Social Anxiety

By Josiah Garber

Problem/Condition

I. Definition

Biblical perspective

Biblically, social anxiety comes from the underlying main issue of pride. That is to say that social anxiety is a sin that stems from a person focusing on themselves too much. The person with social anxiety sees the approval of man as the ultimate good in their lives. This means that they despair when they believe that they will not receive that approval that they feel they need. Therefore, social anxiety is a sinful self-centeredness that is the inverse of self-exaltation. This self-centeredness then replaces God with a love of oneself that manifests itself in either traditional prideful actions or, in the case of social anxiety, a despair that the one does not live up to the standard that they believe they should. Effectively, the god of the person who is struggling with social anxiety is himself. Social Anxiety manifests itself in people feeling inferior to those around them. Viewing ourselves as less than we are, less than God created us to be, stops us from loving others the way that we should.

Scripture calls social anxiety sin very clearly. This is seen first of all in Matthew 6:25-34 where Christ exhorts all not to worry. In this passage, we are called to not be anxious.  Anxiety is shown to be useless; it will not add a single day to our life. Instead, Christ calls us to focus on the struggles of today. It is a call to focus on what we are currently up against, not our fears of the future. This whole passage, through the analogy of the flowers and of the sparrows, emphasizes the sovereignty of God. He is the one who will provide for all of our needs.

A second passage that deals with this issue is Philippians 4:6-9. In these brief few verses, Paul commands the Philippians to “not be anxious about anything.” Social Anxiety, then would  be included. This is a clear demonstration that anxiety is sin. However, Paul gives the solution to anxiety in this passage. That is, he states that the one who is anxious is to give their requests to God in thanksgiving, prayer, and faith. Peace, he states, is the result of this. This means that faith is important as the believer must trust not that God will grant what they want, but that He will give what is best for them.

Secular perspective

Social Anxiety Disorder, also called Social Phobia, is defined as “an emotion characterized by apprehension and somatic symptoms of tension in which an individual anticipates impending danger, catastrophe, or misfortune. The body often mobilizes itself to meet the perceived threat: Muscles become tense, breathing is faster, and the heart beats more rapidly.”[1] The secular view is purely physical, saying that it is simply an anticipatory fear of social situations. They distinguish fear and anxiety by saying that “Fear is the emotional response to real or perceived imminent threat, whereas anxiety is anticipation of future threat.”[2]

The treatment of social anxiety normally takes the form of one of two separate forms. The first is the use of psychiatric medications. These are usually similar to the ones used for depression, and they vary in their effectiveness at curbing symptoms from mildly successful to somewhat moderately successful. The second form of treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy. This will often take the form of exposure therapy or group therapy. It is also quite common for there to be a mixture of the two approaches in an attempt to cover the weaknesses of each approach. [3] In order for someone to be diagnosed with Social Anxiety they must have manifested symptoms for 6 months or longer.

 

II. History

Social Anxiety has existed for a very long time, with even general anxiety being directly addressed by both Jesus and Paul. The idea of social anxiety may have originated Hippocrates as early as 400 B.C. However, it wasn’t until 1968 in the DSM-II that Social Anxiety was specifically mentioned and defined. It was here that it was first classified, and the idea of it has only become more prevalent since.

III. Evidence of the Problem

Social Anxiety’s main theme is an avoidance of stressful social interactions. “The feared situation is most often avoided altogether or else it is endured with marked discomfort or dread.”[4] This often leads to isolation, where the person will distance themselves from their family or friends. Social Anxiety also manifests itself through a fear of judgement from others. It is a “fear or anxiety about one or more social situations in which the individual is exposed to possible scrutiny by others.[5]

The person struggling with this will often fear that they will be rejected, unloved, or perceived as annoying, lame, stupid, weird, rude, boring, or a whole host of other undesirable outcomes.

