This second of four articles on “Psychology and the Church” focuses on what is called the “Biblical Counseling movement” (BCM). This is a popular evangelical approach to counseling that not only promotes its own program for resolving personal problems within a strict Bible-based foundation, but also asserts that “psychology” — or more specifically, “psychotherapy” — is completely incompatible with its approach. This article defines the Bible Counseling movement, reviews its common criticisms of psychology, summarizes its foundations, commends its many positive contributions, and notes some of its inadequacies.
The Bible’s teaching on God’s boundless mercy and love for His children assures the Christian that there is no problem too difficult, no situation too desperate, and no condition too bleak that He and His Word cannot bring comfort, courage, and the power to overcome adversity and sin. Jesus promised, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30, NIV).
THE BIBLICAL COUNSELING MOVEMENT (BCM)
These and other biblical promises form the basis for the argument many Christians use to reject psychotherapy specifically and psychology generally as “a religious wolf in pseudoscientific clothing.”1 This rejection of psychology has a strong following among many conservative evangelicals. Frequently this approach is referred to as “biblical counseling” in distinction from “psychological counseling.” While many Christian therapists consider their counseling biblical in its approach, the “biblical counseling movement” (BCM) proponents reject any attempt to integrate psychology and a biblical approach. For them, “true spirituality has nothing to do with psychology (1 Cor. 2:11), a fake science based primarily on man’s rationalizations; i.e., self-deceptions.”2
Psychology3 is severely criticized not only by BCM advocates, but even by some psychologists and psychiatrists such as William Glasser, O. Hobart Mowrer, Thomas S. Szasz, William Kirk Kilpatrick, Terence W. Campbell, Robyn M. Dawes, and Paul C. Vitz. These criticisms will be reviewed in the third installment of this series.
BCM CRITICISM OF PSYCHOLOGY
BCM proponents are vociferous in their denouncements of psychology (especially, but not exclusively, psychotherapy) and of Christians who value psychological principles, discoveries, and/or applications.4 Gary Almy and Carol Tharp Almy, Christian medical doctors, state: “Psychology is a false gospel. Its teachers are nothing less than false prophets. They fill people with false hope and lead them into false peace.”5 Sometimes Martin and Deidre Bobgan are even broader in their denunciation of psychology as anti-Christian, as when they say, “Because psychology, which gives rise to psychotherapy, is not science and has not proven itself in either research or reality, and because it has unnecessarily replaced religious cures, it would be appropriate to label it ‘psychoquackery’ and to regard it as psychoheresy. Psychoquackery becomes psychoheresy when it is combined with Christian verbiage. Psychotherapy and its philosophical and practical implications and influence could very well be intrinsic to the great seduction in preparation for the antichrist.”6
It is not simply psychology in isolation from biblical principles that BCM proponents reject. They are at least as vociferous in their denunciations of “Christian psychology” as they are of “secular psychology.” For example, popular author Dave Hunt declares,
“Christian psychology” represents the most deadly and at the same time the most appealing and popular form of modernism ever to confront the church….
Then what is meant by this term? What is so-called Christian psychology? It is simply one form or another of secular psychology developed by godless humanists hostile to the Bible and now dressed up in Christian language….
Psychotherapy is, in fact, a rival religion that cannot be integrated with Christianity. Having nothing of value to offer to anyone, much less Christians, it is both deceptive and destructive.7
While most BCM advocates dismiss all psychotherapy and much of the broader field of psychology, most allow for certain interventive actions that can correct a physically based problem that may manifest in conjunction with personal problems. For example, the spiritually based problem of depression may also be accompanied by a metabolic problem that can physically enhance the depression. The Almys note, “Certainly, a counselor’s first priority may be to meet a crisis: getting a client out of a dangerous, life-threatening situation. As Jay Adams says, ‘If you see a naked man running down the street with a meat cleaver, don’t call your pastor.’ There are times when the police or physicians must be called. Some need hospitalization for disabling symptoms. Suicidal people may need to be restrained by police.”8
The BCM has drawn the parameter. Any personal problem that is not physiological in nature is spiritual, and must be addressed biblically.
THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE BCM
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The BCM advocates do not simply criticize psychology and Christian psychology. They also promote an alternative way of helping hurting people, most commonly referred to as “biblical counseling” as distinct from psychology. Various other names are given for this approach, including Jay Adams’s “nouthetic counseling” and the Bobgans’ “spiritual way.” According to the BCM, biblical counseling is the only biblically acceptable way to help people solve their personal problems.
The BCM includes four foundational premises. The first maintains that every principle for personal fulfillment is contained in the Bible. When BCM advocates declare that the Bible is the source for counseling principles, they generally make this an absolute, complete, and exclusivistic statement. The Bobgans make this clear, stating that “the Bible gives the only accurate understanding of why man is the way he is and how he is to change,”9 and that “any counseling which uses philosophies and methods other than Scripture will not nourish and build a believer’s relationship with God.”10 The Almys encourage their readers to ask a prospective counselor “if he sees Scripture as sufficient for every problem.”11 Jay Adams, considered by many to be the “father” of the BCM, places his exclusive focus within the wider context of the Holy Spirit’s ministry, saying, “since the Holy Spirit employs his Word as the principal means by which Christians may grow in sanctification, counseling cannot be effective (in any biblical sense of that term) apart from the use of the Scriptures.”12
Second, BCM assumes that all personal problems (if they are not organic, biological, and/or physical in nature) are spiritual problems. Although BCM proponents sometimes distinguish among emotional, mental, and spiritual problems,13 most also assume that anything that is not physically based must be spiritually based:
The psyche or soul and all of its concerns are spiritual matters.14
Problems of living are spiritual problems which require spiritual solutions.15
The majority of BCM advocates believe that “most psychotherapeutic systems either reject or ignore the spiritual relationship between man and his creator.”16 They further hold that biblical counseling is the only approach to personal problems based on the fundamental idea that personal problems (mental or emotional) are rooted in spiritual problems: “Spiritual solutions are not merely operative upon the spirit, for the Word of God applies to every aspect of daily life, including mental attitudes and interpersonal relationships.”17
Third, the BCM frequently equates the resolution of personal problems with the experience of personal salvation and subsequent sanctification. To the prospective client whose goal is to overcome fear of the dark, the biblical counselor preaches that Jesus is the “Light” (John 1:4-9) and that coming to Him in repentance to be saved opens the door to freedom from the fear of darkness. This element of the BCM is closely related to the second, that personal problems are spiritual problems. The Bobgans summarize this: “A true spiritual counselor does not place his confidence in any of the thousands of psychotherapeutic techniques, nor in the ideologies of determinism or humanism behind the personality theories. His confidence is in the truth set forth in the Bible, the way of salvation and sanctification, which includes forgiveness, new life, walking in the Spirit, putting off the old man and putting on the new….according to God’s wisdom, understanding, knowledge, compassion, forgiveness, truth, nurture, guidance, comfort, strength, and very presence.”18
The fourth foundational principle of the BCM is that the goal of counseling is a saved individual who lives in obedience to God’s Word. The direct goals are not conscientious work habits, consistent parenting, harmonious marriages, stress-free habits, or personal joy. Rather, the successive direct goals are, first, salvation and, second, obedience to God’s Word. As a consequence, salvation and sanctification will produce good employees, parents, spouses, and individuals. Jay Adams affirms positively, “God wants us to ‘lose’ ourselves in this world by throwing ourselves wholeheartedly into the service and love of Christ and His empire.”19 Adams also identifies personal satisfaction as a product of obedience: “Satisfaction, like peace and joy, comes not when one pursues it, but unexpectedly and always as a by-product of faithful, fruitful Christian living.”20 T. A. McMahon clearly states, “As a Christian, true spirituality is a product only of our submission and obedience by His grace to His Word.”21
POSITIVE ASPECTS OF THE BCM
The BCM promotes several important concepts that challenge assumptions held by many psychology advocates. (Many psychology advocates, including many Christian therapists, recognize these principles as well and apply them against what they consider to be invalid psychological principles.)
First, the BCM recognizes that value-neutral or value-free counseling is impossible. Many secular therapists (even some Christian ones) say it is inappropriate to impose or assume any values regarding a client’s actions or attitudes. For example, a therapist, instead of telling a client, “Adultery is wrong,” might instead ask the client, “Are the benefits you perceive from your adultery (excitement, positive emotions, sexual indulgence, and hope for future well-being) worth you risking the negative consequences of your adultery (exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, incurring the anger of your spouse, conflicting emotions, etc.)?” These approaches, however, are not value-free at all. They assume the value that all values are equal in value. This, of course, is completely contrary to the biblical principle that “there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Prov. 14:12).
