- Dr. Charles Solomon has a doctorate in psychology and counseling from the University
of Northern Colorado (1972). (Officially, the degree is a "Doctor
of Education in Spirituotherapy.") He is the founder and executive director of Grace Fellowship
International (GFI), which was incorporated in the state of Colorado in 1969 as a
non-profit corporation for the express purpose of implementing a spiritual counseling
ministry. (Grace Fellowship is also a member of the neo-evangelical
Association of Evangelicals [NAE]).1 "Sharing the power of the Cross
with hurting people," is GFI's stated goal; to achieve this, other men and
women have been trained and ministries have been established in various places
in the United States and on five continents. Solomon claims that much of the
work toward his doctorate was "original research, counseling, writing, and
teaching associated with the discipline of Spirituotherapy" (see below for
details) (Source: Handbook of Happiness, pp. 6-7; and a 1995 GFI
"The Solomon Institute in Spirituotherapy" brochure).
- Solomon has written several books about his personal (psycho-spiritual, integrationist) approach to counseling. He describes his position in his 1977 book, Counseling with the Mind of Christ, as follows: "Rare, indeed, is the individual who employs psychology exclusively for purposes of understanding the psychodynamics of the behavior in question while allowing the Spirit of God to apply the Word of God to produce a child of God and that child being 'conformed to His image'" (see Romans 8:29). He also shows his psychological preferences in Handbook of Happiness when he says:
"the thesis of this book ... is supported by empirical evidence proving that where psychotherapy has either failed completely or caused harmful results in many lives, the person subsequently has been totally delivered through Spirituotherapy at Grace Fellowship ... there are many Christians within the ranks of psychotherapists who are very sound in their faith and who are fundamental in doctrine. They do much to alleviate suffering on the part of emotionally disturbed patients and many return to a fuller life who are much better adjusted psychologically" (p. 18). (Emphasis added.)
On the back cover of Solomon's 1977 book, Handbook of Happiness: A Guide to Victorious Living and Effective Counseling (11/84:6th printing), the publisher says:
"Now professionally trained in psychology, he has developed a Bible-based approach to contemporary personal crises. He terms this 'Spirituotherapy.'! This manual details this technique that is answering the quest for many troubled minds for a life that not only can mentally survive but spiritually abound in the present space age complexities ... this may prove to be the answer you seek; it is not simply another 'Christian psychology' treatment. Rather, it dares to depart from some traditional psychological approaches and to lead a distressed individual directly to the cross not only for life, but for the life more abundant that Jesus promised." (Emphasis added.)
- Despite Solomon paying lip-service in Handbook of Happiness to the evils of psychotherapy, "another Christian psychology" is exactly what Spirituotherapy is -- its roots are Freudian, but with a little behaviorism and humanism thrown in: (All emphases added.)
(a) Solomon quotes from Glasser's Reality Therapy ("At all times in our lives we must have at least one other person who cares about us and whom we care for ourselves. If we do not have this essential person, we will not be able to fulfill our basic needs. One characteristic is essential in the other person: he must be in touch with reality himself and able to fulfill his own needs in the world.") and says, "This, too, is the basic premise of Spirituotherapy; the prime difference is that the Person who meets our needs is the Lord Jesus Christ -- not a human therapist. If Glasser's book were read with this significant substitution, the approach of Spirituotherapy would be approximated" (p. 20).
(b) "The counselor in Spirituotherapy is not a therapist but a spiritual guide. The therapy is accompanied by the Master Therapist, the Holy Spirit. Thus, the therapy of the Holy Spirit within the human spirit results in deliverance from psychological symptoms caused by spiritual maladjustment. This is not to say that all psychological difficulties have a spiritual genesis. Many, if not most, of these stem from early childhood, and psychology is beneficial in understanding some of the resultant behavior" (p. 21).
(c) "... more than ninety per cent of all Christians never experience the abundant or victorious life, so they do not understand how deep psychological problems can be resolved" (p. 23).
(d) Check out Solomon's humanistic poem on page 26: "ACCEPTANCE: Oh, to know acceptance; In a feeling sort of way; To be known for what I am -- Not what I do or say; It's nice to be loved and wanted, For the person I seem to be, But my heart cries out to be loved, For the person who really is me! ... The path to feeling acceptance of God, Is paved with acceptance on Earth; Being valued by others I love, Enhances my own feeling of worth ..."
