What Biblical Counseling Does for the Counselor

Under this general rubric I could suggest many things, but let me deal with only one: its effects on the counselor. The counselor, who is worth his salt (a phrase that comes from a time when soldiers were paid in salt), will never fail to recognize the sin, habitual remnants of sin, and temptations that affect his own life as he deals with the same in others. If a man doing counseling isn’t warned over and over again of the possibilities for denying His God by a lifestyle that besmirches His Name, then he ought not be counseling. A counselor sees not only a wide variety of sin, but the tragic consequences of it. If he isn’t wise enough to learn from what he sees, he has no right counseling others.

A second benefit of biblical counseling is that to improve his counseling ability he is able to study the Bible as His guide. What a rich blessing! Contrast that with those, who in order to gain further information about their counseling, must study the wearisome works of psychologists. Not only are the concepts of such men frequently base and unedifying, but often even their language is disgusting. While a biblical counselor who studies regularly, in contrast, is afforded an opportunity to grow by grace through his biblical studies; the one who is not biblical fills his head and heart with the errors of men that can only be detrimental in their effects.

So, why not do biblical counseling? There is every advantage for a Christian himself, not to mention the benefits that his counselees derive from it. But, beyond that—think how the one glorifies God and the other glorifies man.

Equivocation

I’d like to say something about equivocal language. It was interesting when in graduate school, I had to read some of Tillich’s writings. As you know, Tillich was nothing more than an atheist hiding under an ecclesiastical garb. His definition of God: “the ground of our being.”

In one class I was forced to read his massive two-volume theology. It was torture wading through pages of intricately convoluted thinking, paradox, and reams of equivocal language. It was written in a style that was nothing short of planned obfuscation. By many, therefore, it was thought profound! Their unspoken (also unthought-of?) presupposition being that whatever is obtuse is, therefore, profound.

Coincidentally during the same semester, in a preaching class, I was required to study Tillich’s sermons. So, I was able to compare and contrast the one with the other. I found the sermons lucid, as clear as the water on which you ride in a glass-bottomed boat in Florida. It is so clear that you can see fish swimming many feet below, who look as though they were close enough to grasp with your hand. There wasn’t anything in the sermons that I found difficult to understand (That’s one reason why I can confidently assert he was an atheist).

Now, I have one question to ask: Why did he write so differently in one place from the way he did in the other? He was capable of doing both.

I cannot read his heart, of course. But I may venture a thought or two about why a person might do such a thing. In one context he might want to be understood; in the other he might not want to be. Why would a person not want to be understood? Because he might not want people to know what he really believes. Also, because obscurity is often kin to supposed profundity. And, because an academic atmosphere in which obfuscation and equivocation is the style of the day almost demands such writing.

Christians ought not give in to such pressures that prohibit clarity and simplicity of writing on the basis that people maintain if plain, it must be puerile. We ought to write clearly, but trenchantly, since we have something to say that is authentically profound. It is, therefore, incumbent upon Christians to set a new standard for writing that is consistent with the simple, inspired writings of the apostles. In doing so, we may not always be considered worth reading by those academics who live and write by the standards of the time, but the common people will hear us gladly.

Age

As we celebrated Jay Adams’ 90th birthday last week I was reminded of this prayer Jay wrote in 1979 in a little book entitled Prayers for Troubled Times.

I’m tired.
__As I grow older
__fatigue comes sooner.
__This worn and weary frame
__no longer functions
__as it once did.
That I may continue to serve You
__and live the rest of my days
__to their full
__is my prayer.
I know, Lord, that I must learn
__to recognize limitations,
__to choose among opportunities,
__to eliminate excess baggage.
But that knowledge comes hard.
__I am not wise;
__I need to understand
__much more that I now know
__of the practical application
__of your Word
__to these matters.
Forgive me Lord
__for not learning sooner,
__for wasting time
__and dissipating energy
__I now wish I had.
__I see the importance
__of these commodities
__now that I am beginning
__to run short of them.
I want to serve You
__to the end,
__not in a lackluster manner,
__nor in weariness of flesh,
__but vivaciously,
__conserving and wisely using
__all my remaining strength
__________for Your glory,
_______________Amen.

