Paul Tripp, heretic or tare?
Paul Tripp teaches a doctrine which has enough lies in it to proclaim it as a doctrine of demons as per the following:-
1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Firstly, who is Paul Tripp?
He studied Divinity at the Reformed Episcopal Seminary and received a Doctorate of Ministry in Biblical Counselling at Westminster Theological Seminary, which immediately means he is involved with what the New Calvinists used to call “nouthetic counselling”, a brand of counselling used by most churches today, generally termed “Biblical Counselling” yet very much non-Scriptural. Some more traditional calvinists still use the term “nouthetic counselling” but these are in the minority.
In 2013 Tripp joined the board of advisors at Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill church in Seattle. (Driscoll is better known as “the potty-mouth pastor” because of his crudeness in the pulpit and Bible studies.) Tripp left this advisory board in 2014 in order to be a consultant for that same church. Nothing was said about the evident non-Christian witness of “potty-mouth”! These new calvinists stick to each other through thick and thin, or, should I say, moral and immoral!
When the controversy surrounding Mark Driscoll’s ministry reached boiling point, Dr. Tripp graciously submitted his resignation from the BoAA in early June 2014, according to Mars Hill, “so he can more extensively serve our church as a consultant.” Tripp was booked to speak at Mars Hill’s Resurgence Conference, October 2014, but following Driscoll’s downfall, the conference was cancelled. (https://www.bibleleaguetrust.org/beware-of-paul-tripp/)
Even though Driscoll faced much public shaming over his crudeness, his fellow-calvinist pastors mostly stood by him in continuing support for his “ministry”. Instead of Godly pastors correctly condemning such non-Scriptural behaviour, they (including Tripp) have instead closed ranks seemingly to protect Driscoll from his detractors.
Breaking news – Tripp doesn’t appear to have a problem with swearing either. Paul Tripp has discovered the “s” word. He likes to say it; he giggles like a red-faced school girl when he does; he thinks its cool; he thinks he’s cutting edge and culturally relevant; he thinks he’s being radical; he thinks he’s being profound; he thinks he’s being biblical, but yet never quotes one verse of Scripture; and Piper has produced this wasteful intestinal discharge (pun intended) and condones what Tripp is saying. Who has spiked the water in Minnesota? (https://stevenjcamp.blogspot.com/2008/09/paul-tripp-ing-likes-to-say-s-word-has.html)
We learn much about Paul Tripp’s ministry from his address to the third annual Liberate conference held at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida in February of 2014. (https://www.bibleleaguetrust.org/beware-of-paul-tripp/)
Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (another calvinist church) also has some skeletons in the closet.
About a year after Billy Graham’s grandson Tullian Tchividjian resigned as the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida after admitting to an affair, the congregation has appointed Rob Pacienza, who has been on staff, to serve as its next lead pastor. (https://www.christianpost.com/news/coral-ridge-presbyterian-church-appoints-rob-pacienza-new-pastor-after-tullian-tchividjian-resignation-159144/) There’s a lot more to this than meets the eye but that’s another post altogether.
Paul Tripp’s New Age psychology
Tripp’s topic at Liberate was “God’s One-Way Love and Personal Identity.” He introduced his talk with these words: There is a plague that has infected the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a sad disease, it’s left us weakened, and broken and discouraged, and afraid. It’s almost no sooner than you come to faith in Jesus Christ than you get infected. And it robs you of your spiritual vitality; it robs you of your joy; it robs you of the rest that Jesus died that you would have. It reduces you to timidity, and doubt, and worry, and dark addictions of all kinds. It somehow, someway gets us all. It’s a communicable disease that’s ravaging the Church of Jesus Christ. The problem is that most people who have it, don’t know they have it. They actually live with the delusion that they are healthy and okay, when everything in their life points to the fact that they are sick.’ (In other words, this sad disease of the Church can only be diagnosed by Christian counsellors trained in psychology). ‘It’s a terrible disease; it’s one that needs to be eradicated. What is it you ask? It’s identity amnesia. We have forgotten who we are. And in forgetting who we are we frantically look for identity in thousands of places where it will never be found, places where you were never meant to look for identity. You probably do it so instinctively; you probably do it so frequently, you probably do it so naturally, you don’t actually know you are doing it. You’re so used to carrying the burden that you don’t know you are carrying the burden anymore. Your spiritual back has hurt you so long you’ve forgotten you’re in pain. (https://www.bibleleaguetrust.org/beware-of-paul-tripp/)
So, we Christians today have a disease called “identity amnesia” but we think we are healthy, that is, until some “expert” informs us that we are really so sick that we need urgent spiritual attention. And this is where nouthetic counselling (Biblical Counselling) comes in. Dr Jay Adams of Westminster Seminary was responsible for kick-starting this counselling movement which was then taken over by Dr David Powlison who helped to develop Dynamics of Biblical Change which became the basis for the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF). Paul Tripp was a faculty member at the CCEF for many years.
