No “digging up the past” allowed: a response to nouthetic (“Biblical”) counseling

Sometimes I talk with people who want healing and help from the Lord but are hesitant to “dig up the past” or who have counselors who don’t want them to “dig up the past.” For a while now, maybe over a year, I’ve been mulling over that pejorative expression.

“Digging up the past” to me conjures a picture of going to a graveyard to dig up the bones or even the rotting corpse of something that needed to be left underground to decompose the way it’s supposed to. A perverted and possibly very harmful activity. Continue reading “No “digging up the past” allowed: a response to nouthetic (“Biblical”) counseling”

Reflections on my 61st birthday: “Why don’t I ever meet those people?”

In the early- to mid-1990s, we sat in our first church small group. (We’d been wanting small groups in our previous independent Baptist church, but the pastor wouldn’t allow them.)

This first one for us was at Bean Blossom Mennonite Church—which I’ve blogged about before, here—the church with the “Strangers Expected” sign over the front door, the church where the entire congregation sang in four-part harmony, the first church I joined where the women wore pants, where I couldn’t possibly bring myself or allow my daughter to do the same, a now-embarrassing memory that maybe I can explore one day in a therapist’s chair. Continue reading “Reflections on my 61st birthday: “Why don’t I ever meet those people?””

Should The Master’s University insist on loyalty to authority more than care for the oppressed?

Last fall “Jane Doe” told her story of rape and its coverup at John MacArthur’s school The Master’s University. I wrote a commentary that referenced it here.

At the beginning of this school year, John MacArthur made reference to this story in his opening remarks. You can listen to them here.

This past weekend Marci Preheim, who hosted “Jane’s” story on her blog, showed some of MacArthur’s statements, with her corrections. You can see them below, and posted on Twitter here. Continue reading “Should The Master’s University insist on loyalty to authority more than care for the oppressed?”

Thoughts on conspiracies and conspiracy theorists, inspired by the Thomas Chantry trial

I’ve been reading about the Thomas Chantry trial at Thou Art the Man, and the shameful cover-ups of his abuse of young boys. Such a similar story to so many others, so many broken lives, so many years, so much harm, so much evil behavior from those who claim to represent Christ. Continue reading “Thoughts on conspiracies and conspiracy theorists, inspired by the Thomas Chantry trial”

Cleanse your guilty conscience, get grace, and other solutions to the noisy soul (a response to Jim Berg, Part 3)

Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here.

In Quieting a Noisy Soul, author Jim Berg declares that the cause of the noisy soul is your sin: your unbelief, your discontent, and your guilty conscience (and as it turns out, your pride and your stubbornness). Throughout his nouthetic counseling teachings (nowadays called “Biblical counseling”), he assumes that the situation or person the counselee would have thought was causing the noisy soul is not a legitimate concern, but is instead simply the catalyst for sin in the heart, “a lust for more.” Continue reading “Cleanse your guilty conscience, get grace, and other solutions to the noisy soul (a response to Jim Berg, Part 3)”

The Solutions to the Noisy Soul – a response to Jim Berg – (Part 2)

Jim Berg claims that this nouthetic counseling program Quieting a Noisy Soul presents the solutions to anxiety, despair, obsessive compulsive behavior, panic attacks, anorexia, bulimia, and other problems.

Part 1 of this series covered the Problem (the noisy soul) and the Cause of the problem according to Jim Berg’s nouthetic counseling: your sin, specifically, your unbelief and your guilty conscience. “Noisy souls,” says Berg, “are self-absorbed souls.”  Continue reading “The Solutions to the Noisy Soul – a response to Jim Berg – (Part 2)”

An absolute must if you want to deeply help others in the church

Diane Langberg, preeminent Christian psychologist, counselor, and writer, has said many times, “Trauma is the mission field of the 21st century.” I’d change it slightly to say traumatized people are the mission field of the 21st century (since you can’t give the gospel to trauma, but you can give it to traumatized people), but I understand her point.

Why is it that one of the foremost evangelical Christian counselors of our day is saying this? Because especially in the complacent, comfortable Western world, trauma is increasing at exponential rates.

In the U.S., this would be in part because our government has been sending young men and women into combat without any letup for the past 15 years. Though I’d be up to a robust debate about the morality of this situation, that’s not the point here. The point here is that in the war environment they are being traumatized. Continue reading “An absolute must if you want to deeply help others in the church”

“The unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the believer”? Examining 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 (Part Two)

Yesterday I posted Part One of this study of some Scriptures that can be hard to understand, in response to a heartfelt letter from a reader. The questions I said I wanted to address were:

  • If any unbelieving spouse wants to keep living in the house, does that mean the believing spouse has no choice but to let him stay?
  • Can the believer actually make the unbelieving spouse holy?
  • Does a believer staying with an unbelieving spouse mean the children will be born again?
  • Should the believer persevere with the unbelieving spouse in hopes that she will be the cause of his salvation?

Continue reading ““The unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the believer”? Examining 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 (Part Two)”