Heath Lambert’s 95 Theses of Biblical Counseling Reminds Me of Bob’s Advice in Stranger Things 2: It’s All Easy Peasy.

“My dad had limitations. That’s what my good-hearted mom always told us. He had limitations, but he meant no harm. It was kind of her to say, but he did do harm.” ― Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

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Thought

I bet you thought we would never get back to my series on the Biblical Counseling Movement (BCM)! This blog exists to help identify potential areas of abuse in the greater evangelical church. One of my friends said we need to add the words *and progressive* since we have covered a few such stories. Our real expertise stems from our decades long experience with evangelical churches.

Why do we do posts like this one? It is our hope that, with sufficient information, we can help others avoid minefields that could lead to abuse. Yes, our hearts are, first and foremost, with the stories of victims but we also hope to help some folks avoid being victimized by potentially abusive trends in the church.

The Calvinists, as a group, have embraced what they call *biblical counseling.* Sadly, they just changed the name of Nouthetic counseling (due to the really, really bad press) and moved on as if no one was ever run over by the busload of woefully uneducated people masquerading as counselors. We contend that *biblical* counseling* is not *biblical* and it is most assuredly not thoughtful counseling.

At first, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to take this subject on since it involves a huge amount of information. However, it is a topic whose time has come since we have heard one too many abuse stories associated with this movement and I have all the time in the world. We have heard from a number of educated professors of psychology who have urged us to continue to write about this.

Hopefully, we can get back to weekly posting on BCM until the subject is exhausted or we can’t take it anymore.

Our past posts on BCM

This should get you up to date.

  1. Part 1: The Biblical Counseling Movement and Timberlake Baptist Church and Counseling Center
  2. What is the Difference Between Nouthetic and Biblical Counseling? Just the Spelling
  3. Biblical Counseling: Anyone Can Do It, Sin Is the Focus, Confidentiality Is Not Guaranteed and Women Should Beware
  4. Biblical Counseling Training: Inadequate Education, Problematic Resources and Questionably Educated Leaders
  5. Could You Pass the Exam to Be a Certified Biblical Counselor? Of Demons and Other Concerning Things
  6. Heath Lambert Channels Martin Luther (As If) and Writes the 95 Theses of Biblical Counseling

Always ask what they are saying when they throw around phrases that sound good but say very little.

Words mean something and they often encompass our own biases and perceptions. This means that words can have a different implications depending on who is using them. Let’s return to the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.

Does the word *certified* make it sound official? Well, before you say *yes,* ask the following questions.

  • What is involved in being certified? In previous posts we have shown that the certification process is questionable. In a future post we will show that those who are doing the certifying are hardly better educated and women are not allowed since only men can be *fellows.*
  • What do they mean by biblical? It sounds nice but is it really? Does the Bible really say that women cannot be *fellows in counseling?* Does it say that women cannot sit on boards like the ACBC? What they really mean is that that it is their interpretation of the Bible that is considered *biblical.* That means one must be very careful to question their self application of the word *biblical*to their own counseling practices. Folks, we are not talking about the Aposotle’s Creed here. These beliefs are not  found delineated in the Bible. They are merely assumptions placed upon texts.

Keeping that in mind, what exactly does Heath Lambert and the men-only board of ACBC mean when they title this  post: 95 Theses for an Authentically Christian Commitment to Counseling.

First, they pretend they are writing something so earth shaking that they adopt the name of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses. They place themselves into his category which is arrogant beyond belief, made even more startling by the mundane nature of the assertions.

Authentically Christian? According to Dictionary.Com authentic means “not false or copied; genuine; real; verfied”. They tie it to the word *Christian* which might lead the uninitiated to believe that *real Christians believe this.” However, I am a Christian and I do not agree that their assumptions are necessarily beliefs with which all authentic Christian would agree. Instead, they should say that this one Christian view of the counseling movement.

In fact, they may also be saying that any view other than their view is neither authentic or Christian. What would you say if I could prove to you that this is the case? In this instance, Heath Lambert deliberately affected the employment of Eric Johnson who was a Christian psychologist and a professor (now former) at SBTS. Being a Christian psychologist is not authentically Christian in Lambert’s book and he went for the jugular which you can read about here. Eric Johnson Lambasted by Heath Lambert and Fired by Al Mohler.

Keeping in mind that Heath Lambert doen’ts to support *authentic* Christian psychologist professors and does not allow women to serve in any position of leadership in this *certified* group, let’s continue to look at his interminable list.

In my last post, it looks like I quit after point #12. I cannot, as a Lutheran, endure calling these points *theses* so I am going to use the numbers.

The content of Scripture which informs Lambert’s counseling philosophy

I was disturbed by Lambert’s use of Scripture as unrelated proof texts that did not relate to the issue at hand.  Also, he makes generalized statements without any sort of Scriptural basis.

#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).

Here is what the proof verse says.

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.

The verse implies He will give understanding when it comes to Jesus. It does not say that He will heal every mental illness. God does have the power to solve every problem of humanity but He does not always do so.

  • He could heal every case of cancer. He doesn’t.
  • He could heal all schizophrenia. He doesn’t.
  • He could stop all wars. He doesn’t.

Lambert is a Calvinista and in his system of theology, God may choose to afflict a person in order to bring glory to Himself. So, in fact, God could ordain that a person suffer from schizophrenia and that would be glorifying to God. God does ordain every bad disease for each and every person according to Lambert’s theology. (I do not share his theology in this area.)

There are people who struggle with depression and He doesn’t always heal that. JB Phillips, the great English Biblical scholar, suffered from depression most of his life. I bet he both knew the Bible and apprehended it far better than Lambert. Yet, he suffered for his entire life.

This statement bothers me deeply. The poorly educated *certified* counselors could quote this statement and cause a great deal of harm. In other words, they will lay the blame for the client’s lack of healing at the client’s feet because, ya know, God has the power to cure the suffering person. If they don’t get better, it is their fault. You will see this “blame the lack of healing on the the person receiving the counseling” later in this post.

#16 The fact that the Bible authoritatively and sufficiently describes who Jesus is, what he has done and currently does, and how his work applies to our problems proves Scripture’s authority and sufficiency as a counseling resource.

I am currently working with a group of 6th grad students at my church who are pursuing confirmation. This last week, I helped one student to better understand why Jesus was different than us and that it was that difference that allowed Him to be our Redeemer.

Jesus gives us hope for ultimate healing in heaven. He did not promise that we would be free from the pain of living. Not only that, he did not promise that our minds would be perfectly sound and able to handle, without serious difficulty, what living in a fallen world would mean. Look at what living in a fallen world did to our bodies. My husband often says that the fall affected even our genes which do not always function as intended.

It is naive to believe that our minds are somehow able to be healed without rigorous intervention by skilled professionals, simply by pointing out sin and having an ill trained ACBC counselor quote a few verses.

How does Lambert know where the physical ends and the mind or spirit begins? Only someone who is not carefully educated would take a leap and think that somehow the body and mind have simple boundaries.

My daughter’s neurosurgeon and I had some great conversations throughout the years. He said he felt like a caveman when he operated on the brain because so much of it is unknown. Did you know that some kids who are shy become extroverts immediately after? Is personality simply a result of the mind or is it connected somehow to the physical aspect of the brain? Could it be a little of both? Lambert’s assumptions are far too simplistic for anyone who has a rudimentary understanding of the complexity of biology.

Scripture can provide hope and strength but it is NOT sufficient for comprehensively dealing with complex mental illness anymore than it is sufficient for dealing with cancer. It can provide strength and hope but it does not promise a guaranteed cure in this world. It certainly is not guaranteed if we use a so called biblical counselor who has had the type of insufficient training offered at ACBC.

#17. Because the Bible perfectly explains how Jesus has made provision for people to live every aspect of their lives, any statement that imposes limitations on Scripture in addressing the counseling problems individuals face is an implicit attack on the person and work of Jesus (Col 3:16).

Oh my! Now we are attacking Jesus if we disagree that Scripture alone is not enough to deal with all issues pertaining to counseling. This is the nonsense which has gotten the Baptists into trouble for years. No, someone who disagrees with Lambert’s conclusions is simply disagreeing with his conclusions and is not launching a frontal attack on Jesus. This sounds fanatical and downright weird. Is weird a spiritual or psychological term?

Let’s look at their supposed *proof* verse Col 3:16.

16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Now we are supposed to have a sing along? This verse in no way addresses the nonsensical assertion that we are attacking Jesus if we don’t agree with Lambert and friends. People can live their lives with depression or, like I did, with anxiety and still be outwardly faithful. I could quote the Bible better than many and I still suffered. It was the medication that I took for 1 1/2 year along with patient counseling from trained Christians who graduated from accredited schools that helped me.

By the way, I sang all sorts of Christian songs, read and prayed, and even thanked God throughout the ordeal. I still needed help. I did not need some *proof verses* that don’t even address the problem.

#19. A denial that the Bible is a sufficient and an authoritative guide to counseling is a denial that it is sufficient and authoritative for Christian growth.

This is so off base that Lambert couldn’t find a Bible verse to prove his point. No, saying the Bible is insufficient to treat schizophrenia has nothing to do with saying the Bible is insufficient for our Christian growth. Do they teach logic and reasoning at SBTS?

Throughout the years that I had anxiety, I grew as a Christian. During that time, prior to treatment, I developed a 2 year course on church history to teach in an adult Sunday school. I led Bible studies. I cared for 3 little children, one of whom had a recurrent brain tumor. It was years later that I got treatment. One can grow as a Christian while still suffering.

#20. To claim that scriptural resources are insufficient for counseling is to impugn the character of God because he promises Christians that his power is sufficient for life and godliness; that his Word makes the man of God competent for every good work; and that mercy and grace are available from the resurrected Christ to all who draw near to him (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet 1:3; Heb 4:16).

Read this carefully. If we say that the Bible is not sufficient for treating schizophrenia, we are now impugning God??? Seriously? This is the sort to tactic that is unbecoming to those who call themselves Christians. This is the “take no prisoners* approach and is downright boorish and silly. Again, as an anxious person I did *good work* in the name of Jesus. I read my Bible and prayed. I reads more books than on the list of ACBC recommended books. This was still insufficient until I got real help and spent 1 1/2 years on a medication which helped to stop the cycle of anxiety.

Scripture promises God’s power is sufficient for life and godliness but that doesn’t mean it is sufficient for the treatment of mental illness. God shows mercy to the deeply depressed and he does not condemn them as being Scripturally insufficient like ACBC appears to do. I believe this “blame the victim” approach can be dangerous. Add to that the outright bias against psychotropic medications and there is a real problem. Biblical counseling has received a bad reputation for many good reasons. This is an example of one of them.

None of the verses make sense in this context. Let’s look at the Hebrews verse.

6 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Lambert sounds like Bob, my favorite character, in Stranger Things 2. (That was one of the best TV series I have ever watched.) Bob, believing that Will was just having regular bad dreams, advised him to confront the monster and tell it to go away. *Easy peasy,” he asserted. Sadly, the situation was far more complex and Will got inhabited by an inter-dimensional shadow monster.

Lambert unfortunately channels Bob’s simplistic nature. He doesn’t get that his solution is not really addressing the underlying problem and, just like Bob, could make things much, much worse. See the two videos  at the end of the post to understand what I am talking about.

#22. To affirm the authority and sufficiency of Scripture for counseling is to affirm the love and wisdom of God in giving his people what they need for life’s problems because most Christians throughout history and in most places in the world today have no access to secular therapy, but all Christians have had access to the Word of God.

This one is downright fascinating. Let me restate this. Since all people in all times did not have sufficient access to treatment for schizophrenia, God’s word was sufficient to cure schizophrenia. Lambert makes leaps of faith when it comes to mental illness. He has this strange boundary line drawn-easily dividing the physical from the mental. Educated counselors are not so quick to see those solid  lines.

Even more startling, Lambert believes that his poorly educated *BCMers” have the educational capacity to cure mental illness for all Christians for all time by simply relying on Scripture. At least Lambert didn’t attempt to give a Bible verse here. There isn’t one.

#27. The authority and sufficiency of Scripture for counseling does not mean counseling that utilizes Scripture will remove all difficulties because people often fail to listen to biblical counsel and, at times, to carefully implement changes in their lives.

So, if it doesn’t work, it is the fault of the poor person who chose this form of counseling. This has nothing to do with the poorly documented efficacy of BCM. Nothing to see here- move along.

#28. The authority and sufficiency of Scripture for counseling does not mean counseling that utilizes Scripture will remove all difficulties because even counselors who intend a faithful use of Scripture can sometimes demonstrate incompetence.

And, just in case, failure might be due to an incompetent counselor who slipped through the rigorous screening (sarcasm intended) of ACBC. Given the training that these poor counselors receive, I bet this happens quite *often* as opposed to *sometimes.*

Now let me take a different approach to get us through these interminable theses which will not go down in history.

Lambert’s views on secular psychology.

Basically, Lambert asserts that there is no way on God’s green earth that a secular counselor can ever help a Christian. Lambert should realize that many Christians don’t get his approach to Scripture, either. Then again, he probably does given his history of going for the jugular.

Read his reasoning carefully. You will see that he offers no peer reviewed, research data to support his conclusions and even avoids the use of Bible verses since there are few proof verses for his assumptions. BCM will not allow their work to be observed and objectively studied. I dealt with this in another BCM post. This should cause thoughtful people serious concern.

The following are some direct quotes from the section on secular psychology. The numbers are his numbering system from the *theses.*

  • 40. No proof has ever been offered that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are anything less than fully authoritative and sufficient for counseling issues. (ed. note: Neither have they been proven to be fully sufficient for counseling because BCM won’t allow double blind, peer reviewed studies.)
  • 30. The faithfulness of a counseling system must be judged exclusively by the text of Scripture. (ed. note: His baseline assertion))
  • 31. Because the Bible is the authority for every situation in life, whenever secular therapists write, teach, or counsel about matters of human living, they address matters that God covers authoritatively in his Word. (ed. note: And?)
  • 32. The authoritative sufficiency of Scripture for counseling means the Bible controls what resources may and may not be used for counseling wisdom and practice.(Huh- where are these conclusive resources listed?)
  • 36. One evidence for the authority and sufficiency of Scripture is that Christians around the world without access to secular therapy and throughout history before the advent of secular therapy have been powerfully helped and transformed without access to secular therapy. (ed. note: No evidence offered.)
  • 37. One evidence for the authority and sufficiency of Scripture is that Christians in the modern West with access to secular therapy have been powerfully helped and transformed by biblical resources far more than by therapeutic ones. (ed. note- Prove it)
  • 41. Christians must be thankful for the display of God’s common grace that leads many experts in the field of secular psychology to know much true information, from which Christians can learn a great deal.(Ed. note: Just in case they need help after all.)
  • 46. The lack of biblical language in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders demonstrates that the thinking of secular individuals is insufficient to grasp the true nature of people, the problems they bring to counseling, and the solutions necessary to bring about real and lasting change.(ed. note: So the Bible clearly outlines schizophrenia and its treatment?)
  • 56. Christian scholars who have argued against the authority and sufficiency of Scripture for counseling have failed in this argument by declaring that Scripture is insufficient for counseling, without citing evidence for their declaration. (ed: Looks who’s talking.)
  • 57. Christian scholars who have argued for the necessity of secular resources in counseling have failed in this argument by pointing to scientific information that may be true, but is nevertheless unnecessary for counseling. (ed. note: Huh? If it is true, it must be unnecessary? Prove it.)
  •  60. Christians who insist on using secular therapy in their counseling have undermined the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word by not allowing the form and content of Scripture to dictate the form and content of their counseling conversations.(ed. note: Why does secular therapy undermine the Scripture? Isn’t all truth God’s truth?)
  • 69. Christians who have publicly taught that the resources in Scripture are limited with respect to counseling should publicly repent. (ed. note: What about those who unjustly accuse their fellow Christians…)
  • 72. The process of requiring a state license to counsel is not required by the Bible, is used by the state to enforce counseling practices founded on secular therapy, and is unnecessary for those wishing to grow in God’s wisdom to counsel.(ed note: Certification is unnecessary. Certainly wouldn’t want the state to see what we are pretending constitutes good counseling. It could be embarrassing.)
  • 73. The only authentically Christian motivation for pursuing a state license to counsel is the missional desire of making Christ known to all people in all places, especially in those places where the authority of the state allows only licensed individuals to talk to troubled people. (ed. note: Darn, they make some people actually get an education.)
  • 77. Christians should not function as though the task of counseling is reserved for only a special class of professionals. (ed. note: Yep- it can be any Joe who wants to be a counselor in his spare time.)

