Stephen Arterburn and Dr. David Stoop are hosts of the call-in talk radio show New Life Live! which is a nationally syndicated program on several Christian radio stations. Both hosts are purveyors of Psychoheresy, the mingling of psychotherapy with God’s word in an attack on Biblical Christianity to the detriment of the saints, and others. Arterburn is a prolific author of self-help books. Dr. Stoop is a licensed clinical psychologist with a counseling practice in California. Here a concession must be permitted: it is possible for a person to be a Christian and dispense the poison of Psychoheresy. He just won’t be a mature Christian, and he will cause a great deal of harm to a lot of people. The extent of that harm depends on the size of his audience, and the level of skill the practitioner has in plying the manipulative aspect of Psychoheresy.
Unlike mere psychotherapy with its psychology, Psychoheresy combines behavior modification, focused primarily on the physical constraints of the person and his attendant frailties, with the invocation of the authority of God to foster compliance, and reliance. Unfortunately, because radio stations that identify themselves as Christian stations carry the New Life Live! program, many new and immature Christians listen to Arterburn and Stoop to hear what they think is good Christian doctrine applied to problems of living. Often what is worse, the listeners, in turn, go on to harm other persons even more susceptible to deception.
Take for example the predicament of a guest caller to the radio show aired Tuesday, December 02, 2008 who sought advice on a matter concerning herself, her husband, and their thirteen year old son. The caller’s husband’s sister is going to wed another woman some months from now. She is concerned about how they might “have a godly approach to the wedding.”1 In strategizing on this goal, they at first thought that they would not take their son to the ceremony, but came to believe that having him abstain from the celebration would “bring friction into the family.”2 Arterburn agreed. He reasoned that abstinence would not only would bring friction, presumably something that, from a Psychoheresy perspective, should be avoided at all costs: “Plus it would also say ‘anytime you run into some one that is in a same-sex relationship you should avoid interaction with them at all costs’ kind of idea to your kids.”3 Here, Arterburn does not speak the truth, at least by recognizable standards.
Taking part in a ceremony that ridicules Christianity and attacks God’s word hardly qualifies as a happenstance meeting with one for whom the opportunity to present the gospel might or might not present. Clearly, Psychoheresy has its own criterion for establishing truth.
Using Psychoheresy, Arterburn actually insisted that it was an obligatory Christian duty for the caller’s family to take part in the celebration of sin. He implied that for them not to attend the wedding would be unconscionable as they would be: “limiting the speaking of truth into a person’s life, because you have a relationship, and if you destroy that you don’t have that right.”4 This is probably as convoluted as any proposition could be posited with a straight face and uncontorted limbs (something that the witness of radio can neither confirm nor deny).
To suggest that Christians are to be blamed for the degree of depravity sinners engage in if they don’t remain attendants-in-waiting, ever ready to endorse sin in ceremonial fashion, is ludicrous. Equally ridiculous is the contention that when sinners decide to go merrily down the broad way to destruction, it is the Christian who is the destroyer of relationships for not skipping along with them.
Further, the concept of the forfeiture of the right to speak the truth is also nothing more than a psychobabble con job. It is one of the many fiat laws within Psychoheresy used to construct and maintain human relationships.
These codices are authored by man in his best effort to manage the temporal desires of generic man. This generic man is described in the Bible as the creature made subject to vanity (Rom 8:20), and he is not to be placated, pampered, or propped up if so be that the spirit of God dwells in him (Rom 8:9). These then are sons of God, and have the same spirit dwelling in them that raised Jesus from the dead (Rom 8:11). Any problems encountered by the Christian are to be solved by this same power; to those who live after the spirit, and not after generic man. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom 8:13).
To say that turning to any form of psychotherapy for nourishment is a downgrade for the Christian is a gross understatement. When the joint-heirs with Christ return to a hobby of grooming generic man, they deny their inheritance (Rom 8:17). While it can be powdered and sprayed to smell and taste sweet, generic man is the bondage of corruption (Rom 8:21).
The departure from Christianity on New Life Live! was also evident in co-host’s Dr. Stoop’s counsel for the caller. Stoop advised her to explain to her son that while they did not condone the behavior: “it’s a reality that you’re going to live with within the family, and you don’t want to lose the people, so, you know, this is what’s going to happen.”5 This is what the thirteen year old boy should be told by Christian parents; they will honor the ceremony they consider unholy, he will be forced to celebrate it, and they will live with it in full acceptation of the sin. The way that this heresy is to be sold to the son is under threat that they will “lose the people” should they fail to compromise their beliefs or chose to stand for the faith.
Rather the opposite of training up a child in the way he should go so that when he is old he will not depart from it (Pro 22:6). The fact that these people are already lost and stand daily in peril of death, hell, and the grave, beyond which is everlasting torment, is not a fact that Psychoheresy readily admits, if at all. That is the truth that needs to be spoken in love to, and demonstrated by not being prostrated towards, a lost and dying world; and in Psychoheresy it’s not even on the table.
These Psychoheresy ministries of deception represent a parasitic blight on the Church. To all that hear them, they inoculate against the gospel or cause to stumble. In all that support them, they steal from saints in need. By this comparison, however, I am too harsh; for I do the lowly parasite an injustice. There is a benign quality to beings that are not sentient, that do not contrive, and that do not deliberately usurp the word of God. The ministers of Psychoheresy do this by slighting the consequences of sin and ignoring the everlasting punishment of hell until death can find its mark; one by one, listener by listener. Lulled into believing that they are receiving wisdom to bring order and purpose to their lives, and resolution to their problems, listeners are encouraged to earn the wages of sin while not being warned of them. This is the ploy of Satan, and that is why on New Life Live!, death takes a holiday.
1-2. Peggy, New Life Live!, KATB Christian Radio, 89.3 FM, Anchorage Alaska, December 2. 2008.
3-4. Stephen Arterburn, New Life Live!, December 2. 2008.
5. Dr. David Stoop, New Life Live!, December 2. 2008.