve the goal. Certainly there are times when strong firm confrontation is right and necessary. But there are other times when gentle support, encouragement, concerned listening, exploration of inner dynamics, reflection, clarification, and acceptance of feelings are desirable.

A confrontational model is not nearly broad enough to cover all the ingredients of effective Christian counseling. Paul told the Thessalonians to nouthetically confront those who were disorderly in their actions, people who were stubbornly resisting their responsibilities. But he also instructed them to comfort people who were despondent or fainthearted. The Greek word for comfort is paramutheo and literally means to "speak close." It was used to describe an emotional expression of support and love without a hint of confrontational rebuke. To harshly confront a fainthearted person not only would be cruel but also positively harmful. Paul also advised them to hold strongly onto those who were weak. The thought seems to be that some people need to borrow from another's strength on occasion. Other encouragements to bear each other's burdens support the idea that the local body of believers is to be an interdependent fellowship including confrontation, supportive encouragement, strong assistance, and likely a host of other behaviors. Counseling then includes far more than confrontation and sometimes may not include confrontation at all. John Carter suggests that the word parakaleo and its cognate [148] paraklesis offer a "much more adequate model of counseling (than noutheteo) from a Biblical perspective." He points out that, whereas noutheteo and its cognate occur only thirteen times in the New Testament, parakaleo or one of its forms is translated (in the King James Version) twenty-nine times as "comfort," twenty-seven times as "exhort," fourteen times as "consolation," and forty-three times as "beseech." He also makes the more important point that paraklesis is listed specifically as a gift to the church (Rom. 12:8). Vine says that parakaleo denotes "to call to one's side, hence, to call to one's aid. It is used for every kind of calling to a person which is meant to produce a particular effort, hence, with various meanings such as comfort, exhort, desire, call for ... (and) beseech."

I agree with Crabb's criticism of Adams' approach here. Blaming all the people for all their problems, telling them that they need to repent, confess their sins, and change their behavior may seriously harm them, and the Bible does not encourage this. It encourages to comfort and support people who have problems, but this side is lacking in Adams' model.

I guess that abusive pastors may use Adams' ideas in order to blame people for all their problems. However, the thing is that this idea comes not from the Bible (as many people wrongly believe). This idea comes from secular psychology. Many ex-members of Bible-based cults and abusive churches tend to believe that Christianity is harmful and secular psychology is safe. But it is not really so. And, as I mentioned, Adams' approach seems to be much more compassionate than Mowrer's approach.

Another problem with Adams' approach is that he considers that there are two sources for mental problems: organic problems and personal sins. He states that the Bible does not say that there is any third source. Well, the Bible does not clearly says about organic mental disorders or about mental disorders that come from personal sins. However, the Bible does say much about demon possession that may cause conditions very similar to mental disorders. Adams does not mention demon possession at all.

Some Christians tend to pay too much attention to Satan and demons and blame them for all their sins (thus removing their own responsibility). This is one extreme. Adams seems to neglect demon activity completely. I believe that this is another extreme. The Bible not only speaks about demon possession (when a person is completely controlled by a demon or demons), but also about Christians' war against Satan and demons (in Ephesians 6:10-18 and some other passages). In chapter 5 of Christian Counseling A Comprehensive Guide, clinical psychologist Dr. Gary R. Collins mentions several possible reasons for mental problems, including organic problems, sins, demons, etc. Although he believes that demon possession is very rare, he does not deny it completely. I think his approach is more biblical. It seems that Adams' idea that there are only two sources of mental problems (organic problems and personal wrongdoings) comes from Mowrer and not from the Bible. It would be hard to expect that Mowrer believed in demons if he did not believe in God. Well, if a person is demon-possessed, of course, he or she should not be blamed for all their problems (though some people may intentionally invite demons). I guess it may be one of the reasons why Adams does not speak about a possibility of demon possession.