Faithful counseling ministry

It is time to get really worried. Lambert clearly draws some sort of imaginary line between the physical and the spiritual and places psychological intervention into the spiritual realm. He warns against the counselor giving medical advice. However, if the readers will look at my previous posts, they will see that, in fact, this group is opposed to medical terminology when it comes to psychological conditions. They are also not excited about the use of psychotropic drugs.

  • 81. Christians committed to counseling ministry do not merely engage in “soul care,” but in the care of whole persons made with a body and soul.
  • 83. It is a misunderstanding of the essential nature of human beings—made with a body and a soul—for Christians to present physical interventions as solutions to spiritual problems.
  • 87. Because the Bible does not include the kind of information necessary to create comprehensive expertise in medical science, counselors should avoid using their counseling conversations to engage in the practice of medicine.
  • 92. Because the work of counseling occurs out of public view, churches must be dedicated to enforcing standards of counseling excellence, ensuring that those involved in the practice of counseling engage in the best possible care.

I think there is plenty to be worried about in the BCM. Lambert’s presentation is filled with assumptions and unprovable assertions about the efficacy of BCM methods. Until this movement gets serious and actually starts carefully studying their assumptions and interventions, I would not recommend anyone seek out this sort of counseling.

Stay tuned until next time when I turn my eye to ACBC Fellows and then to Training Centers. Eyebrows will be raised.


Bob’s approach when he didn’t know what was really happening. This reminds me of Lambert’s approach. It is all too *easy peasy.*

What Bob thought.

What happened when Will took Bob’s well intentioned but really stupid advice? This same sort of thing could happen within the BCM.

What Bob didn’t take the time to figure out.


Comments

Heath Lambert’s 95 Theses of Biblical Counseling Reminds Me of Bob’s Advice in Stranger Things 2: It’s All Easy Peasy. — 215 Comments

  1. From Dee’s post: “In fact, they may also be saying that any view other than their view is neither authentic or Christian… Heath Lambert deliberately affected the employment of Eric Johnson who was a Christian psychologist and a professor (now former) at SBTS.”

    Control of the narrative is important. Why? $$$? Power? There’s a reason for these “arguments” [“any view other than their view is neither authentic or Christian”] and it’s not in the words. Then actions – “deliberately affected the employment of” follow the arguments.

    What do psychology and the social sciences do to fundamental Christianity so that the fundies cannot stand it? The social sciences study human behavior to provided evidence. What human behaviors are the fundies hiding that they do not want discovered and exposed?

  2. “The Calvinists, as a group, have embraced what they call *biblical counseling.* … Authentically Christian?” (Dee)
    Those who hold to reformed theology are notorious for claiming that everything they believe and everything they practice are the only authentic expressions of Christianity; they alone have a corner on the truth. Well, they’ve had 500 years to convince the rest of Christendom of that and still represent less than 10% of all Christians across the world. There’s one thing for sure you can say about them, especially this New Calvinist tribe … they are a genuine, real-deal, 100% expression of arrogance!

  3. @ Max:
    It’s not the most reliable source but Wiki puts the figures at 75-105m Baptists worldwide and Reformed at 55-85m. And I don’t recognise the caricature of Reformed folk thinking only they are right.

  4. “JB Phillips, the great English Biblical scholar, suffered from depression most of his life. I bet he both knew the Bible and apprehended it far better than Lambert. Yet, he suffered for his entire life.” (Dee)

    Phillips was a tremendous Bible teacher. It’s clear in his writings that he carried a burden for the condition of the church. Today, he would probably be diagnosed as having clinical depression. Indeed, if you applied nouthetic counseling to the OT prophets and NT apostles, they would probably all tip the depression scale. The American church doesn’t seem to understand “burden of the Lord” these days. America could use some men of God like Phillips who carry a burden for the church, who agonize and pray rather than organize and play.

  5. Dee, please in the future us a shorter acronym for the (un)Biblical (un)Counseling Movement. It is surely a movement and it is based on BS about the Bible. So let’s call it the BS Movement, abbreviated as BM. And as a nurse, you surely know what that means.

  6. Lowlandseer wrote:

    Reformed at 55-85m

    Pew Research estimates the number of Christians worldwide at 2.3 billion. Thus, those holding to reformed belief and practice would be around 4% of the total.

  7. Lowlandseer wrote:

    I don’t recognise the caricature of Reformed folk thinking only they are right

    Classical Calvinists certainly aren’t in your face claiming this. But the New Calvinist tribe in America have no problem trying to convince you that they have come into the world for such a time as this – to restore the true gospel that the rest of the church has lost. Before you know it, someone within their ranks will post another 95 theses (oh wait a minute, they just did!).

  8. Ultimately, they are not depending on God to fix people His way. They are depending on themselves as counselors to do it with very limited knowledge.

    It is very similar to the New Cal belief that preaching by only male pastors is the only way to become Elect and “persevere” in faith.

    Then there’s the catch–it’s always the fault of others if it doesn’t work. In a way, it’s much like a prosperity gospel theology with a hypercalvinist slant.

  9. On one hand, I appreciate your efforts to expose some of the fallacious thinking in the biblical counseling movement and their erroneous use of Scripture, but on the other hand, I fear you are not using due caution in your view on the “expert/peer-review/science” psychology side.

    I’m not new to the BCM and know many people over the years who have been helped tremendously by it. No medications needed. No doubt, there are plenty of people who have been seriously injured as a result of it. But the same can be said of the other side of the road with “professional” counseling and the use of psychotropic drugs.

    I’m not sure which ditch on both sides of the road is worse.

    Something is seriously wrong when so many people in our country are needing anti-depressants prescribed to them by the “health care professionals” to function. A tremendous amount of young adults that our youngest child works with are on meds to control their emotions. Even with meds my daughter feels most of them are emotionally unstable. A good amount of them have tried to commit suicide in some way or anther.

    Plenty of studies out there that show the more countries invest in drugs the more the suicide rates increase. Our military spends billions on drugs. When the suicide rates of veterans exceed casualty rates in war something is drastically wrong.

    The entire drug industry has been corrupted by the Govt. It doesn’t take much poking around to arrive at that conclusion.

    Maybe your next installments will be covering these issues of abuse?

  10. Lowlandseer wrote:

    I don’t recognise the caricature of Reformed folk thinking only they are right

    Well, it looks sort of like this in New Calvinist ranks:

    “Where else are they gonna go? I mean, what options are there? If you’re a theologically minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the gospel and you want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see gospel-built and structured and committed churches, your theology is just gonna end up basically being Reformed, basically being something like this New Calvinism or you’re gonna have to invent some other label for what’s just gonna be the same thing. There just are not options out there. And that’s something that I think frustrates some people. But when I am asked about the New Calvinism, I will say just basically, where else are they gonna go? Who else is gonna answer the questions? Where else will they find the resources they need? And where else are they gonna connect? This is a generation that understands, they want to say the same thing Paul said. They want to stand with the Apostles. They want to stand with old, dead people. And they know they are going to have to if they are going to preach and teach the truth.” (Al Mohler)

    I’m sure that Dr. Mohler sincerely believes his reformed confession and has the right to advocate Calvinism. But, in this statement and countless others he has uttered in defense of New Calvinism, it is not right for him to denigrate all non-Calvinists – which represent the vast majority of Christians on earth.

  11. Max wrote:

    Lowlandseer wrote:
    I don’t recognise the caricature of Reformed folk thinking only they are right
    Classical Calvinists certainly aren’t in your face claiming this. But the New Calvinist tribe in America have no problem trying to convince you that they have come into the world for such a time as this – to restore the true gospel that the rest of the church has lost. Before you know it, someone within their ranks will post another 95 theses (oh wait a minute, they just did!).

    Lol. The trouble with them is, Max, that they don’t really know anything of the doctrines of grace. They’re more like Novatians in their zeal to establish a perfect church on earth. Calvin said this about them in his commentary on Psalm 15. “Yet the   experience of all ages teaches us how dangerous a temptation it is when   we behold the Church of God, which ought to be free from all polluting   stains, and to shine in uncorrupted purity, cherishing in her bosom   many ungodly hypocrites, or wicked persons. From this the Catharists,   Novatians, and Donatists, took occasion in former times to separate   themselves from the fellowship of the godly. The Anabaptists, at the   present day, renew the same schisms, because it does not seem to them   that a church in which vices are tolerated can be a true church. But   Christ, in Matthew 25:32, justly claims it as his own peculiar office   to separate the sheep from the goats; and thereby admonishes us, that   we must bear with the evils which it is not in our power to correct,   until all things become ripe, and the proper season of purging the   Church arrive.”

  12. @Dee

    Thank you for this timely post and excellent series on the BC Movement (BM Movement would be redundant). I greatly appreciate the time that goes into researching, writing, editing, posting, and supporting these articles. I consider this movement to be one of the most dangerous aspects of the current “evangelical” landscape. You sounding the alarm is truly a redemptive act.

  13. You know what other group despises and denigrates psychology and psychiatry and attacks its practitioners? Why, yes, that would be Scientology, which has an exhibit called “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death” in Hollywood. There is also a traveling exhibit which inevitably gets negative attention wherever it shows up.

    The only even slightly positive thing about Scientology is it will not accept anyone who has taken psychiatric medication as a client. The negative is that Scientologists are warned off evil psych drugs.

    You have got a problem when you diss an entire medical specialty and end up on the same side as Scientology. Take that, Heath Lambert!

  14. kin wrote:

    I’m not new to the BCM and know many people over the years who have been helped tremendously by it. No medications needed. No doubt, there are plenty of people who have been seriously injured as a result of it. But the same can be said of the other side of the road with “professional” counseling and the use of psychotropic drugs.

    I don’t disbelive that sensitively done counseling from a biblical perspective can help some people with non-medical issues.

    However, I’ve had an autoimmune disease for most of my life. I’ve had some terrible doctors, but not many that refused to try other options,much less said that other options would destroy me.

    There are good Christian counselors, but I am guessing that not everyone knows Lambert’s theology or the theology that is espoused by his organization that is supposed to certify them and train new counselors. Remember all those churches deceptively taken over by New Calvinists that Dee writes about? This is the same process that NANC and other similar organizations are going through.

    One of the main tenets of New Calvinism is absolute submission to leaders without question. Their concept of nouethetic counseling is not to help people with their problems. New Calvinists care very little about whether or not people are healthy, only that they are obedient.

    Furthermore, I know for a fact that this theological perspective is often not shared with those being counseled already of time. Many churches are herding people into this counseling and making them pay for it. And it’s often not confidential but shared with pastors and others.

    Whether or not biblical counseling can work for some people isn’t the issue here. It is “Who is doing the counseling and why?”

  15. majj27 wrote:

    Wow, that’s some cult-grade nonsense right there.

    Already anticipated you, You Worldly Backslider:
    “The Wisdom of Man is Foolishness to GOD.”

  16. ishy wrote:

    One of the main tenets of New Calvinism is absolute submission to leaders without question. Their concept of nouethetic counseling is not to help people with their problems. New Calvinists care very little about whether or not people are healthy, only that they are obedient.

    Fuehrerprinzip und Kadavergehorsham.

  17. ishy wrote:

    One of the main tenets of New Calvinism is absolute submission to leaders without question.

    That is exactly what concerns me about “Biblical” counseling in that group. Just another avenue to control the pew, if abused.

  18. Lowlandseer wrote:

    Lol. The trouble with them is, Max, that they don’t really know anything of the doctrines of grace. They’re more like Novatians in their zeal to establish a perfect church on earth.

    Or the Taliban, ISIS, and Boko Haram’s zeal to establish a perfect Islam on earth.
    With much the same attitudes and results.

  19. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    You know what other group despises and denigrates psychology and psychiatry and attacks its practitioners? Why, yes, that would be Scientology

    Only difference between Nouthetics and Dianetics is one uses the Hubbard E-Meter.

  20. FW Rez wrote:

    I consider this movement to be one of the most dangerous aspects of the current “evangelical” landscape.

    And when coupled with the New Calvinist movement, it poses a serious problem to Generation X, Y, and Z. Indeed, one could call nouthetics a problem-driven life for the “counselors” who practice this trade. Springing from tenets of reformed theology, Biblical counselors rely on all of us being totally depraved – a good problem to have if you’re making a living in this area. If we are all totally depraved, we all have a problem! Lots of clients! In this area, the grace-grace-grace boys are emphasizing depravity, while minimizing God’s Grace which is available to ALL who believe without cost.

  21. kin wrote:

    The entire drug industry has been corrupted by the Govt. It doesn’t take much poking around to arrive at that conclusion.

    Maybe your next installments will be covering these issues of abuse?

    Speaking only for myself here, but evil psych drugs gave me my mother back and have allowed me to be a functioning, taxpaying, contributing member of society.

    I am not saying Big Pharma should be excused from real problems, but I’m thinking Dee’s commentary is directed at the Biblical Counseling Movement.

    Back in the 1990s, Scientology accused me and others of being paid by Eli Lilly to picket their orgs. I only wish! I paid for it myself!

  22. Max wrote:

    Those who hold to reformed theology are notorious for claiming that everything they believe and everything they practice are the only authentic expressions of Christianity; they alone have a corner on the truth

    Well, this authentic Christian will cause them heartburn. I know my Scripture and I even know a lot about theology.

  23. Lowlandseer wrote:

    And I don’t recognise the caricature of Reformed folk thinking only they are right.

    Sadly, it is true if one follows the Calvinistas in this country. As RC Sprout once said, remarking about the salvation of Christians who are not Reformed “They are saved, barely.”

  24. Max wrote:

    Indeed, if you applied nouthetic counseling to the OT prophets and NT apostles, they would probably all tip the depression scale.

