Luther on Idolatry

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Idolatry does not consist merely of erecting an image and praying to it, but it is primarily a matter of the heart, which fixes its gaze upon other things and seeks help and consolation from creatures, saints, or devils. It neither cares for God nor expects good things from God sufficiently to trust that God wants to help, nor does it believe that whatever good it encounters comes from God.

Kirsi I. Stjerna, “The Large Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther,” in Word and Faith, ed. Hans J. Hillerbrand, Kirsi I. Stjerna, and Timothy J. Wengert, vol. 2, The Annotated Luther (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2015), 302–303.

More From James Denney on How to Profit From Slander

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What King so strong

Can tie the gall up in a slanderous tongue?

The Duke

Measure for Measure

Act III, scene 2, 190-191

“It is bitter to be charged falsely with vices which may be quite alien to our character, but it is rarely that even a false charge does not bring something to our remembrance to humble us in the presence of God. It is of no profit to us to be angered by slander, and to retort upon those who utter it; very likely the one may be as easy as the other. The real profit is when it brings us into contact with something in our life to which in our self-complacency we have been blind—something of which the slanderer knows nothing, but which we feel before God more deeply than any wound He could inflict—and when we give ourselves in God’s presence with penitence and humility to set it right with Him. There are such things, such memories, in the lives of all men; and perhaps in surveying the unjust and malignant things said about the Church or about Christians in general we have all been secretly reminded of some of them. It is good to be reminded. It is good to take them to heart. It is good to put resentment away, and with a contrite heart seek forgiveness and amendment from God. It is thus he brings good out of evil and requites blessing for the curse.

James Denney, The Way Everlasting, “Learning From The Enemy”.

How Slander Works

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From one direction, slander should not land a blow: it is not true. But slander merely means our enemies do not know us well enough to disclose our real sins. 

James Denney explains one pang of slander, it hits us on our bruise:

“And David said … let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him.” 2 Samuel 16:11.

It would be hard to imagine a provocation more exasperating than that which David met in this chastened spirit. As the old King of Israel, once the darling of his people, was making his escape from Jerusalem, a man who had some family connexion with Saul came out to gloat over his downfall. “Come out, come out,” he cried, “thou man of blood, thou man of Belial; the Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul in whose stead thou hast reigned.” Nothing could have been more malignant and unjust. If David had exterminated the house of Saul when he came to the throne, he would only have done what was common in those times upon a change of dynasty; but in point of fact he had shown for his friend Jonathan’s sake a rare and distinguished generosity to the descendants of his predecessor. He was slandered in the very point on which he might well have prided himself, and we cannot wonder that the combined insolence and falsehood of Shimei provoked the soldiers in his escort. Abishai would have made short work of the malignant Benjamite if only David had allowed him. But David had other thoughts in his heart, and it was the words of Shimei that had roused them. He was not a man of blood, in general terms, but there was blood on his conscience for all that. He was not a man of Belial, in general terms, a worthless vicious character, but there was a hideous tragedy in which he was the villain. It was not the tragedy of the house of Saul, but of the house of Uriah the Hittite. The words of Shimei brought vividly to his remembrance things which touched him more deeply than any human malice could conceive—so deeply that in presence of them resentment could not live. David knew worse about himself than Shimei’s bitter tongue could ever tell. And it is the same with us. The most malignant taunts of our enemies wound us, not by what they are, but by what they remind us of. And in bringing our real sins to remembrance, they not only silence resentment on our part, but call us to reflection, to patience, to humility, to penitence”

James Denney, The Way Everlasting, “Learning From The Enemy”

MEDITATION XLVI Upon Contentment and Satisfaction

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The Spiritual Chymist

It is our Savior’s maxim that Man’s life consists not in the abundance of things which he possesses.

If there be any happiness upon earth it is in that we call contentment which comes from the mind within and not from things without. Perfect satisfaction is to be had only in heaven, where we shall be happy, not by contentment but by the fruition of our desires. Then, says David, I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness. [Psalm 17:15] How happy therefore is every godly man’s condition who are the only persons that are instructed in the mystery of contentment while they live on earth and shall be in heaven the sole possessors of perfect an everlasting blessedness. True it is, that philosophy has greatly priced and earnestly sought this rich jewel of contentment; the Christian has only found it.

