(Written about 1990)


“Christian counseling” has become a very prominent feature of the Church of
Jesus Christ. The fact that the general area of “counseling” is rife with the
philosophies of man results in great danger that the “wisdom” of this world will
infiltrate the message of the Church at the expense of the wisdom of God. A
growing deception found in Christian counseling (and throughout society) is the
false gospel of “self-esteem” which is incompatible with the Biblical Gospel of
the Cross of Jesus Christ.

Increasingly, the counseling mentality is that “low self-esteem” is the root
cause of a teenager deciding to engage in pre-marital sex or of a house-wife who
is always depressed. In fact, prominent Christian personalities can be heard to
claim that society’s greatest problem is that of “low self-esteem”, and that
everything from abortion, school drop-outs, teen pregnancy to rape, robbery, and
poverty can be solved if only we help people to esteem themselves more highly;
to love themselves more and more; and to realize their great self-worth!

Those of us who call ourselves Bible-believing Christians must ask some
crucial questions. Is mankind’s problem a lack of self-esteem or is it pride,
self-centeredness and rebellion? Is the answer to our problem “building
self-esteem” or is it brokenness and repentance at the foot of the Cross? And
how about my “self-worth”? Doesn’t God’s Word say that in-and-of my “self” I am
worthy of eternal hell?


The origin of the theology of “selfism” can be found in Isaiah 14:12-14 where
Satan’s long list of self-exalting “I will’s” are recorded. Satan then took his
message of “Self” to the Garden of Eden in Genesis three where, in the form of
the serpent, he told Eve that she could be her own god and decide for herself
what is right and wrong. Revelation 12:9 says, “…that serpent, Satan, who
deceives the whole world.”


Far from exalting or esteeming “self”, Jesus says in Matthew 16 that we
should deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow him. Jesus says in Matthew
22:34-40 that the two (not three, but two!) greatest commandments are to love
God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus wasn’t, also, giving us a third
commandment to love ourselves. He was acknowledging that even in our sin nature
we love ourselves already: we feed ourselves, we clothe ourselves. He is saying,
“Now, go and serve other people like you are already serving yourself.”

The whole Christian life is built upon dying to self and serving God and
serving people. We are to get our eyes off of self and fix our “eyes on Jesus
the author and perfector of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). People-in-need must
realize that they are helpless and hopeless, but, “While we were yet sinners
Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Through repentance we find forgiveness and
then a life of surrender; of trusting and obeying. What we must respond to is,
not any sense of our own worth, but the fact that Jesus loves us and has a
purpose for our lives, and he wants to use us!


The Bible says that there is coming a one-world religion whose inspiration is
the author of “Selfism”. May we never take part in synthesizing the Evangelical
Church into that one-world religion. First Timothy 4:1 tells us that, “In latter
times some will abandon the faith and follow after seducing spirits and the
doctrines of devils.” And 2 Timothy 3 warns, “But mark this: There will be
terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves…” and
chapter three goes on to list the inevitable results of a self-absorbed society.

As we counsel people in the midst of crisis or tragedy or trouble of any
kind, I pray that we will give them Jesus, and him crucified; having confidence
that in his word, God, “…has given us everything we need for life and
godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3)


“Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem”

Four Ways Christians Are Deceived

Lucifer, the Garden of Eden, & the Tower of Babel

Questions for Christians about Psychology

Humanistic & Transpersonal Psychology 1 of 2

The Human Potential Movement