Looking Inward Is Not The Path To Piety

Richard Ganz condemns the growing popularity in Christian circles of such self-exploratory therapies as “healing of memories,” which Pious Eye would note (from his own observation and experience) seem very popular in seminary “spiritual formation” courses. (Politically correct lamenting over, and inculcation of personal guilt for, various social inequities one personally has neither contributed to nor [so far as one can discern] benefited from, also seems very popular in such courses…but that is a subject for another time.)

The push towards “healing of memories” is dangerous for the church because it starts from false presuppositions and leads to gross doctrinal error. Not only does this view of man prevent God’s people from dealing with their sin in the only efficacious manner available (through repentance and received forgiveness through Christ), it also implies that one can live the life that was possible before the entry of sin into the race. This erroneous doctrine is not a new phenomenon….In the early church the doctrine was given a name—Pelagianism—and condemned….Was Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees [in Matthew 23:25-6] intended to serve as a model for deep digging within [as, for example, in “healing of memories” and many seminaries’ “spiritual formation” courses]? No. When Jesus calls the Pharisees to “clean the inside of the cup,” He is not concerned with the Pharisees taking a prolonged inner journey. His concern is simply that they clean up their less visible acts—greed and self-indulgence. These are inner attitudes that outwardly manifest themselves in actions. These men were not commanded to look deeply within. Rather they were told to live righteously in the realm of their actions and their thoughts….Real change will not be accomplished from an inner search, except as it is necessary to identify unrecognized or unrepented thoughts or attitudes that may be impelling us to evil actions.
Richard Ganz, PsychoBabble: The Failure of Modern Psychology—and the Biblical Alternative, pages 56, 66-7 in the 1993 Crossway edition.

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