"All Truth Is God's Truth"?*

So Says "Christian" Psychology

Psychology pretends to be the study of the soul; in fact, it has become known as the cure of souls. But is not the "cure of souls" the domain of the Bible? God is the only One who can take care of man's spiritual problems, and in fact, He has done so. The Bible claims that God has given to the believer "all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2 Pe. 2:3). We don't need help from Freud, et al..

"Christian" psychology says that we do need such help, that the Bible doesn't have all the answers we need, that prayer, repentance, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and other Biblical remedies are not enough because there are psychological problems that require something more. Does it not seem a bit odd that God has apparently inspired the likes of Freud, Jung, Maslow, Rogers, et al., with the "truths" unknown to the apostles and prophets and all of the leaders in the entire history of the Church? No, we are told reassuringly, this is not to be considered strange at all. What we need to understand is that "All truth is God's truth." This suspicious phrase is trotted out whenever questions are raised, and is generally accepted without further thought.

But the question of what is meant by truth is seldom asked. Are we talking about scientific facts involving the brain and body, or about God's truth involving the soul and spirit? Jesus said, "Thy Word is truth" (John 17:17), not part of the truth. Jesus said, "The world cannot accept Him [the Spirit of truth], because it neither sees Him nor knows Him ... But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth" (John 14:17; 16:13). Therefore, it is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, that leads us into ALL truth. How, then, can a Freud, Rogers, Maslow, Jung, et al., have any truth for believers? -- Are they not of the world whom Jesus says cannot even receive truth, let alone lead us into it? They cannot know anything about truth!

Jesus also said, "If you continue in My Word, then you are My disciples [not if you continue in Freud's word], and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31,32). What extrabiblical "truth" ever set anyone free? One may get some facts of nature from extrabiblical sources, but NOT the truth that sets you free. {E=MC2} is a scientific "truth," most certainly, but it sets no one free. Likewise, does God's truth include Freudian pronouncements of obsessive neurosis or Jung's structure of archetypes? Or is God's truth Roger's ideas on human love or the behaviorism of B.F. Skinner? Or is God's truth "I'm OK; You're OK"?

Paul wrote, "... the things of God knoweth no man but by the Spirit of God." It is clear in the context that he is not talking about scientific discoveries made by atheists through an insight into nature or the witness of moral conscience that God gives to all men. Paul is referring not to natural, but to spiritual truths, which he specifically states are revealed by God only to true believers. The Bible clearly claims to be written to those who belong to the Lord, and the truth it communicates is called "the things of the Spirit of God." We are told in unequivocal terms that "the natural [unsaved] man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:14).

How, then, can "God's truth" be communicated to humanists who have rejected even the witness of creation and conscience? Are such persons really God's chosen vessels to reveal heretofore undiscovered spiritual truths to the body of Christ? Unless born again of the Spirit of God through faith in Christ, no man can even begin to understand the "things of God," precisely because they have to be "spiritually discerned."

God's truth, says Paul, is only understood by the "spiritual man" who has been born of God's Spirit into the family of God. It is only such men, Paul declares, who have "the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16). To the unsaved, Jesus said, "He that is of God heareth God's word; ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God" (John 8:47). Yet we are asked to believe that a part of God's truth heretofore unknown to those who are of God, and who, therefore, have the mind of Christ, has lately been discovered by those who are not of God, and that this new insight ought to be incorporated by the Church into its understanding of the Word of God! Before we accept such an unbiblical and illogical thesis, we need better justification than the plea: "All truth is God's truth."

Since there is not one standardized "Christian" psychology, each so-called "Christian" psychologist decides for himself which of the many psychological opinions and methods constitute his ideas of "God's truth." In so doing, the subjective observations and biased opinions of mere mortals are placed on the same level as the inspired Word of God. Perhaps they think that what has been observed in nature by the limited minds of men equals God's truth. But the Bible contains the only pure truth of God. All else is distorted by the limitations of human perception. Whatever else one can discover about God's creation is only partial knowledge and partial understanding. It cannot be equal to God's truth. (See piece below on "General Revelation and the 'Discovery' of 'Truth'.")

Psychology pretends to deal with the soul and spirit (it actually claims to be a science of mind), a subject upon which God has spoken with finality and about which He claims to have communicated in His Word -- the whole truth. There are no parts of this truth missing from the Bible and left in limbo to be discovered by godless theorists floating about in the secular world. To suggest that there are, is to contradict the clear testimony of Scripture and the consistent teaching of the Church since the beginning until Psychology's very recent introduction into secular society and from there into Christianity -- a Church that got along very well without psychology, that withstood the Roman arena and the Inquisition, and left the stamp of victorious Christian living and the blood of her martyrs upon the pages of history.

