Hebrews 6:4: A Brief Exposition

FeaturedHebrews 6:4: A Brief Exposition

There are many verses in Sacred Scripture that bring various perspectives about the life and position of the believer. One such verse is Hebrews 6:4-6, which states the following:

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame (NASB).

There are those who make the case that if one who claims they are saved, and they who have fallen away were not really Christian. One such podcast, making a connection with the Book of Hebrews and connecting it with the Lord’s Supper mentions that the verbs (i.e., actions) of those who the author of Hebrews has addressed are in this past tense stating that “they tasted, but they did not eat.” The author then completes his thought by expressing the following statement

“…So church members who forsake the ministry of the word and the sacrament really fall away from something important, the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit united to these means. So, dangerous thing.”

Michael Horton (2018). Does Hebrews 6:4 Teach We Can Lose Our Salvation? Core Christianity. Retrieved from https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/episodes/losing-your-salvation-in-hebrews-6

In the notes concerning the show he also writes the following paragraph:

There is a difference between tasting and eating. When we come to worship and we hear Christ Himself say, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, I will give you rest,”when we’re baptized, when we come to the Lord’s Supper, Paul says “This bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? This cup that we bless is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?” And so, [the question is], are you really participating by faith? Are you really receiving Christ with all of his benefits? Or are you just receiving the means, going through the motions but rejecting the reality offered to you? The real thing that should be encouraging to people is [Hebrews chapter 6] verse 9, “Though we speak in this way yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things, things that belong to salvation.”

Michael Horton (2018). Does Hebrews 6:4 Teach We Can Lose Our Salvation? Core Christianity. Retrieved from https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/episodes/losing-your-salvation-in-hebrews-6

In the general context of Hebrews the author, in the last part of chapter five, has just given the Jewish believers an admonishment stating that they ought to be teachers, but because they are “dull of hearing” they need a recap of the doctrines they were taught previously (Heb. 5:11-12). The author then explains they need milk, like an infant because they are still not accustomed to solid food (v. 13). The author then tells them what the solid food is, that they would have their senses constantly trained to discern truth from error (v. 14). It is on the heels of this thought that chapter six begins.

The author at the beginning of chapter six stated the Jewish believers needed to press on to maturity, not laying a foundation of repentance from dead works to serve a living God (the audience the author was addressing was already standing on this foundation of repentance) (Heb. 6:1). He then mentions some of the doctrines they discussed: The washings (more likely the washings refer to identification: being sanctified  by Christ and His Holy Spirit; c.f. 1 Cor. 6:7; Tit. 3:5), laying on of hands (perhaps an ability to manifest the Holy Spirit for the common good that came by this practice (c.f., 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6)), the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment (eschatological teaching) (v. 4). The author then expressed that they would continue to teach these things as God permitted them to do so (v. 5). 

Then the author of Hebrews then began to lay out an argument by telling the Jewish believers it is impossible (lit. “not possible”) to have been illumined by the truth of God’s word, namely the gospel of Jesus Christ,  have been indwelt with the Holy Spirit and made alive in Christ (i.e., the powers of the age to come) and fall away to renew them again to repentance (due to the fact they believed the message of the Messiah and His work for them) when they crucify themselves to the Son of God putting Him to open shame. The author then gives an example found in the culture with farming. When rain falls on soil that is tilled and cultivated, it brings forth vegetation that is useful to all, and this results in a blessing from God (v. 7). By contrast, the author brings up if the ground produces weeds and things that are not beneficial then they will be cut down and burned (v. 8).

The intent of the author of Hebrews is not making a case for saints forsaking the ministry of  Lord’s Supper in this text (matter of fact the term “Lord’s Supper” is not even mentioned here). He is making the case for effective works among God’s saints. The author of Hebrews is telling them to leave the elementary teachings of Christ and press on to maturity (this word in Greek is τελειότης (teleiotes), and this is associated with being full grown or complete). In addition, the author of Hebrews affirmed they are saved from God’s wrath. They know the elementary doctrines of Scripture, and now the deeds they were to do were to be fueled by the doctrines they were assured. The Jewish believers were to be effective in their serving others, and in the end, this would result in a reward from God at the proper time. However, those who are believers who do not labor well, end up giving a “black eye” to the message of the gospel, their works become ineffective to all who are around and ultimately will result in loss of rewards from God.

This point the author of Hebrews is making is underscored in the proceeding verses noted below:

9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Heb. 6:9-12 NASB emphasis mine).

The author of Hebrews says to the “beloved” (this word is only used for believers) concerning them and the things that accompany (or belong to) salvation that God will not forget their work as they have ministered to His saints. The author then expressed his desire: That they continue to be diligent due to the realization of their assurance, and not to be sluggish (the Greek word is νωθρός (nothros), which in this context lit. means “lazy”), not to fall away and thus be ineffective to the service of the Lord, but to imitate those saints who labored knowing they were destined to inherit these promises God made to them.

These verses, in context, are not discussing how a believer can lose their salvation nor is the author discussing dangerous territory if a believers do not take the Lord’s Supper (in fact from the text the author of Hebrews, in context, is making a case against this, nor is this verse discussing the consequence of denying the Lord’s Supper, which is not mentioned). This passage is meant to be an encouragement to the Jewish believers to continue to be effective in their labor for the Lord, not to slack, but to be diligent. In this work, the one who labors well honors the word of God and will be rewarded by God in the future.

Let us take the wisdom of God through the author of Hebrews to heart. Let us be effective for Him. In this, we serve our brothers and sisters in the faith and ultimately be rewarded for our service, for His glory. Amen.

Until next time…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S.

