Books by Dr. Brian Allison

Books may be ordered by filling out the form at the bottom of the page. Analytical Studies in Apologetics sells for $15.00 (Can.) and The Essential Elements of Effective Change (The Preconditions of the Heart) (manual form - 9"x12") sells for $17.00 (Can.).

1. Analytical Studies in Apologetics

(261 pp.)

From the Preface:

The need for Christian apologetics has never been more keenly felt in the history of the church than it is today. Our Western society has become apathetically irreligious, as well as presumptuously idolatrous-a paradoxical situation indeed. An eclectic monstrosity has developed through intellectual liberalism and autonomous individualism. We have acquired a fragmented identity. Dissolution must follow. Various socio-epistemological forces have helped shape the contemporary mind-set, such as cultural relativism, scientific positivism, analytical linguisticism, dialectical marxism, and so on. Accordingly, academic confusion and intellectual uncertainty even now prevail in our different educational institutions. Truth is no longer identifiable, nor is it even desired. The very concept of the 'absolute' is rejected outrightly as mythical, legendary, or primitive. Techno-scientific modernity has created a nation of metaphysical illiterates. Philosophic existentialism and secular psychology have deadened our innate religious sensibilities. We are no longer spontaneously drawn to the infinite. Modern man has erected an intellectual labyrinth through which he has epistemologically lost God. An urgent need exists to declare rationally and cogently the truth of Christianity. Only Christian truth can provide correct answers and certain direction to our present socio-epistemological dilemma. Only Christian truth can retard and reverse the slippery slide into hopeless skepticism, fruitless subjectivism, and futile relativism. The Christian must think hard about his or her faith, understanding and appreciating its rational viability in an age of intellectual bankruptcy. The following essays are a small contribution to this specific enterprise (Please read the footnotes). I believe that the Christian message is both academically respectable and intellectually challenging. The Christian apologist must not only give reasons why he believes the teaching of the biblical record, but, more importantly, unequivocally state exactly what he does believe about those teachings. Our sophisticated age necessitates that the Christian think critically. Intellectual dishonesty or excuse is not only intolerable, but clearly reprehensible. This fact is particularly true with respect to the Christian thinker who holds truth at a premium and views knowledge as a constant pursuit. The following essays are primarily analytical in character, though evaluative and critical considerations are presented. Through such an approach, a person can better understand his or her faith, by discerning the rational undergirding of that faith, and hence be enhanced to articulate it to an intellectually confused and spiritually darkened world.

Contents

From the Back Cover

Analytical Studies in Apologetics is a challenging and scholarly work for the serious apologetic or philosophy of religion student. It deals with specific areas of interest which are not normally treated in the field of apologetics. This particular work is a detailed treatment of some important theological and philosophical writings, from some important intellectual figures as Augustine, Karl Barth, John Owen, David Hume, Cornelius Van Til, Joseph Fletcher, and Edward Schillebeeckx.


2. The Essential Elements of Effective Change (The Preconditions of the Heart)

(141 pp., 9"x12")

Excerpt from the Introduction

The Objective: This book concerns the heart preconditions of covenantal behavioural change (i.e., the sine qua non conditions for such a change to even be possible).1 Admittedly, as Jay Adams writes, "Change, then, is necessary, but change is hard" (Adams, 1973, 172). Behavioural change is typically hard because the counselee's heart is not prepared to achieve such change. The state and content of the heart determines the nature and fruit of behaviour. Self-evidently, before a person will actually change, he2 must be prepared to change. In this work, I consider why people behaviourally change at all (i.e., the anthropic grounds or raison d'�tre of change), rather than how people behaviourally change (i.e., the different means and procedures that facilitate change). These preconditions refer more to what a person thinks, wills, and feels than to the counseling strategies or techniques that may be used. Logically speaking, to address the question of why people actually change provides the basis and proper understanding for addressing the question of how people can change. The preconditional necessarily informs the methodological. A complete and adequate theory of change requires both the 'why' and the 'how' of behavioural change. Lawrence Crabb rightly observes, "One obstacle we encounter [for effective counseling] is that most of us lack a clear theory of change. We know that people should change, that Christians should grow in Christ, and we believe they can. But beyond a few basic ideas about obedience, prayer and time in the Word, we're not very clear about how change occurs or what prompts it" (Crabb, 1987, 79).

Thus, I endeavour herein to provide an answer to the question: What are the conditions that must exist in a Christian's heart before covenantal behavioural change will occur, and what are the various dynamics associated with these conditions? I am primarily concerned with the anthropological question (i.e., the theistic principles or laws that govern the functions of the heart and the demonstrations of human behaviour), rather than with the theological one (i.e., the sovereign, direct work of God in changing the heart and providentially guiding human behaviour). Admittedly, the theological question inevitably and ultimately encroaches upon and controls all anthropological considerations (for instance, covenantal behavioural change requires the divine intervention of the Spirit Who alone can change the heart).

