Heath Lambert Channels Martin Luther (As If) and Writes the 95 Theses of Biblical Counseling

Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief. C. S. Lewis link

      
Luther pic/Wikipedia. Lambert pic from ACBC

Amy Smith and I will be joint posting an important #metoo #churchtoo story on Friday. I plan to have it up by noon. After it is posted, I will be calling the churches and pastors involved in the story for comment. Please pray for the victim involved. She is one brave woman.

Heath Lambert’s 95 Theses of Biblical Counseling.

I decided that you all may be getting a bit bored with discussing the training (or lack thereof) for biblical counselors, so I decided to call attention to the following section of the ACBC Biblical Counseling website titled: 95 Theses for an Authentically Christian Commitment to Counseling. When I first saw the title, I thought “No, he wouldn’t be attempting to compare his thinking on biblical counseling to Martin Luther, would he?” Yep…

Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, in October 1517. He was concerned that the Roman Catholic practice of indulgences undermined Scripture and its teaching on grace and genuine repentance. His act would spark a Reformation that witnessed a recovery of the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Sadly, he actually thinks that he is going to spark a revolution to debate about *grace in regards to counseling.*

Luther intended his Theses to spark a debate that the faithful needed to have about how the good news of Jesus Christ related to a critical area of church practice. My intent is similar in offering these 95 Theses.

My prayer is that the spirit of the Reformers to recover the emphasis on divine grace in their day would be the commitment that Christians would have today regarding counseling.

After I picked myself off the floor, stunned with Lambert’s audacity to compare his work to Luther’s remarkable accomplishment, I realized that anyone interested in the ACBC biblical counseling crowd needs to take a close look at both Luther’s 95 Theses and Lambert’s 95 ramblings.

A quick look at Luther

Here is a list of Luther’s 95 Theses. Let’s take a look at the outcome of Luther’s bold stand.

  • Martin Luther’s 95 theses thew the Christianity of the time on its head.
  • Luther pretty much stated, ” You don’t need to buy your way into Heaven.”
  • This got others into questioning the purchase and use of indulgences. “Do I, or do I not have to pay someone else to secure my way in to Heaven?”
  • Eventually, with the help of the printing press and Luther, people began to read the Bible for themselves instead of allowing the clergy in the Catholic Church to do it it for them.
  • When people began to think for themselves they started realizing that the only relationship between God is the one between God and the individual. They realized they could live without the Church telling them what to think.
  • We would  probably all be Catholics today without Martin Luther.
  • We would not have Protestantism without the Reformation of the way people viewed religion that Martin Luther sparked.
  • We might still  be under Papal Rule because the Reformation got people interested in the separating Church and State.
  • America would not have been settled by the Puritan Pilgrims without Protestantism and ideas about freedom of  religion.
  • Luther revolutionized how people saw and interacted with God.
  • Monks, nuns, and priests left the Church and got married.
  • People made welfare systems for the poor, and public schools.
  • People realized they had a direct line to God and they didn’t need anyone to pray for them.
  • People saw that they could ask for forgiveness themselves and that Baptism and Holy Communion were the only two Sacraments they needed.

In 2000, I listened to NPR as they did their countdown on the most important people of the last 1000 years. Martin Luther came in at #2. #1 was actually not a person but The Gutenberg Press. However, both Luther and the Gutenberg Press had a synergistic relationship. Much of what the press printed in those early days were the works of Luther.

Basically, Martin Luther created an earthquake that changed the world. I have written a number of posts on Luther (long before I was a Lutheran.) My favorite blog post title was Martin Luther Did Not Follow Matthew 18. In that post I called him *the original blogger.*

Back to Heath Lambert and his 95 theses.

You can read my previous counseling posst for corroboration of all that I list here. So far, I have learned that Heath Lambert:

  • Does not believe women can be on the board of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors
  • Does not believe that women should supervise biblical counselors
  • Believes that complementarianism is the only mentally healthy construct for living.
  • Believes that education from accredited schools of higher learning is not important.
  • Believes that secular counselors also include Christian psychiatrists and psychologists who believe that research and education in proper counseling methods. He redefines “secular.”
  • Views medical diagnosis and medication intervention to be suspect on many levels.
  • Verbally attacked a colleague at SBTS who was actually an educated Christian psychologist.

This is the man who wishes to compare his thoughts on biblical counseling to Martin Luther’s world changing accomplishments. This is hubris and should be embarrassing on many levels.

Let’s take a look at some of his *world changing ideas.* I would ask that you read all of his 95 theses™ if you have the time. I am going to call out a few of them.

  • 1. Christians in the twenty-first century live at a time when the counseling practice of many evangelical churches is marked by chaos and confusion regarding the nature of counseling.
    I agree with him on this one. However, much of the chaos is being caused by biblical counselors with poor education. Since he did not prove what he said, I don’t have to either.
  • 2. Secular therapy has defined the nature and terms of counseling for more than a hundred years, and Christians responding to its influence have been confounded by it—not knowing whether to consume this secular therapy in an undiluted form, to combine it in some way with resources from the Christian tradition, or to reject it entirely in favor of an approach that relies exclusively on scriptural resources.
    Christians are too stupid to figure this out for themselves. They need help…and Lambert is there to help them.
  • 4. It is a matter of urgency that Christians coalesce around an understanding of counseling that is authentically Christian (Col 3:14).
    Why? Has he even proven the point that there is something wrong with with counseling as a whole yet? Also, what does he mean by *authentically Christian?* Lambert attacked a Christian brother was was an authentic Christian who believes that psychology has something to offer Christians. It seems to me that Lambert means that we need to coalesce around Heath Lambert’s definition of this term.
    His Bible verse doesn’t help in the least. “It says And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” NIV. This verse is talking about love, not biblical counseling. I.hate. proof texts and so do many people who care about careful biblical elucidation.
  • 5. A commitment to counseling that is authentically Christian requires believers in Christ to understand the nature of counseling, which resources must be used in counseling, and to possess growing skill in caring for people in need of counseling.
    I have already shown that people involved n the biblical counseling movement do not seem to have an adequate education. Some of the resources that are recommended are a but sketchy. For example, they recommend a book that discusses spanking an 8 month old baby. As for growing skills, seriously?  Wait until you read my post on the *training centers.* Once again, I believe it is Heath Lambert who is the one the gets to sign off on the *correct* resources.
  • 10. The subject matter of counseling conversations is the wisdom needed to deal with life’s problems, and so counseling is not a discipline that is fundamentally informed by science, but by the teaching found in God’s Word.
    Watch what he did with this one. I wonder if he ever took a course on logic and reasoning? He does not prove this statement at all. He claims the subject matter of counseling deals with wisdom that only comes from the Bible. However, counseling also involves diagnosing conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disease, etc. Just like the Bible does not tell us how to diagnose cardiac disease, even thought the Bible discusses *heart* issues, the Bible does not explain how to deal with mental illness.
  • 11. When the Bible claims to address all the issues concerning life and godliness, it declares itself to be a sufficient and an authoritative resource to address everything essential for counseling conversations (2 Pet 1:3-4).
    The Bible does not claim to discuss all issues concerning life. As for godliness, it does not fully discuss issues retaining to godliness in a way that prevents basic disagreement between Christians. For example, look at Matthew 18. This has been used in all sorts of ways, including destructive ways, in order to promote a *godly* Christian environment in a church. Heath Lambert used his power to go after a brother who simply disagreed with him on Christians and psychology.
    Let’s look at his proof text from Peter.
    ” His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.NIV
    How does this verse deal with mental illness? Christians desire to lead a godly life but are also subject to issues such as serious depression. For example, today I spoke to a woman who was sexually molested by a pastor. She had a breakdown and became suicidal a few years later. She was treated in a psychiatric hospital with a combination of medications and counseling.
    There is little doubt in my mind that ill- educated Biblical counselors are not adequately trained to deal with situations such as this. In fact, if they attempted to do so, I believe that they would most likely have a tragedy on their hands.
  • 12. Christians must not separate the authority of Scripture for counseling from the sufficiency of Scripture for counseling because, if Scripture is to be a relevant authority, then it must be sufficient for the struggles people face as they live life in a fallen world (2 Pet 1:3-21).
    The Bible is not sufficient for the struggles that people face as they live life in the fallen world if one is discussing thing beyond the spiritual. The Bible is not sufficient if one needs food and water. If one is starving or dehydrated, the Bible can provide encouragement but it will not solve the physical issues. The same goes for mental illness.The Bible cannot cure schizophrenia. It cannot cure a nervous breakdown. As people get sufficient treatment, the Bible can be a source strength and encouragement in their trial.
    Once again, this Bible verse is a proof text.

Wow-I am only through the first 12 of these *change the world as we know it” theses. I think I will need to continue on with the rest of these thoughts next week.

Some good articles written by Christians.

The superiority reflected in these theses are frankly off putting to me. I want to offer a few good articles to read on the subject of Christians and mental illness written by Christians who get the need for excellent psychological input for those struggling with mental illness.

Parting thought: Isn’t there anyone around these guys to tell them “Don’t try to compare yourself to Martin Luther?” Don’t. go. there.


Comments

Heath Lambert Channels Martin Luther (As If) and Writes the 95 Theses of Biblical Counseling — 170 Comments

  1. “Martin Luther?” Don’t. go. there.”

    +++++
    I have been to:
    – (Erfurt) where Luther entered the Augustinian monastery.
    – (Wittenburg) where Luther lived with Katie and students — Table Talks
    – (Wittenburg) where Luther nailed the 95 theses and where he is now buried
    – (Eisennach) where Luther was secluded in the Wartburg Castle for protection and where Luther translated the NT into German so average people could read the Bible for themselves.

  2. Just another evangelical clown, making a laughing-stock of Christianity. It’s what they seem to do best.

  3. I am separated from my husband, and I am contemplating divorce. The issues are complicated, and very difficult to tease out. I have two different relatives who are trying to “help” me by giving (unsolicited) advice from “biblical counselling” training.

    They just spout Bible verses at me and then accuse me of not really loving God, not being a true Christian. Ugh. How can anyone think this is constructive? ?

  4. OK, I couldn’t resist. I’ve bolded my changes.

    1. Christians in the twenty-first century live at a time when the plumbing practice of many evangelical churches is marked by chaos and confusion regarding the nature of plumbing.

    2. Secular education has defined the nature and terms of plumbing for more than a hundred years, and Christians responding to its influence have been confounded by it—not knowing whether to consume this secular education in an undiluted form, to combine it in some way with resources from the Christian tradition, or to reject it entirely in favor of an approach that relies exclusively on scriptural resources.

    4. It is a matter of urgency that Christians coalesce around an understanding of plumbing that is authentically Christian (Col 3:14).

    5. A commitment to plumbing that is authentically Christian requires believers in Christ to understand the nature of plumbing, which resources must be used in plumbing, and to possess growing skill in caring for people in need of plumbing.

    10. The subject matter of plumbing conversations is the wisdom needed to deal with water problems, and so plumbing is not a discipline that is fundamentally informed by science, but by the teaching found in God’s Word.

    11. When the Bible claims to address all the issues concerning life and godliness, it declares itself to be a sufficient and an authoritative resource to address everything essential for plumbing conversations (2 Pet 1:3-4).

    12. Christians must not separate the authority of Scripture for plumbing from the sufficiency of Scripture for plumbing because, if Scripture is to be a relevant authority, then it must be sufficient for the struggles people face as they fix leaks in a fallen world (2 Pet 1:3-21).

  5. That’s a photo of Lambert in that circle at the top of the page? He looks to be all of about 30 years old, and he wants me to take life experience advice from him? Not gonna happen.

    He said:
    “Monks, nuns, and priests left the Church and got married.”

    I’m not one for enforced singleness if a person wants to marry, but his statement also smacks of anti-singleness, so I’m not down with that. There’s nothing wrong with singleness.

    He said:
    “People realized they had a direct line to God and they didn’t need anyone to pray for them.”

    But is Lambert a complementarian? If so, complementarians believe that wives needs husbands to be responsible for them before God, and per some hideous recent article on the “Desiring God” site, comps also believe that a husband is responsible for “making their wives ready for Jesus” (for correcting their wives, and for sanctifying their wives)

  6. dee wrote:

    But, are you a Lutheran?

    No, I am non-denominational. But if I were Lutheran it would be Missouri Synod. Nice Socks.

  7. Also by Lambert:
    “We might still be under Papal Rule because the Reformation got people interested in the separating Church and State.”

    As I’ve said on this blog before (and will probably mention again in the future), many Protestants have made their pastor or favorite Protestant author or theologian into “Protestant Popes.”

    I’ve seen Protests practically deify John Piper, Mark Driscoll, and others.

    At least Roman Catholics are open and upfront with their papal views.

  8. By Lambert:
    “People saw that they could ask for forgiveness themselves and that Baptism and Holy Communion were the only two Sacraments they needed.”