IV. Etiology

While there is no known medical condition that causes Social Anxiety, there are several factors that may contribute to it. These factors are things such as abuse, internalization of fears, an unhealthy level of comparison of oneself to people one may see as ideal, and the perceived need to become the ideal form of oneself. Spiritually, Social Anxiety comes from a lack of trust in God, a propensity to not leave the worries of one’s life in the hands of God through faith and prayer. It may also come from valuing oneself as the most important thing, thus leading to that value having ultimate control over emotions and actions. [6]

Some physical symptoms of this issue are the avoidance of social situations, tremors, increased heart rate, tenseness, perspiration, and, in some more extreme cases, panic attacks. [7] Spiritual symptoms include a lack of trust in God, doubt in His promises to give  all that is needed, and a view of God’s love and provisions as not enough to satisfy social needs.

 

V. Examining the Heart

The possible heart themes behind Social Anxiety are a desire for control and a fear of man. The person with Social Anxiety will desire for the people in their lives to see them as they wish to be seen, of value, enjoyable to be around, and acceptable in their preferred social situations. Some idols that go along with this are a love of self, pride, and a love of comfort.

VI. Biblical Solutions 

In his Christian Counselor’s Manual, Jay Adams says “If the counselee’s fear fundamentally is a fear of men, then the answer lies in encouraging him to engage in loving ministry, in which he may give of himself to others. Granted, more may be involved, but ultimately, fear will vanish only when he has learned to live the life of loving concern for his neighbor.”[8] Adams also states that a constant and continuous prayer life will lead to peace. [9] Others mention that it is most important that one does not value himself primarily, as that will lead to worry. Valuing Christ first and other people before oneself will take the focus off of oneself, helping to get rid of anxiety. [10]

Recommended Books

“When People are Big and God is Small” by Edward T. Welch

“Overcoming Anxiety: Relief for Worried People” by David Powlison

“Anxiety Attacked: Applying Scripture to the Cares of the Soul” by John MacArthur

Recommended Homework Resources

“A Christian Growth and Discipleship Manual: A Homework Manual for Biblical Living Volume 3” by Wayne A. Mack and Wayne Erick Johnston

“For Further Thought” sections in “When People are Big and God is Small” by Edward T. Welch

 

 

 

[1] Gary R. VadenBos, APA Dictionary of Psychology (Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2015), 66.

[2] David J. Kupper et al., DSM-V (Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2013), 189.

[3] Vladin Staracevic, Anxiety Disorders in Adults: A Clinical Guide (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2010), 183.

[4] VadenBos, 999.

[5] Kupper et al, 202.

[6] Robert D. Jones, “Getting to the Heart of Your Worry,” The Journal of Biblical Counseling 17, no. 3 (Spring 1999), 22.

 

[7] James Morrison, DSM-IV Made Easy (New York, NY: The Guilford Publications, 1995), 262.

[8] Adams, 417.

[9]  Jay E. Adams, The Practical Encyclopedia of Christian Counseling (Heckettstown, NJ: Timeless Texts, 2003), 190-191.

[10] Jones, 22.

Dementia

By Theresa Egger

I. Definition

 Dementia is a syndrome wherein an individual experiences inhibited cognitive functioning to the extent that it interferes with daily life. Dementia is not synonymous with aging and it is distinguishable from the inevitable consequences of aging which include dulled senses and occasional forgetfulness.[1] Dementia is not a disease. Rather, it is a syndrome meaning that it is a group of symptoms which occur together. [2] Additionally, dementia is not synonymous with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is one specific disease that causes dementia. This means that everyone who has Alzheimer’s disease has dementia, but not everyone with dementia has Alzheimer’s. Although the term dementia is never found in Scripture, the Bible is living and active and therefore still offers relevant truths for this situation (Hebrews 4:12). First, Genesis 3 tells us that illness is the result of the fall. Like all physical disorders, this is not part of God’s original design. Because of sin, bodily decay and ultimately death are inevitable. Additionally, Scripture offers instructions for how the believer should respond to dementia. Finally, God’s Word offers hope for those who have been affected by this illness.

