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.”[1] 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.”[2] We elsewhere critiqued the prior 12-disc set[3] 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!

Conclusion

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.

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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.

[1] The Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship website: www.ibcd.org.

[2] 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/.

[3] Martin and Deidre Bobgan, “The Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship: A Critical Review,” Psychoheresy Awareness Letter, Vol. 23, No. 6, www.pamweb.org.

1 Comment

  1. 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).

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