    How strange he says this when 99% of Protestants and Baptists also imply or act as though marriage is necessary for every one.

    See this page at Internet Monk:
    Have We Said Too Much? (About Marriage, that is)
    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/have-we-said-too-much-about-marriage-that-is

    “Salvation by Marriage Alone.”

  9. Re”Believes that complementarianism is the only mentally healthy construct for living.”

    Anyone can run over to my blog and search for the posts I’ve written about complementarianism, but I explain in that post how complementarianism was very damaging to me, and I’ve had to detox from it, you might say.

    Complementarianism is not only sexism (which is bad enough), but it bothers me that complementarians keep promising it has benefits, if only men and women would try it.

    They are selling you a false bill of goods. I was one for years and tried it, and it played a part in creating problems for me. It’s not going to help you, it’s going to create more problems for you.

  10. What gets me is how Martin Luther is held up as an exemplar for Lambert without him acknowledging that Luther was HIGHLY educated in his day! The irony is not lost on me, though.

    “2. Secular therapy has defined the nature and terms of counseling for more than a hundred years, and Christians responding to its influence have been confounded by it—not knowing whether to consume this secular therapy in an undiluted form, to combine it in some way with resources from the Christian tradition, or to reject it entirely in favor of an approach that relies exclusively on scriptural resources.”

    Really?! This is an old argument. They argued about this same thing in the Early Church in regards to Greek learning. Origen of Alexandria made the beautiful analogy of the Jewish people despoiling the Egyptians. Take what is good is the idea. It does not have to be a strict EITHER/OR.

    And yes, it is incredibly arrogant to suggest ALL Christian psychologists/therapists lack discernment. Bold statement.

  11. Re: “5. A commitment to counseling that is authentically Christian requires believers in Christ to understand the nature of counseling, which resources must be used in counseling, and to possess growing skill in caring for people in need of counseling.”

    These biblical counselor guys have already acknowledge (as Dee quoted on an older post) that their goal is not to help the afflicted heal.

    They don’t want to cure you of your mental health condition, their true goals are to get you to think about and dwell about your personal sins, and they want you to agree with their brand of theology.

    Re: “10. The subject matter of counseling conversations is the wisdom needed to deal with life’s problems, and so counseling is not a discipline that is fundamentally informed by science, but by the teaching found in God’s Word.”

    I wasn’t helped with my mental health problems (depression, anxiety) by the “teaching found in God’s Word”

    Regarding these two points:
    11. and 12.

    I think he’s misapplying sola scriptura. I don’t think the Bible is quite what he thinks it’s for.

  12. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    OK, I couldn’t resist. I’ve bolded my changes.

    1. Christians in the twenty-first century live at a time when the plumbing practice of many evangelical churches is marked by chaos and confusion regarding the nature of plumbing.

    2. Secular education has defined the nature and terms of plumbing for more than a hundred years, and Christians responding to its influence have been confounded by it—not knowing whether to consume this secular education in an undiluted form, to combine it in some way with resources from the Christian tradition, or to reject it entirely in favor of an approach that relies exclusively on scriptural resources.

    4. It is a matter of urgency that Christians coalesce around an understanding of plumbing that is authentically Christian (Col 3:14).

    5. A commitment to plumbing that is authentically Christian requires believers in Christ to understand the nature of plumbing, which resources must be used in plumbing, and to possess growing skill in caring for people in need of plumbing.

    10. The subject matter of plumbing conversations is the wisdom needed to deal with water problems, and so plumbing is not a discipline that is fundamentally informed by science, but by the teaching found in God’s Word.

    11. When the Bible claims to address all the issues concerning life and godliness, it declares itself to be a sufficient and an authoritative resource to address everything essential for plumbing conversations (2 Pet 1:3-4).

    12. Christians must not separate the authority of Scripture for plumbing from the sufficiency of Scripture for plumbing because, if Scripture is to be a relevant authority, then it must be sufficient for the struggles people face as they fix leaks in a fallen world (2 Pet 1:3-21).

    ROFL!!

  13. The 2 Peter 1:3-4 passage usage highlights serious exegetical issues that undergird this whole movement. 2 Peter is both a letter and a kind of “farewell speech” in the classic ancient Jewish vein. As such it was written for a specific purpose, and 1:3-11 are there to discuss the theme of that letter; they are also there to summarize the dying teacher’s teachings. The meaning of 1:3-11 is bounded by their context. They cannot mean anything at all; they mean something in particular. The letter was written with a very specific audience in mind, and the purpose of the letter is clearly to defend against specific objections to Christian teaching and a specific group of false teachers. As a farewell speech, vs 3-4 are also bounded by the context not only of the whole book, but also vs 3-11, which are the context of the whole summary. They do not stand alone.

    It’s also worth noting that the author’s style shows him to have been very well read, probably a fan of poetry, too, as there are a lot of obscure words and poetic expressions. There’s a lot of grandiose language, specifically 1:3-4 and and 16-17, 2:10-13, and scatter around chapter 3) which is a typical rhetorical device of the day, the purpose of which is not to be literal but to be effective. Many Greek scholars see 2 Peter’s writing as pretentious-sounding. I don’t personally believe that is true, but it is certainly written in a DIFFERENT style to other books of the Bible, which is something clear even in the English, and it should be judged within the Greek rhetorical context of its day, which loved them some highfalutin language and flowery verbiage.

    The false teachings and anti-Christian doctrines being dealt with in 2 Peter, which help us understand 1:3-4, seem to have been that since Jesus had not returned as quickly as expected, Christian teaching on his return was all wrong: there was not going to be any kind of judgment and everything would continue as it always had. The apostles had invented the idea of the judgment (1:16) and were twisting the OT passages to fit their own vision (1:20-21). In other words, the apostles made the whole thing up. Since no judgment was coming, it would be silly to worry over much about morality, and ridiculous to care about the power of demons.

    With those contexts in mind, re-read 2 Peter 1:3-4 (and ideally all the way to 11). Verses 5-11 described what the “godly life” the writer envisions in vs 3 is all about. These verses do not talk about all the many issues of life on this earth; they refer specifically to the power God gives in Jesus Christ to live in a life of godliness characterized by certain ethical consequences, precisely because the Christian has great eschatological promises which are really true. 2 Peter’s readers cannot live in pagan ignorance by living as a pagans do: the power and promises of God are there to change them. The author then goes on to defend these statements through the rest of the book: “we apostles were not making it up; we saw the majesty of Christ and had the prophecies confirmed; we have always know that false teachers will arrive, and here’s what they’re like; the day of the Lord will most certainly come, and what they overlook you must not overlook. Since all this WILL happen, what sort of people ought you to be in living holy and godly lives?”

    This “counselor” is misusing these verses, and in doing so betraying his viewpoint that if a person didn’t sin, they wouldn’t have any trouble, and that all counseling situations are about the counselee’s sin. Of course sin is the root of all our problems as humans; but not every difficulty is a result of my specific sin. In fact, Christians who are living in flagrant sin, in my experience, are the least likely to seek out true counseling (which is a separate thing from the kind of general admonishment and encouragement a pastor or even a Christian friend might give). It’s generally the people who have been hurt by others’ sins who are most in need of help. And to say that 2 Peter 1:3-4 teaches that no way but the ACBC way is the right way to deal with the pain, suffering, and hurt of mental, emotional, and psychological damage is no different than saying 2 Peter 1:3-4 teaches that no way but ACBC counseling is the right way to deal with the pain, suffering, and hurt of cancer, broken bones, or bubonic plague; or that consulting one of their counselors first is the only correct first step before buying a car or house. After all, Jesus has given us “everything we need.”

    Also, the type of counseling ACBC practices is all about behavior modification. They SAY it isn’t, but read any of the books and you can see that it is. You get control of your pornography, for example, by doing this reading, doing this writing, confessing to this person, avoiding this situation, and the making yourself accountable to this person. You solve your marriage issues by doing, doing, doing and looking endlessly at yourself and all your failures and problems. But 2 Peter 1:3 is connected to 2 Peter 1:2, as well as to the following verses. It is in growing in the knowledge of Jesus that the kind of power for godly life the author speaks of is to be found. That means obsessing about Jesus, not yourself, and essentially means ACBC has got much of it wrong way round.

  14. One has to include medical, scientific aind even secular wisdom into the counseling process to ensure the whole person. Having depression written off as sin in one’s life or a lack of gratitude is destructive. Leaving schizophrenia untreated can have catastrophic results. There is such a need for this series and I am glad you are investing the time and effort into it. Hopefully it reaches those who need to see it.

  15. (As if)
    No kidding! Ha. Who’s going to be talking about Heath Lambert 500 years from now???

  16. Also, the complementariian approach to marriage counseling can and has led to blaming the wife for all issues as well as abuse.

  17. My son-in-law’s first wife did drugs when she was pregnant with their son, so my daughter now has a 20 year old step-son who is learning disabled, bipolar, and schizophrenic.
    If Heath Lambert (or any of the dogs he runs with) would like to try counseling this young man, I would love to film the sessions!

  18. @ MRF:
    I am having trouble sleeping tonight. I just read your excellent comment and I would like to draw attention to it tomorrow by linking to it in the post. Thank you for you input. You said it much better than I could have!

  19. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    My son-in-law’s first wife did drugs when she was pregnant with their son, so my daughter now has a 20 year old step-son who is learning disabled, bipolar, and schizophrenic.
    If Heath Lambert (or any of the dogs he runs with) would like to try counseling this young man, I would love to film the sessions!

    Nancy’s comment is so important that I think everyone should read it. I would love to hear from a biblical counselor on. their perspective in this situation.

  20. There are religious parents that deny their children proper medical care due to their beliefs. The premises of ACBC brings these cases to mind, as parallel to not seeking proper counseling care for family members that need professionally trained and experienced experts.

  21. Just one quibble — the notion that the Puritans came to the New World to establish religious freedom is incorrect. The principle of church-state separation was established to counter the lack of religious freedom allowed by the American colonies.

  22. dee wrote:

    Nancy’s comment is so important that I think everyone should read it. I would love to hear from a biblical counselor on. their perspective in this situation.

    Additional info on my step-grandson: 1.) Just for the record, his schizophrenia is mild, but the bipolarity is severe. He has serious behavior problems. 2.) Only licensed psychiatrists can prescribe the medications that he so desperately needs to be able to function in society………. medication that prevents him from harming himself and others.

  23. brian wrote:

    Im not first.

    Neither am I but perhaps we can take some comfort from…
    Matthew 19:30 (DBY)
    But many first shall be last, and last first.
    😉

  24. Niteowl wrote:

    Also, the complementariian approach to marriage counseling can and has led to blaming the wife for all issues as well as abuse.

    Ever so convenient. Of course they don’t believe in divorce, so wife gets stuck with the guilt of some supposed sins, and an abusive husband.

  25. Muff Potter wrote:

    The guy’s got cheek, I’ll give him that.

    “cheek”, maybe.
    More like an ego that could use some deflation. ( and education ) Totally unfamiliar with this man, except in name only.
    Why don’t people see warning signs when modern man compares their work to the greatness of early saints, or in this case, Luther?
    The bible as wonderful as it is, does not give directions on what medicine to give a sick child, or how to construct a house, or what mental illness is.
    My Aunt was a schizophrenic, rather severe….many hospitalization. Quoting her the bible and having her memorize verses would have availed nothing. Her daughter suffered terribly (emotionally) from the Christian community who so misunderstood mental illness. This was back in 50’s – 70’s Which is where this man seems to want to go back to.

  26. I forgot to mention this when I was on here last night.

    Just as some Christians teach that having some mental health issues is a sin (or due to personal sin), this writer at “Desiring God” says that having certain personality traits – such as introversion or shyness – are sins:

    Don’t Be Yourself
    https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/don-t-be-yourself

    Here’s a sample from that page (by Greg Morse):

    And subtly, we can adopt this philosophy in the church. Even though every imperative in the Bible protests against it, every identification of sin condemns it outright, every discussion of holiness and God’s judgment warns against believing it, we too excuse sin tendencies as our personalities.

    Oh, her? She’s just strong-willed and independent. That’s why she doesn’t submit to her husband.

    Him? Don’t worry, he isn’t trying to be inhospitable and cold towards everyone. He’s just shy and introverted.

  27. Believes that education from accredited schools of higher learning is not important.

    Really??? So then what do they really believe about Martin Luther’s education then?
    At 13, Luther began to attend a school run by the Brethren of the Common Life in Magdeburg. The Brethren’s teachings focused on personal piety, and while there Luther developed an early interest in monastic life.

    Hans Luther had plans for young Martin—he wanted him to become a lawyer—so he withdrew him from the school in Magdeburg and sent him to new school in Eisenach.

    in 1501, Luther enrolled at the University of Erfurt, the premiere university in Germany at the time.

