Saturday, November 9, 2019
Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity Essay
Education and experience in the secular set-up or the what we call here as Athens wisdom believes differently from the biblical standpoint in whatever aspect of life. Psychology in general, though embraces somewhat a neutral position according to some proponents, is not able to do justice to a balanced view of human behavior and most if not all of the individualÃ¢â¬â¢s activities. Indeed, Author Dr. Entwistle (2004) argues about the general tendency to dichotomize or what he said as Ã¢â¬Å"to buy into the dichotomy between the Ã¢â¬ËsacredÃ¢â¬â¢ and the Ã¢â¬ËsecularÃ¢â¬â¢ which is what seeing Jerusalem and Athens as Ã¢â¬Å"mutually exclusive categories. Ã¢â¬ From the outset I would like to say my piece regarding the point where Dr. Entwistle is coming from without sounding arrogant in the same vein. He has mentioned a lot about presupposition while at the same time sounds like he doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t anything about presuppositions. When he separated Ã¢â¬Å"JerusalemÃ¢â¬ and the Ã¢â¬Å"ChurchÃ¢â¬ in his book, I immediately detected his lack of background in the realm of biblical theology. At the heart of Christianity or the Church that Dr. Entwistle is referring to, there is no such dichotomy. The Church in every dimension of it (or Christianity as we aptly put it) does not do any separation unless what Christ has separated. Meaning, our premise or presupposition starts with the fact that the Church and Christian spirituality or faith if one would put it simply, stands on the Judaeo-Christian context not a choice between Ã¢â¬Å"JerusalemÃ¢â¬ or Ã¢â¬Å"Church. Ã¢â¬ The fundamental difference lies in the great divide between Christianity and Athens or secular wisdom. It is only between the secular wisdom and biblical knowledge does the Bible place a dichotomy. Let me state what led me to this view: it is because, theologically speaking, biblical authors explicitly wrote in their letters from the Old to the New Testament Scriptures that God has His own laws and statutes through which life in general must be regulated. The same knowledge explicitly and implicitly runs through the fabric of the whole Scripture (Old & New), which means that the presuppositions of all of the Biblical authors, all fall into one primary presupposition: that there is one God, and that this One God has revealed Himself through His laws and statutes. Without the laws of God, man alone, with all of his learning, if they are all apart from the revelation of God, is mere natural or secular. This is the reason that every man ought to know these laws or statutes or biblical principles and only then can he apply these into all aspects of his secular life. This could have been what Dr. Entwistle intended to mean. One cannot come from the opposite side as what Dr. Entwistle had done instead as he hinged the argument from secular to the theological; though he tried to get his ideas from the likes of great men like Dr. A. W. Tozer and others. All those peopleÃ¢â¬â¢s arguments come from biblical presupposition: they have thorough knowledge of the Scriptures that they applied to various realms of life which in turn caused them to spur their readers to do the same. Trying to oppose the standpoint of apologist Tertullian, Dr. Entwistle seemingly misunderstands all of their positions, thus complicating what could have been an uncomplicated and unified stream of thought. The main contributing factors that led me to this viewpoint are my personal study of the Bible, and some works (massive) of Biblical scholars. The following discussion of renewing the mind then is a by-product of my own presupposition derived from the influence of these Biblical Scholars which include contemporary theologians like Dr. Vincent Cheung, Dr. Philip Johnson, and the father of Presuppositional apologetics Cornelius Van Til, to name a few. This thorough discussion of counsel of the wicked (representing secular or Athens wisdom) and the discriminative counsel which embraces all of Judaeo- Christian principles (as all contained in the Bible) captures best the essence of faith-spirituality molded from this basic presupposition. The dichotomy is between what the Bible says all throughout as the Wicked or ungodly counsel versus that of Godly wisdom. Dr. Entwistle unintentionally pursued a trichotomous delineation of Judeao-Christian theological thinking from secular. This is