Friday, February 2, 2024

Jesus and Therapy


Should Christian seek therapy outside of the church?

~~ Watch the Video ~~


  • Proverbs 11:14
  • John 8:32
  • James 5:16
  • Galatians 3:23-26
  • Ephesians 2:8
  • Act 14:8-10
  • Luke 8:34-36
  • Proverbs 15:22-23
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
  • Matthew 21:22


Should Christians go to therapy?

Has anyone heard the term Jesus and Therapy?

Why do we need Jesus in therapy?

  • Prayer is a weapon… Therapy is a strategy

Proverbs 11:14

Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in an abundance of counselors there is victory.

There are many people suffering in church.

People are suffering from:

  • Miscarriages
  • Infertility
  • the death of a child
  • the loss of a sibling, parent, grandparent, spouses, or friend
  • fighting cancer
  • chronic illness
  • wayward children
  • family conflict
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • job loss
  • Financial burdens

People used to go to their priests and pastors with their relational, emotional, and mental concerns.   Now we are quick to tell people to seek therapy.

What role should the church have in dealing with ?

  • Addictions
  • Relationship issues
  • Mental health issues
  • Emotional issues (anxiety, depression)

What do you do when a brother or sister in Christ comes to you with a problem?

  • Marriage/dating problems
  • Sin issues
  • Emotional issues

Should you?

  • Listen.
  • Offer advice
  • Provide reassurance
  • Quote Bible verses
  • Pray
  • Exhort different behaviors
  • Empathize
  • Probe into forgotten memories.
  • Analyze their dreams

We will discuss models that different churches use to address emotional and mental health issues.  

We will discuss which issues are better addressed in therapy.


  • Introduction
  • Traits of Wholeness
  • Focusing on Objective Truth
  • Exhortation and Accountability
  • Sozo Ministries
  • Therapy
  • Alcoholic Anonymous
  • Discipleship vs Counseling
  • Issues Better Addressed By Therapy
  • Issues Better Addressed in Christian Communities
  • Conclusion

Traits of Wholeness

We are in our series called Seeking Wholeness

How can we be:

  • Spiritually healthy
  • Emotionally healthy
  • Mentally healthy

Free from oppression of

  • Our past
  • Ourself
  • Bad thinking
  • Strongholds
  • The enemy

We’re talking about

  • dealing with life’s current stresses
  • being healed from experiences/wounds of the past

We’re promised eternal life

  • We’re supposed to have: joy, peace, patience, and self control here on earth

Today we’re going to talk about spiritual growth and emotional growth

Traits of Wholeness

  1. Authenticity
  2. Honesty
  3. Kindness
  4. Not dependent on external approval / validation
  5. Living by values and principles
  6. Setting Boundaries
  7. Taking ownership of your responsibilities
  8. Living with purpose and passion
  9. Optimism
  10. Confidence
  11. Not losing control of your emotions
  12. Free from addictions
  13. Addressing Conflict with truth and love
  14. Vulnerability
  15. Not critical or Judgemental
  16. Not jealous of others
  17. Forgive those who have wronged you in the past
  18. Know that you’re worthy of receiving love
  19. Not afraid to fail
  20. Able to manage irrational fear, worry, and anxiety
  21. Selfless encounters with others
  22. Not manipulating others trying to control their actions/reactions
  23. You care about how others feel
  24. Patient
  25. Don’t give into peer/social pressure
  26. Can communicate without antagonizing others
  27. Recognize, manage, and take responsibility for their own thoughts and feelings
  28. Slow to anger
  29. Ability to maturely express your wants, needs and desires
  30. Can listen without reacting
  31. Can respect others without having to change them
  32. Can function well… Alone or with others
  33. Able to take responsibility for our own destiny in life
  34. Able to maintain a non-anxious presence in the midst of anxiety and stress
  35. Able to ask for what they need want or prefer clearly, directly and honestly
  36. Has the capacity to resolve conflict maturely
  37. Being led by the Spirit

Focusing on Objective Truth

John 8:32

 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Objective truth centers on the great doctrines of the faith and their relevance to life:

  • the sovereignty of God
  • the high priestly intercession of Christ
  • the promise of the Holy Spirit
  • the hope of eternal glory

Understanding these great truths, centering our thoughts on them, and rehearsing them in our minds will enable us to reason from truth in all of life’s trials, and our faith will be strong and vital.

It focuses on Reasoning from what we know about God —rather than — what we feel about ourselves.

Exhortation and Accountability

  • Exhortation and accountability

James 5:16

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much.

This is the model that most conservative evangelicals live by

The model

  • Determine what biblical principles of living are being violated
  • Provide instruction based on the authority of scripture.
  • Exhort conformity to those principles after confession and repentance
  • Follow up with accountability to see whether the good intentions were carried out

It can be defined by the words.