 

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The Theological Implications of The Song “God Is A Woman”

The Theological Implications of The Song “God Is A Woman”

On the way home from fellowship at my local church, my daughter and I enjoy listening to music. On a particular occasion, my daughter, who was dancing in her seat began to hear a song on the radio and without warning quickly changed the tuner. I asked her why was she changing the radio station, and she said that she did not like the new Ariana Grande song that was out, which she said was titled, “God Is A Woman.” I had said to her that this was a good time to listen to the song and examine from the lyrics what Ariana Grande was attempting to communicate with a song like this. I turned it back to the station, and my daughter and I listened intently to the song in question and discussed some of the themes that were found in the song. These themes that I discussed with my daughter are observed below:

  • The “source of authority” for God is Ariana Grande: When an artist makes music, most of the time the lyrics of the song reflect the worldview of the artist. This is especially true when the music video is seen. The very title gives away the point she is making in the song, however, the shots of the music video are very telling. For example in almost every scene when Ariana Grande is either larger than everything (e.g., her sitting on top of the globe controlling weather patterns) or she is in the center of everything (such as in the center of what looks like a circle of where a ritual, which is focused around her is happening). In the song (and video), she is representative of all women, encouraging them to feel empowered and strengthened by who they are. This is somewhat expressed in the lyrics below:

(Yeah) And I can be all the things you told me not to be (Yeah) When you try to come for me, I keep on flourishing (Yeah) And he see the universe when I’m the company.

Grande, A. (2018). “God is a woman.” Retrieved from https://genius.com/Ariana-grande-god-is-a-woman-lyrics

The source of authority that Ariana Grande uses is herself, and she comes to a conclusion because she is female that she is “all-powerful,” in control, and “god-within.” She states this as one of the themes in an interview when she says the following:

Its about female energy, its about feminine energy, being responsible for the whole creation of the universe…its within.

Sang. Z,. (2018). “Ariana grande talks god is a woman.” The zach sang show.  Retreived from:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOTPgR9zYUI

Once more the standard by which she uses to make this claim is herself. That her strengths, and the mere fact that she is a woman, gives her a deified perception of herself and females in general.

  • The sexual attitude of the Song: The sexual references of the song speak loud and clear in the lyrics themselves as noted below:

You, you love it how I move you You love it how I touch you, my one When all is said and done You’ll believe God is a woman And I, I feel it after midnight A feelin’ that you can’t fight, my one It lingers when we’re done You’ll believe God is a woman.

Grande, A. (2018). “God is a woman.” Retrieved from https://genius.com/Ariana-grande-god-is-a-woman-lyrics

The message is after a man engages in sexual intercourse with a woman, he will see that she is more than meets the eye. In fact, for the man, it will be almost a spiritual experience (i.e., worship) for him when they engage in sexual intercourse. Ariana Grande mentions this as well in her interview about the song:

Ariana Grande: But God is A Woman its not actually about God.

Interviewer: Yeah its about the power of a woman.

Ariana Grande: …and  f**king.

Sang. Z,. (2018). “Ariana grande talks god is a woman.” The zach sang show.  Retreived from:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOTPgR9zYUI

This is also seen in the video with the sexual innuendos in the lyrics and in most of the shots in the music video. These are also themes which are seen in the progressive feminist movements where sexual expression and oppression of women were issues that were protested in society. However, when it comes to this song, and the messages it expresses about women there are several things that must be noted.

  1. The title of the song itself: Ariana Grande says that the song is not actually about God, however, the title of the song is making a theological claim, whether she knows it or not, or wants to admit this or not. She has stated one of the themes for the song is women being responsible for the whole creation of the universe. That woman gives life (and takes away life), the woman gives pleasure (and give pain). According to this title, women are the Life itself. However, according to the biblical worldview, it is true that women are resourceful, intelligent, and valuable to society, but not because they are gods within, but that they are created by God, who gives life because He is life (Gen. 1:27; 2:22; 1 John 5:11). This gives every single female intrinsic value and worth.
  2.  The emphasis on sexual intercourse: This was a theme Ariana Grande highlighted in her song and mentioned that sexuality is part of what it means to be a female and that women should be able to break out of traditional cultural constructs, express, and define sexuality the way they choose. This is also what the song and the music video underscored.  According to the biblical worldview, it is also true that men and women were designed by God for sexual intercourse (within a monogamous marital relationship) not just for procreation (Gen. 1:28), but to enjoy and pleasure one another as well (c.f., Prov 5:15-19). However, sexuality does not make up a female’s identity, instead, a woman should find their identity in the true God, who has created them, died for them, and wants women to be known and honored for virtuous deeds and character, not their sexuality (c.f., Prov. 31:10-31; 1 Tim. 2:9-10).
  3. Doubled-Mindedness in her message: Ariana Grande, in an interview discussing some of the imagery in the music video expresses that women should not be viewed as sexual objects. Yet in the exact same breath, she adds that if a woman chooses to be a sex object than this is okay with her:

So, so its best to represent the frustration of being a misunderstood woman, poping on the ground, being seen as just a p***y, sometimes; and just screaming, frustrated like how I’m not just a vagina. So it’s just the frustration of being a woman, feeling misunderstood, unheard, and we’ve been screaming for decades for equality and also to be understood, and to feel heard…yeah. To be seen as not just a vessel for sex. Yeah…which like we totally can be if we choose to be, which is [cool].

Sang. Z,. (2018). “Ariana grande talks god is a woman.” The zach sang show.  Retreived from:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOTPgR9zYUI

The problem is she was talking out of both sides of her mouth: The same thing she is frustrated about (women being viewed as”vessels for sex”) is the same thing that she is promoting women do (she is okay if women choose to be objectified as “vessels for sex”). There is dignity and equality that is higher than the perspective of Ariana Grande, and that is found in the biblical worldview. True equality comes from the reality the God of creation made both male and female. In addition, Paul wrote that men should show dignity to the woman due to the interdependence of the male and female. Even though the woman was made for man, the man comes from the woman (1 Cor. 11:11-12). 

Ariana Grande is right to be concerned about the dignity and significance of women in the world, however, the theological implications of this song are dangerously misleading. It may lead a woman to believe that they are a god unto themselves, rather than observing that there is a Creator who has created them. It may lead a woman to identify themselves as just a sexual creature, rather than a spiritual being that God has created in a body. This same God who created man and woman had come in the form of a man, took on sin and the wrath of God for both male and female, died and resurrected, and by being assured in His message, God in the Person of the Holy Spirit lives in both male and female to empower them to glorify God and do good works for their neighbor.  The contrast of theological messages could not be clearer. 

