Adams' Answers--Introduction

This book was written to meet several needs. First, a counselor who is being misinterpreted, attacked, and just plain misunderstood, is foolish to allow such things to continue without at least making some attempt to stem the tide and, if possible, to gain some ground among the perpetrators of these wrongs. It isn't, however, because of them alone that I write. I am deeply concerned about numbers of those who read or listen to what they say who are confused. They don't know what to believe-is Nouthetic counseling biblical or not. Does Jay Adams (and possibly some of his friends) have horns?

Much of what is being said about Nouthetic (or truly biblical) counseling is hearsay, gossip, or even slander. Few of those who speak against it have read extensively in my works. I know this because I see them quote only one-or possibly two-of the scores of books that I have published. And these are usually those books which appeared back in the 70s! since then, much has been developed and many more biblical insights set forth. It is unfair to take dated materials and base one's criticism upon them alone. It is not that I am retracting any of those early books, but only in the light of subsequent publications can one get the full picture of Nouthetic counseling.

I hope, therefore, that this volume will help those who wonder. In it are answers to basic questions that have been raised by friends and foes alike. These answers are given as simple short responses that point the direction to fuller works that I have written. There is no need to replicate those works. Moreover, I have stated questions as simply-you might even say baldly-as possible, boiling down queries and objections as succinctly as I know how. May this publication be a help to Nouthetic counselors in general who will find that by giving a copy to those who doubt or need help, they will save themselves much time and avoid having to make so many explanations!

While the book began as an attempt to explain why the critics are wrong in their representations of Nouthetic counseling, I quickly expanded its scope to include questions by counselees and counselors. In adding these sections, it also became possible to answer some of the common questions that friends have, as well as addressing those raised by those who oppose. Friends of Nouthetic counseling often want to know more about how the system works, why we do or refuse to do certain things and what are the reasons behind our determinations. I hope I have not only answered some of those questions but have whetted their appetite to study further.

Friends of Nouthetic counseling are growing. But since there is no regulatory authority to determine exactly what constitutes Nouthetic ministry, and that which does not (but may represent itself as such), it is important to state exactly what is and what is not true of it.

There is also a group of counselors who, while they began with us, for various reasons have been drifting from the fold. They confuse people because while they use much of what they have learned in our circles-and some still remain more or less on the periphery of the movement-they have begun to travel avenues that are leading them in directions quite different from ours. In time, if they continue to go in the ways they are heading, it will be difficult to identify them with the biblical counseling movement. What they teach and practice will be a hybrid blend of biblical and non-biblical counseling that will make them feel increasingly more comfortable with integrationists. It is my hope that for some of them at least, and perhaps for a number of their trainees, this book will send a warning sign. That it will say "Watch out! You began well; be careful where you are heading." I hope they will consider carefully what is happening to them.

I am not at all concerned about whether or not they (or any others) use the name "Nouthetic" when they identify themselves. The key thing is that they remain truly biblical in their counseling. And I am deeply concerned that they not represent their counseling as "biblical" if they continue to incorporate non-biblical elements into it. In order to identify more closely with integrationists,* some are tending to speak apologetically about their Nouthetic counseling roots, so as to divorce themselves from us. It seems that we have become something of an embarrassment to them. I hope that what I have written in this book will commend itself to them and that, as they read, it will give them reasons not to estrange themselves further.

At any rate, while these persons find themselves more-or-less consciously drifting from their former moorings, many others are confidently sailing into the Nouthetic harbor. It is most encouraging to be able to help them tie up their vessels and enthusiastically greet them. A warm welcome awaits others who are surveying the land, whose ships are coming closer and closer. Perhaps this book will be something like a beacon on the shore showing them the way to biblical safety.

At any rate, there is much at stake-not for any person or any movement (as such), but for the cause of Jesus Christ. To dilute biblical truth with foreign elements is not only to weaken Christianity, but to misrepresent it. If integrationists must continue to infuse the latest theories of counseling into their systems, let them at least have the courage and honesty to admit that what they are doing is not really "Christian" or "biblical" counseling-but something else: at best, some sort of hybrid. That would be a welcome change for some who have all but confused many in the Christian world as to what is truly biblical and Christian. What is at stake, in the final analysis, is the Name of our Lord and the truth of His Word.

If this book can but clarify some issues along these lines, remove a bit of the embarrassment from some (who ought not be embarrassed) and guide others who are seeking help into the proper channels to find it, then it will have accomplished its purpose. At any rate, here it is-full blown from the head of Adams! Use it for what you will; it comes from the heart.

* For whatever reasons. Perhaps one reason is polemic. Others may have different reasons. But, whatever they may be, there is danger in becoming closely aligned with those who misuse Scripture and often vilify their friends.

Jay E Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583

 

         

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