Guidelines for Evaluating People-Helping Theories

Do you know there are over 250 different theories for why we behave the way we do? Every one of those 250 theories is secular in nature. Which means, these theories eliminate God from their reasoning.

In his book “Introductory Psychology” author Jonathan Freedman (source: Introductory Psychology, Jonathan Freedman (Reading, MA: Addison Wesley, 1982), 2 ) says this:

“Psychology is the systematic study of how animals and particularly humans, function. It deals with how they perceive, think, learn, behave, and deal with the environment. It tries to describe and explain every aspect of human activity- simple and complex, external and internal, observable and inferable. The study of certain physical mechanisms and reactions belongs mainly to the fields of biology, physiology, and medicine; and the complex workings of the whole societies are primarily the domain of sociologists and anthropologists. But with these few exceptions, any question that can reasonably be asked about human beings falls within the field of psychology.”

Well this is pretty important statement, essentially putting psychology at the center of human life. What is a little disconcerting to me, is that these theories that are supposed to “reasonably answer any question that can reasonably be asked about human beings” are constantly being revised!

Any time someone wants to teach you something, you have to ask them, “How do you know what you know?” “What is your frame of reference?” “Why do you believe what you believe?”

What you are asking for is the basis for their belief. As counselors, we have to try to understand the point of reference the teacher or the counselee is coming from. Is it a theological position, or is it a psychological position? You will learn this is very, very important as you seek to become people-helpers.

Some will say, “I just feel God wants me to…” or “I have a peace about…” and these people base their actions on an entirely unreliable source- which is their feelings. Often they have no Scriptural basis for their actions other than they feel it is what God wants them to do, or they believe God told them to do.

Others will take a logical approach, and base everything on reason. If it makes sense to them, they will buy it, if it does not make sense, they will discard it as irrational and nonsensical. Rationalization and reason are closely related when dealing with a counselee. The Experience and Evidence group bases their beliefs on scientific studies, polling, and data. Their motto is “10,000 people can’t be wrong.”

Those who’s Epistemology is based on Revelation fall into one or two general camps. Those who believe in ongoing revelation from God in dreams, signs, wonders, and those who believe that God has revealed all we need to know in the Bible.

Albert Barnes in his commentary on John 17:17 says that All that God has spoken—that is, all that is contained in the Bible. Is truth. (Source: Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament by Albert Barnes, Parsons Technology, Inc. Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

The Lord Jesus prayed in John 17:17 that through an accurate view of God and of ourselves we might be made holy. He wants us to see things as they are and to see God is pure and holy; and mankind as unable to help himself. That is truth!

In Ps. 19:7 the word “law” means instruction, or precept. And it used in reference to instruction or conduct, and is therefore applied to all that God has commanded to guide us. It is complete as a revelation of divine conduct and complete as a rule of conduct.

With this in mind, it is the position of the Biblical Counselor or Discipler that only the Word of God is acceptable for helping others. It contains truth and represents both God and man in an accurate light.