(e) "If we propose to work with the human being in coping with the problems of living, it is a foregone conclusion that we must understand his basic needs ... Freud ... It is suggested that he took the basics for his theory of personality from the Bible, just as we do at Grace Fellowship. However, he perverted them, while we employ them just as given. His constructs of id, ego, and superego are roughly equivalent to those presented in the Word of God as body, soul, and spirit, respectively ... To deny the genius of Freud in developing a counterfeit system in rivalry to God would be to show a complete lack of understanding of the monumental work that he did. Also, to refuse to profit by his research and understanding of human behavior would be to ignore a great body of knowledge which is extremely useful, providing it is used solely for understanding ..." (pp. 27-28). [In actuality, the id/ego/superego concept, with all its psychosexual gratification underpinnings, was contrived by Freud precisely because he rejected God's truth about man, not because there was a correspondence between Freudian theory and Biblical truth, as Solomon would like us to believe. This is a classic example of what so-called Christian psychologists never seem to tire of attempting to do -- they impose godless, anti-Christian ideas onto the Bible, all the while claiming a special calling of God.]
(f) Solomon describes one of the ways he uses Freud: "... some of the terms developed by Freud and his successors to define certain behavioral traits are utilized when appropriate, since these terms are well understood and afford a means of communication" (p. 29).
(g) Also basic to Solomon's Spirituotherapy system is the unbiblical, charismatic concept of "crisis sanctification" or the "second blessing," whereby salvation from Christ and identification with Christ are seen as two distinct and separate events: "How can this no-longer-I-but-Christ awareness take place? It happens differently in every life. But in point of time it has to become as much as reality as the day we trusted Jesus Christ to save us ... we must realize that this identification awareness is an event that actually takes place at a point in time and experience. We may not be able to identify that crisis point ... But the result is unmistakable -- self is dethroned and Christ takes control" (pp. 56-57) ... "age 10 ... the average age at which a person enters into a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ (p. 64) ... age 40 ... a conservative estimate of the average age at which a Christian enters into the abiding, abundant life of identification with Christ ... it is necessary that we have assurance of identification. This is parallel to and just as vital as being sure of salvation. Unless we have assurance of salvation, we will not possess our possessions in Christ; unless we have assurance of identification we cannot rest in the finished work of Christ" (pp. 68-69).
(h) "If we are well adjusted psychologically, there is not as much disparity between our feelings and the facts. However, a person who feels inferior, insecure, inadequate and unacceptable is continuously faced with a set of emotions which are at variance with the facts or reality. Therefore, he must distort the facts to agree with his feelings or employ some defense mechanism to permit him to cope with an untenable situation. Neurosis is said to be the distortion of reality" (p. 95).
(i) Solomon administers The Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis test (TJTA) "... to almost all of those who have been counseled prior to the first interview. Additional testing after a prolonged period will permit some valid objective data which has statistical significance" (p. 114). [The TJTA has been proven to have no adequate statistical validity in either measuring personality traits, nor in using such results to successfully predict marriage compatibility, occupational fitness, child success in school, etc. Moreover, personality tests like the TJTA are based upon the theories of godless atheists (Carl Jung) -- see the Bobgans' book Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing, pp. 131-172, for an excellent analysis of the worthlessness of personality testing.]
- The following information was documented from various GFI brochures, advertising its conferences and training seminars (received in May of 1994 from GFI Executive Director, Theron O. Messer) -- the psychological bent of GFI's programs is evident:
(a) "The GRACE THAT WORKS Conference" is geared for "church members [who] are experiencing the same conflicts and dysfunctions as the worldly society. ... designed ... to help participants discover a powerful, personal faith, which will put the gifts of grace to work in order that they might become more like Jesus."
(b) GFI conducts counselor training conferences, offering two levels of training in Spirituotherapy. The first, the GFI workshop, offers 20 hours of training to "prepare you to take a life history and to present God's solution using a Wheel and Line. You will be able to lead another into a personal experience of oneness with Christ, whereby they exchange their old, fleshly identity for their new Christ-like spiritual identity."
(c) There is also the Solomon Institute in Spirituotherapy, which is advanced training in Spirituotherapy: "an intensive, one week (30 hours) Institute ... This Professional level of training has been approved by various states ... by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) for continuing education credits needed to keep counseling licenses current." [That would be a psychologist's license.] "The institute is designed for those who are serious about being used of God in ministering to the needs of hurting people. Committed lay people, pastors, counselors, physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers can profit equally by such intensive study." (Emphasis added.) The following psychologically-oriented books are recommended for students in the Institute: Handbook to Happiness; The Ins and Outs of Rejection; Counseling With the Mind of Christ; Handbook to Acceptance; Handbook to Happiness; and You -- A Spiritual Clinic.
(d) The "Exchanged Life Conference," is "designed such that a believer who is experiencing defeat in his life may find the way to walk in faith and the victory that the Bible promises; ... When the self-life is exchanged for the Christ-life, many symptoms of lifetime duration are dealt with in a very short time. Defeat, emotional disturbances, mental symptoms, and interpersonal conflicts (such as in marriage) are all within the realm of the Holy Spirit's working as the flesh gives way to the Spirit" [and you cough-up your $425 per couple for the conference!]. Psycho-spiritual topics covered in the conference are identity; rejection and its detrimental influence; healing and damaged emotions; the exchanged life; the process of appropriation; application to daily life; and a counseling session video.