The secular world’s primary treatment for dementia is medication.[3] Healthy dieting is also often encouraged either to reverse or prevent dementia. [4] There are also several therapies intended to help the individual with dementia improve their memory or feel more comfortable. Examples include reminiscence therapy, music therapy, reality orientation and aromatherapy.[5]

In the past, individuals with dementia were referred to as senile however today, dementia has replaced the term senile.[6] The first edition of the DSM referred to dementia as a “chronic brain syndrome associated with senile brain disease.”[7] In the DSM-II it was considered an “organic brain syndrome.”[8] The DSM-III relabeled dementia as an “organic mental disorder.”[9] Interestingly, however, the DSM-IV categorized dementia as a cognitive disorder dropping the term “organic” because it implied that there are mental disorders which don’t have a biological base.[10] Finally, the DSM-V has dropped the term dementia all-together and renamed it a major neurocognitive disorder.[11]

II. Evidence of the Problem

Symptoms[12]

  1. Impairment in abstract thinking.
  2. Impaired judgment: inability to reason and make logical decisions.
  3. Other disturbances of higher cortical function such as language and motor skills.
  4. Personality change: Individuals with dementia may become angered more easily or irritable.

Dementia is a physical problem and therefore there is always a physiological cause. Examples of potential causes:[13]

  1. Alzheimer’s disease[14]
  2. Frontotemporal dementia (Pick’s disease).
  3. Traumatic brain injury.
  4. Lewy Body Dementia.
  5. Vascular Dementia/Binswanger’s disease.
  6. Brain tumors
  7. Parkinson’s disease.
  8. Huntington’s disease.
  9. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
  10. HIV-AIDS.
  11. Normal-pressure hydrocephalus.
  12. Degenerative dementia of old age.

III. Examining the Heart

Dementia is not a spiritual problem but a physical one. Thus, the individual with dementia does not need to be encouraged toward repentance and heart change unless there have been sinful manifestations that have resulted from the dementia. For example, individuals with dementia may become angered more easily than they did prior to developing this illness. However, this does not mean that the dementia is causing the angry outbursts. A person’s body cannot cause them to sin.[15] Rather, anger is most likely a heart issue that was present before the illness, but has now been publically manifested because they are no longer able to hide it.[16] In these instances a potential heart theme to consider is control. While addressing sin in an individual with dementia will be much more complicated, the biblical instruction to lovingly confront our brother or sister in sin still applies (Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1-3).

Another issue that often arises within the discussion of dementia is the salvation of the individual with dementia. Is the person with dementia able to make the confession of faith which Romans 10:9 states is required for salvation? First, we must remember that the Gospel is profound yet simple enough for a child to understand (Matthew 18:3; Mark 10:15). Furthermore, we must trust that God is sovereign over an individual’s salvation. If God has elected that person for salvation, they will be saved (Romans 8:30). Thus, we should continue evangelizing and trust God with the results (Romans 10:14). Finally, if the individual with dementia did make a confession of faith and exhibited fruits of repentance prior to their illness, we can trust that God will keep His promise to preserve them until the end if they are truly His (Ephesians 4:30).[17]

IV. Biblical Solutions

Because dementia is a physical problem, the majority of counseling will involve coming alongside of the caregiver.[18] For this reason, the following counseling agenda has been focused towards providing hope and biblical instruction for the primary caregiver of the individual with dementia.

