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Carried over from a Recovery Thread for further discussion


Originally Posted by ForeverHers
Are you familiar with Nouthetic Counseling?
That is biblically based counseling and is often free. It was hugely important in our recovery efforts.

God bless
Hey FH,

This is the second time I've seen you mention Nouthetic Counseling (you posted about it to Halfunit recently) and I have to say I've researched it a bit and compared it to MB.

Jay Adams...the founder of Nouthetic Counselling seems very much like Dr. Harley in that they both believe and have had far superior outcomes utilizing DIRECTIONAL counselling (errr...coaching) versus traditional non-directional counselling. BOTH programs/plans (including MB per Dr. Harley see below) are fully supported by scripture (and both are dependent upon the person, pastor, counselor's interpretation of the Bible). I just recently wrote Dr. Harley about Nouthetic Counselling (after you brought it up last week or so) and he informed me that within a year he intends to have published a devotional book detailing the precise scripture that backs up every detail of the his MB plans and concepts. (should be revealling as I don't know the scriptures like you or him). He also said, like many things, there exists other scripture(s) that can be pointed out which could be perceived to conflict with MB. Thus, it is my contention/opinion that MB IS biblical counselling/coaching but written in a secular manner that anyone can use it...regardless of religion.

The area of largest conflict between Nouthetic Counselling and MB is the notion of poja versus submission. Dr. Harley feels that almost all Nouthetic Counselors misses the point of rebuilding LOVE when they eventually come back to the notion that a wife should simply submit to her husband. Poja is different than submission....but still biblical????

Personally...I PREFER to have my wife love me and CHOOSE to be with me based upon LOVE (a fully Christian concept). [FYI, she's NOT against biblical submission as we understand it so this discussion isn't about us, per se]. I think in Dr. Harley's opinion POJA effectuates love...whereas submission CAN BE???? (???perhaps depending on interpretation???) counter to POJA and, as a result, MAY fuel resentment, love busters or whatever.

It's nuanced...for sure and MAYBE you'd be interested in an "other topics" thread on Nouthetic Counselling and/or whether MB IS biblical counselling. I read a great paper on the subject which I hope I can find again (computer crashed and I lost the link).

Sorry for the threadjack but it is likely a conversation you'd be interested in too.

Mr. Wondering
_________________________
FBH(me)-42 FWW-39(MrsWondering) DD9
Dday-2005-Recovered
the_wonderings@yahoo.com



FBH(me)-51 FWW-49 (MrsWondering)
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Originally Posted by headheldhigh
Well, while others are seeking the scriptural base for MB principals, I discover daily where it is also based on hard psychology.

That is what makes MB so brilliant; it's not some random self-help drivel, or new age movement. The Harleys have good, hard principals behind their program, and that is why it is effective!
_________________________
BS: Myself, 32
FWW: 31 (NeverGoBack)
M: 11 years 9/25/1999
DDs: 3, 10, 12
D-Day: 2/6/2010, 7/28/2010
PA: 2 weeks 1/26/2010(PA)-2/6/2010

I'm as calm as the breeze. I'm the bee's knees, his legs and his arms...



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Originally Posted by Doormatnomore
Originally Posted by MrWondering
Thus, it is my contention/opinion that MB IS biblical counselling/coaching but written in a secular manner that anyone can use it...regardless of religion.
Dr. Harley has said as much himself, and in a number of shows and writings has referred to MarriageBuilders as being inspired by God. Who knows? Maybe he's right?

I'm non-religious, but Dr. Harley keeps the god-talk out of his books so that they are accessible to everybody, regardless of denomination. And I really appreciate that, because appeals to the authority of the Christian Bible would be lost on me!
_________________________
Doormat_No_More
(Formerly Barnboy)
4 months after D-Day
1 year after D-Day
Original thread lost in the forum purge of '09.

* Her: FWW36, Me: FBH37
* 4 kids: DD14, DS12, DS8, DS6
* WW EA 01/09 thru 08/09.
* D-day 03/09, final D-Day 07/28/09, the day OM proposed to her & I got her response on VAR.
* Found MarriageBuilders 08/01/09. "Plan Doormat" March through July, Plan A in August.
* NC sent 08/25/09.
* In recovery.