    Interesting thought!!

  25. @ FW Rez:
    Thank you. I am going to keep writing until I have exhaustively looked at the entire movement. It needed to be done and I have the time!

  26. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    You know what other group despises and denigrates psychology and psychiatry and attacks its practitioners? Why, yes, that would be Scientology,

    You always do a good job at bringing in Scientology practices in to this discussion. There are so many similarities. Need to speak with you. Are you going to Louisville? I think I am going to go.

  27. It’s one thing to claim that the Bible contains everything you need to know about mental health, but does Lambert ever say what that actually is? For example, what does the Bible say about dealing with depression?

    The only solution to depression in the Bible that I know of is to get carried away by a fiery chariot, but that option isn’t exactly repeatable.

  28. dee wrote:

    Whoopsy! I thought I set this to post at 2 PM. Looks like I hit 2 AM.

    Have you considered Biblical counseling for that?

  29. dee wrote:

    Lowlandseer wrote:
    And I don’t recognise the caricature of Reformed folk thinking only they are right.
    Sadly, it is true if one follows the Calvinistas in this country. As RC Sprout once said, remarking about the salvation of Christians who are not Reformed “They are saved, barely.”

    It wasn’t a very gracious thing to say, I agree. But the good thing about sprouts is that I only eat them at Christmas. (Smiley face).

  30. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    They should heed the words of Andrew Fuller, a well known Particular Baptist (ie Strict, Calvinistic) theologian.

    “The church of Christ, however, is not subject to a despotic government. Ministers are forbidden to “lord it over God’s heritage.” The power that was given them, and all other officers, ordinary or extraordinary, was for edification, and not for destruction. There are three things which are necessary in order that the authority of a pastor be legitimate and unobjectionable; namely, that he be freely chosen by the church; that the standard by which he rules be not his own will, but the will of Christ; and that the things which he urges on others be equally binding on himself.

  31. Max wrote:

    ishy wrote:

    One of the main tenets of New Calvinism is absolute submission to leaders without question.

    That is exactly what concerns me about “Biblical” counseling in that group. Just another avenue to control the pew, if abused.

    And women even more so, as we are viewed as being low on the pecking order.

  32. Robert M wrote:

    It’s one thing to claim that the Bible contains everything you need to know about mental health, but does Lambert ever say what that actually is? For example, what does the Bible say about dealing with depression?

    The only solution to depression in the Bible that I know of is to get carried away by a fiery chariot, but that option isn’t exactly repeatable.

    “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say rejoice.”

    See? It’s a command. “All-sufficient scripture” said it. So if you admit to depression after your counselor has reminded you of this verse, you are insisting on being stubborn and clinging to your sin instead of nailing it to the cross.

    Or something to that effect.

  33. Of course it’s ‘easy-peasy’. Just find the right Bible verses and you’re good to go!

  34. majj27 wrote:

    Wow, that’s some cult-grade nonsense right there.

    It sure is!
    Never have I read so much that’s so twisted, wrong?
    How does one even biblically, correctly counsel, a person in full blown, schizophrenia? My Aunt suffered from it, extremely difficult to affect her behavior, except through powerful drugs. She came from a God fearing family, who prayed and prayed, she’d be delivered. Never was.
    Before I was diagnosed with Cancer, I got very depressed, anxious. This was not what I was normally like. Generally speaking, I am a fairly upbeat. I believe my emotions were reacting to the cancer inside my blood, before the cancer was discovered. Since I began my cancer treatments, the anxiety has left. We don’t know all how the body/mind work with one another. Much of it’s mechanics are still a mystery.
    Of course Biblical direction, suggestions can be helpful, desirable, during times of emotional duress, physical trauma, illness, disasters, etc. But, it’s not the be all and end all.
    So arrogant of these men to believe only their prescribed counseling can help a schizophrenic, bi polar, tumor ridden, or cancer stricken, and emotionally scared individuals.
    They are the sick ones in need of intervention, healing.

  35. # 36 is great.

    Christians throughout the World have experienced centuries of toil, poverty, illiteracy, enslavement/serfdom, disease and occasional black plague, barbaric invasion, raping Vikings, blood letting, no electricity, no toilet paper, dentistry, toothpaste, feminine hygenie, or just any hygenie, refrigeration, raping torturing Jesiutes and their inquiring minds that just wanted to know, taking a dump at night in the chamber pot or just outside in the dark if you’re too poor to have a pot to piss in, wiping your smelly but with a stick, no anesthesia, death in childbirth, no antibiotics, streets covered in muddy horse crap, pirates, six month voyages at sea, scurvy, starvation,
    Oh, and who could forget just hanging around for centuries waiting for Mr. Brassier to just invent that thing…

    But it’s ok because the authority of scripture addresses every area of life.

  36. refugee wrote:

    “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say rejoice.”
    See? It’s a command. “All-sufficient scripture” said it. So if you admit to depression after your counselor has reminded you of this verse, you are insisting on being stubborn and clinging to your sin instead of nailing it to the cross.
    Or something to that effect.

    Yeah, and there’s also, “Stop your stinking thinking and start kingdom thinking” and the ever popular “stop feeling sorry for yourself.”

    The problem is, those suffering from depression because they never think they are good enough will become more depressed after being told the depression is sinful. Not that I would know anything about that, of course.

  37. dee wrote:

    Max wrote:

    Indeed, if you applied nouthetic counseling to the OT prophets and NT apostles, they would probably all tip the depression scale.

    Interesting thought!!

    A thought that might be worth considering further.

  38. Mae wrote:

    That is exactly what concerns me about “Biblical” counseling in that group. Just another avenue to control the pew, if abused.
    //
    And women even more so, as we are viewed as being low on the pecking order.

    This is a very good point. Moreover, many of the pastors coming out of the SBC seminaries are doing “biblical counseling” with only a single counseling class (I took more than that, and it was nowhere near enough to do counseling). Since she requirements to earn credentials through these organizations are not much, but they are claiming that they are the ONLY solution, it is a big problem.

    Add one last thing, and that is a fervent theological belief that women are probably not qualified to be hired for these counseling positions (even if they do allow women in the organizations). It has an enormous potential for abuse and enabling the abuse of their husbands and pastors.

  39. I’m still trying to find a Biblical Mechanic, who diagnoses my car’s problems according to the sufficient scribshers.

    Poor Bob. Everything seems “easy peasy” until you face down real devil dogs.

  40. Darlene. wrote:

    Of course it’s ‘easy-peasy’. Just find the right Bible verses and you’re good to go!

    And there you have it….gee, how could would all have missed it? 😉

  41. dee wrote:

    I set the timer wrong. Tis was supposed to be 2PM not 2AM but no harm! I was dead asleep.

    That’s okay. I’ve been busy, so I didn’t have a chance to check the site until 2:00 pm!

    Louisville??? Oh man, are y’all temptin’ me! I’m about a 3 hour drive from there!

    Heath Lambert and his cronies need to be institutionalized…… or imprisioned ……. maybe both!

  42. dee wrote:

    You always do a good job at bringing in Scientology practices in to this discussion. There are so many similarities. Need to speak with you. Are you going to Louisville? I think I am going to go.

    I am going to Louisville. I have bought my plane tickets, have a reserved room and the time off from work. I’m going to bring my “Talk to and learn from a REAL LIVE WOMAN!” sign. I need to dream up some other signs (is “CJ Mahaney Needs to SIT DOWN!” too harsh?) and work up a flyer talking about CJ’s issues to hand out.

  43. Come to think of it – isn’t denying medical care to Christians because scripture is sufficient a heterodox belief at best? Is Christian Science considered a cult?

  44. Mae wrote:

    Max wrote:
    ishy wrote:
    One of the main tenets of New Calvinism is absolute submission to leaders without question.
    That is exactly what concerns me about “Biblical” counseling in that group. Just another avenue to control the pew, if abused.
    And women even more so, as we are viewed as being low on the pecking order.

    I’m still a hybrid Arminian-Calvinist (I believe both are true at the same time), but it was the Wartburg Watch that really woke me up to the authoritarianism and abuse I and many others had suffered at my last Acts 29 church. And it was Dee who convinced me complementarianism was not just an alternative viewpoint within Christianity, but was in fact almost always immoral once put into practice.

    The neocalvinists are just one bad day away from becoming an honest-to-goodness cult. Their authoritarianism already abandoned the Reformation and they still call themselves reformed.

  45. hoodaticus wrote:

    Is Christian Science considered a cult?

    It is by Evangelicals.
    Very vehemently.
    (Which judging from Romney 2012, should last only until a Christian Scientist wins the “right” Presidential Nomination…)

  46. GSD wrote:

    Poor Bob. Everything seems “easy peasy” until you face down real devil dogs.

    Just ask the Seven Sons of Sceva.

  47. Darlene. wrote:

    Of course it’s ‘easy-peasy’. Just find the right Bible verses and you’re good to go!

    Just ask Job’s Counselors and their spiritual descendants!

  48. Lowlandseer wrote:

    There are three things which are necessary in order that the authority of a pastor be legitimate and unobjectionable; namely, that he be freely chosen by the church; that the standard by which he rules be not his own will, but the will of Christ; and that the things which he urges on others be equally binding on himself.

    And the MenaGAWD who make it onto Wartburg Watch usually Epic Fail on all three counts.

  49. dee wrote:

    Are you going to Louisville? I think I am going to go.

    And the Monstrous Regiment of Wimmen starts to come together…
    (See if you can get Kevlar to join you….)

  50. Robert M wrote:

    Yeah, and there’s also, “Stop your stinking thinking and start kingdom thinking” and the ever popular “stop feeling sorry for yourself.”

    Again, Job’s Counselors.
    It is always those who have NEVER been there who are first with the glib advice for those who ARE in the thick of it.

    The problem is, those suffering from depression because they never think they are good enough will become more depressed after being told the depression is sinful. Not that I would know anything about that, of course.

    One writer contact (formerly in Louisville) told me once about being asked “have you ever considered that depression might be your spiritual gift?” Not the Extreme Clinical Depression — that’s a BIG problem in and of itself — but the milder forms that lead to Lamentation. If nothing else, to serve as a needed counterpoint to all the Always-Victorious Superchristians.

    And Lamentation is a forgotten genre in the Always-Victorious Happy Clappy Joy Joy churches of today. When I’ve written fiction, I have found it is the Dark and Strong emotions that empower storytelling; the two or three shorts that “wrote themselves” have all had a dark side.

  51. ishy wrote:

    Add one last thing, and that is a fervent theological belief that women are probably not qualified to be hired for these counseling positions (even if they do allow women in the organizations). It has an enormous potential for abuse and enabling the abuse of their husbands and pastors.

    Feature, not Bug.

  52. 87. Because the Bible does not include the kind of information necessary to create comprehensive expertise in medical science, counselors should avoid using their counseling conversations to engage in the practice of medicine.

    Okay… if they are willing to concede that the Bible does NOT address medical science… then it should logically follow that the Bible also does not address mental illness.

    We do not see Jesus going around “counseling” his followers using the methods outlined in the article above. He wept with those who were weeping and did not condemn them for their feelings of sadness. He also did not condemn the paralyzed man who was depressed because he was never able to get into the pool quickly enough to be healed. He never pressured or manipulated anyone to change… not even Judas or the Pharisees. He loved the needy and the desperate and offered them forgiveness and hope. It’s true that he was looking for faith in his followers… not faith to solve all of life’s problems… but faith that he was their Messiah… their Redeemer.

  53. ishy wrote:

    One of the main tenets of New Calvinism is absolute submission to leaders without question. Their concept of nouethetic counseling is not to help people with their problems. New Calvinists care very little about whether or not people are healthy, only that they are obedient.

    I have a friend whose wife insisted that they needed BC. Anyway, it seemed like a lot of their sessions centered around obedience. She needed to obey him, and he needed to get a job (as a veteran on full disability). The ‘counselor’ wasn’t really open to the idea of healthy boundaries either as I recall. The ‘counselor’ eventually called the husband’s Christianity into question because he wasn’t obeying.

    In my seminary counseling classes, we talked about what is now biblical counseling and how damaging it is to people. Wives are basically supposed to obey what their husband decides. It would be disastrous if the husband had any number of ‘mental health’ issues that clouded his judgment.

  54. As this series has shown, oversight and transparency before authorities outside of their constuct are not hallmarks of this process. The potential parallels to Sharia-style jurisprudence are evident, though wouldn’t be admitted by the autocrats who would tend to abuse this system.

    Go to outside authorities for someone having mental issues? That dilutes leadership’s power/influence and the cash flow, so “no” is an option. Deem said authorities as at odds with church/doctrinal/Biblical authority? Sure, and then put yourself in place as spiritual leader, making you the gatekeeper as to what is Biblical or not. Hubbardites and other cultish groups thrive on this.

  55. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    Oh yes, the ‘Always-Victorious Superchristians’, how they hate it when we rain on their parade.
    I guess counterbalance of temperaments is a good thing, God didn’t make us all the same. But, boy oh boy, it can be a struggle to sit at the same table together sometimes.

  56. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    dee wrote:

    Are you going to Louisville? I think I am going to go.

    And the Monstrous Regiment of Wimmen starts to come together…
    (See if you can get Kevlar to join you….)

    Whoa! I can just see the headlines at World Magazine: ‘Monstrous Regiment of Women Descends Upon Louisville During Gospel Coalition Event!’

  57. Darlene. wrote:

    I can just see the headlines at World Magazine: ‘Monstrous Regiment of Women Descends Upon Louisville During Gospel Coalition Event!’

    Piper will be looking for a rear entrance at the conference venue! Any Wartburger men in the Louisville area willing to help the women out?

  58. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Louisville??? Oh man, are y’all temptin’ me! I’m about a 3 hour drive from there!

    Do It,
    Do It,
    Do It…

    It’s probably gonna’ be pretty much all dudes at that event. Like a throng of Hasidim at the wailing wall. I hear they don’t allow wimminz there either.

  59. It seems implied in some of these comments that the counselor practicing BC considers himself to be in a position of authority over the clients. Is this known to be the case? Do clients sign a contrat to that effect? Honest questions.

  60. FW Rez wrote:

    It seems implied in some of these comments that the counselor practicing BC considers himself to be in a position of authority over the clients. Is this known to be the case? Do clients sign a contrat to that effect? Honest questions.

    Practices may vary on things like contracts. However, the underlying principle with *Biblical* Counselling is that the councillee must be in sin if they need counselling and it is the job of the counsellor to find and identify that sin. If the counsellee refuses to repent of the supposed sin then their salvation must be questionable as they have added to their sin by refusing to obey. The result can be disastrous for a victim.

  61. Max wrote:

    Pew Research estimates the number of Christians worldwide at 2.3 billion. Thus, those holding to reformed belief and practice would be around 4% of the total.

    I swear they must all congregate on Twitter.

  62. “#17. Because the Bible perfectly explains how Jesus has made provision for people to live every aspect of their lives…”

    I wish I’d known this earlier, getting an education and all those manuals I’ve read since, all that time wasted. All I needed was just a few weeks of Biblical™ training and I’d be certified too.