Committed to Craftsmanship in Biblical Counseling

We are pleased to announced that the first reprint of Dr. Adams’ books is now available! Committed to Craftsmanship has been one of our most frequently requested titles and its new availability has been met with gratitude by those who teach Biblical counseling, seasoned counselors, and counseling students alike.

As Dr. Adams interacted with counselors over the years he became concerned that many counselors had settled for a minimal amount of training, had adopted a one-size-fits-all approach to common problems, and were not growing. This book is not only his challenge to such counselors, but an encouraging guidebook for those who want to grow and become true Craftsman in the art of Biblical counseling.

If you are a Biblical counselor who is serious about pleasing God and providing genuinely biblical help to your counselees, this book is must reading for you. Order your copy from the INS Bookstore today. Soon to be available as an eBook.

Happy Birthday Jay

On January 30 Jay Adams will celebrate his 90th birthday! While Jay no longer receives email, we have established a special email address for his friends to communicate with him on this special occasion. Send your greeting and whatever message you would like to communicate, long or short, to this address—jayeadams1970@gmail.com. We will print them out and present them to him in a binder so he can read through them in the days to come.

Update

We are grateful for all those who have contacted us to ask why our blog seemed to have gone dark. We are glad that so many noticed and have checked in. As 2018 comes to a close let me give you an update about what is happening at the Institute for Nouthetic Studies.

First, let’s talk about Jay. Next month Jay will celebrate his 90th birthday. His entire family was able to gather for the Christmas holidays and, together with a number of local friends, they celebrated the event early with an event at Redeemer Presbyterian Church last Friday.  This is a photo of Jay and my daughter-in-law who baked and decorated the birthday cake.

While Jay’s health has been stable in recent days he will be dealing with some challenges early next month. On Wednesday, January 2 he will be undergoing surgery on his foot and if all goes well, he will have the same surgery done on the other several weeks later. Please pray with us that he will tolerate the surgery well and that the result will enable him to walk better.

January 30 is the date of his 90th birthday. We have set up a temporary email account for him to receive your birthday greetings. Jay no longer receives email, but we will print out each email message we receive and present them to him in a notebook on his birthday. Send your greetings and messages to him at jayadams1970@gmail.com.

Now, about my health. On Thanksgiving evening, I was clobbered by an acute case of pancreatitis. This came on the heals (pun intended) of surgery I had on my foot just three weeks before that. After a week and a half in the hospital and several weeks of bed rest I am finally able to function well enough to answer email and work at my desk several hours each day. I am grateful for your prayer and ask that you continue to present my health issues before His throne. I am dealing with several complications, including a blood clot in my leg, and it looks like I will require more surgery on my foot once my other issues are resolved.

However, the ministry of the Institute is going forward! As I hope you have heard, we are now the publisher of most of Dr. Adams’ books and we are working diligently to bring a number of titles back into print soon. While my health issues slowed down our progress temporarily, we hope to have several titles ready early next year. We will have Committed to Craftsmanship in Biblical Counseling ready early next month. Soon thereafter we hope to have What to do on Thursday ready to print.

Thank you for your interest in this ministry and thank you for praying, both for Dr. Adams and myself.

Everyone Evangelizing Everywhere

Even before he was converted on the Damascus Rd. the apostle Paul was used to evangelize the lost. ”What?” you say; “how could that be? I thought only Christians could do so.” Well, it’s true; in the providence of God the unexpected often takes place.  We must not limit God. Listen to what Luke wrote:

On that day a severe persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the land of  Judea and Samaria . . . So, those who were scattered went on their way preaching the message of good news (Acts  8:1,4, HCSB).

In the original, verse 4 reads “those who were scattered abroad went everywhere announcing the message of good news. (or “evangelizing;” the Greek is euaggeliezomenoi). And, as the context shows, Paul was a part of those who did the scattering. One way God evangelizes is through persecution.

Today, there is persecution of the church throughout the world.  Andrew Brunson is an example.  We prayed for his release (as we should) but also prayed that God would enable him to win some Turks to Christ. Remember how God used Paul and his companions to reach the Philippian jailer and his family for Christ and how the Praetorian Guard heard the message because of Paul’s trial in Rome (Acts 16: 31-34; Philippians 1:12. 13).