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Originally Posted by ForeverHers
Hi MrW! I think that both programs are highly dependent upon the counselor, not so much on the "Scripture" behind the ideas. In the case of Nouthetic Counseling, the "chief counselor" is God Himself, and that's a "pretty heavy" counselor!

Here's the primary difference as I see it.

Nouthetic Counseling is first only for believers in Christ because it depends heavily on a person's willingness to submit to God first and to DO what God tells all believers to do, whether or not we happen to "feel like" doing it at the time. In other words, it's not for "passive, in-name-only believers." While it can certainly help anyone who implements the "ideas," the "motivation" of surrendering to God isn't there for non-believers. In other words, the "authority figure" isn't there. Few, if any, Nouthetic Counselors will not counsel unbelievers for that very reason. It utilizes God's Word and functions on the basis that the Scriptures don't just contain some answers, they contain all the answers to life's "problems" and how we, as believers are to function both within and without a marriage.

Marriage Builders was built in large part utilizing the timeless truths of Scripture, but without the "force" behind it. That doesn't necessarily make it "wrong," it was purposely designed to try to reach anyone utilizing the basic relational truths of Scripture. How effective it is really depends heavily upon the willingness of BOTH spouses to submit to the MB principles as the authority in their marriage. It has been my experience that any recovery must have the willing participation of both spouses anyway, so what then is the difference? You can think of it as the difference between the Second Greatest Commandment (i.e. in Mark 12:31) and the "Golden Rule." The first is a COMMAND of God and the second is the "secularized" form of the same rule, but without the "imperative" of doing it in humble obedience to God "even if I don't feel like it."

I think the key difference for believers is WHO is "in control." Believers "accept" the fact that every marriage already has 3 participants in it, God, Husband, and Wife. Without God, each individual occupies the "throne" of their life, not God. So the ultimate "authority" is "self" and that's often where the concept of "submission" becomes misunderstood or abused and conflicts over the "roles" comes into play. God has established the roles for husbands and wives in a marriage and without God the roles are "open" to each individual's interpretation because there is no "ultimate authority" to "appeal to" when there is conflict or disagreement.

I have often used the "Triangle of Marriage" schematic to illustrate how marriage is "supposed" to work and WHY recovery is inevitable if God is the head of marriage and both spouses are "walking" toward God in their personal relationship with God.

I can review that Triangle if you'd like me to as it's a very simple graphic that illustrates what a marriage should be like and the inevitable result of following after God, regardless of where each spouse happens to be at the "moment."



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Quote:MrW: The area of largest conflict between Nouthetic Counselling and MB is the notion of poja versus submission. Dr. Harley feels that almost all Nouthetic Counselors misses the point of rebuilding LOVE when they eventually come back to the notion that a wife should simply submit to her husband. Poja is different than submission....but still biblical????

I think that if that is what Dr. Harley thinks about the Scripture teaching on "submission," then he has a wrong idea about it. Think about it this way: All people are slaves (and yes, I know a lot people are sensitive about the word "slave"). The issue is who they are in slavery to. It's either Satan and the "world," or it's God (who "bought and paid for us with His blood"). We BELONG to God, as believers. We are NOT "our own." We were "bought with a price."

But because God has appointed the Man to be the spiritual head of the household, the idea of "submission" can be, and often is, abused. The operative Scriptures that relate directly to this are;

Ephesians 5:22-24 22"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." (NIV)

This passage is often what is "taken out of context" and misapplied, misunderstood, or misused, or even used on purpose as a "club" of control. However, it CANNOT be "divorced" from the passage that precedes it:

Ephesians 5:21, says "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." (emphasis added)

HOW does one do this submitting?

Ephesians 5:25 that follows the first passage above states: "25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..."

Now I think it's clear that most believers would readily admit that we are submit our lives, our wants and desires, to God. If our wants and desires are in conflict with what God has said, we are to "submit" in humble obedience TO God.

So when Eph 5:25 says to HUSBANDS "love your wives JUST AS Christ loved the church and GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER," the role model IS Christ and the standard is Christ. What DID Jesus do? He did not "complain," but willing died for the church so that they could live. "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."

These are not "mere suggestions." They carry the weight of the Creator, the one who established and ordained marriage.

