Monsters Among Us: The Petits, the Predator and Bill Gothard (Graphic)

"I will never find peace within. My life will be a continuation of the hurt I caused. The clock is now ticking and I owe a debt I cannot repay." Joshua Komisarjevsky link

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In Memory of Michaela, Hayley and Jennifer Petit
 

(Note: The news clip at the end of the post turns on automatically. You may want to pause it before beginning to read.)

Shortly after the capture of the second Boston Marathon bomber, Dr Keith Ablow, a Fox News psychiatrist, said that he thought the home life of the two bombers would prove to be troubling. It was soon discovered that their mother was a follower of jihadists link. As I looked at the picture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, I could not help thinking that he looked a bit like my son.  I mourned for the little boy that was Dzhokhar who probably played with trucks, liked ice cream and sleepovers with his buddies, and wished lunch hour at school was longer. Yet, by the age of 19 he was willing to murder lots of people.

*Trigger Alert*
This post may be disturbing, especially for those who were abused as children.

Some thoughts:(updated 4/30)

  • We believe that perpetrators should be punished for their crimes.
  • We also believe that abuse-physical, sexual, or psychological- can have profound effects on the minds of small children.
  • Such effects can include profound mental illness which may exhibit itself in heinous criminal conduct.
  • Not all children who are abused will go on to commit crimes.
  • Strict, legalistic parenting rarely leads to an event like that which we are discussing. But, it is imperative that we understand that some children are far more sensitive than others and can be irreparably wounded by such methods.
  • Christians should reject any, and all, paradigms that reject the need for mental health counseling.
  • Nouthetic counseling, in these circumstances, is dangerous.

Last week, I came across a book, Adam, by Ted Dekker that I bought and somehow overlooked link. This book was difficult to read because it dealt with two children who were kidnapped at the ages of 2 and 3 years of age. They were never found by their parents and were raised by a severely abusive woman. One of the two children grew up to be a serial killer. The story fluctuated between the present and the past. What made it difficult reading for me was the number of pages that were devoted to the life of these children before their kidnapping. They were deeply loved by their parents and would most likely have had a loving, healthy family life. If that had occurred, their story might have turned out very differently.

My husband did his Internal Medicine residency at the University of Rochester, Strong Memorial Hospital, in Rochester NY. This was prior to his fellowship in cardiology at Duke. While there, he enjoyed a friendly relationship with another resident, Bill Petit. Many years later, Bill would be hit over the head during a home invasion in which his lovely wife and two beautiful teen daughters were brutally raped and murdered. Bill barely escaped. We saw a picture of him in the emergency room and are amazed he survived his grievous wounds. This was the most widely publicized crime in the history of Connecticut. Go to this link to read an overview of this tragic story. Today we contribute to the Petit Family Foundation that Bill founded in the memory of his wife and daughters link.

I remember crying when I learned about this senseless killing. I could not imagine what sort of monsters could commit such a crime. As we began to explore the Recovering Grace website, Deb called my attention to the following story. 

There is no excuse for what happened and both of these men received the death penalty. However, this analysis might offer some insight into the background of one of the criminals, Joshua Komisarjevsky.

We thank the good folks at Recovering Grace for giving us permission to reprint this story. I thank them for caring enough to look closely at this horrific crime and helping me, and others, who knew this family, to understand just a bit better. I have highlighted some points in the post.

Tragic Misguidance: Gothard’s View on Mental Health Treatment and the Petit Family Murders link

Jennifer, Michaela, and Hayley Petit. Three lives cut tragically short in a brutal robbery, rape, and murder. William Petit, sole survivor of the family, his life forever changed. The Cheshire, Connecticut home invasion murders have received nationwide news coverage since they occurred on July 23, 2007. The unbelievable callousness of the murderers contrast dramatically with the pain of a husband and father who tried and failed to save the most precious thing in his life–his family.

Steven Hayes was sentenced to death. Joshua Komisarjevsky is currently on trial and faces either the death penalty or life in prison without parole. (He has since received the death penalty as well-ed.)

Brief Bio of Komisarjevsky

Joshua Komisarjevsky was adopted at two-weeks-old by very “religious” Christians. The father, Ben, was described as critical, cold, and controlling. The mother, Jude, was quite submissive. When a child, Jude was molested by a foster child in her family. This factor probably worked against her, since she did not seem to know how to handle the problems that later occurred in her home with her own children. Joshua was molested by an older foster child, and several years later Joshua, in turn, molested his younger sister.

The Komisarjevsky family was involved with a conservative, strict church that taught separation from “the world.”According to the Hartford Courant online, “Their church rejected psychology, psychiatry, or any kind of mental health treatment, and so did Komisarjevsky’s parents.” The children did not receive sufficient mental health treatment once the sexual abuse was discovered.

Just before turning 15, Joshua set a boarded-up gas station on fire. He was hospitalized in a mental health ward because police recognized that he was depressed and suicidal. He had also begun experimental drug use. Joshua was receptive to counseling treatment and medications at the time; however, his father did not want him on medication and instead sent him to a faith-based residential treatment program.

The Komisarjevskys studied Bill Gothard’s teachings through the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). They were enrolled in the Advanced Training Institute (ATI) and utilized the homeschooling curriculum for several years. Gothard teaches throughout his materials that the causes of mental illness are guilt, irresponsibility, believing lies, fear, inanimate objects, and psychiatric fallacy. He emphasizes that the individual who has a problem is at fault, and he recommends self-examination, prayer, and taking back strongholds. These teachings have had a devastating effect on many people who have followed his leadership, yet continued to struggle with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Gothard’s teachings must have influenced Komisarjevsky’s parents, as they decided not to utilize mental health services when he began displaying obvious warning signs as a young teen.

Gothard’s View on Mental Illness and Treatment

On BillGothard.com under the section “What I Teach,” Gothard states that mental health problems are caused by guilt. Gothard emphasizes that guilt is a main reason that people feel stress, which develops into mental dysfunction, such as depression or anxiety. Finding the root of the problem and fixing it will alleviate the guilt, leading to moral freedom.

He wrote an entire book, How to Resolve 7 Deadly Stresses, based on the theory that lies can cause stress and physical disease. Where do these lies come from according to Gothard? In the study guide for this book (“The Lies We Believe that Cause Stress and Disease”), the problems listed include using our intellect to question, choosing to believe lies, and culture. To overcome these lies, Gothard created “power statements” to repeat several times to oneself.

Gothard promotes as fact that painful memories are caused by incorrect responses to an offense. He emphasizes the need to learn why God allowed hurtful events to happen and to thank Him for allowing the events. The next steps to resolve painful memories are discovering the benefits of the offense, blessing and forgiving the offender, and asking forgiveness for our own offenses.

Click here to see a YouTube clip of a seminar in which Gothard states the following:

a Jewish psychiatrist shocked the psychiatric world. He made a statement and demonstrated through his work that much of what we call mental illness, such as schizophrenia and so on, is not mental illness at all. It’s varying degrees of irresponsibility. If we allow ourselves to act irresponsibly, we will soon begin to think incoherently.

When asked for comment regarding Komisarjevsky, Gothard is quoted in the November 6, 2011, Hartford Courant online stating that he is not a fan of professional psychological or psychiatric treatment.

“We are counseling thousands and many of them have already been counseled by a psychiatrist…and they’ve gotten worse.” He said psychiatry and psychology don’t deal with the spiritual factor, which his programs do. “We get down to the root of the cause and find out why they are having a problem. We don’t focus on demons [although] they are real. They are there. We focus on the person’s will and when they have a will to get free from these things that are destroying their lives,. “It’s so easy to say the devil made me do it. We want to have a person deal with their own responsibility, not blaming their parents, not blaming the devil.”

Despite his statement above, for many years Gothard has blamed inanimate objects for troubles with behavior, thinking, and health.  Many families associated with ATI and Gothard’s teachings have purged their homes and resorted to the infamous Cabbage Patch/Troll Doll/Rock Music burning sessions.

Debunking Gothard’s Teachings

Gothard’s ideas regarding mental illness are full of dysfunction and error. His story about the “Jewish psychiatrist” was so general that it completely lost credibility. To base a whole theory on one unnamed person’s opinion is irrational. I did some research to figure out which psychiatrist Gothard was referring to. The signs point to Thomas Szasz, who authored a number of books, including The Myth of Mental Illness, published in 1961. That’s 50 years ago! His major goal was deinstitutionalization—to fight against involuntary mental institutionalization—not to point out that irresponsibility is the root of mental illness.

As he does so frequently, Gothard simply pulled a random statement to validate his point. During his time of practicing as a psychiatrist, Szasz thought mental illness lacked physiological signs, a theory that has been soundly debunked. Physiological and chemical changes in the brain have been scientifically demonstrated for decades. Mental illnesses are now regularly approached, measured, and tested in scientific fashion. The list of groups that reject Szasz’s opinion that mental illness is a myth include the American Medical Association (AMA),American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Szasz’s writings have been rendered hopelessly obsolete, and citing him was a very poor choice. The very thought that genetically-linked mental illnesses “such as schizophrenia” are due to irresponsibility of the individual is laughable. An unrelated factoid of interest is that Szasz was partnered closely with the Church of Scientology on research, so Gothard is actually glorifying Scientology’s line of thinking!

Gothard’s statements about lies causing mental problems is also puzzling. He believes that using our “intellect to question” leads us to “lies that we believe.” I think the exact opposite is true; using our rational minds to question things that don’t make sense is something that is very much encouraged as a responsible, healthy thing to do. Questioning leads to truth. The lies of “culture” could be interpreted in many different ways, but we have to think that Jesus related to the people He ministered to in their culture in a way that they understood. Why would we need to remove ourselves from mainstream culture? Wouldn’t isolation from society compound depression, loneliness, and social fears? Gothard fails to make sense.

It’s tragic that Gothard pushes the notion that painful memories are caused by “incorrect responses to an offense.” What about someone who has been raped? What about the one who has lost a child? What about the individual who has been repeatedly abused? I find it insulting to ask a victim to thank God for allowing it and then requiring them to examine their own “incorrect response” to the offense. Asking them to find the “benefits” of the offense and blessing the offender? Absurd! Someone who has been deeply hurt or victimized needs to process what happened and release the emotions. That is the way to start healing.

In an article on BibleandScience.com, the author tells the story that at a pastor’s conference, Gothard

warned us that if your daughter has a Cabbage Patch doll she could become mentally ill because their middle names are demonic. So I went to Toys-R-Us to see what some of their middle names were. They were just common names, not demonic. If Cabbage Patch dolls cause mental illness then most children should be mentally ill.

Consequences of Spiritualizing Mental Health Problems

Gothard’s teaching that mental problems are caused by guilt is overly simplistic. What about important factors such as grief/loss, abuse, or genetic predisposition? Why point the finger at someone who suffers from a mental disorder and tell them it is their fault, that they must be reacting to guilt over some hidden sin?  Adding blame to a person’s pain can only compound their overwhelmed feelings, adding to their pathology. This can lead to lowered self-esteem, less productivity, clouded thinking, and even loss of valued relationships. Sometimes people turn to self-medication through alcohol and other substances. Or self-harm and cutting the outside of one’s body. These are behaviors that punish oneself for transgressions and provide distraction from the painful emotions inside, by bringing dysfunctional relief. Ultimately, feeling that it is one’s own fault for mental illness compounds the problems and could lead to thoughts of hopelessness and suicide.

The biggest problem I see, beyond the blatant misguidance, is that Gothard completely ignores many important factors. Scientific research is full of evidence that physical, sexual, emotional, and/or spiritual abuse have a major impact on emotional functioning and the ability to interact with others. Grief over loss is a process, and often counseling can help. Genetics also play a major factor in mental health. For example, if a parent struggles with depression, there is a higher chance that the child will suffer from depression as well. Physical health problems can greatly impact a person’s mood and their ability to think, especially if there are thyroid problems. Ignoring any of these factors is an injustice to the sufferer. Our health care knowledge has come too far to foster the ignorant ideas that Gothard puts forth.

Komisarjevsky wrestled with numerous issues as a child and adolescent. First, we do not know the mental health of his biological parents, but his adoption would be a source of insecurity. Next, early in his life he experienced sexual abuse that was not addressed by his mother, despite her awareness of it. This sent the message to young Joshua that his was a secret so dark that it shouldn’t be discussed, which caused him to bury it for a while. Komisarjevsky went on to become a sexual abuser to his sibling, whom he cared about. By ATI standards, his painful memories were his fault for an incorrect response to being abused, and his sister’s painful memories would be her fault.

We can imagine that Komisarjevsky was discouraged from questioning what he was taught and what he experienced. In confusion and hopelessness, no doubt exacerbated by physically-induced mental issues, his attitude shifted to defiance of authority, vandalization, and drug use.

Finally, as Komisarjevsky became a teen, and his troublesome behaviors became more and more obvious, he felt unable to discuss his true feelings with his parents for fear of repercussions. He most likely realized that he was unable to fix himself, and he was equally unable to relate to a God he couldn’t please. He must have felt more and more isolated, tormented, and left alone to decide his destiny.

Conclusion

The horror that unfolded that summer day didn’t happen by chance. It developed over the course of years, festering under the guise of maintaining a “good family image.” I don’t believe that Bill Gothard or ATI are completely to blame for the tragedy that Joshua Komisarjevsky caused in Cheshire, Connecticut. However, I do believe this is a crystal clear example of the repercussions of spiritualizing serious health conditions.


Here is the video of Bill Pettit discussing the case. If Bill reads this post, I want him to know that the Parsons rarely go through a day without thinking and praying for him. We are so, so sorry.

Lydia's Corner: 1 Samuel 18:5-19:24 John 8:31-59 Psalm 112:1-10 Proverbs 15:12-14

Comments

Monsters Among Us: The Petits, the Predator and Bill Gothard (Graphic) — 226 Comments

  1. Dee,

    My heart still breaks for Bill Petit and his family. I followed that situation closely and couldn’t fathom how someone could be so cruel and inhumane. As we continue to explore Gothard’s teachings, I realize just how ungodly they are.

    I pray that our readers will be discerning about IBLP and ATI – Gothard’s programs. How many have been harmed by his teachings?

  2. I remember when the news of the Petit murders made headlines. It’s a tear-inducing tragedy at best.

    It’s unsettling to look into the lives of some of these perpetrators and realize the abusive environments in which they were raised. And I do think what we’re reading about Gothard’s teachings, in the post and comments, is abusive. If parents can be prosecuted for their refusal to seek medical treatment resulting in their child’s death, why shouldn’t there be consequences for refusing to seek psychiatric treatment? And I don’t mean neuthetic counseling. Hopefully, by exposing these kind of teachings on TWW and elsewhere, more people will know what to stay away from. Awareness can be powerful.

  3. Gothard teaches throughout his materials that the causes of mental illness are guilt, irresponsibility, believing lies, fear, inanimate objects, and psychiatric fallacy. He emphasizes that the individual who has a problem is at fault, and he recommends self-examination, prayer, and taking back strongholds.

    “Taking back strongholds” as in Spiritual Warfare(TM)? Nuff said.

    Despite his statement above, for many years Gothard has blamed inanimate objects for troubles with behavior, thinking, and health. Many families associated with ATI and Gothard’s teachings have purged their homes and resorted to the infamous Cabbage Patch/Troll Doll/Rock Music burning sessions.

    “Inanimate objects” as in magick charms, cursed items, and gris-gris?

    Was HE the one who originated the “Demon-Possessed Cabbage Patch Dolls” urban legend?

  4. What about someone who has been raped?

    They still get blamed.

    I was telling Eagle about Welch (Christian counselor and author) on an older thread.

    Welch says in one of his books that he had an adult patient tell him she was raped by (I think it was by her father?) when she was under the age of 10. Welch told her she needed to take responsibility and admit to her personal sins having played a part in the rape.

    Some 12 step groups, such as AA, do the same thing.

    Even if you were clearly victimized by someone else, the 12 step groups will still ask you “what role did you play in it?,” as if you are equally to blame, to blame at all, or could have prevented the abuse or whatever.

    A site for ex AA members had a link to a video (it may have been on You Tube I don’t remember) with audio of an AA guy (leader) mocking the story of a little girl (I think she was 8 years old) he saw on the news who was crying and angry because she had been raped.

    He was mocking her, saying she wasn’t taking responsibility for her role in it or something to that effect, and she need to stop whining about being raped.