Second, the BCM recognizes the ambiguity in the claim that “psychology is science.” While some aspects of psychology deal with empirical (that which can be tested with the senses) data and evaluation, and would fit an empiricist theory of science, much of psychology (and most psychotherapy) deals with philosophies, values, emotions, and other intangibles that are not empirically governed. The BCM also recognizes that “psychology as science” becomes a convenient label that can be used or discarded seemingly arbitrarily. An empiricist psychologist can avoid commenting about God or the gospel by claiming “religion is not empirically testable,” but the same psychologist can make a vague appeal to science as “validating” even those assumptions about psychology that are beyond empiricism.
Third, the BCM emphasizes personal responsibility and accountability for behavior. While some forms of psychotherapy (such as Mowrer’s “Moral Model” or Glasser’s “Reality Therapy”) also emphasize personal accountability, the BCM applies personal accountability in a strictly biblical context. The BCM proponent would counsel in the same way Jesus did, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32). The BCM focus on personal accountability is especially refreshing in the current “victimization” climate of our contemporary society, where everyone is a victim of something or someone and no one is responsible for anything negative in his or her own life.22
Fourth, the BCM focuses on biblical principles of godly living. While psychotherapy frequently focuses on subjective feelings of emotional “wellness” or contentment, the BCM focuses on self-denial, commitment to studying God’s Word, worship of God, prayer, service to others, and development of what Paul calls “the fruit of the Spirit” — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22).
Fifth, the BCM emphasizes goal-oriented, usually short-term counseling. This gives the client almost immediate positive feedback, encouragement that the problem can be resolved quickly, and a manageably simple course of action. While some psychotherapies anticipate that many clients will need years (if not lifetimes) of therapy, most biblical counseling considers a client’s problem resolved when he or she has recognized the problem from a biblical standpoint, confessed and repented of his or her own sin in the matter, and begun practicing biblical obedience in the specific matter.23
Sixth, the BCM correctly understands that human-to-God and God-to-human relationships must be reconciled to ensure fulfilled and soundly functioning human-to-human relationships. The BCM recognizes that humans are basically sinful, not basically good, and that true and complete human fulfillment can only occur if one is regenerated through the power of the Holy Spirit by means of Christ’s redemption for us on the cross. Interpersonal or social “redemption” is only fully possible among redeemed individuals. Thus BCM counseling stresses human sinfulness and the need for redemption as root causes of personal distress. It also provides a standard of absolute ethics by which all actions can be judged, both good and bad.
Seventh, the BCM recognizes human needs as they are defined or at least given in principle in Scripture. This objective standard of need is far shorter than most subjective assessments of human “need,” which tend to focus on personal pleasure rather than the minimum requirements for humans to worship and serve God. To the typical BCM counselor, God “owes” humans nothing, because all have sinned and deserve only eternal punishment. Through the grace of God, both generally in His sustaining power in the world toward all and specially in salvation to those who believe, people enjoy the blessings of God. To the client who complains to his BCM counselor that he doesn’t have good self-esteem, the response is likely to be something like Jay Adams’s response to the self-esteem movement based on two secular psychologists, Adler and Maslow, and articulated by Christian psychologist Larry Crabb: “There is absolutely no biblical basis for any such statement. Indeed, following the Adler-Maslow line too closely here leads Crabb to contradict Jesus’ words: ‘There is only one real need’ (Luke 10:42). The real need of which He spoke was not the ‘need’ for a sense of personal worth or for the acceptance of oneself as a whole, real person. It was the need for Himself and His Word.”24
In summary, the BCM has made seven positive contributions: (1) recognition that value-free counseling is impossible; (2) recognition of psychology’s ambivalence toward empirical science; (3) emphasis on personal accountability; (4) emphasis on biblical principles of godly living; (5) short-term counseling; (6) focus on the relationship between God and humans; and (7) emphasis on contentment in God’s will. These contributions have equipped many pastors and other Christian workers to work much more effectively with troubled Christians.
