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Theology of Christian Counseling A Ministry & Church Leadership Pastoral Counseling

11th October 2012 Christian Books 18 Comments

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.

Theology of Christian Counseling, A

Christian Counselor’s Manual, The

The Christian Counselor’s Manual is a companion and sequel volume to the author’s influential Competent to Counsel. It takes the approach of nouthetic counseling introduced in the earlier volume and applies it to a wide range of issues, topics, and techniques in counseling: Who is qualified to be a counselor? How can counselees change? How does the Holy Spirit work? What role does hope play? What is the function of language? How do we ask the right questions? What often lies behind depression? How do we deal with anger? What is schizophrenia?

%These and hundreds more questions are answered in this comprehensive resource for the Christian counselor. A full set of indexes, a detailed table of contents, and a full complement of diagrams and forms make this one of the best reference books currently available for Christian counselors.

The Christian Counselor’s Manual is a companion and sequel to the author’s influential Competent to Counsel. It takes the approach of nouthetic counseling introduced in the earlier volume and applies it to a wide range of issues, topics, and techniques in counseling: *Who is qualified to be a counselor? *How can counselees change? *How does the Holy Spirit work? *What role does hope play? *What is the function of language? *How do we ask the right questions? *What often lies behind depression? *How do we deal with anger? *What is schizophrenia? These and hundreds more questions are answered in this comprehensive resource for the Christian counselor. A full set of indexes, a detailed table of contents, and a full complement of diagrams and forms make this an outstanding reference book for Christian counselors.

Christian Counselor’s Manual, The

  • 18 responses to "Theology of Christian Counseling A Ministry & Church Leadership Pastoral Counseling"

  • James Johnson
    3:43 on October 11th, 2012
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    Dr. Adams is THE authority when it comes to Biblical Counseling. He doesn’t just call it ‘Biblical’ and then again uses Freudian, Rogerian or other psychology – no, Adams solely uses Scripture, which is sufficient for instruction in righteousness. Adams’ main strength is that he is exegetical and therefore very well balanced. This book is almost a full systematic theology – it’s just excellent!!

  • James Gill
    9:07 on October 11th, 2012
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    In, “A Theology of Christian Counseling: More Than Redemption,” biblical counseling pioneer, Dr. Jay Adams, offers a solid theological foundation for Christian counseling. As he notes, many people have written theologies, many have written counseling manuals, but until his book, no one in the 20th century had attempted a focused theology of counseling.

    Dr. Adams discusses the ten classic doctrines of the historic Christian tradition, providing an introduction to evangelical theology. He then relates each doctrine to the field of biblical counseling.

    As his subtitle suggests (“More Than Redemption”), the Christian life does not end at redemption, but begins there. Thus, much of “A Theology of Christian Counseling” appropriately focuses upon sanctification (the doctrine of the Christian’s growth in grace). Adams is at his best here as he dissects the process of putting off the old way (mortification or, as he calls it, “dehabituation”) and putting on the new way (vivification or, as he calls it, “rehabituation”).

    In his introduction, Dr. Adams states that “A Theology of Christian Counseling” was meant only to be a first salvo. He asks that others come behind him and develop more in-depth theologies related specifically to biblical counseling. In this sense, Dr. Adams stated the one limitation of his own book–though an excellent start, its breadth of coverage leaves it lacking somewhat in depth of theology and in depth of methodological application. However, as an introduction to the field, there is none better.

    Reviewer: Dr. Bob Kellemen, author of “Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction” and “Spiritual Friends: A Methodology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction.”

  • Sarcasm
    9:31 on October 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This wonderful, thought provoking book by Jay Adams has opened my eyes to new techniques in the Biblical Counseling field. He has given precise, accurate information that is easy to read from a more reformed position. A must read.

