Last week I had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Jay Adams and Rev. Donn Arms on the telephone about a range of topics. These included the history and present state of biblical counseling, underlying philosophical and theological principles (such as the unity of truth and sanctification), and a mix of methodological and practical questions (including counseling unbelievers and the role of counseling ministries outside of church oversight).
Part one (30 mins) focuses mainly on the biblical counseling movement and foundational ideas.
Part two (19 mins) delves mostly into methodological and practical matters.
A few random observations
- If conducting interviews is anything like preaching, I’ll have to do this about 100 more times before I get half good at it! (Have I lowered your expectations sufficiently?)
- Dr. Adams has been involved in this area of ministry (as well as many others) for longer than I’ve been alive. So it’s with reluctance that I say the unity of truth problem doesn’t seem to be adequately answered in the interview. Perhaps
Is All Truth God’s Truth? (Ministry Monographs for Modern Times)
explains better what I was unable to grasp during our talk.
- I believe Dr. Adams’ approach to counseling has strengths that continue to commend it strongly even though there are many (“non-integrationist”) biblical counselors today with slightly different approaches who are doing excellent work. These strengths include the following:
- A crystal clear understanding of sanctification that leaves believers with no doubt about what they are responsible to do about sin problems in general (provided they are willing to understand what to do)
- A high view of Scripture and it’s power to speak to the vast majority of problems we tend to think of as counseling issues today
- A skepticism toward Freudian and post-Freudian (but equally godless) approaches to human nature and problems
- A firm conviction that sin problems are best handled in a local church context
- A passionate belief that regeneration (and the blessings that go with it, such as the indwelling Holy Spirit) form the only basis for deep and abiding solutions to sin problems