Friday, November 22, 2013

You Scratch My Back, I'll Scratch Yours

It looks like there was a handout of Gary Chapman's love languages goo at Wheaton College. (I got the e-mailing about it a little over a week ago.) Unfortunately, psychobabble goo goes over well at Wheaton.

Full disclosure. Wheaton College is my alma mater. She's family. That being the case, with real affection for Wheaton and her students, perhaps I'm allowed to say such things about some of my crazy, embarrassing family members. When Wheaton does this, she's like that crazy, oddball family member you love to pieces but whom you must nevertheless acknowledge says and does some downright embarrassing things.

I love the institution and love the student body, and pushing such rubbish makes me cringe. And all this is said, with all due respect, of course, to a venerable institution with many venerable faculty members, under whom I enjoyed the immense privilege of studying holy Scripture.

Em and I confess we've never quite gotten how people of the Book could go for that man-centered stuff. A modicum of biblical and theological literacy enables one to see it for what it is at a glance: man-centered psychobabble nonsense unworthy of the bride of Christ, and unworthy of Christian marriage, which is to reflect the gospel, not our culture's idols of the self.

As counselor Dr. David Powlison says, Chapman's teaching on love languages offers a glorified, sanitized form of "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."

So I hope students of Wheaton and of the Word will find it repellent and noxious to their biblical and theological senses. The Word is sufficient for every marriage. We really don't need Chapman. And not only will we do fine without him, but we're likely to reflect the gospel in our marriages far more if we ignore him and heed the Book, and heed biblical preaching on Christian marriage.

If you want a good review of Chapman's teaching on love languages, see chapter 14 of Dr. Powlison's book Seeing with New Eyes, entitled "Love Speaks Many Languages Fluently." The whole book is excellent, but chapter 14 alone is worth the price of the book.

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