MrWondering: I don't think you, Dr. Harley, my wife and I are in any disagreement about biblical submission.
the "problem" is in the application.
First off..."biblical counselling" isn't the ACTUAL bible doing the counselling. It's a man or woman of faith (minister, preacher, whatever) that may have a little to no training under their belt. They very likely have little to no understanding of the wayward mindset. They also may or may not agree with OUR understanding of biblical submission.
Okay, I'm getting the impression from what you have written that there is a misunderstanding about Nouthetic Counseling.
Have you been on the NANC (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors) website, or what have you been reading as part of your research?
To become a certified NANC counselor is a rather involved process that takes a substantial amount of time. It is not just "hang out a shingle and call yourself a counselor."
And Nouthetic Counseling is most definitely using the "ACTUAL bible" for counseling. Yes, the counselor is a human being, but not before undergoing extensive training in order to become a certified counselor.
MrWondering: The counsellor/minister is not God himself, obviously, and is just utilizing a counselling program designed by a man (Jay Adams) based upon scripture. As such...there is nothing stopping such counseller/minister to belivers utilizing the MB plans AND talking about the trilogy of Husband - Wife - God and even explaining "submission" in the context you described above and as it relates to POJA. Maybe Dr. Harley should write the same plan and put in the word "God" 50 times and THAT would make it biblical?????? Just because non-believers can use MB successfully doesn't mean believers can't also use it as a biblical counselling program with Him involved as the "ultimate authority".
Where did anyone say that believers can't use a system like MB? I can tell you from my own experience that we used both. But I will also tell you that there is a marked difference between suggestions, "policies," and the authority of God to command obedience, especially when we might not be "feeling like it."
Can someone choose to refuse God's direction and do whatever they want to do? Of course. That IS what lands most people here in the first place. Believers or not, MOST people are at least aware of the biblical injunction against adultery, but they choose to ignore that injunction for whatever reason they wish to use. Does that "negate" the validity of the biblical direction? I don't think so. But it does speak to the REALITY of dealing with fallen humans and the "sin-nature" within all of us.
MrWondering: Second...the Believer (not talking to or about non-believers) audience, particularly the wayward spouse (trying or not to become a former wayward spouse) is about as far away from God as one can get as a Believer. HE/SHE won't likely be responsive to the word "submission" in any way shape or form right from the get-go. A betrayed wife isn't going to be thrilled with "submitting" (in the misunderstood common knowledge sense of the word) nor is the wayward wife at all ready to "submit" at all. You and I have both been there with WW's and invoking the name of God was definitely a "don't" in our household AT THAT TIME. Waywards are repulsed by such...unfortunately. MB in it's secularishness (lol) is, perhaps, a great way to sneak a biblical counselling program in the back door.
I fail to see what that has to do with Nouthetic Counseling or Marriage Builders Counseling. If a WS is NOT at the point of breaking off the affair and trying to recover the marriage, there isn't much anyone can do for the WS. Both systems will give the Faithful Spouse some helpful ideas that MAY or MAY NOT "work" on the WS, but there is no "guarantee" that they WILL work.
Both systems are only effective when BOTH spouses, however reluctantly, may be seeking a way to recover their marriage. In the Nouthetic Counseling "option," the emphasis for believers is OBEDIENCE to what God has said. If someone wants to misuse that as some "bad" form of "submission," they can, of course, choose to do so. But we are ALL, as believers, commanded to submit our lives to God through Christ. That is NOT a "bad submission." God is NOT going to tell either spouse, let's say, to "go out and have a revenge affair." But God IS going to tell us, and the Counselor will remind us as the "impartial referee," that disobeying God is not an option if we want the blessings that come through a willing submission of our will to God's will.
Remember, we don't necessarily have to "like" what God tells us to do, we simply need to "do it" BECAUSE God is Sovereign and we are not. So what it takes, and what a Nouthetic Counselor will require, is a commitment from both spouses to be willing to submit to God and let God lead the healing process according to His promises. Romans 8:28-29 is particularly instructive on this point. For many, the issue is one of "trust" initially. We can't trust our spouse, and maybe not even ourselves, but we CAN trust God to be faithful to all of His promises to us.
MrWondering: I do like Nouthetic counsellings notions of confrontation of sin.
The "key" is "loving confrontation." The object is restoration. It is taking someone by the hand that is walking down the wrong path in the dark valley and LEADING them out of the valley until they are ready to continue their journey on their own.
