Biblical Counseling, Mental Health and the Church, Suicide, Troubling Tweets

Troubling Tweets: Biblical Counseling to Treat Schizophrenia, Bulimia, Depression, ADHD?

Mental Health, Biblical Counseling, Geoffrey Kirkland, Addictions, Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar, Bulimia, ADHD


 

This evening, I tweeted the following:

After seeing this tweet:

Who is Geoffrey Kirkland?

From Geoffrey Kirkland’s bio:

Geoff grew up in St. Louis and then moved to LA to go to the Master’s College. God saved Geoff in 2001. Geoff loves studying, preaching, and discipling men in the truth of the Word. But most of all, Geoff’s passion is to shepherd his wife, Elizabeth, and five children: Hezekiah, Tikvah, Emunah, Kesed, and Ahavah. Geoff is a graduate of The Master’s College (BA), The Master’s Seminary (MDiv and ThM), and Baptist Bible Seminary (PhD). Source

At the Christ Fellowship Bible Church website, we can read  their distinctives. Here is their distinctive on Biblical counseling:

Counseling & Psychology
We believe that the Bible is wholly sufficient for all of life and godliness. Therefore, the Bible has the answers for any and every problem that may arise. We find our wisdom and counsel from God’s Word and apply it to the specific counseling situation so that the Spirit-indwelt person can implement biblical principles and get to the root of the sin-issue and replace that sin with a Godly and holy virtue. We do not practice psychology, psychotherapy, or so-called ‘Christian psychology’; we practice biblical counseling.

 

So, what’s the big deal about this Biblical Counseling PDF?

Go ahead and see for yourself. This pdf on “Biblical Counseling” claims to have the answers on how to treat addictions, depression, schizophrenia, bulimia, ADHD, etc. I’ve highlighted a few examples below.

A brief excerpt from Biblical Counseling On Depression

The Root Issue Biblically, depression always involves hopelessness & it manifests a low view of God at that moment.

3  crucial biblical counseling diagnostic questions related to depression:

  1. Could God have changed the circumstances? (yes)
  2. Did he? (no)
  3. Is God good? (yes)

We must constantly repeat this in our counseling our own hearts (and others)

A brief excerpt from Biblical Counseling  On Eating Disorders

The Biblical Truth

Overeating Is Not an Addiction Some overeaters label themselves “food addicts,” believing they are addicted to food. However, addiction is not a biblical term. The world uses this terminology to describe the behavior of someone who is controlled by a substance. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines addiction in this way: “To devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively.” But the danger in labeling overeating as “addiction” is that it undermines the personal conviction of sin. If the problem is not sin, then you will look for solutions in a system of theories, not in the person of Jesus Christ. [This is fundamental to biblical counseling!]

A brief excerpt from Biblical Counseling On  Guidelines for Counseling the Sexually Abused

Bill Gothard spanking

I found this section very disturbing. The first part is a very tough pill for many survivors to swallow. Some will interpret this to mean that God has acted as an abuser because He is Sovereign and knew abuse was going to happen, yet didn’t stop it from happening:

God is sovereign (Job 1-2; Eph 1:11; Rom 8:28-29; Gen 50:20)

It doesn’t get any better here:

Why does God allow abuse?

(1) To bring deliverance to others. Gen. 50:20

(2) To build character in us. Rom. 5:3-5 James 1:2-5 I Pet. 1:6-9

(3) To equip us to comfort others. II Co. 1:3-11

(4) To display the works of God. John 9:1-3

(5) To help us to appreciate the hope we have in Christ. Rom. 8:18,28-29

I hope Elder-Shepherd Kirkland has a good insurance policy in order. It sounds like he could be “treating” folks out of the scope of his educational qualifications. Kirkland’s PhD is no MD, and I am concerned that his counseling could put people in harm’s way, especially those who need medical treatment.

 

 

150 thoughts on “Troubling Tweets: Biblical Counseling to Treat Schizophrenia, Bulimia, Depression, ADHD?”