  • Exhortation.
  • Accountability

This model assumes that the cause always lies in a wrongly active will that must be firmly redirected

Criticism of the exhortation and accountability model

  1. known  more for their pressure than their graciousness
  2. This approach requires that people conform to standards, which are external to them
  3. The law has become the goal rather than a good escort to Christ

Galatians 3:23-26

23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the Law, being confined for the faith that was destined to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our guardian to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 For you are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Sozo Ministries


I will used the term “sozo” to group ministries of

  • Inner healing
  • Deliverance

In The Bible, The same Greek word is used to mean save, heal, and deliver…sozo

  • Salvation
  • Healing
  • Deliverance from demons and Satan

Therefore “Sozo“ is meant to be a complete healing emotional, mental physical, and spiritual


Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

  • the word save is the Greek word sozo

Physical Healing

Act 14:8-10

In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

  • “healed” is sozo


Luke 8:34-36

34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured.

  • The word “cure“ is Sozo

Deliverance Ministries

The generally agreed-upon definition of “deliverance ministry” will usually focus on the casting out of demons or spirits in an attempt to solve problems related to specific demons. For example, a deliverance minister may seek to help someone overcome anger by casting out a spirit of anger. Deliverance ministries also focus on tearing down spiritual strongholds in one’s life, finding inner healing, and claiming the victory in Christ over all enemies. Many refer to soul ties, curses, and the “legal rights” of demons.


Cast out demons of:

  • Anger
  • Alcoholism
  • Fear (anxiety)
  • Suicide / depression
  • Sexual addiction / pornography

Inner Healing

Inner healing ministries comprise a movement among Christians and churches that focuses on emotional and spiritual healing and freedom through repentance and forgiveness, prayer, and Scripture meditation. Such ministries are most common among those churches and parachurch groups influenced by the Charismatic movement which gained a foothold in Catholic and mainline Protestant churches in the early 1960’s; it is also a prominent ministry among Third Wave Charismatics and classical Pentecostals.

“Deep-level healing is a ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit aimed at bringing healing and freedom to the whole person ….focuses on healing the hurts held in memories, often by helping people to experience Jesus’ presence in the memories and to give to him the hurts”

 –Kraft, Defeating Dark Angels, [Ventura: Regal Books, 1992], 41

“Christian” inner healing practitioners use various techniques that take elements from psychotherapy, IFS therapy and “prayer journeys” that encourage people to remember past hurtful situations and visualize Jesus with them at that moment.


Ministry approach:

  • Get to the root of issues hindering your connection with the Godhead.
  • Reconnect with each member of the Trinity and receive a fresh revelation of God’s love.
  • Heal painful/traumatic wounds and memories.
  • Experience the life of freedom and wholeness that God has for you.

As the Holy Spirit leads, you’ll be invited to ask Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit questions about:

  1. Lies you’re believing
  2. Wounds that need healing
  3. People to forgive
  4. Unhealthy relational and/or generational ties
  5. Sins to renounce

–from Bethel Sozo

Objections to Inner Healing

Some claim that some of the techniques  used are taken from mysticism and  New Age methods (e.g. prayer journeys).

Others argue that

  1.  It is harmful to have prolonged dwelling on occurrences that evoke hurt or anger,
  2. the danger of basing our idea of God upon an image in our mind instead of the truth of who He is as revealed in Scripture
  3. opening the doors of our minds to demonic interference

Is Inner Healing Biblical?


Treatment and/or repair model

Proverbs 15:22-23

22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed. 23 A person has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word!

Jesus and Therapy- Jonathan McReynolds

Similar to the approach that Christians  see doctors for health issues even though they pray for and believe in supernatural healing.

Core idea of Psychology

Unhealthy, psychological processes that the patient did not recognize, and did not want to recognize lay hidden beneath visible problems and are, in fact, their source.  These processes were set in motion by contact with unhealthy people developed into organized and firmly fixed patterns called psychological dynamics.

The general idea is that something has been damaged in our internal pattern of processing ourselves and our lives, and that the damage needs to be fixed.  

Examples:  a personal identity that has been damaged by.

  • Abandonment
  • Rejection
  • abuse


There are many different theories of how the mind works and many different treatment approaches, but they all share this…

The verbal treatment involves 3 parts:

  1. Identify the psychological processes causing the presented concerns
  2. Decrease the patient’s resistance so that the unconscious dynamics become conscious
  3. Work through the unhealthy patterns triggered by earlier relationships until the patient replaces them with a healthier approach to handling life

Objections to Therapy

Hundreds of studies show that psychotherapy is better than nothing.

  • It is harder to prove that what is helping are the reasons suggested by the theories.

Different therapists might give a patient completely different explanations for their problems.  The interpretations stem from a number of theories about how the mind works. The only problem is that no one knows which of the theories – if any – match reality.