In this book, I present an analysis of the heart in reference to behavioural change. At least two reasons render this work on the heart preconditions needful and important: 1) we will acquire further insight and means for discerning whether a counselee is dispositionally 3 prepared to change his behaviour; 2) we will acquire guidance in developing appropriate means or tools to help the unprepared counselee become more dispositionally prepared to change his behaviour. Thus, to understand and measure the preconditions of covenantal behavioural change, as well as to facilitate and promote such preconditions in the person requiring change, should significantly enhance the counseling process.

Behavioural change, from the human side, rests primarily with the active, participatory heart of the counselee, not with the ingenuity, nor even the spirituality, of the counselor. The counselor should serve as a teacher, mentor, guide, and facilitator, rather than as a 'miracle-worker,' therapist-healer, or infallible expert. The counselee bears primary responsibility for whether he changes or not. As Paul Tripp writes, "Obviously, the issue of responsibility is of central concern to the biblical counselor. Scripture says that each one of us stands responsible before God. Each person will give an account for every word and deed. God calls us to honest self-examination, honest confession and honest repentance. He calls us to fully participate in His work of change" (Tripp, 1993, 22). A former counselee, Susan,4 insightfully records, "I wanted to take responsibility and change. Without this conviction ["that I did not want to do to my family what my parents had done to me"], I would have been too afraid to deal with the fear and shame and hurt (heaven knows it was like going into a pit of pain!)...[Further] I have always believed that, to have truth, was to have everything...I am learning to face up to the fact that 'life is difficult' because it is indeed the truth. Knowing the truth, I can accept it and move on to deal with it. This, I believe, is applicable to everything else."

The thesis of this book is: Covenantal behavioural change requires a certain disposition of the heart (i.e., the intensive presence of certain preconditions) on the part of the Christian seeking or requiring such change. The Scriptures teach and illustrate that the preconditions of covenantal behavioural change are: 1) understanding; 2) belief; 3) hope; 4) acknowledgement/confession; 5) desire; 6) willingness; 7) commitment to action.5

Footnotes

1 The use of the phrase 'covenantal behavioural change' implies at least two presuppositions. First, all of life, including human thinking and behaviour, must be interpreted in reference to God. All human beings stand in a necessary Creator-creature relationship with God and owe Him total allegiance, obedience, and commitment. The use of a phrase like 'positive behavioural change' may be serviceable, but may connote epistemological neutrality or autonomous human rationality. "In Him we live and move and exist" (Acts 17:28a). David Powlison states, "Every facet of being human is related to God. Motivation, cognition, emotions, interpersonal relationships, vocational life, counseling and physiology each have an intrinsic and essential God-ward referent" (Powlison, 1984, 270). Second, Christians alone sustain a special redemptive and covenantal relationship with God (in addition to the Creator-creature relationship), and thus should evidence a certain kind of behaviour and should strive for prescribed behavioural ideals, defined in terms of conformity to the image of Christ. This book addresses the matter of behavioural change in reference to those in this special redemptive and covenantal relationship with God in Christ.

2 In order to avoid awkwardness and lack of fluidity in the writing style, I have opted to use only the masculine forms of pronouns (to be generically understood), rather than both the masculine and feminine ones (e.g., 'he or she', 'himself or herself', etc.). Further, I have self-consciously 'de-technicalized' the language in order to make this work quite readable. I have adopted a style suitable for the maturing layperson. I have deliberately used Biblical categories. For instance, the original title of this work was: "The Transcendental Aspects of Positive Behavioural Change."

3 This term serves to collectively embrace and refer to the various functions of the heart. The terms 'cognitively' or 'attitudinally' are too restrictive. The dispositional includes these two concepts. I define 'dispositional' (or 'dispositionally') as referring to the inclinational or directive state of the functions of the heart (e.g., the thinking, the willing, the desiring, and the feeling). In a qualified sense, I could have used the term 'spiritually', or even 'psychologically' (Biblically defined), but such usage may have resulted in misinterpretation.

4 I have used pseudonyms for my counselees throughout this book in order to protect them and ensure confidentiality. All counselees referred to in this book have granted me their consent to extract from their letters, journals, etc.

5 Admittedly, both Christians and non-Christians alike possess these heart preconditions, in virtue of the imago dei. The preconditions are essential 'intra-psychic' components of humanness. Accordingly, even non-Christians can experience positive behavioural change. Yet only the Christian can experience covenantal behavioural change, which is true change. The actual difference between the behavioural change of the Christian and non-Christian concerns focus, direction, and means. For the Christian, change is theistically and Biblically informed and defined, whereas for the non-Christian, change is autonomously and humanistically informed and defined.


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