Over our years of speaking and writing, we have been on the cutting edge of a return to a full-sufficiency view of Scripture when it comes to dealing with the issues of life. We realize that this cutting edge return-to-the-Word can cut some the wrong way regarding the woes of life. While new people are constantly requesting to be added to our mailing list, it is also true that individuals ask to be removed because they believe their “ox has been gored.” Our recent series of articles, “Debunking Psychology Debunked,” has drawn compliments and complaints. (Our articles are posted on our web site: www.psychoheresy-aware.org.)
Most complaints over the years come in the form of brief letters. However, one response to our criticisms of the Bazlers came from Heather Patenaude, who wrote a lengthy response titled “The Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ & the Holy Spirit.” We asked her if she would be making her response public and she said, “This criticism was not sent to just you. It is public information.” Since “it is public information” and contains erroneous information about us, we decided to publicize our response.
In her conclusion, Patenaude says, “I am not an English major by any means” (p. 5). Her problem is not so much in her use of the English language, which admittedly needs improvement, but in her lack of understanding what we wrote and her inability to support her accusations. We shall demonstrate that Patenaude has had an illogical response to our writings to such an extent that she has falsely accused us without justification and support. She has also misrepresented the Bazlers, about whom her complaint seems written to support, and even says that “they are full of human error” (p.1, bold added).
Patenaude is to be criticized first for not doing what we continually do and what the Bazlers did in writing their book. Please note in our critique of the Bazlers we quote what they say and give a footnote to where they say it and then, and only then, do we comment. Patenaude has thoroughly failed to do so! She accuses us of saying several things that we never said and so we wonder what might be the source of her statements. For instance, she says that we “don’t critique Jesus as harshly” as we do the Bazlers (p. 2). We have no idea to what she is referring! No reference is given. We would never critique Jesus! He is perfect and He is God!
Then she accuses us of being unfair because we “would let God get by with not answering this question,” i.e., the origin of the man’s blindness in John 9:1-7 (p. 2). But to what is she referring in our paper? No quote or footnote! We do not even discuss Jesus healing the blind man! Moreover, it is outrageous to suggest that anyone would have the power or audacity or spiritual ignorance to, as she says, “let God get by with” anything!
Quoting the source is the standard means by which Christians have historically and currently responded to the writings of others. It is unchristian to make accusations without supportive justification the way Patenaude does. We extended that courtesy to the Bazlers, but Patenaude does not extend this courtesy to us. However, we extend that courtesy to her in this response.
In addition to us, Patenaude additionally criticizes and accuses “the Christian Biblical Counseling community” (pp. 1, 3-4). It is worse in this instance, because Patenaude names no person or organization, but makes sweeping condemnations referring to them as “Bible Beaters” (p. 4). She provides no support, as no quotations or references are used. Patenaude has been on our mailing list for three years and apparently has read very little of us during that period of time, or she would have known that we have been leaders in criticizing “the Christian Biblical Counseling community.” However, when we make accusations, we do it by way of the common courtesy of quoting what the leaders of the biblical counseling movement have to say—a Christian courtesy she does not extend to others.
Patenaude is apparently uninformed with respect to public writings and public criticism. She says that “‘the Christians’ are being the Accuser of the Brethren” (p. 2). She goes on to say, “I am sure you [meaning us] know what the Bible says on judgment. Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7:1). Whatever measure you judge by that measure you also will be judged (Matthew 7:2)” (p. 3).
Patenaude’s entire paper is filled with the very judging that she condemns. She judges us, “the Christian Biblical Counseling community,” “Bible Beaters,” and other Christians, and again totally without one quote or one person or organization named or footnoted! We do not want to digress to teach about the role of judging in the church. However, we offer the following references from Jesus and the apostle Paul about the place of judging in the church (John 7:4; Luke 7:43; Luke 12:57; 1 Cor. 10:15; 1 Cor. 2:15). Patenaude has obviously overlooked these important verses. And though she quotes Matthew 7:1 and 2, she apparently has not considered the context of verses 1 to 5.