    There, he studied the typical curriculum of the day: arithmetic, astronomy, geometry and philosophy and he attained a Master’s degree from the school in 1505.

    Between 1507 and 1510, Luther studied at the University of Erfurt and at a university in Wittenberg.

    In 1512, Luther received his doctorate and became a professor of biblical studies.

    Seems to me Luther was an educated man who believed in good education. I’m certain the education he received was top notch and would have been accredited in our day and far superior than the half crap education some of these seminaries offer. Just Saying

  28. Another Nouthetics guy being put up there with Luther on the ACBC website:

    https://biblicalcounseling.com/2017/10/adams-and-juther/

    “This year we remember the work of a reformer, Martin Luther, who five hundred years ago dared to challenge the established ecclesiastical authorities when he nailed his ninety-five theses to the church door in Wittenberg. I see many similarities to what happened about fifty years ago when another reformer, Jay Adams, came on the scene…”

  29. Since the Pilgrims were mentioned—let’s look at the big picture of history in context:

    The first people who settled America were actually the Spanish. The Spanish brought slaves with them to do the work for them. That’s about as intolerant as you can get.

    Meanwhile, the Pilgrims came to America because they really did want religious freedom and they were willing to work with their hands. I remember reading that just before they boarded the Mayflower, they had a big church dinner to say goodbye to friends and family, and the other half of the church staying there. At that dinner, their pastor, told them not to get stuck on the teachings of Calvin. Since the common people hadn’t had access to read the Bible for too many years at that point, he told them to keep their hearts open as they read the Bible so the Holy Spirit could guide them into more truth beyond John Calvin.

    That was the first ship. Then after the Pilgrims came to America, there were many other ships that came. Some people just wanted to make money. I remember reading about how the Pilgrims were upset that another ship of young men had come that didn’t want to work. So these young guys got bored, ate all their food, then stole food from the Native Americans, then demanded more food from the Pilgrims. Eventually that group returned to England, on the first ship that returned after bringing supplies.

    More ships came with more people. Some good. Some bad. I remember reading about this one guy who mistreated the Native Americans. Finally the Native Americans had enough. They went to his house, killed him and burned his house down. The rest of the settlers didn’t interfere or seek revenge. They felt that guy had gotten what he deserved.

    The real truth is that the Pilgrims coming to America opened the door for many people of faith being persecuted around the world to find a safe haven. Keep in mind that this part of world history was a brutal time to live in. Much of the world was deeply intolerant towards religion, especially Christians. There were all kinds of religious wars going on in Europe with people getting killed for their faith. When the Pilgrims became one of the earliest groups to survive the harsh winters, it prompted other people to know there was a safe place to go to escape the religious wars in Europe at that time.

  30. Jim Bakker -“Washington Train Derailment Was A Warning From God”
    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/jim-bakker-washington-train-derailment-was-a-warning-from-god/

    End Times prepper pastor Jim Bakker declared on his television program last week that last month’s train derailment in Washington state was some sort of warning from God.

    “What do you think that train going off the tracks in Washington state was?” he asked, rhetorically. “What is the spiritual side? Why is it right now, at this time of the year?”

    Noting that the train was on its maiden voyage on a new stretch of track, Bakker likened the derailment to the sinking of the Titanic, which apparently made it spiritually significant.

  31. Paul D. wrote:

    the notion that the Puritans came to the New World to establish religious freedom is incorrect.

    Well, the Puritans wanted religious freedom for themselves, but not for anyone else it appeared.

  32. @ Daisy:

    Argh….pathetic.
    Why are women always portrayed as strong willed, rebellious?
    These mnemonic enough deny the Creator constructs different temperaments. Imagine the blandness, the mediocrity, if we were a the same?

  33. dee wrote:

    Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:
    My son-in-law’s first wife did drugs when she was pregnant with their son, so my daughter now has a 20 year old step-son who is learning disabled, bipolar, and schizophrenic.
    If Heath Lambert (or any of the dogs he runs with) would like to try counseling this young man, I would love to film the sessions!

    (Dee replied):
    Nancy’s comment is so important that I think everyone should read it. I would love to hear from a biblical counselor on. their perspective in this situation.

    The biblical counselors would probably pay lip service in saying on the one hand that this young man’s condition is not his fault and so on, but find some way to blame him (or his mother) for his mental health conditions.

    They’d also probably instruct him and his family to just pray more and read the Bible more, but no real help or suggestions of substance would be offered.

    Biblical counselors like to sit there and say, “Yep, you’ve got a problem!,” but not actually do anything to get rid of the problem, such as:

    Why Monitor a Problem? Dentist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGDzxPsdi7w

    If the dentist in that commercial also moonlighted as a biblical counselor, he’d tell the guy his cavities are due to his own sins, and to just memorize some Biblical verses, and that will supposedly clear all his dental problems right up.

  34. Mae wrote:

    Argh….pathetic.
    Why are women always portrayed as strong willed, rebellious?
    These mnemonic enough deny the Creator constructs different temperaments. Imagine the blandness, the mediocrity, if we were a the same?

    I also wonder, if the woman in Morse’s hypothetical situation were to stay single, would his problem with her “strong will” and “independence” magically vanish?

    Does Morse only take issue with MARRIED women who are strong willed and independent?

    If a woman is strong-willed while single, Morse expects her to do a 180 on her personality or repress it if she gets married, for the duration of her marriage?

    Please tell me Morse, or someone, how that is going to be psychologically healthy for her and not lead to resentment and eventual divorce?

  35. @ Daisy:
    Oh, Desiring God, Haven of Christian self consciousness. Some recent posts have included “How to Exercise Like a Believer.” As long as I’m exercising like a human, I’m good. Check in tomorrow for “Are you using your microwave like a reprobate?” and the ever popular “What your choice of toilet paper says about God’s love and your depravity.”

    The idea of “Christian Hedonism” actually helped me a bit a couple years ago when I was really struggling. The idea of living in joy rather than duty to God was helpful to me. I’ve been trying to figure out how Piper gets from there to writing about how to be a Christ-like god owner. I have a couple of thoughts. He never thinks of God in terms of desiring relationship with us. God only desires his own glorification. When I think of glory as the essence or weight of a thing, with God my mind immediately goes to the Trinity. Relationship in the Trinity is God’s glory, and he shared that with us in creation and redeemed it in Christ.

    Piper takes his self-centered God and then comes up with all these schemes of how we can get back to him. Worse, he assumes what works for him is universal. Maybe being married to a muscular woman brings someone closer to God and makes them come alive. Why is that Piper’s business. Maybe he is secretly jealous. He puts forward that he knows the one way to “delight in God” and insists we all do it that way.

    When someone is so obsessed with how sinful they and everyone around them are to the exclusion of seeing the good around them, they will constantly be in behavior modification mode. To me, that is the major problem with that site. Rather than people finding their way by walking with Jesus, he is publishing material telling people how to reclaim things (exercise, marriage, sleep, pets) for Jesus that Jesus already owns as the King of Kings.

  36. Quoting Mr Lambert, but also something widely believed and proclaimed by those who claim The Sufficiency Of Scripture as their religion:

    When the Bible claims to address all the issues concerning life and godliness, it declares itself to be a sufficient and an authoritative resource to address everything essential for counseling conversations (2 Pet 1:3-4).

    Of course, the Bible claims nothing of the sort, in that verse or anywhere else. (Ironically, the apostle who penned those words didn’t have a Bible!)

    This from 2 Kings 18:

    In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign… He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.)

    Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel… He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses.

    In the inspired words contained in what we now call the Bible, God tells us that Jesus, one in being with the Father, is (to say the very least) sufficient for all our needs; all of God’s promises are yes and amen in him, and in nothing and no-one else. The tactical masterstroke of deception behind SoS is to take something we must not and cannot break into pieces or get rid of, and get people burning incense to it.

  37. While we’re on the subject—to really understand that part of world history—study the history of the Spanish Inquisition. Study the history of Spanish settlements in America. There’s a reason that the Pilgrims didn’t want to go to Florida where the Spanish were already settled. Even though Florida’s climate was much better than the harsh New England winters, the Pilgrims had heard about how brutal the Spanish had been when exploring and settling the New World. The Spanish had actually murdered an entire group of Huguenot Protestant Christians who had tried to settle in Florida.

    The Pilgrims were living in Holland at the time that they decided to sail to America. Holland was in the middle of the Eighty Years War—their war for independence from Spain. No one knew if Holland would win that war or if Spain would be able to crush the resistance and retake power over their colony of Holland. So the Pilgrims were really concerned about what would happen to religious freedom in Holland if Spain won that war and the Spanish Inquisition came to Holland.

    That motivated them to get on the boat to America, even though they knew that many previous settlements in the New England area had failed. Many previous settlements had given up and returned to England. Then there was the settlement that totally disappeared and we still don’t know what happened to them. Those were the dangers that the Pilgrims were willing to face to gain the freedom to worship God.

    So when the Pilgrims became the first successful group to survive the harsh winters—it showed other people that they could survive in America. That opened the door for a lot of other people to escape religious persecution around the world.

  38. Mae wrote:

    These mnemonic enough deny the Creator constructs different temperaments. Imagine the blandness, the mediocrity, if we were a the same?

    The Creator made automatons from the dust of the earth. Apparently, the fall turned us into human beings. Jesus’ resurrection should take us back to the automatonic state.

    Pssssshhhhhh.

    Strong willed? Yeah, that’s my daughter. She is the one who makes sure her step-son takes his medication, goes to his medical appointments and counseling sessions, etc. Right now, my son-in-law has his arm in a cast, so she is picking up a lot of his slack at his job, too. He loves her, in large part, because she is strong willed.

  39. Arrogance … the common thread in various reports of New Calvinist belief and practice in the blogosphere. Now they are trying to drag Luther into their mess! The New Calvinism movement and Nouthetic counseling are linked at the hip. Avoid both, Christian. Beware of any religious movement and its off-shoots which diminish the reality of a personal relationship with Jesus, who loves you and hears your cry. In Scripture, Jesus is called the “Wonderful Counselor” – He’s never failed me yet, while mere men have attempted to play games with my soul during my long Christian journey.

  40. roebuck wrote:

    Just another evangelical clown, making a laughing-stock of Christianity. It’s what they seem to do best.

    While role-playing Luther, Standing Bravely Against Apostate Superstition.

  41. @ Nancy2 (aka Kevlar):
    +++excuse all the auto type typos+++

    Strong willed women get a lot done! But seems they frighten weak kneed men.
    There are all types of personalities, thankfully the, extrovert/introvert, are both needed.
    God bless your daughter…..

  42. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    The Creator made automatons from the dust of the earth. Apparently, the fall turned us into human beings. Jesus’ resurrection should take us back to the automatonic state.

    Christian Chatty Doll Worship Bots.
    Straight out of The Twilight Zone.
    (During my time in-country, I encountered several who could only be described as “Christian Chatty Cathy” — pull their string and they recite SCRIPTURE. At least then they’d recite the text instead of just the chapter-and-verse Zip codes…)

  43. Loren Haas wrote:

    @ Juulie Downs:
    Juulie, stay clear of DivorceCare. It has been infiltrated and compromised by some of the big names in biblical counseling.

    At which point, treat them as you would a Scientology front group.

  44. Niteowl wrote:

    Also, the complementariian approach to marriage counseling can and has led to blaming the wife for all issues as well as abuse.

    Feature, not Bug.
    (If you were born with a Y chromosome and the accompanying genitalia, that is.)

  45. From Dee’s article “There is little doubt in my mind that ill- educated Biblical counselors are not adequately trained to deal with situations such as this. In fact, if they attempted to do so, I believe that they would most likely have a tragedy on their hands.”
    I am one who sat in a church run by the “super-saints”, (my term not theirs) seminary professors at SBTS. I was involved in this church when they started the “Biblical Counseling” program at SBTS. I had dealings with young men who went through that program. My opinion is that it was awful. It turned me off to the whole movement and I would never recommend that anyone see a “biblical counselor”, especially from SBTS. However, I think there was some valid criticism of the secular psychology movement of our time. Such as what came to be comically stated in things like “I can’t deal with life, my momma spanked me when I was 4 years old”. Always blaming someone for our faults won’t do anyone any good. To represent to people in need of counseling that ultimately they could be fixed without the gospel of Jesus Christ would not be right. Would it?
    While there is much wrong with the Biblical counseling movement, I think there is much wrong with secular psychology also. Isn’t there? Would we really say that all psychology training is right and positive? That is the only problem I see with the article. It appears to me that you seem to think that a psychologist with “all that training” will be able to fix people. A psychologist may have some proven techniques that can help in certain instances and with certain people. I just don’t think it is a good thing to put so much “faith” in psychology. I don’t think there is anything near a 100% success rate with psychology. In fact I don’t think it is really hard to prove that much harm can also be done by it. So while I see your point with the problems with the Biblical counseling movement, I also see a lot of problems with psychology.

