I.            Biblical Taxonomy Needed

A.     Charts, rating scales and surveys tend to put too much emphasis on simplistic diagnostic categorizations and labels and may or may not aid counselee growth or help the counselor to counsel. They may tend to unhelpfully give single factor labels the counselee, rather than lovingly engaging the person. How does Scripture “label” people in general or Christians in particular? We accept neutral descriptions of people using outward features (hair or eye color, height, weight, build), but resist impolite or demeaning outward descriptions as a kind of false witness. When it comes to self-introductions or asking questions of new people we meet, we accept neutral descriptions of our primary work or study responsibilities as a major part of our identity, often combined with introductions related to family relationships (married, parent) and geographic origin. For deeper conversations, we may describe ourselves or ask questions related to broad topics like personal views on religion, ethnic or cultural identity, political affiliations or educational background. We also discuss live-temporary or long-term bodily or mental experience as part of identity: tired, excited, surprised, hungry, full, disoriented, confused, sick, aching, cold, hot. These all assume a person gives a truthful testimony about him or herself unless proven false.

B.     Naming is part of the creation mandate, a way of seeing reality and ruling over it in the Lord’s name. This is a work to be done by those in covenant, using translated biblio-lexical taxonomy of reality to do word formation or augment existing vocabulary. “In the Bible a name . . . reveals the very essence of a thing, or rather its essence as God’s gift. . . . To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God and to know its place and function within the cosmos created by God. To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it.” (Voskamp, 2010, pp. 53, citing Schmemann, 1973:15)

C.      Dooyeweerd’s taxonomy is not biblically derived, but is a reasonable “levels of explanation” taxonomy. Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven proposed fifteen spheres of sovereignty: numerical, mechanical, spatial, physical, biotical, psychical, logical, historical, linguistic, social, aesthetic, juridical, economic, moral, and pistieal (by faith). Each sphere is interdependent, and all are dependent on God’s rule and supremacy interpreting and giving each sphere meaning and co-inherence. However, when one sphere is made ultimate over the others (as in most of the psychological research and written material), when aspects of the creation are selected, reinterpreted and given ultimate meaning, to the point of being idolized, even given salvific meaning, they become alternate gods, idols who rule, explain and determine meanings in the world. The concept of 15 modes of existence, some as subject, some as object (observed by humans): the 15th mode is “pistic”, means seeing a created thing as part of God’s created order, (or to use my term, vertically integrated) (Bartholomew, 2011, p. chapter 1) “Dooyeweerd’s philosophy has three major building blocks: particular entities (a tree) with 15 modal aspects (how entities function) and individuality structures (God’s order for creation). He argues that, as God has ordered the world, every entity functions in all fifteen modal aspects: Arithmetic—Spatial—Kinematic—Physical—Biotic—Sensitive—Logical—Historical—Lingual—Social—Economic—Aesthetic—Juridical—Ethical—Pistic.” Biotic mode means the physical nature of a living object, the linguistic mode means ability to symbolically describe an object with words, the social mode is how it produces or repels social interaction, the aesthetic mode means to notice its beauty or lack thereof, the pistic, means the faith view of a thing as created by God. To fully understand things, all modal aspects need to be understood.

D.     However, in the terms of the previous chapter themes in this book, we have concluded that the pistic modal aspect is the controlling modal aspect over all other modal aspects, not just one among many levels of explanation.

E.     Integrationists already have some meta-taxonomy over all scientific or observational data using the term “control beliefs,” ethical taxonomy of loving God and neighbor, or the historical-redemptive taxonomy of creation, fall, redemption, consummation (Johnson, 2007, p. 96).

F.      Biblical counseling (also called disciple-making) is for those who joyfully desire this good work of shepherding God’s people (1 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 13:17), a process of loving clue-gathering and pattern discernment (derived from other Lordship integration patterns learned in one’s past) that correspond to/integrate with the larger new covenant righteousness meta-narrative. Biblical counseling is an integrative process of learning more about how the Bible reveals patterns about God, and the broken or flourishing patterns in counselees and the world that can be applied in future living and to viewing future reality. In metaphorical terms, we are looking for a kind of glory-matrix, the lines of glory-code that fill all things, a way of seeing reality that observes the details of God’s righteousness (Acts 17:27; Rom. 1:20; 2 Cor. 3:18). We anticipate finding communion with God through transformative relationships with disciples blinded to his glory-likeness who are being re-made in the likeness of his derivative attributes through the Word-Spirit power of a transformed counselor. Trainers of biblical counselors, as authoritative guides, help their students discern, discover and apply biblical sub-patterns within meta-patterns within these four categories below, based on what they have already discovered. BCIT’s use some of their own pattern recognition to gather clues and discern patterns.  

