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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Religious Psychology – by F. Pieper (not DOXOLOGY)

      Continuing my project of presenting the full text of Franz Pieper's original German edition of his Christliche Dogmatik.... (All volumes are polished, but now proofing Vol. 1a)
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      As I began proofing Vol. 1a, I ran into one of my favorite subjects from Pieper – Psychology.  I am interested because I was at one time being "treated" by "professional" Psychologists and Psychiatrists... so I know their "wisdom".  Let the reader pick up any book purporting to know about this subject, or watch/listen to the "pop" psychologists on TV or radio or on the Web.  You will probably get a dose of the world's "Psychology" when you meet with subjects like "leadership", "motivation", "parenthood", "marriage counseling", "stress management", also, "weight loss" or cures to stop smoking, etc, etc.  Even "pastoral counseling" gets into the act, e.g. Doxology's Director for Spiritual Care is a (woman) Professor of Psychology, a licensed clinical psychologist.   Doxology's claims (as previously noted) are as follows:
DOXOLOGY offers an innovative program of advanced study retreats to strengthen pastors for the task of faithfully shepherding the souls entrusted to their care.
DOXOLOGY provides pastors with a unique study and renewal experience, rooted in the classic art of the care of souls (cura animarum) and informed by the insights of contemporary Christian psychology. [all emphases are mine]
But how does Prof. Franz Pieper treat this subject of Religious Psychology?  On pages 13-15 in both the German and English editions of Volume 1, Pieper continues from the teaching of "only 2 religions in the world" to the subject of "Religious Psychology".
The following translation is mine; emphasis (underlining) in original, highlighting is mine:
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But this point [of only 2 religions] was and is objected to in that the old theologians and even Luther have lacked the necessary psychological, historical and philosophical consideration of religions for the right classification of religions.  These branches of knowledge have been given due attention only in recent times. But even here there is a self-deception.  We also do not come about by means of the psychology of religion, the history of religion, and the philosophy of religion to the number of 2 significantly different religions.
Concerning the psychological  analysis of religion, it has been pointed out with great energy the "similarity" of the "psychological phenomena" in non-Christians and Christians.  Because the older theologians have overlooked this similarity, so it was not possible for them to put the Christian religion with non-Christian under one genus.  But the alleged similarity of psychological phenomena among Christians and non-Christians will disappear immediately once we examine them comparatively.  Instead of similarity there is the polar opposite.  In the non-Christian soul, we find the following psychological phenomena: the sense of guilt or a bad conscience, the fear of punishment and thus the internal flight from God, the desire to avert the punishment by their own works, and because the striving does not lead to the desired goal, the state of the fear of death and hopelessness. Eph. 2:12; Heb. 2:15.   In the Christian soul, we find the opposite conditions and movements: a good conscience through faith in the redemption that is in Christ Jesus [Romans 5:1], not internal flight from God, but joyful access to God [Romans 5:2],  not fear of death and hopelessness, but triumph over death [1 Cor. 15:55] and the certain hope of eternal life. [Rom. 5:2]  So  the "similarity" of the psychological conditions and phenomena is reduced to the fact that both classes, non-Christians and Christians, have only a purely formal  similarity of their common human nature in respect to a human soul and spiritual movements.  As regards the direction and the stated quality of the movements, so they are not a similarity, but an utter contrast exists.  It is also not to be forgotten in the study of religious psychology that the souls of the non-Christians, according to Christ's reliable testimony, are the dwelling and workplace of the “strong man armed” who “keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace” [Luke 11:21] while the Christian souls are inhabited and driven by the Spirit of God, [1 Cor. 3:16; Rom. 8:11-14] for which the Apostle Paul also appeals to the experience of former Gentiles and Jews, who have undergone both psychological stages. [Eph. 2:2-3; 1 Cor. 12:2; Eph. 2:11-12]  Because  now the prince of this world and the Holy Spirit do not produce essentially the same, but two different psychological phenomena in the soul directly opposite each other, so also psychology applied to religion leads us not on a uniform concept of religion, but rather on two essentially different religions.
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So what happens when a church's teaching weakens from that of Franz Pieper, weakens from the strength of the Lutheran Confessions, weakens on the preaching of the Gospel itself?  It starts programs like... Doxology!... with "INNOVATIVE" programs of "ADVANCED", "UNIQUE" studies for "RENEWAL EXPERIENCES" informed by "CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN PSYCHOLOGY" presented by "HIGH-ENERGY SPEAKERS".  A better name for this type of institution would be 'MIXOLOGY', (a contraction of 'mixed theology'), not 'DOXOLOGY'.  — Indeed, Pieper essentially equates two things:
  1. The work of the Prince of this world and
  2. Psychology applied to religion
==>> Note to Doxology:
Here is an advanced studies tip: Back To Luther!... teaching UOJ (Universal, Objective Justification).

Oh, and Doxology, I want to add that you may think that this blog post is only to warn against your type of counsel.  But you would be wrong in that I read my blog posts because I need true Christian counsel... regularly, and so I will be reading this blog post regularly to read over and over (ad nauseum) the true Christian counsel of... Prof. Franz Pieper.

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