The Moralists have exercised their wits in giving rules to attain it (and have let fall some sentences that may deserve to be put into the Christian’s register), but they could never look into the true grounds from whence sound contentment does arise, and upon which it is to be built. The highest of their precepts have not (as I may say) the root of the matter in them, and are therefore insufficient wholly to compose the mind to such a calm and even temper, as may in the variety of changes show and discover [disclose] itself to be so reconciled to its present condition as to not lose inward peace and serenity, whatsoever the storms and cross accidents are from without.

What are the considerations which they prescribe as a support against poverty, sickness, imprisonment, loss of friends, banishment, and such like evils? Are they not persuasions drawn from the dignity of man, from vanity and uncertainly in all outward things; from the shortness and frailty of life, from the befalling of the same things unto others? But alas! what slender props are these to bear the stress and weight of those armies of trials which at once may assault the life of man. These may haply serve as secondary helps to alleviate the bitterness of some afflictions, when we are apt to think them greater than what others have felt or longer than others have endured.

But to keep the mind in peace in the midst of all aestuations from without [outside of us], there must be more effectual remedies than either Nature or morality can suggest. From whence then can true contentment arise but from godliness, which has a sufficiency to establish the heart? It is that alone which brings man home to God, out of whom neither contentment nor satisfaction can ever be had. It is that which acquaints a man with that great secret of God’s special providence over his children who rules the world not only as a Lord to make them sensible of his power, but as a loving Father to make them confident of his goodness, whereby he disposes all things for the best.

O when faith has once apprehended this, how firmly can it rest upon the promises which are made to godliness, both of this life and that which is to come? How can it work far more contentment with the meanest [basest, poor quality] feed than other have with the costliest delicacies; with the poorest raiment [clothing] than other have with their richest ornaments? It is faith only that teaches a Christian, like a skillful musicians to let down the string a peg lower when the tune requires it; or like an experienced spgirick [alchemist, chemist] to remit or intend his furnace [raise or lower the flame] as occasion serves.

Such a one was Paul, who learned this heavenly art [Phil. 4:11]not at Gamaliel’s feet but in Christ’s school, the Holy Spirit of God being his teacher, so that he knew both how to want [be in lack] and how to abound, and in whatsoever state therewith to be content [Phil. 4:11].

Let none then so far admire those heathen sages in those speculations of theirs concerning this mystery, as if they had attained to hit that mark at which they leveled [aimed] and had arrived at the utmost boundaries of it. When as in all their essays [tries, attempts] they have fallen as far short of true contentment as sick men’s slumbering and dreams do of a sound and healthful rest.

Of all their precepts and rules I may as as Erasmus [the humanist scholar] did of Seneca [Roman philosopher] in an epistle of his, Si legas cum et paganum, scripsit Christiane si ut Christianum scripsit paganice; If read them as they sayings of Heathen, they speak Christianly; but if you look upon them as sayings of Christians, they speak Paganly. And how could it be otherwise? They being wholly destitute of the light of grace and the guidance of the Spirit, which are both requisite to this high and holy learning? The one as a principle, the other as a teacher.

But yet this I must also say, that they have done enough to shame many, who, enjoying the benefit of Divine Revelation and living in the open sunshine of the Gospel, have profited thereby in so small a proportion beyond them. Who can forbear blushing to see those who profess to be Christians to live so contrary to the law and rule which they should walk by?

To see contentment, not by moderating their desires but by satisfying them, which will still increase as things come on; like unto rivers which the more they are fed and the further they run, the wider they can spread. Can it rationally be deemed by any that those things which are sums in the desire and cyphers in the fruition should ever effect contentedness in the mind? Is not the deficiency that men see in their abundance the ground [reason, source] of them multiplying it? And can they ever, by the additions which they make heal its deficiency? Why then should any try and attempt such fruitless projects which cannot but end in disappointment? Methinks I should not need to expostulate the matter with Christians: That anointing which teaches them all things should instruct them in this, that godliness is the only way to contentment in this life and satisfaction in the other.
But Lord, however others live,
help me to bring my mind to my condition
which is as well my duty as my happiness while I am on earth;
and to rest assured that in heaven thou wilt bring my estate to my mind,
which is that I may enjoy thee
in whose presence is fullness of joy
and at whose right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

I ate umble pie

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The psychological observations of great writers are more useful than most of the “science” of psychologists (of all stripes). To prove that point consider the following section from David Copperfield by Dickens.

