Friday, March 18, 2005

Reading More than a Big Bible

Robert Parham, Executive Director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, is undergoing treatment for leukemia. We are grateful his doctors learned how to read the results of modern medical research. We pray for the success of his treatment and for his rapid recovery.

Understandably, the conference that Parham was organizing on "Living from the Big Bible: Reshaping American Politics" has been postponed until he recovers.

BCE continues to provide the best daily religious news and analysis on the net. A good example is Keith Herron's column on "Is Biblical Counseling Biblical?" revealing how inadequate Southern Seminary's new approach to psychological education will be.

It's too bad that Southern Baptists no longer believe that their counselors should learn to read the results of modern psychological research. Wayne Oates used to provide an outstanding example of reading psychological research in light of a biblical understanding of humanity.

4 comments:

Tig said...

Having taught psychology at the high school level for twelve years it is ridiculous to ignore the current research in this area. Going back to the stone age is not the answer to the stress and economic pressures today's people are facing. There is much to criticize about psychologists, but by applying their findings with a biblical understanding is much better than dismissing it completely.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid the caricature presented here of what Southern Seminary is doing with their biblical counseling program is not what they say about it themselves. While Keith Herron's article makes some very fine points, to say "To disregard other realms of knowledge as tools to compliment the traditional biblical faith is arrogant," is a gross misrepresentation of what Southern Seminary "says" it will be doing. In fact they say they WILL be using other realms of knowledge to complement biblical faith. Why doesn't this column give links to the Baptist Press columns which say the exact opposite of what Herron claims Southern's (as yet unimplemented) program will be? That would be honest journalism.

Being disinfranchised by the Southern Baptist Right is no excuse for dishonest journalism, and it makes moderates look as hysterical as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. (I too have been disinfranchised by the Southern Baptist Right, and I am certainly not attempting to defend them.) But I personally doubt Southern's program will be the equivalent of a Bob Jones education. More likely they simply want to guarantee their counseling program takes a pro-life and pro-heterosexual orientation stand - positions that haven't always been uniformly advocated in Southern Baptist seminaries.

S.

THilton said...

Keith Herron's article on Biblical Counseling is inadequate at best. I know personally that some of those who teach biblical counseling spend significant amounts of time familiarizing students with the DSM IV and the various realms of psychology. But they don't stop there either. They teach what is inadequate about various approaches. Biblical counselors are taught how the categories in the DSM IV can be helpful to recognize the symptoms that the counselee is experiencing. But, the diagnosis is not to be found in Freud's psychanalytic theory or Maslow's behavoirism, but in Jesus Christ Himself. You can call that stone-age if you want to, but I think Brian "Head" Welch's recent conversion to Christ is evidence of the power of the gospel to transform lives (and deliver people like Welch who tryed "everything else" to stop using methanphetamines).

Herron makes claims of mass dissappointment on the part of those who have recieved biblical counseling. How does he know this? Did he do a national study or survey on the subject? Did he try using the methods of biblical counseling himself?

Where is the critism of pastors that continue to use the integrationist approach to counseling? Are people ever "disappointed" with their approach? Many times people with "complicated problems" are refered by pastors to the therapists for a "quick fix solution". What about the countless numbers of people in our churches who are medicated for life on drugs that many times only hide the problem under the radar that they are dealing with? Recent studies have shown that children and adults are highly overmedicated. Does this not call for a reevaluation of approaches that are currently practiced?

Invoking the name of Wayne Oates into one's question of a particular approach does not prove anything. I'm sure Wayne Oates was a godly man who has since gone on to be with the Lord. But is every seminary obligated to keep the same approach just because a good professor taught that approach?

Tig said...

Freud just renamed what the Bible had already explained. He divided the Human personna into the Super Ego, Ego and Id. The Bible calls them Spirit, Soul and Flesh. A good understanding of Maslow's heirarchy of needs only reinforces the importance of religion in a person's life. Self Actualization cannot be achieved without it.
I can remember over the past 25 years all the people who said the moral mafia aren't the wolves in sheeps clothing that the moderates claimed they were, give them the benefit of the doubt. Well they have proven to be more ruthless, arrogant, criminal and merciless that the people who were warning about them said they were. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
Twenty-seven years ago I was divorced, and a year later met my wife. I went to counciling from the pastor of my church for my second marriage, his only advise was to reconcile with my ex-wife and refusal to perform the ceremony. The man was an idiot. I have been happily married for twenty-six years, have two children and a grandchild no thanks to him and his stone age wisdom. I had to reconcile that the only army left in the world that still shoots its wounded is the Christian army, and continue to attend services even though I would be treated as a second class citizen. The Southern Baptist Convention may have found me unworthy to be a missionary, but God has used me to influence the lives of my students, many of them can now read, analyze, reason, and are leading productive lives, and I feel that I have in a limited and very small way helped contribute to that. I haven't been able to evangelize, but I have used Psychology, World History, and Law to teach the importance of religious belief in a generic sense.