Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing

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As part of his proof, he had his horoscope cast, but when it appeared accurate he was involved for eight years before he repented and turned to God for mercy. Instead of devoting time each day to prayer and Bible study, I was driven to involve myself in complicated astrological computations and interpretations. How many are attempting to improve themselves and others through the strengths and weaknesses of the four temperaments? How many are trying to shape their characters according to the four temperaments rather than remembering that it is God who is at work in each of His children?

He is the one who is molding them into the image of Christ.

Four Temperaments, Astrology and Personality Testing

Faith in the Temperaments. The four temperaments were part of the religious beliefs during Greek times. Along with the other practices of astrology and the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, there was the belief that there was a perfect balance of temperaments related to the esoteric fifth element. It was believed that the fifth, though not seen, keeps the other elements bound together, though never in perfect balance. Yet the Quintessence itself was thought to be the perfect balance. There are the polarities pulling back and forth and the struggle to enhance the strengths and reduce the weaknesses.

Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing By Martin Bobgan, Deidre Bobgan

At the same time, as in astrology, there is a determinism that confines people to their temperament type. This is a faith system and a view of self in a cosmos of elements struggling against each other. Even when combined with biblical teachings, the four temperaments do not become transformed. They are forever being tempered within the confines of determinism. Jesus already gave us the way to freedom, and that is through believing the Word of God and living by that Truth John True freedom does not even come from learning the four temperaments and then redefining the fruit of the Spirit into so-called temperament traits of the new nature.

The four temperaments are rooted in paganism and astrology. Christians do not need pagan beliefs and practices, such as the four temperaments, to grow spiritually.

Four Temperments

If they did, the Bible would have included such teachings. The four temperaments were certainly available at the time, along with all the other pagan practices that were an abomination to God. His warning may have included a direct reference to the rudiments of astrology and the four temperaments. As described earlier, the principles were hot, cold, moist and dry and the four elements were fire, earth, water, and air. The principles were thought to rule matter through interacting as pairs of opposites.

The Dictionary of Astrology explains: These were the pairs of interacting opposites said to underlie all phenomena: the hot and moist united forms and brought increase—the dry and cold separated form and brought destruction. Moreover, the apostle Paul may also have been warning against those principles and elements as they related to the four temperaments and astrology. Could it be that Paul was specifically including the Greek philosophies of the four elements, the four principles or qualities, the four temperaments, and astrology in his warning?

Indeed, the subject of worshiping angels in the same passage may be related to the occult significance of the four elements—earth, air, fire, and water—as they went beyond physical compounds of the earth and were thought of as spirit beings in themselves. No doubt he was familiar with Greek teachings of humors, temperaments, and other aspects of astrology.

He wrote: Astrology and the Four Temperaments 51 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 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.

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power Colossians Then after he completed his warnings in Chapter 2 of Colossians, he said: If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God Colossians Such an admonition certainly encourages Christians to change the direction of their focus from self and the things of the world to the Lord and His promises and provisions.


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Why would anyone need to be bound to a temperament category—forever struggling with their so-called temperaments, when they are complete in Christ? The two most prolific promoters are Dr. Tim LaHaye and Florence Littauer.

Their books and seminars have touched and influenced millions of Christians. More than anyone else, they can be credited with having enticed Christians into understanding and explaining themselves and others in terms of Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic. Throughout their books, each author presents lists of traits and characteristics which they think are typical of the various temperaments and types.

And each provides easy ways to figure out who is what. Then, since the characteristics are applicable to everyone to one degree or another, everyone can find himself somewhere. To make it easy, everyone can be a combination of types so that no one has to fit perfectly anywhere.

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Four Temperaments, Astrology, and Personality Testing

One could feasibly concoct almost any combination and people could fit themselves and others into the compartments. The temperament promoters sincerely believe in what they are doing. Marriages and children flourish, they claim. Great success is just around the corner. LaHaye introduced the four temperaments to evangelical Christians in The four temperaments had virtually been discarded after the Middle Temperament Teachers 55 Ages and discounted as a valid means of understanding people, until a few lone souls discovered them among relics of the past and marketed them in twentieth-century language.

One of those lone souls was Dr. Ole Hallesby, a Norwegian theologian who wrote Temperamentene i kristelig lys, published in and translated into English in as Temperament and the Christian Faith. Therefore, his book is a combination of his own limited observations and the opinions of other unnamed individuals.

Nevertheless, as he discusses the characteristics of a Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, or Phlegmatic person, he speaks as though what he says is fact. LaHaye follows in the same tradition. Although he does credit Hallesby for much of his material, he has no research or other support for the detailed delineation of characteristics. Hans Eysenck, who was interested in investigating the four temperaments as well as astrology.


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Both the reporting and the self-reporting scales were based on subjective evaluations limited to items on the questionnaires or tests. Though he developed an interesting personality inventory and conducted extensive research, the very subjectivity of his work prevented it from being considered seriously even among members of his own profession.

For instance, while Eysenck identifies the word unstable with the Melancholic and the Choleric, LaHaye uses the word unstable to define the Sanguine.

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LaHaye changed and rearranged some of the descriptive terms as well. Descriptions and lists of characteristics for each of the four temperaments vary from person to person. LaHaye continued to promote the defunct four temperaments in his book Transformed Temperaments. In that book he makes several errors regarding the history of the four temperaments. He apparently did not understand the depth and extent of the work by Claudius Galen of Pergamum in the delineation of the characteristics of the four temperaments.

Moreover, he mistakenly says that Galen lived in the 17th rather than the second century. LaHaye seems to have used minimal resources for his descriptions of the four temperaments. In fact, it is difficult to find recent academic material dealing with the four temperaments. Aside from their historical value, the four temperaments have all but disappeared from the research scene as antiquated, out-dated means of analyzing and understanding human nature.

The Four Temperaments - Introduction

As for validation with external criteria, it is interesting that LaHaye would attempt to validate the temperament theory on the basis of handwriting experts. However, numerous research studies have refuted their claims. Furthermore, it is a means of opening Christians to other psychological theories dressed in Bible verses. It is temperament that provides each human being with the distinguishing qualities of uniqueness that make him as individually different from his fellowmen as the differing designs God has given to snowflakes. It is the unseen force underlying human action, a force that can destroy a normal and productive human being unless it is disciplined and directed.

However, these are arbitrary classifications and combinations. Throughout his later books he adds and embellishes the lists and even makes up a test that people can take to fit themselves into his system. It is the basic impulse of our being that seeks to satisfy our wants.


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LaHaye insists that temperament is genetic. We could hardly tell them apart. They tested out identically on their IQ scores One was personable; the other withdrew from people. One loved sports, history, and literature; the other preferred math, physics, and language.