Uriah Heep is a fawning, scheming beast who has taken advantage of another’s sorrow and willingness to drink for solace. 

In this section, he explains himself. It is quite understandable when one knows that sin begets congruent sin:

‘I am not fond of professions of humility,’ I returned, ‘or professions of anything else.’ ‘There now!’ said Uriah, looking flabby and lead-coloured in the moonlight. ‘Didn’t I know it! But how little you think of the rightful umbleness of a person in my station, Master Copperfield! Father and me was both brought up at a foundation school for boys; and mother, she was likewise brought up at a public, sort of charitable, establishment. They taught us all a deal of umbleness—not much else that I know of, from morning to night. We was to be umble to this person, and umble to that; and to pull off our caps here, and to make bows there; and always to know our place, and abase ourselves before our betters. And we had such a lot of betters! Father got the monitor-medal by being umble. So did I. Father got made a sexton by being umble. He had the character, among the gentlefolks, of being such a well-behaved man, that they were determined to bring him in. “Be umble, Uriah,” says father to me, “and you’ll get on. It was what was always being dinned into you and me at school; it’s what goes down best. Be umble,” says father, “and you’ll do!” And really it ain’t done bad!’ It was the first time it had ever occurred to me, that this detestable cant of false humility might have originated out of the Heep family. I had seen the harvest, but had never thought of the seed. ‘When I was quite a young boy,’ said Uriah, ‘I got to know what umbleness did, and I took to it. I ate umble pie with an appetite. I stopped at the umble point of my learning, and says I, “Hold hard!” When you offered to teach me Latin, I knew better. “People like to be above you,” says father, “keep yourself down.” I am very umble to the present moment, Master Copperfield, but I’ve got a little power!’ And he said all this—I knew, as I saw his face in the moonlight—that I might understand he was resolved to recompense himself by using his power. I had never doubted his meanness, his craft and malice; but I fully comprehended now, for the first time, what a base, unrelenting, and revengeful spirit, must have been engendered by this early, and this long, suppression.

The Greatest and Finest Product of Human History

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My contention would be that, apart from such a position as I desire to bring to your notice—some real apostolic belief in the real work of Jesus Christ—apart from that no Church can continue to exist. That is the point of view which I take at the outset. The Church is precious, not in itself, but because of God’s purpose with it. It is there because of what God has done for it. It is there, more particularly, because of what Christ has done, and done in history. It is there solely to serve the Gospel

It is impossible not to observe at the present day that the Church is under a cloud. You cannot take any division of it, in any country of the world, without feeling that that is so. Therefore I will begin by making quite a bold statement; and I should be quite prepared, given time and opportunity, to devote a whole week to making it good. The statement is that the Church of Christ is the greatest and finest product of human history. It is the greatest thing in the universe. That is in complete defiance of the general view and tendency of society at the present moment. I say the Church is the greatest and finest product of human history; because it is not really a product of human history, but the product of the Holy Spirit within history. It stands for the new creation, the New Humanity, and it has that in trust.

 

P.T. Forsyth, The Work of Christ.

More Observations on the Image of God

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Revising and developing my notes on the theology of psychology, with particular emphasis on biblical counseling. One important aspect of any psychological system is its anthropology: what is a human being? The answer to that question is a theological question: psychology as a discipline of observation cannot answer that question.

A critical element of biblical anthropology is that human beings are in the image of God. The discussion of this issue is enormous. Here are three voices on the issue. Biblical Doctrine, John MacArthur, explains there are three basic views as to the doctrine of the image of God:

Three views have been offered in answer to the question of how exactly man is in God’s image: substantive, functional, and relational. First, the substantive view says that the image of God is inherently structural to man it is a characteristic within the makeup of man….

 Second, the functional view asserts at the image of God is something that human beings do….

Third, the relational view claims that relationship is the image of God.

The best view however isn’t the image of God is substantive or structural to man. Function and relationship are the consequences of man being the image of God structurally….

The structure probably consist of the complex qualities and attributes of man that making human. This includes his physical and spiritual components. The image could also be linked to personhood and personality and to the powers to relate and operate.

