Wednesday, March 10, 2010

True Spirituality - Substantial Healing of Psychological Problems

True Spirituality - Substantial Healing of Psychological Problems

Comments on Francis Schaeffer's Book True Spirituality
A Book Study By Dan Guinn

Chapter 10 - Psychology is study of the mental processes and behavior. Building off of what we have discovered of the conscience and the thought world, we must begin to see how these define our psychological existence. Since we cannot exist without creating into the world which God created we must seek healing in our mental processes and behavior. As we will see this can only be achieved through Truth based on content defined by our creator.

Dr. Schaeffer hopes for us to understand how the world of thought produces psychological problems and the healing that is available in the life of the believer.

A Unified Being
Firstly we need to see man as a unified being. Although we can recognize the spiritual and physical differences and we know there are different roles in thought, actions, and emotions, man is affected as a whole being by corruption in any part of his being.

"Anything that hurts that unity is destructive of the very basic thing that man is and what man needs to be." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality pg 123

Infinite-Personal Reference
Yet the answers man seeks must be from and infinite and personal reference that makes sense of time and space. Truths with relative content that can only come from God.

"There is no answer without and infinite reference point of a personal nature." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality page 124

The Cocoon
Dr. Schaeffer uses the analogy of the cocoon. Sinful man lives in a circle of existence that is closed, and moreover closed off to a section of himself. He was created to be a rational, relational, physical and spiritual being. Yet he lives below his existence.

"... when as a Christian I bow before this God who is there, then I can move out of the only logical position which the non-Christian can hold, and that is he must dwell consciously but silently in the cocoon of his being, without knowing anything outside of himself." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality page 124

Answers For The Unified Being
The Christian life provides an every moment building of faith. God provides real answers that are unified with his creation by His own design.

"God has spoken, and what he so teaches is a unity with what He has made." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality page 125

"... these answers do not end simply with an abstract, bare scholastic understanding of Being... They end in communion with the infinite-personal reference point who is there, God himself. And that is tremendous. Then you can worship." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality page 125

The Misuse of Finite Answers For Infinite
When man misuses his own finite reasoning "beginning with himself," he fails to find absolutes and universal answers. Man cannot be God.

"... beginning with himself he [man] cannot bring forth absolute standards and cannot even keep the poor relative ones he has set up." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality page 127

"I cannot be God in action and practice. So again I fall to the earth, crushed with natural tensions in myself, and I lie there like a butterfly that someone has touched, with all the lovely things gone from the wings." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality page 127

Circles of Rebellion

Schaeffer utilizes the symbol of the circle to illustrate worlds of existence and thought. Consider the damage done to man by his attempts to formulate the basis of a world view by misusing concepts of the created order.

"Thus, in rebellion, not staying within the circle of what man is but trying to move into the circle of existence of God, man falls crushed within himself at every turn. At that point he has two possibilities, and just two, if he is going to stay in the circle of rationality. He can return to his place before the personal Creator, a personal creature before a personal Creator. Or else he can go lower than his place." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality page 128

"So sinful man takes his place amoung the lower circles of existence; he moves down from being man into the lower existence of the animals and machines. Man is thus divided against and from himself in every part of his nature." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality page 128

All Unhealthy
"Since the fall there is no truly healthy person in his body, and there is no completely balanced person psychologically. The result of the fall spoils us as a unit and in all of our parts." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality page 129

With this knowledge we can see that we are all in an unhealthy state, yet we are being sanctified and our psychological existence is being transformed by the Spirit of God.

Psychological Integration
Attempts to heal the problem by naturalistic means can only provide a band-aid. It does not address the whole of the problem.

"As a result, the integration will be an attempt to relate what is broken in the person to the animals and the machines of it will ask for a romantic leap. Now this does not mean that there are no details which we can learn from these psychologist; there is much to lear from the insights, because they are brilliant men and good observers, but the whole does not meet the need, for it treats man as that which he is not." Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality page 129

Real Guilt & The Real Answer
"When a man is broken in these areas, he is confused, because he has the feelings of real guilt within himself, and yet he is told by modern thinkers that these are only guilt feelings" Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality page 131

On a counseling level we need to always be mindful of the indirect problem, which is sin. That sin produces real guilt and not just conditioned feelings. We also need to call those who profess such things on these misguided notions. At no point is a murder for example to be told that the guilt he/she feels is just a meaningless emotion he/she has been conditioned to feel. Nor is that person's malice or lack of guilt to be chalked up to mere events in one's life. Doing so is only to convey half truths.

"With all rationality in place, and consciously in place (on the basis of the existence of God and the finished, substitutionary work of Jesus Christ) my real guilt now is not overlooked, but is accepted as my responsibility because of my own deliberately doing what I know to be wrong. Then it is reasonably, truly and objectively dealt with in Christ's infinite substitutionary work. Now I can say to my conscience, be still!" Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality page 131

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