But there is a "spiritual headship" that IS the role of the husband, because God gave him that responsibility. Most "problems" in a marriage, in my humble opinion, stem from the husband abrogating that responsibility or willfully choosing NOT to be spiritual head. It's also one of the reasons why the Scripture clearly warns believers to NOT be "unevenly yoked" to an unbeliever. The "authority" in the marriage is removed and the person sitting on the throne of the marriage isn't God. "Self-preeminence" often rises to the top then. In MB parlance, the "Taker" takes over, and the other spouse is left floating as "shark bait" or "beaten over the head" with a club ("you are to be submissive to me even when I am NOT behaving in a Christ-like manner!")

Do you ever wonder what a wife might do If the husband exemplified Christ's "husband" to His "bride?" Personally, I think most women would be "falling all over themselves" to be that man's wife!

So the "submitting" is related to the husband who is following Christ and NOT to the husband who is doing something contrary to God. As a gross example think of it this way; a wife is NOT supposed to "submit" to a husband who wants "another woman in the marriage" or to a husband who wants her to engage in prostitution in order to make some money.

And it's why Nouthetic Counseling is for believers, because the "submitting" is first and foremost to God, not to the husband or wife. "Get the God part right" and the rest will follow naturally because we have God's promise and His design for marriage.



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Quote:MrW: Personally...I PREFER to have my wife love me and CHOOSE to be with me based upon LOVE (a fully Christian concept). [FYI, she's NOT against biblical submission as we understand it so this discussion isn't about us, per se]. I think in Dr. Harley's opinion POJA effectuates love...whereas submission CAN BE???? (???perhaps depending on interpretation???) counter to POJA and, as a result, MAY fuel resentment, love busters or whatever.

I guess I'd refer you to what has been written above as it relates to this point.

But there are far more things that may fuel resentment. POJA can also fuel resentment. It's all in the interpretation and the application of any principle.

For example: How about the WS "getting off scot-free from punishment while the BS has to "suck it up and "just" forgive and forget?" The biblical concept of forgiveness is we are commanded to forgive if a sinner repents and seeks our forgiveness.

I have forgiven my wife because she did repent and seek forgiveness, and because I am commanded by God to forgive. Did I "feel like" forgiving? Nope. But I over-ruled my feelings with obedience and God has faithfully worked out our marriage as a result.

By contrast, I have not forgiven the OM. If he ever became a believer and repented of his sin, and then sought my forgiveness, I WOULD forgive him even though I might be screaming inside�"unfair!!!" But God KNOWS what forgiveness costs, and He was willing to die for unworthy sinners and has become the model that we submit to in humble obedience, because we are to become more Christ-like in our journey through life. You see, ultimately my own sins are "just as bad" to God, but it's easy to "forget" what I have been forgiven. We tend to want our "pound of flesh" as part of the "forgive you" deal. Thank God that He didn't require a pound of flesh from me in order to grant me forgiveness. All He required was repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ, because Jesus already paid the price with more than a "pound of His flesh."


Originally Posted by Mr. W
It's nuanced...for sure and MAYBE you'd be interested in an "other topics" thread on Nouthetic Counselling and/or whether MB IS biblical counselling. I read a great paper on the subject which I hope I can find again (computer crashed and I lost the link).

No, I don't think MB is biblical counseling. It can't be because it has divorced itself from God and obedience to God as the "primary motivator."

It may, and does, appropriate biblical principles, but it leaves out the most important "principle," God.

Besides, I have been beaten up in the past around here for suggesting that this was a "Christian" site. The powers that be will adamantly reject that appellation and want it to be a strictly secular site.


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Here's a link back into the original thread for anyone who wants to see the original posts: http://forum.marriagebuilders.com/u...in=161840&Number=2438592#Post2438592


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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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. 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".

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 do like Nouthetic counsellings notions of confrontation of sin.

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.

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.

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.

Course that's just my opinion and understanding TODAY....that and a dollar will buy you a cup of coffee.

Mr. Wondering



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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.




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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."


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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!

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The only contention I would have with you on your final points, FH - is that a believe would know that God is in all things. ALL things. For a believer, the acknowledgment of the Lord is done within - "Thank you Lord, for this lesson."

Simply because something is not evangelical does not mean it is not of God. Nor does outward piety make something Godly:

�And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

The more something or something tries to tell me of their piety and righteousness, the less I believe it.


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Originally Posted by HeadHeldHigh
The only contention I would have with you on your final points, FH - is that a believe would know that God is in all things. ALL things. For a believer, the acknowledgment of the Lord is done within - "Thank you Lord, for this lesson."