 

MacArthur anr Biblical Doctrine, pp. 412 – 413.

 

  1. John S. Hammett, in the chapter “Human Nature” in A Theology for the Church, avoids the question of structural, functional or relational:

Despite the paucity of biblical teaching on the image of God, we may draw five biblical parameters. these guidelines do not answer all the questions we have concerning the image of God, but they give us guidelines by which we may evaluate suggested interpretations of the image of God.

Creation in the image of God is affirmed for all persons….

Creation in the image of God involves being like God in some unspecified way….

Creation in the image of God is the basis for human uniqueness and dignity (Gen 9:6; Jas 3:9-10)….

Even after the fall, humans are spoken of as being in the image of God, so the image is not completely lost in the fall. However, it does seem that the image was damaged in the fall, for there are verses that speak of the restoration of the divine image or conformity to the image of Christ as an ongoing process in the Christian life (2 Cor 3:18; Eph. 4:23-24; Col 3:10).

Moreover, since Christ is the perfect image of God (Heb 1:3) and the result of this process of restoration is being fully like Christ (Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 15:49; 1 John 3:1-2), we may speak of the image of God as being not only are created design but also our eschatological destiny.

Theology, p. 294.

Bavnick has an extensive discussion of the doctrine, the history of the doctrine and critiques of the various views.  He concludes:

In our treatment of the doctrine of the image of God, then, we must highlight, in accordance with Scripture and the Reformed confession, the idea that a human being does not bear or have the image of God but that he or she is the image of God. As a human being a man is the son, the likeness, or offspring of God (Gen. 1:26; 9:6; Luke 3:38; Acts 17:28; 1 Cor. 11:7; James 3:9).

Two things are implied in this doctrine. The first is that not something in God—one virtue or perfection or another to the exclusion of still others, nor one person—say, the Son to the exclusion of the Father and the Spirit—but that God himself, the entire deity, is the archetype of man. Granted, it has frequently been taught that man has specifically been made in the image of the Son or of the incarnate Christ,72 but there is nothing in Scripture that supports this notion. Scripture repeatedly tells us that humankind was made in the image of God, not that we have been modeled on Christ, but that he was made [human] in our likeness (Rom. 8:3; Phil. 2:7–8; Heb. 2:14), and that we, having been conformed to the image of Christ, are now again becoming like God (Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49; 2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 3:21; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; 1 John 3:2). It is therefore much better for us to say that the triune being, God, is the archetype of man,73 while at the same time exercising the greatest caution in the psychological exploration of the trinitarian components of man’s being.74

On the other hand, it follows from the doctrine of human creation in the image of God that this image extends to the whole person. Nothing in a human being is excluded from the image of God. While all creatures display vestiges of God, only a human being is the image of God. And he is such totally, in soul and body, in all his faculties and powers, in all conditions and relations. Man is the image of God because and insofar as he is truly human, and he is truly and essentially human because, and to the extent that, he is the image of God. Naturally, just as the cosmos is an organism and reveals God’s attributes more clearly in some than in other creatures, so also in man as an organism the image of God comes out more clearly in one part than another, more in the soul than in the body, more in the ethical virtues than in the physical powers. None of this, however, detracts in the least from the truth that the whole person is the image of God. Scripture could not and should not speak of God in a human manner and transfer all human attributes to God, as if God had not first made man totally in his own image. And it is the task of Christian theology to point out this image of God in man’s being in its entirety.

Herman Bavinck, John Bolt, and John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 554–555.

So the whole human being is image and likeness of God, in soul and body, in all human faculties, powers, and gifts. Nothing in humanity is excluded from God’s image; it stretches as far as our humanity does and constitutes our humanness. The human is not the divine self but is nevertheless a finite creaturely impression of the divine. All that is in God—his spiritual essence, his virtues and perfections, his immanent self-distinctions, his self-communication and self-revelation in creation—finds its admittedly finite and limited analogy and likeness in humanity

Herman Bavinck, John Bolt, and John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 561.

 

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Study Guide. 10.1

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It’s been a long time, but the previous post in this series may be found here.

