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Competent to Counsel Hardcover – June 20, 1986
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%This is a classic in the field of Christian counseling. It has helped thousands of pastors, students, laypersons, and Christian counselors develop both a general approach to Christian counseling and a specific response to particular problems.
%Using biblically directed discussion, nouthetic counseling works by means of the Holy Spirit to bring about change in the personality and behavior of the counselee. As the author points out in his introduction. "I have been engrossed in the project of developing biblical counseling and have uncovered what I consider to be a number if important scriptural principles. Immediate problems been resolved, but there have also been solutions to all sorts of long-term problems as well.
%First published in 1970, this book has gone through over thirty printings. It established the bases for an introduction to an approach to counseling that is being used in pastors' studies, in counseling centers, and across dining room tables throughout the country and around
From the Author
Dr. Jay E. Adams is Director of Advanced Studies and Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California. He received his B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, his B.D. from the Reformed Episcopal Theological Seminary, his S.T.M. from Temple University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. In addition to having served as a pastor and then a Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Dr. Adams has been the Dean of the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation, Laverock, Pennsylvania, since its founding in the early 1970s. He has written over fifty books, translated the New Testament into English (The Christian Counselors New Testament), and lectured throughout the world. His books deal with many aspects of pastoral ministry and counseling as well as Bible study and practical Christian living
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Dr. Adams is a counselor, writer, pastor, and the founder of the Institute for Nouthetic Studies. Competent to Counsel, written in 1970, is his most well-known book, though by no means his only work on the subject of Nouthetic counseling. His own failure at counseling one of his church attendees led him to seek to be a better and more effective counselor to those who seek him out as pastor. It didn’t take long for him to realize that modern psychoanalysis and counseling techniques as taught in the secular world did not offer much relief or assistance to the hurting either. Life altering experiences such as teaching practical theology and Westminster Theological Seminary, working with Christian psychologist O. Hobart Mower at two state mental institutions in Illinois, and his own personal in-depth study of Scripture all led Adams to the realization that “all concepts, terms and methods used in counseling need to be re-examined biblically” (xviii), which is exactly what he set out to do in his first work, Competent to Counsel.
In Competent to Counsel Adams explains that practices of modern psychoanalysis are self-defeating because they are based on the assumption that man can heal himself, right his own wrongs, and change his own behaviors. However, the Bible teaches the believer than man is depraved and sinful from birth and has no means within himself to change this fact. Therefore, Adam argues, that apart from the work of the Holy Spirit counseling, convicting, and renewing a person, man has no hope of escape from his problems, hence the need for nouthetic counseling.
Nouthetic counseling is biblical counseling. It sees the Bible as its main resource or guide to overcoming the source of mankind’s problems – sin. God has revealed truth to man’s nature, need, and salvation within its pages. Nouthetic counseling also relies on the fact that true, life-changing, healing, counseling must be done by the Holy Spirit, that no man can change himself or another. While a pastor or counselor guides, admonishes, teaches, or rebukes another according to the truths of the Scripture, only the Holy Spirit can affect any true lasting change.
Adams also challenges the indoctrination of our culture that believes that only those properly trained in psychological disciplines are capable of counseling those with severe problems. They claim that only psychology has the answers to man’s problems. This humanistic philosophy has been proven wrong in the fact that the world and man have not gotten better since the advent of psychology, but in fact has gotten worse. Adams demonstrates through various illustrations and through Scriptural support that “the work of counseling should be carried on preeminently by minister and other Christians whose gifts, training and calling especially qualify and require them to pursue the work” (268). He lists what these gifts and training encompass as well as suggesting methods as to how they may put their calling into action within the counseling process.
Realizing that this book was published before the existence of scientific data to support his claims, I believe Adams was a man of God who boldly took a step into a relatively ignored part of the pastor’s calling – the area of pastoral counseling from a biblical foundation. While definitely not a new idea, since the advent of psychoanalysis, the role of pastor as counselor had been relegated to the back burner. I applaud Adams for having the courage to sound the wake-up call to Christian ministers everywhere. This book is insightful, thought provoking and convicting. Pastors need to realize that part of their calling is to walk beside the sheep, protect them, correct them, teach them, and guide them into all truth through the application of the Bible in everyday life. It is the calling and the privilege of the pastor to shepherd the flock and not abdicate his or her role to the wolves waiting outside the gate. Jay Adams, in Competent to Counsel, has shepherded the shepherds in the area of biblical counseling and their personal responsibilities to their flock.
I will say this : if you are interested in buying the self pac series , the workbooks are 98% just fill in the blank of what is already in this book , they don't really contain any additional information, except for a few pages , so that was disappointing for me .
This book did teach me a few good points about what , and what not to do when talking to someone about their problems , but it didn't have nearly as much info as a book this size should have offered (in my opinion) .
I feel as though it could have been summed up in a book a quarter of the size .
But over all its still pretty good .
I did not appreciate how little he talked about how to actually move on from problems , I can sum up the whole book by saying , " people in need of counseling are those who have 'unsolved personal problems ' they need to realize that is sin , repent , confess and move on . "
I feel as though that is 90% of what the book told me , and OBVIOUSLY I agree that the only way to solve a problem is by the grace of God alone , and we definitely do need to repent , I just feel like that is pretty basic information and he could have expanded a bit more . Sorry for the long review, I'm not good at short and sweet ! Keep following God in your counseling path !
- an 18 year old want to be youth pastor :)
and I was delighted to finally discover a means of approaching human problems
that didn't require duct tape and WD-40.
I tossed all my undergrad and grad texts when I finished my counseling program
and went onto the streets as a cop for six years.
I've now been in ministry in about a half-dozen countries and have not found a
square inch where Scripture, rightly understood and applied, has failed in its
promises to teach, correct, rebuking and training in righteousness.
That conviction began with Adams' book which tore down the ivory castles my profs
took so long to construct (out of whole cloth, nearly). Really, Adams just showed how
those theories simply implode upon themselves apart from Biblical truths and precepts.