The Use of the Scriptures in Counseling Part III: Five Factors in Scriptural Counseling Continued -- By: Jay E. Adams
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The Use of the Scriptures in Counseling
Five Factors in Scriptural Counseling
[Jay E. Adams, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.]
[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third in a series of articles entitled, “The Use of the Scriptures in Counseling,” which were the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectures given by Dr. Jay E. Adams at Dallas Theological Seminary, November 6–9, 1973.]
“I’m OK; You’re OK”—the words may be modern, but the idea behind them is not new. They represent exactly the false, humanistic viewpoint of the rich young ruler when he called Christ “Good Master.” When Tom Harris urges us to become OK by means of Transactional Analysis, he is asking us to do so without the aid of the Christ of the Scriptures. After all, he tells us, “truth is not…bound in a black book.”1
Because the rich young ruler thought he was OK and that Christ was OK (in the same way), Jesus challenged his use of the word: “Why do you call me good? There is no one who is good except God” (Luke 18:19). Whenever it appears, that concept of goodness must be challenged. First, the rich young ruler could not be allowed to continue to think of Christ as good in the same sense in which he considered himself good. Unless he was willing to admit that Jesus was God, he would have to revise his language to fit the facts. All others are sinners. On the other hand, he needed to see just that—he was a sinner. Outwardly he had conformed to the Law, but inwardly he had broken it all as Christ so clearly demonstrated by exposing his idolatrous worship of riches.
Transactional Analysis and all other unscriptural systems that seek to change men likewise fail on both of these counts: (1) they
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underestimate man’s problem, and consequently (2) they underestimate what it takes to solve that problem. Freudians view the counselee as a victim of poor socialization and, therefore, think that since the problem was brought about by man, man can solve it. The expert analyst/therapist can undo (at least) some of what man has done. The Rogerians think man is good at the core and his problem is a failure to actualize untapped resources. Hence, they attempt to draw out from him the answers that they believe he has the capability of producing. The solution lies in realizing his potential. He, rather than others, is his problem, but by the same token, he is also his own adequate solution. Behaviorists, who think that all human problems stem from poor ...
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