Then, the third problem is that Adams selects only the biblical passages that support his ideas and neglects those that do not match his ideas. For example, writing about biblical counseling, he quotes only the verses that mention admonition (in Greek "nouthesis") and rejects those that mention comfort, consolation, etc. In the same way, he "proves" that the cause of depression is always sin, taking three psalms (32, 38, and 51) where Psalmist sinned, experienced depression, confessed, and rejoiced. However, there are many more psalms where Psalmist experienced depression because he was oppressed and persecuted by his enemies. Adams does not mention them at all, obviously, because they do not match his theory. Actually, the only conclusion that can be made after reading and studying Psalms is that depression sometimes may be caused by unconfessed sin, but in many cases, it is caused by other reasons, such as ill-treatment or wrongdoings of other people. This conclusion does not match Adams' theory that is based on Mowrer's moral model of responsibility rather than on the Bible. So, he does not mention these psalms at all. This point is probably quite important for ex-members of cults who suffer from depression. Those who use Adams' model of counseling would probably tell ex-members of cults that if they experience depression, it is because of their own sins. However, the Bible clearly says that in many cases (probably, in most cases) depression is caused by other reasons, such as other people;s wrongdoings toward them. In other words, if ex-cult members suffer from depression, it is not their fault, but most likely it is the cult leaders' fault.

In conclusion, Adams' model of nouthetic counseling is based on Mowrer's ideas and contradicts the Bible.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Post-Cult Recovery and Other Life Problems

After leaving cults, many people spend long years in their post-cult recovery - up to 20 or 30 years, sometimes, the rest of their life.

However, it is quite obvious that people may have problems regardless of their cult involvement. People may have various problems during their childhood and adult life. People who have never been involved in cults may have these problems, and obviously people who were in cults may have them too. In other words, not all the problems that ex-members of cults may have are related to their cult involvement in any way.

Some psychotherapists tend to believe that all the people's problems are related to their childhood experiences. So, they take much time, analyzing these problems. However, some people's problems are related not to their childhood, but to various experiences later in life.

In a similar way, some people in the anti-cult field and some ex-cult members tend to believe that all their problems are related to their cult involvement. However, they may have some pre-cult and after-cult problems that are not cult-related at all. If people believe that all their problems are cult-related, they may neglect other problems, and I do not think that it is a correct approach.

Well, during the recent four years and especially recently, the most problems I had to deal with were not cult-related at all. Some of them were pre-cult (including some childhood-related problems), some were after-cult, but not related to my cult experience at all.

I think I should say here that I do not consider that to have problems and to have mental disorders is the same thing. Well, of course, people who have mental disorders have serious problems. But mentally healthy people may also have some problems.

Well, there are different definitions of what mental health is. Moreover, some of them are culture-related. For example, in the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), there is diagnosis "Neurasthenia" (F48.0). This diagnosis is absent in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Regarding this difference, there is an interesting explanation in Wikipedia article on neurasthenia: 'Americans were said to be particularly prone to neurasthenia, which resulted in the nickname "Americanitis."' Well, in Russia, neurasthenia is still considered as a valid diagnosis, and it is still called "neurasthenia," not "Americanitis." It has never even been renamed to "Russianitis." Most Russians have never been given this diagnosis (that is, of "neurasthenia," not of "Americanitis" or "Russianitis"). However, in Russia, it is not viewed as a serious mental disorder, just a kind of "nervosism."

Moreover, in ICD-10, there is diagnosis "Mental disorder, not otherwise specified" (F99), which can be used if no other code from F00-F98 may be applied. Well, I guess this diagnosis gives a lot of freedom to fantasy of some mental health professionals.

Anyway, my point is that what some mental health professionals consider as a disorder, others may not consider this way, and vice versa. Also, speaking about people who have some problems (including psychological post-cult problems) I do not mean to say that all of them have mental disorders.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Psychology and Theology (2)

In chapter 1 of The Integration of Psychology and Theology: An Introduction, John D. Carter, S. Bruce Narramore write that conflicts between theology and psychology are in fact "conflicts between either the facts of Scripture and the theories of psychology, the facts of psychology and our (mis)interpretation of Scripture, or between the theories of psychology and our misinterpretation of Scripture." Then, they write:

For years large portions of the the evangelical church have been influenced by the Keswick Movement. This movement, in espousing a "deeper" Christian life, has frequently taught a morbid form of self-denial and debasement that can stir up neurotic feelings of worthlessness and self-contempt in people prone to guilt and self-devaluation. <...>

Responding to such misrepresentation of biblical Christianity, many psychologists have attacked the Christian faith for promoting psychologically unhealthy attitudes and for being in conflict with accepted principles of psychological health. Ellis, for example, states that religion "consequently is self debasement and self abnegation as, of course, virtually all the saints and mystics have clearly stated that it is. In the final analysis, then, religion is neurosis. This is why I remarked at a symposium on sin and psychotherapy held by the American Psychological Association a few years ago that form a mental health standpoint, Voltaire's famous dictum should be reversed, for if there were a God it would be necessary to uninvent him."