Under Powlison, the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC) came into being, an organisation that later became known as the Association of Certified Biblical Counsellors (ACBC), an organisation that now certifies counsellors in much the same way as CPA certifies Certified Practising Accountants. As part of the faculty of CCEF, Tripp (along with others such as Timothy Lane) was an active part of building up the CCEF ministry into what it is today, something quite different from what Jay Adams had seemingly envisaged many years before.
Paul Tripp’s New Age psychology, like the Communist Manifesto, is based upon the Hegelian Dialectic
Such “biblical” counselling today doesn’t appear to actually take a Biblical view-point, but instead concentrates upon producing the basis for problems that such counselling can then be applied to. It’s a bit like the communist manifesto which supports the fostering of disruption and confusion in society in order to produce the answers they have already proposed in order to to bring their required change to society. That is, if you desire change to a particular state of society, then the best way to bring that about is to produce unrest that will lead people to desire that which the leaders want you to desire. In such scenarios, the leaders already know what they want, so if people don’t want to change because they are already comfortable with what they have, then create unrest with what they have so that they will desire the change instead.
Note the following quote: If a crisis of opportunity does not present itself in the time frame you need, why not ENGINEER a crisis to fit your goals? This is a tactic that has been used by elites for generations, and it is called the Hegelian dialectic.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s work was the very foundation of the collectivist/socialist ideology, and it inspired Karl Marx during his writing of The Communist Manifesto. Hegel was an avid statist who believed that the collective must be ruled and directed by centralized governance and that all individualism should be sacrificed for the greater good.
(Order Out Of Chaos: The Doctrine That Runs The World
Put simply, it’s all about control. Anything to do with satan’s work has control written all over it. Even temptation is designed to control people. These so-called “Biblical Counsellors” are clearly setting up a program that will inevitably take control of those who come for “help”.
This is the basis for Paul Tripp’s statement that we have identity amnesia. We are satisfied with life as it is, with our ministries and our Christian living. But this isn’t what people like Paul Tripp want. They declare a stable Christian life to be unhealthy, because such people cannot be influenced nor manipulated easily. The answer is simple: convince Christians that they are really unhealthy, that they need change in their lives in order to experience more productive “ministries”.
There is a plague that has infected the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a sad disease, it’s left us weakened, and broken and discouraged, and afraid. It’s almost no sooner than you come to faith in Jesus Christ than you get infected. And it robs you of your spiritual vitality; it robs you of your joy; it robs you of the rest that Jesus died that you would have. It reduces you to timidity, and doubt, and worry, and dark addictions of all kinds. It somehow, someway gets us all. It’s a communicable disease that’s ravaging the Church of Jesus Christ.
And the worst thing about it is that we don’t know we have this terrible disease.
The problem is that most people who have it, don’t know they have it. They actually live with the delusion that they are healthy and okay, when everything in their life points to the fact that they are sick.’
This disease is so terrible it has to be eradicated, of course, with the help of our friendly neighbourhood Biblical Counsellors (of the ACBC variety)! That is, it can only be diagnosed by trained counsellors (clearly ones of the Paul Tripp type!)