  1. Several have referenced their experiences with psychotropic medications, therapy and counseling being ineffective until they were able to get to the root of the problem. So much focus is now being paid to trauma-informed therapy and how so much of the psychopathology that therapists see found its origin in trauma. One landmark study, the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study found unbelievable correlation between adverse experiences in childhood and adult bio/psycho/social issues, including addiction, depression, obesity and even early death. You can find more on this fascinating study at:

    http://www.acestudy.org/
    http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/

    Nouthetic counseling and the approach that so many churches take towards victims of abuse is re-traumatizing. Trauma-informed therapy is not rocket science but it changes lives. For an incredible first-person account of the difference this can make, watch this short documentary:

    It is important to note that this documentary was made just four years after Ms. Cain’s last incarceration. She has also published a book that details the impact that experiencing a life-changing encounter with Jesus had on her life. You can find information on it here:

    I have worked with victims of trauma and have experienced it myself. I would love to see churches begin to grasp the magnitude of this problem and to see the opportunity that is theirs to compassionately and lovingly begin dealing with victims from a trauma perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And for the record, no, I was never in the Cult of Hubbard. (I don’t think HUG ever was, either.)

    No, I wasn’t. But I live in the same part of the country where they’re headquartered and during the Seventies/Eighties was active in SF litfandom. Elron started out as a pulp SF writer, and a lot of the old-timers at LASFS said that he never stopped; Scientology was just more Elron Pulp SF.

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  3. Brenda,

    Thank-you for posting the info & video on trauma. I am a little shook up after watching, I cried like a baby, but, it was brilliant and insightful.

    Just a few words on how damaging nouthetic counseling was for me as a victim of childhood sexual, physical and verbal abuse.

    I didn’t become a believer till I was 28 years old. Embarrassed to admit that I self medicated through my teens and twenty’s. It is a wonder that I didn’t end up on the streets. It helped that I had the keys to my dad’s drugstore, I helped myself to the many drugs there and in my mother’s medicine cabinet, I share with regret today. The pain inside had been with me since I was a child, it was so intense that it felt palpable and yes I wanted it to stop however I could.

    After my conversion I spent 20 some years in different church’s that promoted NC and I was always to blame, it made me question God’s love for me, filled me with shame, made me wonder why I didn’t have a peace that passed all understanding, drove me to believe that God wasn’t healing me because I had some secret hidden sin and finally drove me right back into the world with me thinking Jesus doesn’t heal, help or answer prayer.

    While I was AWOL from the pews, I finally was diagnosed with PTSD and with the medication & therapy at least the nightmares stopped.

    I want to scream, at these wanna be PSEUDO WANNA BE MESSIAH’S who are peddling this: STOP IT, you are endangering lives, your intention to want to help others might possibly come from a good motives, but people like me need the trauma’s treated by professionals.

    All you are offering is a infected band-aide to a hemorrhaging ongoing wound. NC hurts so much & this type of so called counseling set me so far back I almost achieved taking my life.

    I have probably said too much, my heart aches & rages over this stuff.

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  4. Brenda, thank you so much for that post. The video is amazing and inspiring.

    I have been reading recently about complex PTSD, the affect of childhood abuse on mental/emotional health. I personally think this is the future of research and real help for the suffering. I found an awesome resource for anyone who might be interested at a website called traumacenter.org, a pdf called The Assessment and Treatment of Complex PTSD by Bessel Van Der Kirk http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/complex_ptsd.pdf I hope it’s okay to post this here, I personally found it to be really helpful and thought others might, too.

    And just to add another dimension to this, what about Christian parents who whip infants to try to break their will? Here is where actual research on how babies develop is leading us- the exact opposite direction:
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201112/dangers-crying-it-out?page=2

    And then let’s go back to this, the whole world is supposed to know we are Christ’s disciples by our LOVE for one another. Not by our rules, not by our enforcing of accountability to law, but by our LOVE.

    The phony church leaders we discuss on this site seem to instinctively know this is what people need and are searching for, enough to fake it just in order to draw people in. But authentic love and acceptance are so hard to find. Time and again the love turns back into law. This is why people are vulnerable to cults. This is why people turn to self-destructive behavior. If the churches wanted to make a difference to our world, they would be seeking to know how to love people, not control them and exploit them.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Brenda,

    Another thanks for the video. I was crying about 15 minutes into it. It tore me up listening to that one inmate talk about just wanting a normal life. And what those male prison guards did to Neen — grrrr. She should have bitten that penis off. Neen is such an amazing woman for reaching out to help others.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brenda, I saw a TED talk on the ACE study and when my psych professor announced that we had to do research papers, I asked him if I could do mine on it. I wish all doctors were trained to ask these important questions so that children/families would not slip through the cracks.