  1. The counselor should seek to build involvement with the counselee by praying for her and showing genuine compassion. This can be done by listening well and seeking to be a friend.[19] Because of the nature of the situation it will also be helpful to offer to help with meals, home care and even house chores. Show the counselee you love them by offering to help in practical ways.
  2. During the inventory process the counselor should ask questions in three areas. First, ask questions regarding the physical well-being of the individual with dementia. This will help you gain a better understanding of the situation. Secondly, ask questions about the caregiver’s well-being. It is essential that we minister to them as whole people because the physical and spiritual components influence one another.[20] Finally, ask questions about the caregiver’s spiritual health. Ask her to share her testimony. Can she verbalize the Gospel? Ask about Scripture-reading, prayer and church attendance. This will help you know where she is at spiritually and enable you to discern whether she is a strong believer who simply needs to be encouraged, or if she is an unruly counselee who needs to be admonished (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
  3. Instilling hope in the counselee will be absolutely crucial for the counseling process. This hope should be founded on God’s promises contained in His Word. Because dementia is an illness, offer comfort from passages which assure believers that there will be a future resurrection. Revelation 21:4 assures us that in the eternal state there will be no more pain or death. Additionally, the promises of God’s presence with His people can provide invaluable hope and comfort during difficult seasons (e.g. Psalms 94:14; Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).
  4. Interpretation will involve discerning what the counselee is responsible for. Because Dementia is a physical problem, there is not sin to be repented of in this initial diagnosis.[21] There may, however, be some sins that have arisen in response to this trial. This must be addressed in counseling.
  5. Instruction should be offered in the area of sufferology. Suffering is the result of living in a fallen world. Therefore, the counselee is not responsible for the trial but how she responds. Additionally, because the individual with dementia is very forgetful and frequently repeats themselves, patience is one area that will likely need to be addressed. Point the counselee to 1 Corinthians 10:13 which reminds us that God won’t let us be tempted beyond what we are able.[22]
  6. During inducement, it will be crucial to point the counselee back to the example of Christ. It might be helpful to do a study on love and point the counselee to Christ who loved the church by sacrificing His own life. The parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18 is another good passage which reminds us of the forgiveness that God has extended to us which is our motivation to forgive others.
  7. Homework should include prayer, repentance (1 John 1:9) and Bible study. Potential passages to do Bible studies on are 1 Corinthians 13, Philippians 4:4-8, and Hebrews 4:14-16.
  8. Finally, integration will be absolutely essential for the caregiver. Encourage your counselee to get involved in a small group at church. The church will be able to provide practical help as well as spiritual encouragement and accountability for the counselee during this tiring season. God has given believers the body of Christ to help one another in this way (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Recommended books

Adams, Jay E. How to Handle Trouble God’s Way. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub, 1982.

Deane, Barbara. Caring for Your Aging Parents: When Love Is Not Enough. Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 1989.

Drew, Holly Dean, and Theological Research Exchange Network. “Counseling the Caregiver: Addressing the Biblical Responsibility and care of Aging Parents,” 2002.

Fitzpatrick, Elyse. Women Counseling Women. Eugene, Or.: Harvest House, 2010.

Welch, Edward T. Blame It on the Brain: Distinguishing Chemical Imbalances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience. Resources for Changing Lives. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub, 1998.

Welch, Edward T. Counselor’s Guide to the Brain and Its Disorders: Knowing the Difference between Disease and Sin. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1991.

 

 

 

[1] Ed Welch. Blame it on the Brain. (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub, 1998), 71.

[2] Consumer Dummies. Alzheimer’s and Dementia for Dummies. (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2016), 8.

[3] Kenneth Partridge. The Brain. (New York: H.W. Wilson, 2009), 114.

[4] Neal D. Barnard. Power Foods for the Brain. (New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, 2013)

[5] Consumer Dummies. Alzheimer’s and Dementia for Dummies. 150-155

[6] Welch. Blame it on the Brain. 70

[7] American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 22

[8] American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-II. 24

[9] American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-III. 107

[10] American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV. 123

[11] American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-V.

[12] American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-III-R. 107

[13] Marshall Asher and Mary Asher. The Christian’s Guide to Psychological Terms. (Bemidji, Minn.: Focus Pub, 2014), 56.

[14] Ed Welch. Counselor’s Guide to the Brain and Its Disorders, (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 1991), 108.

[15] Elyse Fitzpatrick. Women Counseling Women. (Eugene, Or.: Harvest House, 2010), 127

[16] Welch. Blame it on the Brain. 78-79

[17] Wayne Grudem. Biblical Doctrine. (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1004), 337.

[18] Welch. Blame it on the Brain. 63

[19] Stuart Scott and Heath Lambert. Counseling the Hard Cases. (Nashville, Tenn.: B & H Academic, 2012), 182.

[20] Ibid., 213.