  63. I have so many different emotions when I read these posts. Thank you Dee for bringing light to this issue. I was having a conversation with my sister-in-law over Christmas and she had never heard of Biblical Counseling. I was so thankful for that. Too many Christians (myself included, as I have shared here before), se the word Biblical(tm) and automatically think this is what I must do. Some real caution is in order.

    Thanks so much for referencing JB Phillips. His book “Your God is Too Small” has had a huge impact on me. Evangelicalism seems to be all about making Christianity more and more narrow and excluding people. In this book, Phillips seeks a broad definition of Christianity that we can all agree on. It is an excellent little book.

    My mom was hospitalized for hallucinations and suicidal thoughts in 2007. After she was released, I don’t think my dad actually had her seeing a real psychiatrist. She was working with her doctor and seeing a “spiritual director.” She committed suicide in 2011, and it wasn’t until 2017 that I learned my dad knew she had been suicidal. I thought it had just come out of the blue. I don’t know for certain because he won’t tell me things, but from all the pieces I can put together, she did not get the care that could have possibly saved her life. This is what is at stake here. I don’t know if seeing a real psychiatrist would have saved her life. Suicide is ultimately a choice that people make; somewhere along the line they use their free will to choose to end their life. However, better care could have helped her. This is what is at stake here.

    #27 and #28 are total skubala. The idea that counseling can only go wrong if the counselor or the counselee screw up is ridiculous. There are hundreds of reasons why a problem can’t be solved. This level of sin-counciousness just makes people descend farther and farther into shame.

    kin wrote:

    I’m not new to the BCM and know many people over the years who have been helped tremendously by it. No medications needed. No doubt, there are plenty of people who have been seriously injured as a result of it. But the same can be said of the other side of the road with “professional” counseling and the use of psychotropic drugs.

    I see what you are saying, and I think I see a distinction. In instances where someone’s sin or malicious actions have caused their problem, I see that this could be helpful. The bible could be used to teach about repentance and how to ask for forgiveness of the people you have wronged. For someone who has just turned to Christ, I can see how this would be helpful. What you are forgetting, is so many of the issues that people need counseling for are things that others did to them. I am not a perfect person, but all the issues in my life come from medical issues or malicious actions perpetrated against me. I don’t need to hear from a “biblical counselor” how my sin contributed to this problem. I need compassion, empathy, and strategies for how to live my life in light of what I have experienced.

    kin wrote:

    Something is seriously wrong when so many people in our country are needing anti-depressants prescribed to them by the “health care professionals” to function. A tremendous amount of young adults that our youngest child works with are on meds to control their emotions. Even with meds my daughter feels most of them are emotionally unstable. A good amount of them have tried to commit suicide in some way or anther.

    Everything comes with a price. A life of freedom is filled with moral hazards, just ask Adam and Eve. There is a temptation with drugs to think they alone solve the problem. It is easy to descend into scientific materialism. However, that does not mean we don’t use drugs because a risk exists. We have to navigate these risks in wisdom so we can gain the benefit from these drugs. Of course drugs should be used in conjunction with counseling and therapy. The people I have talked to that have successfully used drugs like Zoloft and Paxil say that the drugs gave them the space to deal with their issues. They had cycled down so far into anxiety and depression that they needed a boost out of the well so they could deal with the underlying issues. What people need is help navigating the hazards, not someone standing on the sideline telling anecdotes about how drugs make people kill themselves. My grandpa still thinks that is why my mom committed suicide.

    This was a super long comment. Thank you to everyone involved with the site for creating a space where I can share things like this. It is really helpful to me to be able to converse with people on a similar journey that I am. I don’t have too many people like you around me in real life, so this is especially meaningful to me.

    Thank You!!!

  64. kin wrote:

    The entire drug industry has been corrupted by the Govt.

    I don’t think that big pharma needs the government to become corrupted. In my opinion, they are doing quite well, as far as corruption goes, on their own. And some lobbying efforts of big pharma would suggest that it’s even the other way round.

    If the financial stakes are high enough, there will always be temptation to not do the right thing.

  65. My experience with a Biblical Counseling “friend” is no where on the sad scale that the tragic stories are, but it might illustrate things on a simple level.

    My friend used her “Biblical counseling training” at her church (which I have looked up to be related to the groups you’ve described here on the blog) to confront me on a very childish conflict between her child and mine, but without ever asking if her child had any part in the conflict other than playing the victim.

    My friend even confronted my child months before without telling me. I was astounded! I was then told that it must be because my parenting was so different than hers and that unless we were willing “reconcile” that none of our family members could be on friendly terms.

    She kept talking of Biblical reconciliation, which meant nothing to me since I saw the conflict as a mutual between kids and she only ever described it as my child’s fault, in a major character issue way, and never even asked if her child had done anything to wrong my child!
    She even brought up my other child’s bad habit of not saying hello to her and wondered what kind of character flaw that was communicating!

    Then she proceeded to ignore me for months, in spite of my attempt to email, but when she finally emailed, it was to express her sadness over our lack of communication and that was a reason we should meet again for “reconciliation.” I refused to take responsibility for the communication problem.

    She sent me Bible verses about confession, and I got the feeling that she was more than wrongly accusing my kids, but that she was so dug in, that she was now putting a spiritual burden on me to reconcile with her.

    She said that our children/families should meet for reconciliation, and I asked what the topics of discussion would be, and she said, “the same ones we talked about in our first conversation,” which was the conversation that she centered her attack entirely on my children and never even once asked about her own children’s actions!

    I said “no thanks … not putting my kids through a one-sided meeting.”

    All this was over very normal, silly kids’ conflicts, though it did cost me a friend. In the end, I was not going to lose my children’s hearts over a friend who thought so little of my family.

  66. FW Rez wrote:

    It seems implied in some of these comments that the counselor practicing BC considers himself to be in a position of authority over the clients. Is this known to be the case? Do clients sign a contrat to that effect? Honest questions.

    It’s not just in the comments, but that has been stated or implied in much of the literature dee has posted from them. I see it over and over in the points dee listed above. The problem is that they say it’s the Bible that has authority, but they are using their own interpretation of the Bible as authoritative, eg “Christians who insist on using secular therapy in their counseling have undermined the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word by not allowing the form and content of Scripture to dictate the form and content of their counseling conversations.”

    However, this is how it works in many New Calvinist churches, particularly larger ones–the counselor is a pastor on staff or someone closely affiliated with the church. I’ve known a few people that were informed they had to go to counseling or face church discipline. One was counseled by a pastor for free, but the other was required to go to a chosen counselor and pay themselves. These counseling sessions are likely not confidential and if the person being counseled does not “improve” quickly or resists going to counseling, the content of the sessions is often shared with pastors to be used in church discipline.

    So whether or not the counselor is claiming to be authoritative doesn’t really matter, because they can pass the information to a pastor who does claim to be so.

  67. ishy wrote:

    FW Rez wrote:

    It seems implied in some of these comments that the counselor practicing BC considers himself to be in a position of authority over the clients. Is this known to be the case? Do clients sign a contrat to that effect? Honest questions.

    It’s not just in the comments, but that has been stated or implied in much of the literature dee has posted from them. I see it over and over in the points dee listed above. The problem is that they say it’s the Bible that has authority, but they are using their own interpretation of the Bible as authoritative, eg “Christians who insist on using secular therapy in their counseling have undermined the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word by not allowing the form and content of Scripture to dictate the form and content of their counseling conversations.”

    …These counseling sessions are likely not confidential and if the person being counseled does not “improve” quickly or resists going to counseling, the content of the sessions is often shared with pastors to be used in church discipline.

    So whether or not the counselor is claiming to be authoritative doesn’t really matter, because they can pass the information to a pastor who does claim to be so.

    IME, the “counseling” is nothing BUT further abuse. In my case, the pastor and another elder did it for free. No contract, but once I was forced in, there was no getting out without coming under formal discipline. They both openly admitted they completely untrained and knew nothing about any of the areas at issue, but it didn’t matter, of course, because they knew their Bible. We only had to use the Bible’s solutions to what the Bible describes as problems I wasn’t permitted to use the word “abuse” (although they had earlier agreed he was an abuser) because it wasn’t in the Bible. And yes, material was absolutely not confidential, in that it was all going to be used in church discipline.

    Biblical (makes me angry typing that, as it is an utter perversion of God’s word) Counseling is dangerous business. In my case, the counselors were, I believe, well-intended, but they were also utterly inept and they put me in danger. It’s especially dangerous for the woman, because while the man and woman both are under the counselor’s authority and had better obey (which was expressed as “manifesting true faith and obedience to Christ” -their Christ-), there is no end to the ways the woman is “disobeying” her husband. Even if there was a session when my ex couldn’t find anything to say against me, my expressing concern at his continuing serious sin was its own sin – “bitterness”. I was also told it was just so distresing for them to hear me always want to talk about his sin.

    As Dee is explaining so fabulously and others have noted, it’s also completely nonsensical. I agree it’s similar to Christian Science. I enjoyed the comparison to Scientology – hadn’t thought of that one.

  68. Julie Anne wrote:

    I swear they must all congregate on Twitter.

    There’s no doubt that the multitude of young reformers in America are using Twitter as their sword of choice. Without social media, the New Calvinist movement would not exist. The YRR wait anxiously each day for one-liner tweets from their icons: Piper Points, Mohler Moments, Dever Drivel, Mahaney Malarkey, etc. … then re-tweet them across cyberspace. They band together to fight blogs, bloggers, and commenters who inform and warn others about their aberrant belief and practice.

    Thank you Julie Anne for your stand to expose and report church abuse in its various forms – while it is certainly not the only corner of Christendom with such problems, the reformed movement has its share.

  69. ishy wrote:

    this is how it works in many New Calvinist churches … These counseling sessions are likely not confidential and if the person being counseled does not “improve” quickly or resists going to counseling, the content of the sessions is often shared with pastors to be used in church discipline.

    In this regard, beware of small group meetings in New Calvinist churches. In my area, YRR pastors like to call them “LifeGroups.” Each member is highly encouraged (if not required by the membership covenant) to participate in these weekly meetings. While they are promoted as communities within the larger community of the church, they may be more than harmless Bible studies and fellowship times. Small group leaders are usually hand-picked by church elders. These wannabe future elders will monitor any dissent they uncover in their meetings, and report individual dissenters to church leaders. A trip to the office and church discipline may then be in store for the member. It’s such a sad, sad system of authoritarian rule. If you are in such church, beware of what you share in your small group meeting … or better yet, let them see your elbows and butts getting the heck out of that oppression. In Christ, you are set free; in many corners of New Calvinism you are bound.

  70. at least I’m sort of out wrote:

    Biblical (makes me angry typing that, as it is an utter perversion of God’s word) Counseling is dangerous business. In my case, the counselors were, I believe, well-intended, but they were also utterly inept and they put me in danger. It’s especially dangerous for the woman, because while the man and woman both are under the counselor’s authority and had better obey (which was expressed as “manifesting true faith and obedience to Christ” -their Christ-), there is no end to the ways the woman is “disobeying” her husband.

    I just feel ill reading your story.

    This is very much what I’ve seen from those who’ve gone through it, and having taken the seminary classes many of those pastors take from the same seminary, I can’t even fathom how they would be qualified. I know they think that just by being a pastor or going to seminary (or being male) they are qualified, and that’s disgusting, because it’s a complete lie. And the preference and “forgiveness” given to men and not to women in these instances is worse!

  71. Forrest wrote:

    Practices may vary on things like contracts.

    Yes, I know I was poking around a local church’s counseling page and there was a contract with a bunch of stuff on it, iirc. They do seem to feel they have some sort of authority, rather than just providing guidance from the stories I’ve read. Doesn’t seem very therapeutic.

  72. Julie Anne wrote:

    Max wrote:
    Pew Research estimates the number of Christians worldwide at 2.3 billion. Thus, those holding to reformed belief and practice would be around 4% of the total.

    I swear they must all congregate on Twitter.

    I think it should be noted as well, that people are apt to change denominations based on all sorts of things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that their theology follows. I’m sure many people are out there working on some hybrid theological viewpoint that comes from bits of every church they attended…

  73. Ricco wrote:

    My mom was hospitalized for hallucinations and suicidal thoughts in 2007. After she was released, I don’t think my dad actually had her seeing a real psychiatrist. She was working with her doctor and seeing a “spiritual director.” She committed suicide in 2011

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    I had a friend who used to have psychotic depression, which I believe can cause hallucinations. I had never heard of that before that time..

  74. Ricco wrote:

    I need compassion, empathy, and strategies for how to live my life in light of what I have experienced.

    Even when problems are of your own making (not speaking of criminal actions here, but just missteps), you might need compassion I think. Some people are very hard on themselves, and that actually hinders their progress. People with anxiety, maybe, for instance. The last thing they need is someone beating them over the head about it.

  75. Desiring God/John Piper recently tweeted: “We will find mental health when we stop staring in the mirror, and fix our eyes on the strength and beauty of God.” They took a lot of flak for the post before addressing the fact that they hadn’t attached the intended article. They tried to respond to the feedback by saying that the quote was taken out of context and was referring to a lecture from 1976. Problem is, the words were Piper’s from 2007 and not his mentor’s. In addition, the article was titled “10 Resolutions for Mental Health”.

    The fact that they are disingenuous in their explanation is proven by the fact that they tweeted almost exactly the same thing in Oct 2017: “We will find mental health when we stop staring in the mirror, and fix our eyes and hearts on the promises of God.” The accompanying article concluded “The proven path to our soundest mental health is a robust, holistic trust, in everything and every circumstance, in the triune Christian God.”

    These statements and positions are extremely harmful toward some of those that are the most marginalized in our society: those suffering from mental illness.

    Resources:

    Christianity Today bought the explanation:
    https://www.christiantoday.com/article/john-piper-and-mental-health-is-it-someones-own-fault-if-theyre-depressed/125461.htm

    Warren Throckmorton and Tim Fall each addressed the post in very helpful ways:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2018/02/06/desiring-god-mental-health-name-claim-brain/

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2144601372429573&set=p.2144601372429573&type=3&theater

    DG Tweets:
    https://twitter.com/desiringGod/status/961054153958133760
    https://twitter.com/desiringGod/status/924788441937842176

    DG Articles:
    https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/10-resolutions-for-mental-health
    https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-proven-path-to-mental-health

  76. ishy wrote:

    One of the main tenets of New Calvinism is absolute submission to leaders without question. Their concept of nouethetic counseling is not to help people with their problems. New Calvinists care very little about whether or not people are healthy, only that they are obedient.

    Not sure this is a completely accurate description since I’ve known many of these folks over the years. Similar accusations can easily be said of the “professional” side as well – people blindly obeying/trusting them. My son’s experience with his chemo doc from Hopkins is another prime example of this.

    Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Speaking only for myself here, but evil psych drugs gave me my mother back and have allowed me to be a functioning, taxpaying, contributing member of society.

    Though I’m not at all insinuating drugs are evil (same can be said of guns, bottles and spoons – all of which are abused by people), I’m glad to hear of your situation.