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  7. I do believe God is sovereign and that He can do absolutely anything He wants anytime He wants to do it and that likewise He can prevent anything He want to prevent as well. But for that fellow to warp the Bible round to produce some overarching theory of just why God allows abuse is so emblematic of those who are unwilling to let God be God and instead pretend to have the power, via pushing pieces of the Biblical puzzle around, to produce an answer for everything and become, to the people over whom they exert control, God Himself to them. These are dangerous sorts of people.

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  8. Biblical counseling should be about Biblical wisdom, understanding the Bible better, applying it to your life, learning to become more patient and kind, joyful, peaceful, loving. I don’t see anywhere that the Bible compels us to use it to solve all the problems in the world. It didn’t say anything of substance about putting up a tent, Paul surely learned that elsewhere, or tax collection practices, which Matthew learned outside the Bible, or stone masonry and construction, which Jesus must have learned from Joseph.

    Why do these people try to force the Bible to do what it was not intended to do? They make it a science text, a psychiatric guide, etc. Why do that? The Bible is the source of ultimate truth about God’s plan for our redemption, isn’t that extraordinary thing enough, standing alone? Why must it become the manual for everything? Answer: because it can be manipulated by unscrupulous leaders to control every aspect of a followers’ life, if they can refer to outside sources for help in areas where the Bible is silent, they cannot be as easily controlled and manipulated themselves.

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  9. “I am concerned that his counseling could put people in harm’s way, especially those who need medical treatment.”

    I think you are understating the problem here. He IS putting people in harm’s way. He is unqualified. He is a charlatan who is duping his victims.

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  10. I’m starting psychotherapy this coming Monday for my PTSD. I’m already on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds to help with the flashbacks and nightmares. And this joker thinks depression is caused by sin????? Whose sin, exactly? Was my rapes, or my losing my son because of my own sin??? On the contrary. It’s because of what others have done to me and my children. We were the injured innocent party. Someone should sue his butt for practicing medicine without a proper license. How many lives are at risk because of him???

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So many comments. What stands out to me is the lack of empathy in the experiences with NC. A good therapist sets up a safe therapeutic aliance with the client, so the client feels safe and free to wrestle with their suffering. NC seems to include an element of shame which causes people to shut down or become defensive. Some may “feel” crazier when their emotions and experiences are not validated by the counselor.
    For example, I know a man who suffers from anxiety, and low self-esteem. He is a giver. Unfortunately he will only see a church counselor who says he suffers from the sin of pride. He bought into it. But still suffers. It makes me angry and sad, but my hands are tied, because he doesn’t need another person telling him what to do and anyway, I am a female whose opinions aren’t valid! (My MA in couseling doesn’t give me any cache!)
    For those suffering, never give up! There is hope, just keep looking for a therapist who you can feel safe with and try to develop a support system. It is hard to be
    vulnerable and ask for help, but this step can lead to healing and we all need support! (As well as give it back). You are all I my heart!

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  12. WFTT2, It’s good to “see” you. I’m glad you are getting help. I’m sure it was difficult for you to read this post. You’re right about suing. If he continues this path, he is certainly opening himself up for a lawsuit. Please keep us posted on how you are doing. We care!

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  13. What stands out to me is the lack of empathy in the experiences with NC.

    I agree with you. I went through some biblical counseling training at a church a while back (without knowing the dangers). You are trained that someone’s problems are a result of sin. Where they miss it is when you are a victim of someone else’s sin – even then, you will be sinning by not trusting God, for being too self-focused, unforgiveness, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thanks, JA. I’ve missed being here. I’ve been spiraling downward, but I’ve finally been accepted back into the VA system, and am even applying for VA disability benefits for a couple of rapes, sexual harassment, stalking, propositioning, and other abuses that occurred while I was active duty in the military, which caused my complex PTSD.

