Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Christian Counseling Wars: INS, PAM, and ACBC; Who is Right?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 18, 2017

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The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors is the largest Christian counseling organization in the world. Its staunchest critic is PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries and its second staunchest critic is the organization that founded it, the Institute of Nouthetic Studies. Who is right, and why does it matter?

Program prep: pdf file link newsletter.

Live Program link: Sunday 2.19.2017 @ 7pm     

10 Responses

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  1. John said, on February 20, 2017 at 12:01 PM

    Great podcast.

    Concerning the ungodly and unbiblical ACBC, you have summarized their dark deeds and dishonest agenda perfectly: ACBC is creating its own supply and demand.

    I do see where PAM gets it wrong, but at least they are warning about these ACBC wolves.

    I checked out ACBC’s sickening website (it screams me, me, me; worm, worm, worm; men worship, men worship, men worship and….MONEY!) Oh, and the promotional video did feature, of course, a coffee shop and some hipsters, who tried to look intelligent, and one ugly church building, and lie upon lie upon lie. Always the hip, coffee angle, right? They know their target market well, as you have suggested. Yes, their lies won’t work that well in the impoverished stricken places of the world, would it? (But isn’t that the sawrinnn God’s will too? His pleasure and all that?)

    Here’s a link to all the false teachers who would be poisoning minds in October:

    Something that has become the norm with this lot is their preoccupation (fetish) with all things sexual abnormal, and that’s why it is NO surprise to see SEX at the top of their “outbreak” sessions list. Perverts, much? Well…
    Please have a careful look through the names, the heretical Martha Peace will be there as well. Have these people no shame? No, they don’t. Not one inch.

    At the end of the nauseating promotional video, it is said that not only do they (ACBC) want to celebrate the Reformation, but they want to continue it. Good idea. Let’s celebrate spiritual death. Let’s celebrate NOT having the peace of God. Let’s celebrate NOT KNOWING the Jesus of the Bible. Let’s celebrate the doctrines of disgrace.

    Sounds like a con idea to me. Count me out, for God’s sake.


  2. Matt said, on April 5, 2018 at 1:54 PM

    I haven’t listened to the podcast yet but have studied this topic out of necessity and would like to share some thoughts.

    I have been living with manic depressive illness (aka type 1 bipolar disorder) for the last 20 years. I have experienced several episodes of mania and depression. I’ve had all of the symptoms. Like many the illness was not diagnosed properly for 7 years. It’s a beast.

    Nouthetic counseling is an extra-biblical teaching. Jay Adams does not know what he’s talking about:

    “Schizophrenia, for the distinctively Christian counselor, provides no more or no less of a challenge than any other problem involving original sin, personal sin, and the consequences of both. He believes that the resources provided in the Scriptures, coupled with the power of God through His Spirit, are more than adequate. As the Scriptures themselves put it: “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20b, NASV).”
    Jay E Adams

    It’s a game of semantics. Nouthetic teachers like Jay Adams, Heath Lambert, and John MacArthur say that medication is ok for organic illness. So they’re not mental illness deniers, right? The thing is they define an organic illness as one that can be tested for and proven. So yes, biploar disorder and schizophrenia do not exist according to them. There is no test for migraines, but these guys wouldn’t say that sin is the cause and that scripture is sufficient to cure them, and they wouldn’t tell you to not take medication for migraines. It’s not a matter of trusting the sufficiency of scripture, but these false teachers will have people believing that anyone who sees a psychiatrist is not trusting God and the Bible.

    Heath Lambert’s book Counseling the Hard Cases is a bunch of lies. MacArthur wrote the forward. This is some of the worst kind of manipulation and spiritual abuse out there. They are preying on the sick and making merchandise of confused, vulnerable people. While I don’t believe their nonsense I continue to experience the result of their lies through the stigma they create.

    At FBC Jacksonville Heath Lambert and company charge $100 per counseling session for non-members. This is wrong on so many levels! A charge for biblical instruction! It’s also an incentive for membership and to come under church authority. Al Mohler presented coming under authority of church elders as a necessary solution for someone experiencing depression when recently asked a question on his “Ask Anything Tour” stop at UCLA.

    I understand the danger of of seeking medication and counseling without confronting spiritual issues through a biblical approach to sanctification. At the same time teaching that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are simply constructs caused by sin is extremely abusive. Nouthetic counseling is an overreaction that creates more confusion, bondage, arrogance, and endless debates.

    Ed Welch is a Quack!