  5. Gothard and those like him are wrong about mental health problems, their causes, and how to treat them.

    I used to have depression (since a very young age) and wasn’t delivered from it until about my late 30s, and my deliverance came mostly from reading secular books (and a few by Christian) mental health about related topics, ones related to depression (books solely ABOUT depression didn’t help me).

    I used to try praying, serving others, reading the Bible, but none of that cured the depression.

    I was a total “goody goody” growing up, so I was not living a life steeped in “personal sin.”

    One really good book, by a Christian doctor, which I’ve recommended before, is “Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded” by Dwight Carlson.

    Carlson explains in the book why a lot of mental health problems are caused by biological problems, or in combination with personal choice with biology/ genetics, and/or environment, and he defends the use of therapy and in cases that warrant it, medication.

    In the book, Carlson also refutes the ridiculous advice that personal sin is always (or only) to blame, or that church attendance, Bible reading, and/or prayer can heal a person of mental health problems or any of their side effects.

  6. @ Deb:

    The author’s name of the book I read that contained that horrible scenario was Edward Welch, so I’d say yes, it’s probably the same guy.

    I came across a book review by a lady of another Welch book just a few days ago, a book about domestic abuse, and it’s more of the same. (Welch tells abused wives to submit even more to their husbands, according to the reviewer.)

    Welch’s attitude is “blame the victim.”

    I believe that sometimes people do make foolish or bad choices in life, which can cause them pain or negative ramifications…..

    However, this idea that people are always to blame, in part or in full, for any and all their misfortunes bother me (especially in examples such as sexual assaults, or when it comes to mental health problems), and I don’t see it supported in the Bible (e.g., John 9: 1-4, Luke 13: 1-5).

    On a similar note, there are some ‘Word of Faith’ Christians who will discourage you from seeing doctors and taking medications, but some of the founders of WoF either used doctors and had surgeries themselves, or took their sick children to hospitals for treatment, or, some of them died from physical problems.

    Believers in the Prosperity Gospel (Wealth and Health) also tend to blame people for their own illnesses, like these Gothard / Welch/ Nouthetic people do.

    I had one WoF lady tell me I must want to have depression (this is when I still had depression), and she informed me in a round about way I was kind of to blame for still having depression, since I was obviously not praying hard enough to be healed of it.

  7. Here’s proof that If we do not acknowledge and respond to the emotional pain of children in responsible ways, we as a society will be reaping the consequences. Thanks, Dee, for this important article.

  8. @ Headless Unicorn Guy: Oh gosh, the “inanimate objects” can be just about anything, in my experience, at least.

    I saw/believed in a lot of incredibly superstitious things during my time in the evangelical/charismatic world. At one point, I was pretty much ordered to toss a piece of jewelry that my dad had given me (brought back from Scotland). It was a Celtic cross with 4 different semiprecious stones set into the topmost part. they thought it was somehow evil.

    Amazing what you’ll buy into when you’re young, impressionable and trying hard to be A Good Christian…

  9. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU for bringing this up. I live in CT and even here, nobody knows about this. They all know about the home invasion but not how Komisarjevsky was raised. It goes without saying that a Gothardite upbringing would be very, very bad for someone with a mental illness (and heck, pretty harmful even to those without one).

    On a different note, this is exactly the kind of thing I can’t post on my FB or all hell will break loose. Homeschooling can produce negative outcomes and is not a magic bullet. It’s sad how hard it is for so many people to admit that.

  10. @ Deb:

    Thank you for the link; I will check that out.

    It’s quite a contrast how the Gothards and Fundamentalists constantly teach every thing in and around us is evil and to stay away from it, but Christ did not run from the culture of His day, even the fallen aspects of it.

    Jesus purposefully sought out the tax collectors and prostitutes. He didn’t run away from them.

    Jesus called Christians to live in the world, to be salt and light among the unsaved, not to run away from the world or hide from Non Christians and all of Non Christian culture.

    You can’t really be salt and light in the world if you’re living in your Christian bubble listening to nothing but your ‘Praise N Worship’ CDs. How are you going to share the Gospel with unsaved people if you avoid them all constantly?

    Maybe I have this wrong, but as for Christians separating from stuff – wasn’t separating brought up only in regards to people who claim to be Christians but who live totally ungodly lives and/or who preach false doctrine (on main paints, e.g., denying the deity of Christ)?

    I don’t remember the New Testament saying Christians are to separate from all secular culture/people.

  11. There is a strong suspicion/hatred of both psychology and psychiatry in the fundamentalist world, and even against antidepressants and psychotropic drugs. Suspicion against such drugs is due in large part to misinformation spread by conspiracy theorists. Some time last week Alex Jones’ website was claiming that Adam Lanza was on “violence causing” psychotropic drugs. To claim that these medicines are “violence causing” is an outright lie.

    Here is an example of the fundamentalist (IFB) view of psychology:

    http://www.stufffundieslike.com/2010/05/fwotw-psychoheresy-aware-org/

    I don’t want to lump men like John MacArthur and Phil Johnson together with the typical IFB, but they both have a suspicion of psychology (at least). One problem is that in their criticisms they broad brush “psychology” as if it was all one thing. It isn’t. For example, Phil Johnson’s otherwise good sermon on the ancient Gnostic heresy, he calls “psychology” a modern form of “gnosticism.”

    It is noting as well that although MacArthur has since disassociated with it, Gary Ezzo’s “ministry” began at MacArthur’s church: http://web.archive.org/web/20040430163926/http://www.mailing-list.net/redrhino/Ezzo/gcc.html

  12. Relevant to this post is an older one that Dee wrote about Jay Adams and the “nouthetic counseling” movement he started. Adams is responsible for spreading the anti-psychology frenzy into the Reformed world. In her post, Dee quotes from an article by Adams where he argues that schizophrenia is merely caused by personal sin: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2011/08/19/you-are-rotten-sinner-the-schizophrenia-is-all-in-your-head/

    Doug Wilson is an appreciator of Adams’ work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQHErHhCch4

  13. Wow. There is so much here I would like to say…..

    First, these theaching have filtered into a lot of different places in Christendom. As I mentioned in the previous thread, growing up, I never heard of Gothard and was not homeschooled or even aware of homeschooling. But these phrases and ideas and attitudes were all over the religious environment of my childhood. I grew up Assemblies of God….pretty far removed from Neo-reformed…or so I thought…

    Dee, this from the article is exactly what I experienced.
    :

    Adding blame to a person’s pain can only compound their overwhelmed feelings, adding to their pathology. This can lead to lowered self-esteem, less productivity, clouded thinking, and even loss of valued relationships. Sometimes people turn to self-medication through alcohol and other substances. Or self-harm and cutting the outside of one’s body. These are behaviors that punish oneself for transgressions and provide distraction from the painful emotions inside, by bringing dysfunctional relief. Ultimately, feeling that it is one’s own fault for mental illness compounds the problems and could lead to thoughts of hopelessness and suicide.

    Another consequence of this is believing your have no right to feel anything. I have struggled with the concept that I have a right to feel pain – to say, ‘I hurt.’ As I have delved into the experiences of my childhood – both parental and religious and the sexual abuse from cousins and babysitters – my therapist has remarked more than once that it is a miracle I’m not schizophrenic.

    Believe me, I absolutely took the blame for my sexual abuse. Wow. Okay…sorry. I’m going to have to come back to this later if I can. This has triggered a couple of new memory fragments thst I nned to process…..one is my 2 1/2 year old self being asked why I let him do that….

  14. “He wrote an entire book, How to Resolve 7 Deadly Stresses, based on the theory that lies can cause stress and physical disease. Where do these lies come from according to Gothard? In the study guide for this book (“The Lies We Believe that Cause Stress and Disease”), the problems listed include using our intellect to question, choosing to believe lies, and culture. To overcome these lies, Gothard created “power statements” to repeat several times to oneself.”

    Ironically, it is this kind of thing that resembles witchcraft. These are certainly the same kinds of things taught in Christian Science, Word-Faith, Positive Confession, etc.

  15. @ Eagle:
    Wow! That first article you linked to was very chilling, and very sad. There were people concerned for Matthew Murray, and some even offered counseling. It’s tragic his own parents didn’t seek that out for him.

    A few months ago I had a relative harm herself. Dee put up a prayer request for her. Now, with counseling and medication, she is doing great. I hope Christians will stop denying themselves and their children the medical help that will allow them to lead fuller lives. (And avoid the nonsense that teaches that seeking that help is unGodly.)

    @ Jeannette Altes:
    I hope you’re ok. I so enjoy reading your comments. In fact, since reading and interacting at TWW my anxiety levels have decreased dramatically. I’m really starting to believe that I’ll be able to move on past my abusive church experience and live a normal life. I wish neither you nor any of us had to experience what we did. But I’m glad to have “met” you here.

  16. @ Nicholas:

    “To overcome these lies, Gothard created ‘power statements’ to repeat several times to oneself.”

    Also known as a mantra. Though I bet Gothard would decry any blending of eastern religions with Christianity.

  17. @ Nicholas:

    “Suspicion against such drugs is due in large part to misinformation spread by conspiracy theorists. Some time last week Alex Jones’ website was claiming that Adam Lanza was on ‘violence causing’ psychotropic drugs.”

    One of my rules for internet research is that a positive citation of InfoWars automatically renders the site/author verboten and untrustworthy in perpetuity unless they loudly and publicly recant. (I’ve seen homeschool researcher Brian Ray do this. Just a thought for y’all.) Natural News is almost there too as it tends to repeat the same stuff.

  18. After the suicide of Rick Warren’s son, I posted an article about the suicide of a young man who attended Grace Community/John MacArthur’s church. This happened in 1979. You can read about it here: http://goo.gl/1D5II But the sad part to me was the young guy couldn’t win. He knew his church’s stance on psychology. John Mac has said that the Bible is sufficient for everything and incompatible with psychology. He also was taught this in the biblical counseling class he took there. How could this young man hear/read those words and then feel right about going to his psychiatrist’s appointment? Even though the court documents say that pastors encouraged him to keep his doctor’s appt with the psychiatrist after one suicide attempt (in which MacArthur and another pastor visited him in the hospital) the battle in his mind waged on. He surely must have thought he was sinning and heaped more guilt upon himself. Within weeks of his first suicide attempt – – and after telling MacArthur and another pastor in the hospital that he was upset that he hadn’t been successful, he did did in fact succeed in killing himself. It makes you wonder what would have happened with this young man had he gotten the help he needed.

  19. Gothard’s ideas on psychology sound a lot like Ron Hubbard’s except Hubbard’s guilt was left over from millions of years ago in a galaxy far, far away. Mental illness is as real as any other disease. It is not imaginary, it’s just not physically tangible. I’ve suffered from depression for many years and I’ve often wished it could just be thought away. Professional help is the only way.

  20. Nicholas wrote:

    Ironically, it is this kind of thing that resembles witchcraft.

    You beat me to it.

    I was thinking how much this sounds like witchcraft or New Age law of attraction stuff.

  21. numo wrote:

    It was a Celtic cross with 4 different semiprecious stones set into the topmost part. they thought it was somehow evil.

    The Celtics brought much richness to the faith.

  22. Daisy wrote:

    Welch says in one of his books that he had an adult patient tell him she was raped by (I think it was by her father?) when she was under the age of 10. Welch told her she needed to take responsibility and admit to her personal sins having played a part in the rape.

    That is despicable.

  23. @ Eagle: Make sure your friend knows that Simmons is referring a guy that tells girls to forgive their abusers. Wait….where have I heard that before? Oh yeah-the SGM lawsuit.

  24. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    Believe me, I absolutely took the blame for my sexual abuse. Wow. Okay…sorry. I’m going to have to come back to this later if I can. This has triggered a couple of new memory fragments thst I nned to process…..one is my 2 1/2 year old self being asked why I let him do that….

    You did it because you were 2 1/2 years old and we are created as little children to respect and obey those who are in authority. You did the right thing, your abuser used it. Your action was normal, your abuser was abnormal. He will answer to God for his abuse. It is incidents like this that make me realize the purpose of hell.

  25. Nicholas wrote:

    . To overcome these lies, Gothard created “power statements” to repeat several times to oneself.”
    Ironically, it is this kind of thing that resembles witchcraft. These are certainly the same kinds of things taught in Christian Science, Word-Faith, Positive Confession, etc.

    Excellent comment!!

  26. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    A few months ago I had a relative harm herself. Dee put up a prayer request for her. Now, with counseling and medication, she is doing great. I ho

    I am so glad to know your relative is doing better.

  27. cranston wrote:

    Gothard’s ideas on psychology sound a lot like Ron Hubbard’s except Hubbard’s guilt was left over from millions of years ago in a galaxy far, far away.

    This gets the funniest comment of the morning. May the force be with you.

  28. This is so tragic. While Joshua must be held accountable, he had no control over his childhood experiences or his parents’ choices. Yet his adoptive mother was an abuse survivor as well, and those experiences certainly influenced her parenting decisions. It’s hard to know exactly where to place the blame.

    I have first-hand experience with these teachings as well. When my mother discovered my plans to commit suicide when I was a teenager, she told me I must have unconfessed sin in m life and that I needed to get right with God. I got blame and shame instead of therapy or medication. That’s the singe most painful memory of my life, and that moment was the beginning of the end of my relationship with my family. Gothard and his teachings have contributed to so many broken people and families over the years.

  29. @ Julie Anne:

    Thank you for writing about that. I now consider MacArthur and GCC to be officially dangerous.

    God works through means. MacArthur would rightly denounce the error of the Pentecostal faith healers and the Christian Science people. Why doesn’t he realize that he is making the same error? Is MacArthur operating under a (dare I say Gnostic) impulse to do everything differently from “the world”, to do everything in “a more Biblical way,” even if “a more Biblical way” doesn’t always exist? It seems to be this impulse that attracts people to Bill Gothard, Gary Ezzo, Jay Adams, and various cults and cult leaders as well.

  30. Daisy wrote:

    I had one WoF lady tell me I must want to have depression (this is when I still had depression), and she informed me in a round about way I was kind of to blame for still having depression, since I was obviously not praying hard enough to be healed of it.

    “Obviously not praying enough” or “obviously not as Spiritual as ME”?

    I always get a vibe of One-Upmanship from this sort of thing. As is “If you were REALLY Walking With The LOOORD (like MEEEEE), you wouldn’t be this way.” Like the Noutheics claiming that schizophrenia is “due to YOUR Personal SIN.”

    “I THANK THEE, LORD, THAT I AM NOTHING LIKE THAT SCHIZOPHRENIC PUBLICAN OVER THERE…”

  31. cranston wrote:

    Gothard’s ideas on psychology sound a lot like Ron Hubbard’s except Hubbard’s guilt was left over from millions of years ago in a galaxy far, far away.

    And that psychology was direct competition to Dianetics and Scientology.

    And according to an unauthorized biography, Elron was also into repeating “power statements”.

  32. Nicholas wrote:

    Is MacArthur operating under a (dare I say Gnostic) impulse to do everything differently from “the world”, to do everything in “a more Biblical way,” even if “a more Biblical way” doesn’t always exist?

    Well, “Gnostic” DOES mean “He Who KNOWS Things”. “Things” as in Speshul Sekrit Knowledge that makes the Gnostic more Spiritual than everyone else. And a lot of Gnosticism placed a wide gulf of separation between the (inferior) physical and the (superior) spiritual.

  33. “…it makes zero sense to me for leaders–especially Southern Baptist leaders–to publicly coddle and unapologetically encourage C.J. Mahaney to continue his ministry amongst us and within our institutional circles during this time. No moral sense whatsoever. Granted allegations do not reduce to facts. But encouraging uninhibited public ministry in the midst of scandalous litigation against a leader in no way remains necessary for strong friendship–even loyal friendship–to remain fully sustained…Love, friendship, loyalty, and uninhibited support and prayer can be and should be personally offered to C.J. Mahaney by his many friends, and this should be whether or not Mahaney is ultimately found liable or not liable. Who would morally argue against this? Hence, the issue is not whether Mahaney’s friends should be both loving and loyal to a man who’s meant so much to them. Rather the issue is, what form should that love and loyalty take? As long as the litigation remains and the jury is still out, love and loyality [sic] cannot and should not be expressed in the same form as it would be if no litigation had ever been filed.” –Peter Lumpkins

    Excellent quote from a clear-headed post found here:
    http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/peter_lumpkins/2013/04/sovereign-grace-ministries-and-cj-mahaney-wants-lawsuit-to-end-.html

  34. I already know the answer to what I asked Lumpkins. Just like T4G ignores the SGM scandal because Mahaney is “their man,” so Lumpkins ignores the even more widespread SBC scandal because it is his own denomination. Likewise, Lumpkins and the SBC men threw away their own credibility by defending Ergun Caner after it was shown that he had lied about his background for years. They defended him because he is “their man.” Al Mohler and Russell Moore defend Philip Gunn because he is one of “their men,” even though Gunn covered for John Langworthy and told parishioners not to talk to the police or the DA.

