Biblical Counseling, Domestic Abuse, Victim Safety, Heath Lambert
The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) will be holding their annual meeting this fall addressing Biblical counseling and abuse. Leading up to this event I thought it might be a good idea to look at how Biblical counseling addresses domestic abuse.
Heath Lambert is the Executive Director of ACBC and spoke on Restoration After Abuse. In this speech, he discusses two extremes of how Christians respond to abuse. Christians will either tell a victim to get out of the abusive relationship or they will tell the victim to submit more and pray more. He then offers a lengthy response on how to help a victim to restore relationship yet keep her safe.
And so that’s the tension. We want to aim for restoration. We want to believe that this abusive man can change and their marriage can be restored, but we also need to be sure that we’re doing what we can do to keep this woman safe. And so that is the tension, and I think the way you resolve it is with a couple of different things.
One is: violent men have to be separated from their wives and their families for a season in order to establish trust. There has to be some kind of separation here. Usually that’s going to mean the people in the church, if it’s possible, removing him from the home, giving him a place to stay so that the wife and kids can operate in their home in an as uninterrupted a way as possible. If that’s not possible, and if you have a very violent man who’s not listening to reason, then you might have to have the wife and her kids come stay with a family in the church or with a family member or some place else safe. But there has to be some separation so that we can figure out what’s going on and so that we can establish trust. In the early stages of dealing with this, one of the principles that I’ve observed is that a husband only sees his wife during times of intense counseling. (bolding added)
And so you’re out, you’re staying somewhere else, you’re staying with a friend, you’re in an apartment or your family is out staying some place else, and the time you’re with your wife is when you’re meeting for counseling or to work on the problems. And you should have a situation where you’re getting intensive counseling certainly in the early weeks where two, three times a week you’re meeting together to deal with the urgent issues that have come from this revelation of abuse. (bolding added)
I will address the potential of setting up a stalking situation later, but the first issue with this scenario that stands out is when a violent husband is separated from his wife the only time he is to see her is during intense counseling. No, no, NO! Couples counseling is good when there are relationship issues. Abuse is not a relationship issue! Abuse is about power and control by the abusive partner.
Couples counseling implies that the problem of abuse lies with both partners. Abuse is always the perpetrator’s problem, not the victim’s problem. Abusers may sabotage counseling sessions by attempting to get the counselor on his side. On the other hand, if the counselor is siding with the victim, the abuse may increase as the abuser tries to regain power and control of the relationship. A victim may not feel safe to speak up about her experiences for fear of retaliation, and an abuser will not be totally honest about his actions. Couples counseling is neither the best option nor the best practice when abuse is present.
A victim needs to seek individual counseling to deal with the trauma of her abuse. Likewise, a perpetrator committed to change needs to seek counseling that specializes in treating abusers.
Heath Lambert’s counseling solution continues on with:
Slowly, over time you can begin to increase the amount of supervised time that a couple spends together. We will be together, but we’ll go out with some couple friends of ours who know about the problem who are working with us. Or maybe a Christian couple who is coming with us to go to the park and our kids can play while we sit and talk. And then after that’s gone on for a while and you’re making progress, then you can slowly increase the amount of unsupervised time. This would be where a husband takes his wife on a date. They go out to dinner, they go out to do something fun together, and they’re alone, but they’re alone in public, and they’re alone for a shorter amount of time so that we can continue to evaluate this kind of thing. Eventually, you want to slowly begin to reestablish the couple in the same house. And I say you slowly want to do that, and that might be the husband comes home from work, has dinner, helps put the kids to bed, but then goes and stays where he’s been staying for a while. Slowly establish them in the house.
Then maybe he spends the weekend, and we’re just establishing that this seems that it’s going well. Through all of that we’re watching two things: we’re watching one, the comfort level of the wife. She knows this guy. She knows him better than anybody else. And if she is saying, “I feel really good about this. I think he’s different,” then that really is a judgment that matters. And on the other hand, if she’s saying, “Something’s not right. He’s acting strangely,” then that is a judgment that really matters as well. So we’re watching for her response and paying attention to that. And then, the other thing we’re watching are signs of repentance from him.
The point there is to give some indicators of what it looks like when someone who is guilty of sin is really turning at the level of their heart from that sin. We want to be as Christians watching this man to see is he demonstrating these marks of repentance. If he’s not, we have a problem, but if he is, we can start to feel good about these slow, steady steps towards restoration, but also keeping this woman safe in the midst of this process.
Back to the potential stalking situation….This scenario is focusing on a violent abuser. Does the counselor even consider the fact that when a violent, controlling abuser is separated from his victim he will probably do all he can to find her? Abusers don’t give up their victims that easily. Are they that naive that a violent abuser will easily agree to separation?
Lambert suggests that everything is done purposefully to ensure the victim’s safety. How is the progression of monitored date nights to moving back in together keeping the victim safe? Who is ensuring that the violent husband is following all the steps? Is there a third party spending the weekend at the home during home visits to make sure the violent spouse is non-violent? This is a recipe for disaster.
In the world of victim advocacy, safety plans are developed with victims for the purpose of the victim to identify ways to keep herself safe. A good safety plan is tailored to an individual’s unique situation. The scenario above is far from safety planning!
I am guessing that Heath Lambert is considered the expert of Biblical counseling since he is the Executive Director of ACBC. I strongly question his qualifications as an expert in abusive behavior and abusive power dynamics if this is his solution when dealing with a violent offender. This leaves me extremely concerned for how Biblical counselors will be trained in October to assist victims of domestic abuse. More importantly, I am concerned about the safety of domestic abuse victims who go to any “Biblical counselors” for help.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse and would like help please email us at SpiritualSB@gmail.com. Or, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 to speak with a victim advocate.
**Updated to add: I plan on writing more about how Biblical counseling addresses abuse. If you have experience of going through Biblical counseling to deal with domestic abuse and would like to share your story, please email us or send us a private message through our Facebook page. You may share anonymously and share as little or as much as you would like. We want to honor your story.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
99 thoughts on “Biblical Counseling and Domestic Abuse”
“I am guessing that Heath Lambert is considered the expert of Biblical counseling since he is the Executive Director of ACBC.” No. There are several “biblical counseling” groups, with some similarities, and some differences. Also, just like any other group of any size, there is a spectrum of beliefs, those who sharply disagree with others, etc. How about wait and see what is taught before perhaps judging and condemning a whole group of people? I appreciate your desire to help victims, but Biblical counselors are not the problem. Sweeping generalizations are not merely false accusations, they are harmful.
Kathi, at A Cry For Justice I’m doing a series on Chris Moles, who
Is the poster boy ‘expert’ for counselling men who abuse their wives.
Moles doesn’t teach exactly the same things as Heath Lambert ( Lambert is worse than Moles) but they are both wrong on many ways.
I hope you check out my series.
Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog.
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I also addressed this issue here: https://marienotcheva.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/an-open-letter-to-heath-lambert-and-leadership-of-acbc/
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“How about wait and see what is taught before perhaps judging and condemning a whole group of people? I appreciate your desire to help victims, but Biblical counselors are not the problem.”
She was analyzing exactly what is taught by a man held in high esteem by “Biblical counselors,” not some fly-by-night nobody. This mode of so-called “Biblical” counseling definitely IS the problem in the world of so-called “Biblical” counseling. It can ultimately be almost as dangerous as the “submit more try harder” mode, bcause though it does admit that the man is actually sinning, it still leaves the church leaders as the ones deciding if he has repented and changed enough to go back home, and it still leaves the victim in danger.
I’ve also addressed this kind of “Biblical” counseling in a few posts as well, in analying teaching given by highly respected teachers (so it’s not just Heath Lambert). These are two of them:
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Mind boggling. A husband is described as “very violent”, yet no mention is made of charges being filed, of restraining orders, of trauma counseling for the victim(s)…
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MB – Given that October’s conference is by ACBC and Heath Lambert is the Executive Director of that organization, I have valid reason to be questioning how they are going to train counselors. Especially since this organization does not endorse trauma informed care or seem to understand abuse dynamics. This scenario presented is appalling. If this is how Biblical counselors are approaching abuse, then they are placing the victim in greater risk.
There are so many stories out there about the spiritually abusive nature of Biblical counseling. At some point the victim will be asked to seek out the sin in her life that contributed to the problem of the abuse. This is not acceptable.
Don’t think that I’m basing my opinion on one article alone. There’s more to come.
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What Kathi said is precisely right, and is one of the major reasons nouthetic counseling is so problematic. Much of it is neither biblical nor counsel. My book,”Fractured Covenants: The Hidden Problem of Marital Abuse in the Church” addresses the issues Kathi and Rebecca raise with nouthetic counseling in some depth: https://www.amazon.com/Fractured-Covenants-Hidden-Problem-Marital-ebook/dp/B0788BKCYL
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I concur with the problematic & possibly dangerous to abuse victims scenarios that are likely given the faulty assumptions Christian Counseling is too often based on. And the lack of true understanding in churches of the almost-always unrepentant evil sin that abusers practice on their victims. Counseling or no counseling. Abusers are “actors” to the outside world, duping pastors, Christian Counselors, other Christians. The atmosphere in Christian Churches and the advice of church leaders of a “good” Christian always having “open arms of forgiveness”-regardless of long-term evidence of repentance & real heart & behavioral change-is what abusers count on & often exploit as an excuse to keep their victim in their clutches.