INADEQUACIES OF THE BCM
As helpful as the BCM is, and however much it more closely follows an exclusively biblical framework, we believe it has some serious inadequacies as well. These are certainly not inadequacies in God, or in God’s Word, but they are inadequacies in a human attempt to understand and apply God’s revelation to human experience.
First, the BCM generally fails to recognize that some of what we learn about God, ourselves, our relationship to God, and our relationships to others comes from what are called natural theology (understanding God and His relationship with the universe by means of rational reflection) and general revelation (that which can be known about God generally — especially through the created world — on a universal basis).25 God speaks not only specially (in the Bible, through prophets, and in His Son — see Hebrews 1:1–2), but also through reason, the material universe, social history, and conscience.
Revelation through reason is assumed in several Bible passages, such as when the apostle Paul says in Romans 8:18 that he “considers” (literally, “has come to a reasoned conclusion”) that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us,” and in the same passage, “I am convinced” that nothing can separate believers from the love of God (Rom. 8:38–39).
Revelation through the created world is assumed throughout Scripture, such as in Psalm 19:1–4, which proclaims: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” The apostle Paul echoes this in Romans 1:19–20: “What may be known about God is plain to [the wicked], because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
Social history is appealed to by many Scripture writers as evidence of God’s will, such as when the writer of Hebrews points to the examples of previous “people of faith” (Heb. 11:4–40), when the apostle Peter refers to the judgment that came on the wicked of Noah’s day (1 Pet. 3:19–21), and when Paul affirms the value of good role models, exhorting, “Join with others in following my example brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you” (Phil. 3:17).
Conscience is an important source of general revelation, and the apostle Paul declares that it can provide a moral standard by which one’s actions can be judged according to God’s truth: “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them” (Rom. 2:14–15).
Believers as well as nonbelievers can observe God’s standards through general and natural theology. This “practical wisdom” is congruent to the broad principles laid down in the Bible, but can go beyond the specific prescriptions of Scripture. John Coe, assistant professor of theology and philosophy at Rosemead Graduate School of Psychology (part of the evangelical Biola University), notes that
the Scriptures recognize a non-propositional source of wisdom embedded and evident within the patterns and dynamic structures of both the inorganic and organic world. God Himself through the prophet Jeremiah expresses His loyalty to His covenant and laws in written Torah by likening it with His loyalty towards His covenant and laws evident in nature. Moreover, the OT sage appeals to this natural law or cosmic order as the data base and source for both his natural and social science not only in terms of theoretical, practical and technological knowledge but also wisdom and moral knowledge.26
Second, since the BCM fails to recognize varieties of God’s communication to humans in natural theology and general revelation, it also establishes a false standard of comprehensive exclusivity regarding the Bible. The BCM wrongly assumes that the Bible is the sole source of all values and prescriptions, when in reality God is, and the Bible is one of the ways God communicates the values and prescriptions He has ordained for human behavior. God communicates most clearly and extensively, but not exclusively, in the Bible. (This article doesn’t have the space to discuss a related, ongoing BCM problem: how do counselees know that the interpretation and/or application of Scripture given them by their BCM counselor is accurate?)
God uses other people, personal observation, rational discourse, experience, and, as we have already seen, natural and general revelation as well as the Bible. This pattern is encouraged even within the pages of Scripture,27 especially in the Book of Proverbs. Godly parental influence is acknowledged even without restricting that godly counsel only to repetition of the words of Scripture: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Prov. 1:8). Industriousness can be learned even from insects in the natural world: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” (Prov. 6:6–8).
In the New Testament, Jesus repeatedly uses examples from the natural world as sources for practical wisdom, as when He says, “Look at the birds of the air…” (Matt. 6:26), or when He compares the power of His words to a house’s strong foundation (Matt. 7:24–25).
To reduce God’s communicative power of His infinite principles of godly living to the exclusive domain of the Bible is to ignore the comprehensive nature of His governance and nurture of a world that reflects His nature. As we have seen, the Bible itself confirms this point.