Notice, in the text of Acts 8:41-4 how it was “all except the apostles” who went everywhere evangelizing.  Up until then the church had been bottled up in Judea. But God scattered the laymen who were part of the church to evangelize in all of those places where they went. The task was not left to the apostles alone, although they were the ones to whom the Great Commission was given (Matthew 28: 16-20).

Should persecution come to America, scattering believers, they know that God is providentially providing opportunities to evangelize. And they should seize them. But they (you) should not wait for such an “opportunity”—you and the members  of your congregation should not have to be driven to do evangelism—it should be the desire of everyone to evangelize as the result of the present freedom that they enjoy. Your task is for everyone to evangelize everywhere!

Remember Aunt Minnie!

I’m always amused, when not disturbed, by the ways in which people misunderstand and, then, misrepresent biblical teaching. It’s interesting and instructive to study the phenomenon. In doing so, you discover there is one-short-of a zillion factors that might lead a person to do so.

Usually those factors are more-or-less unconscious. The person committing the “crime” doesn’t fully understand his own motivation.

Most frequently it seems, when that is the case, he remembers an incident from the past that he uses now to bolster his totally irrational reasoning. Something–you know–like what happened to Aunt Minnie fifteen years ago. He thinks that the reason for citing her case, I said, is to bolster his argument as an illustration for or against something, when all of the time, rather than an additional proof,” it is the very reason for his atrocious prejudice. All these years he’s been waiting to get at whoever might seem to agree with what happened to old “Aunti.”

Of course, he probably doesn’t even have a clue as to what really happened to her—or, if he does, it’s probably distorted. Nor does he have the inside dope on what someone else that he is now excoriating actually said, says, did, or is doing. But why should that matter? His ire is up again, and he has a convenient person or group to take it out on. Hurray!

So, be careful ABOUT WHAT YOU HEAR OR READ.

It may be nothing more than someone spouting off what has been building up inside. Stick with the Scriptures, and pay no attention to arguments built on experience.

Romans 8:28

“All things work together for good” is the part of the quotation usually given while omitting the words “to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” That is one fact to remember—when quoting the verse, include those words. The fact is, unless one has been called by God (through the Holy Spirit who then also “draws” him to God), the promise should not be made in counseling. Moreover, the promise is to those who “love God” as the verse teaches—a fact often not stressed even though quoted.

What is this promise? It is a statement about the providence of God.  He is not a God Who fails to care for His creation, but One Who plans His work, then works His plan. He is personally directing the circumstances involved in whatever a person’s situation may be at any given moment. That is why the promise makes sense, and can be relied upon.

The verse is one that should be used frequently in one’s counseling ministry. Why? Because it is reassuring to those who find themselves in situations that seem to indicate God has forgotten them. This verse indicates that God is in the problem (it is not a random occurrence), that He is up to something in it (there is a definite purpose to it) and that He is up to something good (to be learned, later, perhaps in the distant future or even after death).

Use the verse, stressing that one must be a believer (effectually “called”) who loves God, and that there is something that He has in mind (the difficulty is not without “purpose”). Use it often but explain it as you do so that your counselees will understand the facts about it which are often neglected. When these are neglected, the verse often loses its meaning and fails to bring its comfort—the very things for which it was given and which you quote it.

The Institute for Nouthetic Studies is Now a Publisher!

Today we have launched a new bookstore and are excited to announce that the Institute for Nouthetic Studies is now a publisher. We have assumed publishing responsibilities for all Jay Adams’ titles formerly published by Timeless Texts and soon you will see them made available in our new online bookstore.

In addition to making these titles available again we will also be bringing back into print all Dr. Adams’ books that have been out of print and unavailable, in some cases, for many years. While this is a process that will take several years to complete, you will begin to see several important books appear very soon. In fact, we have an entirely new book from the pen of Dr. Adams in the pipeline.

Want to know more? Follow this link to our new bookstore and explore the site. Please excuse the mess as it is still under construction. Many more titles will be added in the next few weeks, but you can check us out now and order books that are available. Bookmark the page so you can check in with us regularly.

www.INSBookstore.com