  46. Ricco wrote:

    The idea of “Christian Hedonism” actually helped me a bit a couple years ago when I was really struggling.

    I don’t doubt you. There’s a lot of stuff out there that’s been allowed to grow unchecked and has become swollen and distorted; but if it were only kept in perspective, and seen as one contribution among numerous others such as Paul outlined to the church in Corinth, it could do a great deal of good.

    Paul was writing in an era before telecommunications and motorised transport, of course. Today we can sit in Scotland and watch a church meeting in Aukland, in real time. Some good can come of this, of course, and for all the obvious reasons. But ISTM that the more we can read about the manifestation of the spirit from elsewhere, the less incentive believers have to cultivate the fellowship of the Holy Spirit so that they can bring home-grown contributions where they are needed locally.

  47. 14. The Bible teaches that the person and work of Jesus Christ provide God’s sufficient power to solve every problem of humanity so, according to Scripture, he is the ultimate subject of every counseling conversation (Col 2:2-3).

    Colossians 2:2-3 (NIV)

    2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

    *sigh* Somehow, I don’t think those verses mean what Lambert thinks they mean.

  48. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    rugs when she was pregnant with their son, so my daughter now has a 20 year old step-son who is learning disabled, bipolar, and schizophrenic.
    If Heath Lambert (or any of the dogs he runs with) would like to try counseling this young man, I would love to film the sessions!

    Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    OK, I couldn’t resist.

    That is so great, Muslin. It got me thinking whether I should be looking for Biblical Auto Repair. Our guy is good, and honest, but is he fixing our cars according to the all-sufficient scribshers?

    Or what about Biblical Surgery? Biblical Dentistry? [I see Daisy just mentioned that one.] Anesthetic isn’t in the Bible. Jesus even refused some sort of concoction that was meant to ease his pain on the cross.

  49. dee wrote:

    Nancy’s comment is so important that I think everyone should read it. I would love to hear from a biblical counselor on. their perspective in this situation.

    Well, it’s obvious that you people don’t believe the Bible.
    The best counseling ,prescription, and correction for such a one comes from Proverbs 26:3-5:

    3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.

    4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

    5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

    Scripture always trumps the foolishness of over educated idiots who don’t Know The Lord.

  50. 39. Counselors who desire to have an effective impact on people must use Scripture in their counseling because God promises that his Word will never return void (Isa 55:11).

    This has to be one of the most frequently twisted verses in the entire Bible.

  51. When I was in college during the 1980’s there was concern in my church about secular psychology. People thought psychologists would either try to cure you of guilt over sin, or else cure you of being Christian altogether.

    Over the past twenty years I have been receiving treatment for depression from a number of mental health professionals, none of whom tried to cure me of religion. On the contrary, they encouraged me to explore my spirituality and they tried to help me live as I wanted to. I would not be surprised if there are bad apples in the mental health field, just as there are everywhere else, but over all I don’t think the concern we had was valid.

    When this subject comes up I ask myself the same question when the subject of complementarianism comes up — where is this coming from? Is it fear of losing control over their congregations if they go outside the church for help, or is it just anti-intellectualism?

  52. @ Daisy:
    I often spot these guys at the Walgreens buying Clearasil. Paul D. wrote:

    Just one quibble — the notion that the Puritans came to the New World to establish religious freedom is incorrect. The principle of church-state separation was established to counter the lack of religious freedom allowed by the American colonies.

    Yep. The Puritans especially disgusted John Adams.

  53. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    But of course, the apostle did have the Scriptures. And secondly, v6 of 2 Kings 18, gives the basis of the King’s actions. Namely “he kept the commandments which the Lord had commanded Moses.

  54. MRF wrote:

    n fact, Christians who are living in flagrant sin, in my experience, are the least likely to seek out true counseling (which is a separate thing from the kind of general admonishment and encouragement a pastor or even a Christian friend might give). It’s generally the people who have been hurt by others’ sins who are most in need of help.

    Bingo. I approached this conundrum with a Biblical counseling student at Southern a couple of years ago. This was a social approach outside of church. I tried to wrap my head around this person’s response because it was basically that the “hurt” was sinful. They expanded on that some more but I won’t go into detail.

    It seems to me, after being around these folks at Ground Zero, they have very serious moral equivalency and caste system problems when it comes to sin. But why not since we are totally depraved at birth and Perpetual sinning sinners and can only really sin, in the end, against church leaders.

    They have a very Twisted view of basic Good and Evil.

  55. Ken A wrote:

    I just don’t think it is a good thing to put so much “faith” in psychology. I don’t think there is anything near a 100% success rate with psychology. In fact I don’t think it is really hard to prove that much harm can also be done by it. So while I see your point with the problems with the Biblical counseling movement, I also see a lot of problems with psychology.

    Of course there isn’t a 100% success rate with psychology. I’m not sure there is a 100% success rate with anything.

    There are actually two different disciplines going on here — psychiatry and psychology. Psychiatry is all about prescribing medication to help with medical issues. Psychology is more focused on therapy. In my opinion both of these are in their infancies.

    Still, we know a lot more about the human brain than we used to, and we know that conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are medical issues. For whatever reason the brain chemistry just isn’t right. A doctor can treat these with medication. It’s not perfect, and I hope and expect it will get better as our knowledge progresses, but for the most part it works.

  56. @ Lydia:
    Couldn’t agree more! This was my experience in biblical counseling. The idea that someone or a situation could hurt you isn’t really allowed. Add that to the doctrine of “God’s Sovereignty” and what you get is someone telling a hurting person that what happened was really good for you, but you are sinfully reacting to it by being hurt. This is so disgusting. It’s also exactly the approach of an abuser. “I really hit you for your good; why are you overreacting.”

    There are lots of people out there who think the critique of Penal Substitution as divine child abuse is off base because “of course that isn’t what PSA actually means.” They may be right, but when you add the caricature version presented by evangelists with this idea of God hurting you for your own good you disgusting worm, it is no wonder why people are reacting with their hearts and saying this can’t be who Jesus’s Father is. There are people out there who have really been hurt by this “version” of God, and of course they are going to react angrily against doctrines that that enshrine this view of God. Fortunately, we don’t worship doctrine, we worship a person, so all the doctrine police could stand to learn a bit of compassion.

  57. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Christians often talk about the evils of social media and the negative effects it has on society. I recently hear a quote from one of the Facebook founders, Sean Parker, about how they designed this “social validation feedback loop” to suck people in with dopamine hits. Parker said that we knew this would addict people, but we built it anyway without any thought towards the effect it has on people, especially young people without a fully developed sense of self.

    What your comment made me think of is this: the same Christians who rail against social media are the same ones who are using social media to build their brand and spread their requirements for Godly living to as many people as possible. They seem to think that since they are posting and tweeting Jesus things, that the negative effects of social media don’t apply to them. It’s like their words have sanctified Facebook. I think this is pretty naive. Christians can virtue signal and shame just as well if not better than any “secular” person. To your point, this does seem to have lead to a lack of balance in Christian teaching.

  58. @ Ken A:
    I think there are moral hazards on both sides, as you rightly point out. Medical science isn’t a panacea either. I appreciate the heart of your comment, but I do think that you may be reacting to a straw-man version of psychiatry and psychology. The articles that Dee has put together are showing us “biblical counseling” in its own words. Psychology would be much harder to define since it is a network of scientists and practitioners at thousands of institutions all communicating with each other and recording and studying their results. Of course there can be individuals that are unethical, and the conclusions they come to can be wrong. However, there is a system in place to correct these mistakes through data-driven research. Biblical Counseling has no such mechanism.

    In my experience, whenever a doctor proscribes medication for anxiety or depression, they recommend counseling as well. There may be doctors who just hand out the medicine to anyone who asks, but I haven’t seen that in my experience and I don’t think that would represent best practices. Also, there may be some individual practitioners who reinforce victim-mentality with their patients, but that also isn’t the norm. I’ve read a few books by psychologists and counselors, and most of them talk about moving beyond the victim mentality. Again, I’m not an expert, but I don’t thing that wallowing in victimhood is reflective of best practices.

    I think the problem is, you may be comparing a straw man version of psychology to the cutting edge of biblical counseling. Science isn’t perfect, but I think it’s a better tool than the wild theorizing of Heath Lambert.

  59. I posted this earlier, but it was awaiting moderation. If this double posts, I’m sorry:-)

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the sacred-secular divide and how adamant some Christians are about this. My in-laws are good examples of this. The only ever watch “Christian” movies, and they feel it is their duty to see Fireproof in the theaters to make sure God’s Not Dead and the War Room get made. My father in law is a pastor, and he preached a sermon about finding Jesus in popular Christmas stories. Apparently they are only valuable if they are explicitly about Jesus. They are also heavily involved in deliverance ministry and see demons everywhere.

    I realized this Christmas that what they really want is propaganda. Art tells a story for the sake of the story. Propaganda is dedicated to a point of view. When my in laws like art, it is a coincidence because they are reading their propaganda into the art. If they can’t do this, then they hate the art.
    I fell for complimentarianism because I kept being told that it was the biblical(tm) position, and You don’t want to be like those liberals who hate the Bible and just want gays to adopt transgender kids while all becoming Unitarians, do you? I’m was a 30 year old man with a doctorate falling for this crap because I was raised to never question authority.

    I know this all seems unrelated, but it is all coming back to the sacred/secular divide. We get into so many stupid positions when we view the whole world as us/them. This divide lead me to take my wife to counseling by Doug Wilson’s consigliere in Moscow, ID. I’m way smarter than that, but I did it because I bought that the whole world is hopelessly evil and only the church has anything to tell us. I heard a sermon a month ago about how we shouldn’t take “wise counsel” from non-believers. I almost walked out. My horn teacher (I’m a professional French horn player) at Alabama was like a father to me. I started grad school a week after my mom committed suicide, and for four years he was always there for me and helped me work through so many issues. I owe my success to him, and I don’t know if he is a Christian or not.

    We were made in the image of God, and the fall (a term not in the Bible) can’t change that. We asserted our independence and fell into sin, but Jesus came and defeated the Enemy and raised us all back to life. We have a choice whether or not to live in that reality. What I’ve just said may be controversial theology to some, but I don’t care quite as much what others (not my wife and daughter) think as I used to. What I do know is that when we divide the world into two groups and demand a “culture war,” the result isn’t Christlike and doesn’t acknowledge who each person really is.

  60. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    You can tell they had their Lawyers in on this from the start — NOT a good sign.

    It’s interesting to note that while claiming scripture is sufficient for all problems, they still have to have a CYA form written by lawyers !??!

  61. Ricco wrote:

    Of course there can be individuals that are unethical, and the conclusions they come to can be wrong. However, there is a system in place to correct these mistakes through data-driven research. Biblical Counseling has no such mechanism.

    The concept of checks and balances regarding church (the larger entity incorporating Biblical Counseling) ethics/ethical practice is worth consideration. For example, does the leader with the most followers, most resources, win? Didn’t work that way with Jesus.

  62. Lydia wrote:

    @ Daisy:
    I often spot these guys at the Walgreens buying Clearasil. Paul D. wrote:
    Just one quibble — the notion that the Puritans came to the New World to establish religious freedom is incorrect. The principle of church-state separation was established to counter the lack of religious freedom allowed by the American colonies.
    Yep. The Puritans especially disgusted John Adams.

    My, how things have not changed….Today’s Puritans, ( YRR, Neo-Cals, whatever you call them) disgust me….

  63. Ricco wrote:

    I think the problem is, you may be comparing a straw man version of psychology to the cutting edge of biblical counseling. Science isn’t perfect, but I think it’s a better tool than the wild theorizing of Heath Lambert.

    I appreciate your comments. I think you are right in much of what you say. I sure wouldn’t defend Heath Lambert.
    When you know that the suicide rate for psychiatrist is higher than the general public, one should wonder.

  64. Bridget wrote:

    they still have to have a CYA form written by lawyers !??!

    … lawyers, medical doctors, accountants, real plumbers and car mechanics, experts, for them…

    Those under their care, on the other hand, should avail themselves of Scripture, only, to face their life challenges.

    It almost smacks of witchcraft and superstition in the Middle Ages, before Science and Enlightenment.

  65. Hmm–were it not for Luther there might be a lot more of us Anabaptists around:)

    My son’s mom did alcohol and possibly drugs which damaged his brain. Also he inherited fragile x syndrome and bi polar disorder. And his step dad with her horrifically abused him.

    Does he need good Biblical counsel? Yeah, it is critical to him RIGHT AFTER good medical diagnoses, meds, and psychiatric counselling. I’m not so big on psychology, especially if it is Freudian. So just “licensed secular counsellor” doesn’t cut it for me any more than “Biblical counsellor” does.