[21] Welch. Blame it on the Brain. 63

[22] Fitzpatrick. Women Counseling Women.  247

Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

By Kaylie Decker

I. Overview

In 1976 Dr. Jay Adams founded the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC) with the desire that the organization and its rigorous certification process would become the backbone of the biblical counseling movement. Today the organization is now known as the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and is the oldest and largest biblical counseling organization in the world. The training and certification of ACBC counselors is recognized worldwide with over 1,700 counselors in 30 countries that speak 30 languages with these numbers growing yearly.  ACBC also has over 60 certified training centers ranging from seminaries to churches. Continue reading Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

David Powlison

By Thomas Watson

CCEF’s Former Executive Director, Senior Editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling

I. Biography

  1. Early life
  2. Birth
  3. When: December 14, 1949
  4. Where: Honolulu Hawaii, United States
  5. Parents: Peter A. and Dora M. Powlison
  6. Spouse: Nancy H. Gardner
  7. Children: Peter Powlison, Hannah Powlison, Gwenyth Powlison
  8. Death: June 7, 2019

David Powlison was a Presbyterian author and biblical counselor; he is the executive director to CCEF, the senior editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling and is a member of the counsel of the Gospel Coalition. He has been practicing counseling for over 30 years. His work is credited for bridging the gap between the secular psychiatric philosophy and biblical schools of counseling. He has written many books and articles on subjects such as sexual sin, anxiety, and grief.

David Powlison was born on December 14, 1949 to Peter and Dora Powlison on the island of Honolulu of Hawaii in the United States. He and his wife, Nancy H. Gardner, had 3 children, Peter, Hannah, and Gwyneth Powlison (TGC, PTLGOS).

At the age of 25, Powlison was working at McLean Psychiatric Hospital in the mental health department, in Belmont Massachusetts, when Christ convicted him of sin and brought him to repentance (CW, HGSD). After his conversion, while working in the Psychiatric Hospital as a mental health worker, Powlison started observing the constant suffering of the patients, that had little to no hope for change or healing. Powlison became “disillusioned with secular psychologies.” He found one individual quite interesting while working there, a man who was a mental health worker with no aspirations for high education. This man was building relationships with the patients, holding them accountable to their choices, and not blaming their behavior primarily on mental disorders. This induced the patients to react differently and ask for this particular man when they were in distress. The difference between what this man and the rest of the faculty practiced help lead Powlison to believe that the theories were fundamentally at odds and went to study theology at Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS; WSTIC).

Powlison started his education at Harvard University, with a Bachelor of Arts in 1971 then pursued a MDiv from Westminster Theological Seminary 1980. In 1986 he received his Master of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. Then went on to get a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996 his subject of study—history of science and medicine, with an emphasis on the history of psychiatry (PB, DAP).

II. Education

  1. AB, Harvard University, 1971
  2. MDiv from Westminster Theological Seminary 1980
  3. MA University of Pennsylvania, 1986
  4. PhD from University of Pennsylvania, 1996
    1. History of science and medicine, primarily history of psychiatry.

 

III. Significant life events that impacted person

IV. Theological Views

  1. Presbyterian

V. Works/Publications

  1. Books

Anger: Escaping the Maze – 2000

The Biblical Counseling Movement: history and Context – 2010

Breaking the Addictive Cycle: Deadly Obsessions or Simple Pleasures? – 2010

God’s Grace in Your Suffering – 2018

Good and angry: Redeeming Anger, irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness – 2016

How does Sanctification Work? – 2017

Jax’s Tail Twitches: When you are Angry – 2018

Making All Things New: restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken – 2017

Pornography: Slaying the Dragon – 1999

Power Encounters: Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare – 1994

Seeing with new eyes” Counseling and the Human Condition through the Lens of Scripture – 2005

Speaking Truth in love: Counsel in Community – 2005

Zoe’s Hiding Place: when you are Anxious – 2018

Power Encounter: Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare – 1994

Controlling Anger Responding Constructively when life Goes Wrong – 2008

I’m Exhausted: What to do When You’re Always Tired – 2010

Pleasure – 2005

Competent to Counsel? The History of a Conservative Protestant Biblical Counseling Movement – 2008

2. Pamphlets

Anger: Understanding anger – ?

