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Picky, picky, picky: A thread for theological pedants
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Author:  threewillows [ Fri May 05, 2017 8:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Picky, picky, picky: A thread for theological pedants

Gene Long wrote:
Now that NTM has become Ethnos 360, does anyone know if they are still registered as a "church?"? The famous Tuesday night meetings were held because, as a "church," NTM was required to conduct "religious services." They knew they were not a church, yet there was some advantage for them in being so regarded by the government, and whatever that advantage was, it outweighed the truth. Is truth on this important subject still unimportant to the new organization?

According to it is still listed as a church.

Author:  mosquito bite [ Mon May 08, 2017 4:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Picky, picky, picky: A thread for theological pedants

:x :x

Author:  SkyeBlue [ Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Picky, picky, picky: A thread for theological pedants

Hoping this question is sufficiently pedantic...

The two camps in counseling, "biblical" counseling and "Christian" counseling have been surfacing in conversation and online at places like The Wartburg Watch. Also recently I heard an Ethnos member mentioning biblical counseling as the preferred type, and they were not the first member to express this preference.

For reference, as I understand it BC approaches counseling as scripture and the Holy Spirit as the primary, if not sole means of dealing with life issues (see the ACBC 95 Thesis Christian counseling on the other hand, sees all truth as God's truth, and is willing to use various therapeutic approaches in counseling, so long as they are not contrary to the teaching of the bible as the counselor interprets and understands it. For example, a Christian counselor may use personality tests, EMDR, IFS, etc. in counseling, whereas a biblical counselor would not.

I wonder how prevalent the theological adherence to the exclusive sufficiency of scripture in counseling and the preference to biblical counseling over Christian are within the Ethnos organization? If it is prevalent (or nearly universal), I wonder how that bias has impacted the way in which they have interacted with those abused and the abusers. When I read the 95 thesis in light of these questions, I see some correlations.

Author:  Raz [ Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Picky, picky, picky: A thread for theological pedants

Excellent thoughts and questions, SkyeBlue.

I lived in the NTM family for almost 50 years, up until 2001, so I did observe the evolution of opinions and policies in regard to mental health concerns. (I cannot speak for what further changes may have taken place in the past 16 years.)

In the early days of the mission, I don't think the significance of mental/emotional health was understood whatsoever. In fairness, that would have been the case among the American population as a whole, not just in the mission.

Thinking back over the years, I can recall many cases where missionaries showed clear signs of deep pain and great neediness. The far-reaching effects of childhood trauma were not understood, and the mantra "God can use anyone", led the mission into accepting members who clearly suffered from PTSD, chronic depression, anger and rage, and sexual dysfunction or addiction. There were people who had mental breakdowns, psychosis, pedophilia, and there were suicides. Sometimes people in psychotic breaks were considered demon possessed, so they suffered the further trauma of attempts to cast demons out of their bodies. Others who had "nervous breakdowns" were sent home from the field feeling like failures in their fervor to serve God ... I hope they received the treatment they needed back home.

During the time I was an adult missionary, there was a wonderful doctor at the NTM Medical Center who prescribed antidepressants for many missionaries, including my husband. In spite of the fact that many mission members were secretly taking antidepressant medications, the Executive Committee issued an infuriating policy that if people needed antidepressants, they were disqualified from ministry. Thankfully that policy went away, but there continued to be a very definite stigma attached to mental health needs.

Then more changes took place, and the mission actually set up a counseling center of their own, at the medical center in Missouri. This center was staffed for a number of years by people who were trained in Christian counseling as you defined it, not in "Biblical counseling". I believe they did help many missionary families, both adults and MKs. The only criticism I would have of that counseling center is that there are cases where missionary pedophiles were removed from their fields of service and spent sometimes extended periods of time staying with their families at the training center in Camdenton, and their "transgressions" were not revealed to those living around them. This potentially put children at the center at risk, and I do not think that was appropriate at all.

The counseling center has been closed for many years, and I do not know what has taken its place, if anything. Perhaps someone who has more recently been a part of the mission can fill in that information.

