by Tom Mack
The core of Christianity has been a battle for the souls of men. The Bible is very clear on that subject. Unfortunately, much of the Christian world has elected to accept man’s study of the soul (called psychology) to the effective abandonment of Biblical principles.
Man’s study of the soul has always carried with it two major errors: 1) a denial of evil as a driving force in the world, and 2) that the soul is nothing more than a physical extension of the human mind. When much of the Christian world accepted these false premises, they were obliged to minimize the role of evil in the world. When they minimized the role of evil in the world, they by default, allowed these evil forces to work within their organizations virtually unchecked. The people who are part of these organizations became spiritual merchandise both in the hands of the elitist clergy, and the devils these leaders refuse to acknowledge.
These denials on the part of the “professional clergy” make for an interesting paradox. While they insist upon denying the principles of Scripture, they have no problem using the principles of modern psychology to identify and treat people in denial over their various sins. The hypocrisy of this situation has created total confusion for people seeking help for their problems.
Since many churches routinely deny the full reality of evil, they have become powerless to deal with the personal problems within their congregations. The pastors, unable to deal with the problems on their own, are obliged to refer their congregation’s problems to professional psychologists and/or psychiatrists. The people often discover, after a few visits, that person to be nothing more than a nominal Christian. The advice they receive bears no relationship to biblical principles. The confusion the people initially felt becomes frustration as they hide their problems and “do the best that they can.”
Out of this disastrous background has arisen a rare, new breed of Christian Counselor: one who dares to believe and use the Bible as the cornerstone of his or her counseling, and one who knows the power of Jesus Christ. Veteran counselor Rayola Kelley has emerged as one of these courageous few with her book The Battle for the Soul.
Written from her notes after being on the battlefield for years, Kelley has brought new insight to both those seeking help and those wanting to help others. If you are looking for an “ivory tower” textbook on the soul, this book is not for you. Instead, this book is based upon real cases straight out of her files.
The practicality starts right at the beginning of her book. Unlike her “professional clergy” counterparts, Kelley has no problem ascertaining the full reality of evil. She has even fewer problems identifying the source of evil. Most importantly, she knows that Jesus Christ has overcome evil and will help us to overcome evil as well.
One of the strongest attributes of this book is the fact that Kelley does not settle for identifying problems. She gives solutions and explanations about how to solve the problems she identifies. The first section is a case in point. Instead of just criticizing preachers and ministries for missing the mark in dealing with the wiles of the devil, she offers concrete solutions based upon a solid scriptural foundation.
Kelley correctly points out that much of what many preachers do in “reaching the world for Jesus Christ” is nothing more than grandstanding and pride. Like Saddam Hussein before the Gulf War of 1991, all his prideful boasting about the war being the “mother of all battles” and calling for a “Jihad” proved useless when the Iraqi Army was faced with a superior enemy.
Kelley points out that most Christians are no different than that Iraqi Army. These unfortunate people are sent out to “reach the world for Jesus Christ” based upon the eloquence of their leader’s rhetoric. When they return home, battered and bruised, they find little comfort or support from their leaders because preachers and their “ministries” consider Christian counseling nothing more than an extension of their “preaching ministry.”
Their counselees become victims because the preacher does little or nothing to address their personal issues. Most preachers instead, use their “counseling sessions” as an opportunity to restate their pulpit rhetoric. The preacher may feel vindicated, but the counselee leaves the preacher’s office victimized and confused about their faith.
Kelley believes that most of these people who were sent out to “reach the world for Jesus Christ” are not any different than that Iraqi Army. They were improperly trained for their task and totally unprepared for the enemy they were sent out to face. As a result, they either become captives of the enemy or return to the church dazed and confused about what happened to them. When they turn to their leaders for help, they are ostracized and humiliated for their failures. It takes a long time for many of them to seek real help apart from their church’s denominational structures. The new breed of Christian Counselor often offers the only real help these people receive.
It is exactly this kind of person that Battle for the Soul deals with. Kelley uses the second section of her book to identify the problems she sees continually in her ministry. Her first discussion covers the problems people have with delusions and reality. Obviously, this is not a new subject, but Kelley’s approach is not cold and clinical as Dr. Sigmund Freud and his counterparts. Rather than treating delusions as a sickness that is barely treatable, Kelley considers these altered realities to be sin. By identifying these problems as sin, she is able to evaluate how evil can use these problems to alter their counselee’s thinking and ability to reason.
After Kelley has shown us the problems she faces with those she has ministered to, she takes the current Church world to task for their failure to identify and deal with these problems. Unlike many current critics of the Church, Kelley then maps out a plan for churches to become victorious and truly help their people. Unlike the current church system, she has no problem identifying how evil undercuts and neutralizes the work of Christ. Here she also begins to show us that the soul is indeed separate and distinct from the physical world.
Kelley’s final section covers several problems she encounters in her counseling ministry. By establishing the reality of evil and the viability of the soul as separate from the physical world, she can tackle some of the tough topics such as witchcraft, curses and the “wrong laying on of hands.” Again, she does more than identify problems. She offers concrete solutions that have worked in her counseling sessions.
When you read The Battle for the Soul, do not expect to read it in one sitting. It will require several readings to get the meat out of this book. That makes the money the reader pays for the book a great value. Kelley also has a workbook which a reader can use in conjunction with the book. They are an excellent value compared to the psycho-babble found in so many Christian books of today.
Both the book and the workbook may be ordered by calling toll-free 1-866-381-BOOK (2665) or you may order online at www.xulonpress.com, under the subsection “Christian Living.”