Yes, God is in "all" things. Obviously that is something that isn't believed in by those who do not have Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, unless it's some concept of "God" without the acknowledgment of Christ as the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity or the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity. I understand what you are trying to say though, so I'll not go into the things that God is not in, but as just one example, I don't believe that God was "in" Hitler.


Originally Posted by HeadHeldHigh
Simply because something is not evangelical does not mean it is not of God. Nor does outward piety make something Godly:

�And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

Of course something can be of God and not be "evangelical." But you can't be "evangelical" without God either. "Piety," or as you seem to be using the term, as a false action just because "it's expected" or because someone "identifies" with a group or because they want to "put on a show" does not make someone "godly." There will, in fact, be many who "think" they are "godly" who will be rejected by Christ on the last day.

But no one can "fool God" because God sees the heart. It is, as is brought out in the Scripture you quoted, the "motivation" for what someone does that God sees. He knows if it's "just for show" or if it's sincere. It is for that reason that I believe that believers NEED good, solid, biblically based counseling because the focus is not "solely" on the couple, it is on the whole marriage with God as the central piece of the marriage, as well as for the individuals in the marriage.

"Going it alone" without God is not being "pious" either is another way to look at it, I guess. Why would anyone tell a believer that they don't need God, especially during a serious crisis in their lives? Who might be needed MORE at such a time?


Originally Posted by HeadHeldHigh
The more something or something tries to tell me of their piety and righteousness, the less I believe it.

I guess that's intended to be a rebuke of me or what I've written? If so, I leave it up to God to judge the sincerity or insincerity of what I say and do. You can, of course, choose to believe anything you wish. If not, then I'm not sure what the relevance is to the discussion. Perhaps you could clarify the statement a little.

For the sake of clarity on this point I should also mention that the Nouthetic Counselor that my wife and I went to provided his counseling for free. It was considered a ministry of his church, not a means to make money. I would guess that might make it seem "pious" to some folks, but it was a sincere ministry to help hurting believers and not predicated on anything he might receive in return or just for "show." We were "held accountable" to God for what we were doing in our recovery efforts, and he would ask us about many things, including our "assignments" from week to week.

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Bleh. Came across wrong. Too much caffeine and can't remember my point....


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Originally Posted by ForeverHers
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.

I "refused God's direction", but that doesn't mean one will "do whatever they want to do". Humans have a common code of ethics regardless of religion. These ethics aren't handed down from On High. They are a legacy of our evolutionary heritage -- a good legacy, no doubt -- that improved our survival odds in times past.

For my part, becoming an atheist required a re-evaluation of everything I thought I believed. And I came out a better person because of it. Not because of the religion I rejected, but despite it.

Quote
MB in it's secularishness (lol) is, perhaps, a great way to sneak a biblical counselling program in the back door.

Dr. Harley also freely admits that MarriageBuilders is a very Pavlovian approach to building romantic love. The techniques to implement them dovetail nicely with some Biblical teachings, but are definitely at odds with others.

I've always found it odd that there are many passages in the Bible advocating stoning to death any man or woman caught in adultery, and only one passage in which Jesus escapes a logical trap by refusing to pass judgment on an adulteress. Yet the divorce rate among US Christians is at least as high as that of non-Christians. Were US law actually Bible-based, as many believe, we'd have a death penalty for adultery.

Quote
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.

The pathetic success rate of religious marriage counseling is a tribute to how well that approach works in practice, I suspect.

Quote
Science was once fully the pursuit of His laws.

Assuming God is the lawgiver, science still is. Science is only the study of the facts of the universe. As a for-instance, global warming at the present time is a fact as we document (among many indicators) rising ocean levels, expanding temperate zones, de-glaciation of major land masses, and the opening of the Northwest Passage for the first time in living memory. That fact has causes, which are many, varied, and complicated, but ultimately obey the laws of physics. A cold winter here and there don't negate the fact; they are simply data points outside the bell curve of an overall trend.

Assuming that God gave all natural laws, science today is still the study of fact. Unfortunately, the facts and reality have always been subject to interpretation and manipulation. As Mark Twain once said, "Politicians use statistics the way a drunk uses a lamp-post: more for support than for illumination." We are in a breathtaking era of scientific innovation right now, pushing the boundaries of the black unknown further and further as more of the universe becomes known.