In this conflict between one view of Christianity and one psychological viewpoint we have a rather typical example of mutual misunderstanding. Although some Christians do interpret the Christian concepts of humility and sacrifice in a self-debasing manner, most theologians would agree that this is a serious distortion of scriptural teaching. Similarly, many respected psychologists (Allport, 1950; Fromm, 1950) object to Ellis's diagnosis of religion as neurosis. The apparent conflict dissolves when we take another look at biblical teachings, which in fact do not propound a neurotic self-abasement, and at psychological research, which does not support the implication of Ellis's theory.

Well, I know theology much better than psychology. I am not familiar with Ellis' works, but I know very well what the Keswick Movement teachings are. The Keswick view on a human nature is extremely negative. Most Christians believe that people have a sinful nature as a result of Adam's fall, but there are different views on what the sinful nature is and how it affects people. The Keswick concept is that the whole human nature was corrupted and thus the whole human being in total is viewed as evil, as the expression of Satan. They also believe that all the people (both Christians and non-Christians) will remain in this condition until death. So, they believe that the whole human nature is completely evil and corrupted and will not be cured in this life. This is how a person who believes in Keswick teachings is expected to view oneself. However, the Keswick teaching does not stop here. It proposes its solution to this problem. This solution is to receive Christ as one's life and everything and to live every minute and every second in union with Christ, completely denying oneself and accepting Christ as everything.

This is the main idea of this teaching. So, there are actually two problems with it. First, it has a very negative view of a human being. Second, it sets very high and unattainable goals. In my opinion, this teaching really may lead to psychological problems and it also may lead to spiritual abuse (and I know cases when it really happened).

As Carter and Narramore correctly noted, it is not the only view of Christianity and many Christian theologians reject is. Just a couple months ago, I reread some of the literature of the Keswick movement, for example, The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life by Evan H. Hopkins and a number of books by Andrew Murray. Evan Hopkins is considered to be the founder of the Keswick Movement, and his book The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life is considered to be "the standard textbook of the original Keswick teaching." Andrew Murray is considered to be "Keswick's foremost devotional author" who wrote much more books than any other of the Keswick writers. Rereading this literature, I noticed two things that I did not notice before:

1. The teachings of these authors are based mainly on their own ideas rather than on the Bible. Of course, as any Christian authors, they do quote the Bible a lot, but their interpretation of the biblical verses they quote is not correct. They take verses out of their context, misinterpret them, and so on. In other words, the Keswick teachings have no solid biblical foundation. They are not based on the Bible.

2. The Keswick teachings set unattainable goals. They require a person to reject all their own thoughts, feelings, desires, and so on, and to do this constantly, literally every second. It is obvious that it is just impossible to do so. Since the failure to reject one's own thoughts, feelings, and desires is viewed as a sin, this can easily make a person feel guilty. Of course, the problem is not with the person who fails to live this way all the time, but with this teaching itself. The Bible never teaches that a person should reject all their thoughts, feelings, and desires. This teaching is a serious misinterpretation of what the Bible actually teaches.

Although the Keswick teachings may lead to psychological problems, I strongly disagree with Ellis' statement that "religion is neurosis."

Carter and Narramore give one more example of an apparent conflict of psychology and religion:

Freud's (1913/1953; 1927/1961) assumptions about religion provide another good example of the confusion of fact and theory. In transferring his theory of the psychosexual development of the individual to his study of culture, he concluded that the idea of God is simply a myth created to cope with primitive people's anxiety in the face of natural disasters and the child's ambivalent feelings (love and hate) toward the same-sexed parent. <...>

Some people would hold that with this analysis Freud "disproved" religion or at least "explained God away." But as soon as Freud began speaking about the existence or nonexistence of God, he left psychology and entered the domain of philosophy and religion. Even if it could be demonstrated that people's concept of God arises from the intimate relationships with their parents, this would not justify the conclusion that God does not exist. A psychological fact is just that. It is not and can never be an ontological statement about the existence of God. If God so willed, He could have chosen to plant the rudimentary concept of Himself in the mind of every person through this very process.

