Bob Jones University

Video Notes

"Scriptural Principles for Counseling the Abused"

BJU Press's ShowForth video division produced this highly psychological 2-hour video titled "Scriptural Principles for Counseling the Abused" (1994). The teacher on the video is Dr. Bob Wood, a BJU faculty member specializing in "training ministerial students as biblical counselors." Wood is also an executive vice president in administration at BJU. BJU claims that Dr. Wood's video "presents biblical solutions for helping those who are struggling to overcome the pain of their past" (2/95, Frontline advertisement; ShowForth video jacket). Dr. Wood's teaching relies heavily on the speculations of Sigmund Freud, an enemy of the gospel, seeing man as a victim rather than a sinner.

-  The video is of Dr. Bob Wood teaching a class at BJU. The book used for the class, to be read by the students, is When Child Abuse Comes to Church by Bill Anderson. Wood uses "estimates" provided by Anderson in his book for finding "some form of sexual abuse" for both sexual and physical abuse. These figures are questionable at least and regarded as wild estimates by some authorities. With inflated figures like these, counselors like Wood will see more individuals, and primarily women, as having been sexually abused when they were young. This is no doubt why he claims to have seen "many, many, many" cases.

-  Wood claims that "what happens [in sexual abuse] is very predictable." He also says, "You see a profile that's recognizable," which prompts him to ask women in counseling, who have said nothing about abuse, "When were you abused?" He admits that "it just completely floors them," and "they're overwhelmed." In summary Wood uses a grossly inflated statistic and a false profile to go on a hunting expedition for sexual abuse. Dr. Wood is a good example of bad counseling, which has led to numerous lawsuits regarding the dredging up of false memories by so many psychotherapists. It is sad that such teaching would be permitted at an institution that would like to think of itself as being separated from the world. Wood's teaching on abuse looks unmistakably like those in the psychotherapeutic sexual abuse business. Wood's views are detrimental to the plight of those who really were sexually abused. Wood should be encouraged to become familiar with the research evidence regarding false memories.

-  One must assume that Wood is in agreement with the Anderson book he selected for his students or he would have issued a warning about it. Who is Bill Anderson, and what does he teach? Anderson is a graduate of Bob Jones University and Faith Theological Seminary. Anderson's book reveals his use of the vocabulary of secular counseling and his confidence in psychotherapy, rather than confidence in the Bible. Anderson speaks of the "psychological defense mechanism" of denial (p. 51), "addictive behavior" (p. 56), "low self-esteem" (p. 91), "stages of grief" (p. 92), and a spouse being an "enabler" (p. 155). There are also many examples that demonstrate his confidence in and recommendation of secular psychotherapy by secular counselors (p. 84). The only "Biblical" counseling group he recommends in the book is the Institute for Biblical Counseling (IBC) in Morrison, Colorado (p. 173); IBC (headed by clinical psychologist Dr. Larry Crabb) integrates psychology with the Bible. Anderson's lack of footnotes at critical points is a definite deficiency of the book. At one point he mentions (in a positive manner) the use of an anatomical doll (p. 45). There is no footnote to check the validity of its use. It is our impression that the use of such dolls is highly unreliable and that they should not be used. (See, for example, "Young kids fail symbol-minded books," Science News, Vol. 148, No. 9, p. 143.)

There is no evidence that Wood has ever issued a warning about Anderson's book, and it is doubtful that he would since Anderson's teachings fit nicely with Wood's sexual abuse beliefs and counseling practices. The fact that Wood is an executive vice president of Bob Jones University and that Anderson is a graduate raises serious questions about the institution's position on psychology.

-  In addition to the above problems with the video, Wood spends much time developing his counseling model, which is based on his model of man. Wood's specific and explicit model of man fails the Biblical test. It is not that Wood fails to use or refer to Scripture; it is because there are too many contradictory Scriptures that fail to support his model. His model uses the body, the soul, and the spirit with the "gateways" to the body being the five senses, with [coincidentally] five "gateways" to the soul (imagination, reason, memory, conscience, and affection), and with one "gateway" to the spirit. Wood says, "There's only one gate to the spirit of man, mentioned over 900 times in Scripture: the will of man. That's what opens up to allow the Holy Spirit in to change a man." Wood provides no evidence that the Bible teaches what he claims. Ignoring the question of whether or not, or how often, the will is mentioned in some form or other in Scripture, Wood fails to provide evidence that the Bible teaches that the will is the only "gate to the spirit of man." A close examination of Wood's counseling model will reveal it is neat, tidy, appealing, and attractive, but unbiblical.

-  Wood's appeal to the free will of man ends up, in effect, being a denial of the sovereignty of God in salvation. Wood says: "In these five areas of the mind -- in your imagination, your reason, your memory, your conscience and in love -- you can know all about the Gospel, but until you open your will to the Holy Spirit, you're not regenerated. Our churches are full of people that are lost." Wood then focuses on the will until the end of the tape. He makes such statements as: "They [counselees] have to open their will."; "What will you do with your will?"; and ends the video by saying: "One of the most overwhelming thoughts that I think as a Christian is the thought that a sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient God has allowed a puny, finite man to say 'no' to Him. That's an overwhelming thought." (And an unbiblical one.) These statements, along with Wood's model of man, reveal his extreme Arminian position.

Biblical Discernment Ministries - 4/97