    Ricco wrote:

    What you are forgetting, is so many of the issues that people need counseling for are things that others did to them. I am not a perfect person, but all the issues in my life come from medical issues or malicious actions perpetrated against me. I don’t need to hear from a “biblical counselor” how my sin contributed to this problem. I need compassion, empathy, and strategies for how to live my life in light of what I have experienced.

    Not sure I’m forgetting your point in my brief statement. I agree with what you are saying. I know people who have been helped with similar issues without the counselor pointing fingers at their sin. The problem with labels is that they don’t define all who subscribe to said movements. Most of the anecdotal stories posted here will show the negative side of BCM, while there are undoubtedly many people who have been helped positively.

    Ricco wrote:

    What people need is help navigating the hazards, not someone standing on the sideline telling anecdotes about how drugs make people kill themselves. My grandpa still thinks that is why my mom committed suicide.

    Yes, making known the hazards is why I’d like to see a few caveats while criticizing BCM and offering the alternative side of “professional” counseling. There are many dangerous pitfalls of chemicals even in the hands of licensed professionals. Very sorry to hear about your mom.

  77. Lea wrote:

    Even when problems are of your own making (not speaking of criminal actions here, but just missteps), you might need compassion I think.

    I agree, and I think I stated that poorly. My main point was I don’t see any way that a sin-focused counseling regime can help someone whose issues arise from no fault of their own. I think it is *possible* for biblical counseling to help someone make better choices. Compassion should be a given regardless.

  78. at least I’m sort of out wrote:

    I wasn’t permitted to use the word “abuse” (although they had earlier agreed he was an abuser) because it wasn’t in the Bible.

    I’ve heard people say this before, but it is just the dumbest thing in about 8000 ways…

    I’m sorry for your treatment because that’s awful. But the sheer stupidity of the above always jumps out at me.

  79. ishy wrote:

    However, this is how it works in many New Calvinist churches, particularly larger ones–the counselor is a pastor on staff or someone closely affiliated with the church. I’ve known a few people that were informed they had to go to counseling or face church discipline. One was counseled by a pastor for free, but the other was required to go to a chosen counselor and pay themselves. These counseling sessions are likely not confidential and if the person being counseled does not “improve” quickly or resists going to counseling, the content of the sessions is often shared with pastors to be used in church discipline.

    This is a really good point. I have done a bunch of research on how this has happened at Christ Church Moscow, ID. this is Doug Wilson’s church, for anyone who doesn’t know. Mike Lawyer is Doug Wilson’s head church elder, consigliere, seminary professor, and counseling director. There have been instances when husbands have recorded their wives on the phone and then brought this information to counseling with Lawyer and he passed the recordings to Wilson for discipline. Lawyer is a major part of the discipline regime at Christ Church. The church believes it has authority over where people move and what jobs they have. They believe people in the church should only work for other people in the church, and so they regularly get involved in workplace disputes, always signing with the elders. Lawyer is just Wilson’s hatchet man. He gets information from people under the assumption of anonymity and then passes it on to Wilson to discipline folks.

    We are not members of Christ Church, so our experience there didn’t have the threat of church discipline behind it. It was still an incredibly negative experience. We went there because it was free and we didn’t have much money. Also, at that time, I still thought that Biblical(tm) meant good. I’ve since learned better.

  80. Max wrote:

    “LifeGroups.”

    Gateway calls them lifegroups too. I think it’s just new faddish homegroups. Ricco wrote:

    I agree, and I think I stated that poorly.

    No, I understood you! I was just adding to it I think.

  81. @ Max:
    My calculations from the same survey put it at 7% which corresponds with another set of stats I saw. 🙂 (not that it matters).

  82. Ricco wrote:

    Mike Lawyer is Doug Wilson’s head church elder, consigliere, seminary professor, and counseling director.

    Good night, that guy is a ‘professor’????

  83. @ Lea:
    Yep. The CREC is the “denomination” that Doug Wilson’s founded. They have churches, classical schools, a college, a seminary, and a publishing company. Wilson controls it all. The college is called New Saint Andrews. The people in Moscow really don’t like it because they board all of the out-of-town kids in church members houses without going through any sort of zoning or permitting process. There have also been instances of sex abuse by students boarding with families with teen and pre-teen kids.

    Good night, indeed

  84. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    kin wrote:

    The entire drug industry has been corrupted by the Govt. It doesn’t take much poking around to arrive at that conclusion.

    Maybe your next installments will be covering these issues of abuse?

    Speaking only for myself here, but evil psych drugs gave me my mother back and have allowed me to be a functioning, taxpaying, contributing member of society.

    I am not saying Big Pharma should be excused from real problems, but I’m thinking Dee’s commentary is directed at the Biblical Counseling Movement.

    Back in the 1990s, Scientology accused me and others of being paid by Eli Lilly to picket their orgs. I only wish! I paid for it myself!

    Hah! I have relatives who work for Eli Lilly. (One just retired, a director who started out as a chemist.)

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Luvox saved my life. (Not a Lilly med. I forget who makes it, but whoever they are, God bless ’em.)

  85. Luther beat Heath Lambert to it. In 153e he was counselling young men thus:

    “Therefore I advise you young fellows (this he said to me and Henry Schneidewein and Peter Weller in the presence of Pomeranus): Beware of melancholy, for it is forbidden by God because it’s so destructive to the body. Our Lord God has commanded us to be cheerful. In this world sadness generally springs from money, honor, study, etc. My temptation is this, that I think I don’t have a gracious God. This is [because I am still caught up in] the law. It is the greatest grief, and, as Paul says, it produces death [II Cor. 7:10]. God hates it, and he comforts us by saying, ‘I am your God.’ I know his promise, and yet should some thought that isn’t worth a fart nevertheless overwhelm me, I have the advantage (that our Lord God gives me) of taking hold of his Word once again. God be praised, I grasp the First Commandment which declares, ‘I am your God [Exod. 20:2]. I’m not going to devour you. I’m not going to be poison for you.”

  86. Robert M wrote:

    I will never attend or join a church where “church discipline” is a thing.

    If the church reserves it’s discipline for murder, abuse of children, and domestic violence, I might consider it. But most of the churches we talk about here allow abuse of children and spouses, and condemn everything else, including thinking.

  87. at least I’m sort of out wrote:

    I wasn’t permitted to use the word “abuse” (although they had earlier agreed he was an abuser) because it wasn’t in the Bible

    I believe the “biblical” term for abuse is oppression. The Bible has a LOT to say about oppression… I did a word study on it… and I found God is always on the side of the oppressed and very much against the oppressors.

  88. “For that reason, any suspicion of an inappropriate sexual relationship, including one between an athlete and coach, should immediately be reported to law enforcement,” he said. “When institutions conduct their own internal investigations, they usually come up with the results that they desire, resulting in the end of the investigation but a continued and ongoing sexual abuse of the child.”

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/olympic-swimmer-ariana-kukors-former-usa-swimming-coach-sexually-abused-her_us_5a7c4c6de4b044b38219f016?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

    Institutional savvy:

    Internal investigations don’t work.
    Those in charge are accountable for their actions with their charges.

  89. @ kin:

    If we had an open discussion page I would love to discuss this with you. Back in the mid sixties and fresh out of medical school I started a medical residency in psychiatry. I was already an RN and already had some prior experience with mental/emotional illness in patients. When my husband was drafted because VietNam and I lost my night time child care (you can’t take an infant onto a locked psych ward at night when a patient has become violent and they have called you back) I dropped out of the residency and a large psychiatric hospital hired me to be the physician in charge of acute adult female admissions, a fairly large ward. For verification of what I am saying the hospital was Central State Hospital aka ‘Lakeland’ in Kentucky.

    We had limited diagnostic options, limited medicines and limited choice in other treatment methods. There was no limit however in women with a diagnosis of depression, including the big favorite ‘involutional depression’ which was thought to be due to menopause and empty nest syndrome. We gave the psychotic people what limited options in meds that we had, but for the depressed we used ECT in which we zapped their brains with electricity while staff leaned on pillows to keep the seizure from doing too much damage; still we would get some broken teeth and some vertebral fractures from time to time, but not often and that was better than suicide we thought. Meanwhile back on the private hospital psych ward where I had done nurses’ training (Ky Baptist Hospital) we had been using insulin shock therapy for depression in which we would fast the patient until their blood sugar was at fasting level and then give them an injection of insulin. Then we would watch carefully and when they started to tremble and shake and began to not think clearly we would give then orange juice laced with lots of sugar. All of this was standard treatment at the time.

    All of this also was pretty barbaric and the evidence that it was helpful was minimal.

    Anyhow, as to one thing you said about why are there all these people on anti-depressants, one of the reasons if that the meds are now available and one of the reasons is that usually they are a heap better than electricity and insulin for the treatment of severe depression.

    Schizophrenia was of course an entirely different thing as was what was called manic-depressive disorder back in the day. I am merely talking about depression since that seems to be what most people have been mentioning.

  90. okrapod wrote:

    We had limited diagnostic options, limited medicines and limited choice in other treatment methods. There was no limit however in women with a diagnosis of depression, including the big favorite ‘involutional depression’ which was thought to be due to menopause and empty nest syndrome.

    A century ago, the (all-male) doctors would diagnose “Hysteria” and treat it with the sure cure of Hysterectomy.

    We gave the psychotic people what limited options in meds that we had, but for the depressed we used ECT in which we zapped their brains with electricity while staff leaned on pillows to keep the seizure from doing too much damage; still we would get some broken teeth and some vertebral fractures from time to time, but not often and that was better than suicide we thought.

    And in the 1930s they’d be treated with the cure-all of full frontal lobotomy (ice pick through the eyesocket into the brain; moved around like pithing a frog in biology class). Of course the side effect was always severe mental retardation, but it made them very docile and domesticated, easing the load of the staff…

    From the family oral history of one of my writing partners, when his father was working deliveries to an insane asylum during the Great Depression:

    He also swore that he passed by what looked like iron barred cell doors built over stone chambers that contained screaming patients who were flinging themselves around wildly, to the point of injuring themselves. When Dad asked why someone didn’t stop them, the driver have him a “Why bother? Besides, they’ll just operate on them soon and it’ll be okay.”
    “Operate?”
    “Yeah,” the driver said, making a poking motion at his eyes. “You know, operate. That calms ‘em right down.”

  91. at least I’m sort of out wrote:

    We only had to use the Bible’s solutions to what the Bible describes as problems I wasn’t permitted to use the word “abuse” (although they had earlier agreed he was an abuser) because it wasn’t in the Bible.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. A few years back, I realized that “abuse” was actually in the Bible – specifically verbal abuse (reviling), and there are plenty of instances of abuse described. Then, Jesus himself said that his disciples were not to ‘lord it over others’.

    Of course, those who are abusing others have a very difficult time seeing it.

  92. Ricco wrote:

    I am not a perfect person, but all the issues in my life come from medical issues or malicious actions perpetrated against me. I don’t need to hear from a “biblical counselor” how my sin contributed to this problem. I need compassion, empathy, and strategies for how to live my life in light of what I have experienced.

    Sorry, in my haste (short on time) I was reading too quickly earlier.

    Are you saying that issues you face in life are never a result of your flaws/sin/bad choices/character deficiencies, etc?

  93. Lea wrote:

    Ricco wrote:
    Mike Lawyer is Doug Wilson’s head church elder, consigliere, seminary professor, and counseling director.

    Good night, that guy is a ‘professor’????

    The Anointed and Predestined Head of the Kirk proclaimed him one.
    Just like Idi Amin proclaiming himself a doctor.

  94. Ricco wrote:

    @ Lea:
    Yep. The CREC is the “denomination” that Doug Wilson’s founded. They have churches, classical schools, a college, a seminary, and a publishing company. Wilson controls it all. The college is called New Saint Andrews.

    And everyone there cosplays as Oxford dons, brollies, bowlers, and veddy veddy faux-British accents.

    There have also been instances of sex abuse by students boarding with families with teen and pre-teen kids.

    “PENETRATE! COLONIZE! CONQUER! PLANT! PENETRATE! COLONIZE! CONQUER! PLANT!”

  95. at least I’m sort of out wrote:

    They both openly admitted they completely untrained and knew nothing about any of the areas at issue, but it didn’t matter, of course, because they knew their Bible. We only had to use the Bible’s solutions to what the Bible describes as problems I wasn’t permitted to use the word “abuse” (although they had earlier agreed he was an abuser) because it wasn’t in the Bible

    This statement is truly frightening at face value. If we are to take the historical context away from the bible and read it (and take it) literally, the biblical solution involves putting a lot of people to death.
    They reel you in with compassion and then press the authority button. On people who are already vulnerable. It’s criminal.

    Don’t get fooled by the feel good pop psychology of the Sunday Service folks.

  96. Ricco wrote:

    Lawyer is just Wilson’s hatchet man. He gets information from people under the assumption of anonymity and then passes it on to Wilson to discipline folks.

    i.e. The Kirk’s Chief ENFORCER.
    Similar position to Reinhard Heydrich.

  97. at least I’m sort of out wrote:

    I wasn’t permitted to use the word “abuse” (although they had earlier agreed he was an abuser) because it wasn’t in the Bible.

    They were being all SCRIPTURAL(TM), I see.
    (At least that’s the Calvary Chapel-speak: “Show Me SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!”)

  98. okrapod wrote:

    Anyhow, as to one thing you said about why are there all these people on anti-depressants, one of the reasons if that the meds are now available and one of the reasons is that usually they are a heap better than electricity and insulin for the treatment of severe depression.

    Very interesting career start you had. Was the suicide rate high as a result of that type of therapy?

    Not sure I’d be comfortable agreeing that chemicals are better overall for the treatment of depression.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/14/antidepressants-can-raise-the-risk-of-suicide-biggest-ever-revie/

  99. Lea wrote:

    I’m sure many people are out there working on some hybrid theological viewpoint that comes from bits of every church they attended…

    I think you’re probably right Lea. I think it’s a growing underground of free-thinkers, renegades, and rogue anomalies who can’t be classified in the usual sense of monolithic labels and tribal belief systems.
    It’s good to know that I’m not the only one.

  100. @ kin:
    What I am saying is that the large traumatic issues of my life (my mom’s suicide, my daughter’s very premature birth, my dad’s infidelity and emotional abuse) are not a result of my sin. Therefore, in dealing with the trauma of these events, carefully examining my life for hidden sin won’t be particularly helpful.

    Of course there are other, smaller areas of my life where sin has had a negative impact. I’m a human. My point is that some people’s traumas/issues for which they need counseling are not their fault. Abuse is a great example of this. A sin-conscious approach for these things just piles shame upon people’s head.

  101. kin wrote:

    Not sure I’d be comfortable agreeing that chemicals are better overall for the treatment of depression.

    Do you realize that depression is often caused by a chemical imbalance in the body/brain and cannot always be treated by changing your thinking, as is popular in Christian communities? I speak as one who had severe depression as a young adult but felt, as a Christian, I just had to pull myself up by the boot straps and change my thinking.

  102. Mary27 wrote:

    I believe the “biblical” term for abuse is oppression. The Bible has a LOT to say about oppression… I did a word study on it… and I found God is always on the side of the oppressed and very much against the oppressors.

    Yes. Both in the Old Testament and New Testament. I think people who are doing Biblical counseling should actually have better Biblical knowledge.