Patients tend to fit the words they say into the therapist's theoretical mode.

  • Patients of Jungians notice archetypes in their dreams.
  • Patients of cognitive therapists eventually report irrational, automatic sentences that run through their heads.
  • Patients to psychoanalytically oriented therapist remember forgotten, traumas and project what they feel towards their parents onto the therapist

Studies have shown the different therapies work equally as well.

Alcoholic Anonymous

A Stanford researcher and two collaborators conducted an extensive review of Alcoholics Anonymous studies and found that the fellowship helps more people achieve sobriety than therapy does.

After evaluating 35 studies — involving the work of 145 scientists and the outcomes of 10,080 participants — Keith Humphreys, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and his fellow investigators determined that AA was nearly always found to be more effective than psychotherapy in achieving abstinence.

AA works because it’s based on social interaction, Humphreys said, noting that members give one another emotional support as well as practical tips to refrain from drinking.

“If you want to change your behavior, find some other people who are trying to make the same change,” he said.

  —Stanford Medicine

Humphreys is a member of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute at Stanford


AA came out of the Christian revivalist Oxford Group

12 step programs have the highest success rate

Discipleship vs Counseling

Maybe discipleship defined as “counseling of the soul“ is the reality and psychotherapy is the imitation

We have wrongly defined soul wounds as psychological disorder, and have delegated the treatment to trained specialists.  

– Dr. Larry Crabb, psychologist and Christian counselor (Connecting)

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Psychologist are ultimately people who are trained in a special type of talking

“Professional counseling is a specialized form of talking that we assume only highly trained people can practice. But that assumption is not well supported by the evidence.”  

Example: Studies show that you will feel better if you talk to someone you trust about:

  • Anorexia
  • Depression
  • Difficulty with significant people in your life

People improve when they go to therapy, but it doesn’t seem to matter what type of therapy they go to.

The conclusion is that.

What helps is focused, well-meaning conversations about problems

Christian Communities

Larry Crabb, in his book Connecting, suggests that “soul issues” are better addressed by Christian communities

  • Life groups
  • Growth groups
  • Accountability groups

Soul Care

If soul care involves pouring something good out of one person into another … if releasing, what is good is more central  to healing, then requiring what is right or repairing what is wrong… Then the helper must have something to pour

Skill in giving matters, but not as much as having something to give

Community Requirements

The community will care for the souls of its people through

  • friends
  • shepherds
  • spiritual directors

The ideal cure is to find a community of believers who are

  • Conscientious
  • Non defensive
  • Caring

Community members who

  • Engage each other
  • Honor confidence
  • Let themselves actually care when they hurt
  • Believe in each other
  • Involve themselves because they think the others are actually worth caring about

Spiritual directors (in a church) need to

  • Mentor
  • Give Hope
  • Discern the deepest recesses of the soul.
  • Have sensitivity to what the spirit is doing.
  • Offer one’s presence to another.
  • Immerse themselves in spiritual theology.
  • Grow through involvement with their own spiritual Director.
  • Read widely.
  • Ponder  lessons from life and the arts
  • Learn to recognize and disrupt the evil passions of the flesh.
  • Have a vision of what could be released in another’s life
  • Have an understanding of
    • Biblical anthropology,
    •  trinitarian theology.
    • New covenant blessing.

Issues Better Addressed By Therapy

There are 2 types of problems.

  1. Those that require the service of a technically trained professional.
  2. Those that represent struggles in the soul

Benefits of a Trained Therapist

Training achieves 3 things.

  • It promotes a higher sense of ethical commitment.
  • It encourages the trainee to better handle the patient's hostility and resistance without becoming defensive.
  • It tends to increase a therapist's human quality.
  • Empathy
  • Concern for another’s well-being

Issues Better Suited for Therapist

Empirically researchable concerns with predictable pattern in terms of

  • Cause
  • Nature
  • Resolution

Concepts that are best understood by empirical research are best handled by a qualified professional

  • High-level study of relevant research.
  • A growing mastery of its conclusions and implications through formal training and ongoing practice
  • Supervised experience in dealing with the presented concerns
  • Credentials, granted by an appropriate regulatory body certifying, technical and procedural competence in handling a range of problems

These personal concerns fall into 4 categories

Those that are caused or significantly aggravated by organic factors and/or can be meaningfully relieved through physiological or chemical intervention

  • Psychotic reactions.
  • Severe affective disturbances
    • Especially bipolar reactions.
  • Attention deficit disorder.
  • Clinical depression.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Some cases of sexual dysfunction
    • Impotence.
    • Premature ejaculation.
    • Orgasmic inability

Those that reflect largely nonmoral process of learning and conditioning

  • Slow learning
  • Poor reading skills.
  • Related Behavioral disturbances.
  • Certain anxiety disorders.
  • Phobias
  • Panic attack

Those that pose a significant threat to social well-being for social order.

