Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Cat is Out of the Bag: Biblical Counseling Isn’t About Change

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 13, 2012

As The Coalition Against New Calvinism is forming, one of my goals as a member is to publish a pdf report to be distributed among churches en mass. The first is almost complete and will be an introduction, but the second will address what is now apparent. David Powlison and the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation  have perpetrated a huge fraud upon the church. In the early 70’s many evangelical leaders adopted the doctrine and motif of the Australian Forum, a project that systematized Progressive Adventism. The base doctrine was the centrality of the objective gospel outside of us, and its primary focus was a call to semper reformanda. This was the idea (and still is) that the Reformation didn’t end with Luther, and the Forum had rediscovered the lost gospel of the Reformation (documentation on this and what follows is now ample and convincing).

Church leaders bought into the frenzy wholesale, especially many at Westminster Seminary where the Forum’s theological journal was widely distributed. One of those leaders at Westminster was the mentor of David Powlison and Tim Keller (Dr. John Miller). The movement spawned a massive takeover mentality among its proponents which sought to “reform” the American church with this new rediscovered Reformation gospel. Powlison is on record saying that  the fundamental difference between CCEF and NANC (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors) was a traditional view of sanctification verses John Miller’s theology (which he got from the Forum). Therefore, it is no surprise that CCEF sought to assimilate the semper reformanda into NANC, which they have been very successful in doing.

One of the major themes promoted by Jay Adams when he was involved with NANC was the idea that counseling was about biblical change. Though unclear at this time whether the following came directly from the Forum or was added later, a significant portion of  the NANC/CCEF counseling culture believes no such thing. Rather, they believe that people do not change (but remain totally depraved whether believers or not), and that the primary goal of counseling is to teach Christians how to manifest one of two realms or spheres. We don’t change, but we can experience and manifest the realm of the Holy Spirit or the flesh/worldly/law realm. This prism enables them, as you can imagine, to use orthodox sounding verbiage to promote this doctrine. In fact, they do just that. Spiritual growth is now, “spiritual formation.” Repentance is now, “deep repentance,” etc.

CCEF has been a lost cause from the beginning, but it is unfortunate that the leadership of NANC shows no intestinal fortitude in dealing with this problem. In fact, they refer hundreds of people daily to these counselors with complete indifference. Daily, hundreds of troubled people seek to be helped by these counselors while totally unaware of what they believe.

It is the coalition’s duty to change that. The second newsletter will be aggressively circulated to churches worldwide. It is our goal to be servants of those who struggle with full disclosure.


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