  35. “It’s tragic that Gothard pushes the notion that painful memories are caused by “incorrect responses to an offense.” What about someone who has been raped? What about the one who has lost a child? What about the individual who has been repeatedly abused? I find it insulting to ask a victim to thank God for allowing it and then requiring them to examine their own “incorrect response” to the offense. Asking them to find the “benefits” of the offense and blessing the offender? Absurd! Someone who has been deeply hurt or victimized needs to process what happened and release the emotions. That is the way to start healing. ”

    This is the point where, for me at least, many Christians have departed from the view of a fallen/broken world, and the good news of Jesus coming to restore brokenness becomes deconstructed to the point of nonsense. If there is no such thing as genuinely bad stuff–if everything that happens is A-Okay with God, and the only problem is that we haven’t realized it’s okay–then what is the point of believing in a fallen world? What is the point of Jesus saying that creation itself is groaning for healing? Why do we long for the coming of the kingdom if life here never has any real, true, honest to goodness problems?

    I believe that God can take anything and turn it for good. That doesn’t mean the bad thing that happened was a part of His good creation in the first place.

  36. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    Warning trigger alert on sexual abuse. gbtc please moderate if this is inappropriate, I will understand.

    Believe me, I absolutely took the blame for my sexual abuse.

    Dear Jeannette,

    My heart goes out to you. I always appreciate your comments. I am praying for you as you connect with your 2 year old self.

    I was sexually abused by several different people as a child. One was a babysitter that I loved and I believed that I was loved by them in return.

    Because my body was designed for pleasure,and there are many nerve endings on a clitoris, and this a** knew what they were doing, my body responded.

    That was just one factor that nailed me to the mat to take the blame, add to it all church bull & biblical counseling guilt that I was taught only compounded my shame & confusion.

    I made some, baby steps, progress with therapy, and somewhat understand that my precious 8 year old self was set up, and her/my body was used in a twisted way. That, now, I can say (at times) it wasn’t my fault.

    The odd conundrum is I always knew it wasn’t another victims fault. I had only mercy when listening to the stories of other women who were sexually abused, it was so clear to me that it wasn’t their fault, but extending that mercy and clarity to myself I just couldn’t for 20 some years and I still struggle…

  37. Nicholas wrote:

    I now consider MacArthur and GCC to be officially dangerous

    I am so excited to have one who can “officially” declare something. Can I get you to “officially” declare TWW to be awesome! :)

  38. lemonaidfizz wrote:

    When my mother discovered my plans to commit suicide when I was a teenager, she told me I must have unconfessed sin in m life and that I needed to get right with God.

    I am so sorry for this pain. But, I rejoice that you are here to share this with us. Thank you for sharing your story.

  39. @ Nicholas:

    Nicholas: Thank you for that. Absolutely, YES, he should be challenged to acknowledge Christa Brown and her site http://stopbaptistpredators.blogspot.com/
    SHE is my hero and someday I want to meet her!! I was glad that he was at least saying something directed at Christian leaders and how they need to not be acting like business-as-usual when there is a huge, butt-naked, mud-covered elephant in the room (aka SGM’s sex abuse cover-up lawsuit) 😉

  40. Nicholas wrote:

    I already know the answer to what I asked Lumpkins. Just like T4G ignores the SGM scandal because Mahaney is “their man,” so Lumpkins ignores the even more widespread SBC scandal because it is his own denomination.

    This is a comment that should be read over and over. That is why we try to be equal opportunity offenders at TWW.

  41. sad observer wrote:

    I believe that God can take anything and turn it for good. That doesn’t mean the bad thing that happened was a part of His good creation in the first place.

    I concur.

  42. @ dee:I love CS Lewis’ space trilogy. The second book, Perelandra, deals with the Adam and Eve story that has a different ending. You might enjoy reading it.

  43. @ BeenThereDoneThat: heeheehee – thanks!

    I wish the people who have buns biting through wires would take care to block off the wires or keep them out of reach, though… buns can get terrible shocks and burns from biting through a live cord. (I’ve seen pics, and they’re scary and sobering.)

    *Loved* the one about the ceiling! 😀

  44. @ Hester: I dunno – about mantras, that is. More like some sort of attempt to alter reality, which could be benign – or not. (In this case, my money’s on “not.”)

    By “alter reality,” I’m thinking about altering one’s own perception of reality, not reality itself – in other words, “I will get through this” (when feeling overwhelmed) has been very helpful to me personally.

  45. Nicholas wrote:

    They defended him because he is “their man.” Al Mohler and Russell Moore defend Philip Gunn because he is one of “their men,” even though Gunn covered for John Langworthy and told parishioners not to talk to the police or the DA.

    Nicholas – This is what I have observed time and again. If you have the right theology, you get a free pass despite your character or actions. My former pastor is getting a pass among “celebrity” names even though he sued women and has his license revoked. He is even getting a free pass from folks at Grace Community whom he wrongly accused of telling him to sue us. There’s some crazy stuff in christiandom with a small “c.” These leaders think they get to point out everybody else’s rotten fruit but they smell pretty good to each other.

  46. Muckraker wrote:

    Hence, the issue is not whether Mahaney’s friends should be both loving and loyal to a man who’s meant so much to them. Rather the issue is, what form should that love and loyalty take? As long as the litigation remains and the jury is still out, love and loyality [sic] cannot and should not be expressed in the same form as it would be if no litigation had ever been filed.” –Peter Lumpkins
    Excellent quote from a clear-headed post found here:
    http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/peter_lumpkins/2013/04/sovereign-grace-ministries-and-cj-mahaney-wants-lawsuit-to-end-.html

    Not so sure the issue is about friendship, per se. Maybe it is. But the way it looks to me is the issue is Mahaney is a pastor. Pastors are held higher than regular folks. Not necessarily to a higher standard. Just higher. At least with this group.

  47. Julie Anne wrote:

    He is even getting a free pass from folks at Grace Community whom he wrongly accused of telling him to sue us.

    Wow. That’s nuts.

  48. @ dee:

    Thank you, dee. In the months that I have lurked here at TWW, I’ve seen a lot of compassion and kindness, and that gives me hope that there might really be some good people in the world after all–and that the abuse, false teachings, and cover-ups in the church may be exposed and eventually rooted out.

  49. Such a terrible, sad, heartbreaking story. Thanks to TWW for relating it.

    Gothard’s teachings on this subject bear (to me) a disturbing similarity to a book I skimmed through a while back. Is anyone familiar with “Psychobabble” by Richard L. Ganz? From what I remember, he’s a huge proponent of nouthetic therapy, and denounces all attempts to integrate modern psychiatric or psychological techniques with Christian counseling.

    I didn’t read the whole thing, but Ganz’s arguments, reasoning and methods seemed far too simplistic to me. Can’t remember his attitudes concerning rape or sexual abuse (if they’re anything like Welch’s as related by @ Daisy then Ganz has no respect from me). I do remember him equating the concept of self-esteem with the hubris of Nebuchadnezzar. Very much a “what-the-blankety-blank?” moment for me.

    What convinces some Christians that they can learn everything they need from the Bible? Do they really think modern research can’t tell them anything that’s not in the Scriptures?

  50. That AA “leader” on video referenced above is very much an anomaly, even if he said he was associated with AA. I’ve been acquainted with different AA groups in different locations, and many people whom AA has helped. The only thing AA or other 12-step groups encourage people to take responsibility for is usage of their addictive substance. Nobody I know who has been involved with 12-step has been told that they should take responsibility for having been abused. 12-steppers who are really following the program would never do anything like that; many have been abused, and they know that getting professional help to work through it is important and necessary. Please don’t think the above example is at all representative of AA or 12-step programs.

    On the subject at hand, I went to the IBYC and the Advanced course. I burned some pretty good records. Even though college-educated at the time, I was still naive about a lot in my sincere attempts to follow Jesus. I trusted people simply on the basis that they had studied the bible for years, and I hadn’t, and a couple of my friends had attended IBYC and found that it helped them. I’m glad I didn’t get more involved than that. I think I was providentially kept from getting too involved in several Christian fringe groups. There are a lot of sincere people who get sucked in because they are sincere, not because they are nuts.

  51. Nicholas wrote:

    There is a strong suspicion/hatred of both psychology and psychiatry in the fundamentalist world, and even against antidepressants and psychotropic drugs.
    Here is an example of the fundamentalist (IFB) view of psychology:
    http://www.stufffundieslike.com/2010/05/fwotw-psychoheresy-aware-org/
    I don’t want to lump men like John MacArthur and Phil Johnson together with the typical IFB, but they both have a suspicion of psychology (at least). One problem is that in their criticisms they broad brush “psychology” as if it was all one thing. It isn’t. For example, Phil Johnson’s otherwise good sermon on the ancient Gnostic heresy, he calls “psychology” a modern form of “gnosticism.”

    I am on the mailing list for the Bobgans’ Psychoheresy Awareness letter, and I never knew how I got on it until now. I took Prozac for a very short time and told my former pastor that I went off it. I was a new Christian and told him that if I have major depression I’d seek out secular counseling rather than drugs. Not that he would personally offer to counsel me if I had any problems. Geez Louise.

  52. The nouthetic counseling thing is another reason I stopped reading Paul’s Passing Thoughts. Dohse seems to adore Jay Adams and quotes him all the time, which is unfortunate given that he’s caught so much abuse going on in Neo-Calvinist churches. I sincerely hope he’s doing it in ignorance, and that he just doesn’t know about the damage caused by nouthetic counseling.

  53. I find it insulting to ask a victim to thank God for allowing it and then requiring them to examine their own “incorrect response” to the offense. Asking them to find the “benefits” of the offense and blessing the offender.

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. I cannot fathom asking my former roommate, whom I offended, “Hey, perhaps you need to consider the benefits of my taking advantage of you.” (That works in a lot of different issues, as well, be it theft, gossip, character assassination, murder, rape, incest, physical abuse, etc.) I am almost speechless. Who can imagine telling the parents or loved ones of someone who was brutally raped and then murdered to consider the “benefits” of such in order to work toward healing. WHAT benefits?

  54. @ Nicholas:

    I am speechless, now trembling from watching that video. That was straight up spiritual abuse, and it brings back memories when I was instructed to forgive my abusers, talk about putting the cart before the horse. My heart just aches.

  55. @ Gail:

    I’m sorry that it brought back painful memories. My heart also aches whenever I read or hear these stories.

  56. This stuff makes me sick all the way through to my bone marrow.

    It is absolutely diabolical,chillingly devoid of compassion and unkind to an infinite degree. What on earth are the intellectual roots of the things Gothard so glibly espoused? I would love to see someone like BradFuturistGuy trace the roots of these, & those that underlie the nouthetic ‘counselling’ movement (excuse me while I spit), to show just how this kind of utter bollocks can end up being touted as true, and then people kept in the system by removing confidence in their own thinking & reasoning processes. I was kept from accessing counselling with any confidence when I was in my early 20’s desperately ill with ME (immune deficient chronic fatigue syndrome) & suffering from a panic disorder & agoraphobia by friends being involvesd with the whole ‘psychoheresy’ thing. They didn’t tell me not to, but the whole debate threw so much doubt over it that I couldn’t overcome the fear I was going to do something wrong & sinful. I was trying to do the right thing by God, & it is one of many times, because of poor teaching that I was sentenced to a huge amount of further harm because sources of help I’d now take without a second thought were under spiritual suspicion. I hare this stuff. Hate it. You don’t need to have been around Gothard for the tentacles of this sort of psychological poison to harm you.

    And for those on here who’ve been abused – I send love to you all & admire you so much. Just surviving is a feat of epic proportions. We really need to seek how to undo the terrible teachings which not only blame children for other’s sin, but push some vulnerable individuals into terrible acts. It’s imperative we understand this stuff so we can fight it. How I wish someone could have rescued you as children.

  57. Nicholas wrote:

    I’m sorry that it brought back painful memories. My heart also aches whenever I read or hear these stories.

    O, no need to say you are sorry, thank-you though. As hard as it was to watch, it just helped me to connect another dot on what the flip happened to me.

  58. @ Nicholas:

    Sigh.

    That was certainly nouthetic counseling as I understand it, and have seen such nouthetic principles preached from the pulpit. Very frustrating.

    I give that video five out of five frowns. :( :( :( :( :(

  59. Gail wrote:

    @ Nicholas:
    I am speechless, now trembling from watching that video. That was straight up spiritual abuse, and it brings back memories when I was instructed to forgive my abusers, talk about putting the cart before the horse. My heart just aches.

    I don’t blame you.

    Also, I don’t blame you!

  60. Eagle wrote:

    (Long HUG from Washington, D.C.) I need to send you an email sometime Gail. I’ve been busy on my end.

    Eagle,

    Thank-You for the hug! If it wasn’t for you at I.M. I wouldn’t have discovered TWW which led me to SSB which has been so helpful in understanding the madness of the church cult-ure. Culture defined as: the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group. (Keeping your leg in prayer)

  61. Beakerj wrote:

    And for those on here who’ve been abused – I send love to you all & admire you so much. Just surviving is a feat of epic proportions.

    Sending love back to you. Thank-you, such lovely thoughtful words…

    anonymous wrote:

    I give that video five out of five frowns. :( :( :( :( :(

    Perfect rating on the contents of that video!

  62. @ Eagle:

    Okay. So what did Welch say in that article that is disagreeable?
    Or did you post it as an example of good advice?
    What?

  63. I know two people who I believe do Nouthetic counseling. Both tried hard to get me to let them work on me. Both were a bit pushy and known for their manipulative, controlling tendencies. After having told them both that I would not be going to either of them for counseling, one asked me as I was leaving her home late one evening if she could just pray for me. I agreed. Wow … about 2 hours later, as the other guests began to yawn, she was still trying to force me to tell her if I could see Jesus and what was He telling me.

    Okay, just the fact that I was still there 2 hours later shows I get very stupid when I’m tired and this was late for me. I did stand firm on the fact that I was not picturing Jesus and I refused to put words in His mouth. This bothered my would be counselor. The only prudent thing for her to do was to blame me, of course.

    When the second friend tried again to twist my arm into letting her counsel me, I knew to not give her an inch. This counselor would send out detailed emails about the people/couples she was counseling asking us to pray for her meetings; but I felt it was wrong for me to read these poor people’s details. After having read some in the beginning, I noticed a pattern of my friend’s judgmental attitude towards the men who didn’t want to participate, as if that were automatically a rebellion against God. I think the men were simply not about to play this game of close your eyes, picture Jesus, and come up with words you can put into His mouth. It is a little weird. If it works for some, I’m happy for them. I just did not want to be coerced.

  64. Nicholas wrote:

    Here is another IFB example of this kind of “counseling”: http://www.stufffundieslike.com/2011/03/blaming-the-victim-video-version-2-0/

    Oh, yes … I remember this kind of counseling. I did not get this in IFB, but I did hear it in Calvary Chapel. Woman after woman whose husband had either abandoned her, been unfaithful to her, or harmed (or threatened) her, was told to forgive her husband … when her husband wasn’t admitting anything or asking for forgiveness. The pastors would focus on the victim and not the apparent victimizer. The victim would not the support, understanding, or empathy … just a swift kick telling her she needed to repent.

    Always amazes me how the victim is seen as weak, not trusting God, and easy to manipulate. The victim recognizes the pressure to perform (like dog and pony tricks) according to the pastor’s expectations or else run the risk of being labeled as a bad Christian, resisting God’s will, therefore not worthy of love, acceptance, help, or whatever else the victim needs. Very quickly one learns it’s not safe to be open and real.

    I thank God for the few who acted like mature grown ups and showed the care and concern needed, focusing on the victimizer. If the victim develops bitterness or something negative from the experience, the victim will be drawn back gently through God’s love, faster and especially if the people around the victim are supportive.

