The Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship (IBCD) has a Core & Discipleship Certification (CDC) Program, which is “designed to help churches develop one another care in the life of the congregation.” One can be certified by IBCD, and “The CDC process also brings one along towards the ACBC [Association of Certified Biblical Counselors] Certification if further certification is desired.” The IBCD offers the IBCD Observation 12-Disc Set and also a 3-disc observation set by Dr. Heath Lambert counseling “Jeremy” & “Crystal,” titled “Counseling Care for Pornography.” We elsewhere critiqued the prior 12-disc set and now review the 3-disc set.
The following announcement precedes the beginning of the three recorded sessions of counseling:
The following observational sessions are fictional but based on real life scenarios. The participants did not have a script but are reacting and improvising in much the way they would in a real life setting.
True, the participants did not have a word for word script, but the counseling was structured in advance and playacted predictably to a successful conclusion to demonstrate to prospective biblical counselors the right way to counsel.
Jeremy & Crystal
The booklet accompanying the video describes the counseling case as follows:
These three videos focus on Jeremy, a churchgoing, hardworking husband and father of four, whose long-standing enslavement to pornography is tearing his family apart. His wife Crystal is threatening to move out following a recent incident in which their daughter walked in while her father was viewing inappropriate material on his computer. Jeremy has come for counseling as a last ditch effort to save their marriage.
While there are other examples of biblical failures in Lambert’s counseling, we are restricting ourselves to a short ten-minute video clip of Jeremy’s addiction to pornography and, later, a five-minute video clip of lambert’s solution to how Jeremy’s sexual needs can be met after his wife, Crystal, gives birth. In the first video clip we learn about Jeremy’s long-time love of pornography, his being caught in the midst of it by his daughter, and then Crystal’s “or else” ultimatum to get his problem “fixed” or she will leave him.
SEE THE FIRST VIDEO CLIP HERE:
In the second video clip of five minutes, we see how Lambert provides sex counseling for Jeremy and Crystal to the great satisfaction of Jeremy and the naiveté of Crystal. Pay close attention to the words used by Lambert as he suggests what sex Jeremy and Crystal can enjoy after the baby is born. We will refer back to some of the words after the video clip which is HERE:
The meaning of “all the ways” as in “I enjoy being with my husband sexually in all the ways that you can be” is “in every way.” The meaning of “all kinds of things,” as in “there’s all kinds of things that married couples can do to enjoy one another in the context of sexual intimacy,” is “an unlimited number of things.” The word buffet, as in “loving the buffet of sexuality” means a tempting variety of sexuality. In no way is it possible to infer or imagine that the woman in Song of Solomon would be interested in or expecting pornographically inspired sex, but Lambert fails to explain this to Jeremy and Crystal! This is a serious omission as Lambert euphemistically describes the possibilities: “You don’t have to have sexual intercourse in order to be able to be sexually fulfilled during this season of your marriage.” In addition, Lambert’s use of the word unlimited, as in “But you [Jeremy] are going to be unlimited,” simply means that there will be no limit to Jeremy’s “ability to draw near to her.”
Although all of the above seems well-intentioned, it is ill advised and is an egregious error and sets an unbiblical example for counselors to follow, which any hardcore porn user can capitalize on. Jeremy confessed in Part 1, “I don’t ever ask her to like act out the porn scenes or whatever. I would never ask her to do that” (bold added). But he then says, “There are things I would like for us to do, but she’s just not—I guess—as willing to do” (bold added). Now Lambert opens the door for Jeremy to have “unlimited” kinds of non-vaginal sexual activity with Crystal.
While Crystal may hear tender loving care, such as embraces and having her hair rubbed, Jeremy is no doubt hearing permission to act out and experience the kind of pornographic sex acts he has looked at and pleasured himself with on the internet. Because of his heavily promiscuous (22 years) participation while watching pornographic acts and his “slip-ups” during the few months of counseling, Jeremy needed restraint! But, Lambert gave none!
Two other egregious errors to note: First, there is an innuendo in this playacted scenario that puts the burden on Crystal to serve her husband or else he may resort to pornography. Second, Jeremy, through over 12 years of marriage, has had sexual intercourse with Crystal and at the same time used hardcore pornography to pleasure himself. It is an egregious error on Lambert’s part not to know that Jeremy will likely do the same during the six weeks after the birth of their fourth child, where he has been promised unlimited sexual possibilities with Crystal.
Lambert has glossed over Crystal’s post-birth needs, which are to be sacrificed on the unbiblical altar of pleasing Jeremy’s sexual desires as a possible protection against his pursuing pornography. Lambert’s counseling is a prime example of why we recommend against men counseling women, as this reveals how severely sympathetic Lambert is to Jeremy’s sexual “needs” and how seemingly unsympathetic he is about Crystal’s possible postpartum condition when he opens Pandora’s box of euphemized sexual possibilities in reference to her serving Jeremy.
From all the material we have read and the various Christian pornography-recovery websites we visited and called, we conclude that this a deviously deceptive and seductive playacted case that should not be believed or followed. In his book. Finally Free, Lambert says, “For the past decade, I have spent thousands of hours talking with hundreds of people who struggle with pornography.”21Based on his many years of experience and many individuals struggling with pornography, Lambert should have known better and certainly should have done better!
Lambert is one of the major leaders in the biblical counseling movement. He is sure to be trusted, trumpeted, followed, and imitated. All three recorded sessions were predictable because the elements were surely structured and playacted toward a successful conclusion. However, they should not be taken literally as a prescription or plan to follow in counseling men who are enslaved to porn; i.e., Lambert’s playacted case should not be re-enacted by counselors with their counselees. Lambert’s unbiblical example of marital counseling and his extremely egregious errors should not be emulated.
