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Running head: BONDAGE BREAKER

A Critique of a Theoretical Counseling Model

The Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson

Patrick King

Liberty University

Coun507_ B04_ 201020 Spring


Sub-term B
Deadline: 2/28/10
Instructor‟s Name – Dr. James Eisenhower
Date of Submission 2/28/10
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A Critique of a Theoretical Counseling Model

The Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson

In his book, The Bondage Breaker, Neil T. Anderson, present a theoretical model for

overcoming negative thoughts, irrational feelings, and habitual sins. This examination of

Anderson‟s model summarizes both the theoretical and theological orientation of his approach,

considers the approach in the context of Dr. Hawkins concentric circle theory of personality, and

presents a critique with regard to some of the perceived strengths and weaknesses of his

approach.

Overview of theoretical orientation and process

In Romans chapter 7 the apostle Paul addresses one of the most frustrating dilemmas of

the Christian life, a problem he called “the law of sin” (Romans 7:23). In his brief explanation of

the law he declared, “when I want to do good, evil is right there with me… waging war… and

making me a prisoner” (Romans 7:21,23). It is exactly this maddening quandary that Anderson

addresses in The Bondage Breaker.

In a break from the traditional psychological and biological explanations of dysfunctional

behavior, Anderson (1993) suggests the spiritual world as an alternate etiology of dysfunction,

particularly in the case of Christians, with what he calls, “bondage to various forms of Satanism

and the occult” (Anderson, 1993, p. 11). Anderson (1993) asserts that there are two concepts

integral to the successful Christian life, maturity and freedom (Anderson, 1993, p. 11). Both

concepts are well supported in scripture and in theological terms are referred to as sanctification

(maturity) and justification (freedom). He infers from scripture that Satan is vehemently

“opposed to our maturity and will do anything he can to keep us from realizing who we are and

what we have in Christ” (Anderson, 1993, p. 11).

Laying a theological foundation for his approach to healing, Anderson (1993) explains

that maturity in Christ is a life-long process, but freedom from sin and its power occurs
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instantaneously and is completed at the moment of salvation. He suggests that in spite of the fact

that Satan has no authority or right of ownership in the life of those whom the Lord has

redeemed, it is his intention to keep followers of Christ completely deceived and therefore

“subject to sin, prone to failure, and controlled by habits” (Anderson, 1993, p. 12). Although

Anderson (1993) does not completely dismiss a more traditional and widely accepted

explanation with regard to the etiology of dysfunctional behavior, he is primarily concerned with

the influence of “the kingdom of darkness” (Anderson, 1993, p. 29) in addressing unrelenting

physical and psychological symptoms. Anderson says, “I‟m not saying that everyone who is ill

or in pain is being terrorized by a demon… But I am convinced that many Christians battle

physical symptoms unsuccessfully through natural means when the essence of the problem and

the solution is spiritual” (Anderson, 1993, pp. 31-32).

From Anderson‟s (1993) perspective dysfunctional behavior follows a logical

progression beginning with the mere consideration of an act that in some way violates the

holiness of God. Temptation ultimately yields to a conscious decision to act out the immoral

behavior, which when frequently repeated forms a habit. Eventually control over any given

behavior is relinquished when habits are exercised long enough to provide Satan with an

opportunity to establish that which Anderson (1993) refers to as a stronghold. He suggests, “if

we remain under [Satan‟s] influence long enough, we can lose control” (Anderson, 1993, p. 99).

Additionally, Anderson postulates that some strongholds are “anchored in demonic influences

and spiritual conflicts from past and present mental assaults which lock their victims in bondage”

(Anderson, 1993, p. 54).

Anderson (1993) suggests that loss of control is a gradual process, happening over an

extended period of time, and leading to three progressively severe levels of bondage. At the first

level of bondage daily functioning is impaired by self-deprecating thoughts and feelings of guilt.

The second level is characterized by the presence of “strange „evil‟ voices which seem to

overpower” (Anderson, 1993, p. 107) one‟s own thoughts. The final level of bondage is
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characterized by “severe oppression by demonic powers… the evil spirit exerts such control that

the individual‟s personality can be largely bypassed for long periods of time” (Anderson, 1993,

p. 108).

As dysfunctional behavior, from Anderson‟s (1993) perspective, is the result of a spiritual

assault in which Satan deceptively imposes his illegitimate authority, Anderson‟s (1993)

approach to healing is also a spiritual process. Foundational to Anderson‟s (1993) process for

healing is a personal responsibility for embracing a biblically accurate understanding of personal

identity in Christ (Anderson, 1993, p. 186). Anderson‟s (1993) model for breaking free from

Satanically influenced bondage is a seven step process.

The first step he calls “Counterfeit Versus Real” (Anderson, 1993, pp. 188-190) and is

the stage of the process reserved for identifying and renouncing any present or past involvement

with satanic practices or false religions. The second step of the process, “Deception Versus

Truth” (Anderson, 1993, pp. 190-195), requires identification of satanic deception which has

characterized our thinking and replacement of those lies with truth as revealed in scripture. Step

three, “Bitterness Versus Forgiveness” (Anderson, 1993, pp. 195-198), is the process of

relinquishing our right to demand justice for wrongs we have suffered. “Rebellion Versus

Submission” (Anderson, 1993, pp. 198-199) is the fourth step in Anderson‟s (1993) process. In

this phase of the process a conscious decision is made to yield to a biblical line of authority as a

testimony of faith in God‟s protection and provision. The fifth step , “Pride Versus Humility”

(Anderson, 1993, pp. 199-201), is an acknowledgement of our inability to live life effectively

without God‟s continual intervention. The sixth step, “Bondage Versus Freedom” (Anderson,

1993, pp. 201-205), involves confessing and renouncing habitual sins.