  65. Where did this “blame the victim” type of “counseling” originate? Could it be with Gothard? I know that people across the denominational board have attended his seminars. Erroneous ideas can then be passed on by people who have no idea where they originated. Any thoughts?

  66. @ Nicholas:
    Nicholas: It has always appeared to me that many in the SBC especially the higher ups will never attempt to do anything about child abuse. It is a shame!

  67. @ Daisy:

    Daisy, please prove that Welch said that. I would like to see it documented. I am reading one of his books right now and I can’t imagine he would say that, so I would like to see or hear where he actually states this. Thank you.

  68. Katie wrote:

    Nicholas wrote:
    Here is another IFB example of this kind of “counseling”: http://www.stufffundieslike.com/2011/03/blaming-the-victim-video-version-2-0/

    Oh, yes … I remember this kind of counseling. I did not get this in IFB, but I did hear it in Calvary Chapel. Woman after woman whose husband had either abandoned her, been unfaithful to her, or harmed (or threatened) her, was told to forgive her husband … when her husband wasn’t admitting anything or asking for forgiveness. The pastors would focus on the victim and not the apparent victimizer. The victim would not the support, understanding, or empathy … just a swift kick telling her she needed to repent.
    Always amazes me how the victim is seen as weak, not trusting God, and easy to manipulate. The victim recognizes the pressure to perform (like dog and pony tricks) according to the pastor’s expectations or else run the risk of being labeled as a bad Christian, resisting God’s will, therefore not worthy of love, acceptance, help, or whatever else the victim needs. Very quickly one learns it’s not safe to be open and real.

    Yep!

  69. @ Deb:

    I personally have been going through training to receive a NANC certification – nouthetic counseling – there is nothing associated with Bill Gothard and there is nothing about the victim being blamed. At some point in the person’s recovery they do need to move on and not live a life of sin because of what they had happen to them – choosing to be angry, choosing to shut down, etc… – which is not what God intends for us – but never has there been anything about the victim being the one to blame. Also, much of the training comes from medical doctors – it is not just someone’s opinion – there is much documented evidence that the cause of mental illness is very uncertain and the treatment uncertain – it is still trial and error and ever changing. Don’t discount good biblical nouthetic counseling using the word of God .

  70. Liz,

    As I'm sure you are aware, nouthetic counseling has been evolving since the 70s when Jay Adams began implementing it. That tells me that there were definitely some problems.

    I don't know as much about it as you obviously do, but I don't believe it the only viable form of counseling. Thanks for your comment.

  71. Nicholas wrote:

    nouthetic.org has replaced it with this shorter article: http://www.nouthetic.org/but-what-about-schizophrenia-should-i-attempt-to-help-schizophrenics

    Am I in the twilight zone? This just floors me. Is this for real???

    “Don’t accept the claim that a person is “out of touch with reality” unless some organic cause for “catatonic” behavior has been detected. Counsel the individual as if he is in touch with reality. If what you say is threatening enough,*** he will respond. Try to learn what it is he is attempting to avoid. Investigate each case to discover what is behind it, and counsel accordingly.

    * I once contributed a chapter to a book by Peter Megaro, ed., entitled, The Construction of Madness (University of Maine Press: Oreno), in which each writer discussed his view of schizophrenia. No two chapters agreed!

    ** In these cases, simply get the person to sleep around the clock for a day or so.

    *** For instance, “If you will not talk or take care of your personal needs, we will have to leave you here to soil your underwear and deficate in your clothing.”

  72. Nicholas wrote:

    Here is another IFB example of this kind of “counseling”: http://www.stufffundieslike.com/2011/03/blaming-the-victim-video-version-2-0/

    Okay…why I thought it would be a good idea to watch this…. I made it about half way through – to the place where he said, "God gave you the grace to get through it [the abuse]. You have failed the grace of God [by being angry and hurt]." Hmm…the pain this stirs up. He'd come up with yet another way that, as victims, we have failed God?! WTF!! I spent a good deal of my childhood and early 20s believing that because I had done these terrible things (having sex), I had failed God and could, at best, only hope to be tolerated by him. Now if I feel pain and anger when I'm abused, I am failing the grace of God? I didn't know we could 'faile' the grace of God? Okay. Deep breath. Again. Liz wrote:

    Don’t discount good biblical nouthetic counseling using the word of God .

    Okay, in my own experience, these words together are contradictory. Liz, I have to ask, if I came to you, suicidal, and told you that I had begun been molested when I was 2 years old and told it was my fault and that the emotional pain was more than I could handle, what would your counsel be?

  73. Nicholas wrote:

    Relevant to this post is an older one that Dee wrote about Jay Adams and the “nouthetic counseling” movement he started. Adams is responsible for spreading the anti-psychology frenzy into the Reformed world. In her post, Dee quotes from an article by Adams where he argues that schizophrenia is merely caused by personal sin: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2011/08/19/you-are-rotten-sinner-the-schizophrenia-is-all-in-your-head/

    Thank You for posting this. I have a lot of reading to do. After I change my pants, seriously crapped when I read:*** For instance, “If you will not talk or take care of your personal needs, we will have to leave you here to soil your underwear and deficate in your clothing.”

  74. Liz wrote:

    Don’t discount good biblical nouthetic counseling using the word of God .

    It is dangerous and that is well known amongst well trained Christian psychiatrists who go to medical school and then 3-4 years of intense residency and fellowship training.

  75. Liz wrote:

    . At some point in the person’s recovery they do need to move on and not live a life of sin because of what they had happen to them – choosing to be angry, choosing to shut down, etc… – which is not what God intends for us

    And who gets to make that decision? Someone who has read a few books and gone to a couple of weekend training sessions?

  76. Deb wrote:

    I don’t believe it the only viable form of counseling. Thanks for your comment.

    I don’t think it is viable at all. It is dangerous.

  77. dee wrote:

    I don’t think it is viable at all. It is dangerous.

    It is dangerous and that is well known amongst well trained Christian psychiatrists who go to medical school and then 3-4 years of intense residency and fellowship training.

    God bless you Dee. Thank-You.

  78. Liz wrote:

    At some point in the person’s recovery they do need to move on and not live a life of sin because of what they had happen to them – choosing to be angry, choosing to shut down, etc… – which is not what God intends for us –

    I have serious reservations about a method of counseling that equates being angry or shutting down with sinning. Anger and shutting down are normal and even healthy responses to experiencing abuse. What I have gleaned from people who have received legitimate psychological counseling is that they are given the tools to better respond to their anger, not that the anger itself is the problem.

  79. And celebrity pastors like John MacArthur and Doug Wilson are disseminating this crazy guy’s teachings. See my comment @ Nicholas

    I doubt I am going to get any sleep tonight, not because I am overwhelmed or overloaded, I am angry. My ex pastor was so proud of the fact that John MacArthur mentored him. Connecting more dots. Thank-You again.

  80. Nicholas wrote:

    http://sbcvoices.com/when-prayer-is-propaganda/. (See the comments starting at #48)

    A commenter named “Mary” has left a comment at Peter Lumpkins’ blog very similar to many of the comments left on the SBCVoices post from 2010: http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/peter_lumpkins/2013/04/sovereign-grace-ministries-and-cj-mahaney-wants-lawsuit-to-end-.html?cid=6a00d83451a37369e201901bb9dfba970b#comment-6a00d83451a37369e201901bb9dfba970b

    Mary’s comment is almost identical to the comments left by “Bess” at SBCVoices in 2010. Mary accuses Christa Brown of wanting to “destroy” the SBC. Then Mary says: “But her big political mistake was hooking up with someone like Burleson. He has zero no credibility in the SBC except among those who want to see it torn down.”

    Political? Political!?! Is that what it’s about to this commenter? It has never been about politics for Christa Brown or Wade Burleson. It has been about protecting children. But it might be all about politics to the SBC leaders and their defenders.

  81. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    Okay, in my own experience, these words together are contradictory. Liz, I have to ask, if I came to you, suicidal, and told you that I had begun been molested when I was 2 years old and told it was my fault and that the emotional pain was more than I could handle, what would your counsel be?

    I know you didn’t ask me the question, I hope I am not stepping on your toes by responding. My heart, me, hates what you have lived. I would listen & weep with you while I prayed for you to hear & know deep in the chambers of your inner most being that it wasn’t your fault, you were and still are innocent.

  82. I posted a response to you @ on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    I have been struggling or questioning myself about how I responded to you earlier…

    I don’t have answers and I would hate it if that is how I come across here.

    nah, just one beggar sharing with another where some bread was found.

    It is a long messy journey out of sexual abuse imho. My best to you!

  83. @ Gail:
    You have always responded with grace and compassion.
    I often don’t have the emotional energy to respond…especially lately – seem to be going through another layer of grit… :/
    You are in my prayers and my best toward you as we continue on the path to healing.
    I value ypur comments – they di help.

  84. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    You are in my prayers and my best toward you as we continue on the path to healing.
    I value ypur comments – they di help.</blockquote

    i understand about energy or lack of to respond. Just thankful that I didn't trigger or hurt you. My heart is with you as you process yet another layer of grit… Thankful to know that a 1000's days to our Lord is but one…. He isn't dating or time stamping our struggle.

  85. Liz wrote:

    much of the training comes from medical doctors

    Are you saying that nouthetic counseling training is conducted by medical doctors, or that the information used in the training comes from medical doctors? Can you please cite which doctors you are referring to?

    there is much documented evidence that the cause of mental illness is very uncertain and the treatment uncertain – it is still trial and error and ever changing.

    The cause of multiple sclerosis is not known, and treatments for it are often determined by trial and error. Does that mean MS patients should ditch their neurologists and seek treatment by nouthetic counselors instead?

    Don’t discount good biblical nouthetic counseling using the word of God.

    I hail from the epicenter of the nouthetic counseling movement on the West Coast. You can’t swing a dead cat in most of the evangelical churches around here without hitting a score of folks who are counselors or are in training to become counselors. While it may be true that this form of counseling can help people with personal problems stemming from sin, I’ve seen more train wrecks than success stories in the last 20 years when this method is applied to serious mental health problems and domestic abuse.

  86. Liz wrote:

    At some point in the person’s recovery they do need to move on and not live a life of sin because of what they had happen to them – choosing to be angry, choosing to shut down, etc… – which is not what God intends for us – but never has there been anything about the victim being the one to blame

    Liz, if this is the training you're getting, I'm concerned. Please understand that when an 8 year old girl who is being molested shuts down, it is not a conscious 'choice,' it is a matter of survival. The human mind can only tolerate – process – so much pain before it has to shut down to even continue to half-way function. A twenty-something young woman who has been raped by her boyfriend and comes for counseling and is told that she needs to face her own 'sin' in the situation….well, that counselor will be legally lucky if all the woman does is 'shut down' emotionally. This kind of 'counseling' can (and does) drive people to suicide. To say that choosing to be angry is a sin….* deep breath * – it has taken a while to undo the abusive teaching of my childhood, but here is a piece of truth: Being angry is not a sin. Here is another aspect of this teaching that I have had applied to me and seen applied to others (and I'm not suggesting you said this, it is just my experience with this type of teaching). It goes like this: in order to have peace in your life you have to forgive and reconcile with those who have hurt you. And then live in peace with them. preferring them and not making things difficult for them. In other words, peace comes from being a doormat. The thing is, it really doesn't. Here is what I have seen in the last day or so on this: Those who advocate the above for peace's sake are not 'blessed peacemakers' as many of them claim to be. No, rather, they are of those who cry, "Peace! Peace! When there is no peace." These two are worlds apart… Okay, end rant….

  87. Nicholas wrote:

    And celebrity pastors like John MacArthur and Doug Wilson are disseminating this crazy guy’s teachings.

    On another thread I posted this map locating alumni from The Master's Seminary: http://www.tms.edu/AlumniMap.aspx There is a very serious effort being made to promote, expand and export nouthetic counseling to churches, missions, schools and seminaries around the world. This counseling method may help some people with personal sin issues, but it is no substitute for medical intervention for people with mental health problems. And it certainly is no substitute for law enforcement when it comes to abuse situations.

  88. @ Nicholas:

    Now Peter Lumpkins has agreed with Mary that Christa Brown shouldn’t have associated with Wade Burleson: http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/peter_lumpkins/2013/04/sovereign-grace-ministries-and-cj-mahaney-wants-lawsuit-to-end-.html?cid=6a00d83451a37369e2017eeab793c4970d#comment-6a00d83451a37369e2017eeab793c4970d

    It’s nothing but politics and personalities with these people. Who gives a rip about that stuff when it comes to protecting children and the church?

  89. I used in a blog article recently: “Such a thing as a “psychological problem” unrelated to spiritual or physical causes is nonexistent. God supplies divine resources sufficient to satisfy completely all the spiritual needs.” ~John MacArthur.

  90. @ Nicholas:
    Nicholas: I am not very fond of the SBC because of the endless political emphasis. It is an understatement that I do not believe the SBC has the correct focus and has not for years.

  91. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    Those who advocate the above for peace’s sake are not ‘blessed peacemakers’ as many of them claim to be. No, rather, they are of those who cry, “Peace! Peace! When there is no peace.” These two are worlds apart…

    ^That.

  92. Hester wrote:

    Wade wants to destroy the SBC…

    If you mean the SBC that refuses to track its pedophiles or recalls female missionaries who were “in authority” over men or the one that points fingers at the culture around them and but spends more time throwing out churches that have a female pastor than kicking the butts of some churches who treat pedophiles with kid gloves and ignore the hurting children? If that is the SBC to which you were referring, then I am in favor as well.

  93. @ Liz:
    Liz, Your assumption that people do not want to “move on” is simply awry. Most people are relieved/eager to have life back when they’ve gone through *good* therapy.

    I will also agree with BeenThereDoneThat. You equate “live a life of sin” with choosing to be angry, choosing to shut down. People don’t choose to be angry or shut down—those are healthy responses to being deeply hurt and they resolve on their own as therapy proceeds. If they hang onto those two things beyond therapy, they have obviously not dealt with the pain that caused them and the therapy was either not good or ineffective. It is also no one’s fault if it takes longer than one would wish.

    There are a few who don’t want to go through “good therapy”, although that cohort generally doesn’t ever show up at the therapist’s office. But why base a psychology on those few? Because that is what nouthetics does—starts and ends with the idea that people are a reluctant lot of sinners who happen to find themselves in terrible places and just need to be disciplined into growing up.

    Nouthetics’ foundations are built on the personality of a callous and ignorant father who is certain that if all the world would simply listen to him and get on with it, everything would be just fine. But that is neither the personality of God nor the character of the world.

  94. @Nicholas @Hester @Deb

    Come on guys. Have you no shame? Must every nuance of what others write be interpreted as implicitly deviant or politically-inspired or not taking long to show their “true colors” as if we’re all hypocrites but the purely innocent ones on this site?

    Here’s the line–and only line I can see–that apparently revealed my “true colors”:

    “I also find the info on Brown interesting. And, yes. Definitely not her [i.e. Brown’s] best moment in hooking up with Burleson”

    Now does this statement somehow contradict what I wrote to Nicholas about a strong stand against sexual perverts/predators? If so, then show it don’t just claim it or subtly suggest it or assume it. Show it. Nor does it show that “politics and personalities” are all “these people” are about for heavens’ sake.

    Nor does it imply I necessarily embrace all the info Mary logged about Brown when I merely said I find the info “interesting.” Not that I question Mary. She is a sharp intellectual knife I assure…a legal professional along with her husband. And she is an information hound with a proven track record in the past. Even so finding her info “interesting” does not necessarily reduce to foregone conclusions in my mind concerning whether C. Brown has done some beneficial things in the area of exposing sexual predator/perversion amongst evangelical subculture.

    Nor is my line above necessarily indicative of exposing my “true colors” so far as ‘politics and personalities’ being of foremost importance. Yes I implied it was not beneficial to Brown’s cause to hook up with Burleson. But is this a literary crime? Is it a slanderous remark against Brown, or moreso against Burleson? Why so? To suggest a particular liaison between two parties forfeits effectiveness for one of the parties is inappropriate in what way exactly? I’d like to know.

    Sure I’ve got “history” with Burleson. And, to be frank Burleson was/is as political as as it gets in the SBC surpassing most guys I personally know. But is this all Burleson is about? For Pete’s sake (no pun intended) no! It would be absurd to conclude it. But it’s just as absurd to conclude a former state convention president and convention moderator (present?) has no political aspirations. Hence, to suggest that for “these people” it’s all about “politics and personalities” while for us it’s all about “the children” is as morally dubious as one can imagine.