As soon as the door was opened for the "truths" of psychology to shed further light upon Scripture, a subtle process began. If "All truth is God's truth," and psychology is part of that truth, then it has to be given at least equal authority with the Bible. Of course, "Christian" psychologists deny that they do this. In all sincerity, they assure us that no psychological theory will be accepted that contradicts the Bible; but in actual practice, "psychological truth" is imposed upon the Bible and becomes the new grid through which the Bible is to be interpreted.

Imperceptibly, but inevitably, psychological theory by this process gains authority over the Bible and the Church, and anyone not trained in the new "truths" of psychology is deemed unqualified to question the new interpretations. "Christian" universities and seminaries develop large and growing psychology departments in order to keep up with "current trends." No church staff of any size is any longer complete without at least one psychologist. Pastors begin to believe that they are not competent to counsel from the Bible without going back to seminary for an advanced degree in psychology. They are competent to preach or to teach the Word of God if they have a degree in theology, but incompetent to counsel from the Word of God without a degree in psychology. This new state of affairs is accepted almost without question; and those of us who do question it as unbiblical are accused of causing division or of speaking from ignorance, because we presumably don't know enough about psychology.

So-called "Christian" psychology could almost be described as a cult inside our churches. It has its own vocabulary, an endless new category of problems tagged with labels not found in the Bible and unknown to the Church in its entire history. These strange new phrases now roll glibly off the tongues of pastors who are trying to be "relevant" and to "communicate" in modern terms. In short, this cult has its own gospel, its own religious rituals administered by its own class of priests -- the "Christian" psychologists, who have gained authority over those who only counsel from the Word of God, but have been judged unqualified to do so because they have not yet been initiated into psychology's inner academic circle. Nor can anyone appeal to the Scriptures as a means of correcting this new priestly class, because they alone hold the keys to a vital part of "God's truth," which allows for a new interpretation of the Bible and a new Christianity. It is a masterstroke of genius from the great mastermind of deception himself. And it is all being carried on in the name of the Lord and for the supposed good of His Church.

The Christian life is not a grit-your-teeth and hold-your-breath roller-coaster ride. It is Christ living His resurrection life in those who have trusted in Him. To suggest that psychotherapeutic techniques lately discovered by Freud, et al., are now necessary in order for today's Christian to experience the abundant life in Christ is destructive of the very faith that the proponents of this teaching say they are trying to enhance. Such is the inevitable result of interpreting the Bible on the basis of the predetermined outside opinions of men. We desperately need a return to Biblical Christianity (Jer. 17:9,10; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Pe. 1:3).

General Revelation and the "Discovery" of "Truth"

General revelation is an important theological concept. Conservative theologians have used the term general revelation to identify a very narrow category of truth that God has made powerfully evident (thus the word revelation) to every rational human being (thus the word general), according to the way He fashioned the moral and physical universe. Romans 1 and 2, the most important New Testament discussion of general revelation, states unequivocally that the revelation God has set before all men, through the infinitely mysterious, complicated physical universe and through the moral consciousness of all human beings, renders all humans without excuse when they reject that truth.

Lately, however, the important theological category of general revelation has been broadened to include all truth-claims made as a result of human efforts to understand the many aspects of the created order. Those who have broadened the category argue that the Scriptures are indeed the "special" revelation which God has left to us and that, because God is the Author of the entire created order, whenever men discover "truth" in that order, we can refer to that humanly discovered "truth" as "general revelation."

Doug Bookman, in a paper titled "In Defense of Biblical Counseling," identifies the very dangerous ramifications of the argument that replaces the Biblical doctrine of general revelation:

First ... by defining general revelation as that body of truth which is gained by human investigation and discovery, the argument is guilty of neglecting the element of non-discoverability which is intrinsic to the biblical notion of revelation and supplanting that notion with its exact antithesis. Further, the approach is dangerous in that it attributes to the truth-claims of men an authority which they do not and cannot possess, and renders it virtually impossible to bring those truth-claims under the authority of the one standard by which God demands that they be measured.

Second, the argument ... is confused in its definition of the term "general." By mistakenly taking that term to refer to the content of the category (rather than to the audience to which the revelation thus denominated is available), the apologists who employ this argument commit two fallacies which are destructive of orthodox theology: first, they expand the category to include all manner of truth-claims which have no right to be thus honored; and second, they eviscerate the character of revelation by including in the category truth-claims which are admittedly lesser than the truths of Scripture, which demand that finite and fallen men measure them to determine their validity, and which at best can possibly issue in a higher level of insight into the demands of living (italics in original).

