Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Thought About Psychology and the Word of God

"The Sower" sculpted by Lee Lawrie which stands atop the Nebraska Capitol building.

In my reading, I came across these words from Peter Jensen's book, At the Heart of the Universe:

"In the popular mind, psychology has so explained human motivation, especially by concentrating on the experiences of growing up, that questions of right and wrong, of guilt and innocence, are inappropriate or outmoded. But the study of psychology does not pretend to start with a morally committed view of the human person. It explains where it can, but it does not judge. In particular, it does not profess to bring the judgment of God to bear on human behavior. That, I would say, is the function of the Bible, which is concerned to give us the proper assessment of human experience. It is an assessment which foreshadows the ultimate critique of the day of judgment."

If Jensen is correct, and I believe he is, then a psychologized view of the world and ourselves can be a hindrance to the gospel. God's Word comes to convict us of sin, but how much more pleasant is a psychological word which never makes a judgment that might make us feel guilty!

Can the word of God find receptive soil in a heart that refuses criticism and only wants to feel good? If we are so used to being stroked by psychological words which refuse to make moral judgments, then the condemnation of God's law, which is preparation for the gospel, may be rejected out of hand. Could this be one of the reasons we are finding people in our country increasingly unreceptive to the gospel of Jesus Christ? Psychology has taught people to feel good about themselves, and so anything that makes them feel bad about themselves (like God's holy law) is rejected out of hand. Thus, the devil wins by hardening hearts so that the good seed of the gospel cannot penetrate the heart (Luke 8:4-15).

Let us pray, that the Lord might work to prepare hearts for his gospel, despite our psychologized society.

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