    But good Christian mentoring from a fellow believer, a good shrink, good medical care, and proper meds along with healthy lifestyle choices are all critical if he isn’t to be bed bug crazy and dangerous.

  66. Robert M wrote:

    Still, we know a lot more about the human brain than we used to, and we know that conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are medical issues. For whatever reason the brain chemistry just isn’t right. A doctor can treat these with medication.

    Do you think there are other conditions for whatever reason the brain chemistry just isn’t right? Of course that raises the question whether the condition is right or is not right and the problem of how do we go about making that distinction. At an earlier time a condition may have been considered a medical issue and now it may not be considered a medical issue. Quite possibly the condition would have remained a medical issue if a somewhat successful medication was developed. I think a lot depends on how society views the condition.

  67. MRF wrote:

    Also, the type of counseling ACBC practices is all about behavior modification. They SAY it isn’t, but read any of the books and you can see that it is.

    Yes, this is totally true. One example is Jay Adam’s book on “Godliness through Discipline” where he basically teaches that we can please God and become “godly” if we just “try harder” to live right. They don’t emphasize or even teach about living in a relationship with Jesus and “walking in the Spirit” or “abiding in the vine”. Sad.

  68. Pingback: Biblical Counseling “Authorities” Hijack Luther | 1st Feline Battalion

  69. Ricco wrote:

    I’m a professional French horn player…

    Now, that is. Are you part of an orchestra (or is that a silly question)?

    For a larf this year, I’m learning the cadenza from Rachmaninov’s first piano concerto. Progress is slow so far, but the third-last bar is coming along nicely (the first one and a half seconds of this clip).

  70. Good point from the 1st Feline Battalion:
    “We can argue all day about the origin of certain disorders–bipolar, schizophrenia, chronic depression, etc. I would not deny that sin is often an exacerbating factor, if not a contributory factor, to clients with some of these conditions. At the same time, that does not change the reality on the ground: many clients, without taking psychotropic medications as-directed by a physician, are simply not going to be able to receive counsel, whereas with the meds, they are able.”

  71. MRF wrote:

    the type of counseling ACBC practices is all about behavior modification

    Certainly. Nouthetic practitioners have taken a cue from their big brother New Calvinism: control and manipulation of others are in their DNA.

  72. dee wrote:

    But, are you a Lutheran? I am!!

    I am too! A proud member of a small North American Lutheran Church in Northern California….As a Lutheran of long standing—I have a fount of Norwegian/Danish/Swedish/Coffee/liturgy jokes that I can supply when you are needing a smile! 🙂

  73. Molly245 wrote:

    dee wrote:

    But, are you a Lutheran? I am!!

    I am too! A proud member of a small North American Lutheran Church in Northern California….As a Lutheran of long standing—I have a fount of Norwegian/Danish/Swedish/Coffee/liturgy jokes that I can supply when you are needing a smile!

    Uh–that would be separate from the baptismal fount you understand…. 🙂

  74. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Good point from the 1st Feline Battalion:
    “We can argue all day about the origin of certain disorders–bipolar, schizophrenia, chronic depression, etc. I would not deny that sin is often an exacerbating factor, if not a contributory factor, to clients with some of these conditions.

    The end point just seems to justify their statement above, which I do not agree with at all. They don’t seem to have an understanding of these conditions at all.

    To be born with any of these conditions is not a result of one sinning. I know people who have committed sinful acts due to these conditions. To say the person contributed to these conditions by sinning just boggles the mind and seems lacking complete empathy.

    Please don’t get me wrong I know people who are in these conditions who need to be in jail because they have harmed others and their is no other options in our society at present to deal with people out of their minda who can’t, or choose not to (because they sent not in their right mind) make decisions to help themselves be sane.

  75. Ricco wrote:

    I kept being told that it [complementarianism, but could be anything similar] was the biblical(tm) position, and You don’t want to be like those liberals who hate the Bible and just want gays to adopt transgender kids while all becoming Unitarians, do you?

    With you all the way here. I’m growing tired of bumping into the assumption that there are exactly two kinds of people on earth:
     Those who believe that the post-Nicea Bible – not the Holy Spirit, not Jesus, but the Bible – is the ultimate and only revelation by God of himself to humanity and the manifestation of God among us, and
     Druids

    I reject SoS precisely because I accept the authority of scripture, as entirely without equal among all the written material available to humanity, and as inspired by God and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. Moreover, as that same verse goes on to imply, I believe it is necessary in order for us to be complete. But that doesn’t make it sufficient, and having authority doesn’t mean that it – rather than Jesus – has been given all authority in heaven and on earth.

  76. Ken A wrote:

    When you know that the suicide rate for psychiatrist is higher than the general public, one should wonder.

    The suicide rate for most ‘caring’ professionals is higher than average: Doctors (including Psychiatrists),Dentists, Medics, Psychologists, Veterinarians, Police Officers….the commonality is stress, not their specialism. However, their suicide rates are far lower than Farmers, Fisherman & Lumberjacks, which run at twice the national average in the US. What was the point you were trying to make with this?

  77. I feel the ‘Biblical’ counselling movement is stuck at the point medicine must have been at one point with epilepsy. There must’ve been a group that were stuck on the fact that the Bible shows it being caused by demons, therefore that is the cause, exorcism is the cure & woe betide you fail to be healed of your fits that way. Others would have been pointing to the growing knowledge that epilepsy happens for neurological reasons, & that effective treatments would come from those quarters.
    Who now believes epilepsy is predominately caused by demon possession?

  78. @ Ken A:
    I saw Jordan Peterson talking about working with psychopathic inmates. He is a Canadian psychologist and psychology professor. He said that the scariest thing about working with someone with extreme mental illness is that you see part of yourself in that person. I can’t imagine the strength it would take to work with people like that every day and hang onto your sanity. I have all the respect in the world for people who do that.

  79. @ linda:
    Agree about Luther. I think he overcorrected the indulgence problem to the point of absurdity. I don’t subscribe to faith “alone”. Jesus said, “repent” and believe. Even demons “believe”.

  80. @ Ricco:
    Jordan Peterson is brilliant. One of those people who make you think. And think some more. Even when you disagree!

  81. @ Beakerj:
    It might be of concern because they treat the mind. If one had been going to a psychologist for years and they commit suicide, it would be of concern for that patient. It’s tricky. I had a bizarre experience facilitating environmental scan/strategic planning sessions with a state psy assoc. a ton of them in the room and they were attacking each other using psyc terms, etc. They were hateful and brutal. it was supposed to stay anonymous. The arrogance was astounding. Which is what I see out of biblical counseling, too.

    Does that mean I am against CBT. No. I say to each his own. I am a big fan of EMDR which pretty much just needs a facilitator.

  82. Bridget wrote:

    Please don’t get me wrong I know people who are in these conditions who need to be in jail because they have harmed others and their is no other options in our society at present to deal with people out of their minda who can’t, or choose not to (because they sent not in their right mind) make decisions to help themselves be sane.

    I understand and agree with you regarding that point. This is the part that really caught my attention, the part I was referring to:
    “many clients, without taking psychotropic medications as-directed by a physician, are simply not going to be able to receive counsel, whereas with the meds, they are able.”

  83. ION: Cricket

    On day 2, Australia are set to overhaul England’s first-innings total prior to building a commanding lead on Day 3; they may have to bat twice, but a win by at least 8 wickets gives them an overall 4-0 series victory. The fourth Test wicket, meanwhile, has been officially labelled as “poor” by match officials; only 25 wickets fell during four and a half days’ play.

    IHTIH

  84. Robert M wrote:

    There are actually two different disciplines going on here — psychiatry and psychology. Psychiatry is all about prescribing medication to help with medical issues. Psychology is more focused on therapy. In my opinion both of these are in their infancies.

    From what I have seen and read, I think a large percentage of those Care providers would agree with you. I have recently been reading a great deal on trauma. It seems that at the end of each book I read, the author/s proceeds to make a list of areas that he or she thinks don’t have enough studies. If the fore-most trauma authorities, who have dedicated their lives to the study of their topic, make it very clear that their knowledge is simplistic at best, then I don’t really think that a seminary graduate has any business saying that THEY know better.

  85. Lydia wrote:

    It might be of concern because they treat the mind.

    I understand it was being used to make that point, but I don’t feel it is a legitimate criticism in light of the overall profile of ‘above averagely rated’ suicide rates – it’s nowhere near the highest, it’s in a wide grouping of other caring professions & there is no indication whatsoever that this makes psychiatry a questionable profession, rather than a stressful profession. In short, it doesn’t indicate that they are incapable of truly helping people, rather that Psychiatrists are also human, & not immune to the many stresses of their profession. If it were just the professions of the mind I might agree, but it’s definitely not.

  86. linda wrote:

    Hmm–were it not for Luther there might be a lot more of us Anabaptists around:)

    The only thing the Pope, Luther, and Calvin could agree on was a Final Solution to the Anabaptist Problem.

  87. Ken A wrote:

    I think the problem is, you may be comparing a straw man version of psychology to the cutting edge of biblical counseling.

    Substitute “Dianetic Auditing” for “Biblical Counseling” and see if anything changes.
    (Other than the appearance of an Elron Hubbard E-Meter…)

  88. Lydia wrote:

    MRF wrote:
    n fact, Christians who are living in flagrant sin, in my experience, are the least likely to seek out true counseling (which is a separate thing from the kind of general admonishment and encouragement a pastor or even a Christian friend might give). It’s generally the people who have been hurt by others’ sins who are most in need of help.
    Bingo. I approached this conundrum with a Biblical counseling student at Southern a couple of years ago. This was a social approach outside of church. I tried to wrap my head around this person’s response because it was basically that the “hurt” was sinful. They expanded on that some more but I won’t go into detail.
    It seems to me, after being around these folks at Ground Zero, they have very serious moral equivalency and caste system problems when it comes to sin. But why not since we are totally depraved at birth and Perpetual sinning sinners and can only really sin, in the end, against church leaders.
    They have a very Twisted view of basic Good and Evil.

    the “hurt” is sinful?

  89. Ricco wrote:

    @ Lydia:
    Couldn’t agree more! This was my experience in biblical counseling. The idea that someone or a situation could hurt you isn’t really allowed. Add that to the doctrine of “God’s Sovereignty” and what you get is someone telling a hurting person that what happened was really good for you, but you are sinfully reacting to it by being hurt. This is so disgusting. It’s also exactly the approach of an abuser. “I really hit you for your good; why are you overreacting.”
    There are lots of people out there who think the critique of Penal Substitution as divine child abuse is off base because “of course that isn’t what PSA actually means.” They may be right, but when you add the caricature version presented by evangelists with this idea of God hurting you for your own good you disgusting worm, it is no wonder why people are reacting with their hearts and saying this can’t be who Jesus’s Father is. There are people out there who have really been hurt by this “version” of God, and of course they are going to react angrily against doctrines that that enshrine this view of God. Fortunately, we don’t worship doctrine, we worship a person, so all the doctrine police could stand to learn a bit of compassion.

    the first book I was given in biblical counseling to read was about God’s sovereignity ..so that’s why ,was to let me know that my reaction to painful events in my life was sinful? I’m trying to put together the comments with my experiences of about 3 months of Biblical counseling.

  90. I was going to sit out this thread, but Tim Challies most recent post changed my mind. His post bothered me because of the way he sets himself up as a judge of who and who is not a real Christian. On a whim I searched on “Challies Biblical Counseling” and found that he is one of the big supporters of this movement. Here’s a sample: https://www.challies.com/sponsored/the-importance-of-counseling-training-in-pastoral-ministry/. If you follow the RPTS links you will find this on their counseling page: “Students can also apply these counseling opportunities toward certification requirements for the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC)”

    To be fair to Tim Challies, the RBTS post was sponsored by RBTS. But also noteworthy is ACBC’s “Top Biblical Counseling Books of 2016” lists one book by Challies and three books reviewed by Challies. It also has a book by Mark Dever. ACBC and New-Calvinism are tightly linked.

  91. @ cindy treadway:
    I think they emphasize the “Sovereignty of God” because they think it will be a comfort. They want to tell you that the evil that happened to you is really just part of God’s plan for your good. I just got to a point where that didn’t work for me. Some things are so evil that I KNOW in my heart God didn’t do that. I would never hurt my daughter just so she could heal, and I know God is a better parent than me.

    Your experience could be different from mine: every counselor is different. If you are having a great experience, maybe you just have an excellent counselor. My experience has taught me to trust my instincts with things like this.

  92. Ricco wrote:

    My experience has taught me to trust my instincts with things like this.

    The gullibility-factor is at an all time high in the American church. It seems that church folks will fall for just about anything these days. New Calvinism and its nouthetics step-child are perfect examples.

  93. Long before the Nouthetics movement, things started going South in the American church when Christian psychologists hit the pulpit with their self-help mumbo-jumbo.

