Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” —1 Timothy:4:1
In my previous articles, I addressed the destructive influence psychological counseling is having on the evangelical church. Simply put, the church has turned from God’s Word to man’s bankrupt theories in attempting to resolve mental, emotional, and behavioral problems. The greater part of the church no longer believes what the Scriptures proclaim: that God, in His Word, has given us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter:1:3). The results, sadly, are what one might expect: there is often little statistical difference between those who profess to be Christians and those who do not, regarding the number of divorces, the reliance upon psychological counseling theories and methods, living together outside of marriage, illegitimate childbirths, pornography, sexual and physical abuse, and so forth.
Although such consequences are shocking, they shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who believes the Bible. Twice in the Book of Proverbs we are told, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs:14:12; 16:25). Death throughout Scripture implies separation, whether of the soul and spirit from the body in physical death or, in another sense, the separation of light from darkness and truth from error—and ultimately, from God eternally. Just as the body without life corrupts, so do one’s life choices result in corruption when they are separated from God’s truth.
Psychology, with its psychotherapeutic counseling, has been embraced by evangelicals more than almost any other unbiblical endeavor that has entered the church in the last half-century. “Christian psychologists” are generally more popular and influential than preachers and teachers of the Word. What evangelical in America doesn’t know of psychologist Dr. James Dobson? The psychologically oriented American Association of Christian Counselors boasts 50,000 members. The evangelical church is one of the leading referral services for secular counselors (whether they claim to be Christians or not!). Like their secular counterparts, the second-most popular career choice for students at Christian colleges is psychology. What makes this information truly shocking is the fact that the roots, concepts, and many of the psychological counseling practices come from “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
First Timothy 4:1 is a prophetic verse. It foretells that “in the latter times,” that is, the time near the return of our Lord, “some will depart from the faith.” This is supported by other verses such as Luke:18:8: Jesus asked, “…when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” The implied answer is no. Paul, in 2 Thessalonians:2:3, declares under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that a “falling away” from the faith will characterize the Last Days. But haven’t many professing Christians departed from the faith since the time of the Apostles? Yes. The rest of the verse, however, indicates a condition that is unique to our present day. Those who profess to be Christians will give “heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
Doctrines of devils are designed to undermine what is taught in the Scriptures. They reflect the strategy that Satan instituted in the Garden of Eden when he seduced Eve into disobeying God. The chief of the seducing spirits began his direct communication with Eve by raising doubts in her mind as to what God had commanded: “Yea, hath God said…?” (Genesis:3:1). The serpent’s dialogue with her led her to believe that God had lied to her: “And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die.” Although God instructed Adam and Eve that the punishment for disobeying Him by eating the fruit of a certain tree in the Garden would be death (Genesis:2:17), Satan twisted that around, making God not only a liar but also the one who was withholding what they needed for their self-improvement and for realizing a supposed higher potential.
Genesis:3:1-5 contains Satan’s basic strategy for the seduction and destruction of mankind. His deception began by questioning God’s Word, and offering tempting alternatives. Eve responded by believing Satan, rejecting God’s Word, and turning to her own self-interests. The enticements were so desirable to the flesh, including immortality, enlightenment, godhood, and knowledge (Genesis:3:5), that she eagerly embraced the lie. At that tragic moment in the history of mankind, self became a god, an autonomous rebel bent on doing its own thing. What Satan offered to Eve, he likewise has presented to all of her descendants, with similar success. His deadly allurements— immortality, enlightenment, godhood , and knowledge -—comprise the foundational teachings of “doctrines of devils.”
Even in a cursory review of psychotherapeutic concepts, Satan’s primary lies are clearly revealed. Teachings (i.e., doctrines) such as the following are found in nearly all psychotherapeutic theories.
Immortality : There is no death in the sense that it should be feared. Materialist psychotherapists teach a judgment-free mortality; spiritually oriented counselors claim that we either evolve to a higher consciousness or reincarnate to improve our next temporal state of being.
Enlightenment : Knowing the self, who we are, why we do what we do, and how we change, all open the critical gate to establishing our mental wellbeing. Some systems teach that our problems of living are determined by traumas related to our past (including past lives), our parental upbringing, our environment, or our having been oppressed by religious dogmas.
Godhood : The solution to humanity’s problems is found within the self. Self is deified, whether directly or indirectly. For instance, psychology’s “self-actualization” is a process that leads to self-deification, which ultimately replaces any need for salvation outside humanity.
Knowledge : The deification process for humanity involves methods of plumbing the depths of the unconscious, which is alleged to be the infinite reservoir that holds all mysteries of life.
Sadly, these doctrines of devils now permeate “Christian psychology.” Few evangelicals realize that these demonic teachings were introduced to the “founding fathers of psychological counseling” literally by “seducing spirits.”