    Finally, that I do not accept, with the same intensity of moral significance, what’s presently going on with Mahaney & SGM and what is claimed to have gone on with Prestonwood over 20 years ago as indicative of my “true colors” remains morally ignorant and that’s putting it politely. Not all circumstances reduce to a flat indictment.

    In short, I remain unconvinced with your simplistic analysis of Prestonwood. It’s that simple. From the way I read it, it’s more like a they-said-she-said type of scenario whereas the Mahaney & SGM case has far surpassed any such elementary conflicting-account level and, unfortunately for Mahaney and SGM, the courts are probably going to demonstrate it. When a scenario like that arises in a SBC church or is laid on the back of an SBC leader, I’ll be the first to blow the whistle and call foul. But as far as I am concerned now, I simply refuse to publicly indict someone for a heinous crime like sexual perversion/predatorism toward children, cover-up for sexual misconduct against children, or civil breach based on insufficient data. Period. I did publicly condemn their horrible mistake in dealing with the questioning church member. But that’s based on what I think I actually know. Hence, I will go no further–at least at this point.

    Nor will I be bullied into embracing another stand, frankly. My old nemesis Wade Burleson and my new nemesis James White surely have taught others this. I intend to speak what I believe to be the truth no matter who thinks I’m an idiot for doing so, and even if I am the only one doing so. I say this not because I think I’m some sort of he-man or courageous Christian supersaint. Rather because I’m hopelessly addicted to free church theology and the now-well-forgotten Radical Reformation doctrine of the priesthood of the believer. One may ignore me…One may ridicule me…One may hound me…One may censor me from their verbal or literary venue. Granted. But one thing no man or woman or organization can do. No one can shut me up. I refuse to dance to another’s beat. I will not stand down just because somebody dislikes, disagrees, or despises what I speak. I am a free church believer. I belong to but One Who purchased me from the slave market of sin. I hope that’s clear.

    Interestingly, you guys have your own form of ‘bullying’ others. When others don’t sing your song, you diss them being interested only in “politics and personalities.” You indict others for calling Christa “names” and she even keeps track of the various names. Yet routinely you explicitly call or implicitly suggest guys like me who do not view every “case” of alleged sexual impropriety as matter-of-factly as do you hypocrites interested only in “politics and personalities” rather than loving the little children.

    You also keep track of supposed “deleted comments” on sites you visit. What this proves is any man’s/woman’s guess. Does it prove your questions are so intellectually superior people are afraid to answer them? Does it prove hypocrisy? Not really. In fact, it actually may only prove you were wrong and the comment was not deleted after all and the question was not feared, and an answer would be given. You know, Dee and Nicholas… like here–http://thewartburgwatch.com/my-comment-was-deleted/#comment-95525 In fact, jumping the gun and assuming comments are deleted when definitively they were not deleted may indicate a deeper problem inherent within this community thread, a problem I addressed above–namely: prematurely judging circumstances apart from clear and sufficient data.

    Ya’ll really, really need to get a handle on this.

    With that, I am…
    Peter Lumpkins

  95. peter lumpkins wrote:

    In short, I remain unconvinced with your simplistic analysis of Prestonwood. It’s that simple.

    On this point, Langworthy went on to molest more children after he “left” Prestonwood. This is proven. He has been convicted. If Prestonwood/Graham knew about Langworthy’s propensity before he left, then they share some responsibility for the subsequent pain. Frankly, all Graham has to do is say “It didn’t happen. I didn’t know” instead of dead silence. There is far too much gamesmanship when it comes to the despicable problem of pedophilia in SBC churches. The same goes for other denominations.

  96. peter lumpkins wrote:

    You also keep track of supposed “deleted comments” on sites you visit. What this proves is any man’s/woman’s guess. Does it prove your questions are so intellectually superior people are afraid to answer them? Does it prove hypocrisy? Not really. In fact, it actually may only prove you were wrong and the comment was not deleted after all and the question was not feared, and an answer would be given

    Perhaps you are different than other bloggers. As I said once, you are no wuss. However, in the blogging kingdom, many people have their comments deleted and the ones that are deleted can often be most revealing. Therefore, we have a place for people to write the comments they claim to have been deleted or not allowed.

    Said commenter then came on this forum and said it was posted and then you gave a response. Good for you. I wish many others were as forthright and unafraid as you are. Instead, most blogs are filled with pablum comments “I agree” “You are wonderful” etc. However, I have been away and will now delete the comment in that section and I appreciate your comment that reminded me to do so.

  97. peter lumpkins wrote:

    My old nemesis Wade Burleson and my new nemesis James White surely have taught others this. I intend to speak what I believe to be the truth no matter who thinks I’m an idiot for doing so, and even if I am the only one doing so. I say this not because I think I’m some sort of he-man or courageous Christian supersaint. Rather because I’m hopelessly addicted to free church theology and the now-well-forgotten Radical Reformation doctrine of the priesthood of the believer.

    I, too, believe in the priesthood of the believer and am not a Calvinist (or Arminian but that’s is not the point).

    Why are you a nemesis of Wade’s? I disagree with some of his theology yet I really enjoy him and his sermons? In fact, we have had lively debate at this blog about his sermons. Just hit E Church in the last 2 months and read the comments.

  98. peter lumpkins wrote:

    One may ignore me…One may ridicule me…One may hound me…One may censor me from their verbal or literary venue. Granted. But one thing no man or woman or organization can do. No one can shut me up. I refuse to dance to another’s beat. I will not stand down just because somebody dislikes, disagrees, or despises what I speak. I am a free church believer. I belong to but One Who purchased me from the slave market of sin. I hope that’s clear.

    I like this statement. It sounds a lot like us.

  99. peter lumpkins wrote:

    Interestingly, you guys have your own form of ‘bullying’ others. When others don’t sing your song, you diss them being interested only in “politics and personalities.” You indict others for calling Christa “names” and she even keeps track of the various names. Yet routinely you explicitly call or implicitly suggest guys like me who do not view every “case” of alleged sexual impropriety as matter-of-factly as do you hypocrites interested only in “politics and personalities” rather than loving the little children.

    You may have a point here. We have made our biases really clear on this issue. We leap to the defense of the children and sometimes could be wrong. However, i would rather be wrong on this issue on occasion than to ignore damaging practices.

    And we do keep a list of names that we have been called. We call it “What the world is saying about TWW.” We publish the comments in which we are called names and then have a good laugh about it. My personal favorite is Philistine. http://thewartburgwatch.com/about-us-the-basics/about-us-our-faq/

  100. Great to see the dialogue, Peter. BTW, I had attempted to leave a comment on your blog yesterday, but your blog asks for permissions and I felt too lazy to grant them. But here is the comment I was going to put over on your blog:

    Thank you, Peter, for continuing to speak out about the SGM situation when so many have remained silent. I also appreciate how you have not only published Nicholas’ comment, but addressed his concerns. I like your style.

  101. Daisy wrote:

    What about someone who has been raped?
    They still get blamed.
    I was telling Eagle about Welch (Christian counselor and author) on an older thread.
    Welch says in one of his books that he had an adult patient tell him she was raped by (I think it was by her father?) when she was under the age of 10. Welch told her she needed to take responsibility and admit to her personal sins having played a part in the rape.

    I would like to preface this response by saying that I have been read WW for a few weeks now and haven’t commented because I don’t comment on topics that I know little about. But this touched a nerve with me. The above quote hardly sounds the Ed Welch I know and respect and have learned from and I would love it if you could provide some quotes and context, not just a general memory of an impression. If nothing, my CCEF education has made me even angrier at the response of the church to victim blaming and the mishandling of abuse cases. Heck, we even had Leslie Vernick come in and give a presentation on the importance of churches calling authorities and NOT covering up abuse. I think she adds a valuable voice to this conversation. I think that your comment is likely a gross generalization of a very complicated process of counseling. Ed would never in his right mind blame a victim for someone else’s sin. It is sometimes the case that any victim of sin will then turn around and develop their own sin patterns. Bitterness, etc. that fester. I know because I have read these pages for a while now (first time commenter) that these retaliatory sins are abused by pastors as ways to excuse the original sin and that is absolutely wrong. But when you have a counselee in your office you are not counseling the sin of the perpetrator. You are coming alongside the victim, helping them process, helping them heal and yes, even helping them guard against the sins that can grow as a response to their situation. A good counselor will not just help the victim of abuse know that they have been wronged but will lovingly help them grow as a person and worshipper of God. To say less is to say that we can excuse all sin that is a response to another’s sin. So if I am abused then it is alright for me to turn around and lash out at my children, or develop a drinking problem, or any variation of sin and you can’t touch me because I was abused. You have to differentiate this idea of “victim blaming” with “victim excusing”. It is absolutely wrong to point to the wife and say, “It’s your fault your husband hit you.” It is not wrong to come alongside the wife and say, “I am so sorry your husband hurt you. He is wrong, let’s figure out how to protect you and encourage you. And hey, I’ve noticed that you have a lot of anger, some of which is right and some of which is destructive. Let’s figure out how you can take responsibility for your anger before God.” In many ways this is preferable because it actually helps the victim be released from the abusive hold and sinful consequences of the original abuse. Would you rather leave a victim in a web of shame, anger, self-blame and sinful response, or help them differentiate which are right and which are destructive? To say that Ed Welch blames the victim is a nauseating thought because it is completely inconsistent with everything that he has taught me. Dee and Deb, I’m sure you want to check out CCEF and Ed Welch now, but I would encourage you read in context and understand that these men are a small voice speaking for the role of the life-changing aspects of the Gospel in a culture that wants to drown it out. There is great diversity in schools of thought in counseling and there is great nuance as well. I would also add that one of the most powerful lectures I ever heard was David Powlison speaking to his class on the strengths and weaknesses of CCEF (as distinct from nouthetic counseling). He was vulnerable and honest and no, I will not release those comments to the internet. Suffice it to say that some of the most caring, honest and truly loving men I have known have been the men of CCEF. They are not flawless, they are certainly capable of sin, but they are on the right track.

  102. Marge wrote:

    I think that your comment is likely a gross generalization of a very complicated process of counseling. Ed would never in his right mind blame a victim for someone else’s sin. It is sometimes the case that any victim of sin will then turn around and develop their own sin patterns. Bitterness, etc. that fester.

    Usually, I would hold such a comment until corroboration. However, there is some indication at Amazon that others have interpreted his writings in a similar way
    http://www.amazon.com/Blame-Brain-Distinguishing-Imbalances-Disobedience/product-reviews/0875526020/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0

    Some people seem to perceive a certain blaming pattern from his writings. We are looking for a quote and have asked the commenter to help us in that matter.

    You used the word “bitterness” which is banned on this blog because it is a default position for many people who do not like what people have to say. I know there is some bitterness but not every bit of long lasting anger is bitterness. It can be a healthy response to horrendous circumstances.

  103. Marge wrote:

    And hey, I’ve noticed that you have a lot of anger, some of which is right and some of which is destructive. Let’s figure out how you can take responsibility for your anger before God.” In many ways this is preferable because it actually helps the victim be released from the abusive hold and sinful consequences of the original abuse. Would you rather leave a victim in a web of shame, anger, self-blame and sinful response, or help them differentiate which are right and which are destructive

    It depends on how and when this is addressed.

  104. Marge wrote:

    I would also add that one of the most powerful lectures I ever heard was David Powlison speaking to his class on the strengths and weaknesses of CCEF (as distinct from nouthetic counseling). He was vulnerable and honest and no, I will not release those comments to the internet.

    Why in the world would you not release it? is it some special thing that only people who have “unique” training can understand? It sounds a bit like the Masonic Lodge of counseling. Once you are in, you get to know the “secrets.”

  105. @ Marge:
    Your comment defines anger as a sin. I disagree. A quick search in the Bible brings up multiple scriptures on God expressing His anger. Did God sin? This is the reason why I find the idea of Nouthetic counseling to be very unhealthy, particularly to someone who is recovering from spiritually abusive situations. I think counseling is best left to educated professionals who have no vested religious interest in the process.

  106. @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    Marge said:

    It is absolutely wrong to point to the wife and say, “It’s your fault your husband hit you.” It is not wrong to come alongside the wife and say, “I am so sorry your husband hurt you. He is wrong, let’s figure out how to protect you and encourage you. And hey, I’ve noticed that you have a lot of anger, some of which is right and some of which is destructive. Let’s figure out how you can take responsibility for your anger before God.”

    She didn’t say that all anger is sin. Just wanted to point that out.

  107. dee wrote:

    Why in the world would you not release it? is it some special thing that only people who have “unique” training can understand? It sounds a bit like the Masonic Lodge of counseling. Once you are in, you get to know the “secrets.”

    “Only people who have ‘unique’ training and know the ‘secrets’…”

    AKA The essence of Gnosticism.

    He Who Knows (“Gnostic” in Greek) The Secret Knowledge (“Occult Gnosis”) that makes him more Spiritual and Godly and Powerful than the sheeple.

  108. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    Here is what I have seen in the last day or so on this: Those who advocate the above for peace’s sake are not ‘blessed peacemakers’ as many of them claim to be. No, rather, they are of those who cry, “Peace! Peace! When there is no peace.” These two are worlds apart… Okay, end rant….

    From my experience on the fringe of emotional abuse situations:

    If you want Peace Peace Peace, then I can make you my prison ***** (ed). All I need to do is bully you and bully you and bully you, keeping up constant pressure, never taking the abuse too far or too blatant, NEVER letting up until you give in and give me everything I want just to make Peace.

  109. @ Marge Sweigart:
    I understand what you’re pointing out. On the surface, she appears to be a caring individual. But, I still don’t agree that any anger should be labeled as sin. If someone abuses other people in response to their anger, the abuse is a sin. The anger is not. Such a person needs guidance to respond to their anger in a healthier way. There are many complexities to counseling, and it is highly individualistic. I’m not even qualified to offer a professional opinion on counseling. But, the undercurrent from two commenters here defending Nouthetic counseling is to define anger as sin. I don’t believe that is even biblically supportable. (Then again, we’ve all seen denominations throw scriptures out to defend conflicting viewpoints. The Bible has even been used to defend all sorts of atrocities. This is just my opinion.)

  110. @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    Ah, okay. I understand what you’re saying. Anger is an emotion. Emotions in and of themselves are not sinful. Acting out of those emotions in a way that injures others is sinful. That’s an important distinction.

  111. Jenny wrote:

    This counseling method may help some people with personal sin issues, but it is no substitute for medical intervention for people with mental health problems. And it certainly is no substitute for law enforcement when it comes to abuse situations.

    And Welch, Powlinson, Mack, Tripp, et al, would all agree with that statement. For the life of me, I cannot quite understand the level of animus towards some of these men I see evidenced in this thread. If we are to start condemning folks based upon some debatable statments they may have made in the past, or level of loose association with certain ministries or donor bases, then we need to level our sights toward just about EVERY church, ministry or parachurch organization and school. And, perhaps we should. Perhaps we should.

  112. dee wrote:

    If you mean the SBC that refuses to track its pedophiles or recalls female missionaries who were “in authority” over men or the one that points fingers at the culture around them and but spends more time throwing out churches that have a female pastor than kicking the butts of some churches who treat pedophiles with kid gloves and ignore the hurting children? If that is the SBC to which you were referring, then I am in favor as well.

    Hee Hee.

    The problem with any national database that the would SBC manage would be trusting pastors to actually use it. After watching Mohler coddle/protect/defend Mahaney and all the little wanna be pastor sychophants who follow him as their hero, I have doubts it would be used. And before Mohler it was Patterson protecting Darryl Gilyard. Nah, I think a database for those types to report incidents would be a waste of time.

  113. Eagle wrote:

    Sorry Marge but my BS detector is going off now. There is nothing wrong with appropriate anger. And some things are worth getting angry about. Angry that a child was molested, that a woman was raped, that a collge student was mugged, that a drunk driver killed a family. There are some things that ONE SHOULD get angry about.

    I really really worry about folks who do NOT get angry at such heinous injustice. Just the video above where these folks were accused of “seeking vengence”. It is getting ridiculous out there.

    I worry about victims who don’t get angry. Getting angry is a protection from being victimized again. Perhaps we should define anger. It is not responding in kind to wrong treatment. Being angry also helps people warn others and take up for others who are being victimized.