MrWondering: I'm not a fan of it's outright dismissal of all things science (or, more particularly) the mental sciences. Science was once fully the pursuit of His laws. I'm not a fan of conventionaly non-directional counselling/naval-gazing, but ignoring EVERYTHING He has revealled to us in the entire field of pyschology is a mistake.
No one said anything about "ignoring" anything that has it's foundation in God. But I guess I would "draw the line" at some psychological mumbo-jumbo "I want you to feel good about yourself" sorts of things. We get to "feeling good about ourselves" when we begin to do right toward God and toward our fellow man. It's sort of like the feelings of being in love. They come AFTER we DO the "work" of a loving person and the person we love begins to respond in a reciprocal manner. That's simply because "love" is not just a feeling, nor does it "come first." Infatuation or lust may, but not love.
MrWondering: I haven't seen statistics about it's success but GUESS that it's likely much less successful than MB for recovering marriages in the early stages of infidelity....if you can even get a wayward spouse there.
I have no data on that. I can only say that no program is going to work if "you can't get the wayward spouse involved." You can "plan A your butt off," but it doesn't "work" a lot of the time and that's why Harley moves to "plan B," which is really an ultimatum to the WS. The success or failure of plan B, imho, has little to do with "program." It has more to do with the fact that most affairs die a natural death at some point because they began as, and are founded upon, a lie. They begin with the premise that cheating is okay as long as you "justify it to yourself."
I can tell you that where we went for counseling there are many "ex-affair" couples who are members and regular attendees at the church that provided the counseling. I can tell you that it has "saved" at least 2 marriages that I know of personally. Nationally, I have no idea what the "statistics are," nor is it important.
I have seen successes and failures for people utilizing solely the MB approach too. No program is a panacea for infidelity, in large part because infidelity IS that serious to a marriage.
MrWondering: That being said, Nouthetic counselling, in my opinion, MAY be a good adjunct to MB principles for Believers (obviously) after one or two years of actual recovery utilizing the scientifically proven MB methods to get the recovery off the ground FIRST with the practices Dr. Harley has observed in wonderful marriages. The "rules" of MB are both "Golden" AND Scriptural...thus, equally applicable by conventional (directional) counsellors and biblical counsellors alike. There's certainly no harm in putting off Nouthetic Counselling and applying MB FIRST and continuing MB while then Nouthetic Counselling. In fact...Believers may want to look for a counsellor/minister/preacher that's familiar and likes/applies BOTH programs.
I'm going to have to disagree with you here. I don't think believers can put God in "2nd Place" behind anyone or anything. It's contrary to the notion of belief in Christ and being a "new creation." It is trying to live "of the world" rather than "in the world."
I think it's the exact opposite of what you suggest here. For believers, I think that MB is a good adjunct for Nouthetic Counseling, simply because much of MB and the ideas are "taken" from Scripture and reworded to "appeal to the masses." That's fine, just as all of creation speaks to everyone about the majesty of God whether they believe in Him or not.
We all benefit from the "General Revelation" of God because God loves ALL of us, even when we don't love Him in return, and He does not want anyone to perish. But He will not "force" someone to come to Him "kicking and screaming." He is there for the ones who are truly seeking Him, not seeking to put themselves on the throne of their lives.
Having said that, I think there can be great harm in NOT utilizing biblically based counseling of the sort provided through Nouthetic counseling. Let's assume that progress in recovering a marriage IS made without God, utilizing only the MB concepts. Where does that leave God for a believer? As someone not needed because they can "do their own thing" and be successful at it. That's one thing if they are not believers, because they already don't have God in their lives, but it's potentially deadly to believers to begin to think we don't NEED God.
The progress is a good thing. God believes all marriages should be honored because HE instituted the ordinance of marriage. You even see that sort of thing in the Scripture where it talks about a believer who is married to an unbeliever and how they should fulfill their role in the marriage as a witness for Christ by how they conduct themselves.
But just as people who buy into the notion that "there are many ways to God," they often do so because THEY want to be in control and sitting on the throne in their lives, rather than having God Himself sitting on that throne AS the Sovereign Lord that He is.
Since believers KNOW that God is THE "3rd person" in the marriage, recovering that marriage takes addressing all 3 members of the marriage, with God as the ultimate head of the marriage. IF you fix "two out of three" aspects of the marriage, sooner or later the unbalanced marriage is likely to fail again in some way that arises from NOT following after God, but in "doing my own thing because I want to."
MrWondering: Course that's just my opinion and understanding TODAY....that and a dollar will buy you a cup of coffee.
Move over! I'd like cup that good stuff too!