I have not seen my particular issue very often addressed, but I come from a family of origin of extreme physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, spiritual abuse since childhood right up into adulthood by BOTH parents who were & still are professed “born-again Christians”! Out of 4 (also-abused) siblings, I am the only one who got out of that house ASAP & got professional counseling by an expert on family abuse. I learned about malignant narcissists, sociopaths, codependency, enablers..And I learned about having “Low Contact” with these unsafe, dangerous people, separations, boundaries & consequences when I had to interact with them & abuses occurred.
The other siblings became extremely codependent and enmeshed with their abusers as children-so desperate for their love & approval-which sociopaths are incapable of giving. They are now severely trauma-bonded enablers & abusers-by-proxy for parents as adults-targeting ME for my Low Contact & my setting & keeping firm boundaries.
The problem/issue relevant to the topic of this post is that one sibling became a social worker late in adulthood & got some kind “qualification” to call herself a “Christian Counselor” who “specializes in counseling ABUSE VICTIMS”!!
She is an abuse-ENABLER! Covers it up, lies for the abusers, smears me relentlessly for telling the truth about them & placing boundaries on them.
She knows her/my abusive parents are still abusers & she is their chief cheerleader, idolizer, promoter…to everyone outside the family & especially in the churches they all attend together. She lies incessantly about their true identities to the pastors, elders and church congregants. She rewrites her own true history & life experiences with them. A totally false narrative to elevate them to “sainthood” status. And the abusers put on a very good, convincing act as “nice people”-they’ve had a lifetime of practice! And abusers don’t practice their abuse in public, of course. So this abused “counselor to the abused” sibling, who never GOT the counseling she desperately needs, is now offering Christian Counseling as she enables known abusers. And her church recommends her to abuse victims! This is so unacceptable.
It sickens me to think of the damage she is doing-sanctioned by her church & whatever licensing agency gave her a license-to already traumatized victims who unfortunately know nothing of the person who is completely complicit in doing evil/enabling abuse that is counseling them. She has a sick personal agenda. Yet no agency, church leader..has vetted her & they choose to “know nothing” of her enabling, coddling, lying for & idolizing evil abusers.
I’ve tried talking to their pastors, congregants to inform them & try to protect any abuse victim from her evil agenda & her doing more harm to them. They say they don’t have “evidence” of their abuse! I lived it & still do! There are many many others who witnessed & fully know about their histories of & present abuses who choose to remain silent. They are also complicit in evil in my opinion. And I’m supposed to provide the church with the abusers on film abusing?
Abuse is done behind closed doors. Then the wolves put on their sheep’s clothing for the church community so they are thought of as “such nice people to us” by them. I can’t make them understand this evil of abusers’ common tactics & their use of their necessary minions, like my codependent siblings, to polish up /cover up, promote their public fake images.
The fact that an abuse-enabler is still counseling fragile, traumatized abuse victims is an abomination beyond my comprehension. So I pray for Holy Spirit discernment. It’s all I can do.
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Not only is Heath Lambert (and apparently the entire – or much of the – discipline of biblical counseling) harmful concerning domestic violence, but overall, it doesn’t help people who struggle with mental health problems.
It’s always struck me as a very victim-blaming field.
The biblical counselors I’ve read about are more focused on getting a “patient” to focus on his or her own personal sin (which may not even be responsible for whatever issue is driving them into therapy in the first place), than they are in healing…
So that the patient remains “stuck” in their problem that they came to see the counselor for to start with, but they leave with a side-helping of spiritual guilt and shame (thanks to the biblical counselor).
I did a blog post about some of this here, over on my Daisy blog
(first caught my attention on FBC Jax Watchdog’s Twitter):
_Biblical Counselor Heath Lambert Believes that Publicizing Someone’s Unrepentant Sin Outweighs Keeping Their Counseling Information Confidential_
From the Original Post at top (I believe this is a quote by Lambert:
^Okay, that posted before I was ready, don’t know what happened.
From the Original Post at top (I believe this is a quote by Lambert):
Under many abusive situations, the only option the target will have it to cut off all contact or limit contact with the abuser.
I know domestic violence experts tell people not to tell the target what to do – the target has to make up his/her own mind –
But really, based off my personal experience (with mildly to moderately verbally abusive family members), and seeing what other targets have said, and even in books on workplace abuse will say this – everyone will tell you that if you confront your abuser and he/she refuses to change, your only option is to leave them, get out.
There is nothing you can do or say to get your bully or abuser to change.
And I guess a lot of these Christian counselors, who revere the institution or marriage to the degree they’ve turned it into an Idol, are loathe to tell anyone in an abusive marriage, “It’s okay to leave your abusive spouse. Divorce is an acceptable solution.”
When I maintained boundaries (in my case, this meant lessening contact with a verbally abusive sibling of mine), my sense of peace (at least in this area of life) was restored.
Anyway, Kathi is absolutely right that abuse is an abuse problem, not a marital problem, where both partners may be 50 / 50 responsible – this is also holds true for emotionally and verbally abusive relationships.
Unfortunately, even a lot of secular therapists (not just the flakey Christian biblical ones) think that abuse (whether physical, emotional, or verbal) is a problem that can be solved if only both partners work on it.
By the way, this also holds true in school bullying, too.
So many schools will force the target of the bully to sit and shake hands with, and “make up with,” his or her bully – this won’t have the desired outcome they want it to. This also holds true in job situations where a boss is bullying a subordinate.
Churches, companies, schools, etc, need to recognize there is always some kind of power differential going on, and so you cannot get abuse (or bullying) to stop by having the target meet with her abuser / bully and talk things over, or go in for counseling together.
Victims need to know they have a right to defend themselves, have boundaries, and to walk away and never contact their abuser if they choose.
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I’m all for dealing with specific problems with specific people–but only with the facts, and, more objectively. “All democrats/republicans believe in _______, because Barack Obama/Donald Trump believes in ________.” They are/were the actual or presumptive leaders of those that vote democrat or republican. This, not to mention, how many times have we seen actual quotes taken by these men, or other leaders, and faulty conclusions made, and, as result, false accusations made. So, as an example, all democrats believe in following the principles in a book that was dedicated to Satan, and they are, therefore, Satan-Followers. Why? Because BOTH Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were admitted fans of Saul Alinsky and his book (and principles) that he openly dedicated to Satan.
Or we could say, “All Christians/Muslims/Hindus believe _________, therefore ________” So the Part-to-Whole Fallacy (or the Composition Fallacy) is not merely wrong, it hurts people, even those we say we are trying to help. Furthermore, condemning (falsely) all biblical counselors is inaccurate/wrong on many levels (if you care about that sort of thing).
A true biblical counselor is, by definition, someone who gives counsel from the Bible. [If you don’t believe in the Bible, or have a low view of it, or even an adversarial view of it, then that is another discussion.] Are there people who distort the counsel in God’s Word? Absolutely. This has always been the case. Do self-proclaimed leaders distort the message of certain groups? Of course. But this is like saying all progressives and/or democrats believe in socialism or communism. So, there are so many misapplications and errors here, for what it is worth. It is easy to demonize whole groups of people. Yet I don’t see anyone here trying to distinguish the good from the bad, not one single attempt. When that is the case, when there is little, if not attempt at active discernment (separating truth from error, fact from fiction, etc) then you will have sweeping generalizations of people that are, of course, false. But that doesn’t matter, unless accuracy matters. You can’t just be against something bad, you have to be extra-careful with truth and error. Otherwise you are hurting people, and hindering your own goals, and even creating injustices, often in the name of justice.
MB “A true biblical counselor is, by definition, someone who gives counsel from the Bible.”
Aren’t you doing the same thing you just condemned? A true biblical counselor can be someone who gives counsel from the Bible, but we are talking specifically about people who call themselves “Biblical Counselors” which is a specific thing. It used to be called “Nouthetic Counseling” and then somehow was renamed to Biblical Counseling.
So, we are trying to be specific, and you are trying to use the composition fallacy to say that we are against all Christians who believe that they are following the Bible in counseling.
There’s not a lot good to say about Biblical Counseling(TM). My layman understanding is that it’s the job of the counselor to find the besetting sin in the counselee and then push whatever buttons necessary to make that person understand, repent and reconcile from that sin.
Of course, with domestic violence, the “besetting sin” doesn’t generally exist in the victim, since ABUSE is about one person exerting control over the other. But, since the mantra of BC is to find the sin in the victim… So, this is a systemic problem in BC. I found the same thing in an article by another BC proponent, Paul Tripp, on handling domestic violence.
So, again, another leader of Biblical Counseling with the same distorted view that every disagreement requires two sinners. Just like Jesus and the Pharisees. Two sinners.
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MB – I am going to use a sweeping generalization. I don’t believe any self-proclaimed Biblical counselor has any business counseling someone dealing with issues such as domestic violence, PTSD, suicide, or the difficult cases. If they want to deal with normal relational issues/conflicts, that is fine. Once the line is crossed into abuse and where serious mental health issues are present, they need to be referred to professional/licensed mental health professional.
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Thank you Mark and Julie Anne. Well said.
I was certified as a nouthetic counselor in 2010 (I still refuse to call it “biblical counseling” ) and you’ve just got the nail on the head.