Let us continue to promote the dignity and equality of women, due to the reality that God has created them male and female, and not by our own ideas, or concepts. For by this we promote true equality and honoring women who are made in the image of God, for the glory of God. Amen.

Until Next Time

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S.

Biblical Counseling: Integrationism vs. Dispensational Approach (Part Four).

Biblical Counseling: Integrationism vs. Dispensational Approach (Part Four).

The previous article examined how a biblical counselor uses techniques to assist a counselee in the counseling process. The question was explored as to how a biblical counselor can discern what type of techniques to use with a counselee. It was observed that the two things that direct the counselor to use a particular technique in counseling were worldview and the source of authority. These two things govern the motive behind the technique and the purpose for why it is used in counseling. A person who counsels from a secular humanist perspective, their source of authority is mankind (since secular humanism has its source of authority man at the center). By contrast, a person who counsels from a biblical worldview, their source of authority is God (or specifically God’s word).

When it comes to biblical counseling there are two distinct approaches a Biblical counselor may use, which the author will refer to as the Authoritative Theoretical Integrative Model and the Authoritative Foundational Model.  The Authoritative Theoretical Integrative Model can be explained using the following definition:

The Authoritative Theoretical Integrative Model attempts to infuse the biblical worldview and theories from different sources of authority, and/or worldviews, for the purpose of addressing counselee’s spiritual, psychological, social, and cognitive problems.

There are three risks when a biblical counselor uses the Authoritative Theoretical Integrative Model when assisting their counselees. these risks are described below:

  • The Authoritative source may be the theories in counseling rather than Biblical authority: A theory is defined as, “a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained” (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com). In terms of counseling, theories are given in an attempt to explain human behavior and the rationale for why the behavior is displayed. These rationales for how to address human behavior are always explained from the theorist’s perspective or source of authority. Consequently, these theories often have an authoritative source that may not compatible with the authoritative source of Scripture. 
  • The Scriptures may be taken out of context for the sake of “unifying” counseling theory with the biblical truth: A biblical counselor, working with Cognitive-Behavioral theory, a theory that asserts that how an individual thinks determines how they behave, may use Rom. 12:2 as proof that Scripture teaches this particular theoretical model, as the author writes below:

…I was lead to a scripture that I felt answered my question. It was a writing of Paul found in 2 Corinthians 10:5: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Paul also writes in Romans 12:2 to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and again in Ephesians 4 we are reminded to be made new in the attitude of our minds. I could go on—it’s all over the place…This is the very essence of cognitive-behavioral therapy!

Rachel Dewitt (2010). Christian Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Retrieved from http://heritagecounselingcenter.blogspot.com/2010/08/christian-cognitive-behavioral-therapy.html

In the context of 2 Corinthians 5:10 Paul does write about the arguments and pretensions that the culture, or the spirit of the age, philosophically made (the cultural background Paul was addressing were saints who were surrounded by people that were speculating about mankind, life, and what the false gods they worshipped required of men in the culture they lived in). In addition, in this text, Paul mentions nothing about destroying one’s arguments and pretensions in effect to change a person’s behavior. Romans 12:2 does discuss the transformation of the mind. However, the purpose of this verse that Paul wrote was not to change one’s thinking in their brain to change one’s behavior, but so that one may know the will of God. Furthermore, the phrase “be transformed” found in verse 2 is not active, but passive. In short, the counselee is not doing the transforming, it is God’s mercies (i.e., the word of God), in conjunction with the Holy Spirit that does the transforming of one’s mind.  

  • May lead a counselor to practice counseling from the “empty philosophy” rather than biblical authority (c.f., Col. 2:8)This risk is an extension from the previous point. A biblical counselor who counsels from this model may only see the Scripture as either a means to address salvation, and nothing further, or may use it as a book for personal improvement and/or behavior modification. Sara Rainer comments:

For Christian psychologists, our worldview must be determined by Scripture. Not only should we see our clients as individuals in need of Jesus Christ, but our understanding of mental illness and disorder should also be based upon a Gospel-oriented worldview. As a result, our therapeutic practice will utilize Scripture to heal our clients and glorify Jesus.

Sara Rainer (2014). The Integration of Christianity and Psychology. Retrived from https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/september/concerning-psychology-and-christianity-guest-post-by-sarah-.html

The gospel of Christ Jesus is important, and as I mentioned in my previous article Dr. Ranier does acknowledge the authority of Scripture and the reality and consequences of the sin nature in mankind. However, Sara Rainer mentions the Bible in counseling only in the salvific context. This may cause a biblical counselor to believe that the way to deal with mankind’s behavior is to choose a theoretical model over Scripture, which could more than likely be from the philosophy that is contrary to Christ (i.e., God’s word).

In contrast to the Authoritative Theoretical Integrative Model, the biblical counselor can also use what the author calls the Authoritative Foundational Model, which is discussed below:

  • Observes a consistent normal-grammatical historical method of Scripture: The biblical counselor employing this model observes God, and His revealed word, as the ultimate source of authority. As a result, the biblical counselor will strive to be a good biblicist looking to discover the author’s original intended meaning of Scripture, taking into account the meanings of words, grammar, history, and even culture. By this method, one builds and establishes a proper biblical worldview (this also decreases the chances one may take Scripture out of context and applying it improperly).
  • Works with a proper biblical systematic theology that governs counseling method and process: A biblical counselor, using a consistent normal grammatical-historical method of Scripture can establish a proper biblical systematic theology, which can be used to evaluate a particular theoretical model.  
  • Observes the authoritative sources within the theories of counseling. Subjecting them to the Biblical worldview (c.f., 2 Cor. 10:5; Col. 2:8)All theories in counseling work from a particular philosophy. The biblical counselor, before they employ a theory examines the creator of the theory, the philosophical worldview of the theory, the main points of the theory, and where the main points of the theory agree/disagree with the Biblical worldview, holding to the points of the theory that agree with the biblical worldview, and discarding the points of the theory that are incompatible with the biblical worldview. 
  • Practices proper biblical application in counseling: Once the theory, and its corresponding main points have been examined and subjected to the biblical worldview, one can use the instruction of the Scriptures, and the points of the theory that is compatible with the Bible, to advise counselees properly.
Two Models of Biblical Counseling-page-001 Diagram created by Dr. Luther Smith

A biblical counselor may use two methods in biblical counseling. The first model is the Authoritative Theoretical Integrative Model and has three particular risks: Authoritative sources may be the theories rather than the Scriptures. The Scriptures may be misquoted from their general context for the sake of making them compatible with the counseling theory. Lastly, this may lead a person to counsel with an empty philosophy rather than the Scriptures. This may lead to improper integrative conclusions and how to serve people in their problems in biblical counseling. 

