Counseling

Q/A Friday: Should a Christian Use Hypnotism?

Hypnosis is when someone’s mind is induced to a state of consciousness where a person supposedly loses any power of voluntary actions and is, thus, responsive to suggestions or directions given by others. It comes from the Greek term hypnos, which means “sleep”; it literally is translated “to put to sleep” in ancient Greek literature. The use of hypnosis was not popularized until the late 18th century.

For the Christian, the use of hypnosis – no matter what the reason may be – is not a wise choice.

#1 – We are never to give over our mind or bodies to the control of someone or something else. When it comes to our mind and body, there are two options for who controls us – God or sin (Romans 6:16-23). The individual who choose to be hypnotized is willingly giving their mind over for control to someone else – not God.

#2 – Usually one who is hypnotized is looking for a solution to a dilemma, and it is the aim of the hypnotist to help them discover that solution within themselves. The problem? Solutions to our problems are not found from within but from without. Our turning for help should always be the Lord Jesus Christ who already endured hardships like us (Hebrews 12:2). Paul said in Romans 7:18 that nothing good dwells naturally within him. Only the Lord can give us the needed direction and guidance and we do not find Him by emptying our minds and giving another person control over it.

#3 – Hypnosis a means by which we let our guards down, and the Bible teaches us to guard ourselves (Proverbs 4:23). When we choose hypnosis, we are vulnerable and susceptible to evil attacks.

#4 – Hypnosis is an enemy of self-control. Self-control implies that we have mastered our own bodies and not that we have given control to another (Galatians 5:22-23).

While there is no direct “do not participate in hypnosis” in Scripture, it is unwise to choose this method for any reason. It is recommended that one struggling with hypnosis seek a biblical counselor for assistance in addressing whatever concerns them.

If you have a question you would like to submit to our blog to be answered in the future, please email it to charlesheck@cox.net or post your question in the comments section.

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Biblical Counseling Resources from The Master’s College

Dr. John Street, who is a professor at The Master’s College (TMC), gives us an overview of the biblical counseling degree program.

Recently, TMC released a large number of counseling classes for free on YouTube. If you are interested in watching some of them, here is a sampling of 5 lectures you can watch.

 

Start with Your Heart

HeartPaul Tripp is one of my favorite authors/speakers when it comes to dealing with heart issues. I have been reading his book Sex and Money: Pleasures That Leave You Empty and Grace That Satisfies. I greatly appreciate his willingness to not deal with the peripheral or secondary matters when it comes to the subjects of sex and money. How easy it would be to write a book about the danger of pornography or the foolishness of getting into debt.

In this book, Tripp prefers to leave those matters for others. His approach to the issues of sex and money is to address the heart, for that is the root of all kinds of evil (Mark 7:20-23).

And in Chapter 3 of this book, entitled “So Why Do We Do the Things We Do?”, he explains the principles of the heart.

First, we must understand “what the Bible is talking about when it talks about the heart.” The heart is the core of all of our emotions, will, thoughts, desires, etc. No one forces us to think or do anything; it all originates in the heart. That is our “control center.”

Second, we must understand “that the heart is always functioning under the rule of something.” It has been informed or educated by something or someone.

Third, we must understand that “what controls your heart will direct your behavior.” In the Christian life, and especially discipleship and counseling, our goal is not outward behavioral change but heart change. Jesus said, “… out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Our behavior is dictates by what is in our heart. Therefore, when addressing problems, we address the core issues in the heart. Our thoughts, actions and behaviors all come from the heart (Prov 4:23). Evil and obedience comes from the heart (Ps 4:7; Prov 16:5).

Fourth, we must understand “that this side of eternity” our “heart is susceptible.” We need grace because our hearts are not always pure. We desire and crave impurities too often. Our hearts are always at risk of an attack from evil. Thus, we need to be ready and engaged to defend the heart.

Fifth, we must “admit that this side of eternity” our “heart is fickle.” This side of heaven, we will not have the loyalty God deserved and the more we allow sin to dwell in our hearts, the less loyal to the Lord we will become.

Sixth, we must understand “that this side of eternity” our “heart is deceptive.” Jeremiah didn’t even understand his own heart and knew it couldn’t be trusted (Jer 17:9).

Tripp suggests that dealing with your heart should begin with confession, and he recommends Psalm 51 as the language to use. This was the Psalm David wrote in reflection of his sins with Bathsheba.

When on the road of sanctification, always address your heart first. The outward man’s behavior is only changed by the inner man’s softening.

ACBC Conference on Homosexuality

The Thursday feature of the Worldly Saints blog will be sharing of a media clip (audio or video) that has either educated, equipped, provoked or entertained us in some way.

This week ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) is hosting their annual conference in Louisville, KY. Their theme is “Homosexuality: Compassion, Care, and Counsel for Struggling People.”

Soon (probably in the next week or so), the video of these sessions should be available, so I cannot share them now, but let me give you a taste of what will be available to stream.

  • Denny Burk, “Is Same-Sex Attraction Sinful?”
  • Rosaria Butterfield, “Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert”
  • Kevin Carson, “Counseling and Homosexuality: A Case Study”
  • Robert Jones, “Compassion, Care, and Counsel for Families Broken by Homosexuality”
  • Heath Lambert, “One Sinner to Another: How the Church Must Speak About Homosexuality:
  • Al Mohler, “Clarity in the Midst of Confusion: The Ethics of Homosexuality and the Gospel of Grace”
  • Stuart Scott, “Change from the Outside In, Then Inside Out: The Possibility of Sexual Purity”
  • Bill Winton, “What If My Child Says They Are Gay? Counsel for Parents”

Go here to watch the overview of the conference.