The third fundamental inadequacy of the BCM is that it presents a falsely restrictive and dichotomized view of science and faith, and, consequently, of human nature and of the parameters of psychology as science. Philosopher J. P. Moreland argues convincingly in Christianity and the Nature of Science that it is not possible to separate science from other disciplines simply by declaring it so. Science occurs in a philosophical, historical, linguistic, and social milieu that integrally affects its nature and practice.28 The BCM view of science is adopted from a non-Christian Enlightenment philosophy of science that wrongly divorced material realities from immaterial realities and wrongly affirmed empiricism (knowledge gained through sense verification) in isolation from other tools of knowing.29 It is the secular humanist who needs to dichotomize between empirical and nonempirical means of knowledge and between the material and the nonmaterial realms. In this way he can safely exclude God (a nonmaterial Being) from the world around him (which is material) and from the entire field of relevant knowledge.
John Coe explains why Christians should reject such a philosophy:
Until the Enlightenment, reality was seen as a unified whole (material and nonmaterial), subject to God’s design, creation, sustaining power, and governance. One expected to see evidence of the invisible God’s existence and power in the material universe because He created and sustained that universe. One could use reason and logic to understand empirical observations because one presupposed that God had given humans reason and logic as tools to help them understand reality. No one strictly separated “science” from “faith,” or “daily living” from “spiritual living.” This view of reality is straight from the principles of Scripture, which affirms that God is Lord of all, not simply Lord of spiritual realities.30
The BCM advocates, in their zeal to preserve the supremacy of the Bible as God’s sole revelation, have actually limited God’s supremacy by agreeing with the secular humanists that one can “know” material reality apart from God. The thoughtful Christian, however, recognizes that one cannot divorce God’s presence from any successful pursuit of truth because God’s sovereignty extends throughout all reality, material and immaterial.
“Science,” when restricted to its supposed value-less empiricist bare bones by secularists and BCM advocates, becomes merely a meaningless jumble of incomprehensible observations. For science to truly be science one must presuppose truths inherent in God’s creative and sustaining power, such as the laws of logic; the purposefulness of creation; order and predictability in nature; the possibility of knowing; the human mind’s ability to be self-cognizant, reflective, and rationally critical in its observations of reality; and the capacity for rational discourse.
“Science” is never “safe” if it is divorced from philosophy (and the only true philosophy is wisdom from God). When BCM counselors approve a godless medical doctor but not a godless psychologist, they are promoting the same “scientism” that has excluded God from science. They are saying that empirical science can safely make judgments about physical conditions, but not about nonmaterial or spiritual ones. The Christian should understand that humans are not essentially physical nor essentially spiritual, but instead are both physical and spiritual, the two natures creatively knit together in one rational person created in the image of God.
The BCM counselor should recognize that all truth flows from God’s nature, whatever its communicative medium and to whomever it is communicated. God’s truth can be communicated in Scripture, in prophecy, in wisdom, in experience, and so forth. It can be communicated to nonbelievers as well as believers. Armed also with the full complement of God’s special revelation and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the believer is in the best position possible to test, discover, and apply truth in any course of study, including science, history, and human relations.
When one applies a comprehensive philosophy of science, one is then able to use the full range of God’s revelatory tools to discover truth. Observation can be extended not only to laboratory experiments, but also to human behavior. Predictive assumptions can be used not only to observe the law of gravity, but also to observe general principles of godly behavior producing human contentment. Godly counseling coupled with godly science can both distinguish between sin and immaturity (such as the difference between laziness and nail biting), and also prescribe appropriate corrective action (such as confession and repentance for laziness and foul-tasting nail polish for nail biting). But to divorce “science” from “faith” is to destroy true science and also true faith.
Finally, because the BCM wrongly limits godly wisdom to the Bible alone, it easily can neglect to nurture client-specific effective communication and application of godly principles.31 The BCM counselor who truly held Scripture as the exclusive source of godly wisdom would merely repeat Scriptures without personal intervention or interpretation. In actuality, however, even the most Bible-focused BCM counselors talk with their counselees, share their experiences or observations, and suggest ways of implementing the scriptural admonitions. By their actions they go beyond the strict limits of Scripture even as they preach “the Bible alone.” Biblical counseling ought to be within the same kind of context as any other activity by godly people: We preach original sermons based on and reflecting godly principles, we develop personal relationships based on and reflecting godly principles, and we conduct our lives based on and reflecting godly principles — we are not merely walking Bible automatons, and neither should we counsel as though we were.