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  15. It is a divorce recovery program put out by a group called Church Initiative. You can go to their website to get an idea.
    http://www.divorcecare.org/
    It is taught in churches and was very helpful to me in my recovery. My wife and I taught it for 8 years, but we became progressively more frustrated. The production quality and the place of women improved over the years (version 3 now) but it is limited to a conservative evangelical outlook. This past version they added a bunch of biblical counseling “experts”. I know what they teach and it cannot stomach it anymore. Last fall we switched to a non-faith based curriculum and had good results and I did not have to spend time un-teaching what they just heard on the video.
    Thanks for all you do Julie Anne

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The relevant portion of Scripture that needs to be considered when evaluating the effectiveness of neuthetic counseling, or the lack thereof, is Titus 2:2-8 (ESV) –

    2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

    This portion of scripture is commonly associated with the need for mentoring, implying an ongoing commitment to the lives of others, which the Apostle Paul expresses as a command in his letter to Titus. What is sad about the apparent popularity of neuthetic counseling among church leaders today, is that it corresponds to a precipitous decline in the level of mentoring available within those churches.

    It stands to reason that, as the community church has become the mega-church, and as churches are managed more like for-profit businesses than non-profit service organizations, a more “efficient” method for providing hurting people with some form of interaction was devised.

    Based on my previous experiences with Harvest Bible Chapel, which has probably been more vocal in promoting neuthetic counseling than any organization, here is what I would consider to be the practical reality of neuthetic counseling –

    • “Professional” practitioners of neuthetic counseling are, at best, only marginally more altruistic than secular therapists.

    The Biblical Counseling Center (BCC), which was partnering with Harvest Bible Chapel until it separated from Harvest due to the financial and personal misconduct of its Senior Pastor, James MacDonald, advertises its rate for an initial visit as $120 for up to 2 hours, and $80 per hour thereafter. In fairness, the organization’s web site (http://www.biblicalcounselingcenter.org/counseling/) says “We work with those who have limited funds. We have never turned anyone away who lacks the ability to pay.”

    • Organizations advocating neuthetic counseling are committed to commissioning as many people as they can within their bodies to practice neuthetic counseling.

    What is the accreditation process for these practitioners? Where is the peer review, the governing bodies, the sanctions against those who abuse the trust placed in them by those seeking counseling? The BCC refers to itself as a “certified ACBC center”, which is a reference to the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (www.biblicalcounseling.com). Nevertheless, there appears to be no formal licensing or other procedures to authoritatively establish the credentials and qualifications of neuthetic counselors, under common law or otherwise.

    • This “Great Commission” of neuthetic counseling includes pretty much anyone, regardless of temperament, qualifications or other factors.

    The BCC offers a Lay Certificate Program (http://www.biblicalcounselingcenter.org/we-train/); “INDIVIDUALS [sic] and CHURCH [sic] ministry leaders may earn Biblical Counseling Center’s highly acclaimed LAY COUNSELING CERTIFICATE. To earn this certificate, you need to successfully complete three courses…”

    • “Treatment” is typically offered for no more than 13 weeks.

    This is the time frame I repeatedly heard referred to throughout the time I was at Harvest, and also when I spoke to practitioners of neuthetic counseling affiliated with other organizations.

    • Neuthetic counseling was developed primarily to serve the interests of pastors, in both making more assistance available to pastors and limiting the assistance their churches would be obligated to provide everyone else.

    The BCC advertises “Free and discreet counseling for pastors and their wives” (http://www.biblicalcounselingcenter.org/we-help/). I have also previously seen material from BCC advising that pastors are not subject to the same wait times for appointments and other inconveniences that others may encounter. This is in addition to “treatment” being limited to 13 weeks, most likely for anyone who is not a pastor.

    • Total devotion to neuthetic counseling is considered an article of faith among churches and other organizations that practice it.

    The typical reference I heard at Harvest to anyone who was seen as not being completely and utterly sold out to neuthetic counseling, regardless of the validity of their concerns, was that they were “practicing psychology”.

    • In order to demonstrate sufficient allegiance to neuthetic counseling, its practitioners and devotees must vocally condemn all other forms of counseling.

    I saw this applied to not only secular psychologists, but also 12-step programs, secular treatment centers, and even Christian organizations such as Focus on the Family that were not seen as sold out to neuthetic counseling. I vividly recall a teaching pastor at one of these institutions (not Harvest) condemning 12-step programs from his pulpit.

    While there is a legitimate debate to be had about the value of chemical therapy and various traditional and non-traditional forms of treatment in addressing different conditions, I can’t escape what I find to be a clear comparison to neuthetic counseling, which I consider to be neither biblical nor a form of counseling.

