The ‘need’ Theology of Today

an apologetic summary

Reflecting on needs, I wish to first direct our attention on one of the biggest lies that has invaded the church in the last decade. This lie has become so strong and prevalent that it has changed the doctrine of sin in the Bible. And yet the Bible is used to support this lie by reinterpreting Scripture. This lie is: All sinful behaviour is a wrong attempt at meeting basic needs. The essence of sin is man living independently of God who said that He will meet all of our needs as we live our life ‘in Christ’. [i] Bobgan best states the case:

‘Many Christians believe the humanistic lie that when people’s needs are met, they will be good, loving people. Through the influence of humanistic psychology, they believe that people sin because their needs are not met. Some say that teenagers rebel because their needs are not met. However, Scripture does not bear this out. Adam and Eve had it all. There was no need in their lives that was not being met to its fullest, and yet they chose to sin, have their own way, disbelieve God, believe a lie, and love self more than God’. Bobgin

What do you and I need according to Scripture?

WE NEED FORGIVENESS (which we do not deserve). I need to recognize my need of mercy in light of my lostness, not help to improve my shortcomings.

WE NEED A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (who has every right to ignore us). We need to recognize God’s graciousness because of His goodness, not obligation to our needs.

WE NEED A NEW LIFE (for our lives without God is not worth living). All we have lived prior to salvation is to be discarded as worthless. We are not to see God as a superior means of achieving our self motivated goals of the self life.

WE NEED HOPE FOR OUR FUTURE (aside from Christ there is a hopeless eternity) We need to recognize God’s gift of a future not His obligation because we are created in His image.


-understanding what motivates me to sinful acts does not diminish the seriousness of the crime. Sin is sin regardless of circumstances and we are fully accountable for each act at the judgment without appeal.

“..are we accountable for all decisions which we have made, be they wise or unwise, good or evil? The answer must surely be, ‘Yes!’. Whilst we admit that parental upbringing, our cultural education, elements of heredity, and the matter of circumstances may well have conditioned us towards certain decisions, yet we are morally responsible for those decisions. If we are not, then it means that a human being is close to being ‘a chip on the ocean’, i.e. tossed about vagrantly by the elements we have just mentioned. Of course we seek to off-load our responsibility and accountability on others, but by nature of the case we cannot be successful. Our own consciences will not let us off that (sic) hook!” [ii]

Look to Christ, who was without sin, there were many circumstances in His life that could have motivated Him to sin, but He chose not to – there is no circumstance or relationship that warrants or justifies sin. [iii]

-tries to minimize natural depravity by rational excuses

-people are encouraged to reconstruct, understand their pasts so to modify their present condition. Your character, presently, is who you really are

-humanistic psychology works at justifying our present condition or unrighteous responses by shifting the blame from self to outside influences.

-with humanistic psychology there is no need then to repent, humble ourselves and receive mercy, only the need to understand the why’s of our present unhappy personhood.

-self esteem is another glorified word for pride. Saying we don’t function well because of the lack of pride is ludicrous. The more proud man is, as opposed to humble, the less likely he is to be holy.

-the psychological way – first learn to forgive yourself (its not all your fault), love yourself then you will be able to love others and in turn trust God. The biblical way – God loves individuals and as they receive His conditions of relationship, they love Him and in turn love others.

-psychology does address how the human nature functions; but it must be understood that it is the study of the human in sin! This study does make some sense, even all the varieties of psychotherapy, because it recognizes man’s sinful motivation. Psychology, at best, is the study of sinful man, its conclusions can therefore only appeal to the sinfulness of man (self edification, justification) and not the holiness of God. The victimized self sees hell as a travesty of justice in light of psychology.

-Crabb’s premise – how can you obey unless you understand why you disobey?

-also, people sin because their needs are not being met?

-we sin because of unmet needs? No, we are sinners because we resent/demand others meet our needs, being often angry at the world or God for not accommodating my need for happiness.

“Anger is generally raised by four things, i.e. heredity, parental upbringing, environment, and circumstances. The angry person resents these things, blames them as responsible for his present condition, and is angry with others and particularly with God that He has not handled these things in a better way.” GEOFFREY BINGHAM

“..a counselee may find emotional relief from his distress or reconstruct his behaviour and yet miss the underlying root of his bad feelings and bad behaviour; a bad heart. That is, a heart that is stubbornly bent on finding relief from LIFE’S pain….. [the pain that is the result of being out of the will of God] .. if relief is your goal, then you can get relief through psychotherapy [and still preserve your pride]. Brant [my input]

-psychotherapy appeals to Christians who have not yet humbled themselves as sinners (total depravity). They therefore do not see their need for mercy (through Christ and the new life from God) but only want help from God to improve the ‘old man’ who was corrupted by past influences.

-does each trauma in life further destroy my opportunity of happiness?

-does trauma make people be the way they are or do people justify the way they are by binding themselves to the past and therefore saving pride by not having to admit to who and what they are really like.

-therapy does not give us freedom, it does give relief and a certain satisfaction of being able to rationally justify my present state. (cf. ‘Conscience’ notes)

-we are a new creation in Christ Jesus because the Spirit gives us a heart change not behavioural changes.

-therapy leaves us not feeling we have to answer God for lack of love because we now have a justifiable reason for not loving through our traumas. Trauma is to blame not choices. [iv]

-our personal history should never be used to excuse our present sinful behaviour!

I need to proclaim the truths of Christ and His sufficiency, not appeal to one’s need to justify one’s present condition. If their heart has/is being drawn by the Father, he will be set them free from their self image (not identity). If he doesn’t hear, he’s refusing to humble himself before God to receive mercy through the blood-spilled act of Christ. 1 Jn 4:5, 6

-God condemned men who repeated or furthered the sins of their fathers, He never sympathized or softened His judgment because they had a bad example to follow. JUDGES 2:19; 1 SAM 12:15; 2 CHRON 30:7FF; JER 16:11FF; MATT 23:30FF


“If we didn’t already love ourselves, we wouldn’t care whether or not we felt good about ourselves.” [v]

[i] . Dr. Neil T. Anderson, Resolving Personal Conflicts training manual.

[ii] . The Cleansing of the Memories; new creation publications; Australia; Geoffrey Bingham; page 7

[iii] . man has power of his will which is energized by the mental concept of himself and the world around him. Man cannot be controlled without willingness to be controlled (Ro 6:12-16). However, because the mental concept of himself and the world is corrupt he is motivated to pursue satisfaction sinfully, often at the expense of others peoples well being. His refusal to acknowledge the truth (Jn 1:9) is wilful rebellion supported by a growing pride of his own evaluation of truth/events which tends to give him a false sense of security.

[iv] .-those in hell choose/chose not to be forgiven, especially on God’s terms, for pride will not receive free salvation but wishes to rely upon excuses, justification, works, religion etc. As a result man cannot know himself as he truly is but only his own created image of himself; worshiping himself, idolatry. Rebellion against God’s judgement and put self image above the mercy of God.

[v] . RBC M R Dehaan

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