Some time ago, I received and read the Master’s Seminary manual for counseling. This led me to reading Jay Adam’s “Competent to Counsel” which the Master’s book is based off of.
The view these two books espouse is often a contentious debate in modern Evangelicalism. Both books intend to look at counseling from a biblical perspective. What does the Bible say we should do about counseling people? What are the answers that the Bible gives us to answer some of the questions we might have on people’s problems? The opposite side of the spectrum utilizes research and what could be considered “secular” methods of psychology and psychoanalysis to aid in counseling. The Bible itself is not enough they might say; the ingenuity and advances in psychology in the last 100 years have given us great insight into the human condition that is really useful alongside the Bible.
There probably won’t be an end to this debate. But that is what this book is all about. Richard Ganz was a psychologist who was not a Christian. After his conversion, he continued to work in psychology until he was fired from his job because he told a patient they needed to repent of their sin and become a Christian. From that point on, he quit the business entirely and went to seminary where he was trained in the Bible.
This book talks about his experiences as a Biblical counselor where he practiced the kind of counseling Jay Adams advocates. It’s called nouthetic counseling and it only uses the Bible to counsel people. The point he makes is this: psychology is the study of the soul, and there is no better book that tells you the condition of a man’s soul than the Bible. You start from the presuppositions about man that the Bible tells us about. That is, that we are sinful and we need a savior. Having this right anthropology, one is able to counsel more effectively. He cites that psychology will try to shift the blame and utilizes an anthropology where man is essentially good. Psychology also borrows heavily from an Freudian worldview, one that is antithetical to the Christian worldview.
There’s lots more to the debate, but I’ll let you pick up the book. But honestly, if you want a right treatment of these issues, I’d recommend the Master’s Seminary Counseling book. It is really interesting. This book was more of a brief, brief overview instead of a detailed look. Something to whet your palate.