As the founder of Focus on the Family, James Dobson reached untold millions with his feel-good gospel and focus on self-esteem as the answer to one’s personal and greater societal problems.
Ths false gospel of self-reliance is defined by Dobson himself in his 1974 book on child rearing “Hide or Seek, How To Build Self-Esteem in Your Child”:
‘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)
With an emphasis on building up one’s self image, rather than one’s image of God and the resultant happiness that inherently improves esteem through trust in God, Dobson is propulgating a false doctrine of low self-esteem rather than one of not having God in one’s life.
The real source of man’s problems is sin, and the only answer is Jesus Christ. Dobson would have you think that man’s problem is low self-esteem and the answer to that is high or improved self-esteem.
Where is the redemptive power of the Cross in Dobson’s theology?
Dobson is on record as supporting:
Pope John Paul II: http://www.charitywire.com/charity63/05922.html
Ted Haggard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Haggard
Roman Catholicism: http://www.christianissues.com/rome.html
Dobson is also a blasphemer as evidenced by his suggestion that God needs OUR forgiveness:
“There is only one cure for the cancer of bitterness, that is to forgive the perceived offender. Once and for all, with God’s help, as strange as it seems, I am suggesting that some of us need to forgive God for those heartaches that are charged to His account. You’ve carried resentment against Him for years. Now it’s time to let go of it. Please don’t misunderstand me at this point. God is in the business of forgiving us, and it almost sounds blasphemous to suggest that the relationship could be reversed. He has done no wrong and does not need our approbation. But the source of bitterness must be admitted before it can be cleared. There is no better way to get rid of it than to absolve the Lord of whatever we have harbored. … It is the only way you will ever be entirely free. … Surely we can forgive the King of the Universe Who sent His only Son to die as an atonement for our sin.” – James Dobson, When God Doesn’t Make Sense, 1993.
This is an evil and darkly insidious argument for the godhood of man and suggests that it is in our power to understand God’s purposes, let alone His train of thought. God is absolutely perfect and can DO NO WRONG, how then can anyone justify that God needs man’s forgiveness?
If Dobson’s answer to man’s problems is increasing self-esteem, ‘love of self’, there is no room for the Biblical answer to man’s problems, the redemptive power of faith in Jesus Christ.
Dobson’s syncretization of pop psychology into his Christian theology is a dangerous road that leads one further away from God and closer to the adversary. The deeper one delves into the psyche, the less one depends upon prayer, Bible study and fellowship, the three points upon which one builds and maintains a strong discipleship. Our Saviour promises to give us peace and joy, but only if we submit to Him. To admit that without Him, we are lost, full of fear, angst and doubt. With Him we are freed of these limitations. No amount of introspection and esteem building can replace a deep relationship with the Son of God.
In 2009, Dobson furthered the cause of ecumenism by joining the catholics and their pope in signing the Manhattan Declaration, a document which encourages all faiths to work together toward common goals. I’m still trying to find that inclusive stance in any of Christ’s teachings. As a matter of fact, Jesus went out of his way to instruct believers to keep themselves separate from and to come out of such interreligious entanglements.
Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Galatians 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
2 Kings 17:38 And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods.
39 But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.
40 Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner.
41 So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.
James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
Dobson stepped down from his position at Focus on the Family in 2003 and founded Family Talk as a 501c3 in 2010 and continues to espouse his revisionist Christianity over the air, the internet, and through his publications.