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When a little girl jumps into the open hands of her father, she gives us a picture of trust. She doesn’t even think about falling on her face; she smiles and leaps without hesitation, enjoying the thrill of the jump. Her father has never dropped her or failed to catch her; she doesn’t think twice.
But what would she think if her father dropped her, and she slipped from his hands onto the floor and split her precious little face? How would her child’s mind cope with the blood running down her tender face, and the anxious look in her fathers eyes when he sees the injury inflicted by means of his own hands? Panic. Fear. Confusion. Pain. In a rush to the hospital, how would her father cope with himself? What could the father say to her as she lay there bleeding profusely in the car and he speeds her to the emergency room? Would any words; any of her toys; any of the happy songs her and her father usually sing in the car be of any use at such a time? And though her child’s heart still longs for her daddy’s embrace, would she be able to jump for his arms again? How many times getting dropped and hurt would it take before a poor little child’s heart stops trusting in her well-meaning fathers arms? Would the father stay with her in the hospital? Should he stay with her in the hospital, holding her hand? Would he feel bad? Should he feel bad?
The good intentions of the hands of love that reach out for a trusting heart: well intentionioned, but still capable of letting a naive heart plunge into a pool of pain. Trust. Intentions can’t fully earn it, yet perfection cannot be the doorway into it. Trust. When it’s there, hope is always fresh. When it’s gone, the thrill of life is gone; the thrill of the jump is not worth the risk of the splitting of soft baby skin, and the inevitable pool of blood that awaits after the fall. Trust. Priceless, but fragile.
……….She’s Got Phillips Eyes!!!!!!!!!
Although there are many mini-principles that flow out of Tripp’s paradigm, there are a few meta-principles that guide his book. The most important of these meta-principles, and perhaps the principle that all the other principles in his book are intended to carry out is the principle of the centrality of the heart to life-transformation. Tripp believes that the heart of the matter is the heart and that the heart matters more than anything else. He continually drives home that the goal of counseling is heart change. This primary principle can be seen from several angles in his book. Tripp adopts a distinctively Edwardsian view of the heart, for he sees it as a fount of competing desires (79-80). It includes the entire scope of the inner person—spirit, soul, mind, will, and emotions (59).
Tripp’s Language About Worship Underscores A Heart-Centered Approach
Situations Don’t Have Causal Powers? – The ingredient of Tripp’s book which most commonly strikes me as unhelpful is his insensitivity to the complex interplay between life circumstances and heart chemistry. After telling a long story about his getting angry when his hopes for a nice Cuban meal were spoiled, he concludes: “My anger was not caused by the people and situations I encountered. My anger was caused by completely legitimate desires that came, wrongly, to rule me” (82). Tripp seems to assume that since his heart had a key role to play in determining whether he allowed the circumstances to make him angry, therefore the circumstances did not play a key role in making him angry. He thus perpetuates the false dichotomy common in the Biblical Counseling Movement (BCM) between external causation and internal causation. One’s sin, according to typical BCM mantra, is not caused by external circumstances. Rather, it is caused by internal dispositions of the heart. Although Tripp effectively demonstrates that external circumstances are not always a sufficient cause and explanation for why we do what we do in a given situation, and that “any attempt to examine the causes of conflict must begin with the heart” (78), he does so by denying external circumstances a key role in determining human behavior (77, 82-83).
 Some might say, “Well, certainly circumstances play a role, but they do not cause a person to sin.” Language of causation is too tricky for a detailed philosophical inquiry into the nature and language of causation in this brief book review. However, it is worth considering the fact that Christ threatens those who “cause” (skandalise) the little one’s to sin (Mt 18:6).
Footnote # 1: Eric L. Johnson, Foundations for Soul Care: A Christian Psychology Proposal (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2007), 614. This seems to be the reason why Adams is always trying to ground everything he says—even when he is giving extra-biblical wisdom—in some verse or biblical doctrine (even when it is not in the text).
Footnote # 2: Ibid., 615.
Footnote #3: “This approach to secular and other non-Christian thought is best explained by his adherence to a biblical coherence theory of truth [as opposed to a correspondence theory of truth], just like VanTil’s.” Ibid.
Footnote #4: Ibid, 616.