Again, accuracy (i.e. truth) IS important–it is absolutely essential, particularly when it comes to loving others, helping others, etc–and, without it, we will likely be harming others. Yet it is clearly not as important to all of us. If you are comfortable with being inaccurate, or not overly concerned with falsehoods are said, and think it is okay, if not good, if someone on your side makes false statements, then, well, please consider your desire for accuracy, and your comfort level for being in error. You are not really going to help anyone if you have good intentions, but a lack of concern for truth and accuracy. We are all in error. And of all the ways to be in error and deceived (and to harm others and ourselves) It seems in our culture two of the biggest causes of deceiving and being deceived today are: judging others falsely and/or the false narratives that precede and/or follow. This comment page are full of them (if anyone cares). I am fairly confident that there are some sharp people reading these comments, and who see the fallacies, errors in reason, and false accusations (i.e. sin), etc … but are not saying anything.
There are so many, yet I will only pick one or two. So, case in point:
“There’s not a lot good to say about Biblical Counseling(TM). My layman understanding is that it’s the job of the counselor to find the besetting sin in the counselee and then push whatever buttons necessary to make that person understand, repent and reconcile from that sin.”
If your entire premise is entirely false, then where will that lead you? More and more false conclusions, false accusations, falsehoods, etc. It has been common of the years for this particular false accusation to be leveled at BC’s, and, despite the evidence to the contrary, it continues. If you were objective, if you truly sought the truth, then you would not make this false accusation of an untold number of people. If truth/accuracy matters (and I’m increasingly doubting that it does, based on what we are clearly observing, in abundance), if sin bothers you, then there would be a completely different interaction. But your layman’s understanding is not just false, it is an egregious sin to spread false narratives about others (yes, ironically) [I’ll leave out the belittling words].
Also, there have been (false) accusations against at lease two men here (and then this has been extrapolated and 100% guilt has been confidently pronounced on all who claim to be biblical counselors). I don’t know them, but from what I do know, I am fully confident that they would laugh at and/or being deeply grieved over the accusations levied against them.
“Aren’t you doing the same thing you just condemned? A true biblical counselor can be someone who gives counsel from the Bible, but we are talking specifically about people who call themselves “Biblical Counselors” which is a specific thing. It used to be called “Nouthetic Counseling” and then somehow was renamed to Biblical Counseling.”
Either you lost me, or I lost you. I was trying to give the most basic understanding of a what a biblical counselor does (or “Biblical Counselor”). No one has the rights to the term Biblical Counselor (at that is one of the points to all this). A person or group can call themselves whatever they want, that doesn’t make them so.
If you are trying to be specific, then how does quoting what one or two people wrote, and then almost assuredly making a false conclusion about what they believe, and then FALSELY LUMPING EVERYONE ELSE INTO THIS CATEGORY [i.e. GENERALIZING AN ENTIRE GROUP BASED ON ONE OR TWO (faulty) EXAMPLES]. Yet you say I am doing that?
All this, not to mention avoiding all that I did say.
The only responses are to go back and double-down on generalizations and on false accusations of an entire group of people of whom you know nothing about, other than one or more false narratives. That used to be wrong in most circles, yet now I can’t see any way to have a reasoned discussion on this.
MB, once again, I am a certified “Biblical Counselor” (TM). I’ve been on the inside. Please read my book. The accusations are not false, they are based on many, MANY testimonies and empirical evidence. Not to mention many years of research.
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MB – I have been through “Biblical Counseling” training. The Biblical Counseling I am referring to is the kind that says that the only legitimate counseling is “Biblical Counseling,” and they area strongly against anything having to do with mental health. In addition to going through a lot of the training, I also was on the other side of the table and received “Biblical Counseling.” I know what I’m talking about from experience on both sides.
In reading your responses, I am convinced that you don’t really understand the kind of Biblical Counseling that we are talking about. Please read the links that have been posted. The women posting and sharing links are very knowledgeable on this topic.
Thanks, Marie, but you (and/or others) are ignoring the many truths that I wrote, and not addressing the many falsehoods, false accusations, fallacies, and generalizations that others here have made. That is kind of a big deal, and would explain the false narratives I see here.
If you have had bad experiences, then I am truly sorry. I have had incredible experiences. We could weigh our experiences against each other, and/or we could look at the truths, and the falsehoods. I do not want to appeal to experiences, however.
No offense, but I don’t hold certification as a biblical counselor worth much, for anyone. It may or may not mean something, but I have no reverence for that certification. And, as you must know, there are several groups to be certified by. What I am talking about is the pure Word objectively and lovingly applied to real life.
MB – Here is the definition of Biblical counseling from ACBC for the Fundamentals Track:
“Biblical Counseling is discipleship. It is the personal ministry of the word through conversation. Every Christian is called to speak the truth in love to his neighbor and help them grow in grace. Believers should desire to apply the Bible to every area of life. The goal of Biblical Counseling is to present everyone mature in Christ by teaching with all wisdom.”
Students then move on the to Advanced Theology Track which deals with applying part one (personal ministry of the word through conversation) with the study of theology. Then you move on to the Methodology Track which combines part one (personal ministry of the word through conversation) with specific topics: homosexuality, church discipline, sexual assault, medication, etc.
ACBC asserts that the Bible is the solution for all problems in life. The Bible does not address mental illness, PTSD, chemical brain imbalances, domestic violence, suicide, trauma, etc. In fact, they attribute these issues to sin in a person’s life. Would a Biblical counselor think that a heart murmur is caused by sin? How about diabetes? Cancer? Hearing loss? Would they suggest that a person apply the Bible to answer their physical health problems? If not, then why do they insist that the Bible can handle mental health problems? The brain is a part of the body and needs to be treated with the same care and respect as the rest of the body.
Even though BC’s get sinned against, ironically, by being falsely accused of making every problem a personal sin, sin still should be dealt with far more than it is. When it comes to sin–and ABUSE–so much of the abuse is happening because sin was not dealt with in the abuser years prior. We, as a whole (in our society and church), have moved away from personal responsibility, more so when it comes to sin, which has enabled sin to increase, particularly the heinous sin of abuse. So, which theorist had even a remotely close understanding of sin, or any accurate application to sin, or desire to address sin as it is, sin? None. [although Karl Menniger wrote his famous book, which was/is very pertinent, even more so today, “Whatever Became of Sin?” Even he saw the writing on the wall, but he, of course, lacked the biblical understanding of sin, etc] Not all personal problems are related to that individual’s sin, but nothing is more destructive than sin. Yet how many counselors accurately know how, or desire, to address sin? The less we deal with sin assertively and appropriately then the more it is likely we will be enablers, not merely of sin, but abuse in one form or another.
@Mark I looked up the quote you listed. It was very much out of context, but even then your conclusion is even more off the mark (no pun intended). For what it is worth, it seems you got this from a page of various ways of dealing with abuse/domestic violence. Paul Tripp [AND David Powlison] were, apparently, tasked with how to minister to the perpetrator. Few things are more challenging. We could cast them all aside, but are any of them redeemable? Who gets to decide? Clearly some are, because some have been. Yet so many are so darkened, if not evil, in their hearts and mind.
The point is, however, that you are misleading people by distorting the context and with several nonsensical conclusions about what was written, and then dumped all YOUR falsehoods onto countless people who have NOTHING to do with your false accusations against Tripp (and Powlison). That, too, is a big deal. I hope it matters to you.
@Kathi … Thanks Kathi…
“The Bible does not address mental illness, PTSD, chemical brain imbalances, domestic violence, suicide, trauma, etc. In fact, they attribute these issues to sin in a person’s life.”
Again, more falsehoods, and false assertions/false accusations. Ironically, you are sinning (for what it is worth to you) by falsely attributing things to people that they do not have/believe (I am sure some people, some where, believe this, or something close to this).
There are many ways to define BC, but I don’t find anything particularly concerning with that definition.
If you do desire to understand, then can you give us a definition of mental illness? [Note: there are several out there, While they are not consistent, they consistently change, and they consistently conflict with other definitions.] A MENTAL illness, by definition, is of the mind. The mind is not physical, yet you are pointing to something(s) that are physical. You are confused, which is very common. Perhaps even Marie could explain some of this to you (to her credit). If you said “brain” illness or disease, then that is one thing, which is infinitely different than “mental.” Many brain maladies exist, of course (e.g. disease, etc), but you are confusing several things. This, again, is a VERY common misunderstanding.
If I am anxious, is that a mental illness? [On a separate, but related note, the Bible, of course, does discuss anxiety (and depression, and …)] If I am a little anxious on my first day at school, am I mentally ill? Is a little anxiety a mental illness? A medium amount? If I am shy, am I mentally ill? I am, according to the DSM V. If I have caffiene withdrawal then I literally have a mental illness (according to the DSM). If I take too many selfies, then I literally have “Selfitis” … which is literally deemed to be a mental illness (please, by all means, look it up). Is there a consensus on what is, or is not a mental illness? No (yes, many vote for what is, or is not, but there are unending arguments, disagreements, etc regarding this, so, no, there is not a consensus). This is shown by how the definitions always change, and what is, or is not a mental illness always changes. This is not some wacked out person saying this, do the research for yourself. You are the one putting this forth as fact, and that all these other people only see this as a sin. If accuracy matters to you, if you value truth, if you want to love according to the truth, if you truly want to help others, then you would OBJECTIVELY do the research for yourself (with objective sources). And you would confess (i.e. “an admission of the truth”) about how you have slandered others with false accustions.