  • Worked there
    12:56 on October 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Theory Critique: The Work of Dr. Backus, M. Chapian & Dr. Adams
    Leslie Krahn
    Liberty University
    Counseling 507-B01

    Telling Yourself The Truth, a book written By, William Backus and Marie Chapian has been circulation around Christian circles for over thirty years. I read it more than ten years ago and gained much knowledge then, and was rewarded with even more wisdom as I reread this book recently. The concept sounds very simple and actually it is. The authors use the Holy Bible as the gold standard of the truth we need to tell ourselves. The authors explain that we all have areas where we telling ourselves misbeliefs. They say we are either telling ourselves the truth or a lie (p.17).
    The misbeliefs or lies that we tell ourselves are a major source of emotional chaos, which can lead to damaging actions, maladaptive conduct, along with what is frequently labeled as mental illnesses. Buying into these lies may surface with problems such as overeating, depression, or adultery. The authors frequently apply scripture to validate these truths, such as Proverbs 23:7. “So a man thinketh in his heart, so is he… (KJV).
    This is an excellent resource for self-discovery, into the lies we speak into our own lives. This book is also an outstanding guide for use in the counseling profession, as the truth of God’s word is used to reveal misbeliefs that clients have spoken into their lives often for years. The end goal is to teach clients to identify the misbelief, then to contend against it, and then exchanging that misbelief for the truth (p.159).
    Second Timothy 3:14-17 is the backbone of Jay Adams book, How to Help People Change. It reads as ,” But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”(NIV, 2010).
    There are four steps that Dr. Adams uses in this book on Biblical counseling. These four steps are written very clearly and concisely comprise most of this book. These steps are as follows:
    1. Teaching clients the truth as based on the Bible. Dr. Adam breaks down teaching into bite size portions to include grasping the importance of teaching, teaching God’s standards and principles, teaching in the milieu, and concludes with a step by step guide on how to teach.
    2. Conviction is the second step described by Dr. Adams. He begins with the role of conviction in therapy, explores what conviction is and is not, convection and data gathering, using scripture in conviction. He then concludes with supplementary thoughts on conviction.
    3.Correction is the third step described in this book. Starting with an analysis of what it is repentance with correction, the importance of confessing sin and forgiveness. He then moves into the role of forsaking sin, and restoration.
    4. Disciplined Training in Righteousness is the final step that Dr. Adam directs readers to. He presents his thought on the importance of discipline training; the goal of righteousness, the possibility of righteousness is also explored. Biblical training and the proper use of scripture is the final goal of this step.
    Dr. Adams, work done in this book, will direct anyone seeking Biblical counseling that is not interesting in applying any other resources. He believes in the sufficiency of scripture in counseling and is not interested in any worldly advice or techniques suggested by those in the secular fields of counseling. His main goal in his writing is to allow it to become a guide to bring effective biblical change in therapy, using the truth of the Bible.
    Strengths and Weaknesses
    Both of these books are based on the truth of God’s word found in the Holy Bible. Together they lay an effective defense for the sufficiency of scripture in the quest for healing, hope, happiness and spiritual health. The strength in these approaches is found in the strength of the word of God. This takes the judgment, and calls for repentance out of the therapists hands and places it on the righteousness of God.
    The weaknesses of these approaches if found in the acceptance of the word of God as being true and infallible. These techniques would be difficult to administer to those clients who do not place their faith in the god of the Bible or his word. The other weakness that I have found especially with Adams work is his total disregard for any secular input. I personally think there is a place in Christian counseling for some well screened secular techniques.

    Personal Insight and Application
    I must admit I have had to do some soul searching as I read these two books. I keep asking myself what I really believe about the Bible and what its truths are. Do I really believe that all people can be set free from its truth? The problems that I see for myself in using this approach are complex and somewhat selfish. I
    1.If I expect my clients to believe unwavering in the truth of scripture, I must also.
    2.I must know the word of God inside and out, and there is a lot to learn.
    3.I realize that I will offend people with this approach, and may lose clients.
    4.I need to really take the time to spend time with God and his word seeking his direction as I establish my style of therapy.
    Each of these problems present growth on my part and time to establish myself function as a competent biblical counselor. My goal is to allow God to lead me as I seek understanding and direction.
    Backus, W. D., & Chapian, M. (1980). Telling yourself the truth. Minneapolis, Minn: Bethany Fellowship.
    Adams, J. E. (1985). How to help people change. Grand Rapids, Mi. Zondervan

  • Simon Jennings
    13:14 on October 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    More than any other book, this book provides “how to” guidance with deep Scriptural insight for the Christian Counselor. Step by step The Christian Counselor’s Manual provides sound Biblical instruction for counseling Christians including forms, helpful tables, do’s and don’ts, and suggested “homework.” The author also discusses specific counseling issues that are commonly encountered including, but not limited to, anger, envy, depression, schizophrenia, sex, marriage, fear, and addiction. The Scriptural basis for every aspect of counseling is clearly discussed. If you are a Christian Counselor and can buy only one book,this is the book to buy.