Well, according to my understanding, most psychologists rejected Freud's concept of Oedipus complex, which he used for his statement that "religion is neurosis." However, it seems that some of them still believe that "religion is neurosis," even though they do not believe in Oedipus complex. It looks quite self-contradictory.

Also, it seems that a common problem of some secular psychologists (like Freud, for example) is that they tend to leave psychological facts and go too far in their theories, entering the domain of philosophy, which, strictly speaking, has nothing to do with psychology. It is quite obviously that there is a conflict between religion and atheist philosophies, but it is not a conflict between religion and psychology. I agree with Carter and Narramore that there is no need to view theology and psychology as contradicting one another, that is, according to the view of "Psychology Against Religion" or "The Scripture Against Psychology."

In their book, Carter and Narramore present their model of integration of psychology and theology on the basis of the principle that they call "the unity of truth":

Christianity affirms that God is the Creator of all things and that this establishes a basic unity of all truth, whether found in scriptural revelation or scientific experimentation (Gaebelein, 1968; Holmes, 1977). Given this unity of truth, it is possible to integrate truth arrived at from different sources and with different methodologies.

This principle comes from a widely accepted theological teaching of two kinds of revelation: general (through the nature) and special (through the Bible). Since both the general and special revelations come from God, there is no conflict between them. Scientific knowledge has to do with the general revelation, and there is no contradiction between scientific facts and proper interpretation of the Bible.

Although it is a widely accepted position in Christianity, many Christians do not agree to consider psychology in the same way as any other science. In principle, they do have some reasons for this. In psychology, there are a lot of various theories, and many of them have more to do with secular anti-religion philosophies rather than with psychology itself or with psychological facts. Also, in psychology, there are many different views, and psychologists disagree with one another even on fundamental things, such as a definition of mental health. There are more different opinions and disagreements in psychology than in any other science. In this way, psychology reminds more of philosophy with its different branches, schools, and opinions than of any other science. Well, the thing however is that Christian theology does use philosophy. Since the earliest times of Christianity, theologians used various kinds of philosophy. Of course, Christian theology usually does not accept atheist philosophies (though some liberation theologians managed to use Marxist philosophy in combination with the Bible). In the same way, there is no need to accept psychological theories that contradict the Bible. However, psychology contains not only theories, but also facts, such as various experimental data. There is no essential difference between facts of psychology and facts of any other science and there is no reason to reject them.

Not only those who belong to "The Scripture Against Psychology" camp criticized Carter's and Narramore's concept of integration of psychology and theology, but even some of integrationists, such as Larry Crabb. Crabb argued that, although errors are possible both in science and in interpretation of the Bible, he considers that the interpretation of the Bible (even though it may be mistaken) should be given preeminence over scientific facts because of the authority of the Bible.

Well, Crabb is a psychologist and not a theologian. It seems that he does not realize that the process of interpretation of the Bible involves the usage of a lot of data from sciences such as linguistics and history. So, interpretation of the Bible is not completely separated from scientific facts. Also, one of the principles of interpretation of the Bible is that the proper interpretation of the Bible should not contradict scientific facts.

In the past, people believed that the Bible says that the sun goes around the earth. Not only Roman Catholics, but also Protestants, including the leaders of Reformation Martin Luther and John Calvin, condemned Copernicus because they believed that his teaching was heretic. Eventually, it became clear that Copernicus was right and Christian theologians changed their interpretation of the Bible. It is important to note here that the understanding of the verses such as Joshua 10:13; Psalm 93:1; Ecclesiastes 1:4-5, which were used against Copernicus, was changed because their previous understanding contradicted the scientific fact, not because of any other reason. The current understanding of these verses in Christianity is that these verses present phenomenological view, not scientific fact. That is, when for a person on the earth, it seems that the sun goes around the earth, and so people still say about sunrise and sunset, although both words are not scientific, but are just daily life terms. The Bible is not a scientific book, but it does not contradict the Bible.

It is important to note here that the principle that the Bible does not contradict the science means that the Bible does not contradict scientific facts, not scientific theories. For example, Darwin's theory of evolution does contradict the Bible (at least, the most accepted understanding of the Bible because there is a theory of theistic evolution that combines the theory of evolution with the Bible). However, even though Darwin's theory is very popular, it is still a theory, which has never been proven.

Well, I believe that the same principle should be applied to psychology. Of course, there is a contradiction between many psychological theories and the Bible, but I do not think that there should be any contradiction between psychological facts and proper understanding of the Bible.