Coming Clean: Breaking Pornography’s Hold on You – 2012

Controlling Anger: Responding Constructively When Life Goes Wrong – 2012

Domestic Abuse: How to Help – 2001

Facing Death with Hope: Living for what Lasts – 2008

God as Father: When Your Own Father Failed – 2005

God’s Love: better Than Unconditional – 2001

Grieving a Suicide: Help for the Aftershock – 2010

Healing After Abortion: God’s Mercy Is for You – 2008

I Just Want to Die: Replacing Suicidal Thoughts with Hope – 2008

I’m Exhausted: What to Do When You’re Always Tired – 2010

Innocence Lost: Rebuilding after Victimization – 2012

Journal of Biblical Counseling, 28-1 – 2014

Journal of Biblical Counseling, 28-2 – 2014

Journal of Biblical Counseling, 28-3 – 2015

Journal of Biblical Counseling, 29-1 – 2015

Journal of Biblical Counseling, 30-1 – 2016

Journal of Biblical Counseling, 30-2 – 2016

Journal of Biblical Counseling, 30-3 – 2016

Journal of Biblical Counseling Must Reads on Anger – 2013

Journal of Biblical Counseling Must Reads On Redeeming Psychology – 2013

The Journal of Biblical Counseling Must Reads: On Apologetics –

The Journal of Biblical Counseling Must Reads: On Counseling in the Church –

The Journal of Biblical Counseling Must Reads: on Methodology –

The Journal of Biblical Counseling Must Reads: on Model –

The Journal of Biblical Counseling Must Reads: on Sexuality –

Journal of biblical Counseling, Volume, 26 #3 – 2012

Journal of Biblical Counseling, Volume 27 #1 – 2013

Journal of Biblical Counseling, Volume 27 #3 – 2014

Journal of Biblical Counseling 18-1 – 1999

Journal of Biblical Counseling 18-2 – 2000

Life Beyond Your Parent’s Mistakes: The Transforming Power of God’s Love – 2010

Overcoming Anxiety: Relief for Worried People – 2012

Pre-Engagement: Five Questions to Ask Yourselves – 2000

Real Love: Better Than Unconditional? – 2012

Recovering from Child Abuse: Healing and Hope for Victims – 2008

Renewing marital Intimacy: Closing the Gap Between You and Your Spouse – 2008

Sexual Addiction: Freedom from Compulsive Behavior – 2010

Sexual assault: healing steps for Victims – 2010

Stress: Peace amid Pressure – 2004

Stressed Out: becoming Peaceful on the Inside – 2012

When Cancer Interrupts – 2015

When You Are Worried: Finding Reasons for Peace – 2012

Why Me?: Comfort for the Victimized

Worry: Pursuing a Better Path to Peace – 2004

You Make Me So Mad! Managing Your Anger – 2012

3. Articles

An Open Letter to the Suffering Christian – 2018

An Open Letter to Those Nonchalant about Their Sexual sin – 2017

An Open Letter to those Debilitated by their Sexual Sin – 2017

An Open letter to those apathetic about their sanctification – 2017

An open letter to those frustrated by their progress in sanctification – 2017

A Conversation Between David Powlison and Winston Smith

Why do we Pray?

Emmanuel shall come to you

Helping those who are angry with God

Thankfulness

God is changing us – but how?

Sanctification is a Direction

What is the Ultimate Goal of Sexual Renewal?

Is Sexual Renewal a Simple or Complex Process?