not proper. Discussion Christians know that a big portion of GodÃ¢â¬â¢s work in their lives is concentrated on renewal of the mind. Our born again experience signaled the beginning of a new life for us rather than, as have been used by many figuratively, the end of our lifeÃ¢â¬â¢s quest for truth. It is the start of an individualÃ¢â¬â¢s real life in that it is the time when a person experiences the quickening work of God through His Spirit (Ephesians 2:1-7). LetÃ¢â¬â¢s think for a while our past life as portrayed to us in the Bible: 1. ) We were once dead spiritually Ã¢â¬â in trespasses and sins; 2. ) We once walked (lived our lives) according to the course of this world; 3. ) We once lived our lives (knowingly or unknowingly) controlled by Satan; 4. ) We once behaved in a way that in everything we do, we only fulfill our desires and what Ã¢â¬â in our minds Ã¢â¬â looked good and pleasant. Now, knowing that we are naturally (without the saving power of God) unresponsive to God and fully responsive to the things that are not of God, we recognize our great need to be renewed or our minds oriented to the things of God Ã¢â¬â things that really matter to Him and in this life (Romans 12:1-2). I. Discriminative Counsel. 1. ) Biblical/Godly Counsel Ã¢â¬â Its Necessity. There is a trend being proliferated in the area of guidance or direction in oneÃ¢â¬â¢s life. The premise, if looked at the surface, seems to be sound and Biblical. It is somehow taken from the Bible. They are from the book of Proverbs. Ã¢â¬Å"Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬â Proverbs 11:14. Ã¢â¬Å"Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established. Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬â Proverbs 15:22. These verses, however, when balanced with other portions of the Scripture, do not say that believers should heed suggestions from others without discrimination. LetÃ¢â¬â¢s take for example Psalms 1:1-6. Ã¢â¬Å"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, or sin- ners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬â It says here that the Ã¢â¬Å"blessed manÃ¢â¬ is he whose delight is in Ã¢â¬Å"the law of the Lord. Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬â He meditates on it Ã¢â¬Å"day and nightÃ¢â¬ (v. 2). What the Bible calls as Ã¢â¬Å"blessedÃ¢â¬ are not those who just swallow every information or trends who happen to be around. The blessed manÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"delightÃ¢â¬ is in the law of the Lord, and his pleasure to GodÃ¢â¬â¢s law/word is made evident in his Ã¢â¬Å"meditatingÃ¢â¬ on it Ã¢â¬Å"day and night. Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬â Psalms 1:1-2. On the other hand, this is also a warning. A warning to those who are not careful and would let down their guard with regards to their upholding the habit of meditating or checking everything with the teachings of the Scriptures. When someone starts to entertain the seemingly harmless conventional Ã¢â¬Å"advicesÃ¢â¬ of the world without allowing the Bible (GodÃ¢â¬â¢s Word) to filter those opinions/suggestions, the lurking danger sets in and the undiscerning is on his way to the wrong direction for he has already given thought to Ã¢â¬Å"ungodly counsel. Ã¢â¬ He entertained and has given a benefit of the doubt to counsel other than GodÃ¢â¬â¢s counsel. This is a classic case of GodÃ¢â¬â¢s word versus SatanÃ¢â¬â¢s lies. The enemy succeeded in tempting the first couple Ã¢â¬â Adam and Eve. Ã¢â¬Å"Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Ã¢â¬Å"Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬â Genesis 2:15-17. Going back to our immediate text in Psalms 1:1, letÃ¢â¬â¢s try to divide its wordings in three divisions and see what does it say? It says: Ã¢â¬Å"Blessed is the man who does not (1) walk in the counsel of the wicked (2) stand in the way of sinners (3) sit in the seat of mockers. These three expressions are actually three stages of wickedness, or three steps towards spiritual deterioration. They illustrate the progressive stages of wickedness into which one who strays from God enters. According to the Word of God, this is what will happen to people who stray from the sound teachings of the Scriptures Ã¢â¬â they will go from bad to worse. And note that, with each stage, the ungodly (anybody who ventures on this path is called Ã¢â¬Å"ungodlyÃ¢â¬ ) becomes more resolute and his hostility against the counsel of the inspired scriptures and righteousness intensifies (Cheung, 2007).