Encouraging thoughts on forgiveness and grief

Back in September I published a post called “Here’s an abuse survivor’s plea about nouthetic ‘Biblical’ counseling.” You can see it here.

In that post, the anonymous writer gave some astute words about the demand for forgiveness that’s so common in nouthetic/”admonishing” counseling. She said she was told she needed to forgive the childhood sexual abuse perpetrated on her before she even understood what it was she was forgiving.  

The Lord tells us we should forgive, yes. But in cases of great betrayal, it takes time even to understand what it was that has occurred. 

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Getting help with an “angry husband,” according to “Biblical counseling”

Note: The “Biblical counseling” being critiqued here is actually nouthetic/admonishing counseling. There are many people who counsel Biblically who do not counsel this way.

This is the third and final installment in a series of articles of commentary on Caroline Newheiser’s lecture “Lving with an Angry Husband,” which you can listen to at this link here (and I especially encourage you to listen to it if you think I may be misrepresenting what Caroline says).

Part One of this commentary series is here (link) and Part Two is here (link).

In her lecture, Caroline Newheiser explains the “right way” for a woman to ask for help with her angry (cruel) husband, and how church people should help. Continue reading

Don’t be a martyr, but do suffer in your marriage to an angry husband (and other “Biblical counseling”)

Yesterday I applied Caroline Newheiser’s lecture “Living with an Angry Husband” (link) to the wife of Devin Patrick Kelley, the man who shot and killed 26 people in a Texas church on November 5, 2017. It is a lecture that sounds a very uncertain call to the church, with contradictory counsel. Through the whole time I listened to it, I kept taking off my glasses to rub my aching temples. You can read that Part One commentary here (link). Continue reading

Should Texas church shooter’s wife have gotten “Biblical counseling”? #churchtoo

Note: I put the term “Biblical counseling” in quotation marks not because I believe it’s wrong to counsel with the Bible. (Just the opposite is true, in fact.) But rather, because a certain group of people (nouthetic/”admonishing” counselors) have co-opted this term to apply to their style of counseling, when other counseling that uses the Bible (sometimes called “Christian counseling”) could also be called Biblical counseling.

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Recently I listened to a lecture from Caroline Newheiser from the Institute of Biblical Counseling and Discipleship (IBCD) summer 2017 conference (link). I wanted to hear it for two reasons: In this talk Caroline was teaching other “Biblical counselors” (that is, nouthetic/”admonishing” counselors) how to counsel on the topic “Living with an Angry Husband” (link), and this information is pertinent to my interactions. And also, Caroline is the wife of Jim Newheiser, who is now the Director of the Christian Counseling Program at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC (about whom I’ve heard some interesting things) and a respected teacher in her own right. Continue reading

Your granddaughter wants to tell you about her rape: a message to kind Christian grandparents #youtoo

Note: This post was born not because I have any particular grandparents in mind, but simply from the fact that so many young people are speaking to me about their rapes. I wish they could speak to you.

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You love your granddaughter. You may be wondering what’s been wrong with her lately, why she’s having all those physical problems, or why she suddenly seems to be going off the cliff in her bizarre behavior, or why her parents won’t say much to you about her, or why she’s suddenly avoiding you. Continue reading

John Piper’s gossip post needs Part 2, to address double standards

When our daughter was a teenager, I remember her coming to Tim and me in tears over what some peers of hers were talking about. Turns out one of the peers had just informed another, when my daughter was part of the conversation, that a teenager they both knew was pregnant outside of marriage. They were laughing over it. Laughing. It was very clear they didn’t care about the girl at all, but found the information quite juicy.

This is perhaps one of the most stark cases of gossip I’ve seen, and this is what came into my mind when I read John Piper’s recent post about gossip (link), in which he concludes, with Scripture, that gossip is idle talk about others engaged in by those who are “motivated by pride that loves the delicious feeling of being in the know” who are “indifferent to what the destructive effects may be.” He also observes that in many cases the gossiper actually maliciously desires a destructive effect.

I thought his presentation was Scriptural and sensible.

But I believe John Piper’s gossip post left some gaps, because I see huge problems in our churches regarding gossip that weren’t addressed: Continue reading