  • tinkerthinker
    18:49 on October 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This venerable volume from Jay Adams, who for decades has been one of the undisputed leaders in the field of nouthetic counseling, is just as relevant today as it was when it was originally published in 1973. Now thirty five years later, biblical counselors all across the country, and indeed around the world, turn to Adams’ wisdom and experience as encapsulated in this text. No true biblical counselor’s library is complete without it.

    Adams spends some of the early chapters of this book explaining the foundational theory behind biblical counseling, counterposing it to inherently flawed secular methodologies like psychoanalysis/psychotherapy (Freud), behaviorism (Skinner) and non-directive counseling (Rogers), to name the main ones. Much of this material echoes what Adams said in “Competent to Counsel”.

    From there he moves on to elaborate on key themes like the indispensibility of hope, reconciliation, biblical change, and the need to identify and treat sin for what it is. Practical explanations abound for essential techniques of data gathering, assigning effective homework, and dealing with a wide range of specific problems, such as fear, anger, sexual problems, communication breakdowns, schizophrenia, etc.

    Admittedly, this volume does not tell the nouthetic counselor everything he or she needs to know to counsel effectively. There is a large and growing body of other related resources from Adams and many other competent authors to assist the counselor in more specific ways. However, this book offers the fundamental framework for counseling practice that is common to all issues. It would be very difficult to practice true nouthetic counseling without applying the principles in this book.

  • Jonathan Huttner
    20:27 on October 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    For anyone interested in Christian counseling presented and taught according to God’s divine plan this is a great book for your study of Christian counseling. I had the honor of hearing Dr.Adam’s speak at the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors this year(2006) in Indiana. His focus, his books, his views on Christian counseling are all biblically based on the inerrant Word of God and directed by the presence and person of the Holy Spirit who indwells him.

  • Caroline S
    21:18 on October 11th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Back in the day when many Christians were practicing counseling with a Sunday School knowledge of Scripture and a Master’s level knowledge of secular theory, Jay Adams burst on the scene exhorting believers to believe in the sufficiency of Scripture. Though not every Christian counselor would accede that Nouthetic counseling embraces the totality of Christian counseling, and not every writer would write with the same acerbic spirit, at least Adams was courageous enough and biblical enough to extrapolate from Scripture one aspect of the practice of biblical spiritual direction.

    Written as a companion and sequel to Competent to Counsel, Adams outlines in detail how to practice the soul physician’s art of confronting sin out of concern for change. He develops the approach of Nouthetic counseling introduced in the earlier volume and applies it to a wide range of issues, topics, and techniques in counseling: Who is qualified to be a counselor? How can counselees change? How does the Holy Spirit work? What role does hope play? What is the function of language? How do we ask the right questions?

    One might wish for a focus on comforting the suffering out of compassion for hope and healing, however early prophetic voices like Adams often overly tilt the pendulum in one direction. It is up to their heirs to emphasize neglected areas in an irenic spirit.

    Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of Spiritual Friends: A Methodology of Soul Care And Spiritual Direction, Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care And Spiritual Direction, and Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction .

  • Donna Abreu
    22:38 on October 11th, 2012
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    Book advertised as new was received in a timely manner and received just as promised. This book will serve as a great reference in my counseling.

  • jansen long
    3:27 on October 12th, 2012
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    The book was in excellent condition, it was purchased at a very fair price. It is an excellent book.

  • Sridharan P
    6:02 on October 12th, 2012
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    Anyone who has heard of the author already has an opinion of the work; however, in spite of these assumptions, if one really reads Adams for what he is saying, the reader should walk away with the following concepts: (1) Adams believes that the Bible hold the answers for all of life’s problems. (2) All problems in life are either physical (the realm of the doctor) or spiritual (the realm of the pastor). (3) Adams believes that every believer should be able to assist others in applying the Bible to life’s spiritual challenges. To these ends, the now-aging work is directed. In a very clear and straight-forward manner, the writer lays out methods of dealing with all sorts of challenges. This manual serves as a substantial guide to the pastor, Christian counselor, or even a layman who wishes to be of assistance to those who need help to overcome a vast number of problems.

