mandag 15. april 2013

Psykologi og den kristne del 9 (psychology and the christian part 9)

The compulsion to fix the dysfunctional family:

Minirth and Meier tell us, "We all possess a primal need to recreate the familiar, the original family situation, even if the familiar, the situation, is destructive and painful" (Ibid. p65). Why would anyone want to recreate a painful situation? Why, because we are compelled by our unconscious minds that actually control (we are told) eighty percent of our decisions (apparently without our conscious knowledge) (Ibid. p. 65). But why would we unconsciously choose to put ourselves through such  pain?  Conside th following  three  reasons  given  by followers of codependency:

* We believe that if the original situation can be drummed back into existence, this time around we can fix it. We can cure the pain.  W kno w can The  codependen possesse a powerful need to go back and fix what was wrong, he must cure the original pain.

* We believe that we were responsible for the rotten original family; therefore, we must be punished we deserve pain.
Codependents may actually be hooked on misery.

* We believe that there is that yearning for the familiar and the
secure. Even if the past was painful, at least it was home.

John Bradshaw, popular author and TV codependent guru, lays the blame on the Biblical teaching that everyone is born in a condition of sin. He contends that such teaching produces a "shame-based" personality destined to become an addict. He says, "Many religious denominations teach a concept of man as wretched and stained with original sin. . .With original sin you‘re beat before you start" (Healing the Shame that Binds You, p64).

Actually, the various "experts" come up with various (and often contradictory reason wh the believ peopl become codependent. Why so many options? Perhaps this quote from the  University o Californias "Wellness Letter" explains  the problem well, "The literature of codependency is based on assertions, generalizations, and anecdotes. . .To start without the slightest shred of scientific evidence and casually label large groups as diseased may be helpful to a few, but it is potentiall harmful  an exploitativ as  well I as  the  best sellers claim, all society is an addict and ninety-six percent of us are codependents, that leaves precious few of us outside the  rehab  centers  —  but  a tha point  the  claim become ludicrous at best" (Oct., 1990 p7, quoted in Bobgan, p33).

There is neithe scientific of biblical evidence to support the   claims   of   those   who   teach   the   theories   of codependency, but why should truth get in the way of  a good thing?


We are being told that it is very difficult to discern whether the behaviour of a codependent was caused by his "illness," or the "illness" was caused by his behaviour. At any rate, Melody Beattie groups the problems of codependent people around the following categories: caretaking, low self-worth, repression, obsession, controlling, denial,  dependency,   poor communication wea boundaries,  lac o trust anger sex problems, miscellaneous and progressive (Codependent No More, p. 37-45). After reading her lists, you realize that few, if any, can totally escape the codependent label.

Minirt an Meier  blam addiction an compulsion on codependency Even  more  importantly the clai tha a codependent is unable to obey God: "The Christians foremost privilege and responsibility is to hear and respond to God. The codependent can neither hear clearly nor respond adequately. Its that simple" (p. 171). How cruel God must be, to demand obedience  fro peopl who  cannot  obey  because  o their emotional illnesses (caused usually by harsh parents), then punish  the because  o thei disobedience.  Eithe the apostles of codependency are right, or God (in His Word) is we cannot have it both ways!


In order to recover from codependency, codependents must enter  Twelve-Step  programm specificall designe for them: Codependence Anonymous, which is almost identical to Alcoholics Anonymous with only minor changes in the steps (see our paper on the Twelve-Step recovery programmes). Another option is to enter a clinic such as Minirth and Meiers and go through their similar programme.

As a summation, the adherents of codependency would say, "Codependents  carr distorted  messages  about  thei own sense of worth and such messages originate in dysfunctional families. Those messages must be erased through regressive therapy and replaced with positive, self-enhancing messages" (Bobgan, p46). (It might be helpful to read our chapter on Self Image).

The Scriptures teach a very different method of change and growth. This method is outlined in places such as Eph. 4:22-
24, where we are told to put off the old self, put on the new self an be  renewed  i the  spiri o ou mind Specific
application of this principle will depend upon the problem thawe faceThe  psychological  worl (including  Christia psychologists)
errs, because it has a faulty anthropology (view of man) based upon  human  wisdom rather  tha upon  the  Word  o God.
Psychologists believe that people behave poorly, and develop emotional  an psychological  problem because  thei love
tanks are empty. If they can get their "significant others," or even God, to fill up their "love tanks," their problems will be
resolved. The end result is everyone living for themselves. The Bible says, however, that we behave poorly because we are totally depraved, having been born with a sin nature. As result, we react sinfully to our problems The solution offered by God is to live Biblically. Progressive sanctification is ougoal as we live our lives to please God The codependency movement is quickly turning Biblical living into a vice.  Those who choose to put Christ and others before their own needs are being told that they are sick and in need of therapy Is it any wonder that their world is confused?


One  o the  increasingl popular  methods  o dealing  with problems today is Inner Healing (also known as Healing of memories, or Healing for damaged emotions) through the use of visualization. Some of the better known practitioners of this methodology have been: Agnes Sanford, Ruth Carter, Dennis
& Rita Bennett, and among Protestant non-charismatics, David Seamands. Seamands‘ books, Healing for Damaged Emotions and Healing of Memories, are perhaps the standard texts on the subject. These books come highly recommended by Gary Collins,   James   Dobson   and   the   Narramore   Christian Foundation, among others. The books are published by Victor Books (a division of Scripture Press) and have sold over six hundred thousand copies since 1981. Throughout this paper we will examine the teachings and techniques of Inner Healing in the light of Scripture.



