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7.24.2013

A sound psychology

Here is an interesting quote from somebody named James T. O'Brien, who is known for his reading wide and deep in the Puritans and his enthusiasm for them and for teaching about them:

Panelist: "Hey, Jim, since we're on this track, talk to us about the affections..."

James T. O'Brien: "The great thing that the Puritans bring to us, and we desperately need in contemporary Reformed theology in my opinion, is a sound psychology. I don't mean by that something like, uh, you know our modern psychologists, but the old meaning of psychology which is an analysis of how the soul functions, how the mind functions."

He said this on a 2009 podcast of the ReformedForum. It's about two-thirds of the way into the program.

It caught my attention because my experience with Christians and Christianity once I became regenerate from hearing the Bible from a television preacher in Arkansas (with unique doctrine, but he knew how to hook fish, so to speak), and then reading the Bible complete several times on my own, then finally coming around to desiring to know orthodox, on-the-mark biblical doctrine is Christian leaders and educators are really almost hallucinogenically shallow and also often asinine. That includes the academically oriented ones, it should go without saying, and not just the academically oriented liberal ones.

If you come to the faith with a complete development with higher influences, a rare development, including dark areas, occult and so on, things that make the shallow Christian leaders grin and think they know what you're talking about when they don't know their ass from their elbow on such subject matter, let alone great literature or ancient history or issues of liberty and tyranny or really anything else that doesn't involve an abiding fear of the world and the world's opinion, along with a glass-eyed lack of self-awareness of their own nature, and usually a secret mocking of the supernatural including any notion of a 'devil'...etc...I'll stop there... I.e. if you come to the faith not as the usual Christian type you instantly see the shallowness of the entire enterprise, and one of the elements of that shallowness is a total lack of understanding and awareness of their own nature, human nature, their fallen nature. There is also a lack of being broken by the world. Maybe the drunks and addicts have had that, but they generally are not students in their drunken and addicted years, it goes without saying; and they probably aren't even broken as well. Being a truly beaten down by the world individual who has a full development with higher influences and a balanced development of being in general is rare. So why am I even writing on a public blog...

Anyway, from my perspective I could see instantly that it was Calvinism and Reformed Theology that got at the truth of the Bible, and that the Puritans got the closest to the practical level of the faith. Not all the way there, but closest by far.

What they didn't reach is what James T. O'Brien is referencing in the quote above: a sound psychology. The old meaning of psychology. The only place that is currently available is in a source the average Christian couldn't handle let alone value. And me even mentioning the source will make the monkeys erupt in chorus in the trees (there's a reason you're not supposed to talk out of school, or, em, throw pearls before swine)...

You'll find that sound psychology, and old meaning of psychology in a book titled The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution and a bigger volume titled The Fourth Way. Both with Ouspensky's name on them, but they aren't his ideas, he's just teaching them. You'll of course find a host of lesser sources using the same language and ideas but this is where discernment comes into play. If you have it use it.

Be careful though: sound psychology...psychology that is the old meaning of psychology is not for everybody. It's available to anybody, but not for everybody. What usually happens is people read something like this and go to the source and mock it like atheists mock the Bible after reading it. It's not for everybody. But if you sense you need to have understanding of sound psychology (which is more than intellectual) then it's there.

I end with what I tell everybody lately: you don't want to be the most awake person in hell. Without the righteousness of Christ as the ground of your justification and sanctification you have nothing. Yet let's not let that fact scare people away from getting real understanding of themselves and the world around them. The shallowness in Christian environments from the podium to the back of the room stinks. It's pathetic. No soldier in the army of Christ can function at any effective level under the weight of such shallowness.

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