Review: Competent to Counsel

Competent to CounselCompetent to Counsel by Jay Edward Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A landmark in biblical counseling for good reason. Adams is at his best when dissecting alternative systems, and comparing them to the Bible. He shows that neither Rogerian nor Freudian methods think of man in anything like the way the Bible does, and thus their methods and goals are quite different from those of Scripture. Careful listening followed by direct, pointed application of Scripture is the heart of nouthetic counseling. When he defines the goal of the umbrella of nouthetic counseling as sanctification, very little is left out in the rain. If this is the case, then everyone on the planet could use this sort of counseling. It might help to distinguish situations where one ought to seek the counsel of others from a more run-of-the mill sanctification. One does get the impression that very few counselees respond to gentle suggestions or supportive, encouraging words. What weakens the book are his sometimes tedious explanations of fairly self-evident Scriptures in the latter half of the book.

Those reading this work today are at a disadvantage in appreciating the significance of what Adams accomplished with this book. This approach was simply not understood, articulated, or available fifty years ago. Now, thanks largely to Adams, the books, messages, and ministries of Christian counseling are a significant and growing resource to the Church.

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