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Misunderstanding People – Confusion
In paragraph after paragraph of what the Bobgans have written, misinterpretation of Crabb’s words is intertwined with misapplication of Scripture, and the whole is bound together with faulty reasoning. It is a formidable task to unravel such material. It would be impractical to deal with the whole content of their critique of Crabb. In this section I will point out just a few more of the errors in what they write.
In many places the Bobgans make an assertion about what Crabb teaches and just give a reference in a footnote to a place in one of Crabb’s books. In a significant number of places, the place pointed to by the footnote is clearly – by its general content – the place the Bobgans intended to point to, but careful reading shows that it doesn’t teach what the Bobgans say it does. Often, it is plain that the reason the Bobgans are confident the reference means what they say it does is that they have begged the question. That is, they have read Crabb’s words in the light of what they already are sure he means, rather than coming to them objectively to see what Crabb actually intended by the words. At some places, though, the discrepancy is so great that I can offer no guess as to why the Bobgans interpreted Crabb as they did.
Some examples (all from Prophets of Psychoheresy I) are: Chapter 8, notes 3, 8, 12, 14, Chapter 10, note 25, Chapter 11, note 28.
There are numerous sentences in the Bobgans’ work that are either true in themselves but irrelevant to the critique of Crabb, or are ill thought through from any perspective. Some examples not previously given (again, all from Prophets of Psychoheresy I) are:
Crabb doesn’t claim any such thing.
David acknowledges that, as a congenital sinner, inevitably he has faults that are invisible to himself. His words do not mean that there is no possibility of ever seeing for himself what they are. Nor do they mean it was not his duty to try. (Some of his faults – for example, his treatment of Absalom – were visible to his friends even though not to David). This verse (Psalm 19:12) is in fact further Scriptural evidence of the existence of that deceitful corner of the heart that Crabb terms “the unconscious”.
For Crabb, in the pages of Understanding People footnoted by the Bobgans, the why is important as a path to deep repentance and thorough dealing with sin. Thus, in the end, obedience is the fundamental matter to Crabb, but, obedience at a depth greater than that which can be achieved if just the surface sin is dealt with.
Crabb does not look for answers “outside the Bible.” See the earlier discussion on the sufficiency of the Scripture.
The Bobgans seem to have entirely missed the point of Inside Out!
One can if the counsel is not fully biblical in that it presents external obedience as the path to inner change, contrary to the Scriptures.
(a) Crabb holds that all of the insights are available from Scripture, and (b) he quoted Lovelace that pastors of previous centuries made good use of them, until an externalist view of sin began to prevail among Christians.1
But not if both have worked from a thoroughly biblical framework of presuppositions. This is exactly what has been lacking and what Crabb is beginning to put into place.
This is in no way a valid argument against Crabb’s doctrine and method of counselling. Because Jay E. Adams has used the term nouthetic counselling to describe the counselling model he subscribes to, people may wrongly assume that Crabb’s model is not nouthetic – i.e., that it evades confrontation with sin. That is not the case: it confronts more of the counsellee’s sin, and more thoroughly than does Adams’ model.2
Christ has provided teachers to assist with the equipping of His people (Ephesians 4:11,12). If the teachers are lazy the flock will be poorly taught. In any case, millions of Christians will not exercise the diligence in walking with God and studying His Word that the Bobgans assume they will, precisely because their hidden sins keep them from it. (Have the Bobgans ever opened their eyes and taken a close look at many of the people in our evangelical churches?)
More false dichotomy. The Bobgans quote Hebrews 4:12 in support of their assertion, but the author of those very words also says:
The Word of God is quick and powerful, but pastoral counsel, together with encouragement by fellow-believers, is still required if the people of God are to grow in holiness. That is God’s own plan.
False. The goal is not the development of new strategies. It is to help the counsellee to repent and to elect to submit to the real world of God’s sure promises and sovereign control. The Bobgans here impart a thoroughly man-centred interpretation to Crabb’s work.
A double distortion. The longings are now consciously felt and acknowledged. However, the imperative to trust God is because that is the only right response to the truth of the gospel, not so that the longings will now be tangibly satisfied.
This utterly misrepresents what Crabb says, ascribing to it a man-centred goal that is wholly absent from his teaching – see Understanding People, pages 135, 138 and 148.
Unsupported by any footnotes, and false.
Nonsense. The Bobgans have written 112 pages about a man whose books they seem not to have read!
The premises of the Bobgans’ argument here are (1) that Crabb’s system includes doctrines uplifted from humanistic systems and (2) that all systems with humanistic input must have a humanistic rather than God-centred output. I have shown that both premises are false. Therefore the Bobgans’ argument is unsound.
False. See Crabb’s actual words in Understanding People, page 146. The “other” who exposes us is often the Spirit of God Himself, acting in His Word. Even when he acts through His people, it is still He who acts.
(1) Under different terminology, it had been discovered (see Lovelace as quoted by Crabb).
(2) Even if it had not, that would be no objection. From the time of the death of the apostles until the days of Anselm of Canterbury, God allowed the Church to operate with a faulty doctrine of the atonement; for an even longer period (until Luther), He allowed it to operate with a faulty doctrine of justification. People were saved, and achieved progress in sanctification nonetheless. But our walk in our day is that much easier than theirs because of the greater light we have received.
No – and neither does Crabb, so why ask the question?
Commenting on a particular counselling example given by Crabb, the Bobgans say,
But Crabb does not exonerate her, and nothing in his system logically implies that she is exonerated. The Bobgans misrepresent Crabb yet again.
(After reading a footnote, click your browser’s Back button to return to the point in the document from which you branched to the footnote.)
© 2009, Matt. All rights reserved.
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