    Given the similarities between the counseling and therapy doctrines advocated by Christ Fellowship Bible Church, Harvest Bible Chapel and Tom Cruise, as he bounced up and down relentlessly on Oprah’s couch and viscerally confronted Matt Lauer on the Today show, it is my contention that neuthetic counseling more closely resembles Scientology than Christianity.

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  17. @Sean:

    • Total devotion to neuthetic counseling is considered an article of faith among churches and other organizations that practice it.

    The typical reference I heard at Harvest to anyone who was seen as not being completely and utterly sold out to neuthetic counseling, regardless of the validity of their concerns, was that they were “practicing psychology”.

    • In order to demonstrate sufficient allegiance to neuthetic counseling, its practitioners and devotees must vocally condemn all other forms of counseling.

    Again, JUST LIKE SCIENTOLOGY!

    (Somebody on another blog’s comment threads referred to these kind of shticks as “Scientology for Christians”.)

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  18. Shy,

    My heart pours out for you on the comments you made.

    I am in the process of completing phase 1 of biblical counseling and have seen many issues with it. I do NOT plan to complete certification with them because of all the oversimplifications of people, sin, desires, etc I have seen.

    JA hit the nose on the head. First, biblical, nouthetic counseling, misses the mark on abuse and abandonment issues of early childhood or while growing up. They basically have not category of it except to call it sin. Wouldn’t it be sad to see someone in this category moved to church discipline… all because it was misdiagnosed? They would feel shameful for having the thoughts and feelings brought about by others? So sad.

    Second, they don’t see that sin and abuse is not always individual… it is also social and impacts others around you and has a domino effect on others around us. Abuse, abandonment, emotional incest, and “mind raping” others with truth…. all do not have very good categorizations in nouthetic counseling.

    To categorize it using easy terms, at a 10,000 ft. level I saw the training as being highly oversimplified. Oversimplified when it comes to people is dangerous and can be harmful.

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  19. Gm370, I’m sorry for what you have experienced.

    PTSD is horrible. There with you Sister.

    I’ve been in one NC ‘church’ here which is probably one of the major players in the ‘movement’. NC is a thing here. I see people jumping on the bandwagon like its a new badge of spirituality.

    “I’m a nouthetic counsellor”

    Ooooooh!

    Sean is right.

    Believers today do not love one another and provide counsel in such a way that puts nouthetic counsellors out of business.

    Using the Bible to counsel is like law keeping version 2.

    Whatever happened to weeping with those who weep? Simply listening.

    Instead it’s a case of “thanks for sharing your thoughts now can you please wait whilst I flip through my manual for an appropriate response”.

    What the hell?!

    I hate Christianity more by the day.

    And Jesus…

    He only gets sweeter.

    (Must be a sheep and goats thing)

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Nouthetic counseling can also be viewed in the context of Matthew 5:17 (ESV), within which Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

    It’s interesting how, in Christ Fellowship Bible Church’s Distinctive on Counseling and Psychology, the presence of Christ is notably absent; “We believe that the Bible is wholly sufficient for all of life and godliness. Therefore, the Bible has the answers for any and every problem that may arise.”

    Scientology is the worship of writings and methodology espoused by L. Ron Hubbard, at least ostensibly for the sake of self-improvement and higher consciousness. Not surprisingly, this works-based theology has spawned adherents who are likewise seeking to be worshipped.

    By the same token, nouthetic counseling has virtually nothing to do with the worship of Jesus Christ, and everything to do with the worship of the Bible. While 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV) states, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”, no portion of Scripture, to my knowledge, calls for Scripture, in and of itself, to be the object of anyone’s worship.

    It’s concerning, to say the least, that church leaders and other supporters espousing nouthetic counseling are effectively advocating that the presence of the Bible is sufficient, even though the Bible states that the only sufficiency is the presence of Jesus Christ, apart from which all that is promised in the Bible can never be fulfilled.

    It also explains the sentiments of those who would flee the temptation to “get along by going along” with nouthetic counseling and its advocates, because Jesus Christ cannot be found there.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. A few other thoughts about the training I went to.

    Heavy and harsh critique of anything non nouthetic…. the critique was heavy/thick enough to be close to condemnational. I even heard the initial gentleman asking people that are “integrationists” (people trained in psychology and integrate their faith) to not be there.. choose where you want to be.
    The training also said with the 6 or so weekends of training that the 200 people there they are there are ready to go out and start counseling others in their ministry in churches.
    Never once a mention of abuse or abandonment issues. Issues were always related to personal sin and desires… that is why I call it an oversimplifiication of people.