  94. I’m not sure about Heath Lambert, but this is how Miranda Lambert handles an abusive spouse:

    I’m goin’ home, gonna load my shotgun
    Wait by the door and light a cigarette
    If he wants a fight well now he’s got one
    And he ain’t seen me crazy yet
    He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
    Don’t that sound like a real man
    I’m gonna show him what little girls are made of
    Gunpowder and lead

    I’m guessing that she’s not with ACBC.

  95. Avid Reader wrote:

    The real truth is that the Pilgrims coming to America opened the door for many people of faith being persecuted around the world to find a safe haven. Keep in mind that this part of world history was a brutal time to live in. Much of the world was deeply intolerant towards religion, especially Christians. There were all kinds of religious wars going on in Europe with people getting killed for their faith. When the Pilgrims became one of the earliest groups to survive the harsh winters, it prompted other people to know there was a safe place to go to escape the religious wars in Europe at that time.

    The following would beg to differ:

    * Roger Williams was thrown out of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635. He founded the colony of Rhode Island, and, more importantly, for religious freedom in America, he believed there should not be a state church. He was also an early abolitionist.

    * Anne Hutchinson was put on both civil and church trial for believing in something called “free grace.” She was also given the left foot of fellowship and went to Rhode Island.

    * The Boston martyrs: Marmaduke Stephenson, William Robinson, Mary Dyer and William Leddra, who were executed at various times in 1659, 1660 and 1661 in Boston for teaching Quaker doctrines.

    So no, you cannot say that the Puritans were a haven of religious freedom. It was nothing of the sort.

    Roger Williams and Ann Hutchinson would beg to differ. Both were Christians, but they weren’t the *right kind* of Christians

  96. @ Muslin, fka Dee Holmes:
    I’ve seen in a few places a distinction between Pilgrims and Puritans. The Pilgrims came first and were more tolerant, the Puritans came next and were hard-core Calvinists and not fans of religious freedom.

    Hmmm, which group is it that the Calvinistas like again??

  97. Ken A wrote:

    From Dee’s article “There is little doubt in my mind that ill- educated Biblical counselors are not adequately trained to deal with situations such as this. In fact, if they attempted to do so, I believe that they would most likely have a tragedy on their hands.”
    I am one who sat in a church run by the “super-saints”, (my term not theirs) seminary professors at SBTS. I was involved in this church when they started the “Biblical Counseling” program at SBTS. I had dealings with young men who went through that program. My opinion is that it was awful. It turned me off to the whole movement and I would never recommend that anyone see a “biblical counselor”, especially from SBTS. However, I think there was some valid criticism of the secular psychology movement of our time. Such as what came to be comically stated in things like “I can’t deal with life, my momma spanked me when I was 4 years old”. Always blaming someone for our faults won’t do anyone any good. To represent to people in need of counseling that ultimately they could be fixed without the gospel of Jesus Christ would not be right. Would it?
    While there is much wrong with the Biblical counseling movement, I think there is much wrong with secular psychology also. Isn’t there? Would we really say that all psychology training is right and positive? That is the only problem I see with the article. It appears to me that you seem to think that a psychologist with “all that training” will be able to fix people. A psychologist may have some proven techniques that can help in certain instances and with certain people. I just don’t think it is a good thing to put so much “faith” in psychology. I don’t think there is anything near a 100% success rate with psychology. In fact I don’t think it is really hard to prove that much harm can also be done by it. So while I see your point with the problems with the Biblical counseling movement, I also see a lot of problems with psychology.

    Psychologists would agree with you there. I have heard from several sources, “Of those who go through therapy, 1/3 get well, 1/3 stay the same, and 1/3 get worse.” The statistics, if I remember right, are the same for those who don’t seek therapy? I guess they tell psychologists in training that statistic to inject a dose of reality, perhaps.

    In any event, unlike the biblical counselors discussed here, the psychologists don’t falsely, egotistically, and misleadingly claim to have the one and only approach.

  98. Lowlandseer wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    But of course, the apostle did have the Scriptures. And secondly, v6 of 2 Kings 18, gives the basis of the King’s actions. Namely “he kept the commandments which the Lord had commanded Moses.

    Dang. Who knew it was so simple? All we have to do is go back to the Pentateuch, the whole Pentateuch, and nothing but the Pentateuch!

  99. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    But that doesn’t make it sufficient, and having authority doesn’t mean that it – rather than Jesus – has been given all authority in heaven and on earth.

    Good claritication here.

  100. DAN BUETTNER, at the Commonwealth Club of California recently said that studies verify that in an average community:
    – there’s about a 50% rate of people needing professional mental health care
    – quality professional health care will be successful to some degree,
    – therefore, improving the quality of life for the entire community.
    Buettner recommends choosing to live in a community where quality mental health care is accessible and encouraged, for the Common Good of the entire community. It makes a difference, according to his research. https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2017-11-08/dan-buettner-secrets-happiest-places-earth

    Therefore, if ACBC is the standard in one’s church community, one might think twice about settling there due to negligible community quality of life for all.

  101. Always fun to have a debate on history!! Let’s step back for a moment and look at the big picture….

    One of the most important things about the Reformation that most people forget is that prior to the Reformation—for hundreds of years—the common people had no access to read the Bible for themselves. Even when the printing press was invented, the first book printed was the Bible—in Latin—so again the common people couldn’t read it.

    When the Reformation came, both Martin Luther and William Tyndale translated the Bible into the languages of their nations. That’s one of the biggest turning points in history. People were so hungry to read the Bible that Bibles were selling for exorbitant prices. It became one of the hottest smuggling items since it was still illegal to own one. This was the time in history when people were getting executed just for getting caught with a NT or copy of Tyndale’s books.

    It took years for the Bible to be legalized in Europe. Meanwhile, many of you know the history of how King Henry VIII started his own church denomination in England. No other denominations were allowed. Church attendance was mandatory at the government run church of England. (more intolerance!) So the Pilgrims were actually one church group that paid a heavy price for leaving the official church and making a covenant with God that they would follow the Bible. They got arrested several times while trying to leave England. They suffered financially and ended up having to leave everything behind to try to find religious freedom in Holland.

    As we were discussing earlier, Holland was in the middle of their war for independence for Spain. So what really motivated the Pilgrims to get on that boat was wondering what would happen if Holland lost that war and Spain brought the Spanish Inquisition to Holland. Let’s not forget how many people in Europe were getting killed for their faith.

    Now Ricco was right about the fact that the Pilgrims were the first boat to come and were more tolerant. Then a bunch of other boats came afterward with all kinds of people that caused all kinds of problems.

    Now there seems to be some misunderstandings here so I’m going to do my best to clear this up:

    Point #1: How many people died under the Spanish Inquisition? The point I was making is that when we look at the whole picture of history—this was a time when most of the world was very intolerant towards people of faith. This was a really brutal time of history to live in. There were all kinds of religious wars raging in Europe.

    Point #2: Prior to the Pilgrims, there had been a lot of groups that had tried and failed at settling the New England area. While the Spanish were successfully settling in Florida, people really didn’t want to go there after the Spanish had murdered the entire group of Huguenots that tried to settle in Florida. So when the Pilgrims were able to last through the brutal winters, it opened the door for a lot of other people to come to America, because they knew they would be able to settle there and survive in the New England area. It’s hard to imagine this—but there really was a time in history when no one wanted to come to America because it was thought of as this place that was impossible to survive in. How would you get food? Etc. Etc. The Pilgrims changed that.

    Point #3: America is a really big place. So when Roger Williams butted heads with the Puritans, he just moved over the hill and started his own community. The point I was making is that the Pilgrims opened the door for people to come to America—not to settle with the Pilgrims—but to move over the hill and start their own communities. That’s what all the other boats that came later did. What most people don’t think about is that the Pilgrims being able to last through several winters is what really showed people that it was possible to settle in America without wanting to give up and move back to England like many of the unsuccessful prior settlements did.

    Point #4: I remember reading about a Quaker lady in England who was led by the Holy Spirit to go to America and rebuke the Puritans for their issues. So she did. The Puritans got really upset and kicked her out. I believe the Holy Spirit did send her to rebuke them and they didn’t listen. Everyone here is familiar with some of the bad Puritans who did bad things to people like Mary Dyer. That history is well known. My point was that there’s good and bad people that came to America. Don’t blame the good people for the total stupidity of what the bad people did.

    If I remember correctly—it was King James who promoted the hysteria of accusing innocent people of being witches. Didn’t he write a whole book about it? I remember reading somewhere Elizabeth Cady Stanton describing how this was really just another excuse for how patriarchy attacked women.

    Keep in mind that at this point of history, people hadn’t had access to the Bible for very long. There was a lot about the Bible that they didn’t know. It wasn’t like today where we have the benefit of all kinds of training at our fingertips. Yes—both the Pilgrims and the Puritans made some really big mistakes.

    While the Pilgrims didn’t do everything the way that we would, they still opened the door for a lot of other people to find religious freedom in America. Just to be clear—by moving over the hill to start their own community—not by moving in with Pilgrims.

  102. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    The following would beg to differ:
    * Roger Williams was thrown out of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635. He founded the colony of Rhode Island, and, more importantly, for religious freedom in America, he believed there should not be a state church. He was also an early abolitionist.
    * Anne Hutchinson was put on both civil and church trial for believing in something called “free grace.” She was also given the left foot of fellowship and went to Rhode Island.
    * The Boston martyrs: Marmaduke Stephenson, William Robinson, Mary Dyer and William Leddra, who were executed at various times in 1659, 1660 and 1661 in Boston for teaching Quaker doctrines.
    So no, you cannot say that the Puritans were a haven of religious freedom. It was nothing of the sort.
    Roger Williams and Ann Hutchinson would beg to differ. Both were Christians, but they weren’t the *right kind* of Christians

    Avid Reader was referring to Pilgrims. You are referring to Puritans. Apples and oranges. Let’s be clear on the historic distinction between the two. The Pilgrims were 102 people, led by William Bradford, who came to N.A. on the ship Mayflower in 1620 and founded Plymouth Colony. The Puritans were about 1000 people, led by John Winthrop, who came to N.A. in 1630 and founded Massachusetts Bay Colony.

    I’m a descendant of two of the Mayflower Pilgrims, so forgive me if I’m a little sensitive about the distinction.

    The Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were working class Christian Separatists. Their leader, William Bradford, was a cloth maker. While some were successful tradesmen, they were neither highly educated nor ordained. Exiled from England since 1607, the hard life they experienced in Holland combined with the compassionate spiritual leadership of their pastor John Robinson contributed to a gracious and tender-hearted community.

    The Puritans were educated, socially and economically successful people, among whom were several highly educated and ordained churchmen. Their leader, John Winthrop, was a lawyer who had worked for the government in England.

    The Puritans of Massachusetts Bay Colony were, in a word, arrogant. They presumed themselves superior to all the other colonists and to the Native Americans. Leaders were chosen by the people of their colony, but they believed that they ruled by divine right, and behaved accordingly.

    Williams, Hutchinson, the Boston Martyrs, and the victims of the Salem witch trials were persecuted by Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans, not Plymouth Colony Pilgrims.

  103. Just looked it up—yes it was King James—prompted by pure misogyny—who really pushed the idea of accusing innocent people of being witches.

  104. Ricco wrote:

    @ Muslin, fka Dee Holmes:
    I’ve seen in a few places a distinction between Pilgrims and Puritans. The Pilgrims came first and were more tolerant, the Puritans came next and were hard-core Calvinists and not fans of religious freedom.
    Hmmm, which group is it that the Calvinistas like again??

    Yep. The neo-Cals are huge fan boys of the Puritans.

  105. I think this type of counseling can be summed up as simply blaming the counseleea for their issues, for marital problems and any lack of progress.

  106. @ Ricco:

    “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the sacred-secular divide and how adamant some Christians are about this.

    …We get into so many stupid positions when we view the whole world as us/them.

    …when we divide the world into two groups and demand a “culture war,” the result isn’t Christlike and doesn’t acknowledge who each person really is.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    and it’s no fun. oh, the beauty and intriguing fascination a person closes themselves off to. and the wisdom, insight, and discovery.

    oh, i really appreciate your comment here. i feel the same. i’ve had to detox from so much, including this dividing the world into 2 groups (as you describe).

    i’ll probably always be detoxing as i continue to walk the road of living life, with its winds and turns and unpredictable circumstances. but i think the large part of detoxing is done.

    this is what it’s been like: upon landing in Oz, Dorothy opens the door of the house and comes out from a binary world of black & white into a beyond festive world of amazing color variety.

    there is so much to appreciate and enjoy and relish. so much to experience and learn. all of it makes my life richer, and i’m certain deepens who I am.

    being able to freely enjoy the worlds of books, movies, and music for their own sake, and for the sake of art and excellence in craftsmanship. no need to be a rebel.

    but the people — being able to enjoy people of every variety. that’s the best part.

    all these fabulous and intriguing human beings, all around me…. too much ‘christian sanctification’ to be able to see them, to experience them (let alone too busy and preoccupied keeping the engine of church running to have time for them). but not anymore.

    and to experience people for the sake of the unique prisms of each human being. not as conversion projects.

    all this christian ‘set apart-ness’ is out of proportion & to our own detriment.