  103. @ kin:

    Did you read that article? They conclude that anti depressant meds alone should not be given to adolescents and children but that psychotherapy should precede any meds.

    They also found the drug companies underreporting.

    That sounds like a start in the right direction. Too bad they did not consider the potential role of shaming a patient for sin as manifested by depression. That would be a lot cheaper than either psychotherapy or meds. That would make an interesting study.

  104. Bridget wrote:

    Do you realize that depression is often caused by a chemical imbalance in the body/brain and cannot always be treated by changing your thinking, as is popular in Christian communities? I speak as one who had severe depression as a young adult but felt, as a Christian, I just had to pull myself up by the boot straps and change my thinking.

    This is a great comment. I think many folks today think all these drugs are the hard drugs first introduced in the 1950s. The synthetic seratonin medications, in my understanding, have a much lighter touch and the dosage can be varied to the lowest possible amount. People that I know who have taken these tell me that they help clean their head a bit and give them the energy to face their problems. They don’t immediately fix the problem, but they give you space to do the hard work.

    I have tried to do my own research about these medications due to my family circumstances. The link between Zoloft-family medications and suicide is really hard to nail down. The problem is, people taking these drugs in the first place have mental illnesses that are statistically associated with suicide. It is really difficult to separate out the effects of the medicine and the effects of the illness. There is another problem with this line of thinking. I firmly believe that suicide is ultimately a choice. For a long time, I believed my mom had no choice but to commit suicide. It helped me remember her more fondly. The problem with that line of thinking is, when will I have no choice but to take my own life? After facing that question, I have to believe that people ultimately have enough free will to make their own choices. If you believe that a medicine can make someone kill themselves, then you believe that we are just meat machines living in a determinist universe. I refuse to believe that.

  105. Mary27 wrote:

    I believe the “biblical” term for abuse is oppression. The Bible has a LOT to say about oppression… I did a word study on it… and I found God is always on the side of the oppressed and very much against the oppressors.

    I think the Bible has plenty to say on abusers, along with pride and greed, but as most New Calvinists I know/read are the kings of cherry-picking Bible verses, I just snort when I hear one claim they are “more biblical”. And then I ask then when the last time they studied the gospels or heard a sermon on it. So far, I haven’t even gotten one who could answer that positively. Most change the subject to the church fathers or start reciting Piper, et al.

    The whole Sola Scriptura argument is a lie when coming from most of these churches.

  106. Jack wrote:

    This statement is truly frightening at face value. If we are to take the historical context away from the bible and read it (and take it) literally, the biblical solution involves putting a lot of people to death.

    Feature, not Bug, for the future Commanders of Holy Gilead.

  107. This is a good National Institutes of Health Meta-Analysis on the question of SSRIs (synthetic serotonin medications like Zoloft) and suicide

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3353604/

    This is an incredibly complex medical question, and the brain is difficult to understand. I would caution everyone against gathering an anecdote or two in order to take a hard-line stance against these drugs. Talk to your doctor and don’t just rely on drugs alone. Get help from a real counselor or psychiatrist who will use a variety of talk therapies as well as drugs if necessary.

  108. Ricco wrote:

    I’m a human. My point is that some people’s traumas/issues for which they need counseling are not their fault. Abuse is a great example of this. A sin-conscious approach for these things just piles shame upon people’s head.

    Oh, that brings up the other issue for me. BCM seems to have a very truncated view of sin – as in it’s only personal sin that they are concerned about. Everything is affected by sin – sometimes it’s sin of others, sometimes it’s systemic sin, sometimes it’s in the created order itself.

  109. Jack wrote:

    We only had to use the Bible’s solutions to what the Bible describes as problems I wasn’t permitted to use the word “abuse” (although they had earlier agreed he was an abuser) because it wasn’t in the Bible

    I suppose then that they were doing right many exorcisms-that is shown in the bible as an approach to some problems.

    I think that the pentecostals and for that matter the Catholics who believe that people do sometimes get healed miraculously and who do believe that sometimes an exorcism is needed are more showing themselves to be bible believers that what is being said about the ‘biblically’ counseling evangelical subset.

    Disease is not a sin. Jesus did not forgive Peter’s mother or Jairus’ daughter or the young lad with the seizures or for that matter the demoniac. Some folks want to go back to the dark ages for what reason I know not, but it is easy enough to see where their thinking is inconsistent. Biblically inconsistent.

  110. Kari wrote:

    It would be disastrous if the husband had any number of ‘mental health’ issues that clouded his judgment.

    I know a couple where the husband is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who has not been capable of working outside the home for years. And yes, she might very well be dead if she believed that she had any responsibility to submit to his paranoid delusions.

  111. Mary27 wrote:

    I believe the “biblical” term for abuse is oppression. The Bible has a LOT to say about oppression… I did a word study on it… and I found God is always on the side of the oppressed and very much against the oppressors.

    Yes, and, if you create a list of the behaviors that are considered abuse by secular society it tends to parallel very nicely with the list of things you are supposed to ex-communicate people for.

  112. kin wrote:

    Not sure I’d be comfortable agreeing that chemicals are better overall for the treatment of depression.

    Blergh. *sigh* Have you ever been depressed? I’m not talking about merely having the blues. I’m talking about weeks and months on end where life just feels horrible, you’re in a lot of psychic pain and it feels like there’s no way out except to attempt to run into a tree or freeway overpass pillar at high speed, or take your embroidery scissors and open your veins.

    That there is active suicidal ideation and I had it back in 1999. Guess what relieved it? Evil psych drugs.

    Has it occurred to you that the risk of suicide is going to be higher for people diagnosed with major depression? That story in the Telegraph is irresponsible for that reason alone.

    I know what happens when I don’t take my antidepressants. I end up in the hospital. You’d never tell an insulin dependent diabetic to skip the Humalog and Lantus; for me, my anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication are in the same class.

    It is entirely possible that doctors may be handing out prescriptions to people who merely have “the blues,” but it doesn’t look to be anywhere near the crisis we currently have in the USA with opioid.

    I wouldn’t be here without anti-depressants and I think it’s dangerous talk to denigrate psychiatric medications in general.

  113. @ Muff Potter:

    They expect women and children, but I notice they expect the men to be reading the FAQ.. “You, your wife….”

    “Can I bring children to the conference?
    Children are welcome to attend T4G but if they require seating, they must register. Regarding infants (i.e. non-registered), due to space limitations, strollers and infant carriers cannot take up seating (e.g. You, your wife, and unregistered infant cannot consume three seats).”

  114. kin wrote:

    Not sure I’d be comfortable agreeing that chemicals are better overall for the treatment of depression.

    Current theory is that clinical depression is caused by an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. If so, then treating it by drugs that address the imbalance is certainly an appropriate method.

    I’m not a doctor but I have been treated for depression. My experience of antidepressants is that they are like a life preserver. They prevent me from sinking so I can make some attempt to deal. They aren’t perfect, and in my opinion psychiatric care is still in its infancy, but they better than nothing.

  115. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Has it occurred to you that the risk of suicide is going to be higher for people diagnosed with major depression? That story in the Telegraph is irresponsible for that reason alone.

    Could not agree with you more. Though, I have it on good authority (more than one psychologist) they need to be very careful about who gets what drug. For instance, depression with migraines and ADHD usually responds best to one particular drug. In other cases, someone with bi-polar disorder really should NOT be prescribed a large swath of anti-depressants because they are known to exacerbate the bi-polar and increase both manic and depressive states. I have met more than one psychologist who thinks that general practitioners should refrain from experimenting with psychotropic drugs on anyone because they believe that a thorough psych work-up should be done prior to prescribing them. Apparently there is genetic testing in the works to start to help determine which drugs might be better for which people.

  116. ER wrote:

    Apparently there is genetic testing in the works to start to help determine which drugs might be better for which people.

    I have heard of this! This is a very exciting new thing that early tests are showing could help the efficacy of medicine by up to 50%. It helps doctors and psychiatrists better fit the medication to the person.

  117. @ Ricco:

    That is pretty much what I have heard. Apparently the field of genetic testing is improving at rapid rates and quite a few Medical fields are excited about the implications for both diagnostics and medication choices.

  118. @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    CGC: Xanax saved my life! I was experiencing horrid panic attacks – often being awAkened in the middle of the night or not being able to go to sleep. They became so intense that even praying while pacing the floor did not alleviate their intensity. I thought I was going to eventually go out of my mind. The first time I took Xanax, and subsequently the times thereafter when having a panic attack, within 5 -10 minutes the panic would subside.

  119. @ Ricco:
    Ricco: I am sorry about the loss of your mother. Suicide leaves family members and friends with so many unanswered questions.

  120. Heather wrote:

    @ Muff Potter:

    They expect women and children, but I notice they expect the men to be reading the FAQ.. “You, your wife….”

    “Can I bring children to the conference?
    Children are welcome to attend T4G but if they require seating, they must register. Regarding infants (i.e. non-registered), due to space limitations, strollers and infant carriers cannot take up seating (e.g. You, your wife, and unregistered infant cannot consume three seats).”

    The more seats that are filled, the more paying units can attend. Can’t let a stroller get in the way of that. These conferences are a big money maker — for certain people, that is.

  121. @ Darlene.:
    Which reminds me of the time J.D. Hall was complaining that women were filling up some of the seats at a John MacArthur conference. Seats, that in his opinion, would have been better suited for men.

  122. Ricco wrote:

    What I am saying is that the large traumatic issues of my life (my mom’s suicide, my daughter’s very premature birth, my dad’s infidelity and emotional abuse) are not a result of my sin. Therefore, in dealing with the trauma of these events, carefully examining my life for hidden sin won’t be particularly helpful.

    Thanks for the helpful clarification!

    Bridget wrote:

    Do you realize that depression is often caused by a chemical imbalance in the body/brain and cannot always be treated by changing your thinking, as is popular in Christian communities? I speak as one who had severe depression as a young adult but felt, as a Christian, I just had to pull myself up by the boot straps and change my thinking.

    Up to this point in my life, I (like many doctors) haven’t bought into that unproven theory of chemical imbalance. As Dee says…follow the $$$ trail. Having said that, I do think it is prudent to treat certain specific individuals with chemicals to control their emotions, but far too many people are being snookered into the chemical cult. Did you know

    My own struggle with health for almost two decades has caused me to take great caution in believing main stream medicine that’s overseen by Govt. I’ve spoken with folks from around the world since my story was published in an international magazine. Makes for good perspective.

    “”I don’t believe I have ever heard a knowledgeable, well-trained psychiatrist make such a preposterous claim [that patients have a chemical imbalance], except perhaps to mock it…In truth, the ‘chemical imbalance’ notion was always a kind of urban legend—never a theory seriously propounded by well-informed psychiatrists.” –Ronald W. Pies, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, the State University of New York and Tufts University School of Medicine”

    Quote taken from:

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-illness-metaphor/201709/the-myth-the-chemical-imbalance

    And

    https://books.google.com/books?id=VBHACQAAQBAJ&pg=PT198&lpg=PT198&dq=%22I+don%27t+believe+I+have+ever+heard+a+knowledgeable,+well-trained+psychiatrist+make+such+a+preposterous+claim+%5Bthat+patients+have+a+chemical+imbalance%5D,+except+perhaps+to+mock+it.

  123. Darlene. wrote:

    The more seats that are filled, the more paying units can attend. Can’t let a stroller get in the way of that.

    Most people will strollers will sit on the aisle, though, right? This seems like a weird detail for them to include.

  124. okrapod wrote:

    Did you read that article?

    Yessum, at least I think I did. 🙂 **The long term effects of chemicals are still unknown.**

    Combine that with the fact that so many of these people (who are on anti-depressants) are constantly walking around wearing clothes washed with TIDE laundry detergent that a recent study found to contain over 700 chemicals, some which are extremely toxic, and their largest organ is absorbing these right to the blood stream within 25 seconds of putting them on – what kind of study is going to be able to determine the effects of this scenario?

    Contraindication perhaps?

    https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-01-31-health-ranger-lab-analysis-exposes-700-chemicals-in-tide-laundry-pods-many-are-extremely-toxic-to-human-health-and-aquatic-life.html

  125. Kari wrote:

    Mary27 wrote:

    I believe the “biblical” term for abuse is oppression. The Bible has a LOT to say about oppression… I did a word study on it… and I found God is always on the side of the oppressed and very much against the oppressors.

    Yes. Both in the Old Testament and New Testament. I think people who are doing Biblical counseling should actually have better Biblical knowledge.

    Guess what? I don’t care if the words abuse, sexual assault, trauma, PTSD, depression, and a host of other words aren’t mentioned in the Bible. Each of these words represent something that actually exists. Thus is a reality whether the biblicisrs want to recognize it or not. News Flash: The Bible isn’t an all comprehensive book that addresses every single condition and occurrence that exists in life. That is not its purpose.

  126. Darlene. wrote:

    I don’t care if the words abuse, sexual assault, trauma, PTSD, depression, and a host of other words aren’t mentioned in the Bible.

    Since the word ‘iphone’ is not in the bible, clearly my phone is imaginary.

  127. Muff Potter wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Louisville??? Oh man, are y’all temptin’ me! I’m about a 3 hour drive from there!

    Do It,
    Do It,
    Do It…

    It’s probably gonna’ be pretty much all dudes at that event. Like a throng of Hasidim at the wailing wall. I hear they don’t allow wimminz there either.

    Muff: Actually, women are allowed at the wailing wall. I know, I was there. However, men are on one side and women on the other, separated by a divider.

  128. Lea wrote:

    Darlene. wrote:

    I don’t care if the words abuse, sexual assault, trauma, PTSD, depression, and a host of other words aren’t mentioned in the Bible.

    Since the word ‘iphone’ is not in the bible, clearly my phone is imaginary.

    Thanks for the laugh, Lea. Perhaps the real meaning is that your ‘iphone’ is evil. 😉

  129. @ at least I’m sort of out:
    Reading about your dreadful experiences of ‘Biblical’ counseling at the hands of incompetent practitioners at your church underscores the dangers of this movement. There needs to be a compilation of stories like yours into book form. The title which could be: Stories of the Dangers of the Biblical Counseling Movement .

  130. ER wrote:

    Yes, and, if you create a list of the behaviors that are considered abuse by secular society it tends to parallel very nicely with the list of things you are supposed to ex-communicate people for.

    Right. I find it telling that rarely will a church excommunicate people for being abusive while the secular society will.

    Jesus didn’t seem too worried about offending the “serious Bible scholars” (aka, the Pharisees) of his time. He didn’t repent when they told him he was sinning either.

  131. Kari wrote:

    BCM seems to have a very truncated view of sin – as in it’s only personal sin that they are concerned about.

    A side effect of their Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation?

    Or just LARPing White Wolf and won’t admit to it?

    Everything is affected by sin – sometimes it’s sin of others, sometimes it’s systemic sin, sometimes it’s in the created order itself.

    “The world has always been broken.”
    — Police Chief Bogo, Zootopia

  132. Darlene. wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    Darlene. wrote:

    I don’t care if the words abuse, sexual assault, trauma, PTSD, depression, and a host of other words aren’t mentioned in the Bible.