The second method would be the Authoritative Foundational Model which addresses the limitations of the previous model by observing the Scriptures from a consistent normal grammatical-historical method building a proper systematic theology. From there one examines the authoritative source(s) of the theory subjecting it to the biblical worldview. After this approach, a biblical counselor is able to properly give primary and secondary application to their counselee.

Let us as biblical counselors with a consistent method of explanation of the Scriptures, seek to subject every theory and teaching under the biblical worldview. In effect, we protect ourselves, and our counselees, from the empty philosophy that can be found in counseling, and advise our counselees properly from the Scriptures.

Until next time…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S.

For more biblical resources from Dr. Luther Smith they can be found on his website: www.drluthersmith.com.

 

 

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs & The Biblical Worldview

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs & The Biblical Worldview

In the field of psychology, there is a concept called “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.”  This particular theory Abraham Maslow, a world-renowned psychologist posited there are five needs that all human beings have. These needs are usually expressed in a form of a  pyramid, which is observed below.

maslow-hierachy-of-needs

 Image is taken from https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

Maslow in his original theory stated the lower needs are needs that must be fulfilled before an individual can progress to a higher need. The needs are defined briefly:

  • Physiological needs: These are the needs of the body such as food, water, rest, and warmth.
  • Safety needs: These are needs for boundaries and protection, such as security and safety.
  • Belonging and love: These are needs concerning relationships, such as friendships and intimacy.
  • Esteem needs: These are needs concerning self: Such as accomplishment and goal completion.
  • Self-actualization: These are the needs of achieving one’s full potential, and creativity.

For example, a person who does not have their physiological needs met will not be able to “move up” to the safety needs. Maslow, explaining his hierarchy of needs noted:

At once other (and “higher”) needs emerge and these, rather than physiological hunger, dominate the organism. And when these, in turn, are satisfied, again new (and still “higher”) needs emerge and so on. This is what we mean by saying that the basic human needs are organized into a hierarchy of relative prepotency’

Maslow, 1943, p. 375. Retrieved from https://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Maslow/motivation.htm

Maslow observed these particular qualities are important for a human being to grow and develop into a person who contributes to society. However, can these needs be observed from a Biblical worldview? This topic will be explored below:

Physiological needs: These needs are observed in Genesis when God created male and female. God had given mankind food to eat (Gen. 1:29; 2:16, for meat c.f., Gen. 9:3). God had also placed mankind in a paradisiacal environment (Gen. 2:15). God ultimately provided everything mankind needs physiologically.

Safety needs: The biblical worldview emphasizes that safety was also part of the plan of God. There was no fear or concern of an enemy at this time in history. In fact, this safety and protection, in the beginning, were to be extended beyond the Garden of Eden (Gen. 1:28). In addition, God has provided governing authorities to protect mankind from evil (Rom. 13:1-7). 

Belonging and love needs: Love and Belonging are also seen in the account of Genesis as we see the qualities of intimate relationship and marriage (Gen. 2:18-25). Those who acknowledge a biblical worldview also observe the qualities of friendship and belonging defined in the Scriptures (Pro. 17:17; 27:6, 9). Belonging and love are central qualities mankind is to exhibit.

Esteem needs: Esteem from a Biblical worldview does not just come from the observation that one is a human being, but comes from the reality that mankind is created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27). In other words, self-esteem, from a biblical worldview comes from knowing that one is created by a God who desires to give them all the things mentioned above (physiological, safety, and love and belonging). It is because of this one’s esteem is established.

Self-Actualization needs: Self-Actualization also originates from the reality that man is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27), and that he knows God and His Son whom He has sent (Jn. 17). The fact that man has communicable attributes that God has given to him (i.e., knowledge, goodness, creativity, etc) creates things like art, music, books, goods, etc. A believer understands that they have been given these attributes, not because they are human, but that God has created them to possess and use these qualities for others, and for God’s glory.

When observed from a biblical worldview there are three important points that Abraham Maslow missed concerning these needs. First, he failed to recognize the Source of where all these physical needs come from. Maslow commented:

‘It is quite true that man lives by bread alone — when there is no bread. But what happens to man’s desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled?’

Maslow, 1943, p. 375. Retreived from https://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Maslow/motivation.htm

The Biblical worldview would state emphatically that man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deut. 8:3). The reason that mankind is sustained by food is due to God’s provision (Ps. 104:10-15). Human beings are protected and safe because of God and His sovereignty (Ps. 127:1). People have love and belonging in our lives due to man being created with the capacity to love, because they are made in the image of God. In addition, God has commanded the saint to love other believers because God has loved them (1 Jn. 4:7-14). The reason why humans are valuable is that mankind is made in His image (c.f., Gen. 9:5-6). This is what Abraham Maslow failed to see in his analysis of the motivational needs of human beings.

Second, although Maslow observed the physical needs of human beings, he neglected to observe the reality of a cursed world due to sin.  It is the active works of the sin nature that seeks to take away these needs from other people. Ironically Maslow recognized this problem when he commented:

The central role of the parents and the normal family setup are indisputable. Quarreling, physical assault, separation, divorce or death within the family may be particularly terrifying. Also parental outbursts of rage or threats of punishment directed to the child, calling him names, speaking to him harshly, shaking him, handling him roughly, or actual physical punishment sometimes elicit such total panic and terror in the child that we must assume more is involved than the physical pain alone. While it is true that in some children this terror may represent also a fear of loss of parental love, it can also occur in completely rejected children, who seem to cling to the hating parents more for sheer safety and protection than because of hope of love.