  107. Here is a link to a good blog article on the subject of biblical counseling. The author, in the “About” section states that she “left Christianity in 2000, and deconverted from the belief in the supernatural and god in 2005. Because I had been quite devout for much of my life, deconversion was a painstaking and heart-wrenching process.”

    https://victorianeuronotes.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/biblical-counseling-exposing-the-darkness-disguised-as-light/

    The book on counseling which she highlighted also looks good. It is authored by John Weaver and titled “The Failure of Evangelical Mental Health Care: Treatments That Harm Women, LGBT Persons and the Mentally Ill.”

  108. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I’m glad you’ve explained your position but it seems to me that it is based on a misunderstanding of what the sufficiency of Scripture is. Scripture, in the Reformed tradition, is nowhere touted as the replacement for the Holy Spirit. Never was, never will be.
    Now you can believe the following or not, but I assure you it is true. Last night I was flicking through one of my new Christmas books ‘Theology Made Practical: New Studies on John Calvin and his Legacy’ and I came across the following passage. “Calvin never says the believer is continually being led by some inner light, as the Quakers would argue in the following century, but he is prepared to admit that the Spirit occasionally works independently from the Wordin governing and guiding the believer. Those independent workings, however, never conflict with Holy Scripture but are always in harmony with it. Ultimately, then Word and Spirit are bonded together. So Calvin writes ‘By a kind of mutual bond the Lord has joined together the certainty of His Word and of His Spirit so that the perfect religion of the Word may abide in our minds when the Spirit, who causes us to contemplate God’s face, shines; and that we in turn may embrace the Spirit with no fear of being deceived when we recognise Him in His own image, namely, in the Word”. He then makes reference to those who emphasise the Spirit more, including the Roman Catholic Church and Anabaptists.

    I then looked up the historical records contained in ‘The Radical Reformation’ for more information. In the section on the Waldensians & Evangelicals (ch 21:4) I read this. In Valdés’ theological piety, doctrine is not a concept, but an ethical reality and a psychological experience. In order to understand dogma, one dare not rely on reason alone, for the lights of reason, if they are not brought into focus together with the divine illumination, can easily lead to error. Those who follow Holy Scripture alone walk with a single candle; those who are illuminated by the Spirit of God Walk in the full light of the sun.

    I then ended the day in Luke where the Lord frequently quoted Scripture to enlighten the Pharisees and the people.
    That is the sufficiency of Scripture for me.

  109. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    linda wrote:
    Hmm–were it not for Luther there might be a lot more of us Anabaptists around:)
    The only thing the Pope, Luther, and Calvin could agree on was a Final Solution to the Anabaptist Problem.

    Lol. Never thought of it that way.

  110. Jenny,

    Thank you! Last night I was so exhausted that my brain was shutting down while I was still typing. You described everything much better than I could have.

    That’s neat that you found that info on your family history. We’d love to hear more if you feel comfortable sharing some of it.

  111. @ cindy treadway:
    Yes. Please don’t try and understand it. It will drive you mad. Think of it this way —they focus on victims being resentful, hateful, bitter —-all those horrible things that shallow Christians knee jerk agree are “sinful” in and of themselves. I am no psychologist or psychiatrist and I don’t play one on TV. But I am here to tell you that if a victim of a horrible experience(s) never gets “angry” over what was done to them, they won’t heal and they won’t seek justice.

    Also, Justice is very important. In fact, seeking Justice will most likely result in saving some future victims even if it only results in a warning.

  112. @ Max:
    Bingo. These are the “Jesus got me a pony” crowd. I know them well. Once the camels nose in the tent was accepted, we have controlling “Biblical” counseling as another normal.

    It’s why I insist on human volition as intended at creation.

  113. @ What Happened:
    Love it. Years ago, I was on the board of a rape crisis and domestic violence center. We arranged and paid for victims who wanted to go to self-defense classes. It is a great confidence builder. Empowering.

  114. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I’m glad you’ve explained your position but it seems to me that it is based on a misunderstanding of what the sufficiency of Scripture is. Scripture, in the Reformed tradition, is nowhere touted as the replacement for the Holy Spirit. Never was, never will be.
    Now you can believe the following or not, but I assure you it is true. Last night I was flicking through one of my new Christmas books ‘Theology Made Practical: New Studies on John Calvin and his Legacy’ and I came across the following passage. “Calvin never says the believer is continually being led by some inner light, as the Quakers would argue in the following century, but he is prepared to admit that the Spirit occasionally works independently from the Wordin governing and guiding the believer. Those independent workings, however, never conflict with Holy Scripture but are always in harmony with it. Ultimately, then Word and Spirit are bonded together. So Calvin writes ‘By a kind of mutual bond the Lord has joined together the certainty of His Word and of His Spirit so that the perfect religion of the Word may abide in our minds when the Spirit, who causes us to contemplate God’s face, shines; and that we in turn may embrace the Spirit with no fear of being deceived when we recognise Him in His own image, namely, in the Word”. He then makes reference to those who emphasise the Spirit more, including the Roman Catholic Church and Anabaptists.

    I then looked up the historical records contained in ‘The Radical Reformation’ for more information. In the section on the Waldensians & Evangelicals (ch 21:4) I read this. “In Valdés’ theological piety, doctrine is not a concept, but an ethical reality and a psychological experience. In order to understand dogma, one dare not rely on reason alone, for the lights of reason, if they are not brought into focus together with the divine illumination, can easily lead to error. Those who follow Holy Scripture alone walk with a single candle; those who are illuminated by the Spirit of God Walk in the full light of the sun.”

    I then ended the day in Luke where the Lord frequently quoted Scripture to enlighten the Pharisees and the people.
    The Lord clearly thought it was sufficient. That is the sufficiency of Scripture for me. Anything less and a person becomes their own arbiter as to what is right or wrong.

  115. Sorry for the repetition. The first one went off into the air before I had finished and I then had to go shopping to the New Year sales.

  116. @ Lowlandseer:
    The problem seems to be Calvin contradicts himself a lot. So, people tend to cherry pick his writing. His bizarre teaching on reprobation in several areas of the Institute’s seem to contradict your quote. And you and I would tend to read it differently based on our respective paradigms. Mine being human volition and a different view of Sovereignty. He also did not practice what he had written or preached in this area. He “acted” as the Holy Spirit for Geneva. I know most Calvinists tell me I just don’t understand him but I think I do. All too well.

  117. Jenny wrote:

    The Puritans of Massachusetts Bay Colony were, in a word, arrogant. They presumed themselves superior to all the other colonists and to the Native Americans. Leaders were chosen by the people of their colony, but they believed that they ruled by divine right, and behaved accordingly.

    The New England Puritans traveled to North America to build a “city on a hill”, which would be governed by Biblical principles and serve as an example for the Christian world. In short, they wanted to create a Utopia. It failed partly because Utopias don’t work, but also because a group of converts to Puritanism didn’t know what to do with the next generation that was born into it. Their children weren’t having conversion experiences like they were supposed to.

    What’s interesting is while this was going on, the Puritans remaining in England were participating in a civil war that left Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector. Since Cromwell’s Puritans had to work with other groups in order to succeed, they actually became more tolerant than the Massachusetts Puritans.

  118. Lydia wrote:

    He “acted” as the Holy Spirit for Geneva.

    Acting as the Holy Spirit for _________ . Overreach. Boundaries? Agency of others?

  119. Lydia wrote:

    But I am here to tell you that if a victim of a horrible experience(s) never gets “angry” over what was done to them, they won’t heal and they won’t seek justice.

    Also, Justice is very important. In fact, seeking Justice will most likely result in saving some future victims even if it only results in a warning.

    You obviously don’t understand the Doctrines of Grace, because if you did, you’d realize that you’re just as horrible a sinner and have no right to encourage the so-called “victims” into further sin.

  120. @ JYJames:
    Calvin even regulated the number of courses served at meals. That is one small example out of thousands. They did not need the Holy Spirit in Geneva that because Calvin (with the small council) regulated their behavior to death and decided what was sin or not.

  121. Injun Joe wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    But I am here to tell you that if a victim of a horrible experience(s) never gets “angry” over what was done to them, they won’t heal and they won’t seek justice.
    Also, Justice is very important. In fact, seeking Justice will most likely result in saving some future victims even if it only results in a warning.
    You obviously don’t understand the Doctrines of Grace, because if you did, you’d realize that you’re just as horrible a sinner and have no right to encourage the so-called “victims” into further sin.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  122. Injun Joe wrote:

    You obviously don’t understand the Doctrines of Grace, because if you did, you’d realize that you’re just as horrible a sinner and have no right to encourage the so-called “victims” into further sin.

    In my experience, being angry over a hurt only becomes a “sin” when the hurt was inflicted by someone higher up in the religious hierarchy.

  123. Mae wrote:

    Pilgrims get a bad rap. Puritans didn’t regard the Pilgrims kindly, took over them too.

    Increase Mather – father of Cotton Mather of Salem witch trials fame – spearheaded what would result in the takeover of Plymouth Colony by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692. My ancestors moved to Vermont after that.

  124. @ Lydia:
    We’ve said this to each other a few times now and we probably won’t be persuaded to adopt the other’s views but my understanding of Geneva at that time was that it was ruled by a “town council” that frequently clashed with Calvin, even when he returned there after the council had banished him and Farel a few years earlier.

    If it doesn’t sound too odd, I wasn’t raised in a particularly Reformed environment. When I did come across some of the writings of Calvin in my late teens I thought, “Here’s someone who thinks like me”. Even so, it wasn’t until much later in life that I bought any of his works. The most edifying and fruitful time of my life was when a few of us organised a sustained evangelistic programme in our town. We were in our late teens/early twenties and came from all sorts of church backgrounds – Anglican, Apostolic, Assembly of God, Baptist, Congregationalist, Methodist and – wait for it – Roman Catholic. It was a great time to be alive. It still is. So while I enjoy the debate, I’m not particularly dogmatic. At least I don’t think I am. (Smiley face)

  125. Lydia wrote:

    regulated their behavior to death and decided what was sin or not.

    Interesting that some would hop on that train in our day. Moreover, they are promoting that ride as God’s best.

    There’s a reason a certain group finds this attractive, both to hop on and to engage others. Furthermore, there’s a reason there are in some places mega followers joining the leaders of this fast ride to nowhere.

    The reasons? No idea. That would be in the expertise of the behavioral scientists.

  126. Robert M wrote:

    … It failed partly because Utopias don’t work, but also because a group of converts to Puritanism didn’t know what to do with the next generation that was born into it. Their children weren’t having conversion experiences like they were supposed to.

    The neo-Cals (neo-Puritans, maybe?) attempt at Utopia is floundering, too, for the same reasons. Many of their kids are moving toward more tolerant Christian churches or leaving the Church altogether. Search for Ted Tripp’s books on amazon.com and you’ll see tons of similar books on parenting. They’re obsessed with keeping control over their kids.

    Sidebar: For people who claim that the Bible contains everything anyone needs for faith and practice, these folks sure write a lot of books!

    What’s interesting is while this was going on, the Puritans remaining in England were participating in a civil war that left Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector. Since Cromwell’s Puritans had to work with other groups in order to succeed, they actually became more tolerant than the Massachusetts Puritans.

    Right now a lot of people have secured fame, power, and wealth for themselves by promoting authoritarian Christian isolationism just like the Puritan colonists did. The 17th century Puritans couldn’t sustain their kingdom and the 20th century ones will lose theirs, too, eventually.

  127. Robert M wrote:

    It failed partly because Utopias don’t work, but also because a group of converts to Puritanism didn’t know what to do with the next generation that was born into it. Their children weren’t having conversion experiences like they were supposed to.

    You saw a similar dynamic in the last century’s Soviet Union and in today’s Iran. As The Revolution fades into the past, the next generation has only known the New Order, not what came before it. And what was once Radical and Extreme becomes the ho-hum Status Quo.

    The previous generation of True Believers reacts to this by cracking down and “Increasing Political Consciousness”, trying to forcibly indoctrinate the next generation for The Cause. Then things just start ramping up in ever-increasing intensity until one day the older generation all die off or everything either crumbles or blows sky-high.

  128. Injun Joe wrote:

    You obviously don’t understand the Doctrines of Grace, because if you did, you’d realize that you’re just as horrible a sinner and have no right to encourage the so-called “victims” into further sin.