    Since the word ‘iphone’ is not in the bible, clearly my phone is imaginary.

    Thanks for the laugh, Lea. Perhaps the real meaning is that your ‘iphone’ is evil.

    Kind of like “if it’s not compulsory, it’s forbidden”?

  133. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    A side effect of their Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation?

    Or just LARPing White Wolf and won’t admit to it?

    I would argue it’s more like Paranoia…

    Wonder who is Friend Computer?

  134. Darlene. wrote:

    Which reminds me of the time J.D. Hall was complaining that women were filling up some of the seats at a John MacArthur conference.

    A problem that J.D. will never encounter … women filling up seats to hear him speak.

  135. Darlene. wrote:

    Muff: Actually, women are allowed at the wailing wall. I know, I was there. However, men are on one side and women on the other, separated by a divider.

    In retrospect my comment was pure snark.

    But then again, when they hafta’ have a divider based on plumbing received at birth, what does that tell ya’ about their religion?

    Their version of the Abrahamic religions, or any religion for that matter?

  136. FW Rez wrote:

    Desiring God/John Piper recently tweeted: “We will find mental health when we stop staring in the mirror, and fix our eyes on the strength and beauty of God.”

    I know someone with PTSD. My prayer for them is for healing, not that they would stop “staring in the mirror”.

  137. FW Rez wrote:

    Desiring God/John Piper recently tweeted: “We will find mental health when we stop staring in the mirror, and fix our eyes on the strength and beauty of God.”

    Staring at Piper for very long will drive you crazy for sure.

  138. just a mom wrote:

    She kept talking of Biblical reconciliation, which meant nothing to me since I saw the conflict as a mutual between kids

    I commend you, there is a role for parental supervision but there is also wisdom in knowing when to let kids work it out themselves. I fear the over-supervision by folks such as your semi-friend will lead to adults who are unable to reconcile differences on their own, they will constantly need some authority to intervene. At least yours will have the capability to negotiate with their peers and in a world of blindness the one eyed man is king.

  139. Is Christian Counselling and Educational Foundation the same. Know of a girl who is doing a counselling course and it may be with them

  140. kin wrote:

    Something is seriously wrong when so many people in our country are needing anti-depressants prescribed to them by the “health care professionals” to function. A tremendous amount of young adults that our youngest child works with are on meds to control their emotions. Even with meds my daughter feels most of them are emotionally unstable. A good amount of them have tried to commit suicide in some way or anther.

    I think this is more because our world is steadily degenerating (as a result of the Fall), and there are profound problems with how our society functions, not because of a failure in the psychiatric/mental health profession. It’s a complicated issue which doesn’t have a simple answer, and certainly can’t be blamed on any one factor, in my view.

  141. This makes me so angry I don’t even know what to write.
    For a bunch of educated guys, they are very very ignorant and stupid. Which makes me think it must be wilful blindness for nefarious purposes.

    I believe in the sufficiency of the Scriptures. But the way they apply that seems ludicrous to me. For example, the Bible says that plans fail for lack of counsel. But I don’t see why that “counsel” has to only come from prayer and the Bible. If I need counsel about a particular problem, why can’t I read up from experts on that issue, asking the Lord for guidance as I read? Why do they only apply this stupidity to psychology? This list of points admits that the Bible isn’t a medical textbook. The neo-cal movement freely talks about how to apply the Scriptures to things which aren’t mentioned directly – using computers, for example. Al Mohler had a whole radio program for years about how to apply principles of Scripture to our culture. And yet suddenly when it comes to psychology that goes out of the window.

    I do agree to some extent, that some schools of thought in the mental health professions do not line up with a Christian worldview (and I mean just basic things like God being real, not in the way the neo cals use it). But one interesting thing I have discovered in my very limited study of psychology, is that there is disagreement among professionals as well. There is so much we don’t know about the mind and the brain and how they work. Much like in medical science, new discoveries are being made all the time and new theories of treatment are being tried out. Different doctors and counsellors have differing views on medication.

    I think that’s what bothers me about the Biblical Counselling movement. They throw out everything. Everything is totally black and white to them. They can’t just say, well we disagree with xyz idea but we see the value in scientific research into mental illness, trauma etc etc. I’ve read books where at first the ideas seemed to have nothing to do with God (or even seemed anti-Christian), but when you read deeper and see the principles they are espousing, they fit with the big picture of the Bible and God’s view of mankind and the world. So a psychiatrist might not use the word “sin”, but their work clearly shows that people do evil things and that causes trauma to others. I could give loads of other examples, but I hope that makes my point.

    I’ll stop there before rage makes me even more incoherent than usual.

  142. Max wrote:

    FW Rez wrote:

    Desiring God/John Piper recently tweeted: “We will find mental health when we stop staring in the mirror, and fix our eyes on the strength and beauty of God.”

    Staring at Piper for very long will drive you crazy for sure.

    He could use some staring in the mirror….might get a glimpse of how nutty he appears.

  143. Liz wrote:

    I believe in the sufficiency of the Scriptures. But the way they apply that seems ludicrous to me. For example, the Bible says that plans fail for lack of counsel. But I don’t see why that “counsel” has to only come from prayer and the Bible. If I need counsel about a particular problem, why can’t I read up from experts on that issue, asking the Lord for guidance as I read? Why do they only apply this stupidity to psychology?

    I do think this preexisted before the New Cals in the biblical counseling movement and got applied to it because it was a convenient excuse to keep people from finding help elsewhere. I know it was a thing in the prosperity and shepherding movements.

    Their help is probably so bad that they wouldn’t get anyone to stay without forcing people to go.

  144. @ ishy:

    Yes, to some degree it has been used in non Neo Cals circles. (Unsuccessfully too) but, the Cals have completely codified the program.
    It’s sad to think of how many people have been shamed, convinced, everyone else’s sins are their fault.

  145. Liz wrote:

    I think this is more because our world is steadily degenerating (as a result of the Fall), and there are profound problems with how our society functions, not because of a failure in the psychiatric/mental health profession. It’s a complicated issue which doesn’t have a simple answer, and certainly can’t be blamed on any one factor, in my view.

    Yes, I agree, more than one foundational issue here, but if you research the corruption in the pharmaceutical industry you will be led to the inevitable spill over of that same corruption in the psychiatry industry. One hand washes the other. Which is why folks perpetuate unproven theories about chemical imbalances in the brain.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&linkCode=qs&keywords=9781137516022

  146. @ kin:

    If you ever have a serious disease, or debilitating mental illness, you might change your mind about prescribed medications.
    Having had cancer, for a number of years, I’ve had every alternate *health* cures sent my way. Few of them have had any real scientific examination, trial studies. Most of them have been anecdotal in nature.
    I for one am thankful my cancer is treatable through medications. If I had gotten this cancer 20 years ago, I would most likely be dead. But through scientific research new drugs were developed to suppress, destroy this cancer.
    My daughter is employed by a pharmaceutical that specializes in uncommon diseases. I’ve met many of the MD’s, research teams, who wholeheartedly, diligently, work to find cures.
    Every industry has it’s spoilers, it’s imperfections, and yes, some fraud. This is also found in the alternate health industry too. They make a LOT of money too.

  147. Mae wrote:

    Every industry has it’s spoilers, it’s imperfections, and yes, some fraud. This is also found in the alternate health industry too. They make a LOT of money too.

    This is definitely true. And the alternative health industry has no regulations for their claims and products. This is not to say the pharmaceutical industry dies not have problems.

  148. FW Rez wrote:

    FW Rez wrote:
    Desiring God/John Piper recently tweeted: “We will find mental health when we stop staring in the mirror, and fix our eyes on the strength and beauty of God.”

    I know someone with PTSD. My prayer for them is for healing, not that they would stop “staring in the mirror”.

    Many people with different issues are helped by journaling, which is a form of looking in your ‘mental’ mirror. I think starring at God instead of ourselves could be a form of avoidance in some cases. If I don’t want to think about something real, I might do a bunch of other things to distract myself, but ultimately it doesn’t help you process whatever happened.

  149. Liz wrote:

    For example, the Bible says that plans fail for lack of counsel. But I don’t see why that “counsel” has to only come from prayer and the Bible. If I need counsel about a particular problem, why can’t I read up from experts on that issue, asking the Lord for guidance as I read? Why do they only apply this stupidity to psychology?

    Good point.

    They don’t apply this consistently, because it is incredibly stupid.

  150. Mae wrote:

    He could use some staring in the mirror….might get a glimpse of how nutty he appears.

    HaHaHa. I just showed my wife the following photo of the movers and shakers at T4G. She asked “Who’s that woman in the middle on the front row?” http://t4g.org/about/

    I know we are not to judge according to the outward appearance, but …

  151. @ Mae:
    All of this.

    And all those alternate health ‘cures’? If they really work, they should be testable, with benefits that can be reproduced. Once proven, they will be considered medicine and probably a company will manufacture them.

  152. Liz wrote:

    This makes me so angry I don’t even know what to write.
    For a bunch of educated guys, they are very very ignorant and stupid. Which makes me think it must be wilful blindness for nefarious purposes.

    Among Old School D&Ders, this is called “Intelligence 18, Wisdom 3”.

    I believe in the sufficiency of the Scriptures. But the way they apply that seems ludicrous to me.

    This application is straight out of the Taliban or ISIS applying their Scriptures/Koran to their subjects/victims. “IT IS WRITTEN!”

  153. Max wrote:

    Any Wartburger men in the Louisville area willing to help the women out?

    I’d love to, but I kinda live on the other side of the planet, with a full-time job managing a small business. Still learning the ropes, too. But I can’t wait to hear everyone’s reports!

  154. kin wrote:

    ishy wrote:

    One of the main tenets of New Calvinism is absolute submission to leaders without question. Their concept of nouethetic counseling is not to help people with their problems. New Calvinists care very little about whether or not people are healthy, only that they are obedient.

    Not sure this is a completely accurate description since I’ve known many of these folks over the years. Similar accusations can easily be said of the “professional” side as well – people blindly obeying/trusting them. My son’s experience with his chemo doc from Hopkins is another prime example of this.

    Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Speaking only for myself here, but evil psych drugs gave me my mother back and have allowed me to be a functioning, taxpaying, contributing member of society.

    Though I’m not at all insinuating drugs are evil (same can be said of guns, bottles and spoons – all of which are abused by people), I’m glad to hear of your situation.

    Ricco wrote:

    What you are forgetting, is so many of the issues that people need counseling for are things that others did to them. I am not a perfect person, but all the issues in my life come from medical issues or malicious actions perpetrated against me. I don’t need to hear from a “biblical counselor” how my sin contributed to this problem. I need compassion, empathy, and strategies for how to live my life in light of what I have experienced.

    Not sure I’m forgetting your point in my brief statement. I agree with what you are saying. I know people who have been helped with similar issues without the counselor pointing fingers at their sin. The problem with labels is that they don’t define all who subscribe to said movements. Most of the anecdotal stories posted here will show the negative side of BCM, while there are undoubtedly many people who have been helped positively.

    Ricco wrote:

    What people need is help navigating the hazards, not someone standing on the sideline telling anecdotes about how drugs make people kill themselves. My grandpa still thinks that is why my mom committed suicide.

    Yes, making known the hazards is why I’d like to see a few caveats while criticizing BCM and offering the alternative side of “professional” counseling. There are many dangerous pitfalls of chemicals even in the hands of licensed professionals. Very sorry to hear about your mom.

    Perhaps I could suggest you go read some of the foundational books behind nouthetic counselling by Jay Adams. He makes it very clear indeed that this type of counselling dwells almost exclusively on personal sin. Your responses sound like you are only here to defend these abhorrent snd fangerous practices. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  155. Lea wrote:

    @ Mae:
    All of this.
    And all those alternate health ‘cures’? If they really work, they should be testable, with benefits that can be reproduced. Once proven, they will be considered medicine and probably a company will manufacture them.

    I remember reading my grandmother’s copies of Prevention Magazine, a Sixties-vintage alternative-medicine zine. A lot of it was Conspiracy Theory against the medical establishment and what’s now called Big Pharma, “giving cancer patients a week longer to die in agony while doctors drive new Cadillacs” when sure cures (what’s now called “Veganism and Vitamins”) were being suppressed. Conspiracy Conspiracy Conspiracy Conspiracy Conspiracy…

    Oh, and has anybody come across “bathing in Chinese hot mustard as a cure for radiation poisoning”? My informant read this on some alternative-medicine blog or chat log (in the wake of North Korea’s Rocket Man) and recognized its source: a joke in a famous 1970-vintage underground comic, Gilbert Shelton’s Fabulous Furry Freak Bros. According to him, one of the main characters (presumably Fat Freddy, the really stupid one of those three latter-day Stooges) when exposed to radiation cured himself by bathing in Chinese Hot Mustard. Fiction mistaken for fact.

  156. dee wrote (to Muslin):

    You always do a good job at bringing in Scientology practices in to this discussion. There are so many similarities.

    Soooooo many similiarities… I don’t even know where to begin. Victim blaming, disdain for real medicine, denial of responsibility, “sacred science”… the list goes on and on.

    And then there’s this: “Because the Bible does not include the kind of information necessary to create comprehensive expertise in medical science, counselors should avoid using their counseling conversations to engage in the practice of medicine.” (useless statement #87)

    Originally, Hubbard boasted how the e-meter could be used to cure all manner of diseases and conditions. Which worked just fine for him, until the FDA and other agencies got curious and started investigating. Now, to protect Hubbard’s empire from being sued, all e-meters must be labelled, notifying users that it’s not to be considered medical equipment (or something to that effect). It’s for “religious purposes only”.

  157. Lea wrote:

    I think starring at God instead of ourselves could be a form of avoidance in some cases. If I don’t want to think about something real, I might do a bunch of other things to distract myself, but ultimately it doesn’t help you process whatever happened.

    It’s a variant of “displacement behavior”.

    The more common variant is “When everything is falling apart, spiraling out-of-control, and you’re overwhelmed, find something you CAN control and micromanage it to death.” Some 40 years ago, I actually experienced a failing company who took action by Enforcing Dress Codes (including having Vice-Presidents checking employees’ hair length) while they circled the drain.

    And I’m sure a lot of the Righteous “Gentleman Theologian” behavior among those exposed here on TWW has a similar source.

  158. Lambert’s Useless Statement #37: “One evidence for the authority and sufficiency of Scripture is that Christians in the modern West with access to secular therapy have been powerfully helped and transformed by biblical resources far more than by therapeutic ones.”

    Thank you so much for emphasizing this one! Here, Lambert makes a quantitative statement, and offers no data whatsoever to back it up. Not even a Bible verse (not that a verse would make this claim any more valid).

    Just proves to me that Lambert is nothing but a quack, and he’s yanking this nonsense out of his hat.

  159. @ Ricco:
    Thank you. I could quote this entire comment, but I won’t.

    I know that secular therapy and drugs don’t help everyone, but in our family both have been lifesaving. Literally. Biblical counseling, in contrast, kept us on a path of despair, spiraling down toward suicide.

    We can’t know what “might have happened,” but I don’t think several of us (in my immediate family) would still be here if we hadn’t left the church with its authority and “biblical” life solutions and gotten hooked up with compassionate, competent counselors.