5 Sources of True Change

The Many Ways God Changes Us

4. Interviews

The root of sinful anger

Ten Ways Not to Waste Your Cancer

Making All Things New: Restoring Pure Joy to the Sexually Broken

God, Psychology, and Christian Care of the Soul – Panel Discussion

God, Psychology, and Christian Care of the Soul, Part 1 – David Powlison

God, Psychology, and Christian Care of the Soul, Part 2 – David Powlison

God, Psychology, and Christian Care of the Soul, Part 3 – David Powlison

Gospel Coalition’s David Powlison battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer

 

 

VI. Influence on Biblical Counseling

  1. Bridging the gap between sin and psychopathology, Powlison believed that “sin is the core of psychopathology.” Sin skewed your goals and perception of God and the world. Powlison looked at Ecclesiastics 9:3 and saw that there is “madness in our hearts while we live.” His point is that whatever the physiological or environmental influences may be, such as genetic predispositions and cultural values, all factors must be held together. This idea is in contrast to the idea of blaming environment or only one factor. That the root of all sin and mental illness comes directly from the persons heart (CCEF, RBSP).

VII. Bibliography

David Powlison – “Why I Chose Seminary for Training in Counseling” http://online.wts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Powlison-on-Seminary-for-Counseling-2.pdf , (WTS WSTIC) August 2017

David Powlison – “on the relationship between sin and psychopathology”

https://www.ccef.org/video/david-powlison-relationship-between-sin-and-psychopathology/ , (ccef, RBSP) April 2016

PraBook Biography: :David A. Powlison” World Biographical Encyclopedia, Inc

https://prabook.com/web/david_a.powlison/358932?profileId=358932 ,(PB, DAP) Accessed May 2019

Dr. David Powlison, “How God saved David Powlison From Destroying Himself”

https://www.crossway.org/articles/how-god-saved-david-powlison-from-destroying-himself/ , (CW, HGSD) May 2017

 

External Links

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/432227.David_A_Powlison

https://www.ccef.org/people/david-powlison/

https://www.desiringgod.org/authors/david-powlison

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/profile/david-powlison/

https://prabook.com/web/david_a.powlison/358932?profileId=358932

https://www.amazon.com/David-Powlison/e/B001JOTTKS

https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/Speaker/1000325

https://www.crossway.org/authors/david-powlison/

 

                                               

 

Jay E. Adams

By Ethan Berthiaume

I. Known For

Jay E. Adams is a reformed American Christian author who is best known for influential writings that helped found modern Biblical Counseling. He has written over 100 books, the most famous of which being Competent to Counsel. Jay Adams introduced the method of “nouthetic” counseling, which centers around conforming to scriptural principles for the purpose of spiritual growth. This method eventually became a movement which we know today as Biblical Counseling. Adams has been called a “father of Biblical Counseling” for his foundational influence on the methods and movements that shaped it (Powlison, 44).

II. Biography

Jay Adams was born to Joseph Edward and Anita Louise Adams in Baltimore, Maryland on January 30, 1929. He was married to Betty Jane Whitlock on June 23, 1952. They had four children: Holly, Todd, Clay, and Heather (“Jay E. Adams – Exodus Books”).

Jay became came to know Christ at the age of 15 after being gifted a copy of the New Testament by a friend. Adams became fascinated with God’s word, and he majored in Greek solely for the purpose of having an understanding what God’s word teaches (Adams, Ligonier Ministries).

Adams went on to study and receive formal theological and seminary training at several different schools. These include the Reformed Episcopal Seminary, John Hopkins University, Pittsburgh-Xenia Seminary, Temple University School of Theology, and the University of Missouri. He then went on to pastor at several churches alongside the East Coast in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Adams began working as a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and eventually became the director of the Doctoral program at Westminster Theological Seminary in California. Following this, he went on to plant churches in South Carolina, where he pastored until 1999 (“Jay E Adams, Ph. D.”).