I guess I said all that to say this: there was never a golden age of science in which it was purely devoted to discovering God's laws. If you're a believer, that's what science is still doing TODAY.

Quote
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.

There's a line of therapy today called "reality therapy" that -- sans the God stuff -- addresses many mental illnesses along the same lines. At the heart of it, many mental illnesses (not all, but many) are brought about by people realizing their actions are inconsistent with their personal world-view. If they re-align their actions to affirm their view of themselves, they can often overcome mental illness.

There are, of course, serious chemical imbalances, brain injury, and brain defects or disease that cannot be addressed in that way. But even the case of a schizophrenic can be markedly improved if, in combination with appropriate anti-psychotic drugs, the patient is taught behavioral therapy to bring their behavior in-line with what they expect of themselves.

(Note: My wife is studying to be a mental health therapist. I get way more exposure to this stuff than I ever planned on. And I've read several of her textbooks for recreational reading and discussion points in order to have more to talk about.)

Quote
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.

Agreed. MarriageBuilders is a program to use AFTER the infidelity has ceased. You can get some practice while your spouse is cheating, but learning the process only improves yourself. The unfaithful spouse must decide on their own to end the affair; only after that is done will the MarriageBuilders approach taken by the betrayed spouse have any effect.

Quote
...because much of MB and the ideas are "taken" from Scripture and reworded to "appeal to the masses."

See, here's where I disagree. Scripture advocates executing adulterers. MarriageBuilders does not. Scripture advocates turning the other cheek indefinitely. MarriageBuilders advocates a time limit. Scripture advocates sacrifice and suffering as a path toward righteousness. MarriageBuilders specifically advocates against such backward and unproductive notions.

In short, there are some facets of MB that may be rationalized using the Bible. But there are a HUGE number of approaches advocated in the Bible that MB contradicts, and rightly so. The Bible is flawed, written by flawed humans, often transcribed by those who were never witness to the events they wrote about.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you value ANYTHING above the feelings of your spouse, that thing is going to cause problems in your marriage. This includes one's religious devotion. Value God, if you wish, above your marriage. But don't value Man's teachings about God -- including every word of the Bible -- above your spouse.

Quote
God believes all marriages should be honored because HE instituted the ordinance of marriage.

I believe all non-abusive, monogamous marriages should be honored. Abusive or polygamous marriages are an anathema for many reasons that I don't know if I want to go into here, aside from saying "male-dominated, religiously-heirarchical polygamy is a mathematical evil."

Quote
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.

It's a very odd thing to me that, as a non-believer, I carefully police my own actions and attitudes to support the goals I've laid out for myself regarding my marriage, and have always been faithful. Yet my wife, the believer, had the affair because she trusted God to keep her out of trouble.

Go figure. I don't see how a belief in a supernatural entity is necessary, or even really that helpful, in recovering marriage from infidelity.


Doormat_No_More
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Originally Posted by Doormat_No_More
I've always found it odd that there are many passages in the Bible advocating stoning to death any man or woman caught in adultery, and only one passage in which Jesus escapes a logical trap by refusing to pass judgment on an adulteress. Yet the divorce rate among US Christians is at least as high as that of non-Christians. Were US law actually Bible-based, as many believe, we'd have a death penalty for adultery.

This is not correct actually. Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law as espoused in the Old Testament and replaced that with a new covenant. There is no requirement under the new testament to stone adulterors. It is of course a fact that "christians" cheat at least as frequently as non-christians.

Quote
See, here's where I disagree. Scripture advocates executing adulterers. MarriageBuilders does not. Scripture advocates turning the other cheek indefinitely. MarriageBuilders advocates a time limit. Scripture advocates sacrifice and suffering as a path toward righteousness. MarriageBuilders specifically advocates against such backward and unproductive notions.

Scripture does not advocate stoning for adultery as per above. Scripture does not advocate ANYTHING as being necessary for righteousness - in fact there is NOTHING we can do to become righteous before God - He imputes his righteousness to us when we come into a relationship with Christ. Scripture also advocates disfelloshiping of people who continually and willfully turn their back on Christ's teachings - sounds awefully like a time limit to me.


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Originally Posted by Doormat_No_More
ForeverHers: 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.