In answer to the question, “Is it Right to Judge?” E. L. Bynum says:
One of the most misused verses in the Bible is, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7:1). Every Scripture verse should be read in its context, if we are to properly understand the true meaning. In vs. 2-5 of this same chapter it is evident that v. 1 is referring to hypocritical judgment. A brother who has a beam in his own eye should not be judging the brother who may have a mote in his eye. The lesson is plain, you cannot judge another for his sin if you are guilty of the same sin.
Those who cling to “Judge not, that ye be not judged’’ to condemn those who expose error should read the entire chapter. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing…” (v.l5). How can we know false prophets unless we judge them by the Word of God? If we know the false prophets, how can we fail to warn the sheep of these “ravening wolves“? All through the Bible we find proof that they should be identified and exposed.
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit’’ (vs. 16,17). Did the Lord mean that we could not judge the tree (person), by the fruit of their life and doctrine? Certainly not, for you cannot know without judging. All judgment should be on the basis of Bible teaching, not according to whims or prejudices.
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment’’ (John 7:24). Here our Lord commands that we are to “judge righteous judgment,” which is judgment based upon the Word of God. If judgment is made upon any other basis, other than the Word of God, it is a violation of Matt. 7:1. Webster’s Dictionary says that a judge is “one who declares the law.” The faithful Christian must discern or judge on the basis of God’s inspired law, the Bible.
Patenaude has misrepresented and misstated the Bazlers’ position on psychiatric medications and misunderstood what we have written about their position. Instead, she rushes to criticize us:
Lisa and Ryan Bazler are not God and do not have the answer to everything … do not need to repent for being slack in the area of not having the answer to the origination of mental-emotional problems or the proper use of psychiatric medications.… So why did you chose to criticize and debunk “Psychology Debunked” book based on the premise that the authorsdid not answer psychiatric medication use adequately when you so eloquently stated no one but God has the answer? Just because they made their best attempt of dissecting mental emotional problems does not give you just cause to condemn them (bold added).
We have not condemned the Bazlers themselves, but we do critique what they have written. However, her statement makes us wonder if Patenaude even read or comprehended our article and if she has forgotten what she has read by the Bazlers. The Bazlers have stated clearly and emphatically that they DO have the answer to mental emotional problems. In our article we give several quotes from the Bazlers to affirm this. One of the quotes is the following:
How can we know whether we have a true disease or a psychiatric “disease”? We should get medical testing for any perceived illnesses. Testing may include blood tests, brain imaging and other objective measurements. If testing is positive, we should take the doctor’s recommended medication and follow the appropriate treatment plan. If testing is negative, we do not have a medical condition but a mental one. As we’ve seen previously, our mental problems are really spiritual problems that we can diagnose and treat biblically (Lisa & Ryan Bazler, Psychology Debunked, 2002, p. 115, emphasis added.)
Patenaude needs to read our article and read the Bazlers’ book, if she hasn’t done so already, so that she will not misrepresent them or us.
Patenaude refers to what we say, but does not quote us, in the following:
You also cite the one case where Lisa and Ryan Bazler describe a lady who chose to stop taking psychiatric medications helping her as being a single incident that could not speak for every case. My question is when Jesus was questioned himself as to what caused the blind man from birth to be blind what was his answer? In John 9:3 Jesus said, it was that the works of God should be made manifest in him…. However, you don’t critique Jesus as harshly as you do Lisa and Ryan Bazler for this single incident example of healing (p. 2).
Patenaude apparently lacks the understanding that her comparison of one healing (by Jesus) to another healing (Hanna’s) has odious overtones. Also, she has committed the logical error of false analogy. One text describes False Analogy as follows:
To recognize the fallacy of false analogy, look for an argument that draws a conclusion about one thing, event, or practice on the basis of its analogy or resemblance to others. The fallacy occurs when the analogy or resemblance is not sufficient to warrant the conclusion, as when, for example, the resemblance is not relevant to the possession of the inferred feature or there are relevant dissimilarities (Robert M. Johnson, A Logic Book, 2nd Ed., 1992, p. 258).
The example the Bazlers’ used, to which we referred, which Patenaude may not have read, was a single case of a woman whom the Bazlers claim was depressed. They say, “As a result of her recommitment to Christ, Hannah has stopped being depressed and now uses her time praying to God and serving, loving and encouraging others” (p. 101). When one compares what Jesus did with someone’s earthly experience, one must exercise great care because there is a great difference between a miracle performed by the Lord of the universe and some earthly event! We know that Jesus’ healing was certain, public, and permanent. Many people knew the man was blind, were present at his healing, and it was no doubt permanent. In contrast, one does not have Hannah to check to see how certain, public, or permanent her healing was.