Maslow, 1943, p. 377-378. Retrieved from https://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Maslow/motivation.htm

Abraham Maslow stated the primary reason these needs are not fulfilled is this was due to external factors (e.g., lack of parental love) However, from a biblical worldview, it is the active acts of sin within man that negatively affect these particular areas. The active acts of sinful mankind do not look to the benefit of its neighbor but instead seeks to hurt and destroy their neighbor. This is observed as Cain did not provide safety for his brother Abel, but instead murdered him (Gen. 4:7-8).

In the area of belonging and love the two greatest commandments in the Law of Moses concerned love (Matt. 24:37-40), which the nation of Israel disobeyed repeatedly in the Old Testament. In the body of Christ, the Church of Corinth had to be chastised for causing quarrels in the body because of their allegiance to certain teachers (1 Cor. 1:10-17), and be reminded of the qualities of love in terms of their conduct (1 Cor 13:1-8).  James also exhorted the saints who favored those rich and excluded those who are poor (Jas. 2:1-13). 

Before the Fall, esteem was anchored in the wisdom mankind was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). However, now that mankind seeks to have a wisdom apart from God’s revealed word self-esteem is now based in speculation, rather than what God has revealed in nature and His written word concerning mankind (c.f., Rom. 1:18-23).

Mankind was created by God and shares some of the attributes of God (e.g., goodness, creativity, etc.), and these were to be used to the glory of God (c.f., 1 Cor 10:31). However, because mankind is spiritually appraised they are unable to reflect the glory of God (1 Cor. 2:14). In short, one who truly”self-actualizes” is one who knows God and His Son (c.f., Jn. 17:1-4).  In addition, the person who subscribes to Abraham Maslow’s perspective may be convinced this is the way that human beings create a decent society and a relatively better world in the present time (i.e., “When I improve oneself I will improve the world”) and in some respects, this may have some benefit. In contrast for those who hold to a Biblical worldview, mankind is not to “self-actualize” to progress humanity forward with their potential, but for the glory of God.

The third thing and perhaps the most important is the lack of a spiritual need for people in the hierarchy of needs. Abraham Maslow, because of his worldview, believed that if one fulfilled these needs physically one would be truly fulfilled. By contrast from a Biblical perspective, mankind is created not just with a body, but with a soul (c.f,. Gen. 2:7; Ecc. 12:7). 

Maslows Hierarchy of Needs From A Biblical Worldview.

The Hierarchy of Needs from a Biblical Worldview (adapted by Dr. Smith) 

Abraham Maslow noticing the natural interactions that human beings have are influenced positively or negatively, to some degree, concluded there are needs that mankind must fulfill to reach their potential. Yet when Abraham Maslow’s theory is subjected to a Biblical worldview it is shown that he lacked three crucial details. He failed to acknowledge who gave the Source of these needs to mankind, and what they were to highlight, the glory of God. In addition, he correctly saw how each of these five needs can, and are, corrupted. However, he failed to observe the reason they are corrupted, and this is because of the active sin nature of mankind. Lastly, not only is his model temporally focused, but his worldview failed to account for the true need of the spiritual state of man. 

Let us continue as Biblical counselors to address with our counselees not only the physical needs of man but the spiritual needs of man. For this particular need is very important, and it is this need when addressed properly, where one sees all other needs mankind has in the proper perspective.

Until Next Time…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S. 

For more biblical resources from Dr. Luther Smith they can be found on his website: http://www.drluthersmith.com.

 

 

 

 

Biblical Counseling: Integrationism vs. Dispensational Approach (Part Three).

Biblical Counseling: Integrationism vs. Dispensational Approach (Part Three).

In the previous article in this series, the integration of worldviews was explored. It was shown that Sara Rainer, a Christian psychologist, attempted to harmonize a secular worldview with a biblical worldview. Although there were many things that Sara Rainer acknowledged in terms of sacred Scripture (i.e., salvation in Christ Jesus), there were many concerns about her particular position (e.g., she describes herself as a secular psychologist). By contrast, a counselor with a consistently biblical worldview does not attempt to infuse secular thought in their counseling process but seeks to be biblical when assisting counselees.  

However, this leads us to a third question: How do we discern if a technique is grounded in the truth (i.e., reality) and that it is beneficial to use in Biblical counseling?

There are two things to consider when observing this topic of techniques, which are worldview and source of authority. These two areas influence the motive in which a counselor uses these techniques with their counselees, and how a counselor uses these techniques in counseling.

When it comes to techniques there I submit four areas a biblical counselor (and really every counselor) addresses when assisting a counselee with techniques: spiritual, biological, cognitive, and social.

Spiritual: This particular area has to do with the inner man. Any technique, skill that benefits in this area would be of the most benefit to the counselee because it is grounded and subjected to the truth. The Old Testament underscores the reality of an eternal self that is housed in this earthly body (Gen. 2:7). Paul even highlights this point as he writes describing what he calls the “inner man” (c.f., Rom. 7:22; 2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 3:16). This has particular implications not just in this life, but when the physical body of this side of Christ’s return no longer functions. The inner man can only grow through the constant study of God’s sacred word (Eph. 3:16-19; c.f., 2 Tim 3:16-17). It also must be noted that a believer is indwelt with the Holy Spirit which renews their inner man (Eph. 3:16).

Biological: This area would cover the physical body. If there is a technique, skill, or counsel that assists the body in becoming more flexible and increases the overall health of the body, this would be considered a technique that is grounded in truth.  There is little to say about this area in sacred Scripture. However, there are some general principles such as Paul advising Timothy to take some wine for his stomach problems (1 Tim. 5:23). Paul even expresses that the discipline of the body may yield short-term gains (c.f., 1 Tim. 4:8). 

