Monday, February 23, 2015

Integrated Ideas

This past Christmas season, John and I again watched It's A Wonderful Life, choosing to overlook its glaringly flawed theology regarding the creation of angels in favor of enjoying a Christmas tradition. And I certainly did enjoy all the familiar lines. For example, when George fails to kiss Mary outside the old Granville House, a disgusted neighbor on a nearby front porch mutters in exasperation, "Oh--youth is wasted on the young!"

Looking back on the episodes  of my own life, I quite agree with that crotchety old neighbor. I look back on my 20s and 30s (and even my early 40s), when typing took far less physical effort than it does now, and I wish I'd done things differently. The Lord has changed my theology so much since those days that I wince at many of the ways I used my writing ministry.

I cherished my role as Correspondence Counselor at Love In Action. Despite my self-centered attitudes that will undoubtedly result in fewer heavenly rewards (see 1 Corinthians 3:12-15), part of me honestly wanted to serve the Lord through that ministry. From my vantage point now, however, I see that my longing for acceptance and affirmation as a staff member motivated me to compromise my belief in the sufficiency of Scripture.

Love In Action claimed to be centered on the Bible, but in practice we augmented Scripture with psychology. Thankfully, my position protected me from having to lead clients through techniques like visualization and "healing prayer," which most of the staff knew I couldn't endorse. But I still accepted the premise that Scripture alone couldn't fully address the complexities of homosexuality. Or any other life-dominating sin.

As years passed, I found myself often confusing pop-psychology with Biblical Christianity, even to the point of considering that Oprah Winfrey might be saved because she said many of the same things about the effects of childhood trauma on adult behavior that we asserted. Essentially, I'd begun viewing psychology as a necessary component of Christianity. In order to experience victory over sin and the power of the Holy Spirit, I believed, people needed a good grasp on psychological principles.

Since the Lord sovereignly pulled me out of Love In Action 18 years ago, He has slowly restored my commitment to the sufficiency of Scripture. Psychology can't augment the Bible because, as God's Word, only the Bible offers God's answers.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ~~Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)
My youth certainly lacked the wisdom of trusting Scripture as the only authority in dealing with sin. How I wish I had a young body that could type as much now as I did then, so that I could direct people exclusively to God's all-sufficient Word!

1 comment:

  1. I notice that "pop psychology" still enters into my thinking in addressing what is wrong with this world...I took a few psychology classes in college, at that time I certainly was aware of many inaccuracies in their way of seeing things. I had a horrible time, especially when I was in a class that explored psychotic situations...such things as aberrant sexuality were of course said to be perfectly normal, but that trying to treat such as sickness was abnormal behavior. I got frequent headaches and bouts of indigestion while taking that course, and had to stay in prayer while I tried to answer these things in my assignments in ways that stayed true to my understanding of God's word. Thankfully I didn't go any further with those "teachings" and I pray that what little I was able to contribute in that course is used by God for His good.

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