I put in a truck load of qualifiers or caveats in my posts above, so I hope my posts meets with your approval. LOL.
I hate to tell you this, but this is what a layperson walks away with – this is the impression I have of “BC”.
Based on Biblical Counseling material I have seen / heard myself, first hand (blog posts, one book, a podcast here or there, and some of their own FAQ pages), I’d say that Kathi’s description sounds exactly like what I’ve seen of biblical counseling.
But in broader terms, to escape much of my depression and to deal with anxiety, I did not find any comfort or help in the Christian faith or in some of the biblical counseling material I read.
BC doesn’t sound any better at tackling things like anxiety or depression than the Christian generally or Word of Faith / Prosperity Gospel teaching.
MB, are you KAS‘ kid brother? You’re like the more angry version of KAS from other threads.
MB is to Biblical Counseling as KAS is to Gender Complementarianism.
MB is to Biblical Counseling as Scientologist Tom Cruise to Anti- Psychiatry.
I agree, Kathi.
That the Bible may be describing people who had depression, or what have you, does not mean that a person should turn to the Bible to try to figure out how to treat depression (or P.T.S.D., bipolar disorder, etc).
The older I am, with more life experience under my belt, and having read more about the Bible, I think that conservative Christians / evangelicals / Baptists / Protestants are mis-using and misapplying the Bible.
Beyond dealing with spiritual matters, and maybe some very basic morality, and few little bits of wisdom (like don’t run with scissors through the house), I don’t think the Bible is supposed to be used for much else.
It’s not meant to be a psychiatry manual or science text book.
I have a small number of posts on my own blog that sort of discuss these topics:
_Christians Cannot Agree on Christianity – Not Even the Essentials of The Faith – So Why Base All Life Choices on the Faith or the Bible?_
_A Critique of Kevin DeYoung’s Critique of Smith’s ‘The Bible Made Impossible,’ A Book About Evangelicals and Biblicism_
Also, I think this is a bit pertinent to the topic at hand, especially seeing how volatile poster MB is about this subject:
_Religious Trauma Syndrome and the (Negative) Effects of Religion on Mental Health_
Ironically, I can see ‘Biblical Counseling’ and those who so doggedly defend it playing a role in driving people away from the Christian faith.
(See Also: Gender Complementarianism)
Putting aside the fact that the Bible is not meant to be a treatment manual for mental health problems – nor is it to be used for like what 95% of Christians used it for (as a science book, cook book, etc) – I hope to goodness that your interpretation of the Bible is 100% infallible. Is it?
Do all biblical counselors have a complete infallible interpretation of the Bible at all times?
You know, I don’t think anyone here is lying about Biblical Counseling. I know I am not.
I don’t have a reason to make BC look bad.
I have just related to people on this thread what my experience has been with BC.
I have at least one book by a BC guy that I read a few years ago, I’ve listened to a pod cast or two, I’ve read some of their web pages. I’m getting my knowledge about BCs from BCs.
Nobody here on this blog who has commented so far is deliberately misrepresenting Biblical Counseling, but you are behaving as though they are.
What does this mean:
Biblical Counseling and those who advocate for it sure are overly preoccupied with sin.
If you are a Biblical Counselor…
I bet you anything, if I had seen you years ago as a patient for my clinical depression, you’d likely try to pin my depression on some personal sin of mine (even though personal sin was not a cause, and not at the root).
But you’re telling us above in other posts, that no, Biblical Counseling does not attempt to boil down everything to a person’s personal sin, that this is a mischaracterization of BC.
And here, (by MB),
What they’re talking about in this thread is Nouthetic Counseling, and it’s my understanding that those who practice Nouthetic Counseling now go by the phrase “Biblical Counseling.”
If you are talking about using the Bible generally speaking to help a person with life’s problems (in the area of mental health), I still find that an ignorant mis- use of the Bible, as I explained in posts above.
As I continue down the page reading your posts, you become more and more unclear. You appear to be contradicting yourself, or misunderstanding the original post by Kathi, and misunderstanding what other commentators have said to you.
And those types of men can be redeemed apart from their wife.
MB said to Kathi
Yes, Biblical Counselors do in fact teach that the Bible can and should be used to treat mental health problems, including PTSD, depression,etc.
I have seen a few of them offer the caveat that if a mental illness requires medication that the Biblical Counselor should refer their patient to a licensed psychiatrist.
But other than that, they believe that the Bible alone can be used to treat problems.
The Bible mentions people who apparently had depressive behaviors, and Judas committed suicide, but the Bible is not intended to be a text book that anyone should turn to in order to figure out how to be healed from depression or suicidal ideation.
It mentions what appears to be depression and anxiety in some people, but it doesn’t offer effective methods of treatment.
And I’m sorry, but Bible verses that talk about ‘casting all your cares upon him because he cares for you,’ and ‘perfect love casts out all fear,’ does not eradicate anxiety (or panic attacks) from most who have it.
Some mental health problems are caused by brain damage, chemical imbalances, or thyroid problems.
From the book “Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded?” by Dr. Carlson, who is a Christian:
Have Depression or Anxiety? Get Your Thyroid Checked
So what if there is not a consensus if those things are mental illnesses or not?, because the fact remains if those things interfere with someone living their life (their anxiety keeps them from going to school or to work),
you’d want to sit them down and use the Bible only to treat them, and tell them that their personal sin is the cause of their issue.
Because you’re all about sin, sin, sin, and angry that the secular world thinks of some sins as also being mental health disorders… to the point you’re quibbling over the phrase “mental health” and saying there is no so thing as the mind.
That’s not always necessarily a bad or wrong thing. As time goes by, culture changes, people re-evaluate formerly held views and think, “maybe we were wrong about X.”
If you see a person falling on the ground convulsing with drool or foam coming from their mouth, is your first reaction,
“That person is demon possessed, quick, let’s pray to Jesus and do an exorcism !” or is it,
“I think that person are having a seizure, maybe they have epilepsy!”
Some of us here are quoting directly from Biblical Counseling materials or offering summaries of BC material we’ve seen.
_The Rise of Biblical Counseling by Kathryn Joyce_ – by K. Joyce, on Pacific Standard site
A few highlights from that page:
I wrote an article a while back on why couples counseling is not appropriate for abusive marriages. There are many other articles on family abuse and spiritual abuse at the blog too. http://watchtheshepherd.blogspot.com/2014/10/why-couples-counseling-is-not.html
Daisy wrote: MB, are you KAS‘ kid brother? You’re like the more angry version of KAS from other threads.
More angry version? I’m not angry. I don’t very often get angry. 🙂
This is just one experience, but I could describe several other similar ones.
Some years back, my husband and I went to marriage counselors. They had been trained through some Christian marriage program, and also relied on the husbands’ pastoral training and the experience they had gained during years of ministry.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of holes in their training and education. They had no concept of confidentiality — we found out about an incident where they blabbed about other clients at a party to friends of the clients. When confronted, they defended their actions and made the excuse, “How were we supposed to know they were your friends?” They were unprofessional in other ways as well.
All they knew about PTSD — which I was actively suffering from at that time — was what they saw in movies. They seemed surprised to discover that not only military men suffer from it, but that rape and sexual trauma survivors suffer from it at much higher rates. They refused to see that they were in over their heads, and the advice they gave me was actually undermining of my healing and dangerous to trauma survivors.
At the same time, I was seeing a real therapist. He was an MFT, and he was also a Christian — a humble man who was very in tune with the Holy Spirit. That man literally saved my life.
In a way, we could describe both the marriage counselors and the real therapist as “biblical counselors” because they both believed in and referred to the Bible. However, neither belonged to the Nouthetic/Biblical Counselor movement. The couple had been somewhat influenced by simplistic solutions proposed by some of the authors of that movement and by the idea that all problems were marriage problems, with both parties sharing at least some blame. They didn’t have even a basic understanding of healthy personal boundaries, and advised me in ways that led me to believe that they thought Christian wives weren’t supposed to have any. They counseled us as if the main problem in our marriage was a lack of connection, and we simply needed to forget the past, engage in some marriage-building activities, and “make new history together!”
They did more harm than good.
My real therapist, on the other hand, was quite knowledgeable and experienced in trauma-informed treatment. He also listened to the Holy Spirit, and his direct use of Scripture during our sessions — although rare — was extremely powerful. When I was going through a rough spot with God, my therapist had the wisdom not to bring up sin, but to be a safe person for my venting, and to minister to the anguished, hurting, tormented soul behind my outburst of words.
Because of his training, he knew when meds were indicated, and he had an understanding of how those meds worked. The marriage counselors didn’t know what they didn’t know and, while they weren’t anti-meds, some of the things they tried to tell me about my meds were hilariously ill-informed. Thankfully, I already knew that.
Not all counselors/therapists who use the Bible are unknowledgeable, unprofessional, or incompetent. Not all are part of the Biblical Counselor movement. Some, like my therapist, are well-educated and professionally trained, and not just through a Christian ministry or program. Those are the ones worth finding.
MB, if you are addressing people who are at ease in making false accusations, and are not interested at all in admitting these, and who respond by making more accusations of them, then at what point do you conclude that they are not really concerned about being accurate?
