Could such things really happen to Nouthetic Counseling? You’d better believe it! Indeed, it’s already happening—big time. Speaking of “times,” don’t fail to discern the signs of the times. Former strongholds and even fountainheads of such counseling, no longer use materials distinctly identified as Nouthetic. It’s not that they need more up-to-date information (such data just aren’t appearing from third generarionists). No, the problem is that proponents of the big tent are hesitant to be too closely associated with “those worthy pioneers” (as they might possibly characterize them in a charitable fashion in certain circles), who, though they may have suited their times, are now out of touch with ours. If they wish to drag along behind, fine. Bit if they fail to do so, they will eat our dust! One thing is sure—they can no longer be trusted to lead the way.
There is no longer an imperative to be biblical in the radical sense of declaring that which differs from Scripture “unbiblical,” and to emphatically state that those who espouse such unbiblical views, are “wrong” (or even “harmful” to their counselees). Instead, a highly questionable camaraderie has been growing in which all sorts of supposedly biblical (or Christian) counseling is tolerated (if not condoned and encouraged). Any strong vocal antithesis toward error in counseling that yet exists will be found among those prehistoric types who still believe in conking such dinosaurs over the head when they get too close to the cave. The third generation will have none of this impoliteness.
If there is a separation, who is leaving whom? Obviously, the newcomers are taking the lead. No one is attempting to force them out of anything. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a sad, even lamentable thing for the “cavemen” to see them depart. In spite of this, perhaps, they will call us “stubborn.” Uncalled for? Hmmm. After some thought, I think that I’ll accept the epithet. But should that not be sufficient for them then, perhaps, the preferred term is “sour grapes.” You began it, but now that it’s taking off under new leadership you want to hold the reins so tightly that there can be no slack. Hmmm. After additional serious thought, I’ll also agree to that “holding the reins” bit. But I balk at the “sour grapes.” I’ve never tried to hold on to anything when God was blessing it or whenever anyone else was ready to take my place. My ministry has always been one of beginning something, then handing it over to another. Those who know me well will agree, I think. I’ve spent my life encouraging men to minister so that they would be ready to receive the reins as soon as possible. If anything, I’ve let go too easily or too soon. No, I won’t agree to that charge.
“Well,” what are you doing writing this article? What do you hope to achieve? One thing: awareness. I don’t expect to be able to forestall what is taking place, but I believe it’s possible that others can. Moreover, I believe there are many who haven’t the slightest idea about what is happening and would step on the brakes if and when they did. And, of course, there are affiliations at stake. Decisions will have to be made about these. There are those who wish deeply to serve Christ in an honorable way, and who need to know what is taking place before it happens to such an extent that they lack time to inquire, investigate and make good decisions.
Indeed, what should your decision be? If your answer is, “Decision about what?” then I think I’ve proven my point about awareness. I don’t want to tell you what to do—except one thing: stay true to the sufficient Word of the living Christ, and to the living Christ of the sufficient Word. If you do so, you will not go wrong.