‘It’s a terrible disease; it’s one that needs to be eradicated. What is it you ask? It’s identity amnesia. We have forgotten who we are.
It’s so well hidden that we cannot even begin to look in the right places to discover our problem, let alone the answers.
And in forgetting who we are we frantically look for identity in thousands of places where it will never be found, places where you were never meant to look for identity. You probably do it so instinctively; you probably do it so frequently, you probably do it so naturally, you don’t actually know you are doing it. You’re so used to carrying the burden that you don’t know you are carrying the burden anymore. Your spiritual back has hurt you so long you’ve forgotten you’re in pain.
The main point appears to be to “sell” his New Age counselling product
And so we come to the point of it all: that if we desire to live fruitful Christian lives free of this terrible disease that should be eradicated, then we have to trust our church Biblical Counsellor (only assuming that he/she is one properly certified by ACBC, of course).
This is a setup, creating the required unrest and dissatisfaction with what we are in order to get us to go running to our nearest ACBC Biblical Counsellor. Thus, in order to “sell” your solution, you firstly have to create the problem that will require the solution offered by these “snake oil doctors”. For who will buy a solution when they aren’t aware that they actually have “the problem”? This is clearly and simply a “con job”!
He (Tripp) claims that the identity you assign to yourself dictates the course of your life. “You never escape the identity that you assign to yourself, ever.” And so come Tripp’s big questions: “Who do you think you are? Where will you look today, for identity?” Referring to the first five verses of Psalm 27, Tripp describes the characteristics of the Lord — the Lord is light; the Lord is salvation; the Lord is stronghold. Then he says, “What I’ve just given you is nasty, dangerous, bad theology — but it’s the theology, I’m convinced, that has infected the Church of Jesus Christ. (https://www.bibleleaguetrust.org/beware-of-paul-tripp/)
That is, Tripp considers that an approach to Scripture that focuses upon learning information is actually harmful, that it can only lower our self-worth (our self-esteem).
Paul Tripp is into mystical meditation
Tripp advises Christians to not read the Bible but to simply meditate upon the beauty of the Lord.
Tripp advises, “Run to his beauty … gaze upon the beauty of the Lord … his beauty unleashed upon you by his grace … live based on who you have become by gorgeous grace … afraid of no one, nothing.” This florid language communicates much feeling but no real biblical truth.
Tripp ends his entertaining talk with this instruction to his audience. “Start every day, not with making sure that you complete your Bible readings, so that at the end of the year you can say that you’ve finished the Bible once again, for the tenth year in a row, showing how spiritual are you. But sit with your Bible, and do nothing but gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. Just stop the study, stop the analysis, just gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.” It seems Tripp does not regard reading the Bible as that important. He does not tell his audience that what he is promoting is contemplative prayer, a form of prayer widely practised by Roman Catholic mystics. Father Thomas Dubay, of the Society of Mary, an expert in contemplative prayer, explains “the kind of prayer Scripture calls the ‘one thing,’ [is] the most important activity of all the things we humans do in life, which is ‘gazing on the beauty of the Lord,’ as Psalm 27 puts it. (https://www.bibleleaguetrust.org/beware-of-paul-tripp/)
Our personalities have been exchanged for our identities
Tripp subscribes to a psychological teaching that has exchanged personality for identity. No longer are people categorised into boxes that define their personality as other people see it. It is now identity which has control. Identity is how we perceive ourselves regardless of how others see us. It is a product of our own self-awareness. No longer are we what others say we are; instead we are what we say we are, that is, our identity.
This so-called identity is entirely internal and subjective; the types are defined not by observable behaviors but solely by the claims of the individual. Thus today we have individuals claiming a particular “gender identity” rather than being labeled by sexual behavior. Psychologists speak about identity as value-neutral; it is something a person is rather than what he does.
