The orthodox Christian theology of Hadley Robinson

James Dobson - A man above Scrutiny

by Hadley Robinson

It is no casual observation that James Dobson is essentially above scrutiny among those in the American Evangelical church.  After all, he has taken on the homosexual lobby, loves little children, and has been openly pro-life in a culture that is bitterly hostile to Biblical moral standards.  As he is the enemy of many who are clearly the enemies of godliness, we must consider him a friend and ally – and so goes the thinking, more or less.

Therefore, the reaction from Protestant evangelicals to anyone questioning Dobson's views and policies is akin to the average member of the church of Rome questioning the Pope – it just is not done.  At the worst, one will become the object of the anger and hostility of others.

Nonetheless, in the culture wars, Biblical orthodox Christians have many non-Christian allies, including the Muslims, the Hindus, the Mormons, and the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Dobson's views on child raising are well known.  His books on the subject have sold in the millions.

But what is at issue is his mixing the godless and anti-Christian science of psychology and the Bible.  For this he gets a free pass.

It is a form of syncretism – a common error of God's people throughout history when that which is godly and good is mixed with the culture and religion of the people they live among.

For example, ancient Israel repeatedly adopted the false faith of her neighbors.  We often wonder how sane humans could, as Israel often did, burn incense to a statue or call on the same for help?  So Israel did not just abandon worship of the LORD but routinely combined it with the worship of gods which are not gods at all.

The LORD took a place alongside the Asherah and Baals in the Temple.  So, with Dobson, pagan humanistic psychology takes a place alongside the Bible without regard to the latter's explicit teaching on what is wrong with the human race.  The Bible is replete with warnings from cover to cover that we are not to mix the truth with error.

We see this when Moses returned from the mountain in Exodus 32:4.  It was a not a denial of the LORD, just a slight modification of exactly who He is and what form He assumes.  Of course, it was false and detestable but it seemed reasonable and appropriate to God's high priest, Aaron.  And such is the lure and subtlety of syncretism.  As someone said, to teach 90% of the truth is to teach a lie.

James Dobson's teachings appeal to millions for the same reason nearly all of Israel could adopt the Golden Calf depicted in the book of Exodus.

What is the issue with psychology, especially when it is mixed with Biblical truth?  The first and most serious error is that psychology, by its very nature, denies that disobedience to God (sin) is the root of all our behavioral problems.

Instead, this largely pseudo-science assumes that humans are so many sacks of potatoes.  As a result, we are not evil but just unwell.  If we have a pathological behavioral problem, we need to get better.  This can mean the taking of medicines (psychotropic drugs) or being counseled by a psychiatrist or psychologist.  It is the same reason many pastors refer to the church as a hospital for sinners.  Sin is just a sickness that can be cured.  This implies that we just cannot help how we are and that, somehow, we are really not to blame for our evil deeds.  But is it correct to blame others for what we, in fact, do? 

People have tremendous confidence in the sciences – and rightly so.  It has been God's good pleasure in these last days to pour out His mercy upon all through the medical arts, for example.  To fill the void once filled by godly Biblical counseling, the idea of the state licensed clinical psychologist was born.  But because people's vices can be intractable, mind-altering drugs given from the hand of another state licensed, state sanctioned counselor – the psychiatrist – was born.  On top of this, the psychiatrist is also a trained medial doctor.  This is not to say a person's mind cannot be sick, as with dementia.  But things like dementia are not sin issues.  Anger, for example, is a sin issue, and not a medical one.  Men will be thrown into Hell because of their anger, not because they are demented.  Worry is not an illness of the mind that can be cured with drugs or alcohol, it is faithless behavior that is evil.

While this, to say the least, is an overly simplified explanation of the origins of the clinical psychologist, the results are the same:  Instead of people acknowledging that sin is the root of their problems, they comfort themselves that it really is the fault of their dead uncle who was mean to them when they were children, i.e., it's not my fault.  Also very popular these days is the diagnosis that one is bi-polar.  This is the reason why one can be ugly to someone one minute and nice the next.  The solution is mind altering (psychotropic) drugs.  The result is the same:  It is not my fault.

The mixing of Biblical truth with the so-called science of psychology can never succeed.  But to those who are largely ignorant of the Bible or whose faith is shaky, the mix seems reasonable.  Dobson's appeal to evangelical Christians, especially pastors, is evidence that churches have not been teaching the truth about sin and Biblical repentance for a long time.

As this author has written elsewhere, there are large evangelistic organizations which promote false gospels that minimize sin, repentance, and godly obedience for the saved.  Campus Crusade is one of these and is not the slightest bit ashamed over its Four Spiritual Laws tract that begins with the magic paradigm of this immoral and narcissistic age:  What's in it for me?

In a word, Christian psychology is an oxymoron as it, like Christian Science, is neither Christian nor scientific.

Dobson has taken intense heat from the culture for opposing homosexual behavior.  But such is the nature of psychology: how is deviant/sick behavior defined?  Who decides?  As we have seen over the years, psychologists meet together and decide what is sick/deviant – it's based on a vote.  So, 50 years ago homosexuality was deviant and abnormal.  Today it is not.

Be sure of this: pagan psychologists will soon define blind faith in some god as abnormal and those who think so will be prescribed psychotropic drugs.

Dobson just happens to come out on the Biblical side in his attacks on homosexual behavior.  But why has he been so public in his denunciations?  If he knew more of the Bible, he would have read in Romans 1 that homosexual behavior is the natural and just punishment of those who deny the Creator nor give Him thanks.  That is, homosexuality is the inescapable result of various forms of godlessness.  Therefore, how can anyone, even James Dobson, take it on in the culture?  Homosexuals cannot and will not change by any art or science of man.  Can they, like any man, be saved?  Of course – but it's not up to us to change them.  That is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Adultery is equally odious and detestable in God's eyes.  Why has Dobson not condemned the adulterer with equal vehemence?  Simply, it is because there are so many of them everywhere, in and out of the churches.  Countless numbers of adulterers have satisfied themselves with endless excuses, including the false comfort that the state can disjoin the bond of marriage, which, as John the Baptist aptly proclaimed, it cannot.

Dobson's foray into politics has been disastrous for the Church as it has minimized the Church's Biblical role in the culture to be a holy people filled with the fruit of righteousness.  Instead, true Christians are lumped in with the followers of Mr. Dobson as bigoted, mean and self-righteous actors.  The Church's message of both hope and judgment is lost in the ensuing melee: The world must repent and turn to Christ – or perish.

If the millions and millions influenced by the likes of James Dobson and Bill Bright are on the right track, why is our nation suffering more than ever from divorce, immorality, and abortion?  Apparently, some think we are better off but this is not in accord with the facts.

Meanwhile, the religious cafeteria goes on, "Come right up and take just what you like – and leave the rest."