Cognitive: This particular area has to do with, thoughts, will, and attitudes. If there is a skill or technique that would assist a counselee in having realistic cognition this would be a technique that would be established in truth. The Old and New Testament addresses this area extensively. There are many Scriptures where a common practice is to consider or ponder the word of God (Ps. 1:2; Ps. 119:15, 48, 78, 97, 99, 148; Ps. 143:5; Ps. 145:5).  In the New Testament, Paul writing to the saints in Rome that a believer’s mind is constantly renewed the believers considers God’s mercies, so that they may know God’s will (c.f., Rom 12:1-3). In addition, Paul wrote to the saints in Philippi how they were to address anxiety and have their hearts guarded by the peace of God: By prayer (with supplication and thanksgiving) (Phil. 4:6-7). In addition, he also writes:

8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely , whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things…

Phil. 4:8 NASB

The word dwell (λογιζεσθε) is to,”think on, to consider.” A Christian is to intentionally think about these things in their daily life in light of the truth of God’s word, and as a result, they will have peace with God, which will guard their heart against the cares of this world. 

Social: This particular area has to do with relationships. Any technique that would assist in this area would also be considered to be a benefit to the counselee when it is grounded in truth. The Old and New Testament address this area extensively in the area of friendships (Prov. 17:17; 27:6; 27:9), marriage (c.f., Gen. 2:18-25; Eph. 5:22-30; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Pet. 3:1-7), and how to interact with one another to the body of Christ (Gal. 6:2; Eph. 4:2; 4:32; Phil. 2:3, etc.), as well as those outside the body of Christ (Col. 4:5; 1 Thess. 4:12).

However, there are some models that are not grounded in reality but out of a personal experience or different religious orientation and seeks to discover, or even create, techniques that the founder believes fulfills the objectives of this certain model. For example, a therapeutic practice known as Rebirthing utilizes breathing techniques for inner healing.  The creator of the counseling skill explains the origin of this technique:

Rebirthing-Breathwork, aka Intuitive Energy Breathing or Conscious Energy Breathing, is the ability to breathe Energy as well as air. It is the art of learning to breathe from the Breath Itself. Rebirthing is perhaps the most valuable self-healing ability that humans can learn. We can not have disease and relaxation in the same space at the same time. Relaxation is the ultimate healer…Rebirthing also means to unravel the birth-death cycle and to incorporate the body and mind into the conscious Life of the Eternal Spirit – to become a conscious expression of the Eternal Spirit. This involves healing the eight biggies of human trauma, which are the birth trauma, the parental disapproval syndrome, specific negatives, the unconscious death urge, karma from past lives, the religion trauma, the school trauma, and senility, etc.

“What is rebirthing breathwork?” Rebirthing breathwork international. https://rebirthingbreathwork.com/2013/03/13/what-is-rebirthing-breathwork/

There are several things to observe from this particular paragraph. The worldview of the creator of this theory promotes beliefs originating from New Age Eastern mysticism, which is guiding the creator’s worldview (e.g, Eternal Spirit, karma from past lives, etc.). From a spiritual standpoint, he gives little to no attention to the spiritual aspect of man (although he talks about an Eternal Spirit, past lives, etc); however, his focus is only on a temporal/pantheistic perspective (to become aware of the “Life of the Eternal Spirit”) and not an eternal one (eagerly awaiting Christ appearing). In the biological and cognitive aspect of man, Lenard Orr promotes using breathing techniques. However, the motive for using breathing techniques is not to learn how to control ones physiological and cognitive responses but is to connect the body and mind to this mysterious “Eternal Spirit.” In the social aspect of man when a counselee, through this breathwork in Rebirthing, heals from what he calls the “eight biggies of human trauma,” the counselee will be able to relate with others in a proper way.

This particular counseling model is hostile, and diametrically opposed to, the Biblical worldview. The biblical counselor, holding to a dispensational system, would govern every technique they use under the truth of God’s word, with the motive being two-fold: To glorify God with their works in counseling (c.f., 1 Cor. 10:31) and to serve the counselees with their techniques well (Gal. 5:13). The motive by which Leonard Orr created this model is subject to his own speculation, personal experience, and Eastern religious mysticism, rather than Scripture, which is expressed below:

Rebirthing therapy was founded by therapist Leonard Orr in the 1970s, who is said to have re-experienced his own birth while taking a bath. This led him to develop breathing exercises that would supposedly release repressed traumas. 

Radford, Benjamin. “New Age ‘Rebirthing’ Treatment Kills Girl.” The Skeptical Inquirer Sep 2000: 6-7. ProQuest. Web. 22 Dec. 2017.

These techniques Leonard Orr has used in his counseling model, because of the misguided worldview,  has led to deceptive counseling techniques, which has little to no benefit for the spiritual, biological, cognitive, and social aspect of mankind, and may lead to destructive consequences. This is due to the fact the worldview found in this model, and the motive by which these techniques are used to meet the objectives of the theory, are subjected to an improper source of authority and worldview.

When it comes to techniques in counseling and how it benefits the counselee there must be a promotion of what God has revealed. For the biblical counselor, every technique that is used, and the motive to employ them, must be intentionally subjected to the word of God (c.f., 2 Cor. 10:5). It is in this reality that we know that God is truly glorified and that our counselees will truly be served properly.

Until next time…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S.

Transgenderism & The Biblical Worldview

Transgenderism & The Biblical Worldview

About a week ago The European Congress of Endocrinology (ECE) held its annual event, which took place this year in Barcelona, Spain. This event is a gathering of researchers and scientists from Europe and all over the world to share new scientific research and thier findings in their respective disciplines. One of the presentations at ECE was a professor by the name of Julie Bakker, who was the lead researcher with a team at the University of Liege in Belguim. The team presented what they stated as evidence for the reality of transgenderism, which is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as follows:

Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.

APA (2018). What does transgender mean? Retreived from: http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.aspx

Julie Bakker and her team observed 160 males who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a psychological diagnosis that is characterized, generally, by an individual who may have a desire to remove primary and secondary sex characteristics and are convinced they were born the wrong sex.  Julie and her team of researchers performed brain scans using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) on these men and compared them with the brain scans of women, and these men who were tested were found to have similar brain activity to that of women. 

