"I would like to provide a succinct description and biblical evaluation of CT by addressing four questions: May Christians use systems of thought that do not come from Scripture? What is CT? Is CT compatible with Scripture? Does CT help resolve racism?" - Scott Aniol
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Parameters of Meaning – Rule 10: Never interpret the Bible via assumptions based on extra-biblical data (e.g. “science”, philosophy, history). These can help but they should never preempt Scripture.
This “parameter” is of course just a reiteration of the principle of the Sufficiency of Scripture, although the emphasis is upon the whole of Scripture’s content, not just that pertaining to the doctrines of our salvation.
The Bible is made up of all kinds of literature, some of it clearly defined, some of it less so. We are often told that each of these “genres” demand their own forms of hermeneutics, which is bolstered by studies in many non-biblical disciplines. I am not here talking about the work of men like Richard Burridge (What Are The Gospels?) and Craig Keener (Christobiography) on the Gospels as a special type of biography, but about ideas like the latest attempts to interpret the Bible through a Cosmic Temple motif, John Walton’s views on the ANE background of the Genesis creation story, the views of all and sundry about apocalyptic, and likewise those who interpret Bible books (esp. Revelation) in terms of intertestamental apocalyptic writings, or the philosophical hermeneutics which have caused so much confusion in the definition of the discipline in recent years.
"Unbelievers see things more clearly than we think. They sniff out our attempts to market Jesus. They see through our sales pitches. They’re far more serious about their worldview than we give them credit for. And I think our ignorance of this fact offends them even more than the content of our worldview." - 9 Marks
The greatest advantage of the Nouthetic approach is that it truly attempts to exalt the sufficiency of Scripture. Further, it rejects mainstream, integrated, and Christian psychology. However, there are some significant disadvantages: Nouthetic is imbalanced, in that all counseling is considered to be admonishment; it is very behavioristic and sin focused; it abandons the discipline of psychology altogether; it is rooted in the B+t of contemporary Reformed or Covenant theology. Each of these concerns is significant enough to warrant discussion here.
In a Venn diagram illustrating this assertion, the two circles would be completely overlapping (Diagram A.), but this doesn’t square with the Biblical data. There are eleven NT instances of νουθετέω/νουθεσία. Five are descriptive.106 Six of these instances are prescriptive,107 and in several of these νουθετέω/νουθεσία is considered with other verbs, so there is no exegetical warrant for asserting that all counseling is simply nouthetic.
Paul encourages transformative learning in several contexts in 1 Thessalonians. In 2:11-12 he describes “exhorting (parakalountes), encouraging (paramuthoumenoi), and imploring (marturomenoi)” believers to walk appropriately. These three are modes of communication for facilitating transformation through mental processes that effect the spirit, engage the will, and are manifested in conduct—the believer’s walk. In 5:14-15 Paul exhorts (parakaloumen)80 believers to engage with one another in several particular ways: admonish (noutheteite) the unruly, encourage (paramutheisthe) the fainthearted, help (antechesthe) the weak, be patient (makrothumeite) with all, see (orate) that no one repays evil for evil, and pursue (diokete) good for one another and for all.