Burroughs now moves to the question of motivation: it will take work to “learn” (Phil. 4:11) how to be content. Contentment is a heavenly flower, a mark of the age to come, and it is not common to this world. If anything, contentment has only become more difficult for people living at this time, because we live in a world that engages in constant propaganda to make us discontent. This is a fact noted by all. From those who are negative to Christianity, ” The whole thing [advertising] is a set up to keep us unhappy and foolishly intent on spending our way out this unhappiness.” But it was noted far earlier by Solomon,

 

Ecclesiastes 1:8 (ESV)

          All things are full of weariness;

a man cannot utter it;

the eye is not satisfied with seeing,

nor the ear filled with hearing.

 

There are all the false offers of happiness in this world. Even though they all end the same (Ecclesiastes 2:11), we find them irresistible (Jer. 2:25). Therefore, breaking off from these false hopes and setting our hope in God such that we will do the work to learn contentment with God’s will for our lives — even when it crosses are desires — will require a hope in that contentment is better than what we have now.

 

It is to this task which Burroughs turns.

 

  1. How does Burroughs describe the result of this learning? If we have learned contentment, what would be the nature of our speaking about contentment? Read Philippians 4:1-13, the passage where Paul says that he has learned contentment. What is the tone taken by Paul in this passage? Verse 13 is a famous verse: in context, what is that God gives Paul the strength to do?

 

  1. Why does Burroughs note that even the greatest pagans thought contentment a great goal?

 

  1. The worship due God. In raising this issue, Burroughs is both showing us the greatness of contentment, and at the same time, raising the greatest barrier to contentment.

 

  1. How does Burroughs first define contentment? In particular note the aspect of free submission.

 

  1. What sort of thoughts, desires and fears keep you from freely submitting to God’s will for your life? If they hold that God is sovereign, and that our present circumstance must work for good, then what must we think when our present circumstance runs contrary to our will? What must we think about ourselves? What must we think about God?

 

  1. How does willing submission to God help bring about contentment?

 

  1. Why should giving God proper worship be a motivation for contentment? Honestly, does that seem like a sufficient reason?

 

  1. Burroughs uses some language which may sound offensive to your dignity, when he discusses worship. Read Genesis 3:5. Does this lie of the Serpent help shed light on why this is difficult for us?

 

  1. Look at a few passages involving humans meeting God:
  2. Leviticus 10:1-3
  3. Deuteronomy 5:22-27

iii.        Isaiah 6:1-5

  1. Ezekiel 1
  2. Luke 5:8
  3. Luke 9:34

vii.       Revelation 1:17

 

  1. What is wrong with our natural thoughts about God? ii

 

  1. How does Burroughs describe the greatness of this aspect of worship?

 

  1. Read Revelation 5: i) What sort of worship does Christ receive from those who know him best? ii) What is the basis for this worship? iii) Do you rightly value this worth? iv) Is it wise to submit one’s condition and life to such wisdom? v) Read Romans 8:31-32: is there any good which God would not give you?

 

What God says of our Identity 

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But his theology of the cross involved the recognition that God sometimes works “under the appearance of opposites.” Thus Luther strove to cultivate in the congregation a faith that rested in confidence on God’s presence and promise even when his strength was being perfected in their weakness, as God had told Paul he was doing in the apostle’s life (2 Cor. 12:9). In this sermon on Mark 5 Luther, in both temporal and spiritual dimensions of life, poses the contrast of what human beings see in the world and what Christ sees. David had seen himself as a poor shepherd, and so had the world, but Christ viewed him as a king. “All of you who have faith in me regard yourselves as poor sinners, but I regard you as precious saints; I regard you as like the angels. I simply speak not more than a single word, and sin, death, sickness have to yield, and righteousness, life, and health come in their place. The way I speak determines how things are; they cannot be otherwise.” 

Robert Kolb, Luther and the Stories of God, Chapter 3

Book Review: Schizophrenia, Mental Illness and Pastoral Care

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Adam Lambdin, author of Schizophrenia, Mental Illness and Pastoral Care (2016) can write from personal experience that “Schizophrenia is diabolical” (52).  Adam is schizophrenic. I hesitate to write that Adam “suffers” from schizophrenia, but because he has not suffered direct and indirect consequences of the disease: he has; but rather because Adam has blessed the church with his account of schizophrenia.

The book has three primary elements: Adam’s personal experience; a brief discussion of physiology of the disease; and a discussion of what has and has not helped in responding to this disease.