“Acquiescence Versus Renunciation” (Anderson, 1993, pp. 205-214) is the final step in

Anderson‟s (1993) healing process. Anderson (1993) asserts a necessity with this final step to

“renounce the sins of your ancestors and any curses which may have been placed on you”

(Anderson, 1993, p. 205). He suggests that if all of the steps in his proposed process are
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followed, freedom from bondage is inevitable and dysfunctional behavior will be vanquished.

However, Anderson (1993) declares that “freedom must be maintained” (Anderson, 1993, p.

209), and the process, out of necessity, may need to be repeated several times for the purpose of

maintaining that newly realized freedom.

Strengths of Anderson

Anderson (1993) approaches dysfunction and healing from a perspective that the

scientific community might consider mythical and superstitious, while the Christian community,

although believing, frequently chooses to ignore; “the kingdom of darkness” (Anderson, 1993, p.

29). In doing so, Anderson‟s (1993) model is one of the few that addresses Dr. Hawkins (2009b)

concentric circle theory of personality in its totality. The influence of each circle in the

development of dysfunctional behavior is more than minimally acknowledged, as is the function

of each circle in the process of healing. Anderson‟s (1993) entire theory has its foundation in the

supernatural circle, but he explains how temporal systems, and particularly family, impacts

dysfunctional behavior, as well as how that dysfunction can manifest physically. Additionally,

he demonstrates the need for healing in the circle Dr. Hawkins (2009b) calls the soul by

understanding and embracing the reality of changes that have taken place in the core circle.

Anderson‟s (1993) approach to healing also addresses the three major areas McMinn

(1996) identified as being crucial to psychological and spiritual health. As Anderson‟s (1993)

model requires a realignment of the thinking process from that which is characterized by

deception to that which embraces and integrates biblical truth, an accurate “sense of self and

need” (McMinn, 1996, pp. 45-58), and an awareness of the need for “healing relationships”

(McMinn, 1996, pp. 45-58) is effectively strengthened.

Weaknesses of Anderson

Although Anderson (1993) offers a plethora of scripture to support his position, his

theory will not escape criticism. Not only will Anderson face criticism from the scientific
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community, who, in general, is not willing to embrace anything that cannot be empirically

validated, but criticism from the Christian community is also inevitable. Anderson (1993)

clearly advocates personal responsibility with regard to behavioral choices (Anderson, 1993, pp.

23, 196). However, attributing dysfunctional behavior to “demonic influences” (Anderson,

1993, p. 54) or “severe oppression” (Anderson, 1993, p. 108) could lead to the tendency to

excuse dysfunction as unavoidable.

Additionally, Anderson (1993) may be criticized by the Christian community with regard

to the very theological position on which his entire thesis is based. Although he adequately

supports his position with scripture, many will argue the degree to which satanic forces can

influence a truly born again Christian.

Application

I thoroughly appreciate Anderson‟s (1993) willingness to address the dark spiritual forces

that seek to keep us from realizing the freedom that is our inheritance in Christ. I agree with

Anderson‟s (1993) assertion that habitual sin leads to satanic strongholds which ultimately paves

the path for a Christian‟s unnecessary return to bondage. Additionally, I agree with Anderson

(1993) that not “every spiritual problem is the result of direct demonic activity” (Anderson,

1993, p. 14). As Anderson‟s model seems to effectively strengthen all of the areas that McMinn

(1996) suggested are integral to spiritual and psychological health, I believe integrating

Anderson‟s model into a personal theoretical approach to healing would be very beneficial.
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References

Anderson, N. T. (1993). The bondage breaker. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers.

Hawkins, R. (Speaker). (2009b). Hawkins model for guiding the counseling process.

McMinn, M. R. (1996). Psychology, theology, and spirituality in counseling. Carol Stream:

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.


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GRADING GUIDELINE FOR THEORY CRIT1QUES


COUN 507/PACO 600 Theology and Spirituality in Counseling
The following represents an additive template for grading. Instead of beginning with 100 and
losing points for errors, you begin with a 0 and earn points for your work In determining your
grade, three questions will be asked.

QUESTION VALUES TOTAL 100 POINTS

HOW DID IT RUN THE COURSE? Question Value: 35 Points


 Submitted with correct cover sheet located on Blackboard and
Grading Guideline for Theory Critiques pasted correctly? Score: 5 points
 Evidence of proof reading? Score: 15 points
(Minimal typographical, grammatical, punctuation errors, no
unnecessary pages, paragraphing/sentence structure is proper and
without awkwardness, body length is not more than 4 pages)

 Followed current APA Guidelines (headers, margins, spacing,


numbering, font, referencing titles correctly with initials, italics,
and appropriate use of lower case letters, etc.)? Score: 15 points

HOW DID IT HANDLE THE SOURCE(S)? Question Value: 15 Points


 Citations are properly referenced? (A minimum of 4
appropriate citations per author under review) Score: 10 points

 APA Reference list? Score: 5 points

DOES THE WRITING HAVE FORCE? Question Value: 50 Points


 Content reveals an organized interaction that specifically
addresses the assignment with clarity and coherency? Score: 30 points

 Clear, insightful, rich interaction with subject matter? Score: 10 points

 Conclusion reveals thoughtful summarization and application? Score: 10 points

Grade: ____________