Those who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria are usually taken in to see a therapist or a psychiatrist for treatment. However, Julie and her team, due to their findings, hope that those who struggle with this are given more resources to assist them in their uneasiness about being in their own body. Julie Bakker, in presenting highlights this when she said the following at the ECE below:

“Although more research is needed, we now have evidence that sexual differentiation of the brain differs in young people with GD, as they show functional brain characteristics that are typical of their desired gender…We will then be better equipped to support these young people, instead of just sending them to a psychiatrist and hoping that their distress will disappear spontaneously.”

Transgender brain scans promised as study shows structural differences in people with gender dysphoria (2018). Retreived from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/22/transgender-brain-scans-promised-study-shows-structural-differences/

In addition, there are various religious institutions that have sought to deal with the issue of transgenderism. One such example is a woman by the name of Joy Everingham who became the first Methodist minister to be appointed to ministry as a transgender.  Another example was a Lutheran church in Hoboken New Jersey which a transgendered parishioner, at the main service, took on the name of “Peter.” With the culture using various methods and arguments to advance the ball of transgenderism how are those who hold to a biblical worldview to believe in terms of this societal movement?

In the book of Genesis, we find God in the sixth day of creation, declaring that He is going to make man in His image and likeness, giving them dominion over all of the creatures that He has made, and expresses He will create mankind male and female (Gen. 1:26-27). This creation of mankind is also observed where God took the dust of the earth, formed man, breathed into His nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Gen. 2:7). Later in the narrative, Eve is formed from the rib that is taken from Adam’s side (Gen. 2:10-21). God brought her to Adam and he observed one that is made just like him, thus the being was called “woman” (Gen. 2:23). 

What does this passage have to do with transgenderism? It was not until God breathed into man’s nostrils that man became a living being (or living soul). The point here is that the spirit of man is who a person truly is, not just the body that the spirit inhabits. A person may be able to alter the body, a person may feel uncomfortable in their body, but the true self is housed within the body, and this does not change, because one true identity comes from God.

In addition, Scripture tells us it is God who determines who we are (and it is biology that is the means for accomplishing this). In the Psalm, David glorified God in how he was fashioned in his mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13-16). Concerning Jeremiah and his call by God to be a prophet to the nation of Israel God says this:

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew youAnd before you were born I consecrated you;I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Jer 1:4-5 NASB emphasis mine

In the text, we observe that before God formed him in the womb of his mother He knew Jeremiah. God, in His attribute of omniscience (i.e., all-knowing), knew who Jeremiah was before Jeremiah even existed, and this included his sex. Once more this highlights that God is the creator and that one’s identity comes from God Himself, and not an subjective feeling one has or does not have, about themselves.

It would also appear one’s identity is static even after one leaves their physical body. One such example is found in Luke 16:19-31 concerning the rich man and Lazarus, where both of them die, are buried, and the rich man, due to his lack of faith is sent to be tormented. However, Lazarus is sent to be comforted in “Abraham’s bosom” (a place where those who believed in the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob went). In this passage, there are several things to note in this particular text.

  • One’s identity is retained after death: Jesus said that the rich man, being in torment saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom (v. 23). The rich man even asked Abraham for Lazarus by name that the rich man may be comforted by him with just a drop of water (v. 24). This highlights that rich man recognized Lazarus even though they were deceased, and no longer in their physical body.
  • Abraham addresses Lazarus as a man after death: The rich man, when requesting that Abraham send Lazarus to cool off his tongue with a drop of water Abraham replies, “…’Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony'” (v. 25 emphasis mine). In this verse, it is observed that Abraham refers to Lazarus as a “he.” This is after Lazarus is not in his physical body.

Researchers have observed biologically that the sex of an individual is determined by the chromosomes, however, this picture from a biblical worldview is incomplete. Brain scans, as interesting as they may be, should not be the factors for determining one’s sex. God, by His omnipotence, and sovereignty chooses one’s sexual orientation, which can be either male or female. The means by which His will is accomplished is seen in the biological working of these chromosomes. In addition, the physical body is an important thing, but it is not the only thing. One may feel that they are not comfortable in their physical body, one may even detest their physical body, and this is unfortunate, but this does not change the reality that the true identity is found in one’s spirit (in fact, it is not far-fetched to say that the physical body reflects the spiritual nature of one’s identity).  Furthermore, It is physical nature that displays the invisible power, divine attributes, and glory of God, which includes the creation of mankind (c.f., Rom. 1:20). However, a denial of this is a willful rejection of what God has made, which reveals the complete depravity of mankind who continues to deny God and suppress the truth (Rom. 1:18-19).

Let us as believers who hold to a Biblical worldview to continue to observe mankind, not only physical beings, but spiritual beings, whose true identity comes from God who has given it to mankind physically to display His eternal power, divine nature, and glory. Amen.

Until next time… 

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S.

 

 

Biblical Counseling: Integrationism vs. Dispensational Approach (Part Two).

Biblical Counseling: Integrationism vs. Dispensational Approach (Part Two).

In the last article, the term integration in light of Biblical counseling was explored.  It was shown that the word integration was about the worldview, which is how a person perceives the world around them. Furthermore, when a person attempts to reconcile two different worldviews this is what the author had termed “worldview integration.” By contrast, a counselor, working from a dispensational system would not engage in a synthesis of worldviews but would reject all worldviews that were not compatible with a Biblical worldview.

This left two unanswered questions from the last article:  What does an integration of worldviews look like, and what are its implications?

In an article titled, “The Integration of Christianity and Psychology” Psychologist Sara Rainer gives her perspective on how to integrate Christianity with psychology. This author encourages you to read the article in its entirety, which can be found here. At the start of her article, Sara Rainer writes:

Secular psychologists operate on a biopsychosocial model of human development and behavior. This model proposes humans develop and operate according to biological, psychological, and social influences. Accordingly, we are products of our biology and environment, both bearing equal importance.