Adam’s personal history was quite useful for understanding what it is like to live with schizophrenia. The process by he came to understand his condition is both fascinating and heartbreaking. As the effects of the disease grew, Adam did not suspect the true nature of his difficulties, “After all, I had absolutely no clue that I was schizophrenic.”

His explanation of how there were delusions which covered up the delusions which he suffered — the delusions about the delusions — well demonstrated the tremendous pit into which this disease can drive one — hence, the reason he calls the disease “diabolical” (not demonic, which unfortunately some well-meaning people believed to be the case). The delusions created  a horror movie hall of mirrors within his brain.

Adam then reviews medical evidence that schizophrenia is a real disease. Unfortunately, there has been a deal of confusion on this point, within and without the church. This is the trouble with a disease which is typically diagnosed based upon behavior and affect and self-reported states of mind.

How does one rightly and accurately distinguish between those problems with result from physical disease and those which flow from personal volition? When presented with someone who is depressed, or who refuses to follow instruction, or who behaves in an inappropriate manner, does their outward expression come from a lack of self-control, a damaged brain, drug use, some sinful choice. These can be very difficult questions and the interaction between physical and spiritual causes can be very hard to disentangle.

Adam’s experience and observations on these points need to be carefully considered. His advises (page 53) that one begin with a charitable posture when the underlying cause is doubt; something with which I would agree.

The third topic covered in the book is the response to his schizophrenia. Adam details the many well-intentioned and yet hurtful responses, and the insufficient counsel he received.

A great deal of this discussion concerns the biblical counseling world, which sadly, has had some advocates who were not helpful here. (I write this as a biblical counselor professor at The Masters University, so biblical counseling is something I sincerely advocate.) There have those who have tried to reduce all instances of bad outcome labeled “psychotic” or “schizophrenic” (this label has and been used to describe various persons who may not all have the same underlying physical problems; the famous musician or actor who melts down in public, may be “crazy” or even “psychotic” without suffering from a degenerative brain disease).

There is a physiological brain disease called “schizophrenia” that entails damage to the brain. The precise mechanism by which this disease begins and progresses is not as well understood as I wish it were. Thank God, there is some medication which can alleviate some symptoms of the disease.

Yet, the failure to carefully distinguish between people who have a degenerative brain disease and people who are just degenerates has hurt people like Adam. Insisting that someone “repent” of schizophrenia makes as much sense as telling someone to repent of the flu. (And in both instances, the physical problem can become a basis for temptation. But it is no sin to suffer from a disease. People who are physically ill need compassion and medical treatment).

Adam’s discussion of the sort of counsel, instruction which helps with schizophrenia is discussed as a distinction between “secular” psychology and biblical counseling. This is the one place where I would take the most exception with Adam. Not that I disagree with those sorts of things which have been helpful. But I do not believe the line is drawn in the right place in terms of the positions:

There are people who think they are offering counsel consistent with the Scripture; who are not. There are those who know too little about what the Scripture provides, and thus offer inadequate counsel.

The various forms of counsel which proved most effect for managing the effects of the hallucinations and delusions are not foreign to biblical counseling as a discipline — even though they may little known or practiced by counselors. For instance, a great of what is discussed by Richard Sibbes in the early 17th century in his work The Soul’s Conflict With Itself is in accord with the sort taking one’s thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:5) taught to Adam by his psychologists. Indeed, I have personally given very similar counsel to a man suffering from auditory hallucinations and know that similar counsel has been given by biblical counselors to those suffering from schizophrenia.

That does not mean that I am not interested to read what these psychologists and psychiatrists have done which they have found effective.

However, it is precisely because Adam has been poorly counseled by well-meaning Christians that I would want counselors to read this book and think and train more carefully than they have done.  But this is not the place to work through that complex issue.

And so, in short, I am very pleased that Adam has written this book. I have had the honor of having Adam as a graduate theology student at The Masters University — and even had some brief discussions with him on this subject. I will be recommending this book to counselors and students — not just for those who are particularly interested in schizophrenia, but for all those who seek to better understand the question of brain disease or injury and counseling issues (that is a particularly difficult question, because it is hard to know precisely what is the cause or this or that). There has been far too little consideration of these questions in the biblical counseling world. Adam’s book is a welcome addition to the discussion.

(I was not paid for this review. I purchased a copy of the book to give this review.)