DMN: I "refused God's direction", but that doesn't mean one will "do whatever they want to do". Humans have a common code of ethics regardless of religion. These ethics aren't handed down from On High. They are a legacy of our evolutionary heritage -- a good legacy, no doubt -- that improved our survival odds in times past.

For my part, becoming an atheist required a re-evaluation of everything I thought I believed. And I came out a better person because of it. Not because of the religion I rejected, but despite it.

That is certainly your opinion, and perhaps "okay" for you, but it does not negate the reality that God is the cause of what you refer to as a "common code of ethics." I disagree with your assumption that they are "a legacy of our evolutionary heritage�that improved our survival odds in times past."

If you want to argue for "survival" as the cause, then it would naturally argue against monogamous marriage and in favor of polygamous marriage. ONE man can impregnate a LOT of women over the course of years. "Restricting" the survival of the species to just one "mating pair" would be counterproductive to survival in most cases, if not all cases, whereas MANY offspring from many different mating pairs would favor survival as well as "gene mixing."

God did, as He said He did, give all humans a "moral code" to live by. Humans choose to act either in favor of or against that moral code because God does not "force" someone to choose to obey Him or not. But all you have to do is look around the world to see that "morals" and "ethics" ARE relative according to what any individual or group chooses to be applicable to them, when divorced from the codes given in Scripture.

That we, in the "West" have a moral and ethical code that is founded upon Judeo/Christian beliefs is not arguable. That is where they have their foundation. WHAT we choose to embrace and what we choose to reject is due to not wanting to "give up" control to anyone else. We want to retain the right to "choose for ourselves." That is a "condition" of self-preeminence that "infects" us all. I think that it's especially pronounced in the West where we are taught to be individuals and "self-reliant" and "in charge" of our own lives, to not "bow the knee" to any "sovereign."





Originally Posted by Doormat_No_More
MB in it's secularishness (lol) is, perhaps, a great way to sneak a biblical counselling program in the back door.

DNM: Dr. Harley also freely admits that MarriageBuilders is a very Pavlovian approach to building romantic love. The techniques to implement them dovetail nicely with some Biblical teachings, but are definitely at odds with others.

I've always found it odd that there are many passages in the Bible advocating stoning to death any man or woman caught in adultery, and only one passage in which Jesus escapes a logical trap by refusing to pass judgment on an adulteress. Yet the divorce rate among US Christians is at least as high as that of non-Christians. Were US law actually Bible-based, as many believe, we'd have a death penalty for adultery.

So what "techniques" are you referring to that are "definitely at odds with others"?

If you are trying to use "stoning" as an example, then I'd say that you really don't understand the Scripture, as BigKahuna mentioned.

There is NO New Testament Scripture that advocates murdering anyone. Rather, what the NT stresses over and over again is Forgiveness. It stresses that we are ALL sinners and not "better" than anyone else. It stresses that marriage IS a monogamous arrangement between a man and a woman. It stresses Servanthood. It stresses "loving your neighbor as yourself." It stresses loving God with "all your heart, soul, mind, and strength."




Originally Posted by Doormat_No_More
FH: 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.

DNM: The pathetic success rate of religious marriage counseling is a tribute to how well that approach works in practice, I suspect.

No, it's a tribute to self-preeminence. It is a tribute to NOT submitting one's life to God in humble obedience. It is not an indictment of God or Scripture, it is an indictment of man's "human nature," that "sin nature" that is inherent in all humans.

I would agree with you that most counseling that operates under the name of "Christian" is not counseling that uses the Bible as the source of information for ALL problems and that it requires humble submission TO God in order for it to work.

That is the same problem that all "non-Christian" counseling suffers from. But they don't have anyone to "surrender to" other than "self." It acknowledges that each individual is their own "god" in that they, and they alone, sit on the throne as sovereign in their own life. THEY "get to choose" what rules apply to them and what rules don't apply to them. They may even try to "impose" their rules on others (like their spouse), but they won't "give up" their self imposed sovereignty without believing that doing so is "in their own best interest" even if they don't "feel like it."

And it's really no different from saying that because so many reject Christ, that what He did on behalf of humanity and what belief in Christ means, it therefore makes Christianity and God's plan of redemption for sinners a dismal failure. It doesn't change, despite the opinions of people, the truth. It merely accentuates the "problem" of sin that we all suffer from.