Bookman concludes that:

... as described in Scripture, general revelation is truth which is manifestly set forth before all men (Rom. 1:17-19; 2:14,15); it is truth so clear and irrefutable as to be known intuitively by all rational men (Ps. 19:1-6; Rom. 1: 19); it is truth so authoritative and manifest that when men, by reason of willful rebellion, reject that truth, they do so at the cost of their own eternal damnation (Rom. 1:20; 2:1,15). For this seamless, flawless and majestic tapestry of God-given truth is substituted a patchwork of "lesser" truths, of truth which "is obtainable at least in part," truths which "are not delineated for us by God" but are "discovered by fallible humans." ... Surely such a concept of general revelation represents a ravaging of the biblical concept.

General revelation includes the proposition that "fallen man retains the ability and propensity to deduce truth from the created world and thus to arrive at conclusions which are as authoritative as the Scriptures themselves." The "All truth is God's truth"-ers defend such a proposition, not by any exegetical consideration of relevant Biblical passages, but rather by pointing out that the sage in the book of Proverbs explicitly says he learned some things by observing the natural order and that those things are recorded in Scripture, concluding that if it could be done by the Biblical sage, it can be done by any human being. However, such a parallel is illegitimate. The conclusions drawn from the supposed parallel are wrong and dangerous.

More central to the issue is that the argument involves a denial of the Biblical insistence that divine truth is foolishness to the natural man (1 Cor. 2:14); that apart from regeneration, manís understanding is darkened and alienated from the life of God (Eph. 4:17); that all men are enemies in their minds until God transforms them through the work of salvation (Col. 1:13); and that from the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in fallen man (Isa. 1:5). Further, even regenerated man is crippled by the continuing corruption of sin, as well as by the reality of his own finiteness (Isa. 55:8,9; 1 Cor. 2:16).

Thus, for any man, saved or lost, to suppose that his thoughts ought to be regarded as certain and/or as authoritative as those of Godólet alone the notion that all human truth-claims deserve such respect, simply because the sage of the Old Testament sometimes related his articulation of truth to observations he had made in the natural orderóis to deny what the Bible says so often and so clearly about the real fallenness and finiteness of man and about the infinite wisdom and matchless authority of God.

The question is whether the Bible is fully God-breathed or includes information discovered by the human intellect. The "All truth is God's truth"-ers are convinced that the knowledge possessed by the sage in Proverbs and recorded by him in Scripture was discovered by the sage alone, with no dependence upon God, yet this perceived parallel between the ministry of the Old Testament sage and the work of the modern "social scientist" simply does not exist.

The issue here relates very directly to the character of inspired Scripture. Wisdom literature, such as that which is represented by the sage in the book of Proverbs, is one of many precious and profitable genres of Biblical literature. But the recorded message of the sage, no less than that of the prophet, the Gospelist, or the writer of a New Testament epistle, is authoritative and dependable simply and only because it was breathed out by God (2 Tim. 3:16). The prophets received their messages by means of dreams (Num. 12:6); that doesnít suggest that the dreams of men today are just as authoritative as those of the prophets. The sage normally received his message by means of observation; it is erroneous to conclude that, therefore, the observations of any man are as authoritative and/or dependable as those observations of the sage which are recorded in the pages of sacred Scripture

Note carefully that the debate here is not whether any of the observations made by human beings might be true. Rather, the debate is whether the observations of men today ought to be regarded as possessing the absolute certainty and/or normative authority which the Bible possesses in all of its parts. The words of the sage are not certain and authoritative because they were discovered by observation, any more than the words of Jude are certain and authoritative because he cites them from the apocryphal book of Enoch (Jude 14). The words of all Biblical writers are authoritative because the recording of them was done under the careful supervision of the Holy Spirit, which is known as "inspiration." To regard the words of men as possessing the same sublime dignity and ultimate authority that the words of the Bible possess is remarkably dangerous.

In summary, the "All truth is God's truth"-er understanding of general revelation is all-encompassing but erroneous. In one fell swoop they even reduce sections of Scripture to less than God-breathed in their attempt to show that Godís revelation refers to that which can be discovered through observation and natural reason. The word revelation refers to an unveiling, a revealing of something that could not be otherwise discovered or known. What mankind gleans through observation, reason, and logic is not revelation, but discovery. These discoveries can be very helpful to mankind, such as the discovery of electricity. The kind of psychology the "All truth is God's truth"-ers defend may include some discovery about the superficial aspects of man through observation, reason, and logic, but these kinds of theories include highly subjective, speculative imaginations about the depths of man, and that (the depths of man) is the sole province of Scripture.  [Return to Text]

* Adapted and/or excerpted from Beyond Seduction; pp. 137-145;  PsychoHeresy, pp. 32-35; and from an article by the same name ["General Revelation and the 'Discovery' of 'Truth'"] in the March-April 2001 issue of PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter (the latter two by permission of PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries, 4137 Primavera Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93110).

Biblical Discernment Ministries - Revised 1/2002