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The False Gospel of Dr. James Dobson

Dr. James Dobson is founder and president of Focus on the Family, a media and educational organization consisting of 72 separate ministries, each dedicated to the preservation of the home. He is heard on more than four thousand radio facilities around the world and publishes 11 magazines read by 3 million people each month.

Dr. Dobson has been a licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child counselor for 24 years. (Taken from the back inside dust jacket of Dobson's book, Solid Answers.)

During these 24 years, Dr. James C. Dobson has been propagating the gospel of self-esteem, and self-esteem is still (to this day) his "good news".

In the book of Galatians, we see how Paul dealt with anyone who would propagate a false gospel. In Galatians 1:8-9, Paul writes,

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

What false gospel was Paul dealing with in Galatians? It was a perversion of the true gospel (Galatians 1:7, "pervert the gospel of Christ"). It was Jesus plus the law, Christ plus circumcision. Paul pointed out that following such a gospel would actually separate them from Christ. In other words, it would damn their soul (Galatians 1:6; 5:2, 4). Dr. Dobson's gospel is just as damning, and even more erroneous.

The Galatian heresy did not redefine the basic problem of mankind (which is sin, Romans 3:10-18). All this heresy taught was that the law must be kept. Faith was still to be placed upon Christ, but the law also must be kept to be found righteous before God. Dobson's false gospel actually redefines man's basic problem into a problem of low self-esteem, and then gives the answer to this basic problem -- high self-esteem. It is all in intense deceit, because he speaks of sin and Christ also. But, nonetheless, it boils down to a perverted gospel.

If you are familiar with Dobson's teaching, you would know that Dobson's basic tenet is this low self-esteem/high self-esteem dilemma and answer. He has propagated this "gospel" at least since the publishing of his book in 1974, Hide or Seek, How To Build Self-Esteem in Your Child. Note how Dobson redefines man's basic problem into "low self-esteem". With emphasis (the three last sentences being written in italics), he writes,

The matter of personal worth is not only the concern of those who lack it. In a real sense, the health of an entire society depends on the ease with which its individual members can gain personal acceptance. Thus, whenever the keys to self-esteem are seemingly out of reach for a large percentage of the people, as in twentieth-century America, then widespread 'mental illness', neuroticism, hatred, alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and social disorder will certainly occur. Personal worth is not something humans are free to take or leave. We must have it, and when it is unattainable, everybody suffers. (p. 21)

There you have Dobson's definition of the problem of mankind. All these problems, according to Dobson, exist because of a shortage of "personal worth". This is Dobson's fiction. The truth is, the reason all these problems exist is because "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge" (Romans 1:28). Therefore,

God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness [mental illness, neuroticism]; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud [high self-esteem], boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving [hatred], unforgiving, unmerciful; [alcoholics (drunkards) and drug abusers] (Romans 1:28-31).

Thus, we have "social disorder" because men have refused to "glorify Him as God, nor were thankful" (Romans 1:21). In other words, all these things are a result of sin (Romans 3:23), not because "the keys of self-esteem are . . . out of reach"!

So, we have Dobson's gospel which begins with the problem of low self-esteem. His answer ("good news") is, of course, high self- esteem. As he writes in this same book (Hide or Seek),

The heart of this book, then, is devoted to a description of ten comprehensive 'strategies' for building self-esteem, . . . (p. 21)

There we have the gospel of Dr. James Dobson in a nutshell. Man's problem? Low-self esteem. The answer? High self-esteem. Compare this with the true gospel. Man's problem? Sin. The answer? Jesus Christ.

If there was any question as to whether self-esteem was really Dobson's "good news" and his core doctrine, note what Dobson wrote in his book, What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women,

Joyce Landorf, the gifted authoress of His Stubborn Love, recently asked people to answer the following question: What would you change about women in general if you could wave some magic wand? My answer, which is now published with the other replies in her book, The Fragrance of Beauty, is quoted below: If I could write a prescription for the women of the world, I would provide each one of them with a healthy dose of self-esteem and personal worth (taken three times a day until the symptoms disappear). I have no doubt that this is their greatest need. (p. 35)

Dobson has "no doubt that this is their greatest need."! Who is Mr. Dobson speaking of? Christians? Non-Christians? He says, ". . . the women of the world,". What is the greatest need for ANY woman? The Lord Jesus Christ! It is NOT ". . . a healthy dose of self-esteem and personal worth . . ."! This is another gospel (Galatians 1:8-9).

Dr. Dobson is a deceiver, and has deceived the masses. The above is actually only the tip of the iceberg of the false teaching of "America's foremost family counselor". Psychological deceit pervades his writings and material. Several have documented some of this fallacy, yet most refuse to identify the man for what he really is -- a false teacher (2 Peter 2:1-3). The fear of man and political correctness saturates the "Christianity" of today.