G.     Biblical counselors are limited in their views and make mistakes in analysis and biblical application. As with Job’s friends, their analysis of Job’s life problems was too narrow, they failed to carefully inquire and listen to Job’s self-defense about his righteous heart and life, and thus their use of biblical categories was also mistaken. Christians are prone to misdiagnose, and counselees are harmed in the process.

H.    Biblical counseling must provide its own biblio-lexical taxonomy and includes new word-formation. We need to develop a taxonomy of biblio-lexical forms that ‘take captive’ every kind of vocabulary and worldview. If seeing existing patterns and integrating new patterns is the essential function of knowledge, BCIT need vocabulary and pattern orientation and pattern recognition practicums.


II.            bsBIOS installed with a New Covenant Righteousness Operating System 10.4 (ncrOS 10.4)


A.     But if we were to do a biblically oriented health check-up or inventory, what should we examine? How would we describe the mixture of body health-weakness and soul maturity-immaturity factors? Obviously, a single label of one factor for either body or soul would misrepresent the person since there are complexities in both human categories. Unfortunately, the biblical counselor might tend to think he or she was only supposed to counsel for spiritual problems, leaving all bodily problems to the doctors and psychiatrists. Though not as doctors with professionally trained medical advice, biblical counsel does include an aspect of new covenant righteousness (ncr) related to the self-disciplines and chaos in use of the physical body as general health knowledge applications of the 6th commandment.

B.     Our OS 10 means lex Christi, the law of Christ as explained by the biblical theology of the Ten Commandments, 4 means four purposes or uses of the moral law.

C.      The elect body- (hardware of basic self-regulating functions) receives a purchased and empowered soul-BIOS (bsBIOS) (basic infancy-childhood-youth personality formation within learned environment and relationships) to run the new covenant righteousness Operating System (ncrOS) installed by saving faith.

D.     New covenant righteousness gives us a worldview for vertical integration or in computer language, an operating system enabling us to create this acronym (ncrOS) to represent it.[1] The tenets of the righteousness that pleases God have been defined in their broad contours, so all other sources of integrated knowledge can only serve as applications of this pre-defined, God-established righteousness (Rom. 12:1-2). All regenerate engagement of the elect with the world, whether diagnosing counselees or psychologies’ worldviews and principles, must be processed through and be compatible with this new covenant operating system of righteousness. ncrOS means the following theological structure. The Westminster Standards theological meta-narrative structure (confirmed by Romans) could briefly be enumerated as

1.       the glory of the Triune Lord’s righteousness[2] in eternity past,

2.      foreknowing the fall while righteously choosing his elect for moral-law-righteousness and justly passing by the rest in their sins,

3.      revealed to man in history by general and special revelation,

4.      permitting the fall for the display of his righteousness and condemning  sin due to lack of conformity to moral-law-righteousness,

5.      giving the moral law to define righteousness and the evident historical inability of all men in Adam to perfect moral law righteousness,

6.      moral-law-righteousness fulfilled by the humanity of Christ,

7.       by his passion and crucifixion suffering the wrath and curses of the law as propitiation for the moral-law unrighteousness of the elect,

8.      raised for crediting moral-law righteousness in justifying the elect,

9.      sending the promised Spirit to write moral-law righteousness on the sanctified hearts of the elect by assembly ministries and angels,

10.   and returning to glorify the elect in perfected moral-law-righteousness to dwell forever with the him and the elect angels in the new creation.

E.     Lex Christi: the law of Christ as revealed in a biblical theology of the Ten Commandments (10): protolex, duolex, trilex, quadralex, quintalex, hexalex, septalex, octolex, nonalex, decalex. These newly coined words are listed by order of commandments and represent the rich, comprehensive biblical theology of each commandment using Latin phrases for numerals one to ten combined with “lex” as the word for law. [3]  If I only wrote “1st commandment” instead of protolex, readers might be less likely to consider the rich biblical theology of the 1st commandment and fail to differentiate that the meaning I am describing is not simple, not just the bare phrase of that commandment:

F.      Within the ncrOS, the moral law (10) is used four (4) purposes:

1.       Integro: meaning useful for restoring, recreating, renewing, indicating that it will build-up in soul-body righteousness in relation to the Lord, Christ’s humanity, man and creation, and affirm present maturity. In new believers this usually starts with the two Great Commandments to love God and love neighbor.

