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Misunderstanding People – Concluding Remarks
I have identified four errors in the Bobgans’ thought which have prevented them coming to grips with and understanding what Dr Crabb is teaching. Those errors are:
(1) They have a simplistic view of what the doctrine of the sufficiency of the Scriptures means.
(2) Though they are right to urge that our doctrines must be built on Christian presuppositions, they have not thought through what it means to hold thoroughly Christian presuppositions about the nature of the world. If they had, they would not feel the need to reject wholesale every theory that originates from humanistic psychologists, and they would not count it a priori as a black mark against Crabb that he does listen to such people.
(3) They have failed to observe that there is a distinction in Crabb’s thought between what drives our sin and what shapes a particular person’s acts of sin. Therefore they wrongly think that Crabb’s doctrine of sin runs contrary to orthodox Christianity, and they read into his doctrine of counselling a man-centredness which it does not have.
(4) They fail to give proper weight to all that the Bible says about both God and man. They are “losers of man” and also, therefore, losers of God.
In the preface to Understanding People, Crabb speaks against the use of “thoughtless rhetoric” in the debate between Christians on these matters.1 In this paper, I have drawn parallels between the Bobgans and Herbert W Armstrong, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Herman Hoeksema. I believe that each of those parallels is just and apt in the context in which it was given. Each is there to help communicate as clearly as I can a point that I am trying to make; they are not the tools of thoughtless rhetoric. It grieves me to see the kind of division between Christian people which has given occasion to this paper, but that makes it no less necessary to point out error where it exists.
The section on Crabb in Prophets of Psychoheresy I is of no practical worth. Nevertheless, the Bobgans are right to press home the point that a counselling system must be grounded in Biblical presuppositions. Contrary to their view, I believe that Crabb achieves that very well. What he has started needs to be developed and kept on biblical rails over the coming decades. The Bobgans’ concerns can at least serve as a reminder of the vital importance of that goal.
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