MB – Even though you say you don’t care about certification, you’re taking a page right out of ACBC’s handbook by saying that I am sinning by providing false information about Biblical counseling.
From ACBC: “Christians must be wary of the impact of sin on their thinking, causing people to suppress the truth about God, to misunderstand other kinds of information, and which ensures that the interventions of secular therapy will be harmful as they attempt to mediate counseling care devoid of Christ (Eph 4:17-19).”
Honestly, I don’t care if you think I’m sinning. However, I do care that you are accusing me of speaking falsehood about Biblical counseling. You seem to be missing the fact that I am referencing specifically ACBC and how they address Biblical counseling for abuse victims. I am using my years of education (MSW), training, and experience of working as a victim advocate to explain that the scenario presented is wrong and harmful because it places a victim in greater danger.
In regard to the Bible not addressing how to deal with depression, suicide, violent relationships, etc., you have answered in a way that ACBC approaches the scripture as sufficient for all situations in life. I expected that answer because it is addressed in the link I provided above.
For as much as you don’t care about the certification if Biblical counselors, you are providing the narrative that trained counselors coming out of ACBC hear. I’m confused about what other type of “Biblical counseling” you might be referring to because you sound just like them. Are you talking about a counselor who happens to be a Christian? I would assume that this type of person has received a proper education and state licensing to practice as a counselor.
You say I’m slandering (technically your argument should be that I am libel – FYI) and accusatory — please show me specifically how, where, and why. If Biblical counseling is all you say it is then it should be able to stand up to questioning. If you are truly a counselor then you should be open to listening and not so strong to accuse.
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More from ACBC:
I’m assuming that I am harming the cause of Biblical counseling because of this:
“The confusion that exists on the part of Christians has been a distressing source of conflict among brothers and sisters in Christ who debate these issues, and has caused pain in the lives of troubled Christians who seek counseling care”
I’m guessing that this is the real issue:
“To claim that biblical resources are not authoritative and sufficient for the counseling problems people face is to undermine the biblical teaching about the glory of God because troubled individuals need to know how to glorify God in every area of their lives, the Bible commands that all of life be lived for the glory of God, and the Bible demonstrates how God may be glorified in all of life (1 Cor 10:31).”
There’s so much more off of this 95 Theses document. I think this deserves a post in itself.
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It seems that ideally, if one seeks Biblical Counseling, they really need to ask themselves. “Am I seeking Biblical Counseling or Biblical Interpretation based on the Doctrine the counselor embraces?”
Who ever is seeking Biblical Counseling needs to realize he/she is merely pursuing counseling that is based on the Doctrine the Counselor embraces.
There are many Doctrines within Christianity that aren’t always the same. If one doesn’t know the Doctrine of the Counselor, that can pose a major obstacle especially if the patient realizes later that he or she embraces a different doctrine.
The risk I see, is when there is some serious mental issues that go unrecognized by the counselor that may require a diagnoses.
Sometimes it takes a lot of time to realize that the patient’s mental issues are deep rooted, some counselors (not all) who have never experienced those types of issues or abuse, may not offer proper guidance to compliment the verses in the bible they have shared. So then the patients are unable to navigate their way out of the pain or abuse they are experiencing.
Not all Biblical Counselors have a license to give mental advice or diagnose mental illness. This poses another problem for those seeking “biblical” counseling when they probably want (in an unconscious way) biblical counseling from a qualified phycologist that is licensed. But a licensed psychologist can get expensive, depending how deep his/her mental issues are.
A Biblical Counselor, may in some cases, be trying to further indoctrinate those seeking counseling to solidify their own doctrine. (but again not always)
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It was not out of context. I took it as an example of how Biblical Counseling always tries to name and claim sin in everyone. The authors do not seem to even acknowledge the possibility that the victim is without sin in her own abuse, and this is a fundamental misunderstanding of abuse.
In fact, you acknowledge the irony here by saying “how to minister to the perpetrator” so, assuming you are correct and that they are ministering to the perpetrator, then part of their ministry is to join the perpetrator in finding the chinks in the armor of the victim. So, essentially, ministry to the perpetrator of abuse is to give the abuser more ammunition with which to abuse. Brilliant!
Jesus says that we know Christians by their deeds. If a person in the church abuses his wife and says he is a Christian, he’s a liar and a wolf. Whether he is redeemable is not for us to decide, but for God to choose, because WE cannot bring someone to repentance. We can only obey what God says, which is to put that person out of the church and minister to them as an unbeliever. As I’ve said elsewhere, in Evangelical circles, and Biblical Counseling is no different, the counselor on one hand denies the work of the Holy Spirit by resorting to intensive counseling meant to cause a change of heart (the domain of the H.S.), and on the other hand, claims that somehow the Holy Spirit is working through this process such that the abuser is treated as a first-class Christian as long as they are following the appointed program, and what abuser wouldn’t follow the program if their victim is forced week after week to come to a confessional with the pastor and abuser?
You can take your sanctimonious crap elsewhere. You have no idea who I am and you have no idea what my background is. I attended a church whose pastors were all trained in “Biblical Counseling” by a professor who is an expert in the field. My own relatives, some of which suffered abuse were counseled in the very way that Tripp recommends. They were blamed and brought under church discipline for acting out, while their abusers were embraced and forgiven.
I hope you notice that MB has not cited any material. All we have to go on is MB’s own self-proclaimed authority. Others have quoted from BC authors talking about how counseling should be done, and what we get back is, “you’re taking it out of context”, “you’re taking one example and generalizing it” blah blah blah.
So MB, since you seem to self-proclaim some understanding of debate…
Proof by Assertion “Proof by assertion, sometimes informally referred to as proof by repeated assertion, is an informal fallacy in which a proposition is repeatedly restated regardless of contradiction.” (i.e. just because you repeatedly say we are false does not make it so)
_ Argumentum ad lapidem_ is a logical fallacy that consists in dismissing a statement as absurd without giving proof of its absurdity. (i.e. just because you say that something is nonsensical doesn’t make it so)
No True Scotsman or appeal to purity is an informal fallacy in which one attempts to protect a universal generalization from counterexamples by changing the definition in an ad hoc fashion to exclude the counterexample. (i.e. Heath Lambert and Paul Tripp are not qualified to represent the beliefs of Biblical Counseling)
Ad hominem is a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.
I think the substance of the argument is exactly what I said, and quoted from Paul Tripp, that Biblical Counselors who counsel abusive situations are, instead of dealing with abuse, are looking to find sins in both the abuser and the victim that are contributing to the abuse, rather than dealing with it as a one-sided issue. And, as I also hinted to, there is a very strong test case where this would be the incorrect behavior, that is, looking at the abuse Jesus suffered at the hands of the Pharisees.
Instead of dealing with the facts and the argument, you ran around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to undercut my argument in every way that you could without actually engaging the argument.
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Some of these Biblical Counselor people actually think it’s their godly duty to yak about your personal business to other people:
_Biblical Counselor Heath Lambert Believes that Publicizing Someone’s Unrepentant Sin Outweighs Keeping Their Counseling Information Confidential_
The more learn about these Biblical Counselors, the mose I wonder, why on earth would I ever want to see one? They keep giving me more and more reasons to avoid them and their “counseling.”
There was an issue in our family where a Biblical Counselor told an interested friend too much, and it caused some major strife when it got back to the family.
That is true.
There are some Christian psychiatrists and psychologists who are not quacks, such as Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend, and Dr. Dwight L. Carlson.
You can read parts of Carlson’s book online here, for free:
_Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded?: Helping (Not Hurting) Those with Emotional Difficulties_
You can read parts of Cloud’s and Townsend’s book online here, for free:
_12 Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy_
Note how a lot of advice and observations Cloud/Townsend and Carlson give are diametrically opposite from what the Nouthetic (Biblical) Counselors tell people.
Kathi, some of the stuff MB was saying is apparently right out of a standard issue Biblical Counseling handbook, so to speak.
To excerpt again from this article:
_The Rise of Biblical Counseling by Kathryn Joyce_ – by K. Joyce, on Pacific Standard site
On that page (and tell me if this is not identical to some of what MB was saying above):
_The Rise of Biblical Counseling by Kathryn Joyce_ – by K. Joyce, on Pacific Standard site
Other interesting bits from that page:
There were a lot of other interesting observations about biblical counseling on that page.
Faith-only approaches to depression and anxiety never did help me.
I never saw a “biblical counselor,” but for years at a time, I did try using prayer and Bible reading and faith only to treat my depression and anxiety, and it did nothing to alleviate either one.
I’m sure one can probably find a few people willing to say that a faith only approach worked for them (I saw one guy on a Christian TV show claim that Bible reading alone healed him of anxiety), but it didn’t work for me, and it doesn’t work for many others.
I can only speculate why a group of Christians keep promoting this idea that the Bible alone is sufficient for treating anxiety, depression and other maladies when it does nothing of the sort for many people.
I have a good idea that it’s because their views of the Bible are on the line – if the Bible can be shown not to be effective for mental health problems, it makes them feel as though the Bible may be false.
My view is that the Bible is NOT sufficient for EVERY problem in life.
If there is a God, I think he meant for the Bible to be used for instruction on spiritual matters (so in that area it is sufficient), and for basic morality (“do unto others”), but evangelicals today use the Bible wrongly.
They use it as a science book and as a mental health treatment book and all sort of things which the Bible was not meant to address. The Bible is not sufficient for those topics.
