Science in Christian Perspective



P. D. Marquart, M.D.

From JASA 9 (June 1957): 17-18.

Nervous Christians, by L. Gilbert Little, M. D. (Moody Press, Chicago, 1956.) is a new departure in psychiatric literature. Other works have been attempted by others, in a Christian vein, but none has been so utterly true to the Word. This small volume, written by a practicing psychiatrist in Kansas, proves that a Biblical psychiatry must be totally different from that of the world. Psycho-surgery, shock, sedatives, tranquilizers, common sense psychotherapy have their place in psychiatry, but they are shown to be mere palliatives, which merely treat symptoms. As for "depth therapy," it is too superficial to get down to the core of human nature and thus effect permanent results.

The author reveals human personality as the Bible portrays it, not merely an id and an ego principles. In the depths of the man is a genuine entity which you are, the inner man, the inner self, or to use the Biblical term, "the heart." The heart is not readily discerned since the Biblical question is: Who can know it? (Jer. 17: 9). the mind is a superficial layer consisting of the various mental activities, which are the "issues of life" and which proceed out from the heart, as its expression. For instance, he says that all functional symptoms are generated in the heart.

Dr. Little finds a spiritual problem at the root of most Christian maladjustments (not necessarily guilt, but a spiritual problem nonetheless). To be sure some problems are based upon organic or biological disorders or the press of circumstance. Nay, these are not the cause either, but merely the straw that broke the camel's back. Otherwise however, he searches for the error in following New Testament instructions to Christians. The neurotic may be laboring too hard in his own strength, or centering upon the self, or entertaining anxiety, or neglecting devotions. Frequently the Christian is himself doing something pagan; trying to atone by himself for some little thing that has crept into his Christian life. Needless to say, this is wrong, pagan and very displeasing to the Lord. We can do nothing, before God, to fix up a sin once done. Whatever is wrong, Christ has an answer for it in the overall treatment of the disorder.

The author daringly asserts the reality of Satan and of his demoniac angels and he shows how they can influence Christians by using the little foxes wfiich spoil the f ruit of the Spirit.

The last chapter of the book is authored by Theodore Epp and it deals with the armor of the Christian in standing, therefore, against the wiles of the devil.

What Is Your Life?

(James 4: 14.)

This Biblical question needs an answer that is neither naturalistic, materialistic or mechanistic. Life itself is so complicated that no one has ever been able to analyze it completlely. Not only is biologic life more than a mere agglomeration of inorganic mechanisms, but its human expression in that vague and intangible thing which we call personality is still more mystifying to us.

Speaking of personality, do you not think that the fact of personal beings is so pervading in our universe and life view. Now we must admit that the personalists of the past have not been as Biblical as they could have been, and neither was the Psychologist Sterm, who originally contributed the concept of a Personalism (as well as the concept of the I.Q.) For the most part, we have forgotten the monumental work of Bowne* who made a sincere attempt to conform his view of personalism to the Scriptural considerations.

It would seem that our present day Christianity is in need of a more personal view of things as they are. They do not need more religion; they need Christ; not more devotion; they need Him. On the one hand, those scientists who do take a Christian creed unto themselves, tend to think of Him as a first Cause, a Force, an Energy etc., not a living, warm personality, who loves

*Bowne, Personality, 1908, Houghton Mifflin, Cambridge

you. To many of them, He is just a Law by which things happen, who set things going and now he is forgetting about the whole matter and leaving it to care for itself. This view is a kind of new deism. On the other hand, the religionists of our day tend to take an opposite error. Instead of overemphasizing His transcendance in deism, they tend to take a liberal, idealistic and pantheistic view of things. God is im manent in His universe, they say, in part. He is His universe. The Personalistic views lie between these two extremes. While it may be called a form of Christian Idealism, it is a very special kind, for Idealism is almost never Christian or Biblical.

To the Personalist (Like Bowne), reality consists essentially of finite persons and an infinite Person, Who is recognized as Creator and sustainer. All of the objective environment is secondary to persons and for the express purpose and utility to persons.

Wheaton, Illinois
May 1, 1957