There are many surface variations between teachers, but the basic structure of all Inner Healing approaches is a Freudian view of human nature which teaches that all of our problems find  thei roo in ou early childhood,  an tha those  early painful    experiences    have    been    repressed    into    our subconscious mind. In addition, at least in Christian circles, a Jesus who loves unconditionally is imagined into our past in order  t heal  ou childhoo wounds.  Th Inner  Healing movement  amon Christians,  spring from  th vie that neither God‘s Word nor Christ‘s power, as taught in the Bible, is sufficient to meet the needs of people with deeply damaged emotions stemming from childhood. Seamands says, "Early in my pastoral experience, I discovered that I was failing to help twgroups o people through the regular  ministries  o the church.  Their   problems   were   not   being   solved   by   the preaching of the Word, commitment to Christ, the filling of the

Spirit prayer,  o the  Sacraments Durin thitime of discovery,   God   showed   me   that   the   ordinary   ways   of ministering would never help some problems. And He began t enabl m t open  up  m ow heart  t personal  self- discovery an t ne depths  of  healing  lov throug my marriage m children,  an intimat friends"  (Healing  for Damaged Emotions, p. 7).

How amazing to discover that God has revealed to DaviSeamands what He never revealed to the Apostle Paul!

How utterly unbelievable it is to think that God waited until 1966 to let us know that His Word, prayer and the Holy Spirit were unable to solve many of the real problems in our lives tha w must  instead  turn  t Freud  an hi disciples  for answers.  Whenever  ma take i upon  himsel t ad his insights to the Word of God, error will be the inevitable result. At the foundation of all heresy is the belief that the Scriptures are  insufficien and can be  improved  upon  by the  wisdom and/or revelation of man.


Inner Healers teach that our problems are caused by sins against us. People are fundamentally victims: hurt, wounded, needy, deprived that we are all sinners is only of secondary importance. The "heart" is a passive storehouse of repressed hurts unmet  need and  yearning for  love (W should comment at this point that Biblically the "heart" represents the inner person: our intellect, emotions and will). Long forgotten memories and experiences of childhood (even experiences in the womb; Healing of Memories, pp16-19) cause personality and behavioural problems. Such problems call for "healing." In other  words,  i is because we are victims tha we  behave poorly. We sin because we suffer; we do evil because evil has been done to us. The only way that we will be able to stop making  poor  an destructiv choices  (i.e.  stop  reacting sinfully i t eliminat the  pai an suffering  o the  pas(adapted from a seminar by David Powlson).

The  Christ  o Inne Healing  i loving non-judgmental,
unconditionally accepting healer, who will heal our wounds and comfort our pains. Biblically, on the other hand, Jesus is the Saviour of mankind. He died in our place in order to
deliver us from the penalty, power and presence of sin.


Exploration of the past

Our  pas experiences  are  explored  i an  effort  t identify feelings of disappointment and rejection that are supposedly causing our problems in the present (even simple things such as accidents, illnesses, or delays may trigger these feelings, see Healing of Memories, pp. 81-84). Until these wounds are uncovered, no inner healing is possible.

In this diagnostic phase, damaged emotions are first of all identified Nex t be  uncovered  are  the  hurt tha have caused those damaged emotions. Of course, hurts must have been caused by people; so, eventually the search leads to those who have wounded us. David Powlson gives this helpful diagram


"Through a process of guided imagination, the all-accepting Jesus is imagined back into the memory of traumatic past events. Intensive prayer is offered for the Holy Spirit to be mystical  revealer  o problem  area an the Healer"
(Powlson) Secular  Inner  Healers  woul substitute  another important figure, in place of Jesus, as the all-accepting healer. Fo example,  psycholog studen migh imagine  Carl Rogers; a history buff might call up Abe Lincoln; a Buddhist would visualize Buddha. The individual playing the part of the healer is not important; after all, this is taking place in our imagination, not in reality. What is important to Inner Healing is that you believe in the healing power of the person whom you are calling back into your past. It matters very little whether this healer is Jesus or Donald Trump, just as long as you have faith in this person. Another diagram by Powlson shows the process:


(I i worthy  of  attention  t not ho much  impact  the teachings of Inner Healing have had on the life and ministry of
David and Karen Mains of Chapel of the Air. See, in particular, Karens book, Lonely No More.)


Inner Healing has created a Jesus who will meet the needs that we think must be met by going into our past and healing our   wounds.   The   Jesus   of   Inner   Healing   is   a   non confrontational, unconditionally accepting Jesus, who receives us to Himself without regard to our sins. By contrast, the Bible teaches that "The real Jesus (not a fantasy Jesus) meets real people (not inner children of memory) in the present (not the past). He deals with the behavioural and personality problems of people by sanctification" (Powlson).

The true gospel message is that God saves people even though they are yet sinners (Romans 5:1-11). However, He does  no simpl leav the i thei sins bu rather, forgives their sins and imputes to them the righteousness of Christ (Romans 4). By grace He brings them into the family of God and starts the process of transforming them into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28, 29).

Inner  Healers  believ tha sufferin causes  u t behave poorly the  Scriptures on  the  othe hand teach  that suffering reveals our character (Romans 5:3,4) and is used of God to mature us in Christ (James 1:2-4).

The Biblical process of solving personality and behavioural problems is quite different from the methods of Inner Healing. It  beg ins  wit G od‘ W or revealing our hearts (James 1:21- 25; Hebrews 4:12). At that point we can then go to the reaChrist for grace, mercy and help (Hebrews 4:13-16). Then as the  real Holy Spirit ministers in our lives through the Word of God we will grow in abundant life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and   become   adequate   for   every   good   work   (2Timothy 3:16,17)! The teachings of the Inner Healing movement are sadly out of line with Scripture.

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