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Theology of Christian Counseling, A Paperback – June 15, 1986
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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
From the Back Cover
A Theology of Christian Counseling connects biblical doctrine with practical living. Salvation, that central concern of Protestant theology, is often too narrowly defined. It is thought of as being saved from the consequences of sin. But God is doing much more. He is making something new out of the old sinful nature. He is, in Christ, making new creatures.
No counseling system that is based on some other foundation can begin to offer what Christian counseling offers. . . . No matter what the problem is, no matter how greatly sin has abounded, the Christian counselor's stance is struck by the far-more-abounding nature of the grace of Jesus Christ in redemption. What a difference this makes in counseling!
In this book the reader will gain an insight into the rich theological framework that supports and directs a biblical approach to counseling. And the connection between solid theology and practical application will become compelling. This book is one-of-a-kind.
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Top customer reviews
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Absolutely! In fact, you can't have true biblical counseling without doctrine. Adams wrote this book almost 30 years ago to "convince the reader that truth and godliness are interrelated in such a way that it isn't possible to have one without the other, and that, therefore, counselors must become biblical theologians..." (pg 307) This is a follow-on to Adam's book "Competent to Counsel" that I have also reviewed and found to be very helpful.
I can recommend this book as generally beneficial but not as much so as "Competent to Counsel", "Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands" by Paul David Tripp, and "How People Change" by Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp. The point of such nouthetic counseling books is that counseling must be grounded in Scripture, specifically in the Gospel of Jesus Christ who can transform the heart - to the ends that the soul finds satisfaction in the preeminence and glory of Christ Himself.
The book is laid out much like a systematic theology. Adams connects issues of counseling with various biblical doctrines. For example,
1. Related to the doctrine of the Scriptures (pg 16-56)...
All other eclectic counseling methods are setting up rival systems that compete with the Bible (v8-9). We must know what Scripture says and that it communicates authoritatively to counselees (pg 13). The authority does not come from the counselor (pg 20). Only the scriptures have the power to transform( 2 Tim 3:15-17) (pg 36-37). We understand our environment that surrounds us from the scriptures (pg 38-56).
2. Related to the doctrine of God (pg 57-93)...
The Believer can find encouragement in the names of God (pg 57-60). Counselees should understand that all that is happening is taking place in the presence of God, for His glory and they should be dependent on Him in Prayer (pg 61-87)...as opposed to self-sufficiency (pg 67). C.f. study of the words/synonyms for prayer - pg 71-74. God does hear hypocritical, resentful , pharisaical, self-centered, unbiblical, and self-addressed prayers (pg 78-87). I would have like to seen here more exposition of texts that boast in the glories of Jesus Christ Himself.
3. Related to the doctrine of Man (pg 94-173)...
Normally, in psychology, the therapist is determining the "standard" of behavior and how the counselee should live (pg 102). Rather, the standard is Jesus Christ in all of His perfections, and we should look unto Him and depend on His righteousness (pg 100-105). Man is basically a dichotomy of body and soul/spirit (unified yet two-fold) (pg 110-117). Man is responsible for his sin and totally depraved (in all parts and aspects, man is corrupt) (pg 141-143). God is NOT in the business of just "reforming" behavior but RENEWING through the Gospel in regeneration (pg 120-121).
4. Related to the doctrine of Salvation (pg 174-232)...
Adams coins the term "super redemption" to refer to Christ's amazing work of grace in elevating a person positionally in Christ. That same power allows us not to "settle" for anything less than what God designed for our lives. As a result of salvation, Christians are able to forgive and ask forgiveness of others (pg 184-232).
5. Related to the doctrine of Sanctification (pg 233-275)...
The Gospel results in change in person, not merely actions (pg 238). We are not merely to stop doing something. We are to "put off" and "put on" (pg 240), all grounded in the grace of Jesus Christ's work. We continue our walk in obedience (endurance) (pg 244). We must walk by the Spirit and depend on Him for the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5, 1 Tim 6:11, 2 Tim 2:22) (pg 249-262). We must take definitive, concrete action ("radical amputation") in dealing with our sin (Matt 5:27-30) (pg 263-270). We will also have a different view of suffering than an unbeliever and should be counseled that way (2 Cor 4:17) (pg 271-275). We need each other within the context of the church to aid in our growth through discipleship in the Word of God (pg 276-306).
The back of the books says it all..."No counseling system...can offer what Christian counseling offers...the Christian Counselor's stance is struck by the far-more-abounding nature of the grace of Jesus Christ in Redemption..."