And – I know a lot of Christians believe that not enough people today are taking personal responsibility for their personal sins, if they are sinning.
I think a lot of these anti- psychology Christians are angry that behaviors that used to be considered sinful by our culture are now said to be personality disorders or mental diseases – so that maybe people should not be held accountable for them.
The anti-psychiatrist Christians want any and all behaviors (especially ones they deem immoral) to be dubbed “sin,” so that they can have an excuse to wag their index fingers into people’s faces and judge them.
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I would like to see Lambert show some of his success stories using this methodology. Sounds like Fantasyland to me. An abuser might go along with this little scenario to look good…..but if got his wife-who exposed him_alone……I would fear for her. . No discussion about abuse should continue without a conversation on divorce.
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~ from the article Daisy posted Aug. 12 @ 5:24 p.m.
Interesting about the money situation. I think of the hundreds if not thousands of dollars tithed to churches, special offerings, that new piano, missions, leadership salaries etc. etc., that the church benefits from by keeping the ill tethered to them by demeaning other forms of help available to the ill and abused.
Don’t go outside the church. You’re wasting your dollars. If you’re going to waste your money in healing that never comes, stay here in our pews. Better to waste your money for the cause of Christ than those heathen secular therapists. Amen? Awomen?
Kind of a pot/kettle moment there.
You’ll never heal in psycho-analysis. You’ll waste thousands of dollars.
So stay here. You might not recover and that’s okay. At least you are in church and as you continue to suffer, we’ll just keep reminding you that your suffering is sin and we’ll keep you here in the eternal cycle of sin and repentance until the cows come home or the Lord returns but it will be all for a good cause, right? Better you stay in the perpetual sin/repentance suffering in the church than waste all those dollars outside of it.
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From Lambert, the one positive thing I will say is that I hear a lot of people discounting the spouse’s perspective on whether anything has changed so I appreciate this. I don’t think in practice it will make any difference, however, and I agree with every objection you’ve made. I think a violent partner needs a real separation and individual counseling before even considering getting back together (and I think generally that’s not going to work – as usual the restoration people ignore the fact that most of these relationships are already broken beyond repair).
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Haven’t made it through all the comments so not sure if it was mentioned, but I also find it a bit mind boggling that they are asking church members to invite this ‘very violent’ man to live with them, and possibly their wives and children.
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You “nailed” it! Many thanks for speaking the truth, in love of course :).
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This line of thinking needs to die. I had to tell a friend that a good man will not be provoked into violence by you disagreeing with him – he will just leave. And funny for Paul Tripp, I’ve never had an argument devolve into violence. But I guess they’re all the same? Rubbish.
Also this it take two to tango business? Does that apply to stranger murders, rapes, theft? Do they not see how sometimes something just happens? Their philosophy is not consistent with real life.
Also, that MB guy upthread said a whole bunch of circular nonsense about how judgy we all are and didn’t deal at all with the actual text from actual people that we are discussing. Typical.
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Lol. I mean, sometimes you have to cut through the nonsense. Some people seem to think quoting a person and reacting negatively to their words is ALWAYS ‘out of context’. Doug Wilson fans pull this. Peterson fans pull this all the time too.
Nope. Sometimes we just disagree. Either deal with it or don’t.
Because that’s Godless Secular, NOT SCRIPTURE(TM).
PASTOR Knows Best!
This is called “Counting Coup on the Unrighteous” and is what’s REALLY important.
I.e. Lukewarms, Apostates, “O Ye of Little FAITH (tsk. tsk.)”
Yet another way for the Righteous to Count Coup.
Because he’s the one with the penis.
If Widdle Wifey were just more Biblically Submissive, we wouldn’t have a problem.
Headless?? “Because he’s the one with the penis.”
Pretty crude verbalizing and some heavy handed generalizing.
Oh I forgot, someone on this thread already explained and scolded me for not recognizing that this isn’t a Christian Blog.
You fit right in.
I hate the practice of physical, mental and spiritual abuse on women, children and even men.
But I also hate sexist remarks that is being displayed on this thread. Especially the crude one you made.
I had to learn from some friends and from reading books about abuse about this.
A few years prior to doing research, my older sister – who, as I’ve mentioned many times here – was verbally abusing me on the phone.
This was before I knew about boundaries and stuff, but some part of me was tired of her verbal abuse by this point, and I asked her to please calm down stop with the raised voice, screaming profanity at me, etc, and she shot back, “This is how adults talk to each other, so just accept it and deal with it, and no, I won’t change how I speak to you, I will NOT sugar coat stuff!”
I wasn’t asking her to sugar coat anything – but to just not be so angry, screamy, etc, when talking to me.
I don’t recall what I told her at the time, but I remember thinking, that may be how YOU and YOUR “adult” friends talk to each other, but that’s not how I’ve dealt with adult friends of mine, or they with me.
I used to get into disagreements with co-workers at jobs, and aside from the bully boss I had, not one of my co-workers (that I can recall) dealt with their anger or disagreement with me by screaming, yelling, put downs, etc.
I’ve also since learned that I get to determine how I am treated, not someone else – including my sister.
So, my sister may think it’s OK to scream and yell and use insults and threats when screaming at HER friends, and they to her, but that is NOT how I want to be treated.
And a huge, huge take away in books and articles about abuse is that an abuser does not have a right to abuse you tegardless of what you said or did (or did not do).
The abuser will abuse your regardless of what you say or do – they just use their reasons as excuses to third parties, like, “Well, Bible counselor, see, I could’t help but hit my wife, because my wife goaded because she was mouthing off to me this morning.”
D: But I also hate sexist remarks that is being displayed on this thread. Especially the crude one you made.
Par for the course I’m afraid.
You know that Headless Unicorn Guy is a dude, right?
It’s kind of interesting how 2 guys make note that a guy leave this kind of comment and yet, women put up with sexism all time time.
I won’t except off-topic sexist remarks or worse, when anatomy is being isolated in a comment like that as “Par for the course” or some of the toxic adjectives being used, as it makes it difficult to see the relevance on relevant topics this thread addresses.
That crude comment simply nurtures additional resolve and adds unnecessary fuel to the fire, instead of guiding someone to put the fire out?
I can only speculate that maybe the comment was made, because the author of that remark knew certain readers might appreciate a sexist remark like that.
It is one thing to expose real sexism that some abusers practice, but why do any of us have to lower ourselves to be so crude about the body parts of a man? (or a woman for that matter?)
I’m trying heal from the Spiritual Abuse my wife and I endured and I’m not finding refuge reading crude remarks or abusive adjectives.
Julie Anne, “It’s kind of interesting how 2 guys make note that a guy leave this kind of comment and yet, women put up with sexism all time time.”
yeah, I knew Headless was a man.
It shouldn’t make it right to make any sort of male or female sexist remark like that, regardless of who it is directed at whether it is a woman or a man.
I was raised be a single mom, I have a wife that happens to be a woman and 3 kids, 2 of which are women and I will not tolerate any person being sexiest toward them, so why should I have to put up with it?
If this thread is going to nurture or tolerate off-topic sexism using the male anatomy, (or female anatomy) please let me know, so I won’t be so appalled by a Headless’ comment.
Here’s a recent story of a violent abuser who was arrested, released from jail, then flew a plane into his house where his wife and children were present.
I’d like to know how the steps outlined in the scenario above would have prevented this violent offender from attempting to kill his wife and children.
How about this case of a man who was strangling (no choking as the article states) his partner and threatened to kill her and the kids. He had two restraining orders on record from previous relationships. One of the kids used a gun in the house to shoot him.
Outline for me the steps for keeping this woman and her children safe. I especially want to know how it goes when unsupervised time is reinstated.
What this scenario doesn’t include is that a violent offenders have abused way before the first time he acts out physically.
He grooms her. He introduces questions and doubts about herself. He makes her feel like she can’t live without him. He asserts control and power and normalizes it. He does all of this before he ever hits, pushes, scratches, or strangles. Abuse is so intense and powerful that it alters brain patterns. This is something that needs serious attention to detail in dealing with. More than looking at sin or lack of faith.
Aside from keeping him in jail, where he needed to be, I will suggest our society is losing its soul.
In this nation we have mayor’s (like in Oakland, Ca.) tipping off known criminals about a law enforcement making a raid.
We are a nation soft in crime, which might be the reason abuse didn’t shrink during the last Presidency and hasn’t shrunk now, simply because of political bickering.
I hope the feminist movement starts to lobby both Dems and Pubs to enforce “all” the laws in the books, instead of cherry picking the ones that hurt the others Political Agenda. Otherwise it won’t be long when Sharia Law becomes part of American culture. (though I think you are in Australia)
If we don’t enforce the law, it will be harder to stop abuse from expanding.
Heck in Anchorage, Alaska drivers speed up 300′ behind the intersection and run red lights,, the city even has a very long prolonged green light delay to allow drivers to run red lights. I say fine drivers $1500.00 they’ll stop running red lights and it will save lives.
But it goes deeper than that, when the economy is bad, it is harder for a woman to flee from abuse as she feels she has no means to support herself. (my own mom felt trapped years ago) In fact when the economy is bad, the woman seems to be abused a lot more than in a good one.
Then there is the drug/alcohol problems that at times nurtures abuse. As there are those that turn into snakes as not everyone is a happy drunk. So double the consumption tax on alcohol to pay for law enforcement.
