Nouthetic counselors don't have a personality theory, do they?

No, they do not. They are not interested in theories—of any kind. When it comes to human personality they are content to adhere to the biblical teaching about man. That is, of course, quite extensive, and it is accurate. There is no need for a theory when God has provided facts. That no systematic presentation of all the biblical material has been published by anyone in the Nouthetic camp is true. But generally speaking, Scripture, summed up in those sections of standard systematic theology texts that have been around for some time, provide those things that a counselor needs to know to counsel others. I refer to Hodge, Berkhof, Reymond, and the like.

Here is a great difference between biblical counselors and those who care little about theology. The church has a long, solid tradition of exegetical work setting forth the facts about man in the states of holiness, sin, and redemption. The world knows nothing about these. Indeed, theories of counseling that are not based on the Bible fail to acknowledge man’s sinful propensities by nature, his need for regeneration to know and please God, and his failure to have a clear purpose for or meaning of life apart from Jesus Christ. Salvation, in terms of the Christian hope, and the ability to change in the ways that please God, not being an element of non-biblical systems, is a foreign concept. Since it plays no part in such systems of counseling, they cannot be correct, their theories of human personality must be flawed and there is no reason whatsoever for believers to waste their time devoting themselves to the study of them.

Insights concerning human biology and other organic and truly hereditary aspects of human beings may be useful to Christian counselors in any number of ways, but a theory of personality—forget it!

Jay E Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583

 

         

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