Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 02:1 (Spring 1981)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Basic Principles of Biblical Counseling, by Lawrence J. Crabb, Jr. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975. Pp. 111. $6.95.

After reviewing the Freudian, Rogerian, Skinnerian, and Existential approaches, Dr. Crabb concludes that “Scientific methodology is not adequate to establish the validity of any one view of man’s basic nature. Without the weight of certainty, each system is a floating anchor. Selecting a basic position on the nature of man, the universal so badly needed in the field of counseling, resembles a random throw at the dart board unless some objective source of knowledge is available. To find certainty, there is simply no avenue to pursue but revelation.”

Dr. Crabb argues that a person’s basic need for significance is to be found in the facts (1) that he is a person existing in the image of God, and (2) God has a sovereign program and is sovereignly controlling events in his life (pp. 52-61).

For Crabb, the order for biblical counseling is to “correct the beliefs, align the behavior with the beliefs, then enjoy the resultant good feelings: fact-faith-feeling. Any variation from that order will not work” (p. 54). His approach may be summarized as follows: Get the counselee to correct his thinking in conformity with the Bible, get him to accept (be content with) God’s sovereign provision for him, get him to accept responsibility for confessing and forsaking sin and for proper behavior as strengthened by God.

Jay Adams has emphasized the necessity for changed behavior. Crabb, on the other hand, has emphasized the necessity for changed thinking. To this nonphilosophical and pragmatic reviewer, this distinction concerns emphasis and semantics more than essential difference. Adams, obviously, does not advocate unchanged thinking, nor does Crabb advocate unchanged behavior. Both equally advocate confession of sin and obedience to God.

While not in objection to content, the subtitle, “Meeting Counseling Needs Through the Local Church,” does not seem to be justified by the content of the book. The book affirms that the fellowship of the local church provides the “essential environment for healing and restoration” but does not deal with the matter of how counseling needs are met through the church. There are only a few typographical flaws (see pp. 35,71,97, fifth printing).

Christians should rejoice that God has raised up men such as Larry Crabb to resist the morally deadening consequences of humanistic psychology. His approach is certainly biblical in that it honors and exalts the Bible and Christian in that it honors and exalts Christ.

Charles R. Smith

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