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on April 8, 2018 at 7:30 AM

      As one who suffered serious depression for years, and a former level 2 NANC counselor, I hear you loud and clear. Susan is also a survivor of depression. I have written extensively on the subject and have been involved with helping other people with this problem for years. However, I hope my commentaries, at least the most recent ones, accurately reflect my beliefs that physiology is involved. The key is a balanced approach. But also, let’s think about traditional Protestant soteriology for a moment. If you think about it, how would this ideology not create depression in people? And historically, especially with the Puritans, that’s exactly the case. Depression has many factors; my apologies beforehand if any of my writing or commentaries reflect the idea that it is all the product of sin; I don’t think that’s the case, but I enter the disclaimer nonetheless.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on April 8, 2018 at 7:50 AM

      Yikes. Your comment got me to snooping around through our archives ( and we have written a ton of stuff on depression including something like an 8 part series on Blog Talk Radio. Our focus has really been what I think is mostly the problem, but I do think there is a remnant of the problem that needs much more understanding. Remember, everything from the fourth century on has been about justification and not Christian living. There is a lot of catching up to do.


  3. Matt said, on April 9, 2018 at 10:35 PM

    Paul, here is the link to the Jay Adams quote about Schizophrenia.

    He is indeed saying that if an organic cause cannot be detected then it’s all sin. Like migraines there is no test to show an organic cause for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. It is cruelty plain and simple to tell someone like me that mania is wholly the result of my own thoughts and actions.

    I agree with your critique that it is wrong to assume that the cause of these conditions is entirely physiological or entirely due to sin. Responsilibily is necessary, and while I wasn’t around in the 60s and 70s I can image why pastors and Christians in general felt incompetent to counsel. Psychology and psychiatry were exploding at this time. I’ve seen psychologists, Christian integrational psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, pastors, and elders. I agree with you that a balanced approach is needed. As you know many psychologists and psychiatrists do not believe in God or sin. Responsibility according to scripture is a foreign concept to them and accordingly SELF gets to decide what is right and what is best. In addition most of the methods in psychology are based on principles that are contrary to scripture. Conversely, the couple of pastors I have met with focused on sin. The major problem I’ve had with the pastors is that while they wouldn’t discourage me from getting medical help the stigma was still there. For example an Independent Baptist pastor I met with gave me some good biblical counsel. I was a mess and had been living riotously. I knew I needed to submit to God and I needed encouragement and direction. Everything the pastor said to me was on point. But, he gave me notes from a book called The Hole of No Hope by Tom Sooter and then 7 years later directed me to a book by Jim Berg who was long time director of counseling at BJU with all of their abuse and rape coverups and controversies. Both Sooter and Berg brazenly stated that mental illness like bipolar disorder is made up. So while the pastor would say that he wouldn’t tell someone not to take medicine he at the same time provides resources that state otherwise. He is either ignorant, disingenuous, or both.

    Berg and Heath Lambert, like many counselors, have used the teachings of Jay Adams for their foundation. You’ll find the same teaching at TMC and TMS. Here is an example of Heath Lambert’s drivel:

    I have never met any of these guys. In the podcast you mentioned that you rubbed shoulders with some of the major players while the movement was growing. In your critique of the counseling wars you said “who are they” (ACBC and PAM) to criticise Adams, stating that they were late to the party after Adams had been helping people for years. As far as I gathered Adams always had the opposite of a balanced approach. I don’t doubt that many were helped by him. At the same time there is destruction in his wake both directly and non-directly. If anybody is teaching that there is no possibility for illnesses like schizophrenia then they are ignorant.

    I agree the Protestant soteriology creates depression and keeps a stream of clients for the biblical counselors. All the Calvinist teachers constantly remind the sheeple how powerless they are and at the same time keep them condemned by the law. Depressing… The belief is that we’re all flawed and sinful and the world is the way it is and we can only look to heaven because we don’t have the power to change here and now. Nonsense! If you are in Christ you are a new creation and have been born again. We have divine power to demolish strongholds.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on April 10, 2018 at 6:51 AM

      I haven’t read through this material yet but Susan and I had a personal relationship with Jay for some time. Unfortunately, people do use Schizophrenia for a ruse to escape responsibility and Jay had several confessions in his office accordingly which did nothing to discourage what you are calling out here. As much of a NANC minion that I was in the past, I never bought into the no medical test = sin routine…even less as I study to be a nurse.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on April 10, 2018 at 7:01 AM

      So, one thing that I want to point out in all of this; Powlison, Tripp, Lambert et al absolutely despise Jay Adams. And, the premise differences are two different gospels per Powlison, and I agree. However, they continue to put it out there that they owe their foundations to Jay. That’s a lie, they don’t believe that for one second. I think I might repost some stuff this morning on this as I had totally forgotten that we have written so much on these issues.


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