If the Bazlers will give us Hannah’s name and contact, we would be happy to check this out. Our past attempts to find such persons, whose testimonies of healing have been touted to support a writer’s or speaker’s claims, have resulted in failure, since no one is willing to identify the person, or else the details of the story were not entirely factual. We are certain that the blind man who was healed by Jesus would have been glad to tell others about it.
Patenaude’s reference to Jesus’ healing as a “single incident” healing (p. 2) overlooks the fact that Jesus performed many miraculous healings. The Gospel of John declares, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” (John 21:25). We think that this also applies to the multiplicity of healings done by the Lord. In that context, a “single incident” healing by Jesus, as Patenaude calls it, is entirely different from Hannah’s “single incident” healing. As the blind man washed in the pool of Siloam (John 9:7), there was instant healing. We have no idea if Hannah was healed instantly.
Patenaude is also apparently not discerning enough with respect to the use of a single unverified case being used universally to prove whatever a person wants to prove. It is certainly not the honest or ethical way to present evidence. One of the first characteristics of a quack is someone who presents testimonial evidence without scientific proof. That way one can prove whatever one wants. Salesmen of the past and present could use her very argument to support whatever “snake oil” they wish to pander.
A repeated theme in Patenaude’s writing is criticizing those who do not refer to “the power of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ” (p. 2). This is another instance of accusation without justification. If she would read our books and articles, she would know that she would need to repent for that accusation, as well as the others.
Patenaude complains about an “overemphasis on the Bible with the exclusion of the power of the Holy Spirit” (p. 1), evidently assuming that people like us who use the Bible in evaluating teachings must be excluding the Holy Spirit’s power. She goes so far as to say that “using the Word of God and unnecessary hurtful criticism against one another” occurs because “it [no antecedent] has not been revealed to those who are shut down to the power of the Holy Spirit” (p. 1). In the context of her paper, she must believe that we are “shut down to the power of the Holy Spirit” and that we do not “include the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Patenaude says, “I have found myself in this position many times before where I am having to defend the Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in the face of people who call themselves Christians” (p. 4). The Lord Jesus Christ does not need defense from any believer like Patenaude, who does not rightly divide the Word (2 Tim. 2:15) in her paper (e.g., her use of Matthew 7:1) and who stresses the work of the Holy Spirit while diminishing the importance of the Bible itself. She says, “The Bible itself, however, is not The Truth” (p. 3). She also says, “God cannot be compressed into 66 books and placed inside that box” (p. 4). We agree with her elevating the work of the Holy Spirit, but disagree with her diminishing the Word of God. It is not an either-or situation; it is both. Patenaude even contradicts Scripture when she says, “You do not learn faith through the Bible” (p. 3). The Bible clearly says, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Faith that comes through the Word of God is for both initial salvation and living the Christian life. We receive Him by faith in what He has done as revealed in the Bible and we walk by faith in what He has done as revealed in the Bible. “As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him” (Col. 2:6). The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God, and people believe and consequently walk by grace through faith in that very Word of God.
The Bazlers in their “Acknowledgments” say, “While God used many people along the way to help us navigate the journey of writing this book, we want to specifically thank: Martin and Deidre Bobgan for your helpful books and materials on ‘psychoheresy.’ Your thorough understanding of the biblical care of souls has proven invaluable.” We are sorry, but in spite of their acknowledgment of us and references to us in their book, we cannot recommend their book for reasons we state in the articles on them.
In reference to our mentioning her ministry, Patenaude says in an email to us, “You sound like you are just looking to mudsling, go down rabbit trails, get off topic, or should I say shoot off at the hip?” However, her ministry web site includes information about psychiatry and psychology <www.thefourwinds.info>. Her interest in supporting the Bazlers is definitely related to the commonality between the “Important Links” on her web site and the Bazlers’ teachings. One visit to The Four Winds web site would affirm this. Surprisingly one of her links is to The Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights, an organization funded by Scientology.
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, September-October 2010, Vol. 18, No. 5)
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