    The dirty little secret is that victims are hated/resented cos they force people to rethink things they might have believed about someone or an institution. So perhaps we are looking at the wrong ones concerning “hate”?

  114. @ dee:
    dee wrote:

    This is proven. He has been convicted. If Prestonwood/Graham knew about Langworthy’s propensity before he left, then they share some responsibility for the subsequent pain.

    Yes it’s “proven” about Langworthy. But your persuasion stops there, Dee. “IF Prestonwood/Graham knew about Langworthy’s propensity… then they share…” And, where’s the smoking gun, Dee? Where? The fact is, by your own admission you imply there exists no known smoking gun to substantiate your public charge that a sexual scandal-cover-up took/is taking place at Prestonwood. Consider you own words: “…all Graham has to do is say “It didn’t happen. I didn’t know” instead of dead silence.” So all that has to be done is Prestonwood to deny it happened and that’s that? So because they don’t deny they guilt you are self-justified in publicly assuming their guilt? Silence reduces to actual guilt apart from indisputable evidence?

    But then again, Prestonwood has not literally remained silent now have they? They spoke to this and actually made an official statement, including an official denial. Disregarding the denial, you nonetheless suggest if they’d only officially deny it a second time or plead ignorant to it, all would go away. Somebody please tell me this is not the only deck of cards you’re dealing to accuse a major SBC church and her pastor of sexual scandal. Could anyone blame churches for not wanting to even talk to a mob of people just itching to yell “sexual abuse! sexual abuse! sexual abuse!” knowing full well whether they talk or not, chances are they’ll get hit just the same?

    In short, Dee: if you guys got no more than this you need to stop harassing Prestonwood Baptist Church and publicly defaming them with a placard entitled “sexual scandal.” I know personally how difficult it is to deal with this issue on a personal level and pastoral level. A youth worker in one of my churches was convicted of sex crimes against minors and spent several years in prison. His face is plastered on the internet watchlist this very day if you look up his name. The excruciating, emotional pain in discerning when what you know crosses the threshold from conjectural rumor (illegitimate reason to contact authorities) to concerned complaint (legitimate reason to contact authorities) cannot be described in words. Suffice it to say it’s just not as simple as picking up the phone and calling every single time you hear the floor cracking or a door squeaking. One must have a reasonable amount of certainty about their concern. A delicate balance exists between protecting children from predators and protecting adults from false charges based upon unsubstantiated rumors which, by the way, have been more numerous in my own experience. Granted the balance must go to protecting children; no argument about that. Nonetheless we have obligations to adults to make darn sure we have some sure footing before we absolutely ruin their lives with a false charge so provocatively heinous as child molestation. That charge–rightly made or wrongly insinuated–is a death sentence upon a person in the church. At least in the circles I’ve traveled, that’s my experience.

    Thanks for tolerating my droning on and on, Dee. Lord bless…

  115. TedS. wrote:

    If we are to start condemning folks based upon some debatable statments they may have made in the past, or level of loose association with certain ministries or donor bases, t

    I have come to the conclusion that, second only to creationism, mental health and the church is one of the most divisive issues out there. There is much confusion within the Christian community when it comes to psychiatric diagnosis, the use of medication, the role of sin versus normal, healthy response patterns, and on and on.

    I always hate it when this subject comes up because I know that there will be fierce debate on the matter. I recently spoke with one of the most respected academic psychiatrists in the US. He was the chairman of psychiatry of a famous university (I am trying to conceal his identity). He is a Christian but is respected by secularists as well. He told me that nouthetic counseling is dangerous because of the lack of in depth training by those who dabble in it.

    As evidenced by this post, Bill’s wife and daughters were grotesquely raped and tortured by a man who grew up in a home that took a negative view towards counseling. In fact, this man was severely mentally ill and the church cannot offer those like him the intensive care and intervention that he so sorely needed.

    I think the debate is healthy. Sometimes we learn more about our thinking when we read the perceptions of others, even if those perceptions are negative. I know, it happens to me on a regular basis.

  116. dee wrote:

    You are always frank.

    Yes. I know. It frequently remains my downfall. My wife helps me when she’s around. Alas, she’s hardly around when I’m on the net :^(

  117. I’m going to try to respond to all of these replies as best I can, please excuse me if I miss something, since I’m trying to get used to the comment structure here.

    Dee, I understand your desire to get rid of the misuse of the term “bitterness” and I think I showed that I understand why in my original comment. It is abused and misused. Absolutely. But it is still at root a biblical term so I’m not sure you can eliminate all discussion of it completely.

    I’m pretty sure I preemptively agreed with you when you said “it depends on how and when [anger issues, etc are] addressed”. It depends. Counseling is relational. So while you can’t say that in all cases anger must be addressed, you also can’t jump to “victim blaming” when it is.

    Far from being secretive, the comments I mentioned were discussed in a closed group and as such I am choosing not to post them on the very public internet. I am perfectly willing to come up with a list of weaknesses, however I’m not going to post class notes. There’s nothing Masonic to it. My point was that from what I saw while I was involved with CCEF there is an ongoing internal conversation about weaknesses, perceived and real. While there was a time in which I had pride about who and who couldn’t follow what I was learning I have long since laid that down.

    As for anger, while it is an emotion is it never “just” an emotion. Anger is a moral emotion, it sees an action and tells me whether something is right or wrong. Abuse of small children? ALWAYS wrong. And anger about that is good and right. Anger at my small children when they make a mistake? Usually completely wrong because my kids are young and helpless and that can quickly become anger that is all about ME. I have never equated anger with sin (personally, in real life, so sorry if that came through different in my comment, just that it CAN be sinful anger. Do you not agree?

    TedS. I agree with this. I’ve had the opportunity to not only hang around CCEF, but some other local counseling ministries and not one of them think that a medical problem is best treated by talk therapy. This is actually a distinction from Jay Adams’ model. He leaned far too heavily toward saying that a person’s sin was the root cause of their problems, when the CCEF model of counseling (which is of course about relationships, which get messy

    Eagle, CCEF just did a gigantic yearly conference on the topic of medical issues, interacting with them and discussing them. I did NOT attend and have NOT listened to the talks, so I commend them to you without preface.

    My point here is not to defend every nuance of CCEF (I am not employed by them and so I’m not going to spend my time being their Internet army) but to step up and say that while I see a lot of good in standing up for the oppressed and bringing sin to light (a la Gothardism and SGM abuse scandal) something is going off the rails if you can just land any accusation without proper research and weight. It is one thing to say, “I have read X and this is my problem with it and let’s talk about it” (which I see that Dee and Deb do) and another to say, “Someone once told me there was part of a book where this specific person said that a child was to blame for rape.” And Deb, I don’t think that pointing to comments on Amazon is sufficient proof for an accusation against another man.

  118. peter lumpkins wrote:

    f you guys got no more than this you need to stop harassing Prestonwood Baptist Church and publicly defaming them with a placard entitled “sexual scanda

    We have written on this issue and presented the evidence. have you read Amy Smith’s story. Here is the link.
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/10/25/prestonwood-baptist-a-heroic-stand-amidst-parental-and-church-betrayal/

    You said
    One must have a reasonable amount of certainty about their concern. A delicate balance exists between protecting children from predators and protecting adults from false charges based upon unsubstantiated rumors which, by the way, have been more numerous in my own experience. Granted the balance must go to protecting children; no argument about that.

    Agreed. However, just like in a court of law, evidence is presented and we can make a judgement. We do this every day of our lives. Based on the story by Amy Smith, I believe there is far more to this story.

  119. Julie Anne wrote:

    but your blog asks for permissions and I felt too lazy to grant them

    It does. Typepad is maybe the world’s worse for spam, which is why my filter maybe is a bit sensitive. There is a way around the CAPTCHA: create a typepad account (sorta like google) and you shouldn’t be bothered with them again on anyone’s blog who also uses typepad…

  120. I would also like to add that I lived in CT at the time of the Pettit attacks and they have remained with me as a tangible example of the evil and brokenness of this world. At the time I wept with Bill and prayed for him. As in the terror attacks of two weeks in Boston, it’s hard to comprehend. If nothing else, my time at CCEF has shown me more of the true despair that so many live in and has empowered me to help those around me as much as I can in my broken capabilities.

  121. @ Peter:

    My statement about Wade was more of an expression of surprise. I don’t usually comment on threads here about the internal politics of the SBC (as I’m most definitely not SBC so I’m not really qualified to) and haven’t actually read much of your blog or Wade’s. But what I have read of Wade didn’t strike me as having an “out to get the SBC” tone, so I was surprised. Glad to hear you don’t view Wade this simplistically.

    BTW, I’m hardly a Wade fanatic. I actually disagree with him on several points, one of them rather major. Heck, I even got into an argument with Wade once, in the comments here, that lasted around two days.

  122. dee wrote:

    Why are you a nemesis of Wade’s? I disagree with some of his theology yet I really enjoy him and his sermons? In fact, we have had lively debate at this blog about his sermons. Just hit E Church in the last 2 months and read the comments.

    Oh my. Yes, I’m quite aware of Wade’s involvement and mutual support. Suffice it to say it goes all the way back to 2006 during Wade’s vigorous years as a denominational gadfly to the IMB. Wade and I disagree theologically as most all are aware. Our biggest differences, at least as I see them, are ecclesial and political. Denominational politics are a reality to be faced. That’s life. And, when it comes down to it, denominational politics can be every bit as nasty and polemical as secular politics. People choose sides. Wade and I were (are?) on different sides. Fairly simple when you look at it.

    And, of course, as you’ve had lively discussions over Wade’s sermons, Wade and I have had, shall we keep the descriptor, lively discussions over conventional issues as a quick scan of his posts from 2007-2009 will reveal…

  123. Marge wrote:

    This is actually a distinction from Jay Adams’ model. He leaned far too heavily toward saying that a person’s sin was the root cause of their problems, when the CCEF model of counseling (which is of course about relationships, which get messy

    I just reread and realized I never finished this comment (hazard of commenting while doing other things)! The CCEF model doesn’t point at personal sin as the root cause of all personal problems, but it does look at Sin as the root of all our problems. That’s a distinction, and it is an attempt at talking about our world in biblical categories. So sin means a) the sins I commit that have consequences, b) the sins others commit against me that have consequences and c) the innate sin that has broken creation and separated it from original paradise. So disease, mental illness, damage from hurricanes etc. fall in that last category. Victims of abuse fall into the second. And the first is obvious.

  124. “As for anger, while it is an emotion is it never “just” an emotion. Anger is a moral emotion, it sees an action and tells me whether something is right or wrong.”

    Marge, A lot of spiritual abuse has it’s roots in anger. Anger at not being obeyed. Anger at being questioned. Anger at someone for daring to think they might know something or even have an opinion in a group study. The perp can quickly become the “wronged” party in those venues.

    Be very careful about the anger issue. In most churches or even therapy groups it is taught totally wrongly as is “forgiveness”.

    Many mistake loving justice for anger. Many believe forgiveness includes fellowship or reconciliation and it does not. It can but most likely if the other party has not repented, it does not.

  125. Anon 1 wrote:

    Marge, A lot of spiritual abuse has it’s roots in anger. Anger at not being obeyed. Anger at being questioned. Anger at someone for daring to think they might know something or even have an opinion in a group study. The perp can quickly become the “wronged” party in those venues.

    I agree with this AND I’ve seen it firsthand, but I’m not sure how it relates to what I said… honestly, I’m not sure that “anger” is a helpful term to using as a proof example for how counseling works, it is just one that is easily reached.

  126. @ Marge:
    “So if I am abused then it is alright for me to turn around and lash out at my children, or develop a drinking problem, or any variation of sin and you can’t touch me because I was abused. You have to differentiate this idea of “victim blaming” with “victim excusing”.”

    No respectable therapist would think that’s ok, not in or out of the church.

    “Would you rather leave a victim in a web of shame, anger, self-blame and sinful response, or help them differentiate which are right and which are destructive?”

    Again, no self-respecting therapist would consider their work a success if shame, anger, self-blame, hate, etc weren’t resolved. And they do it without the sin/guilt meme.

    “”And hey, I’ve noticed that you have a lot of anger, some of which is right and some of which is destructive. Let’s figure out how you can take responsibility for your anger before God.” In many ways this is preferable because it actually helps the victim be released from the abusive hold and sinful consequences of the original abuse.”

    Once more, of course!! For eg, if a person retains anger towards self and continues to self-harm after the source has been dealt with, it is likely because he/she hasn’t yet succeeded in strangling the critical internal voice of the abuser. This is at the heart of ANY good therapy.

    I am sure there are caring people in the “biblical therapy” field. But they come at it from the perspective of sin and this perspective floats throughout the process and does great damage to all except those simple cases where the issues are actually the consequences of personal sin.

    No matter how kind-hearted one is, the fact remains that it is an ignorant and callous way to proceed with pain-filled and needy humans. That people “out there” know this but we don’t is an indictment of intellectual and spiritual life in the US evangelical community. We are supposed to be THE people who understand love.

  127. dee wrote:

    just like in a court of law, evidence is presented and we can make a judgement. We do this every day of our lives. Based on the story by Amy Smith, I believe there is far more to this story.

    Agreed. However, an interpretation of events cannot suffice for eyewitness testimony Dee. Smith claims:

    "The Prestonwood executive staff, headed by Dr. Jack Graham, heard Langworthy confess to these child sex crimes, along with Neal Jeffrey, then youth pastor, but no one reported these crimes to the police as required by Texas state law. They even had a few of the victims that they knew sit down with church attorneys to give statements, but none of this information was reported to the police"

    Was Smith a part of the proceedings? Does she know exactly what Langworthy "confessed"? Have these other alleged victims–victims Smith admits she cannot name–come forward and revealed what the church lawyers discussed with them? If not, how does Smith know what they discussed? Is it possible Prestonwood did not report it due to their legal council's advice? If so, would that not make at least some difference in slamming so unilaterally Prestonwood? Smith also claims "Looking back, it seems that a culture of abuse reigned there unchecked" a culture of criminal activity from at least 1984 to 1989, a culture she alleges was there based upon people to whom she spoke, people all of whom remain anonymous to this day if I read her story correctly. Please correct me if i am wrong. As I see it, Dee, this is irresponsible rhetoric based upon second-hand witness hearsay pawned off as credible facts against Prestonwood who do have eyewitnesses available who were in the meeting Smith was not and who categorically deny her account. Like a said, a they-said-she-said type of emotional, rhetorical merry-go-round where conflict can never be solved. When you guys can cook some real stew, I'll show up with my beans. But I'm simply uninterested in digesting as a factual representation so much conjecture based upon nameless individuals that Smith employs. You really need to focus on situations you guys are dead on about and you've got a team of credible lawyers who're going to deliver the goods (i.e. Mahaney and SGM and situations like SGM). However, to place the Prestonwood fiasco on the same level as SGM remains, for me, morally absurd and in the end comes across as knee-jerk hysteria. For another day, With that, I am… Peter

  128. @ Patrice:
    Psychological therapy, by its very nature, attempts to help broken people back to health. It is not an issue. It is a given. That biblical” therapy makes it a “thing” and proceeds from “sin” in such a self-conscious way, shows that it is stuck at the very beginning.

    The field thinks its work has been baptized into something new and Christ-like by maintaining this self-consciousness even while it inducts Szasz or Adler or cognitive/behavioral therapy. If not ignorant, it is arrogant (and insistent ignorance is also arrogance).

  129. Marge, I was handed the anger/bitter card way to many times from SGM leaders. It got to the point where I wanted to either kill my husband or myself, because of their advice in regards to my marriage. That’s where their advice lead me. And you can never say no to sex. Finally I realized murder and suicide are worse than bitterness and anger.
    Plus if I did those things who would take care of the kids? If God can’t forgive bitterness, then we’re all in trouble, we’re human, it happens. If you said something to me about it, then I’d have to be angry and not sin because of what it would make me want to do, if you know what I mean.

  130. Joy Huff wrote:

    Marge, I was handed the anger/bitter card way to many times from SGM leaders. It got to the point where I wanted to either kill my husband or myself, because of their advice in regards to my marriage. That’s where their advice lead me. And you can never say no to sex. Finally I realized murder and suicide are worse than bitterness and anger.
    Plus if I did those things who would take care of the kids? If God can’t forgive bitterness, then we’re all in trouble, we’re human, it happens. If you said something to me about it, then I’d have to be angry and not sin because of what it would make me want to do, if you know what I mean.

