I’m coming to a harder and harder position concerning the ability of secular psychology to address the ills that plague our minds and behaviors. I think non-Christians do a great job at the research end of things, but as soon as they begin interpreting or explaining what they see, because of their faulty philosophical presuppositions, immediately fall on their faces.
This is true of Christians as much as non-Christians. This is because Christians have very little discernment about truth and the world. Christians believe the half lie that “all truth is God’s truth” and if the psychologist scientists say it, it must be true and they go on from there. But the psychologist is coming from the world. Everything he observes he interprets through a non-Christian, even anti-Christian lens, and so everything is skewed.
All this to say that I believe it is futile to try to integrate Biblical Counseling with secular psychology. You can interject Christian truths into a non-Christian system, but as long as the system remains pagan, all you do is water down the Christian truths until they are just as lost as the system they are being abused in.
One way to know which side of the fence a system is on is to ask the question, which side of the fence defines and which side illustrates? If psychology defines all the terms and interjects Scripture as illustrations of psychologically derived truths, the system is worldly. If the counseling begins with, and interprets everything through the lens of scripture, and then uses observations of psychology to illustrate the truths of Scripture, then you probably have Biblical counseling.
In my experience the folks who call themselves integrationists are always trying to get the Bible to fit into the psychological world’s box. I can’t remember a time when I found someone who started as a Biblicist trying to get psychology to sound more Biblical (except as a ploy to do the former).
This is primarily because they are opposing systems and both make absolute truth claims. They both also know that the other is the enemy, representing opposing gods. Another way to look at it is to see them as holding turf and trying to protect their own turf. Psychology has an esoteric language, only special people can be the practitioners, and while what they view as success never actually happens, they are very jealous of being thought successful, powerful, and important. At the end of the day it is about power and prestige.
The Biblical Counseling world is esoteric too, but in an inclusive way. We want to talk in such a way that everyone can come in and be a part of the process. We want our process to produce worshipers too, but it isn’t the system we worship, we worship the living God. We want people to move away from our ministrations and into the church community at large. Of course no one is ever perfectly healed, but are not recovering, we are living. We are not gazing at our navels, we are loving one another from the heart. There is power, but it is the power exhibited in service. Psychology is grasping, Biblical Counseling is sharing. Its about power too, but it is the power of service.
At the end of the day, the only integration there can be is when the secular psychologist lays down his lab coat and submits to the God of the Bible. When the psychologist becomes a Biblical Counselor. It truly is a battle and simply melding into one another is not an option for a solution. Its God’s way or the World’s way. It can’t be both. If we are friendly with the world, are enemies of God. That’s not a good thing.