In Messer's letter that accompanied the brochures, Messer admits that GFI charges $50
an hour for counseling clients.2 He also admits to referring those "out of touch with
reality [Glasser's "Reality Therapy" terminology] ... to such clinics as
[Rapha Hospital Treatment Centers of Houston, Texas, is an organization that
heavily promotes Alcoholics Anonymous
codependency/recovery) programs as a
"Christian" methodology for the cure of "dysfunctional" relationships.
Rapha specializes in the "treatment" of so-called codependent and/or addicted
Christians by employing an amalgamation of Adlerian-Maslowian need psychology and the
Bible. Rapha claims that over 3,500 churches in the U.S. are using its materials. (Must
reading for anyone desiring a fuller understanding of the "codependent" heresy
sweeping the church today would be 12 Steps to Destruction: Codependency/Recovery
Heresies, by Martin and Deidre Bobgan, EastGate Publishers, Santa Barbara, CA, 1991,
- It is obvious that Solomon approaches the understanding of problems of living through psychological, not Biblical eyes. Moreover, in later years, his psychological understanding of man is seen almost exclusively through the concept of "Rejection." Just as Freud viewed human problems through the early life Oedipus Complex, Solomon sees human problems through an "early life rejection syndrome." Rejection is now the cornerstone of Solomon's theoretical amalgamation. And, just as Freudian analysts' patients report the Oedipal ideas and feelings to them, so do Solomon's patients report the rejection syndrome to him and his followers. Solomon says: "... the majority of mental and emotional symptoms have roots traceable to childhood rejection which has limited the person's options in coping with responsibility and stress."
Solomon even outdoes Freud in how far back he is willing to carry the possibility of rejection. In his 1982 book, The Rejection Syndrome, he says: "Research has also substantiated a cause-and-effect relationship between a mother's rejection of an unborn child and the psychological difficulties of the child in later life." Although an interesting psychological idea, the research has not substantiated any such cause-and-effect relationship. (A single phone call to any medical school with faculty in child development or pediatric neurology will reveal this.) Although Solomon thinks he has a spiritual solution to the so-called rejection syndrome, his model of man is definitely psychological. (See PsychoHeresy, pp. 95-96.)
Note: One of the problems at the root of Solomon's psychological model is his
doctrine of "One-Naturism" -- the teaching of the eradication of the believer's
Adamic life and nature. [Solomon wrote: "Satan, the enemy of souls, has made another
critical deception in blinding the minds of believers to the truth that the old man or sin
nature no longer exists in the Christian (The Rejection Syndrome, p. 106).] It is a
product of Covenant theology, and is being spread by the likes of John
Kroll, and Charles
Stanley. The eradicationist dispenses with the sinful
Adamic life and nature by relegating the first Adam to extinction. Then, in order to
account for sin in the life of the believer, the "flesh" becomes the source of
indwelling evil. The flesh is described by such symptoms as: learned and developed
pre-conversion habits, appetites, influences, tendencies, residual sin, and "vestiges
of our sinful flesh," "graveclothes of our sinful flesh," and
"residual fallenness." Eradication instills in the believer a tendency to avoid
responsibility for personal sins. Considering his old man eradicated, he is wont to shift
the blame for his sin upon factors form his past -- old habits and tendencies,
"dysfunctional" family conditions, etc. Some eradicationists avoid
responsibility for personal sin by blaming Satan. Heretofore it was, "The devil made
me do it"; but now it is, "Satan did it."
Every candid believer knows full well that the sin that dwells in him is manifested by the identical characteristics that it had before he was saved -- nothing new, or different. It is the same old man that it ever was -- Adamic self himself. Every honest Christian knows his indwelling old Adamic life and nature very well, having grown up in it. It is not symptomatic habits, psychological victimization caused by "childhood rejection," or Satan, but hard-core Adamic life and nature. The Covenant, one-nature, eradication error results from the lack of dispensational/positional teaching. When Romans 6:6 is held to be actual and experiential, rather than judicial and positional, it is only natural to deduct that the Adamic life is eradicated from the life of the believer. (Source: Adapted from an 11/96 Miles Stanford paper: "Back to the Bible and One-Naturism.")
1 In November of 2001, BDM received an email from GFI's John Woodward, stating that GFI is no longer a member of the NAE. I responded as follows: "If you will confirm that NO GFI site throughout the world belongs to the NAE, I will correct the reference to the following: 'GFI was but is no longer a member of NAE.'" Woodward never responded. [Return to text]
2 Woodward also claims that "Grace Fellowship does not charge counselees a fee for counseling." I responded as follows: "If you will send me a statement indicating that NO GFI site throughout the world and NO GFI counselor charges fees to counselees, I will be happy to make a correction. Please indicate if any of the GFI counselors encourage and accept donations for counseling." Again, Woodward never responded. [Return to text]