Jay Adams first became interested in counseling early in his pastoral ministry after experiencing a difficult situation with the death of a man he failed to comfort in a difficult circumstance. After this, Adams asked the Lord to help him become effective in counseling ministry. While studying at the Temple University School of Theology, Adams took a course on psychological counseling. Here, he was discouraged by how foundationally speculative the methods were. Adams became more interested in the Biblical view of psychology while studying under Psychologist, O. Hobart Mowrer (1907-1982). Mowrer taught counseling techniques that integrated sin as an influence on mental health. While Adams did not entirely agree with all of Mowrer’s views, he became more fascinated with applying the Bible to the techniques of soul care. Adams continued to study and develop a model founded on Biblical principles known as “nouthetic counseling”. In 1970, he published his most famous work, Competent to Counsel, which argued that that all Christians can become fully equipped for the work and ministry of soul care if their methods were centered around biblical principles and views of man (Powlison, 35-45).

The publication of this book caused much controversy in the Christian community, as more and more pastors began to adopt Adam’s method of “nouthetic counseling” into their ministry. This movement eventually grew into what we now know today as Biblical Counseling (Powlison, 44).

Adams was honored at the first International Congress on Christian Counseling in 1988 in Atlanta as one of the three fathers of Christian Counseling, for his essential influence on the movement (Powlison, 43).

Jay Adams Retired in 1999 from pastoral ministry but has continued to write and lecture on Biblical Counseling. He founded the Institute for Nouthetic Studies (INS) in the year 2001. At the time of this publication, he currently resides in South Carolina and is still involved in teaching at INS (“Jay E Adams, Ph. D.”)

Jay Adams was revolutionary for his time, as psychology had taken a preeminent role in the art of soul care. Adams challenged the skeptical theories of psychology and developed a model that helped push the church towards scripture-based methods of helping people.

III. Important Theological Views

Nouthetic Counseling

Jay Adam’s most prominent, and certainly most well-known accomplishment is his method of nouthetic counseling. The word nouthetic comes from the Greek word noutheteō, which means to “instruct” or “admonish.” Adams himself states that this method is based upon three scriptural principles: concern, confrontation, and change. Adam’s most famous work, Competent to Counsel, goes in-depth with this method, describing the role of a counselor to encourage believers towards the repentance of sin. This method also includes the factor of the Holy Spirit, whom Adams believes is the sole source of true Biblical change in a believer’s life (Adams, Ligonier Ministries).

An important distinction of Jay Adams models is their rejection of psychological theories and models that contradict the Bible. This mainly has to do with the issue of sin as it relates to a believer’s behavior, a factor that is most often excluded from modern psychological models. Adams’ method of nouthetic counseling is distinct in that it holds to the Bible as the sufficient and authoritative tool for equipping believers for all things needed for life and godliness (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

IV. Works/Publications

Jay Adams has written over 100 books that relate to pastoral ministry and counseling. These have been translated into 16 different languages. The most famous and influential of published works are: Competent to Counsel (1970), The Christian Counselors Manuel (1973), A Theology of Christian Counseling (1979), Shepherding God’s Flock: A Handbook on Pastoral Ministry, Counseling, and Leadership (1974) (“Adams, Jay E. 1929- [Worldcat Identities]”.)

 

Bibliography

“Jay E. Adams – Exodus Books”. Exodusbooks.Com, https://www.exodusbooks.com/jay-e-

adams/2716/. Accessed 30 Nov 2018.

Adams, Jay. “Competent To Counsel: An Interview With Jay Adams By Jay Adams”. Ligonier Ministries. 2014. Accessed 30 November 2018

“Jay E Adams, Ph. D.”. Nouthetic.Org, http://www.nouthetic.org/about-ins/our-faculty/8-about-ins/6-jay-adams-biography. Accessed 29 Nov 2018.

“Adams, Jay E. 1929- [Worldcat Identities]”. Orlabs.Oclc.Org,

http://orlabs.oclc.org/identities/lccn-n50-36855/. Accessed 30 Nov 2018.

Collins, Gary R; Johnson, Eric L; Jones, Stanton L (2000). Psychology & Christianity. Downers

Grove, IL, USA: InterVarsity Press. pp. 36–37. ISBN 0-8308-2263-1.

Powlison, David. The Biblical Counseling Movement. New Growth Press, 2010, pp. p. 35-44.

Ligonier Ministries, 2014, https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/competent-counsel-interview-jay-adams/. Accessed 1 Dec 2018.