The title of this book is a reference to Dan Allender’s The Wounded Heart,which I review here, and is a not-so-subtle rebuttal of Allender’s ideas. The book is part fiction, tracing the story of a fictional pastor’s wife, and part non-fiction giving commentary on the issues that the story seems to be intended to illustrate.
Bulkley’s key point that the idea of “recovered memories” is not only misused, but has done incalculable damage to many lives, is perfectly valid. It seems superfluous to argue the point considering that contemporary psychology/counselling has long-since moved on. But the point is valid and I suppose there are still some people around who need to hear it.
First, the fictional story woven throughout the text caricatures opposing views. Ultimately, the device is simply a dishonest use of fiction. By using a fictional character to slander his opponent, the author avoids both direct critique and the responsibility to back up his claims with referenced quotations and careful argument. The entire development of the fictional character is one prolonged straw man. While the author finally and forever lays to rest this dastardly straw man, little actual citation or argument is needed courtesy of the fiction device.
Second, the book is one sustained false dichotomy. Either the reader must side with the far extreme of neo-Freudian psychoanalytic theory sans Scripture or he can go to God. A balanced approach to psychology, counselling, and human existence is never contemplated.
Third, the author thinks like an abuser. Every horrible cliché that plagues the reputation of the Christian church on this topic, this book is. In an incident addressed on p. 70, two pastors discuss a case of potential pedophilia and neither bothers to look into the ages of the parties involved to find out if a crime was actually committed. They do this in the context of dismissing additional allegations of childhood sexual abuse. That the heroes of the fictional tale would handle sexual abuse in this way is merely indicative of the way the author handles the issue throughout. His skepticism is callous, automatically assuming allegations of sexual abuse are usually based on “recovered memories.”
Fourth, the author rejects psychology wholesale placing it in a false dichotomy: Scripture or psychology. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that the study of the human mind and behaviour might be just as legitimate and beneficial as the study of the human brain and body.
Fifth, the “solution” offered by the author is childish and simplistic. Forgive and forget. Ask God for healing. Trust God. Be happy. Along the simplistic approach, sprinkle in a heaping dose of ignorance, arrogance, misogyny, and bigotry and you’re getting the picture. And it’s not a pretty sight.
Only space prevents the presentation of further concerns. This book calls good evil and evil good. It is truly a blight on the canvass of Christian literature. That it was originally published by a reputable publisher only serves to raise questions about that publishing house (it seems it is now self-published). This is honestly the first book I’ve ever read where I resorted to using abbreviations for the logical fallacies I encountered because of their sheer volume. May the followers of Jesus Christ reject and resist such twisted thinking and pursue instead justice, truth, and mercy.
Grace to you.