The BCM has brought some important perspectives to the study and practice of human living. It has much to offer and has made some important criticisms of ungodly counsel. However, its inadequacies, especially in the area of wrongly isolating God’s sovereignty from some fields of study and practice, should encourage modification of current biblical counseling approaches toward a more comprehensive godly counseling movement.
Bob and Gretchen Passantino are nationally recognized, award-winning investigative journalists and directors of the apologetics discipleship organization Answers in Action.
1T. A. McMahon, “The Psychospiritual Approach,” The Berean Call, April 1994, 1. 2Ibid., 1. 3“Psychology” and “psychotherapy” are frequently synonymous for most laypeople. This is the common practice in the BCM, as the Bobgans note in Psychoheresy (Santa Barbara, CA: Eastgate Publishers, 1987), 4. 4Some BCM advocates are more sweeping and vociferous than others. Some admit the validity of some branches of psychology that they perceive to be more “scientific,” such as educational testing. Some admit that some psychotherapies can even echo (however imperfectly) some important biblical principles. What adds confusion to the situation is that some even make contradictory statements. For example, Martin and Deidre Bobgan universally describe psychotherapy negatively in their book Psychoheresy in such statements as, “The theories of psychological counseling poison the soul” (7); “Psychological theories and methods continue to subvert Christianity” (23); “The research results [in this book] also call for an elimination of the cure of minds (psychological counseling) in all of its forms, no matter where it exists in the church and no matter how popular and talented the psychologizers” (56); and “Psychotherapy intrudes upon some of the most important themes of Scripture….To dress these [theories and techniques] up in biblical terminology and call them Christian is to compound the evil” (120). However, in a subsequent book, Prophets of Psychoheresy II (Santa Barbara, CA: Eastgate Publishers, 1990), the Bobgans accused us (the Passantinos) of misrepresentation for referring to Martin as “representing the position that all psychotherapy is evil and unbiblical” (274). They protested, “We have never made such a statement! It was contrived by the Passantinos, attributed to us, and is a misrepresentation” (274). Regardless of some BCM proponents’ inconsistent and scattered exceptions to their condemnations, the BCM as a whole rejects all psychotherapy and usually rejects most general psychology as well. 5Gary Almy and Carol Tharp Almy, Addicted to Recovery (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1994), 222. 6Bobgan and Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 129. 7Dave Hunt, Christian Information Bureau Bulletin, July 1986, 1. 8Almy and Almy, 238. 9Bobgan and Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 10. 10Ibid., 210. 11Almy and Almy, 239. 12Jay Adams, Competent to Counsel (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1970), 23–24. 13Martin Bobgan and Deidre Bobgan, The Psychological Way/The Spiritual Way (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1979), 27–42. 14Bobgan and Bobgan, Psychoheresy, 120. 15Ibid., 138. 16Bobgan and Bobgan, The Psychological Way/The Spiritual Way, 145. 17Ibid. 18Ibid., 161–62. 19Jay Adams, The Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, Self-Image (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1986), 108. 20Ibid., 119. 21McMahon, 1. 22See also Charles J. Sykes, A Nation of Victims: The Decay of the American Character (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992). 23This is carefully developed in Jay Adams’s classic Competent to Counsel (44–49) and has been adopted and/or adapted by most BCM counselors since. 24Jay Adams, The Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, Self-Image (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1986), 45. 25For further information see “Revelation” and “Natural Theology” in The New Dictionary of Theology, ed. by Sinclair B. Ferguson, David F. Wright, and J. I. Packer (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988). 26John Coe, “Educating the Church for Wisdom’s Sake or Why Biblical Counseling Is Unbiblical,” paper delivered at the 1991 international Christian Association for Psychological Studies conference, 12–13. 27We are not saying that the following examples are themselves outside of Scripture, but that they assume the learning principle that one can gain godly wisdom from observing the natural world and human behavior. 28J. P. Moreland, Christianity and the Nature of Science (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989), 57. 29A comprehensive examination of the philosophy of science is contained in J. P. Moreland’s Christianity and the Nature of Science. 30Personal interview, February 22, 1995. 31Article three reviews some of the natural and general wisdom God gives outside Scripture which is included in the positive aspects of psychotherapy.