Deep Wounds, Deep Healings.
Ann Arbor: Vine Books, 1993, 295 pp.
Review by Mr Song Cheng Hock.
Christian counselling has undergone several anomalous changes and refinements since its conception in the 1960’s – more prominently from Jay Adams’ uncompromising nouthetic (confrontational counselling that associates problems with sin) model in 1970 to a more conciliatory, selectively integrated approach in the 1980’s adopted by Larry Crabb, James Dobson and Gary Collins. Adams is clearly wary of psychology, whereas the latter group tries to utilise its helpful insights (i.e. those considered compatible with biblical teaching) to counsel people. Crabb calls it a "spoiling the Egyptians" approach, alluding to Israel’s taking of the Egyptians’ silver and gold before the massive exodus (Ex 11:2, 3; 12:35, 36)
This movement has since gained such acceptance and credibility among Christian circles that it has become the standard platform for other variegated forms of Christian counselling. It has also significantly shaped the evangelical view of inner healing, which involves a greater interface between anthropology and the biblical doctrine of sanctification.
One of those who call for this cross-disciplinary/ideological approach is Charles H. Kraft, a professor of anthropology and intercultural communication at the Fuller Theological Seminary. This is a welcome development for three important reasons:
Deep Wounds, Deep Healings is about making "people who are hurting whole again. This entire book deals with that subject" (p. 40). While recognising the validity of other traditional methods of healing (e.g. physical medicine, professional and pastoral counselling), Kraft sees them as inadequate when they operate in isolation. The missing dimension is deep-level healing which "deals with the root problems…whether or not demons are involved. This usually results in dealing with the demons toward the end of the ministry, after they have been weakened through the loss of things they were attached to" (p. 46).
The quintessence of deep-level healing then, is spiritual warfare, healing of memories and combating demonisation. This approach is not dissimilar to Neil Anderson’s Christ-Centred Therapy, which attempts to integrate theology and psychology, with a slanted emphasis towards "deliverance" ministry.
This might raise some protective theological antennas as almost any problem could then come under this diagnostic purview. To allay such possible fears, the book qualifies only two categories of people that need deep-level healing: "those who have knowingly or unknowingly committed sin need freedom from the internal damage that sin has produced and continues to produce…and those who have been sinned against, those who have become the victims of other people’s sinning" (p. 51). However, this gives little comfort as everyone has sinned or been sinned against time and again in their lives.
The judicious application of deep-level healing therefore appears to be very much dependent on the intuitive and spiritual insights of the counsellor. His chapter on "How to do deep-level healing" provides the most concrete way in which the counsellor prepares himself for ministry, thereby increases his sensitivity towards his counsellees. Though unsatisfactorily arbitrary, it at least provides some guidelines, broad as these are.
The book is divided into two equal parts of six chapters each. Part one serves as an introduction to deep-level healing, while part two deals with specific issues and problems in deep-level healing. The objective of part one is to familiarise the reader with the essence and scope of deep-level healing. So it touches only on general techniques and methodologies.
Part two is more specific. Here Kraft demonstrates how one deals with common difficulties like a wounded self-image, past wounds, loss due to death and divorce. This section offers some useful insights on how one should view deep wounds:
Deep Healings, Deep Wounds is sincere attempt in recovering what is commonly ignored in counselling – weeding out the spiritual roots of a problem. However, in trying to bring about a healthy balance to the counselling equation, Kraft tends to overstretch his theological boundaries by attributing almost every problem to demonisation. If the reader is willing to accommodate, if not tolerate such excesses, he will find Deep Healings, Deep Wounds a useful reference for understanding and tackling the roots and fruits of people’s problems.
Right Perspective on Suffering
It is important to have a right view on suffering, Suffering is part of the Christian message we are called to proclaim. A right view on suffering also enables us to cope with suffering.
Knowing what the Bible teaches about suffering has helped our family cope with the pain and troubles of having three children suffering from rare fatal degenerative illness.
The Book of James addresses a church with a wrong view on suffering. This has led to wrong practices. Those who suffer are viewed as people who are experiencing God’s curse or people who lack God’s blessing. As such they are despised and cast aside in church whereas the rich are honored.
The passage of James 1:2-12 calls for a right view on suffering. A right view on suffering involves seeing Christians who suffer not as people who are cursed or who lack God’s blessing but as people who are blessed and who could be lacking nothing. People who cannot see suffering as blessed are lacking God’s wisdom. They need a right view on suffering that is based on God’s wisdom and not the wisdom of the world which discriminates against those suffering or poor and which honors the rich.
Many popular teachings on faith healing are based on misinterpretations of scripture. Christians do need to seek wisdom from God to reexamine their theology on suffering and prayer.
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