2.      Dissolutio: meaning identifies or diagnoses weakness, brokenness or disintegration, so that the ncrOS will quarantine, remove and protect against unrighteousness in self and others, both behavior and witness, in both assembly and diaspora (1 Tim. 4:1-16; 1 Cor. 5), since such things should be given up to judgment (such as claims that certain behaviors that Christians call sin have a physical or genetic “cause” Rom. 1:26-32; 1 Cor. 5; 2 Cor 6:14-7:1; 2 John 1:10-11; 2 Thess. 3:6-18) and are under the Lord’s curse and will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 1:6-9; 5:21; 1 Cor. 4:5; Jude 1:14-16).[4]

3.      Transeo: meaning cross over or transform, indicating that it will provide filtered integration, transforming knowledge about body, soul or world so that it can cross over into our functional ncrOS (Col. 2-3; Rom. 2:29; Phil. 3:3; Acts 17:22-31); especially for cultural adaptation to the psychologized community in order to bring relevant witness for Christ (1 Cor. 9:17-22), and for better stewardship of the physical body, such as medical research and discoveries (1 Cor. 6:19-20; 9:27), or for provoking us to better study of Scripture to see things we formerly ignored.

4.      Sterilus: meaning useless or unproductive, indicating that it will identify useless knowledge or practices that have no value for righteousness or for daily functioning (Col. 2:20-23; Tit. 3:9).

G.     Also note that these new words don’t mean biblical counselors are sin-inspectors, or that we lack compassion for those in suffering or merely condemn those feeling helpless to change, or that we think change is simple. If that were the case, and we merely wanted to translate the secular manual of disorders into a Christianized form, our Christian manual might be called Diagnostic Severity of Moral Chaos (DSMC), only focused on mankind’s failure to flourish. As most comprehensively developed in Romans, we do not do diagnoses without a manual also defining mankind’s flourishing. We are ambassadors of righteousness, testifying to God’s righteousness in Christ, the blessed ways the Spirit transforms his people in righteousness and his cursed ways he will give up the non-elect unrighteous to temporal and patiently endure for final judgment.

H.    Compared to the earlier attempts of biblical counseling authors approach to integration and critique of psychology (reject, reform, illustrate, catalyst, cobelligerent), this approach has structural similarities in the four goals of law use. However, this model starts with the meta-narrative of righteousness connected to the meta-theology of the moral law as the content foundation to engage in critique-rejection, reform or acceptance, providing a definitive content foundation consonant with the way Scripture engages worldviews. Integrationists with weak views of both the meta-narrative of righteousness and its meta-theology in the moral law will choose topically similar, decontextualized Bible verses for comparison with psychology rather than using meta-systemic comparisons.      

I.       This operating system is useful in several applicational contexts:

1.       analysis of counselor preparation-qualifications and integrity-modeling,

2.      analysis of counselee,

3.      analysis of other people in relationship to the counselor and counselee (families, cultures),

4.      analysis of extra-biblical knowledge influencing any of the above people (psychological worldviews, vocabulary, and theories).

[1] Of course, I could be accused of using “smoke and mirrors” to develop a useless nomenclature that complicates rather than clarifies. WCF 1:8 tells us to translate the Scriptures into the common language, and instead, I’m using more complicated Latin phrases! One purpose is to show that biblical counseling can also develop fancy sounding names that impress the populace with a show of wise and erudite-sounding intelligence to answer the psychologically-foolish community according to its folly (Prov. 26:5). Another is to show that we aim for renewal in righteousness by the comprehensive biblical theology of the moral law and aim to develop understanding of sin against that moral law by the ways it leads to disintegration, weakness and failure. The terms might help point us in better directions by providing words defined with a more complex understanding of the moral law and its applications to modern day life.   

[2] Righteousness is not a single attribute, but a meta-attribute describing all the Lord’s perfections, shared by each person of the Trinity, similar to holiness, godliness and spiritual (Yates, 2017, pp. 96-97), shown in justification as imputation of Christ’s righteousness, all that God requires of believers, because of all that Christ accomplished (Rom. 5:18-19; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 3:18). Heavenly glory is described as the hope of righteousness, a summary of the beauty and perfections of the new heavens and new earth, where righteousness dwells (Gal. 5:5; 2 Pet. 3:13).

[3]All the phrases are Latin forms, except six/hexa is a Greek form due to likely misinterpretation of Latin prefix sex- meaning six, with its possible misidentification with English word “sex” as part of 7th commandment.

[4] This category would include Powlison’s illustrative uses of psychology, mostly in illustrating sinfulness in man, and that all he does apart from faith in Christ is still sin. Co-belligerent uses could also be seen within this category.