Psychological Wholeness vs. Biblical Holiness

Psychology 1In this quote David Wells explains what happens when psychological language replaces Biblical language and when psychological wholeness replaces biblical holiness as the goal of the Christian life. All bold is mine.

In our modernized societies in the West, we are faced with an epidemic of lying, theft, abuse, rape, and other predatory behavior, but we are far morel likely to blame it on bad self-image than on bad character. Even in the church, the story is not much different. We have seized upon the language of our therapeutic culture and insist that our preachers toe this line and speak to us in this language. What is often missed, however, is that this language comes from the psychological world, not the moral world, and the chief consequence of this is that responsibility has vanished. We do not accept responsibility because we have no sense at all that we stand in the presence of a God of blazing, majestic purity. And when we lose this sense of the moral “over-againstness” of God, this opposition of what is Good to what is not, we lose all moral urgency. Indeed, we lose our gospel and the whole point of the Christian faith.

This has become an especially pressing concern for the church today. What we see on all sides is the constant preoccupation with psychological wholeness as a substitute for biblical holiness. This inevitably changes the way we think about God. The God of the outside, who stands over against us in his holiness, loses his point for our lives. We find ourselves yearning for comfort, therapeutic comfort, and at the same time the self-discipline and sacrifice of a faith grounded in God’s holiness have become distasteful to us. As this God, the God of the Bible, becomes remote to us, worship loses its awe, his Word loses its power to compel us, obedience loses its attraction, and the church loses its moral authority. That is our situation today, and that is why discipline is so important in the life of the church.

This quote is in a section on the necessity and practice of church discipline, which he defines as, “private rebukes, teaching for the purpose of correction, and…excommunication.”