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  22. As I posted to this blog on February 28th, my prior experiences with Harvest Bible Chapel when I attended there were that anyone who did not obsessively and compulsively exalt nouthetic counseling, and who likewise did not obsessively and compulsively condemn all other forms of counseling, was judged to be “practicing psychology”.

    I have to question the wisdom of any methodology that has, as its central priority, the condemnation of all other methodologies besides itself. One of the fallacies involved with the worship of anything other than the true God, even the Word of that true God, is necessarily that those advocating the worship of false gods will one day seek to be worshipped themselves.

    As stated in John 5 44 (ESV), “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Sean said:

    “I have to question the wisdom of any methodology that has, as its central priority, the condemnation of all other methodologies besides itself. One of the fallacies involved with the worship of anything other than the true God, ”

    I so agree Sean. As we know in scripture as Jesus wrote in the sand …. condemnation often draws a crowd.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. “went through some biblical counseling training at a church a while back (without knowing the dangers). You are trained that someone’s problems are a result of sin. Where they miss it is when you are a victim of someone else’s sin – even then, you will be sinning by not trusting God, for being too self-focused, unforgiveness, etc.”

    The desire for basic justice against cruelty is part of our Image of God. If it were not present then God cannot be a good God. He becomes more like the pagan gods. What they teach is insidious and turns God into a cruel tyrant.

    A lie has been taught that “being Human” means doing evil to others is the normal . In fact, that is being less human created in the image of God. They see what is called the fall as total inability. Which in turn makes The rapist the same sinner as the victim. It only desensitizes us to evil and makes any semblance of justice a joke. In fact, desiring basic justice for evils then becomes a sin in that thinking and your only hope is instant forgiveness. But they have a different definition for forgiveness, too, that was never intended to put us at the mercy of con men, deception, etc.

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  25. Sean, the trajectory of implanting Nouthetic counseling at SBTS is interesting history. It started with Mohler getting rid of the Carver School of social work because the Dean was a woman. (Baylor eventually named a school after her). The Carver School was started by the Women’s Missionary Union to train missionaries in dealing with social problems.

    The Carver School was the only national accredited social work program at a seminary. The masters grads were qualified accredited counselors who could find employment outside the auspices of a church or para church organization. And I think that was the real problem for Mohler: no control. Pastors are to have total control over counseling.

    Speaking with a current SBTS student working on a masters in counseling there, I found out they are no longer using the term “Nouthetic”. According to this student the word has too much baggage so they call it what it is: Biblical Counseling.

    Of course this student will not be qualified to counsel outside any church or para church organization. Not a smart move for the future.

    Here is a link to the curriculum. See if you can spot the problems.

    http://www.sbts.edu/bgs/degree-programs/ma/biblical-counseling/

    It is focused on SBTS’s idea of correct Systematic Theology. My guess is Grudems or similar.

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  26. I should say the group that did the training I went to for the three weekend training was ACBC (Association of certified biblical counselors). They used to be NANC (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors).

    With basically two weeks of training (or about 6 weekends) you can enter phase 2 (acceptance), then in phase 3 you do a few hours under a trained ACBC counselor to be “certified”. Like I said before I have no plans to continue with phase 1 and 2 based on what I heard,

    I believe during one of the weekends one of speakers spoke of Jay Adams as being one of the major founding fathers of the organization.

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  27. @Lydia00, as I posted to this blog on February 28th, “Nouthetic counseling was developed primarily to serve the interests of pastors, in both making more assistance available to pastors and limiting the assistance their churches would be obligated to provide everyone else.” I would absolutely agree that this expectation is inclusive of the need felt by many pastors to have control over the counseling process, and the subject matter and content of counseling as well.

    I also agree that the SBTS curriculum represents a path towards weeping and gnashing of teeth for recipients of “counseling” from SBTS graduates. However, the length, breadth and depth of the current campaign for adoption of nouthetic counseling calls for universal participation in this cult prostitute by all churches, and all those who call themselves believers. This is why so many programs exist to “train” nouthetic counselors, regardless of qualifications, temperament or even comprehension.

