Summary Criticism of Larry Crabb's Counseling Model

Perspective Crabb's Model Biblical Model
Epistemology Integrationist -- Psychology and Scripture provide answers to the problems of living. Biblicist (1) -- The Scriptures alone provide answers to the problems of living.
Anthropology Very Positive -- Starts from the image of God [arbitrarily defined(2)], and is thus controlled by a semi-Pelagian mentality. Very Negative -- Starts from the fallenness of man, and is thus controlled by an Augustinian mentality.
Problem Crabb's Model Biblical Model
Man's Basic Needs Security/Significance
[Or: Relationship/Impact]
Salvation/Sanctification
Man's Consequent State He is Confused! -- That is, hitherto unable to recognize the truth regarding the only way to meet his needs. He is in rebellion! -- That is, by nature unwilling to accept the truth regarding the only way to have his true needs met on his behalf.
Prescription Crabb's Model Biblical Model
Man's Prevailing Condition He is miserable, and thus he needs compassionate direction.(3) He is guilty, and thus he needs compassionate confrontation.
The Message to be Delivered "Know this -- God loves you and gave His Son for you."

Therefore, you ought to love and accept yourself!" (Security/Significance thus provided.)

"Know this -- God loves you and gave His Son for you."

Therefore, you ought to love and serve Him!" 
(Salvation/Sanctification already provided.)

 


Endnotes

(1) Slightly overstated, as certain matters of methodology, etc. may be found outside of Scripture, as long as they don't contradict Scripture. However, the issue of authority is very much at the center of the present discussion, and it is easily demonstrated that in the name of "spoiling the Egyptians," Crabb has allowed unbiblical propositions and presuppositions to control in the framing of his model (See p. 86, Larry Crabb's Gospel, EastGate Publishers, 1998).  [Return to Table]

(2) Crabb defines "personhood" (i.e., the image of God) as evaluative thinking [rationality], active choosing [volition], emotional experiencing [emotion] and deep longings [needs]. This last element, which is not part of any standard definition of the image of God and which seems entirely arbitrary, becomes the controlling factor in Crabb's model. (For this reason, Crabb's approach is sometimes denominated "need theology.") This concept is borrowed from Abraham Maslow's "hierarchy of needs."  [Return to Table]

(3) According to Crabb, instruction for truly difficult problems can be provided only by those who have been trained as professional clinical psychotherapists. Thus, he develops three tiers of counselling capabilities, with professional psychotherapists alone on the uppermost tier. [Return to Table]


Biblical Discernment Ministries - 8/98

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