    Gosh, I am so sorry that this was your experience! I think I hit somewhat of a hot button issue with the anger/bitterness thing and I did not mean to. I hardly meant to represent that as the first line of the counselors I was referring to. It is not. They are far more patient and gracious than I am, that is what I know. I am totally confident that God forgives all our sins, and grieves our suffering mightily, and hope that you found people who would treat you with compassion and love.

  131. Eagle wrote:

    There is no discuission often times with the other side its a shut down, with the Bible being used as a weapon. I was in a Third Wave church and some people viewed things like schizophnreia as being demonic. There is no discussion on these topics whihc conisders modern scientific data and knowledge.

    Don’t you think you’re lumping people into groups that have very little association? I have no idea what a Third Wave church is, and I’m not sure if it’s in any way related to Ed Welch (a quick google search tells me no since it doesn’t seem Presbyterian). Just because one group handles mental illness one way doesn’t mean all biblical counselors do the same. You need to be much more specific. Also, I have a close family member with schizophrenia and it is a devastating mental illness. S/he is treated medically and s/he is still unable to function. Unfortunately for her and my family medicine is not a silver bullet. And she is still without the hope of the Gospel, which saddens me considerably. Of course it’s not a result of a specific sin of hers, I think I already addressed that.

  132. My aunt committed suicide in about 1960. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized. Then came home and hanged herself. I remember her as a sweet, pretty young woman. Did she die without hope? There are no answers for these things.

  133. @ Liz:
    No one has an excuse for sin ever. It is not right to sin because of things that happen to us, even though sometimes we do. What bothers me about Nouthetic counsling (and what I infer from your statement) is that it labels things “sin” that aren’t.

    Errecting boundaries is not sinful. Anger is not inherintly sinful. Wanting good things for ourselves is not sinful. Seeking justice is not sinful. Expressing pain is not sinful.

    The problem with Nouthetic Counsling is that it focuses on the sin of the victim, when in many causes the sin of the victim is not what is causing the pain.

    I FULLY believe that victims can only heal if they choose to take responsibility for their healing, but this is different from working on personal sin issues. A woman who was molested as a child may not be wrestling with any sin at all in this area, but she may be wrestling with the effects of her abuser’s sin. But the effects are NO the same as “sin”.

    The more the church endorses the attitude of ignoring the great strides the world has made in undersanding mental health in favor of a type of counsling supposedly rooted in abook that isn’t ABOUT counsling and does not grow and learn (at least the world acknowledges it doesn’t know all of the answers yet), the less credibility it has in the areas where it really does have the sole, authoritative word on a subject: the Gospel.

  134. Eagle wrote:

    It’s not about Welch being Presybeteryian the factor driving some of this is a form of Hyper-Calvinism. BTW…I’ve read in other documents that Sovereign Grace at one point called itself a Third Wave Church. The best way I can describe it is a reformed Baptist church that became charismatic. So what do you want me to describe speciffically?

    I am only minority familiar with SGM, but I would urge you to take a step back before you functionally lump all biblical counseling into a demon-blaming charismatic church. I’m not saying you think this, I’m saying this is how it appears in the way you string the two together in your comments. There are nuances that make a vast world of difference here. I’ve seen plenty of people actually helped by “archaic” biblical categories (notice that guilt never made an entrance in any of my comments).

    The point that I’ve learned from my, yes, Calvinistic-based approach to helping others is that we all still live in a world created by God. Even if we have medical issues that can be helped with medical professionals, we still live in a moral world in which the Gospel is active and a balm for souls. So much of the mental health community is focused on finding a reason for our problems that is extra-biblical. One new school of thought is that CBT is on its way out and instead we can blame all problems (including pedophilia!) on evolution. So a pedophile must have had some kind of evolutionary response to society and therefore is not “wrong”. Obviously this is laughable to most, but it is being sincerely taught.

    I’m forced to remember why I commented in the first place. That was because Ed Welch was being accused of blaming a rape victim for her part in the crime. My point is that there is much more to Ed Welch than this broadly general accusation and I wanted to point out that CCEF is actually doing a world of good. Are they perfect? No. Can one disagree with their methods? Sure! Many do. Does that mean they’re wrong and perpetuating a culture of abuse? Absolutely not!

  135. @ TedS.:
    I know people who were counseled that taking medication for their doctor-diagnosed mental illness was a sin. I know abused wives who were counseled to submit to their unrepentant, abusive husbands or they were in sin. For each person I know who was helped by nouthetic counseling I know at least one who was harmed by it.

    we need to level our sights toward just about EVERY church, ministry or parachurch organization and school. And, perhaps we should. Perhaps we should.

    I agree with you there. No counseling method is perfect, and modern psychiatry and psychotherapy fail people, too, but I don’t know of any other counseling method that seems to rely on a counselee ignoring his intuition, suspending his common sense and tearing down his personal boundaries in order for it to be applied. Primum non nocere is part of medical ethics. We should expect it in biblical counseling ethics as well.
    dee wrote:

    I recently spoke with one of the most respected academic psychiatrists in the US. He was the chairman of psychiatry of a famous university (I am trying to conceal his identity). He is a Christian but is respected by secularists as well. He told me that nouthetic counseling is dangerous because of the lack of in depth training by those who dabble in it.

    If poorly trained counselors are mishandling and misapplying the principles of nouthetic counseling, then someone should be rebuking, correcting and retraining them.

  136. Jeff S wrote:

    The more the church endorses the attitude of ignoring the great strides the world has made in undersanding mental health in favor of a type of counsling supposedly rooted in abook that isn’t ABOUT counsling and does not grow and learn (at least the world acknowledges it doesn’t know all of the answers yet), the less credibility it has in the areas where it really does have the sole, authoritative word on a subject: the Gospel.

    +1 Amen!

  137. Hmmm part of the problem I’m seeing is in defining terms. What was biblical counseling twenty years ago is not biblical counseling today. Same with nouthetic. It seems like we need to start talking about specific schools of thought here. BBC has a nouthetic counseling degree, CCEF has a biblical counseling Masters, PBU has a Christian Counseling Masters and they are all different, from what I understand. Many integrated Christian counselors have started calling themselves Biblical counselors. How in the world can we critique if we’re going to lump them all in a boat together?

  138. Jenny wrote:

    If poorly trained counselors are mishandling and misapplying the principles of nouthetic counseling, then someone should be rebuking, correcting and retraining them.

    It is impossible. Many do not function as professionals and are not bound to the same oversight.

  139. @ peter lumpkins:Color me naive but I believe that any woman who goes against her family’s wishes to pursue what she believes to be true deserves the benefit of the doubt. She has been effectively disowned from her parents because of her single minded crusade.She also claims to know the victims who are coming forward. She is so devoted to this cause, she is the head of the Space City SNAP. She is either crazy or she believes she knows the truth.

    Once again, we have the right to look at the situation and form a conclusion. I believe Amy.

  140. I don’t know much about Prestonwood except it is a mega and it’s pastor a minor celeb. From my experience with mega’s no one will ever know what took place in the famous meeting cos that is how it works in such places which is why they are mega’s for so long. Even back then…. when they were attracting the likes of Zig Ziglar who left FBCDAllas for Prestonwood.

    The questions I want to ask are:

    did the churches where the perp went call Prestonwood for references? If they did, what were they told? Where they told there were susupicions?

    Why didn’t Prestonwood call the authorities when there was concern? The guy did go on to do the same things elsewhere.

    Why on earth would Prestonwood call the police on a current member who was in the parking lot waiting for someone to ask some questions? Seems over the top, to me. But then, I know what asking questions can do to folks.

    I think there is value in asking these questions and especially when the dots are not connecting. When it comes to molestations there are rarely smoking guns and that is part of the problem and why molesters have so many victims before they are ever caught. Since the amount of false accusations are minute when it comes to kids, we had best pay attention.

  141. Jeff S wrote:

    No one has an excuse for sin ever. It is not right to sin because of things that happen to us, even though sometimes we do. What bothers me about Nouthetic counsling (and what I infer from your statement) is that it labels things “sin” that aren’t.

    Using some imagery from a long-forgotten magazine article, “sinner” vs “sinned against”. The victims being counseled in this example are both. Worm theology (and Nouthetic Counseling) focuses entirely on the former (the counselee’s sin) at the expense of the latter (the counselee/victim being sinned against by the victimizer). If the counselee is a victim like those in the original example (sexual molestation in the SGM coverup scandal), hammering on the victim for their SIN and TOTAL DEPRAVITY (sounding Calvinist-y here) to the exclusion of the victimizer (especially if victimizer is Too Important to be accused/exposed) just makes the pastor/counselor another ally on the side of the victimizer — another Enforcer against the victim.

  142. P.S. But I can’t think of anyone raised in a Sin-Sniffing environment who wouldn’t. There would be so much Sin-Sniffing “normality” that Sin-Sniffing and Slut-Shaming the victim would be almost an automatic response.

    Because if you always Sniff the Other’s Sin, nobody will be looking at yours. Cue “Blame Canada” from the South Park movie.

  143. @ peter lumpkins: Peter, you could help out here. I’ve been a member of CJ’s SGM for 30 years. He’s deceptive. The SBC I know was, you’re not going to tell me what to believe. I’m grieved about what has happened in the SBC. When I was growing up in the SBC the men and women were good people who cared about individuals.

    CJ railed against organized religion weekly in the early days of gathering of believers. Now he’s joined up with the SBC. Shame, shame.

    You could help to make a difference.

  144. Joy Huff,

    I’m so sorry to hear of your aunt’s suicide. I can’t imagine the pain on both her part and those left behind with that memory.

    I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loved her like a father loves His children.

  145. Marge wrote:

    Hmmm part of the problem I’m seeing is in defining terms. What was biblical counseling twenty years ago is not biblical counseling today. Same with nouthetic. It seems like we need to start talking about specific schools of thought here. BBC has a nouthetic counseling degree, CCEF has a biblical counseling Masters, PBU has a Christian Counseling Masters and they are all different, from what I understand. Many integrated Christian counselors have started calling themselves Biblical counselors. How in the world can we critique if we’re going to lump them all in a boat together?

    Counseling was big in the mega industrial complex. Another one stop shopping experience for people. And counseling groups are popping up all over here comprised of church members who are social workers and have instant clients. Most of them specialize in marriage/family issues and few are well qualified. It is getting to be a bit ridiculous.

    From what I have seen I would have to say avoid any and all so called “Christian” counseling if you have serious issues. And I say that because I AM a Christian.

    If I have to hear about one more abused wife told that she can help her husband be a better Christian by forgiving his abuse (even though he did not show any true signs of repentence) I am going to start screaming. I always tell them that Jesus hung on the Cross for him so she does not have to. But she is teaching her children to take abuse. Get out.

  146. Jeff S wrote:

    I FULLY believe that victims can only heal if they choose to take responsibility for their healing, but this is different from working on personal sin issues. A woman who was molested as a child may not be wrestling with any sin at all in this area, but she may be wrestling with the effects of her abuser’s sin. But the effects are NOT the same as “sin”.

    Agreed. I think it’s fair to extrapolate, from Jeff’s point, the fact that blame and responsibility are two very different things. You can’t control how other people behave towards you now, much less go back in time and control how they behaved towards you in the past. A point not often made is that we have, in truth, limited control over our emotional reactions to this. One thing that we can control, however, is what we will do about it from here on.

    “Forgiving”, far from caving in to the abuser’s demand to be let off scot free, is actually a decisive act of bringing judgement on the abuser. Once victims of abuse realise that, there’s tremendous freedom, and power, in it. They’ve overcome the abuser and regained control of their lives.

    And incidentally, the story of the three-year-old being told to forgive her abuser must never be allowed to distract us from this. Forgiveness is biblical, and Jesus himself taught it and exemplified it. A filthy and perverted tale of counterfeit “forgiveness” must never rob us of the real thing. Forgiveness is the very thing that truly restores dignity to victims and enables them to demonstrate their authority over their abusers, but without sinking to an abuser’s level.

  147. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    When I was going through my divorce, the definiton of “forgiveness” I focused own was a “removal of debt”. Thus, I could say to my (now) ex- “You do not owe me anything. There is nothing that you need to be punished for and there is nothing that you now need to to do. However, this does not mean that I can trust you in the future”.

  148. Nicholas wrote:

    Adams is responsible for spreading the anti-psychology frenzy into the Reformed world. In her post, Dee quotes from an article by Adams where he argues that schizophrenia is merely caused by personal sin: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2011/08/19/you-are-rotten-sinner-the-schizophrenia-is-all-in-your-head/

    This is the kind of thing that makes me livid. My mom is schizophrenic and has chronic depression. Her problems were not caused by personal sin, but are very much a physiological process which fortunately can be helped with medication.

    These guys’ teachings are scarcely different from that of Scientology, but worse. Scientology won’t accept anyone who has taken evil psych drugs as a “parishioner,” but Jay Adams and his ilk will try their garbage on anyone they can, and make them even worse.

    Sorry to be so vehement, but I know what it’s like when Mom forgoes her medication. It’s not pretty.

  149. dainca wrote:

    Please don’t think the above example is at all representative of AA or 12-step programs.

    If you visit groups by ex Alcoholic Anonymous members, you will hear things like that are pretty common. They document such stories of abuse by AA members and negative outcomes of its teachings, with links to reputable news outlets.

    I have a family member who went to AA for years, and he has a “blame the victim” attitude. That’s how I ended up looking into what it is AA and other 12 step programs teach, because I couldn’t figure why this person would think that way, or how or why these groups would support this type of thinking.

    Generally, any time someone criticizes Alcoholics Anonymous on a forum or blog, someone -usually a current AA member, or a family member of one- will leave a post to defend the organization.

    Some groups consisting of ex AA members mention it’s a cult.

    The ex members say that AA doesn’t help someone recover, because the group teaches them they will always be an alcoholic.

    According to the ex members, AA teaching tells you to attend meetings weekly, so that people become dependent on that group, which they argue is another kind of addiction.

    Another issue is that courts force sex offenders and other guys like that to attend AA meetings, but because nobody has to give a real name or anything at their meetings, other members are not aware that the guy sitting next to them is a rapist or whatever – and yes, women have been raped and hit on and what all at groups. Children have been fondled by AA attendees.

    There are AA members called “13 steppers” who take advantage of emotionally vulnerable new female members who show up to meetings, to have sex with them.

    Some women have been raped by AA members – and when they tell the group they were raped, they get the reply, “what role did you play in that” (as though they were to blame).

    Any one here can look up “Orange Papers” on google. It’s a site that chronicles the problems with AA.

    Some of the horror stories I heard about abuse in AA or because of their teachings came from Stinkin’ Thinkin’.

    That blog has a list of links to other sites and blogs by ex-AA members and sites that cover the problems with 12 step programs / AA.

  150. Julie Anne wrote:

    John Mac has said that the Bible is sufficient for everything and incompatible with psychology

    One very good point I’ve seen a few Christian psychologists make is that the Bible itself says to put the Scriptures down and go live it out, do what it says, don’t just read the book and put it down.

    One of the things the New Testament stresses is fellowship, that if you are having a hard time in life, you are to put your Bible down, go and confide in another Christian and receive encouragement and compassion from another Christian, and if need be, practical help (money, food, whatever).

    These sorts of Christian psychologists point out that the Scriptures tell us to associate with a community of believers. We’re not supposed to all each sit alone only reading a Bible (or only pray) to get our needs met, but that’s often how the “Christ is sufficient to meet your needs” is applied.

    Christ chooses to get your needs met on occasion via other people and not always through direct, supernatural means.

    But this is a point that sails over the heads of Christians who are sola scriptura to the Nth degree and / or who are very paranoid of psychology, and / or who have an incorrect understanding of the verse that says, “Christ is sufficient to meet all your needs”

  151. @ dee:

    It’s been a few years since I read the book, but I do remember Welch holding the lady patient partially responsible, saying her personal sin was in part a cause, and she needed to confess that and own it.

    I’m pretty sure she was only about 8 years old at the time of the attack, or pretty young.

    (Not that age is relevant here, but it seemed even more mind blowing to me that someone would try to make someone under the age of ten accountable for that.

    I’ve read several stories in years past of adults raping infants. Infants. People under a year old. I’ve also read a few of children as young as three being raped. I wonder would Welch claim that an infant or toddler was to blame in any shape or form?)

