If Nouthetic counseling is what you say it is, why are some people so upset about it?

There is no way that I can look into individual hearts in order to answer your question, but from the scuttlebutt that I hear I will venture to say that the following, at least in part, may answer your question.

First, I have been outspokenly against the eclectic borrowing that has been the norm for Christians ever since the 40s. Since I began to write in the 60s, I have attacked this trend as unbiblical. To say that, of course, is to say that what its practitioners are doing displeases the Lord. As people awaken to what they drifted into unwittingly and become aware of their errors, they usually respond in one of two ways: they repent and change their ways or they get their dander up. "Don't tell me I am doing something that displeases God. Why, my whole intention is to help people. That pleases Him, doesn't it?" That's how the latter may respond. When we say that God wants them to help others--but do it His way, not theirs, unless they change their minds at that point, they are likely to become even more infuriated. That sort of thing, I suspect, is happening all the time. People don't like to be shown that they are wrong.

Another possibility is that a person has so much invested in what he is doing that to make a change would be revolutionary. The change is too great to contemplate. Schooling, learning the ins and outs of a system, affiliation with a group, writings, and you name it. How would you like to admit you are wrong and have to change all these things? Indeed, if a given person becomes a Nouthetic counselor, he would probably be dropped off the staff of some counseling center to which he belongs.

A third possibility is that becoming a Nouthetic counselor might mean jeers and disparagement by one's associates. Others, in addition to themselves, have laughed at "those silly counselors who think that they can get all the information they need from the Bible alone!" Many people don't like to be a part of an unpopular cause.

Some, affiliated with educational institutions want to be thought of as "scholarly." The idea that Nouthetic counselors might be involved in anti-intellectual efforts because they write simply (see the article above) galls. They like academia better than the work of helping people.

In the paragraphs above I have sketched a few reasons why I think that some speak harshly about Nouthetic counseling. I have attributed no motives to any individual. If the shoe fits someone, he should wear it. If it's the wrong size, let him ask, "What is my problem with Nouthetic counseling?" It would be interesting to know if he can articulate it.

Of course, Nouthetic counselors are not always popular as persons either. Some of them, like others in all of the various camps, turn people off. I can only say that over the forty-some years that I have watched the movement grow from a handful into the thousands, those I have known well, almost without exception, have been persons of deep loyalty to the Lord! And they have been easy to work with. That is one of the reasons that almost all of those who were a part of the original crowd are still eager participants in the movement today. One thing that I would like to urge is to get better acquainted with us. That might change quite a few minds!

Nouthetic counselors are far from perfect. Like other Christians, they are growing. But one thing they have going for them---the principle textbook they study is the Bible. That has the effect of nurturing their own lives as they study to help others. Wouldn't that sort of study be great for you too? If you have doubts about what you are doing---or have been trained to do---it would be wise to make the effort to look more into the Nouthetic movement. In spite of the animosity of some, you may find there exactly what you have been looking for.

Jay E Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583

 

         

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