    “You obviously do not have a Rational Mind. If you had, you would Agree Completely With Me.”
    — attr to Ayn Rand

  129. @ Injun Joe:

    I really wish MacArthur and others would call it something other than “grace.” Phariseeism, scrupulosity or legalism would be a lot more accurate fit for what they preach.

  130. @ Lowlandseer:
    I think the context is important. The first time around in Genev did not go well for Calvin. The second time he was invited (because Catholicism was making inroads and they needed a system) he insisted on many things and they complied. The Council were basically yes men. Like the typical elders in a YRR church. But it’s always the response I get when I bring this up to dilute Calvin’s influence.

  131. @ Jenny:
    The YRR leaders are desperately trying to move away from the bad PR while keeping the system in place. They are on to new fads and rally cry’s. It’s been so interesting to watch who jumped on the new fad right away and who is trying to figure out what happened. Ya live long enough, you see the patterns. If only I had listened to the wise old people when I was 20. Sigh.

  132. Lydia wrote:

    Ya live long enough, you see the patterns. If only I had listened to the wise old people when I was 20. Sigh.

    Ah Lydia, this!

  133. roebuck wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    Ya live long enough, you see the patterns. If only I had listened to the wise old people when I was 20. Sigh.
    Ah Lydia, this!

    I feel ancient. I hear the beginning of any story and I already know how it ends.

  134. Injun Joe wrote:

    You obviously don’t understand the Doctrines of Grace, because if you did, you’d realize that you’re just as horrible a sinner and have no right to encourage the so-called “victims” into further sin.

    I wasn’t sure if you were being snarky or serious. If snarky, spot on!

    If serious, then I have a word of caution for that line of thinking, on both a personal and a logical level:

    I went down that road for a while — pointing out how dreadfully awful every single human being is, and taking a sort of calculated satisfaction at putting people in the trap of, “See? See? You need a SAVIOR!”. I thought I was doing them good by showing them that they weren’t, and in the process made them think that God is as petty and tyrannical as I was. I have repented since then, and am still seeking forgiveness from the people I damaged.

    There are ways to show people the Light without smothering them further in darkness.

    But, on a logical side, pointing out how morally imperfect someone is has absolutely nothing to do with the validity of the idea that evil is worth getting angry at. If victims do not get angry at evil, they are stifling not only a healthy reaction, but also a God-given command, to hate evil, and not to tolerate it in themselves or their perpetrators.

    Now, that is not the same as hating the evil-doers. For a victim to be angry against the evil that was done to them is appropriate, and I would argue necessary and requisite for good. That is hatred of the evil itself. But if a victim then gets sucked into wishing all kinds of evil on the perpetrator, then, difficult as this may sound, they are at serious risk of perpetuating the very evil which so damaged them. And everyone has done that at some point — though some evils are far more noticeable and destructive than others; the germ of pain and evil is the same.

    But that is not the same as being angry that something happened, and nowhere in the Bible does it say that anger itself is a sin. Acting out of control in a spirit of revenge, yes; but indignation at being wronged, or seeing someone else wronged — absolutely not. “In your anger, do not sin.”

    I think you may be confusing the two ideas when it comes to victims’ anger (or even “anger” vs. “hatred”) against either the atrocity, or the person who committed it. The first is appropriate and necessary for the cessation of evil; the second, a dangerous seed that, if not dealt with, will continue the cycle of pain.

    Or, as a last aside:

    Surely you see that it would itself be evil not to abhor evil? Not to react with anything but the swiftest revulsion and desire for the destruction of evil deeds would itself be implicit in their perpetuation. Should victims not feel this kind of anger at the wrong itself?

  135. We also tend to blur the line between saying, for instance, “Adultery is a sin” which according to the Bible it very much is, and calling out Joe Blow publicly as a sinner.

    Now, if old Joe is your friend you do him a great service to take him out for coffee and confront him lovingly. You may have “pulled a brand from the burning.”

    What is not ok is to try to ruin his life. If he is a church member with you, by all means caution him you will have to follow Matthew 18. But give him some time to right things himself. There really is a place for church discipline, although we never like to think of ourselves in the place of the one being disciplined. But there is truly a place for it. He should not continue in membership if he continues in egregious sin, and he should not get away with blaming his wife.

    That is not the same as calling her yourself to rat him out, or calling his employer, or running all over town telling everyone you see. That would in fact actually be the real gossip, not the current trademarked version.

    And if he is not a fellow church member? It is not wrong to speak generically of adultery as sin, or of the consequences in eternity for that sin. Even from the pulpit and even in old Joe’s presence. Huge difference between “Adultery is sin” and “Folks we have a sinner here today. Old Joe is an adulterer.” One simply gives him facts and stands back for the Holy Spirit to work, the other tries to force compliance.

    It is a balancing act. We cannot stop teaching and preaching what sin is and the need for a Savior just because some get offended. We condemn them that way. But neither should we get up every day and see how obnoxious we can be.

  136. @ The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday:
    Great response. I am just a bit weary of it. Yes, anger does not mean revenge. It’s about hating evil and loving good. Victims must heal and become strong at some point yet the church seems to work against that. Forgiveness is a whole other topic totally misunderstood, too. Now, I just send Them here as it sums it up for pretty well for me,

    http://www.nacr.org/resource-center-on-emotional-and-relational-health/the-f-word-forgiveness-and-its-imitations

  137. Donnie wrote:

    I really wish MacArthur and others would call it something other than “grace.” Phariseeism, scrupulosity or legalism would be a lot more accurate fit for what they preach.

    Agreed. Their sermons are littered with grace-this and grace-that, but deal very little with Grace. They have exchanged the reality of a personal relationship with Jesus and His Grace for doctrines of grace … it’s law vs. life.

  138. I know I am being repetitive, but healthy angry is a good defense against repeated victimization. Individuals who have been abused by a person in power do not learn to protect their personal boundaries if they are told to ignore the anger, grief, loss etc that comes with trauma. Unfortunately many Christians feel obedience is the most important value to teach their kids. And when they leave home, they will find someone to follow-possibly someone who may not have good intentions for their well being.

  139. Ann wrote:

    I know I am being repetitive, but healthy angry is a good defense against repeated victimization. Individuals who have been abused by a person in power do not learn to protect their personal boundaries if they are told to ignore the anger, grief, loss etc that comes with trauma.

    Feature, not Bug.

  140. Max wrote:

    Agreed. Their sermons are littered with grace-this and grace-that, but deal very little with Grace.

    Like every other word out of North Korea’s News Ministry is “People” or “Democratic”.

    The more adjectives about Democracy in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.

    More generically, the more Virtue Signalling the greater the Corruption.

  141. @ dee:

    If it is dialogue you sincerely desire, I will answer, though I need to emphasize I am a student of biblical counseling, not an authority. I have a B.A. degree in psychology, a master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT), and have passed national licensure exams in both MFT and Licensed Professional Counseling. I am, however, pursuing a PhD in Biblical counseling and do not wish to present myself in any way as an authority on the subject. My profession is and will be Biblical counseling.

    First, I want to say how sorry I am that your grandson (and the entire family) is suffering. I know how very difficult this is for children of that age, because my daughter also suffers the effects of her birth mother’s sin. By all physical indication, the birth mother drank alcohol throughout the pregnancy. My daughter was born prematurely in a hole in the ground and left to die. It is difficult to imagine a more lowly birth, because my daughter was literally mired in human filth in a far away land. Like your grandson, my daughter is 20 years old, and with each passing month the gap between what her siblings and peers are able to do and what she is able to do widens. It breaks her heart, and it breaks mine. How on earth do we address so much suffering thrust upon a human from the conception?

    Because I am trained in all of the disciplines, there are very many paradigms from which I could help her view things. But I am going to tell you what actually gives her hope and helps her to walk in joy. You mention that your grandson has been diagnosed with learning disability, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. My daughter was also diagnosed with failure to thrive (she was 12 pounds when we adopted her at age 2), severe strabismus, Brown’s Syndrome, various physical anomalies, and later on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), attention deficit hyperactivity, and learning disabilities. At diagnosis, we were told not to expect her to learn math past a third grade level, and various other subjects would also taper off within three or four years after that. The prognosis was grim, and the multidisciplinary team stated her education should center upon life skills. I have the reports from the clinic which specializes in FASD and spent two full days having various professionals examining, measuring, and testing her in seemingly every possible way. On the FASD scale, she scored a 15 out of 16.

    Where medical issues have been involved with our daughter we have gotten her the best care possible. She has required three surgeries. But we have raised her with a “whole person” approach from a Biblical paradigm.

    First, we are so sorry for how she was born, but we are not sorry she was born. We start with compassion, along with acknowledgment that her birth was a very good thing. She was never alone. God was with her. This is affirmed by the fact that in a country with extremely limited medical resources, her failure to improve caused them to discontinue medical treatment for her in the hospital. She was three pounds. Her medical records actually stated, “with no medical explanation, she began to thrive.” We know the medical explanation is that God had (and has) a plan for her life. He was with her through her challenges there, and He is with her in her challenges now.

    Furthermore, Christ is able to sympathize with her suffering. Hebrews says this in 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus, too, experienced a lowly birth. Jesus, too, experienced unjust suffering. He overcame all of this sinlessly, and He is with her to help her overcome also! How much better can it get?

    So we endeavor to help our daughter to view her life from a standpoint of redemption. What the enemy has meant for evil, God will use for the good. I have never meant a more compassionate, caring encourager as our daughter. She is beautiful and eager to please God and others. Her strengths far outweigh the negatives in her life.

    You’re probably waiting for me to bring sin in here, so I will. She has suffered greatly as a result of the sins of others, of being born into a fallen world (as have we all), and yes, as a result of her injuries she battles a great deal of personal sin, as do I. When she behaves selfishly, we do not excuse it because she has FASD, I try to help her see her selfishness so that she can confess it and ask God to help her work through it. When she did not want to do her math, I tried to help her learn to call upon the Lord for help. When she is frustrated and wants to give up, we encourage her to persevere. Hebrews 4 goes on to say in verse 16, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and grace to help in time of need.” We never ever want to undermine or invalidate her suffering, but we want to help her cry out to God in her weakness to find strength to persevere and overcome. We do not spend time nor energy blaming her birth mother. We never met her, and we entrust her to God. Our daughter would not benefit from a focus on her. Rather, we want to love and forgive her. It is through her our daughter was brought into the world. We pray she came to know or comes to know the redemption available in the Gospel of Christ.

    When our daughter was in grade school, she was prescribed medication to help her be able to sit and learn. When I saw that learning was not taking place, I pulled her out of school and began a regimen to help her. Eventually I found a special needs curriculum that worked well for children with her cerebral (frontal lobe) deficit. I changed her nutrition and started using supplements to help her. My daughter no longer exhibits any trace of ADHD. No physician today could or would give her this diagnosis. Also, she completed each and every course requirement for the Commonwealth of Virginia and graduated high school, including math. She exceeded every academic expectation given upon diagnosis. Having said that, people in Biblical counseling are not in complete agreement with one another on various issues, one of those being the use of medication. My daughter did not like the way her medication made her feel, and we were able to take a holistic approach which eventually led to a complete disappearance of symptoms.

    Since finishing high school, my daughter has spent an entire year volunteering with young children in the classroom full-time at a private Christian school. She has worked with an encouraged the elderly in a nursing home across the street. She attends Bible study faithfully, and has a compassionate network of friends, family, and extended family. She cannot drive and there are other things which she cannot do without assistance or supervision, but God has been and continues to be faithful in her life.

    When the Biblical counseling movement began, my perception (and I speak for myself here and do not presume to speak for the profession) was that it was lacking in compassion. Suffering people, as I read it, were directed to look immediately to their own sin. We forgot that Jesus wept. We forgot to comfort those who mourn. It was like a knee-jerk reaction to a field gone awry. Many people were hurt. I endeavor not to do this, and I know a great many of others who would want to just wrap their arms around your family to comfort you. Schizophrenia and bipolar are certainly areas I have studied but I do not pretend to be an expert on matters of physiology. I would direct you to my friend Deborah with whom I attended church for several years and who is working hard not just to help gain better care for people like her son who suffer with schizophrenia, but also works to help the church community and biblical counselors learn how to minister to those with such conditions. I am excited about the work she is doing, and you can read about her here: https://world.wng.org/2014/01/saving_seth?

    I am in the midst of a very long required reading list and will not have the time to check back very often to clarify anything in my inadequate response. Again, I don’t speak for the profession, but I did want to share our experience and how we are helping our daughter. I will try to check back as I am able and reply to any civil discourse. For now, I don’t even have time to check this reply for errors, so please forgive me…I’m sure there are a few.

    In grace…

    Angelia

  142. In my previous post, I omitted something of major importance — prayer. Our daughter’s success is not a result of what we did, but rather is the fruit of God’s faithfulness in directing her steps and ours as we seek His redemptive work in her story. She is redeemed by His grace and faithfulness!

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