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Lawrence J. Crabb, Jr. (better known as Dr. Larry Crabb) is a psychologist, author, Bible teacher and seminar speaker. Dr. Crabb has written many best-selling books and is the founder and director of New Way Ministries. He serves as a Spiritual Director for the American Association of Christian Counselors and since 1996 has been the Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence of Colorado Christian University.
Crabb was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1944 and was a reluctant student of psychology until he began studying abnormal psychology and personality theory. During graduate school he experienced a period of deep scepticism before being guided back to the faith by Francis Schaeffer and CS Lewis. His renewed spiritual passion convinced him that Christianity had a more fundamental role to play in clinical psychology.
Crabb's first books were Basic Principles of Biblical Counseling (Zondervan, 1975) and Effective Biblical Counseling (Zondervan, 1977). He has since gone on to write over 40 further books; some of his more well-known ones include Inside Out, Finding God, Connecting and Men & Women: Enjoying the Difference.
He founded the Institute of Biblical Counseling in the early-1980s while on the faculty of Grace Theological Seminary (1982–1989). The institute has since been replaced with the School of Behavioral Sciences. The school was birthed out of his book Shattered Dreams (WaterBrook, 2001) describing Naomi's journey from the Book of Ruth. New Way Ministries (the "new way" from Romans 7:6), established in 2001, runs the schools/conferences.
Crabb was Adjunct Professor of Applied Theology at Regent College from 1998–1999, Chairman and Professor, Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling Program, Colorado Christian University, 1989–1996, Chairman and Professor, Graduate Department of Biblical Counseling, Grace Theological Seminary, 1982–1989 and in private practice for Clinical Psychology in Boca Raton, Florida, 1973-1982. He was also the lone psychologist at the Psychological Counseling Center, Florida Atlantic University - Assistant Professor, Psychology Department 1971-1973 and Assistant Professor, Psychology, University of Illinois Staff Psychologist, Student Counseling Center, University of Illinois, 1970-1971. He received Teacher of the Year Award in the Psychology Department in 1971.
Larry and his wife Rachael, live in the Denver, Colorado area. They have two sons who are both married.
In the 35,000 words of Basic Principles of Biblical Counseling (1975), Crabb gives his view of (1) the shortcomings of five varieties of "secular" counseling, (2) the causes and structure of mental problems, and (3) a Bible-centered approach to counseling.
In Chapter 3, Floating Anchors, Crabb briefly describes the views of Sigmund Freud, "Ego Psychology", Carl Rogers, B.F. Skinner, and "Existentialism" (Victor Frankl) on the causes and structure of mental problems, and he finds each wanting. Each offers valuable insights, but none reflects the Christian view that man is created in the image of God, yet fallen in sin.
In Chapter 4, An Aerial View, Crabb previews his theory: "negative (sinful) feelings" are the result of "negative (sinful) behavior" which is in turn the result of "wrong (sinful) thinking." Repentance is a turn to "right thinking", which necessarily brings "right behavior" and "satisfying feelings" (all p. 47).
In Chapters 5 and 6, Understanding Our Deepest Needs, Crabb identifies our "deepest personal needs" (p. 53) as "significance" (p. 54) and "security" (p. 65).
In Chapter 7, Where Problems Start, Crabb argues that ". . . resentment, guilt and anxiety seem to be the three central underlying disorders in all personal problems and they exist because we think incorrect thoughts" (p. 81).
In Chapter 8, Weaving Tangled Webs, Crabb presents case studies to "see how a counselor, armed with these fundamental ideas, can understand the confusing array of problems confronting him in his office" (p. 84).
In Chapter 9, Hold Your Client Responsible: For What?, Crabb emphasizes the client's need to take personal responsibility for changing his thoughts not just cognitively, but existentially, "dying to the sinful pattern of thinking" (p. 101).
In Chapter 10, The Mood And Goal of Counseling, Crabb argues that secular psychologists cannot give suffering evangelicals the help they need, because "[t]he goal of the biblical counselor is to assist a person to change in the direction of Christlikeness" (p. 110).
Throughout the book, Crabb makes clear that he rejects the concept of mental illness. Mental disorders are the result of a sinful attitude toward God, and can only be healed through confession, remorse, and repentance. He repeatedly discusses the problems of divorce and homosexuality as sinful actions, while emphasizing that any thought or behavior that separates a person from God is a sin. The husband must be head of the household, the wife must submit to him. This submission, however, entails the Christ-like submission that Jesus showed to the Father by coming to Earth in human form.[clarification needed] It is not the dominanting submission others often speak about while pointing to the Bible as proof. "[C]hildren are foolish. There are none that seek after God, neither yours nor mine." (p. 86)