Bullying is slowly beginning to be addressed in schools. Bullying has an adverse affect in childhood development and into adulthood, which can make the one who was bullied, be a bully themselves, when the bully isn’t reprimanded and turns into a retaliator toward new victims.
Judging by the way the man who attempted to kill his wife and kids, or by the way people verbally collide or when road rage occurs, no matter who is our running our churches or whoever our President is, or even the way some people who communicate even in this thread. it appears that 1 Cor. 13:13 is a verse that must’ve been put on the back shelf years ago.
1 Cor. 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”
Mentioning anatomy is crude not sexist. I believe hug uses this to make his points more pointed.
In a thread about abuse, it’s sad that the only thing some people truly care about is language. Do you have no thoughts on the topic?
Lea, thank you for sharing your version of sexism.
Everyone that has endured abuse has certain levels of tolerance, maybe yours (as well as others) is higher than most.
Maybe in this case being crude is more tolerable to you based on how it was referred, but it isn’t with me.
I think if someone referred to a female’s antonymy in the same way negative way as Headless referred a man’s, I’m sure the response in this thread would not only be referred as crude, but sexism among other choice words would be an appropriate label.
I also think they may end up with a time out or never allow to voice such non-sense on this thread again.
Though based on what you are saying, you must be immune to believing me.
Please don’t tell me you are going to be our Nanny on every thread. We already have KAS on other threads Tone Policing and tut-tutting us over language and attitudes he doesn’t want to see.
You’ve already mentioned on previous threads you don’t like certain types of language.
Months ago (I think this is before you were posting here), I asked Julie Anne would it be okay for me to use the anatomically correct term for male genitalia (I forget why I was posting about it, but I was using it in a mature sense, not to be gratuitous when posting a link to an article or whatever), and JA said that would be okay with her.
As far as I can see, the word “penis” is just a factual word used to describe a body part; it’s not a dirty word. (Penis. PENIS. Penis.)
There are a million slang terms for it, would you prefer HUG use “wang,” “ding dong,” or “johnson”?
One thing I cannot stand anymore about Christianity are the super duper, goody goody Christians who go into pearl-clutching mode over naughty words or anything even remotely sex related. (I’m more relaxed about this stuff than you, and I’m a celibate adult.)
I don’t see what was sexist about it or crude.
It’s a link HUG has used frequently on this blog and the other one the last few years.
To quote HUG on this again:
Since D objects to that line,
“Because he’s the one with the five o’clock shadow”
“Because he’s the one with the adam’s apple”
-that conveys the same concept, minus the supposedly scandalous “penis” word.
What HUG is doing is spot on – complementarians think men should rule just because they are men. That’s what he’s saying.
Complementarians try to sandwich that between appealing to the same few Bible verses, but it comes down to, they think men should rule just because they have penises, and they think anyone with a vagina / ovaries (more medical / anatomy terms, not obscene) should submit to a penis-holder.
Other than HUG’s remark, what specifically are you referring to? I’d like to see examples.
That came across as an insult to anyone on this blog who is not 100% Christian, so I resent that.
I wonder why you and KAS keep posting to this blog when you both disdain all the participants, how we post, our language, etc, and let us know this on every third thread.
You apparently do not like Non-Christians, don’t want to be around them, or anyone else who is not 100% Christian – and not everyone who posts here is totally Christian.
I’ve told KAS several times he’d enjoy posting to Christian forms such as CARM rather than here. But he keeps showing up to this site.
You and KAS insult people on this thread right and left, you just don’t use R-rated, crude language to do so.
Are nicely- worded put-downs better or more acceptable than crudely-worded ones? Is that how you roll?
“It’s a link HUG has used frequently on this blog and the other one the last few years.”
Should be, “It’s a LINE that HUG has used”
Hi folks — I’m going to ask that we halt the conversation about body parts. Not that I don’t think it’s important, but It is derailing the conversation about the topic at hand – Biblical counseling and abuse. Thank you!
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Lea said to D,
blockquote>In a thread about abuse, it’s sad that the only thing some people truly care about is language. Do you have no thoughts on the topic?
blockquote> No. Instead of responding to our points, D and KAS usually like to pick apart how we post, the language we use, or if we are posting with a pleasant disposition.
And this plays a part in why I am so uncomfortable talking to Christians about anything these days. A lot of them cannot or do not want to handle any strong emotion you may display in front of them.
They want to over-analyze your reaction (if they deem it to emotional they will tell you so), or, they try to parse it thru a theological grid and criticize if for supposedly falling short of some doctrinal purity, rather than just sitting with you and weeping while you weep.
Regarding some of the news stories Kathi shared, eg,
This is what a lot of Christian defenders of certain doctrines or views (eg, complementarianism or biblical counseling) cannot deal with – real life examples. They prefer to deal with the abstract.
As for KAS, if you had what I wrote to him you would’ve discovered that I didn’t think his “Par for the course” wasn’t very appropriate.
My own mom, went through Catholic counseling years ago and as a result didn’t feel welcomed being a divorced single woman. She had endured verbal abuse from men and women, some women even suggesting she should’ve been a man, which was cruel.
Trust me, I have purposely avoided to directly respond or counter anything you write, I haven’t read anything you have written for well over 2 months. The only reason why I’m responding to you now is I noticed my initial being isolated..
I have reviewed what I have written in this article and I haven’t referenced anything against a woman or you. This was suppose to be about Christian Counseling until it went into a different direction and not be me.
You can criticize or write anything you want about me and I will not respond as I will graciously concede.
Some of the things people say in this thread is mean and sometimes one sided, whereas some can write some rather outrageous crude things while others can’t or won’t.
Uhm, I’m a man, and HUG’s use of the word “penis” was not at all sexist to me. It was frank and unapologetic, certainly. But it’s a proper word (not crude slang), and I can’t see how his use of that word was “negative”, as you claim.
HUG’s point, as far as I understand him, was that “biblical counselling” tends to treat those with certain anatomy (i.e. men) with greater deference and leniency, and disregard an abused wife’s need for safety. Previously, rrprewitt wondered, “Why doesn’t Lambert call for informing the authorities and slapping an abusive husband with a restraining order?” HUG’s hypothesis: “Because Lambert is misogynistic and biased towards males.” That’s as far as I understood him.
If he meant any disparagement at all, it was most likely directed at Lambert and his brand of Christianese quackery. Not at men in general.
Kathi asked us not to mention body parts, but I disagree with you.
Had he not included body parts then I would not have considered him being sexist.
I have heard the term used by women, who think that way toward “all” men with the same stereotype.
Got it Kathi! I think SKIJ has said more or less what I would have except without the ‘as a man’ part 😉
I bolted out of an abusive Baptist c’hurch with an Assembly of God pastor man, who boasted about being more in tune with “the s’pirit” than the rest of us…..along with his “yes men and women comp leadership” viper team. The last sermon the authoritarian p’astor gave concernded the “jezebels” in the congregation, as he sneered while panning the pew sitters. When his “reviling gaze” rested upon me, I knew in me heart there was something demonic going on here, within his own soul, and within the ranks of the Nicolaitan system. The p’astor man’s gaze, to be perfectly honest, frightened me, due to the pride, the arrogance, the constant indoctrination of how we pew sitters were so “sinful” and would never reach the “spiritual elite levels/courts” of the leadership…..I call it “worm and squirm” theology.
The elite leadership became “god’s police” force, monitoring the behavior, the thought process, the lifestyles, and the beliefs of the lower laity pew sitters. They were literally “god’s police force” here on earth, sent out by what they believed was an indwelling of a holy spirit of sorts, to use whatever tools of the religious trade deemed necessary to make us “followers and believers” in their earthly/worldly wisdom/lifestyles……the “christianese” life. One of the woman deaconesses at least told me the truth when I asked her, “so when you deacons/deaconesses and church board members “befriend” individual families, do you take the information confided to you by these unaware families, to your church board meetings and pastor, so he has fodder for his sermons?” And she said, “I cannot deny that what you are saying isn’t true.” Another words, everything that we confided to them, regardless of gender, was discussed in the public forum of their love fests/meetings, and the pastor used and abused that information for his sermon series…..hence the sin, sin, and more sin (worm and squirm comp theology…..this was a comp c’hurch to its core). This same scenario happened when the licensed “biblical counselor” made her weekly pilgrimage to the c’hurch building where she counseled folks with “problems of living.” She reported back to the p’astor man, the supposed confidential information, to give him “insight” into the affairs of the pew sitters. “Biblical counseling (?)” at its finest moment……more fodder for the sinful p’astor man to use in tone policing/sin policing and shaming his pew sitters into subordination/submissiveness under his comp regime.
And what is worse, D, is that when individual sins were called out via the sermon elevated platform, the blind pew sitters actually believed this wolf in sheep’s clothing was “filled with the holy spirit” because he knew of their sins, their shortcomings, and their mistakes because they never confided these things to their p’astor…….kind of like Driscoll’s telepathy methodology. And so the superior “god’s police force” kept Jesus’ sheep in line with their superior tone policing, especially against those who would not bow down to the men and women in “leadership.”
