Dear Readers,


A Biblical Critique of the Teachings of Modern Psychology (I)

As we have seen in the earlier section, the term “psychology” simply means a study of the soul. The Bible itself teaches much about the souls of men. Psychology which is founded upon the truth of God’s Word is thus most truthful and helpful. However, how does modern psychology square with the teachings of God’s Word? Is modern psychology consistent with the Bible?

We now proceed to evaluate the teachings of three influential figures of modern psychology: Sigmund Freud, Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers.

Sigmund Freud Evaluated

Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 to Jewish parents in Freiburg, Moravia. He is popularly known as the Father of Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. His teachings have divided opinion in the field of psychology. An article in Times Magazine published in 2001 lauded him as one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. On the other hand, Newsweek in 2006 branded him as “history’s most debunked doctor”.

Sigmund Freud was well-known for his concept on unconsciousness and his claim that man is able to delve into the unconscious mind of man. According to Freud, unconsciousness is the phenomenon that occurs when human ideas are repressed. When these ideas are repressed, they remain in the human mind, though they are removed from the conscious state of the mind. Thus a significant proportion of our feelings, passions, urges, emotions, impulses and beliefs are hidden in our unconsciousness and not readily available to us at a conscious level. However, these ideas can be brought out to the consciousness via certain circumstances. Freud claims that the hidden things of the unconsciousness can be unravelled using techniques such as hypnosis, free association and interpretation of dreams which are employed by a psychotherapist. A psychotherapist is thus the authority for the interpretation and unravelling of a man’s consciousness. Till today, practices such as hypnosis are readily used by many psychotherapists in order to help their clients. The concept of the unconsciousness is an unchallenged bedrock in modern psychology.

However, the Bible tells us that no man can perfectly know what is in the mind of man. 1 Corinthians 2:11 emphatically declares, For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:11). Solomon also confesses that God alone knows the hearts of the sons of men (2 Chronicles 6:30). Why then are psychotherapists acting as though they are the sole arbiters and interpreters of the unconsciousness of men?

Moreover, Williams rightly identifies that the “fundamental error of the Freudian theory of human behaviour is that it does not recognise the true fallen nature of man. Rather it helps a man to avoid the consequences of his sin, and by labelling him as a victim to mental illness, it fixes him in his sin.”

Freud’s psychoanalysis will often shift the blame of one’s sins to someone else, and oftentimes, to one’s parents. One example of this is his teaching of the Oedipus complex. This is based upon the fictional story of Oedipus who was prophesied to sleep with his mother and kill his father. Oedipus tried to escape his fate, but ends up unwittingly fulfilling the prophecy. The Oedipus complex is thus the teaching that a boy’s sexual desire focuses on his mother. However, this also means that the boy is hostile to his own father. Some boys fail to outgrow this stage like Oedipus, and thus leads to complications in his behaviour later in life such as neurosis, pedophilia and homosexuality. Such a theory only serves to excuse the depravity of men! But God’s Word makes it clear that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The solution to sin is none other than Jesus Christ, and not some esoteric theory of Oedipus!


The teachings of Sigmund Freud is but a fraud.

(… to be continued)

Preacher Clement Chew


(Adapted from John Calvin’s Commentary on Acts 6:4)

“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:4

The apostles declare that they have too much business otherwise, wherein they may exercise themselves during their whole life, for them to look after the needs of the Greek-speaking Jews. Therefore, they use the word proskarterhsai (translated “we will give”) which signifieth to be, as it were, fastened and tied to both prayer and the minstry of the Word. Therefore, pastors must not think that they have so done their duty that they need to do no more when they have daily spent some time in teaching. There is another manner of study, another manner of zeal, another manner of continuance required, that they may indeed boast that they are wholly given to that thing. They adjoin thereunto prayer, not that they alone ought to pray, (for that is an exercise common to all the godly,) but because they have peculiar causes to pray above all others. There is no man which ought not to be careful for the common salvation of the Church. How much more, then, ought the pastor, who hath that function enjoined him by name to labor carefully anxiously for it? So Moses did indeed exhort others unto prayer, but he went before them as the ringleader (Exodus 17:11). And it is not without cause that Paul doth so often make mention of his prayers (Romans 1:10). Again, we must always remember that, that we shall lose all our labor bestowed upon plowing, sowing, and watering, unless the increase come from heaven (1 Corinthians 3:7). Therefore, it shall not suffice to take great pains in teaching, unless we require the blessing at the hands of the Lord, that our labor may not be in vain and unfruitful. Hereby it appeareth that the exercise of prayer is not in vain commended unto the ministers of the word.

Note from Preacher: The primary duties of every minister of the Word is (1) to preach and teach the Word of God and (2) to pray for the congregation. Every message or lesson must be prepared and preached with the help of the Holy Spirit. As a minister “devoted” to the ministry of the Word, he must be diligent in the study and preaching of God’s Word. As a minister devoted to prayer, he must take every available opportunity to pray for the congregation, whether privately or publicly. The pastoral prayer is one such avenue where the minister can pray for the congregation. No responsible minister should neglect and despise this duty and privilege which has been committed to him.

Preacher Clement Chew