Biblical Counseling “Authorities” Hijack Luther

Dee at TWW tipped me to this.

I’ll elaborate more later this week, but–dang–Heath Lambert runs totally off the rails.

Using his reasoning, no one should ever accept any form of modern medicine for anything, because its prescription never mentions Jesus.

The issue here isn’t Biblical Counseling, but rather this inane cabal that purports to put constraints on it.

Fact is, you can provide the best, solid Biblical counsel to a client who is determined to know the truth. But if that client does not have his or her faculties–and sometimes that requires meds, and sometimes those meds must be taken for the duration of one’s life–then such a client lacks the capacity to begin to receive the counsel.

Ergo, medications may be complimentary–bringing a client to the place where he or she can “come reason together” in the first place–to Biblical counseling.

We can argue all day about the origin of certain disorders–bipolar, schizophrenia, chronic depression, etc. I would not deny that sin is often an exacerbating factor, if not a contributory factor, to clients with some of these conditions. At the same time, that does not change the reality on the ground: many clients, without taking psychotropic medications as-directed by a physician, are simply not going to be able to receive counsel, whereas with the meds, they are able.

I have seen this dynamic up-close and personal, more time than I can dare count. These folks have included good friends, people I’ve known from work, as well as people I’ve known in various Church and parachurch settings. I am not a licensed therapist, nor am I a “certified Biblical counselor”. I am a Christian who is a serious student of Scripture who, as I get older, continue to gain great appreciation for the severity of the impact of sin, and the consequences of the Fall, including the curse of the earth, on all aspects of our humanity.

To suggest that this cannot impact brain chemistry–and that there is no place for medical therapy in the process of recovery–is ludicrous.

My question to those who subscribe to Jay Adams and Heath Lambert: given a client who is bipolar who clearly does not have his or her faculties, would you rather (a) have them go to a doc and get his or her meds straightened out and then, once they gain their faculties, reason with them; or (b) let them continue in their irrational patterns, and potentially wind up doing something incredibly destructive, potentially including suicide and/or murder?

2 thoughts on “Biblical Counseling “Authorities” Hijack Luther

  1. It is a fundamental misunderstanding of the sufficiency of scripture. I see Roman Catholics do the same thing all the time. “The Bible doesn’t teach us to do brain surgery, therefore it is insufficient.” Even the Family Integrated Churches have hijacked that term to argue that fifth grade Sunday Schools are unscriptural, and should not be allowed. Coming out of the Reformation, the phrase “The Sufficiency of Scripture” referred to the Roman Catholic Church binding certain doctrines to the conscience of God’s people that were not found in scripture. The Protestants revolted against that, arguing that scripture was sufficient to define what one needed to believe to be a Christian. Therefore, it is an utter abuse of the term to make it apply to treating schizophrenia in the psychiatric ward or to fifth grade Sunday School. In fact, what I find so ironic is that this phrase “The Sufficiency of Scripture” was one of the things used to free people in the Middle Ages from the legalism of Rome. Now it is being used to again put people in a dangerous legalistic bondage. While it is certainly true that the Christian will do psychiatry or Sunday School different because he believes in the ultimate authority of scripture, and the Christian pastor will recognize a spiritual dimension to psychiatric disease which he is able to deal with, to bring “the sufficiency of scripture” into this discussion is an a-historical red herring. It does nothing more that to increase the power and influence of intellectuals in theology to the fields of psychiatry and neuroscience – areas they have no buisness butting their nose into, because they don’t know what they are doing.

    I can give an example of the dangers of this. I had someone tell me an incident where one of these guys like the author of this piece who was a deacon in a church told someone with a schizophrenia-like disease that taking the medicine his doctor prescribed for him would be like doing nothing more than drinking alcohol, because it was/is a GABA agonist. Now, anyone who even has basic information abut neuropharmacology is rolling on the floor laughing and gasping in horror all at the same time. Needless to say, he didn’t take his medicine, and ended up in the hospital. The deacon simply said that he didn’t tell the guy to not take his medicine; he only told him that it would be like doing nothing more than drinking alcohol. The reality is that he should have kept his mouth shut, because he didn’t know what he was talking about as he had never studied neuropharmacology. This is the danger of this abuse of “the sufficiency of scripture.” It puts people in positions of power who don’t have a clue what they are talking about, and creates very dangerous situations for people under their care. It is nothing more than bad theology used to increase the power of these intellectuals. But it will come at a *very* high cost.

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