We have presented 15 minutes of Dr. Heath Lambert’s counseling and made comments about it. Is this kind of counseling talk useful or is it sinful? If you wish to respond, please do so below.
 The Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship website: www.ibcd.org.
 Martin and Deidre Bobgan, “Dr. Heath Lambert: A Failed Biblical Counseling Case,” https://pamweb.org/critiques-of-the-biblical-counseling-movement/dr-heath-lambert-a-failed-biblical-counseling-case/.
 Martin and Deidre Bobgan, “The Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship: A Critical Review,” Psychoheresy Awareness Letter, Vol. 23, No. 6, www.pamweb.org.
Biblical instruction about lust being as sinful as adultery should immediately shut down any possibility of Jeremy going back to the pornography. In addition to the wrongheadedness of this form of counseling which you mentioned, I would add that actual biblical instruction seems to be missing!
God’s Word has already instructed us well about Christian behavior. It’s a complete misnomer to call something “Christian counseling” or “biblical counseling” if it isn’t rooted in the whole counsel of God. I wonder if these counselors are generally Bible-rejecting pseudo-Christians or unrepentant or ignorant Christians.
There is no mention that this is sin. His porn has become an idol. Men are to love their wives and women are to respect their husbands. I heard nothing about that either. I saw Dr. Lambert “join” with him and wanted to be understanding and caring about his situation meaning his idol called porn. Again it is sin. Psychology masterfully normalize sin and calls it something else that is not offensive like my brain has a chemically imbalance.
Amen and Amen! Well done again. It is sad how this type of counselling is not leading men to the biblical position of temperance and holiness but to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. I see nothing biblical in this type of counselling. Whatever happened to being temperate as stated in I Corinthians 9:25, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things…”. Another verse that speaks to this issue is I Corinthians 7:5, “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency” (lack of self control).
Lambert in the 1st video did not come back when the guy said re porn maturation etc ‘yea I know the Bible says it’s wrong’ but…sin is sin and in the church where both of these men were we are called to rebuke another’s action if sinful ….Lambert did not strike as a strong passionate disciple of Christ but rather appeasing and weak ..
Wow, to me this is very disgusting talk. It is as if they are ‘speaking’ pornography’ in action. I could not watch the video’s I did not have to, I just read what you wrote. The woman biblically has a good reason for divorce, but the problem is she is not thinking biblically because she is the one that got them into the counselling in the first place. Then the sins get more and more ‘practiced’ by her participation in this ‘talk’. Forget about him, he should be out of her life. His mind and heart are corrupted, and he can’t unthink or unsee what he loves. The church does not know their Bible. Do they love God or self? Is this not what this is all about? In our town we have one ‘Christian” radio station. This radio station is run by the Seventh Day Adventists but allows the Nazarene church to broad cast on the station. On the broad cast the pastor ‘confessed’ to all the church which was heard on airwaves that Sunday that he had an addiction to pornography. He is still the pastor; this confession happened a couple of months ago. ““Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29. I also wanted to add that the confessing “church” does not know the meaning of the word and practice of Sodomy. If it did, they would abhor it, as God does. I would suggest that ‘Christians’ look up the word in the dictionary. “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:28. (1 Corinthians 6:9-13).
Meat in due season comes to those who listen to the Holy Spirit and not to those who (trusting their human intellect) have read lots of books on a particular subject and who may have a degree or two along with position and title.
Any of us who are coming alongside another’s true cry for help will only create more chaos for them if we are not going to the Holy spirit Who will always show us what season He has this person in and what the condition of his/her foundation is (if he even has one in Christ). A brother or sister’s help to another is only as good as their own relationship and intimacy with The Counselor Himself – the Holy spirit. Lambert may be a smart book learner, but where is his discernment to know you can’t have anything but rotten fruit if there be no root in truth/Christ?
Without humility/contrite spirit, where is the room to be taught anything? Jeremy comes for help via a threat from his wife and is speaking at length via excuses and blame of other things and people as to why he seems to keep pornography as one of his vices. His embarrassment for getting caught does not equal the true knowledge with a heart of agony for his sin (his marriage infidelity).
Man to man straight talk putting correct labels on what is really going on just might enable a cold shower for Jeremy.
Unfortunately Lambert himself seems like he’s been manipulated into a hot seat to be “the quick fixer” somehow under threat of finding an immediate way to keep this marriage from falling further apart. Truth telling to a habitual sinner is often unwelcome, but necessary no matter how seemingly sorry one who has gotten caught is. The Holy Spirit is willing to speak through us in a straight forward way to enable the warm one to become hot or cold – either ready to own up to the wrongs done taking full responsibility or not.
Instead of using scriptures from Song of Solomon and talk of how this spiritual baby can get yet more of what will never satisfy him (more sex one way or another), the fire that his feet are being held to needs to be stoked and not put out. However many years of church services he’s been to has not resulted in his knowing the beginning of wisdom (the fear of God).
Sad to say our Christian church culture is completely superficial and does not address the Holy spirit’s work of bringing us to the end of ourselves (to know for real our depravity) to truly truly see our need for Christ and meet Him personally. Without a personal relationship there will not/cannot come holiness/sanctification. This is basic knowledge to God’s true ministers.
I have no words but heart-felt agony for how Lambert addressed the couple together…no words, but a deep howl toward God asking Him to please deal with this darkness called marital counseling leading His lambs to more trouble than they were in before encountering these “counseling professionals”!