    Welch did not let the father (or whoever the rapist was, I think it was her father) off the hook.

    Welch he did acknowledge that the rapist was to blame- but that Welch held the lady accountable at all (and he did) and tell her that her personal sin was involved in some way, was revolting.

  152. lemonaidfizz wrote:

    she told me I must have unconfessed sin in m life and that I needed to get right with God. I got blame and shame instead of therapy or medication

    I am so very sorry. I’ve had that happen to me, and it stings. People need to be careful what they say to people who have psychological problems.

  153. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    I’m not sure what her motivation was. She was a nice lady in other ways.

    I think she had cancer in her late 40s or early 50s, and after a lot of prayer and a change of diet, she said her cancer cleared up. Maybe she thinks because Word of Faith / prayer worked for her, it should for every one else?

    I think most Christians who hurt me in this area (and while I was in mourning for a death of a loved one) with insensitive comments and attitudes are basically well meaning, good people.

    Their heart is in the right place, but boy do they ever have a gift of putting their foot in their mouth. (Or collective mouth?)

  154. Katie wrote:

    I think the men were simply not about to play this game of close your eyes, picture Jesus, and come up with words you can put into His mouth. It is a little weird.

    Good grief. What if you wanted to mess with her and just make stuff up? Claim that yes, you saw Jesus and He told her to stop stealing the pennies from the charity jars at convenience stores, and he forbids her from wearing green ever again.

    How is she going to challenge that? What is she using to determine if what you’re hearing is actually from Christ or not?

    I get the feeling she’s not into sola scriptura.

  155. Liz wrote:

    am reading one of his books right now and I can’t imagine he would say that, so I would like to see or hear where he actually states this. Thank you.

    About telling the lady she was partially to blame for being raped as a child?

    It’s in his book ‘When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man.’

    Yep, he sure does, but he words it all spiritual sounding like, so some Christians don’t find what he says too objectionable, if you read reviews of the book.

    But if you look at what’s he’s really saying, it comes down to ‘the victim must take her share of blame in the rape because she’s a sinner just like the rapist is’ type philosophy, and he uses that same position in regards to other patients with other problems he writes about in the book.

    I don’t know where my copy of the book is. I looked for it and can’t find it. I’ll try to look again tomorrow or later.

    Welch talks about “sin shame” (which is your personal sin), and sins against you as “victimization shame” in the book.

    I recall he said something about the rape victim needs to claim her “sin shame” in the incident – he wasn’t going to only address the “victimization shame” with her.

    He feels that a victim not addressing their “sin shame” in an incident that troubles them means they will remain stuck with the pain. (I can’t remember if he implies it’s also a sin, because they’re supposed to be all forgiving about it.)

    Welch’s book doesn’t do anything to help someone conquer their fear of people, either.

    Welch’s basic premise is if you fear people, if you feel you need them or their approval, you’ve made them into an idol, so just stop doing that by gosh golly, and your fear and anxiety will go away. (Really? If it was that simple, I would’ve been healed of that problem years ago.)

    This is from someone’s review of the book, and ironically, this person seems to like the book, but his summary of it points to what I think are some of the book’s flaws:

    [Welch feels] We need to see God’s love in providing for our greatest need (our sin) at the expense of His son.

    God’s love is costly; ours must be like it. Welch ends with several chapters of examples in growing in the fear of the Lord and growing in love for each other.

    Instead of psychological needs to be filled, Welch identifies that we have a need to love others.

    We [are] created in the image of God, who is always outward focused, and our task as Christians is to image God. [comment by Daisy: this view actually fosters codependent behavior – he’s advising codependents to do more of what they already do: focus on others. They need to be doing less of this to recover.]

    … And we do have a need to know God’s love (not to be filled by it, although that will happen). But primarily we need to love others more and need to be loved less.

    We are not leaky-cups [needing to be filled with love from others]; we are pitchers that are overflowing with God’s love and blessing others.

    …Welch’s approach of putting our lusts to death, needing to be loved less and to love more, of being outward focused is eminently biblical, practical, and helpful.

    Source

    This is Welch’s emphasis in the book, if you’ve been hurt (raped or something else) or you are afraid of people, that to get over that pain or anxiety, you have to admit you’re a sinner too, you need to be more concerned with meeting other people’s needs than getting your own met, that kind of thinking.

  156. Liz wrote:

    At some point in the person’s recovery they do need to move on and not live a life of sin because of what they had happen to them – choosing to be angry, choosing to shut down, etc…

    Maybe so, but how this is presented, handled, and emphasized – and some Christians over emphasize these aspects to victims, does indeed become this:

    the victim being the one to blame.

    Also, in the particular Welch book I read (When People Are Big and God is Small), he does say something to the effect that the rape victim (now an adult who was raped as a kid) needs to claim her personal sin, what role it played in her rape – he is basically saying she was at fault in some way, or was asking to be raped.

    I regret I don’t have the book handy so I can type up the exact quote, but it’s in there.

  157. Julie Anne wrote:

    I used in a blog article recently: “Such a thing as a “psychological problem” unrelated to spiritual or physical causes is nonexistent. God supplies divine resources sufficient to satisfy completely all the spiritual needs.” ~John MacArthur.

    That’s the same thing Welch was saying in his book that I read. He says that people do not have psychological needs, there is no such thing.

  158. Marge wrote:

    The above quote hardly sounds the Ed Welch I know and respect and have learned from and I would love it if you could provide some quotes and context, not just a general memory of an impression.

    Wow, that was one long post, I only saw the first fourth or so.

    The comments were in the book “When People Are Big and God is Small.”

    I already discussed this up a post or two in this thread.

    Welch is one of those types who feels you have to own up to your part in an incident, because everyone is a sinner – this is how he addressed the lady who came to see him for treatment, and one of her issues was being raped by someone as a child.

  159. @ dee:

    I will continue looking for the book where Welch made the comments. The title was “When People Are Big And God Is Small.”

    His book made me angry, but I don’t think I threw it away.

    Even if I can find the book and type up an excerpt, I can see certain kinds of Christians still agreeing with his views, even on that point.

    They’re going to still cheer on his insistence that the victim own her role in the situation, so as not to get, or remain, “b-tt-r” (That’s not butter, but the banned word!)

    You will find people leaving comments under critical reviews of Welch’s books on other sites leveling the same criticisms I have, where they are defending him and his books and swearing up and down he’s a caring, compassionate soul.

    Perhaps he is, but IMHO, his views about victims or how to deal with them are awful and not very compassionate, or he needs to find a better way of wording what he means.

    I saw similar comments for a Welch booklet about domestic abuse, in that Welch seems to place a larger burden on the one who was wronged to get over it, than in acknowledging the person was victimzed. That booklet is “Domestic Abuse: How to Help (Resources for Changing Lives)”

    Here are a few remarks by one person who left a one star review of that booklet:

    Following the guidance of this self-conflicting booklet may put the victim and the person trying to help in peril. No one should underestimate how wicked abusers are.

    Written by three authors, this booklet has no clear course of action or process of biblical thought. Here is one example, although several could be cited:

    …”Of course, this does not imply that her actions caused the violence or abuse.” (pg. 7) After a reference to removing the speck from your brother’s eye, (Matt. 7:5) they state she must forgive quickly, and speak with humility, gentleness and love. (pg.8)

    Matt. 7:5, (pg.7), is not applicable or sensible in abuse cases. Do the authors imply that the abuser has the speck in his eye, while the victim has the log? Ridiculous!

    Why should the abused be encouraged to confess her sin to, and be quick to forgive the abuser, if they describe him as a deceptive criminal, not a brother in Christ? There is no biblical reason why a victim should confess sin to an abuser.

    … The church should protect the victim, and not leave her open to retaliation, as Nouthetic Counseling did to me. I faced death threats after their intervention, so I am writing this review to warn people.

  160. peter lumpkins wrote:

    The fact is, by your own admission you imply there exists no known smoking gun to substantiate your public charge that a sexual scandal-cover-up took/is taking place at Prestonwood

    It’s interesting that even when there is a smoking gun in child sex abuse cases, people are still complacent and apathetic or want to doubt and remain in denial.

    A few people saw/heard Sandusky engaging in sexual activity with kids in a shower stall and other places and people reported their observations, concerns and suspicions to the head phoo-bahs about these things, and nothing was done about Sandusky for a long time.

  161. Marge wrote:

    “Someone once told me there was part of a book where this specific person said that a child was to blame for rape.” And Deb, I don’t think that pointing to comments on Amazon is sufficient proof for an accusation against another man.

    It’s in his book “When People Are Big And God Is Small.”

  162. Marge wrote:

    I’m forced to remember why I commented in the first place. That was because Ed Welch was being accused of blaming a rape victim for her part in the crime.

    Which he did do, in the book “When People Are Big And God is Small.”

  163. I just sent an e-mail to Deb and Dee where I typed up long excerpts form the book by Welch, most of which come from chapter 4 of the book.

    As I said in the e-mail: there is no single, smoking gun “gotcha” quote where the author screams, “victims are to blame!”

    Welch does state in a few places that the victim’s father was wrong to rape her. He also says victims deserve compassion, and that God has compassion for victims.

    That’s all well and good, but Welch intermingles such compassionate talk with discussion of making a victim be held accountable for her own personal sin (which he calls “sin shame”), even in the midst of being treated for having been raped or hurt in another way.

    My interpretation of how Welch handled all of this sounded to me like victim-blaming, or it sounded insensitive to me, in spite of the few compassionate-sounding comments he made about victims.

    Here’s an excerpt from Page 27, where you can see part of Welch’s philosophy of how he thinks patients should be treated (I find it troubling he seems so very concerned with the victim’s personal sin, and not that the person was mistreated by someone else- the emphasis appears lop-sided to me):

    (From When People Are Big And God Is Small, by Edward T. Welch)

    [After Welch discusses shame felt by sexual assault victims:]

    These heart-wrenching expressions are clearly the consequence of victimization-shame [Welch’s term for sin committed against one person by another, defined on pages 25, 26], but we must remember that such experiences do not exclude sin-shame [Welch’s term for one’s own personal sin, defined on pages 25, 26], which is a universal condition.

    Victimization-shame usually intensifies pre-existing sin-shame. I have met very few who struggled with shame from victimization alone. Instead, such victims need biblical guidance in how to deal with their own sins, as well as their experience of being sinned against. Sometimes they have sins they must confess; sometimes they must learn to believe the promise of forgiveness of sins.

    Either way, it would be cruel to neglect their sin-shame because before God, we all must deal with it, and at some level our consciences know it.

    Therefore, in the following discussion of sin-shame I will combine the two categories of sin-shame and sinned-against shame. I will separate them later, but for now, consider the following examples of shame to be sin-shame that, in some cases, is intensified by victimization.

  164. @ Nicholas:

    I’m not surprised. Just based on the little I’ve read by Welch and about him, even though he includes a few compassionate-sounding comments in his writings here and there, the undercurrent of his view point is an emphasis on, and great concern for, holding the hurting person (the victim) to task for his or her “sin shame” (personal sin) even in the midst of them dealing with whatever type of sin was committed against them, which sounds to me like a version of blame the victim.

  165. Marge wrote:

    Daisy wrote:
    What about someone who has been raped?
    They still get blamed.
    I was telling Eagle about Welch (Christian counselor and author) on an older thread.
    Welch says in one of his books that he had an adult patient tell him she was raped by (I think it was by her father?) when she was under the age of 10. Welch told her she needed to take responsibility and admit to her personal sins having played a part in the rape.
    I would like to preface this response by saying that I have been read WW for a few weeks now and haven’t commented because I don’t comment on topics that I know little about. But this touched a nerve with me. The above quote hardly sounds the Ed Welch I know and respect and have learned from and I would love it if you could provide some quotes and context, not just a general memory of an impression. If nothing, my CCEF education has made me even angrier at the response of the church to victim blaming and the mishandling of abuse cases. Heck, we even had Leslie Vernick come in and give a presentation on the importance of churches calling authorities and NOT covering up abuse. I think she adds a valuable voice to this conversation. I think that your comment is likely a gross generalization of a very complicated process of counseling. Ed would never in his right mind blame a victim for someone else’s sin. It is sometimes the case that any victim of sin will then turn around and develop their own sin patterns. Bitterness, etc. that fester. I know because I have read these pages for a while now (first time commenter) that these retaliatory sins are abused by pastors as ways to excuse the original sin and that is absolutely wrong. But when you have a counselee in your office you are not counseling the sin of the perpetrator. You are coming alongside the victim, helping them process, helping them heal and yes, even helping them guard against the sins that can grow as a response to their situation. A good counselor will not just help the victim of abuse know that they have been wronged but will lovingly help them grow as a person and worshipper of God. To say less is to say that we can excuse all sin that is a response to another’s sin. So if I am abused then it is alright for me to turn around and lash out at my children, or develop a drinking problem, or any variation of sin and you can’t touch me because I was abused. You have to differentiate this idea of “victim blaming” with “victim excusing”. It is absolutely wrong to point to the wife and say, “It’s your fault your husband hit you.” It is not wrong to come alongside the wife and say, “I am so sorry your husband hurt you. He is wrong, let’s figure out how to protect you and encourage you. And hey, I’ve noticed that you have a lot of anger, some of which is right and some of which is destructive. Let’s figure out how you can take responsibility for your anger before God.” In many ways this is preferable because it actually helps the victim be released from the abusive hold and sinful consequences of the original abuse. Would you rather leave a victim in a web of shame, anger, self-blame and sinful response, or help them differentiate which are right and which are destructive? To say that Ed Welch blames the victim is a nauseating thought because it is completely inconsistent with everything that he has taught me. Dee and Deb, I’m sure you want to check out CCEF and Ed Welch now, but I would encourage you read in context and understand that these men are a small voice speaking for the role of the life-changing aspects of the Gospel in a culture that wants to drown it out. There is great diversity in schools of thought in counseling and there is great nuance as well. I would also add that one of the most powerful lectures I ever heard was David Powlison speaking to his class on the strengths and weaknesses of CCEF (as distinct from nouthetic counseling). He was vulnerable and honest and no, I will not release those comments to the internet. Suffice it to say that some of the most caring, honest and truly loving men I have known have been the men of CCEF. They are not flawless, they are certainly capable of sin, but they are on the right track.

    *Trigger Warning for Sexual Abuse Victims*

    http://prodigalpaul.com/biblepsych/?p=155

    The above link will take you to an audio recording of Mr. Welch explaining that a child rape victim’s problems can be solved by gaining a better knowledge of the Bible (specifically: salvation history). The basic conceptual framework used by Welch is that the presenting problems experienced by the victim are the result of not knowing/believing Scripture well enough. According to Welch, if they can just focus more on Scripture, they can experience healing. The result is that if a victim does not experience improvement/healing, they are failing in some way to “understand” or “believe” what the YRR crowd call “the gospel.”

  166. Anon wrote:

    Southwestern Discomfort wrote:
    Jay Adams and his ilk will try their garbage on anyone they can, and make them even worse.
    Well, here is what his “ilk” actually has to say:
    http://www.ccef.org/blog/ccef-anti-science

    That whole statement is needlessly long. I can sum it up much more succinctly:

    “Sure, we love science! But only the kind that doesn’t disagree with the nouthetic conceptual framework that we’ve constructed for ourselves.”

  167. @ Mr.H:

    Something else I find distasteful about Welch’s views is the insistence that the wounded person fixate on her own sinfulness… to the degree that in the book he says something like he coaches one lady not to look to Jesus to get her needs met, because that would be idolatry.

    That’s a nonsensical view, because Jesus is God. And you can’t make God an idol by turning to Him, by worhshipping Him, especially since He Himself tells us in Scriptures to do those very things (Philippians 4:19; 1 Peter 5:7, John 4:24).

    All that is left for a victim in Welch’s economy is to fixate on their own sin and remember Christ paid for it – but that doesn’t do anything to heal them of the pain they are in. It sounds like what you’ve come across, Welch also advises hurting people to read/ study the Bible more.

    The Bible says to put your Bible down and do what it says (James 1:22), which is: comfort other hurting people – which means – meeting any practical needs they have (James 2:16), or weeping with those who are weeping (Romans 12:15). So not even the Bible prescribes more Bible reading as a cure-all for each and every problem under the sun (I don’t think that’s what 2 Tim 3:16 is saying).