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The Origins of Biblical Conversion Therapy  [message #77800] Sun, 09 May 2021 18:25 Go to previous message
Bensiamin is currently offline  Bensiamin

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A recent article on Medium by Jonathan Poletti is an eye-opening view into so-called Biblical Counseling, where it came from, how it got propagated and then mainstreamed... and all the problems with those origins, to say nothing of the so-called theory it was built on.

For readers that have encountered conversion therapy in any fashion, these revelations should be helpful while probably also shocking. Most Biblical Christian counseling, as it's now practiced by Evangelical and Conservative clergy was propagated by the many books by Dr. Jay E. Admas, beginning with his first best seller, Competent To Counsel. The problem?

Where to begin? As Poletti shows, Adams' premise was that concepts like 'mental health' and 'self-esteem', and 'psychology' itself were basically Satanic, and Biblical counseling based on the centrality of sin was the alternative to psychotherapy.

The underlying problem, though, is that Adams was neither a doctor nor a psychologist, and he borrowed all the concepts from a highly conflicted psychologist named O.H. Mowrer. Mowrer's thesis was that the best concepts for dealing with wrongdoing and anxiety was sin. This also applied to what he called the "ugly sexual perversion," namely homosexuality. The problem here? Mowrer was a latent homosexual for whom therapy hadn't worked, but (he contended) Christianity did. Specifically, Biblical rules around sex and confession when they're broken.

Poletti summarizes where all this goes: The Evangelical world had especially liked a possibility that Adams had broached in a footnote to Competent to Counsel. "But precisely because homosexuality, like adultery, is learned behavior into which men with sinful natures are prone to wander, homosexuality can be forgiven in Christ, and the pattern can be abandoned and in its place proper patterns can be reestablished by the Holy Spirit. Though not clearly linked to the emerging practice, Adams strikes me as the inventor of "conversion therapy"--the Evangelical effort to change sexual orientation by religious means."

You can read the Poletti article on Medium here,

And the link to the Corbin Page article published by the American Psychological Association is here.

For those without a Medium account or who have trouble with it, ask and I'll send you the article in PDF.




Bensiamin
 
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