The psychological theory of identity claims that everyone has a compelling need for a satisfactory identity. Freudian Psychoanalyst Alfred Adler popularized the belief that the necessary elements of a satisfactory identity are feelings of security, significance and self-worth. As with most popular psychological theories, this view invaded Christian counseling. An important conduit for this corruption was the work of Larry Crabb (Inside Out) and later Robert McGee who wrote the bestseller The Search for Significance founding the Rapha Christian psychotherapy enterprise. In that book, McGee states, “Since the fall, man has often failed to turn to God for the truth about himself. Instead he has looked to others to meet his inescapable need for self-worth.” (Search p.25) He adds, “By imputing righteousness to us, God attributes Christ’s worth to us”. (Search p.53) This view of man and God is the philosophical foundation for the Liberate Conference. (https://www.newcalvinist.com/tripp-liberate/)
Paul Tripp accuses the Bible of teaching us that we have no self-worth, that as a result the disease of identity amnesia has taken too great a hold on us.
Tripp’s presentation focuses, not on sin, but on “the disease” which he defines as “identity amnesia”. This sickness is spread by “nasty theology” which focuses on who God is and what He expects rather than on “who we are.” Tripp claims that an “information approach to Scripture is evil.” He says that such “nasty theology” promotes “lack of rest, timidity, doubt, worry, addictions”, etc. Most importantly, it causes us to “forget who we are” and focus on our failings. Tripp says that the “Savior has come to me and I’m OK.” Throughout his presentation, there are repeated references to the receiving of God’s grace/love but nothing about a resultant desire to return thanks, worship, confess, repent, turn from sin, or even share the comfort of such grace with another person. Instead, Tripp tells his listeners to say to themselves, “I am; therefore I can”. (https://www.newcalvinist.com/tripp-liberate/)
Paul Tripp appears to have no effective gospel to offer to the lost
Paul Tripp has his own website on which he says a lot about where he stands. Or, in actual fact, it’s what he doesn’t say that’s most revealing. I couldn’t find anywhere even the slightest hint of the Scriptural gospel, nothing that encourages people to get right with a holy God. I looked at a number of articles, but they didn’t tell me much either. It was like reading information that was designed to tell you as little as possible in the greatest number of words possible.
I listened to excerpts from his “sermons” but found nothing. I thought I would have to find the gospel of salvation in his Easter message, but, no, once again, there was nothing to assist me to be saved if I had desired to know. It was to do with the raising of Lazarus back to life, and while it made a lot of the new life Lazarus had been given, it didn’t mention once the reason why Easter had to be, that is, because of man’s sinful condition. It mentions sin but only once right at the beginning, yet even there it appears to be totally disconnected to the rest of the message. As far as the message is concerned, sin seems to be a non-event. Repentance didn’t appear to get a mention, nor any of the great themes of redemption. Of course, Tripp would probably say that such teachings are harmful to our self-worth and that we should be encouraged to focus alone on the new life in Christ that Lazarus received, which is exactly what Tripp did teach! He did mention “glory amnesia” which clearly indicated that we had forgotten what the glory of Christ was in our lives. We needed resurrection faith, resurrection life, resurrection power, all of which Christ would give to us. In fact, he even said that the resurrection was our identity in Christ, if we had placed our faith in Christ. But this faith didn’t seem to have any connection with sin and repentance in his message; clearly such negative teaching might well be harmful and therefore we should leave such things alone. It’s a bit like Rick Warren trying to teach us that we should not use negative statements when witnessing to people, statements that focused on such nasties as sin, repentance, judgment etc. Instead we are to concentrate on “feel-good” statements that make newcomers feel like they are welcome. That is, not rejected by the nasty bits of theology. I think perhaps Tripp and Warren must have studied the same reference books!
Tripp is a wishy-washy speaker who says a lot without saying anything at all. He might sound good to anyone who wants to be spoon-fed like a baby. However, my recommendation for Christians is to leave him well alone for then and only then perhaps you might actually start growing as a Christian. His teachings are like poison and his philosophy is straight from the depths of hell. Truly he teaches a doctrine of demons.
For further reading, see
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Biblical Counselling as an Aid to Control the Church blog
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