    To demonstrate the potential damage that could be wrought upon the Kingdom, remember that Harvest Bible Chapel’s overseer, James MacDonald, saw the knowledge of his pastoral and personal misconduct shouted from rooftops three or four years ago, after he saddled Harvest with $70 million in debt and had his penchant for gambling exposed. Given his ongoing, passionate advocacy of nouthetic counseling, it’s surprising to hear MacDonald’s response, when confronted with his sins (from http://theelephantsdebt.com/the-power/):

    “If you want to remove me, you’re going to have to sue me to get me out of here. And gentlemen, I have two things you don’t have: control of the pulpit and the control of the money. So good luck.”

    Not exactly a willingness to submit to 13 weeks of “treatment”, eh?

    As Harvest’s former Elder Board Chairman, Dave Corning, noted in his open letter on September 18th, 2013 (https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/09/19/former-long-time-harvest-bible-chapel-elder-dave-corning-accuses-pastor-james-macdonald-of-abuse-of-power-lack-of-accountability/), “James has a big issue with submitting to authority. He once said to me, “I have no problem with authority unless I think it’s stupid”.

    Corning also helpfully points out in his open letter that Harvest’s Elder Board “…do[es] not have any real authority to do anything except carry out James’ wishes.” However, this is not just a reflection on James MacDonald, or Harvest Bible Chapel’s leadership, or Harvest’s historical and current advocacy of nouthetic counseling.

    What I’ve described is the logical outcome resulting when otherwise well-meaning people are cajoled, intimidated and/or threatened into worshiping false gods.

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  28. Sean, I am well aware of the James McDonald situation and his incredible arrogance. I also read the elephant debt.

    Are you aware Harvest was in the process of becoming SBC? He has been very involved with Lifeways, The Gospel Project (paid advisor), and preaching at SBC pastors conferences. He will fit right in the Mohler, Mahaney, Dever, Moore and all their fellow travelers….as long as they don’t all want the same spotlight at the same time.

    Nouthetic counseling is never for them. It is for the peasants. They are “Gods special anointed to keep people from ignorance”. (Mohler actually said that at a pastor seminar)

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  29. “believe during one of the weekends one of speakers spoke of Jay Adams as being one of the major founding fathers of the organization.”

    I heard Adams speak years ago at one of Washer’s conferences mainly consisting of young pastors. He literally added a step to Matthew 18 that is not there. And it was a very authoritarian step the young pastors would love. It gave them control over the process. That was enough of a red flag for me.

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  30. The news reports from last year about Harvest’s affiliation with the SBC describe Harvest as a “cooperating church”. @Lydia00, I think you’ve very accurately described the “cooperation” James MacDonald is hoping for, “…as long as they don’t all want the same spotlight at the same time”.

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  31. Lydia,

    “I heard Adams speak years ago at one of Washer’s conferences mainly consisting of young pastors. He literally added a step to Matthew 18 that is not there.”

    Exactly how I interpreted the conference. It took scripture, added human reason, and evolved several meanings stretching way past the what the scripture actually intended.

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  32. Sean, All SBC churches are “cooperating” churches. I heard the same said about SGL as if it made a difference. The only thing the SBC can say to a “cooperating” church is “we don’t want your money” and we don’t recognize you anymore”.. Technically, it is not a denomination although some would like for it to be and it looks like one. It iwas comprised of cooperating churches that send lay messengers to vote on issues. It used to be any church could present a motion for a vote.

    It is all very confusing these days because the Neo Cals operate only in top down mode but spout the autonomy line when there is an embarrassment church. The key to power in the SBC is controlling the entities. Where they go, the churches follow.

    One major key to this autonomy in this day and time is protection from lawsuits –unlike the Catholic Church. Because churches have autonomy, the SBC cannot be blamed if a “cooperating” church harbors pedophiles . So guys like Mohler want power and control but not responsibility for the thugs they recruit for “cooperation”

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  33. “Exactly how I interpreted the conference. It took scripture, added human reason, and evolved several meanings stretching way past the what the scripture actually intended.”

    I have no problem with human reason. I think reason and logic are gifts from God albeit how imperfect they can be. It was daring to use “reason” that our Founders declared that adults have the ability govern themselves without a Monarch or Pope. A radical concept at the time. It took a while for that reason to include women and other ethnicities, sadly. But no one can argue that is not human reason.