    Complementarianism and biblical counseling with a foundation set in comp beliefs truly formed a path leading to destruction for our family.

    Even an innocuous bible study feels unsafe to me now, some years later.

  160. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    Lambert’s Useless Statement #37: “One evidence for the authority and sufficiency of Scripture is that Christians in the modern West with access to secular therapy have been powerfully helped and transformed by biblical resources far more than by therapeutic ones.”

    Thank you so much for emphasizing this one! Here, Lambert makes a quantitative statement, and offers no data whatsoever to back it up

    Yes. it’s an assertion, no evidence actually provided.

  161. @ Ricco:
    “The church believes it has authority over where people move and what jobs they have.”

    I have come across this sort of thing before but only in cults. An example would be the Exclusive Brethren and their derivatives.

  162. Ricco wrote:

    @ kin:
    What I am saying is that the large traumatic issues of my life (my mom’s suicide, my daughter’s very premature birth, my dad’s infidelity and emotional abuse) are not a result of my sin. Therefore, in dealing with the trauma of these events, carefully examining my life for hidden sin won’t be particularly helpful.

    Of course there are other, smaller areas of my life where sin has had a negative impact. I’m a human. My point is that some people’s traumas/issues for which they need counseling are not their fault. Abuse is a great example of this. A sin-conscious approach for these things just piles shame upon people’s head.

    I think most of us here understood your point very easily, Ricco. 🙂

  163. kin wrote:

    okrapod wrote:

    Did you read that article?

    Yessum, at least I think I did. **The long term effects of chemicals are still unknown.**

    Combine that with the fact that so many of these people (who are on anti-depressants) are constantly walking around wearing clothes washed with TIDE laundry detergent that a recent study found to contain over 700 chemicals, some which are extremely toxic, and their largest organ is absorbing these right to the blood stream within 25 seconds of putting them on – what kind of study is going to be able to determine the effects of this scenario?

    Contraindication perhaps?

    https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-01-31-health-ranger-lab-analysis-exposes-700-chemicals-in-tide-laundry-pods-many-are-extremely-toxic-to-human-health-and-aquatic-life.html

    I have some experience in the area of mental health, having been the chairman of the board of a mental health charity and having a daughter diagnosed with a bi-polar issue. So I do have a strong interest in this subject. However, your posts about medical treatments for mental health issues are taking the focus away from the very real problems associated with nouthetic counselling as practiced by some ‘churches’. I would appreciate it very much if you would cease and desist.

  164. Darlene. wrote:

    @ at least I’m sort of out:
    Reading about your dreadful experiences of ‘Biblical’ counseling at the hands of incompetent practitioners at your church underscores the dangers of this movement. There needs to be a compilation of stories like yours into book form. The title which could be: Stories of the Dangers of the Biblical Counseling Movement .

    Good idea!

  165. @ Forrest:
    Thank you. I get tired of the sin-sniffing sometimes. I come from the Mennonite Church. We had a funny name for the head coverings when I was a kid. We called them “sin-sifters.” Constantly getting up in other peoples business and telling them how to lives ends with my mother-in-law being told she had to change to a different kind of cape dress or the bishop would not be able to give a good account of her to God on the last day. As an adult, the first time she went to get her hair cut shorter than Mennonite regulation, she made it though half the haircut and then ran out of the salon sobbing with her hair half cut.

    These stories sound ridiculous, and they are, but I am worried that the New Calvinists are bringing these things back. I was sitting in a small group meeting last night and the discussion was about how important it is for us to submit to our leaders. Biblical Counseling is built on the principle.

    This is the text we had in small group last night:

    11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[c] and teachers,[d] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[e] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. Ephesians 11-15 (ESV, because it was good enough for Calvin).

    They couched this verse as all about submission to leaders. To me, this misses the point. I see Paul saying that as you mature, you will grow into unity in the faith and you will have the strength to stand against bad doctrine as a mature adult. It seems like a check on authority, not a license to exercise it.

    Evangelicals, please don’t go down the same path as the conservative Mennonites did. It leaves nothing but brokenness and spiritual abuse in its wake.

  166. @ refugee:
    Thank you so much! I am right there with you. This underlying idea of authority and that someone is appointed by God and has all the right answers is broad path to abuse. I want to take the narrow path of trusting Jesus revealed in me just like he did for Paul.

  167. Forrest wrote:

    However, your posts about medical treatments for mental health issues are taking the focus away from the very real problems associated with nouthetic counselling as practiced by some ‘churches’.

    Are you sure that might not be Kin’s reason for posting?
    Misdirection and Deflection?

    TWW has seen abusive church spokesholes sign on before as “concerned Christians” for a disinformation campaign. Even if Kin is legit (though he seems tunnel-visioned on a favorite subject), the resemblance alone has discredited him.

  168. Bridget wrote:

    @ Forrest:

    And then the leap to Tide . . . not the subject of this post at all.

    Made sense to me. But then, I am sadly familiar with med-alleviated bipolar and depression that appear to be inherited in our case, and I am perhaps oversensitive to messages (like Kin’s) that are very similar to those that discouraged us from seeking a medical solution earlier.

    Sometimes meds are necessary, and *do* help.

    Everything has the capacity to be overhyped and overprescribed, including “miraculous” essential oils, vitamins, and exercise.

  169. Ricco wrote:

    @ Forrest:
    Thank you. I get tired of the sin-sniffing sometimes. I come from the Mennonite Church. We had a funny name for the head coverings when I was a kid. We called them “sin-sifters.” Constantly getting up in other peoples business and telling them how to lives ends with my mother-in-law being told she had to change to a different kind of cape dress or the bishop would not be able to give a good account of her to God on the last day. As an adult, the first time she went to get her hair cut shorter than Mennonite regulation, she made it though half the haircut and then ran out of the salon sobbing with her hair half cut.

    One of my writing partners (NOT the burned-out preacher) HAS been that broken by family psychological and verbal abuse (plus high school hell experiences of which he will not go into detail). He’s almost down to the level of “Reek” from Game of Thrones, yet like “Reek” he remains totally loyal to his abusers. Cannot go into any more detail.

  170. Ricco wrote:

    Evangelicals, please don’t go down the same path as the conservative Mennonites did. It leaves nothing but brokenness and spiritual abuse in its wake.

    Uh, Ricco, they’re already well down that path.
    If not running past the Conservative Mennonites you describe, just with different trappings.

    And (according to my burned-out preacher writing partner), beyond Mennonites on the Conservative Mennonite path there are Old Order Mennonites, and beyond Old Order Mennonites there are Amish, until the path finally tops out with Old Order Amish. Each “More Mennonite Than Thou”, separated from the previous group of “worldly” and “fleshly” backsliders.

  171. @ Ricco:
    Yes!!! Too many times, because biblical counseling is focused on sin in the counselee’s life, there is no path to health. Nothing will change. The counseled, at best, learns to suffer nobly and is persuaded to accept (or pretend to accept) abuse with an attitude that “considers it joy.” Very convenient for abusers.

    Even in secular counseling, I have seen an emphasis on the fact that we can only really deal with ourselves; we cannot change others. The big difference I have seen in secular counseling is learning about establishing healthy, safe boundaries.

    Chasing down real or illusory bitterness and “dealing with it” and seeking to forgive an abusive person because otherwise Christ won’t forgive us is unhelpful and, dare I say, dangerous and pointless.

    Might make the “godly counselor” feel good. Maybe that’s the whole point?

  172. Bridget wrote:

    @ Forrest:
    And then the leap to Tide . . . not the subject of this post at all.

    I think that’s where Kin officially goes into Kookarama Country.

    He might not be a disinformation plant, just a Kook.

  173. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    Lambert’s Useless Statement #37: “One evidence for the authority and sufficiency of Scripture is that Christians in the modern West with access to secular therapy have been powerfully helped and transformed by biblical resources far more than by therapeutic ones.”

    Thank you so much for emphasizing this one! Here, Lambert makes a quantitative statement, and offers no data whatsoever to back it up.

    Only FAITH FAITH FAITH.
    (“Oh Ye of Little FAITH, Tsk Tsk…”)

  174. @ refugee:
    Ironically enough, the go-to book on healthy boundaries that two of our secular counselors have recommended was published by Zondervan.

  175. Forrest wrote:

    Perhaps I could suggest you go read some of the foundational books behind nouthetic counselling by Jay Adams. He makes it very clear indeed that this type of counselling dwells almost exclusively on personal sin.

    Like New England Puritans, obsessed with Sin-Sniffing (but always the OTHER guy’s SIN).

  176. refugee wrote:

    @ refugee:
    Ironically enough, the go-to book on healthy boundaries that two of our secular counselors have recommended was published by Zondervan.

    Even a broken (non-digital) clock is correct twice a day.

  177. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Uh, Ricco, they’re already well down that path.
    If not running past the Conservative Mennonites you describe, just with different trappings.

    I know they are. I’m trying to be hopeful. Also, there are people in those congregations that aren’t as far down the road and have time to get out. I’m still in a church like that physically, but I am way outside the box spiritually and mentally.

    My Grandma, one of my favorite people ever, helps a very poor Amish family and has become part of the community. I could go on for hours with stories about that, but I won’t. All I can say is, evangelicals, you are headed in this direction and that is not where you want to go!!!

  178. Max wrote:

    FW Rez wrote:

    Desiring God/John Piper recently tweeted: “We will find mental health when we stop staring in the mirror, and fix our eyes on the strength and beauty of God.”

    Staring at Piper for very long will drive you crazy for sure.

    Max: Now THAT was funny! And again, John Piper shows us just how easy-peasy it is to deal with mental illness!

  179. @ refugee:

    Yes boundaries, and having a good, healthy tool set. We need concrete defenses in dealing with those who have or are, trying, to emotionally harm us.

  180. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Forrest wrote:

    Perhaps I could suggest you go read some of the foundational books behind nouthetic counselling by Jay Adams. He makes it very clear indeed that this type of counselling dwells almost exclusively on personal sin.

    Like New England Puritans, obsessed with Sin-Sniffing (but always the OTHER guy’s SIN).

    Yup! Always the other guy’s.

  181. @ Ricco:
    Ricco: How anyone could be convinced that the Ephesian Passage you quoted means submission to leaders is truly baffling. Actually, it means just the opposite as you stated. We must each grow and mature to where we aren’t dependent upon leaders or Elders to tell us what the will of God is in our lives. Are you attending a new calvinist church?

  182. Mae wrote:

    @ refugee:

    Yes boundaries, and having a good, healthy tool set. We need concrete defenses in dealing with those who have or are, trying, to emotionally harm us.

    Boundaries you say? Now where’s that in the Bible? Tsk, tsk. Only Bible words are permitted didn’t ya know? Because the Bible has a monopoly on mental health issues. Somewhere in there there must be a verse about how to deal with schizophrenia.

  183. refugee wrote:

    Sometimes meds are necessary, and *do* help.

    The problem to me (well, one of them) with this type of counseling is that it eliminates so many possibilities. I think I feel the same in a weird way about homeschooling. When you are convinced that way X is the ONLY ‘right and biblical’ way to do something, you are eliminating so many options and are less nimble and unable to change course when something doesn’t work. In a good environment, you should be constantly evaluating how medication or therapy (or school) is going and *adjusting* as you go when something doesn’t work. You can’t do that if you refuse to accept different options.

  184. Max wrote:

    Mae wrote:

    He could use some staring in the mirror….might get a glimpse of how nutty he appears.

    HaHaHa. I just showed my wife the following photo of the movers and shakers at T4G. She asked “Who’s that woman in the middle on the front row?” http://t4g.org/about/

    I know we are not to judge according to the outward appearance, but …

    It’s his wild hands, voice inflections, that do it for me.
    Really though, does he ever preach, examine himself? So sick of the finger pointing of…you, you, you you! YOU must be guilty of something every day!

    Some mornings I just like to wake up and say, Good morning Lord, thank you for another day. Then I get my coffee and enjoy watching the sun rise. The Lord and me enjoy His handiwork together…no guilt, no shaming, no finger pointing

  185. @ Ricco:
    Thank you for this clearly thought out response. We are wrestling with some of this same stuff, and I find your input helpful.

  186. Ricco wrote:

    ER wrote:

    Apparently there is genetic testing in the works to start to help determine which drugs might be better for which people.

    I have heard of this! This is a very exciting new thing that early tests are showing could help the efficacy of medicine by up to 50%. It helps doctors and psychiatrists better fit the medication to the person.

    I have heard of this, too! Downside is it is expensive and not covered by insurance. Too bad the insurance company doesn’t consider it might save $$ in the long run by avoiding prescribing a series of drugs that don’t work (or the side effects are worse than the cure—does the testing also reveal one’s risk of bad reactions? That would be gold!) before hitting on one that is effective and safe.

  187. kin wrote:

    Liz wrote:

    I think this is more because our world is steadily degenerating (as a result of the Fall), and there are profound problems with how our society functions, not because of a failure in the psychiatric/mental health profession. It’s a complicated issue which doesn’t have a simple answer, and certainly can’t be blamed on any one factor, in my view.

    Yes, I agree, more than one foundational issue here, but if you research the corruption in the pharmaceutical industry you will be led to the inevitable spill over of that same corruption in the psychiatry industry. One hand washes the other. Which is why folks perpetuate unproven theories about chemical imbalances in the brain.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&linkCode=qs&keywords=9781137516022

    Oh, my. Sounds like the same conspiracy thinking as the anti-vaxxers.

  188. @ refugee:
    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all happy with the big pharmaceutical companies. There’s one thing to be said for turning an honest profit and quite another to be said for money-grubbers who are profiting off the misery of others.

    Epi-pens, anyone?

    (And sadly, that’s not an isolated example)

  189. Forrest wrote:

    One thing I can take from this is that Piper’s views are considered extreme even by extreme complementarians.

    Yes. He listed himself in the sympathetic to Piper but slightly disagrees category, I think.

  190. Lea wrote:

    OT: Jonathan Leeman has written this mess:
    https://www.9marks.org/article/a-word-of-empathy-warning-and-counsel-for-narrow-complementarians/

    “A woman ought to act according to her design, her hardwiring, her DNA, her body, her social and psychological constitution. A man, too.”

    Okay, will read the actual article in a minute, BUT does Leehman even realize what he is saying here? To heck with the “roles” and even acceptance of LGBTQ because . . . DNA AND PSYCHOLOGICAL Constitution??? He is so enlightened, or not?

  191. What an awesome thread! So many wonderful comments. Ricco, Darlene, and everyone else… thank you. I kept thinking, “Wow, wow, wow,” as I was reading. Ricco, so sad and sorry for your loss. Love y’all!

  192. Darlene. wrote:

    Are you attending a new calvinist church?

    You can smell it, can’t you?. It’s complicated why we are still there, but we are and I have my eyes wide open, I can assure you.

  193. I have wondered for a long time…. How did the neocalvinists get hooked up with the Baptist types? I woulda thought that the theological differences were a problem. The only thing I can figure is that there wasn’t a lot of theology being written by the reformation era anabaptists because, well, they kept being killed and such.

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