Originally Posted by Doormat_No_More
FH: Science was once fully the pursuit of His laws.

DMN: Assuming God is the lawgiver, science still is. Science is only the study of the facts of the universe. As a for-instance, global warming at the present time is a fact as we document (among many indicators) rising ocean levels, expanding temperate zones, de-glaciation of major land masses, and the opening of the Northwest Passage for the first time in living memory. That fact has causes, which are many, varied, and complicated, but ultimately obey the laws of physics. A cold winter here and there don't negate the fact; they are simply data points outside the bell curve of an overall trend.

Assuming that God gave all natural laws, science today is still the study of fact. Unfortunately, the facts and reality have always been subject to interpretation and manipulation. As Mark Twain once said, "Politicians use statistics the way a drunk uses a lamp-post: more for support than for illumination." We are in a breathtaking era of scientific innovation right now, pushing the boundaries of the black unknown further and further as more of the universe becomes known.

I guess I said all that to say this: there was never a golden age of science in which it was purely devoted to discovering God's laws. If you're a believer, that's what science is still doing TODAY.

I don't think I'll engage in a discussion of the Global Warming hoax right now.

But I do agree with you that physical laws are established by God and maintained by God.

And understanding this creation IS what Science is about, because it is a direct response to God's command to "subdue the earth" and to "have dominion" over the earth and all that is in it.

One cannot have dominion over things without understanding how things work. Once cannot subdue the earth without understanding how things work.

But the interpretation of things IS also where people can choose to reject God as the Creator who created with purpose and intent in what He did.

And that is where the belief in evolution is just that, a choice to reject God as Creator or to "limit" God in what He created and then just leave everything else up to "dumb chance" to arrive at what He might have actually intended when He "created".



Originally Posted by Doormat_No_More
FH: 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.

DNM: There's a line of therapy today called "reality therapy" that -- sans the God stuff -- addresses many mental illnesses along the same lines. At the heart of it, many mental illnesses (not all, but many) are brought about by people realizing their actions are inconsistent with their personal world-view. If they re-align their actions to affirm their view of themselves, they can often overcome mental illness.

There are, of course, serious chemical imbalances, brain injury, and brain defects or disease that cannot be addressed in that way. But even the case of a schizophrenic can be markedly improved if, in combination with appropriate anti-psychotic drugs, the patient is taught behavioral therapy to bring their behavior in-line with what they expect of themselves.

(Note: My wife is studying to be a mental health therapist. I get way more exposure to this stuff than I ever planned on. And I've read several of her textbooks for recreational reading and discussion points in order to have more to talk about.)

Mental illnesses do exist. They are a product of a "fallen world" and are not surprising. But these things (therapy, psychology, etc.) can also lead to things like supporting NAMBLA. Again, it is based solely in the "individual" and what is perceived as "right" for the individual.

Can therapy without God have some beneficial outcomes? Of course, but that assumes that the behavior being changed was "wrong" by some set of standards that define "normal" behavior. Again, those standards are derived from God or else we make the assumption that what is "right" in one society is equally "okay" to call "wrong" in another society wherein the individual claims the sovereign right to determine "right and wrong" for themselves.

I would cite "honor killings" as just one example of that dichotomy of "right and wrong" determined by differing societies. It's the principle of relativism.




Originally Posted by Doormat_No_More
FH: 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.

DNM: Agreed. MarriageBuilders is a program to use AFTER the infidelity has ceased. You can get some practice while your spouse is cheating, but learning the process only improves yourself. The unfaithful spouse must decide on their own to end the affair; only after that is done will the MarriageBuilders approach taken by the betrayed spouse have any effect.

Okay, allow me the latitude to disagree with the exclusive application of the MB program as you stated it.

It IS "found" and utilized in most cases as a result of people looking for help AFTER infidelity has stricken their marriage. But the principles, properly applied, could also help prevent infidelity in a marriage from occurring.

The "basic" problem is that there are very few "pre-marital" programs that emphasize marriage and the roles of husbands and wives as God intended marriage to be. There's not even many programs that teach "MB-like" principles for how to function within a marriage to promote love and caring over the "long haul" of a marriage and very few Christian churches that include those sorts of things in pre-marital counseling.

That is, imho, a failing that we as a society should seek to address for the betterment of marriage, and subsequently to society in general.


