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Sojourner's paradigm challenges atheists and skeptics to make a shift in the way they examine and approach the claims of the Bible and Christianity. It is best to first watch the gospel message video and read the foundational truth of God. Other blogs speak on a variety of topics.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The role of anthropology in Biblical counseling

Political and societal factions are battling it out within today’s American culture to determine what should be classified as “normal” acceptable behavior. As recently as the mid 60’s society found cigarette smoking perfectly normal behavior, even among the clergy. That view has now changed. Sexual involvement between unmarried partners was once considered by Americans as something “good girls and boys” simply didn’t do. Today it is flaunted and considered odd if not regularly practiced by dating individuals. According to A.C. Neilson, the average Americans spends at least 4 hours per day glued to their TV sets being fed all kinds of “normal” and “deviant” behavior and attitudes as defined by the writers of television programs. And we swallow it whole. In an attempt to study and define people, we are left to basing our conclusions on whichever criteria we deem is an “acceptable standard.” When American culture is combined with a myriad of cultures from around the globe and then examining these findings along with historical data, we can see that a study of mankind can be quite an undertaking. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

A good place to begin an anthropological view of man is to first examine the Creator of man. Every creator has a purpose and standard for his or her creation. An artist’s desire is that his artwork convey an idea as defined by the artist. A builder builds his structure for a specific purpose as defined by that builder. In studying a painting or a structure, the question always becomes, what did the artist or builder have in mind? The same holds true in the study of mankind. An evolutionary view states that man has evolved from a lower form of life without the benefit of a creator. The Bible, on the other hand, states just the opposite. The evolutionary view has no basis upon which to draw any conclusions about the purpose or nature of mankind. The conclusions are based solely upon the one making those conclusions. Carl Marx had one view. Sigmund Freud had another. Darwin, Kinsey, Skinner, Pavlov, Watson, and many others have a variety of views concerning … us. Take your pick. The Bible is the only document which claims to provide us with an authoritative word concerning God’s design for man. The authority of scripture has already been examined and discussed. The Bible, therefore, transcends all other views of mankind. If we are to believe the Bible, then an accurate view of man’s nature and an analysis of “normal” behavior can be obtained.

The nature of man has already been discussed. The next question in counseling might be, “what is considered normal behavior?” Psychology might define “normal” as nothing more than the “average” behavior of any given society. Since the Bible tells us what to expect from different attitudes and behaviors then we are wise to heed those admonitions and warnings from Scripture. The Bible states the problem; sin and the nature of fallen mankind. Abnormal behavior then is a life controlled by that sin nature. The Bible gives us the answer; Christ and the new nature we can obtain for overcoming the issues of life. Normal behavior then is a life controlled by the Holy Spirit given to us upon our decision to follow Christ.

Since life’s trials and troubles still plague us even upon our conversion to Christ’s life, the counselor’s role becomes one of replacing error with truth and then holding the counselee accountable. If the counselee does not hold to the Biblical view of the nature of man, then he or she is left to consider the best ideas of man, apart from God’s directives.  They will still be trying to make it through life and its many obstacles the best they know how, where they are depending upon that four pound mass of tissue between their ears as their final authority in life.

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