  • dean wermer
    10:00 on October 12th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    If you are pursuing counseling, trying to get your degree in a particular mental health field, this is a must read. All the secular humanistic and optimistic views of the human being in gneral require the christian counselor to be grounded so he will be swayed to the right or left but remember the grace was given to him on the cross and the reason for the cross. In this day and age is to easy to make Jesus death out to be of no meaning because we all have “good” in us. So i encourage anyone who is trying to be a counselor or just desiring to grounded more dotrinally for there own faith to read this. Jay E. Adams is th founder of “Christian Counsleing Education Founation.” A biblically based counseloing progam. Check it out “” Any of their resources are rich in truth and knowledge.

  • Jar Jar other
    16:58 on October 12th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Adams always is a delight to read. While Adams is not perfect he is passionate about the right things and hits the nail on the head on almost every issue. He blazed the trail for modern noutetic counseling. Those who have expressed problems with this book do not have the high view of Scripture that Adams holds and do not understand the depravity of man as the Bible teaches. They also do not understand how the presuppostions of psychology are anti-Christian and they do not bring glory to God. This is a very practical book that is a good read for all Christians who seek to restore their bretheren (Gal. 6)

  • inch Tone
    21:23 on October 12th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This volume is indispensible for anyone who presumes to call himself a “Christian” counselor, because the Scriptures must be the bedrock authority for any such claim. Jay Adams begins by dispelling any misconceptions about the advisability of trying to syncretize biblical counseling with worldly methods and theories. He then continues to explore, in very practical terms, how the Scriptures relate to various aspects of counseling doctrine and practice. The format and structure resemble a systematic theology text. Given the breadth of the potential subject matter, this volume is not, and indeed cannot be, exhaustive in its coverage. However, there is sufficient treatment of most important areas of counseling practice and the critical importance on using the Scriptures to the exclusion of competing resources. My only negative comment is Adams’ distracting writing style, with its excessive use of parentheticals and, to a lesser extent, footnotes. However, these do not detract from the substantive value of his commentary. Excellent book!

  • jibran
    1:20 on October 13th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    It is an excellent addition to an Christian counseling library. It has unquie advise for a pastoral counseling that is a little difficult to locate. Each section is covered with gentleness and care for both the client and respect for the conselor. It covers prayer in a way that is foreright and frankly not covered by many textbooks. It is comprehensive in its scope covering the client, the attitudes of the counselor as well as a full range of topics. It is a first line of defense help book.I appreciate the scripture references as well as the honor of giving pratical homework. The book does not shy away from difficut subjects like sin, fears,and the importance of giving hope. I appreciate the concretness of the books presentation.

  • Bob Avo
    4:42 on October 13th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Theology and Counseling – Do they go together?

    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…”

  • Homer S
    5:02 on October 13th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    In this book, Dr. Adams identifies Biblical truths that relate specifically to problems that are faced by many people that go for counseling. He discusses how these truths, since they come from God’s perfect revelation, are to be followed instead of man’s faulty reason. Dr. Adams writes from the perspective of Reformed theology. Though he summarizes teachings from that perspective, it would be best for the reader to be familiar with it before reading this book (and the author says as much).

    As a layman with only personal curiosity in the topic, I didn’t know what to expect. This is the first book I’ve read in the area of Christian counseling, and so don’t have background knowledge in the field to guide me. However, I found a very readable, in-depth survey of how Biblical doctrine applies to the counseling situation. If I were to give this book a different title, it would be: “Applying Reformed Theology To Our Everyday Lives.” I learned a great deal about how doctrines such as original sin, the Trinity, and sanctification work out practically, and even found guidance for some personal struggles I was going through at the time. (I would not recommend this book as an alternative to counseling.) I also learned about the meaning and process of counseling as a Christian.

    The paperback is a nice, sturdy one, printed on good paper. There are some typos throughout the book, but the correct meaning is usually clear.

    I recommend this book for those with a background in Reformed theology and are interested in learning more about counseling and/or how that system of theology works our practically in the situations of life.

  • Darren P
    9:35 on October 13th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This book is a wealth of helpful information for counselors to use as an aid in the therapeutic process. Furthermore, the book is arranged in an organized and easy-to-follow manner. A must-have for Christian counselors!

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