    What I had a problem with was actually adding something not there. We can all disagree on interpretations and debate them from context, word meanings, etc but to ignore what is there or add to it, is something quite different. What concerned me more than Adams is none of the preacher boys challenged him.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Your right Lydia, we all use human reason in one way or another.

    The interesting thing at the conference was when they talked about hermeneutics they mis-defined it as having an absolute correct and incorrect way to go about interpreting scripture — their way of course. Hermeneutics, by definition, is an interpretation or a “lens” in which we view scripture. So it started with a slight mis-representation of the definition of “hermeneutic”.

    So if a hermeneutic is a lens in which we interpret scripture then without a good starting point its difficult to have a good ending point. Human reason just snowballs.

    My .02c worth as I ponder it!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Centrality,

    The “lens” factor is why proof text wars are a waste of time as are most “biblical” admonishments.

    Some come with a lens of determinism and some with a free will lens. Two completely different ways to view Yahweh. Two completely different ways to view human responsibilility.

    Some interpret Jesus through a “Paul” lens but not the other way around. That is why the whole focus on being “biblical” is so confusing and ridiculous. How does a “biblical worldview” work with these differences?

    We have not even touched on canon formation! Or the misleading word, “Orthodoxy” which is basically tradition and in no way monolithic.

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  36. They way I see it Lydia is everyone has “somewhat” of a lens in which they view scripture. Some have a lens of the abuse and abandonment of their past, others a lens of love and free will, others a lens of Gods sovereignty. We all have a history and we are shaped by that history.

    The real question really is are you “aware” of the lens we use so, at times, we can break free from a singular lens.

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  37. “The real question really is are you “aware” of the lens we use so, at times, we can break free from a singular lens”

    I cannot help but wonder about all the people throughout history who had no access to scripture whether illiterate or because reading it was verboten by the state church. Then take into consideration all the translations, evolution of word meanings, systematic theologies hoisted upon people, etc and it becomes even more confusing.

    The scriptures are beautiful and we are tres blessed now with instant access and the resources for study like historical context, lexicons, etc at our fingertips. The early Christians had no access to what became the NT and the Gentiles were ignorant of the OT.

    Ironically, though, I keep going back to 1 John 2:20 -27 and all of 1 John 3(I know! Scripture!) because it just resonates with me when it comes to this topic of “biblical”, our “indwelling” God and how we can know Him.

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  38. Interesting statement:

    “I cannot help but wonder about all the people throughout history who had no access to scripture whether illiterate or because reading it was verboten by the state church.”

    I have often wondered For 1500 years, before the printing press, and well before the internet 🙂 , how did truth get passed down? The corruption of the catholic church (ie indulgences) is well documented and the catholic church wanted to be the ONLY people/system that could pass down “truth” via sermons done only in latin.

    Before the printing press, one of the jobs of a missionary to get bibles to the lost was not really possible. However, proclaiming the “good news” of Jesus Christ was possible.

    It would be interesting to go back and observe what level of understanding of all the scriptures people had during those 1500 years. I am betting many of today’s debates were never in play.

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  39. centrality, I think there are a lot of peeps from history who wish they had not been so cruel and evil toward others in the Name of Christ.

    Even after the printing press scripture was highly regulated. One faced horrible persecution for daring to own an unauthorized copy. It had to be interpreted for the masses by those “specially anointed” to do so like Calvin and his ilk.

    My point in all this is that it has never been all about scripture. It is about Jesus Christ is and was God in the Flesh. Yahweh of the OT is not a different sort of god. It is the single most amazing thing.

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  40. I know this is late, but just a warning in light of what has been happening at Bethlehem Baptist “Church” lately (october, November 2016):

    Stay away from “biblical counselors.” There is no such thing, even though the highly suspicious ACBC movement even “certify” its counselors. They can “cure anything,” but most of them need healing themselves.

    ACBC=deathtrap. Be warned. It almost destroyed my friend, by suggesting the most disgusting and ungodly “counseling” ever.

    Want counseling for spiritual matters? Consult your sisters and brothers in the Lord. Have disorders? Go and consult a medical doctor, who will refer you to a psychiatrist.

    Last warning: ACBC/Nouthetic/”biblical counseling”=deathtrap, and these are forms of serious spiritual abuse. Please take note.

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