That being said…..rapes were covered up all the while the rapist attended youth group with our daughters and sons (but the victims quit going and to our shame, we never noticed). The “god’s police force leadership’s” homes were filled with pornography, fornication, adultery, reviling, drunkenness, stealing, vandalism within the community, anger and bitterness, pride/boasting/bragging, lewd speech patterns within the c’hurch (I detested how the comp men spoke of this or that woman being fat, not dressing “right,” not bring the right “dish” to their pot blessed meals, and even mentioning certain women’s body parts as being “gross.”)
I have grown to detest and resist the pull of so called “god’s anointed/god’s police force” here on this earth due to the fact that double standards reign supreme in the mind’s and heart’s of those who do the policing. And also, for the record…..that AOG p’astor man was caught in a lie with proof of his texting, calling, and “counseling” women with whom he was pursuing for his own sexual gratification…….hence the “jezebel spirit” (sexual sin/impropriety) was upon him with his seered conscience as if with a “branding iron,” not upon the rest of us innocent sheep who had to listen to this wickedness. And the “c’hurch board” wanted him to go through counseling for a few months and reinstate him back to his p’astorate position……this is what happens with wicked and evil l’eadership who love the sins of their p’astor and the sins of their own “police force” homes.
So when I read and hear comments to tone police with direct or subtle words, I am reminded of my former abusive Baptist church filled with comp folks who have not been set free by our Living Savior, Jesus Christ. The double mindedness, the double standards, per James 1:8, concerning the lifestyles, the beliefs, including their own speech patterns of the c’hristian elite verses us laity worms, was absolutely mind boggling………
oh, but when comp l’eadership was called out on their “sins,” the first response was a “righteous anger,” utilized to intimidate the lower level believer on their Babylonian high tower. Next came the “mercy and grace” topical sermons, followed by the “forgiveness” sermons…..and that young lady that was raped by the c’hurch board presidents son (the mother was a deaconess and both were close friends to the sex pervert p’astor man)…..well……she was and is still currently “vilified” within their wicked assembly. She was supposed to “forgive, move on with her life, and continue to “fellowship” with the cult members.” She, as well as their whole family, left that abusive c’hurch as well…..so yes, there is a God, Who sees the injustice of it all.
The ill speech patterns of which you tone here, are quite alive and well within the hearts and minds of faithful c’hurch members/attendees who love the praises of man. The gross speech that I have been a target of….comes from male doctors, dentists, teachers, clergymen, neighbors and friends (give some of these comp men a few beers, then listen to the way in which these c’hurch men speak of their wives and women in general…….it gives me the proverbial creeps) and even my own comp husband.
The fruits of comp theology……degrading women to the lowest point to keep them under the rule/lordship of men who deem themselves as being “more enlightened by a spirit of sorts,” as opposed to the person of the Holy Spirit.
I personally do not mind, nor take offense at HUG’S intentional puns, D, because frankly, I experience far, far, far worse from self righteous, pious/prideful, arrogant comp c’hurch men who travel this earth with their own “perverted and twisted freedom of speech” patterns who insult women and their body parts on a daily basis. Jesus Words, “out of the heart the mouth speaks,” make this believer wonder what the comp man’s mind dwells on all day long……Jesus sees, for not one can will ever fool Him.
So Thankful, incredibly grateful for the Way in which Jesus treated women…..He gives me the Hope, the confidence and the individual worth, that I need to survive in this world of apostate c’hurchism.
Note to Kathi……if my comment thread is not respectful to your post, please delete it and know, that I will not be offended nor hurt in any way, for I will still honor your ministry here. 🙂
What a mess, Katy. I think one of the things that bothers me so much about this biblical counseling is the realization that these people don’t understand that information shared in counseling should be private! Even if I weren’t so familiar with the clinical mh practices, I would find this shocking. It’s downright terrible practice, especially used in an abusive fashion as your pastor seems to have done (rather than just general gossipyness, as reported above by someone else). This is a real problem.
There are a lot of SWers, psychologists, psychiatrists, MFTs, etc who are Christians. If that matters to you in counseling, by all means find one. But find someone who will not treat your information so poorly and who has some proper training.
Thank you for sharing.
I did experience first hand what you are talking about about biblical counseling. It first started when I went to a bible study conducted by an interim Pastor. I questioned heavy handed Calvinistic Westboro type of tactics and the lack of love and toxic words happening in our churches and why are people saying mean sinful things to each other in churches.
(A few months later I found out the Interim Pastor was a Hyper-Calvinist, who appointed the Hyper-Calvinist that shrunk the Congregation down to 5)
The Interim Pastor then gets behind the Pulpit and proclaims that some people need their ears tickled, looking at me in the eye. I nearly proclaimed to him that his heavy handed aggressive personality is probably why his first wife left him.
Katy, I grew up with a single mom who was judged and endured rejection and verbal criticism from both men and women, She worked hard and did the best she could and even dealt with some women saying “she should’ve been a man” which is cruel. But her dignity didn’t waver as she instilled in us kids to have a higher standard when we communicate and how we treat others. She was a feminist and I admired her strength as she always held her ground.
I take offense to graphic “puns” as we are surrounded by them and yes I have heard worse as it is the way of the land.
But when does it stop? Who leads by example? It certainly not going to happen here on this thread, as it seems most of the contributors are rallying around him, acting like it is me with the problem.
But then sometimes the abused become numb to graphic “puns” and end up becoming new and more formidable abusers in their own right.
Pretty messed up if you ask me.
D – Kathi asked that we not discuss this topic – it’s derailing the subject of her post. Please honor her request.
D, could you maybe also stop assuming everyone who disagrees with you has been abused? Thanks.
I know everyone on this thread hasn’t been abused so I’m not making that assumption. I think you had already mentioned it a long time ago, but thanks.
One thing that stood out to me in the quote from Lambert’s material in the original post is that he doesn’t seem to consider the possibility that the steps he has outlined may not (in fact, probably will not) proceed smoothly to his “happy ending” scenario. My daughter and her (now-ex) abusive spouse went to a “biblical counselor” (actually he was one of the trainers of other counselors) and his stated objective was to bring them back under the same roof. He tried to teach them “communication skills” and “problem solving” techniques. While he recognized that there had been abuse, he easily accepted the spin that the abuser put on his behavior… i.e. anything on his part that might be seen as abusive was only because she caused him to act that way, you can’t believe anything she says, she’s just nit-picking, etc. In the end, the counselor’s goal was accomplished and they stayed together for another 9 years of total misery on her part. The emotional, physical, and spiritual damage done to her and the children during those years cannot be calculated. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of the lasting harm that was done.
Mary27 – I’m so sorry to hear of your daughter’s situation. Thank you for confirming the goal of the Biblical counselor. It breaks my heart that this another form of abuse heaped upon a victim of domestic abuse.
Exactly what kind of training do “biblical counselors” get and how does it compare to a counseling degree someone would get from an accredited institution? Has anyone ever drawn up a comparison?
Secondly, what kind of laws are there governing biblical counseling, to protect clients? Are there any?
Wartburg Watch blog did a series on Biblical Counseling, and I think one of two of their posts answered some of the questions you’re asking.
_TWW Blog on Biblical Counseling_
Also, Shy1, you might find answers to some of your questions on Warren Throckmorton’s blog, under his biblical counseling tag (he has a lot of posts about the subject on his site):
_Biblical Counseling Posts on WT’s Blog_
MB said (among other things) “If I am anxious, is that a mental illness? [On a separate, but related note, the Bible, of course, does discuss anxiety (and depression, and …)] If I am a little anxious on my first day at school, am I mentally ill? Is a little anxiety a mental illness? A medium amount? If I am shy, am I mentally ill? I am, according to the DSM V.”
MB, based upon your observations and arguments, I don’t feel that you really have an understanding of the issues involved. Perhaps you don’t have any family members who are mentally ill or have not had friends who did. Psychological issues and mental health issues are serious and very complex. I think that if you are really concerned with this issue of secular vs biblical counseling, you should take some classes (actual, accredited classes) on human behavior and counseling, and learn about it. Then your arguments (if you still had any) would come from a place of knowledge and understanding.
Thanks, Daisy, I will check those out.
Daisy, I am reading the Wartburg Watch article and I am just incredulous. A person can get a certification in “biblical counseling” online, with no in-person training! There is no study of human behavior, child development, or any other psychological study. There is no testing of persons desiring to be biblical counselors to weed out the personality disordered. There are no educational requirements or prerequisites!
“All counseling should focus on identifying sin, changing behavior to overcome that sin, and making one’s life more in line with what the Bible outlines.”
Oh my goodness. Even the Bible does not teach that as being the right way to go about life! Good luck! You will be trapped in an endless cycle of trying to clean up the “old man’s” behavior, failing, feeling worse, ad infinitum. “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” We are meant to fix our eyes on Jesus, not on our own sin. And I love that ridiculously naive line “changing behavior to overcome that sin” – oh dear… This is like the instruction manual for a life of bondage.
Oh, goodness, this is a recipe for disaster, both for a person’s faith AND for their psychological well-being. I am sitting here with my jaw dropped trying to imagine someone who has done some online courses coming up against a devious person with serious psychological issues. It’s like sending a lamb to slaughter. They would never even know how they had been manipulated and used. Or, a person who has serious psychological issues getting this certificate, giving them a license to meddle in other peoples’ lives! Unbelievable! Frankly, this should be illegal. At the very least, they should have to give a disclaimer to anyone coming to them, that they have NO training in anything that would make them capable of counseling anyone.