In more recent years, psychologists have begun recognizing that our spirituality impacts our lives, but have yet to say it is imperative for life. While the traditional psychological theories and models that are based upon naturalism are insufficient from a Christian worldview, not all of secular psychology is wrong. Indeed, there are many helpful and positive aspects of psychology to consider, which is why there is a need for integration.

Sara Ranier commented that secular psychologists operate on a biological, psychological (or cognitive), and sociological model (i.e., a biopsychosocial model). She mentioned that these aspects of man the secular psychologist focus on carry equal value. Additionally, she added that these qualities of mankind are not bad, however, they must be considered when counseling, emphasizing the need for an integrative psychology. 

Even though there is a benefit to understanding these aspects of man there is one thing that is missing from her paragraphs. Sara Rainer does not define the term secular. This particular word originated from the 13th century and is defined as “living in the world, and not being a part of a religious order.” As a worldview, the word secular is a term that focuses on the well being of man in this present life, without any regard for the afterlife (since there is a disregard for God’s existence). Sara Rainer admits even though a secular psychologist may find the spiritual aspect of mankind important, to the secular psychologist, or counselor, spirituality is perceived as a coping strategy to assist counselees with the overwhelming problems in a temporal existence. This is the reason why secular psychologists, or counselors, do not primarily focus on the spiritual aspect of man because their worldview does not account for this reality.

In another section of her article Sara Rainer writes that a believer who is counseling should operate on what she referred to as a middle ground:

As a trained secular doctor, I appreciate the biopsychosocial model of human nature. Learning about the complexities of humanity provides me with a better framework for understanding and helping my clients. The intricacies of the human brain, the environmental influences on our personality, and the social and culture impact on our lives remind me that pathology cannot simply be reduced to issues of morality or sin..

On the other hand, as a Christian, I acknowledge that all humans are inherently separated from God. This separation causes disorder, sin, and disease of every kind. However, we serve a loving and just God that provides a way out of our depraved state through Jesus Christ. He longs for us to seek Him and His promise of eternity.

Due to the love of this God, I also cannot reduce all pathology to a naturalistic model of humanity. I propose that Christian mental health professionals operate on a middle ground, the bio/psycho/social/spiritual model, which considers both our dignity and depravity as humans

There are several things to observe in these above paragraphs. Sara Rainer acknowledged the doctrine of sin. She argued the reason why there are diseases and illnesses was due to the curse of the Fall. She also endorsed that all mankind has a depraved nature and that Jesus Christ is the only hope to be redeemed from this corrupted state. Furthermore, Sara Rainer also admitted that mental illness and pathology cannot be boiled down to just naturalism, which those who hold to a biblical worldview can appreciate. However, within Sara Rainer’s article, there are several concerns to highlight, which are explored below:

  • Addressing herself as a trained secular doctor: Sara Rainer wrote that she was trained as a “secular doctor.” Even though she mentioned Christ and the forgiveness of sins in her article this is incompatible with the word secular, which she uses to define herself in terms of her training. As previously mentioned above, secularism, due to it’s forsaking God in its worldview, only seeks to find pleasure and purpose in this temporal life, and disregards an afterlife.
  • There is no “middle ground:” Sara Rainer commented that believers who work in the mental health field should operate on a “middle ground.” When it comes to a secular worldview and the Biblical worldview there is no middle ground. The primary presupposition of the secular worldview (i.e., “there is no God”) is antithetical to the central presupposition of the Biblical worldview (i.e., “in the beginning God…”). There cannot be a middle ground in terms of a secular and biblical worldview.
  • The bio/psycho/social/spiritual model: The word of God does speak on these aspects of man. However one of the shortcomings of biopsychosocial model is that it places the order of the spiritual quality of man last, not first. This is not consistent with Scripture where God created the man out of the dust of the earth, and it was only when God breathed into man’s nostrils that he became a living being (c.f., Gen. 2:7). In other words, the spirit God gave man animated the body. Therefore there should be a greater importance placed on the immaterial aspect of man, in relation to the material (perhaps the spiritual/bio/psycho/social reality). 
  • This argument assumes the biblical worldview lacks an aspect of mankind: Sara Rainer, in desiring to seek a middle ground between the two adds the spiritual to the biopsychosocial model. This assumes that believers need to add the spiritual component of man rather than recognizing it is the secular humanist that has removed this aspect of man. The biblical worldview underscores all these qualities of man because this perspective begins with the presupposition that God created mankind with these qualities. It is the secular humanist that borrows from the biblical worldview, not the other way around. 
  • The spiritual aspect of man in this model deemphasizes the doctrine of sanctification: The bio/psycho/social/spiritual model that Sara Rainer promoted in her article is one that is only concerned with the salvation of man from wrath and eternal damnation from God, which is important. However, there is not an emphasis in this article about the importance of positional and progressive sanctification under the grace of God, and looking forward to the blessed hope of Christ appearing (c.f., Tit. 2:11-14). While there is an emphasis on justification in Christ alone, there is an underemphasis on sanctification in the Holy Spirit (i.e., positional, progressive, and perfect).

This article is an example of worldview integration. Sara Rainer has taken two worldviews and attempted to find centrality between these perspectives, when in fact these positions, at their core, are diametrically opposed to one another. As a result of wanting to be neutral Sara Rainer has unknowingly given much ground to the psychologist who denies that God exists. In addition, it is more justification driven, affirming the gospel of Christ (which is important), but ironically it gives little to no emphasis on the life to come. Furthermore, there is still greater weight placed on the “here and now” only, rather than a “here and now” in terms of positional and progressive sanctification, and future glorification. 

Let us as believers seek to understand the aspects of man from what God has revealed to us within the pages of sacred Scripture. Additionally, let us refuse to  integrate the biblical worldview with perspectives put forth by secular humanists, who begin with an incorrect presupposition that “God is not.” By doing this we glorify our God and His revealed word, and we decrease the risk of adopting beliefs that could be potentially misleading to us and the counselees we look to serve.

Until next time…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S.