I think many mission leaders have remained skeptical about therapy and counseling. NTM offered to pay for counseling for MK abuse survivors, but initially they wanted to set parameters for the kind of counselor or therapist they would pay for. I think I was told that at first they even wanted reports from the counselors, but I think that was short-lived, when they realized how unethical that requirement would be. I believe they have been paying for a fairly broad range of therapy now, but they do put a cap on the help they will give. Apparently they expect an abused MK to be all better after a certain number of sessions, or a certain amount of cost. :(

I wonder if someone currently in the mission, or recently in the mission, can tell us whether current mission policies or practices would indicate whether the the mission leaders now favor "Biblical counseling" over professional Christian counseling. If that is the case, it would be a big disappointment to people like Oren Green and Gary Lee. There is, as you point out, SkyeBlue, a big difference between Christian counseling and "Biblical counseling". I find the latter abhorrent in its premise and its methods. ... counseling

"Biblical counseling is an approach to counseling that uses the Bible to address the issues in the lives of individuals, couples, and families. The Bible teaches that our thoughts, motives, attitudes, words, and actions flow from the sinful selfishness of our hearts. Biblical counseling addresses the heart as the source of these human actions and reactions using the wisdom and approaches revealed in the Bible."


I am a Christian, and I do hold the Bible sacred, but I firmly repudiate this method of addressing mental health needs.

Author:  SkyeBlue [ Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Picky, picky, picky: A thread for theological pedants

Thanks for your historical perspective, Raz. I agree that getting the perspective of someone currently or recently in the mission would help to see what changes might have occurred with leadership and what type of counseling they are currently favoring or advising. It may be that I'm just getting one perspective from those I hang with, and would be heartened to hear that Christian counseling was if not endorsed, at least respected as a personal option by leadership.

Caps on treatment -- sad, frustrated and confused here -- because they don't have the training or experience to be able to evaluate that, and yet they are making decisions on how much an abused MK should get. Makes no sense.

One a side note, interesting that the link you found was on the Family Life website. Not surprising, though. Rainey, Mohler, Duncan, and many of their fellow council members at The Gospel Coalition are big proponents of biblical counseling, and the Coalition has had a big influence over the evangelical community for over a decade. Many of these same coalition members also stood by CJ Maheney (a former TGC member) following the revelation of the cover up of sexual abuse at Maheney's church. More about that here.

Seems like some things keep showing up together -- the cult of celebrity, patriarchy, exclusivity, institutional devotion, and abuse.

Author:  Bemused [ Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Picky, picky, picky: A thread for theological pedants

Raz wrote:
I am a Christian, and I do hold the Bible sacred, but I firmly repudiate this method of addressing mental health needs.

Hmmmmm, I grew up with the indoctrination that mental illness was only an affliction suffered by those who did not follow the NTM way. Which was rather laughable in hindsight, as I remember sitting in the lovely grounds of a mental hospital while my father went to visit a Triber who was a patient, as one of my early memories.
But then little of the indoctrination makes sense. It's just cult think and it is so deeply ingrained that my own mother in our last conversation told me I was mentally ill and would "die" soon because I was daring to speak out against NTM!

No! We all exhibit symptoms of mental illness at times in our lives. It is part of being human. And it is only the seriously deluded who do not seek help when the symptoms become to much. Alas in the NTM world, I suspect it is the deluded who are probably doing the "counseling", oh heaven help us.

Author:  SkyeBlue [ Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Picky, picky, picky: A thread for theological pedants

Another take on biblical counseling and why it fails for victims:
As it turns out, the PTSD manifested itself after this earthquake, but was actually a result of the physical abuse I incurred by my father from the age of 3 years old until 19 years old. In both of those situations, the earthquake and physical abuse, my sin was not the cause of the PTSD. Those were events/harm that happened to me. So, it seems the very core of Biblical-based counseling is flawed if it assumes that everyone who seeks counseling has sinned and caused their own problems. Was I responsible for the earthquake or physical abuse? No, I was a victim of those circumstances.

From ... c-johnson/

Author:  Raz [ Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Picky, picky, picky: A thread for theological pedants

Yes. So confusing for many who seek help from these faux counselors. Not helpful at all.

Grrr ... :x

Author:  Bemused [ Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Picky, picky, picky: A thread for theological pedants

Ha, reminds me of the time my father announced that he was teaching new immigrants English. When I asked him what his text book was, he replied "The Bible".

I have this image of going into a Chinese Restraunt and hearing, "Behold, and it comes to pass that I AM thy waiter, woulds't thou find eternal comfort with a side of rice, for lo it will be alway with you". :lol:

I would have thought that one of the most important characteristics for being a counseler would be empathy and compassion. Oh good grief, those are two qualities that are not often seen in CULT members!

Author:  Raz [ Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Picky, picky, picky: A thread for theological pedants

"For lo it will be always with you."


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