  • Suicidal impulses.
  • Antisocial behavior.

Those that represent ignorance of affective technique or understanding

  • Marital communication patterns.
  • Handling teen rebellion.
  • Vocational guidance

Issues Better Addressed in Christian Communities

Concerns of the soul

  • Most personality disorders.
  • Narcissistic, borderline, dissociative identity disorder.
  • Non-extreme mood patterns.
  • Mild to moderate depression.
  • Existential despair
    • Often confused with severe depression
  • Relational difficulties.
  • Inability to get close to others.
  • Most marriage tensions.
  • Alienating relationship styles.
  • Anger and impulse control

Everyday problems.

  • Insecurity.
  • Indecisiveness.
  • Superficiality (Denial)
  • Resentment.
  • sexual struggles.
    • Perversion and addictions.

Their root lies in disconnection, and a flesh driven response to life’s disappointments

It is wrong to conceptualize these problems as evidenced of the damaged self caused by life experiences

Problems of the soul are more accurately defined as the effort to handle life challenges


We often ask “what words will help”?

We need to ask… “ what needs helping that words can do something about“?

  • Are there repressed emotions that uncovering words can surface?
  • Are people indifferent to their responsibilities and need rebuking words.
  • Are they confused about what to do… And looking for words of wise counsel?
  • Do our problems stem from forgetting that God cares?
  • Are encouraging words the most helpful?
  • Is pouring words into people the answer?

What good counselors do resembles

  • Real friends
  • Wise shepherds
  • Seasoned spiritual directors

When problems that reflect physical or practical matters of living arise, a healthy community will gladly refer people to professional experts for help.  But the community will care for the souls of its people through friends, shepherds, and spiritual directors.

Qualifications for a good counselor, have more to do with wisdom and character than with training and degrees

Loving God, and loving others, lives at the center of God’s community

As long as the resources of the community are underdeveloped, professional counseling will occupy a legitimate place.

You cannot follow God fully if you are not emotionally healthy

  • Unhealthy Addictions
  • Sin patterns
  • Emotionally triggered

The main goal is to get healed

There is nothing wrong with a Christians seeking therapy

Heal people see different


All of the methods mentioned have healed many people from their issues.

Many times your healing is dependent on your faith

Research has shown that therapeutic treatment success depends on the patients' trust in the therapist and confidence in the method.  

  • For therapy to work you have to believe in the therapist and a method they are using

Similarly many of the Christian methods depend on the faith.  

  • Jesus and the apostles proclaimed “by your faith you were healed”.

Matthew 21:22

 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.”


Connecting (book)

Larry Crabb

Spiritual Warfare 7

Constructing a Wesleyan Theology and Practice of Inner Healing — Firebrand Magazine

What is inner healing, and is it biblical? |—%20involving,than%20psychotherapy%20in%20achieving%20abstinence

Todd White destroys the deception of inner healing

Living gospel


Psalm 30:2 (ESV)

"LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me."

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

1 Corinthians 12:26

26And if one part of the body suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if a part is [t]honored, all the parts rejoice with it.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” – Romans 12:15

Isaiah 61:1-3

1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,

Because the LORD anointed me

To bring good news to the humble;

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

To proclaim release to captives

And freedom to prisoners;

2To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD

And the day of vengeance of our God;

To comfort all who mourn,

3To grant those who mourn in Zion,

Giving them a garland instead of ashes,

The oil of gladness instead of mourning,

The cloak of praise instead of a disheartened spirit.

So they will be called oaks of righteousness,

The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

some people grew up

  • Not being able to trust anyone
  • Never experienced being respected
  • Their feelings were not allowed
    • Never learned how to express their feelings
  • Not allowed to be a child


Empathy is more than the ability to recognize emotion in others; it requires understanding the impact of emotions on the person experiencing them. At the core of empathy is knowing what it would be like to feel the same way, or experience the same emotions as someone else.

The value of empathy is in developing relationships that are based on trust. Leaders with a high level of empathy are often seen as more trustworthy than those whose ability to empathize is not as strong.


In the mid-1950s, Brittany psychologist, Hans Eysenck rocked the world of therapy when he discovered that people improved just as much without psychotherapy as they did with it.  

People who

  • Lived in community.
  • Talked to friends about their problems.

Seemed to deal with their concerns as well as an individual who made a therapist, their primary community for discussing their issues

  • His conclusions have been widely discredited

Branches of Psychology


  • The study of how people function.


  • I study of what goes wrong and why


  • The study of how to use words to fix what is wrong

What then should the church do?

  • Center on connection.
  • Focus on what it means to become dispensers of grace accompanied by wisdom.
  • Develop, shepherds, friends, and spiritual directors.

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