Originally Posted by Doormat_No_More
FH: ...because much of MB and the ideas are "taken" from Scripture and reworded to "appeal to the masses."

DNM: See, here's where I disagree. Scripture advocates executing adulterers. MarriageBuilders does not. Scripture advocates turning the other cheek indefinitely. MarriageBuilders advocates a time limit. Scripture advocates sacrifice and suffering as a path toward righteousness. MarriageBuilders specifically advocates against such backward and unproductive notions.

In short, there are some facets of MB that may be rationalized using the Bible. But there are a HUGE number of approaches advocated in the Bible that MB contradicts, and rightly so. The Bible is flawed, written by flawed humans, often transcribed by those who were never witness to the events they wrote about.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you value ANYTHING above the feelings of your spouse, that thing is going to cause problems in your marriage. This includes one's religious devotion. Value God, if you wish, above your marriage. But don't value Man's teachings about God -- including every word of the Bible -- above your spouse.

You are completely wrong with respect to the "New Covenant" that is in Christ. Just as the crowd wanted to "apply" their understanding of the Jewish tradition of stoning, Jesus made it crystal clear to them that they were WRONG. His instruction to the woman was to "go and sin no more." His was a ministry of forgiveness and reconciliation, not of judgment. Judgment will come, but that is reserved for a later date.

By the same token, there are other cultures that have marriages where many things are valued above the spouse, particularly the female spouse, and they function quite "well." Of course that depends upon on one's perspective of what "functioning well" means, but it also means that you might be applying a "Western" view of marriage to other cultures, and the "argument" would be "by what right do you judge" some other system?



Originally Posted by Doormat_No_More
FH: God believes all marriages should be honored because HE instituted the ordinance of marriage.

DNM: I believe all non-abusive, monogamous marriages should be honored. Abusive or polygamous marriages are an anathema for many reasons that I don't know if I want to go into here, aside from saying "male-dominated, religiously-heirarchical polygamy is a mathematical evil."

Why? To be consistent with what you stated previously, it would seem that the issue would depend solely upon WHO has the sovereign authority to determine what is right and wrong? Without that sovereign authority, no one else has the "right" to impose their concept of "right and wrong" on anyone other than themselves. To attempt to do so would seem to argue for a set of "standards" that apply to everyone regardless of their personal opinions and beliefs.




Originally Posted by Doormat_No_More
FH: 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.

DNM: It's a very odd thing to me that, as a non-believer, I carefully police my own actions and attitudes to support the goals I've laid out for myself regarding my marriage, and have always been faithful. Yet my wife, the believer, had the affair because she trusted God to keep her out of trouble.

Go figure. I don't see how a belief in a supernatural entity is necessary, or even really that helpful, in recovering marriage from infidelity.

You are correct. A "belief" in a "supernatural entity" won't keep anyone from sinning. As James put it, "faith without works is dead." That doesn't mean that faith in Christ will not save someone, it will. What it means is that a result of a true faith, true recognition of God as Sovereign Lord should result in a desire and willingness to surrender one's life to
God in humble obedience to His commands no matter what we might be "feeling" at the time. That's the same point that got Adam and Eve into trouble, trying to put "human reason" and "human wants and desires" above simple obedience.

Now why do you carefully police your own actions attitudes? Probably because you choose to. Possibly also because you see doing so to be "in your own best interest" in whatever way you choose to accept or reject anything that you consider to be or not be conducive to what you want and desire. But if you are like me, like most of us, we never do "everything" perfectly. There are things we do that others might consider "wrong" or even that we might consider wrong, but that we choose to do anyway because "we want to" at that given time. We might not do the same thing at another time or given a different circumstance. That speaks to something called Situational Ethics.

An example might be something like some people think that all killing is wrong all the time. They may even use the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" to support their belief and contention. But a proper translation of the original word and its intent would be "Thou shalt not murder."

It does not ban killing in all circumstances, but it does ban willful, premeditated, murder.
A soldier who kills in a war is not committing murder. Neither is someone who kills in self-defense.

There are people who believe killing any living creature is "murder" and should not be done. Others will find that killing is "okay" for a variety of reasons when the subject of the killing is not a human being.

In the end, it always comes back to "who is Sovereign." That determines who and what is to be "submitted to" regardless of our personal feelings, simply because the rightful Sovereign has, by nature, the right to "set the rules and standards."



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