Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Church Should Ask Dr. Jay Adams for Advice on How to Save Itself

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 22, 2019

ppt-jpeg4“The proof of my theses can be found in the movement that was spawned in the exact same year that began biblical counseling, 1970. Pay attention, this ends the argument.”

The internet is a wonderful thing. Right now, I am only writing articles that are low-hanging fruit because I am building a two-story apartment at the end of the Potter’s House. And trust me, what trends in the church is a bounty of low-hanging fruit. But the internet is also a wonderful thing for catching up on people you haven’t heard about for a long time. This morning, I wondered if Jay Adams was still alive. If he wasn’t, though a prominent church figure, you wouldn’t necessarily hear about it because the church threw him under the bus circa 2008.

Why? Well, he actually helped people as the father of biblical counseling and that is bad for church business. To whatever degree you help church people, that means they need church less, which means less power and control over people by the church and we can’t have that. Adams made the mistake of implementing too much commonsense in his theology and found himself in the middle of the two primary church camps: one driven by control-lust, and the other driven by Quietism. In reality, Jay Adams could have saved the church because for the first time since its conception it was living up to its billing: people were actually being helped. Look, historically, there has never been a true church revival. The so-called Great Awakening was spawned by Enlightenment thinking and Gnostic shills (church pastors) rode in on their horses and took credit for it. Name one so-called “revival” that had any lasting affect at all. You can’t, by the church’s own admission, it is presently a “train wreck” according to the lead singer of Casting Crowns, Mark Hall, and many others. I contend that the only real revival in the church that had real-life substance was Jay Adams’ biblical counseling movement.

The proof of my theses can be found in the movement that was spawned in the exact same year that began biblical counseling, 1970. Pay attention, this ends the argument. That year is absolutely monumental for the church. In a recent email account set up to receive notes to Adams on his 90th birthday, we find, Indeed. But what else happened in 1970? Answer: the beginning of the “gospel recovery movement.” Say what? 2000 years later the very gospel had to be recovered? “Yes” according everyone in the church who is anyone. Name them, including John MacArthur Jr., they were all part of it. And by the way, no true gospel…no true gospel fruit.

Do you want to talk about a “scandalous gospel” touted by the movers and shakers of the second movement? The true church gospel of the Protestant Reformation was re-discovered by a Seventh-Day Adventist named Robert Brinsmead and he was invited to the hallowed halls of Westminster Theological Seminary to bring the who’s who of Protestant orthodoxy up to speed on what the true Protestant gospel is. That’s just fact, and fact alone. This resulted in professors at Westminster packaging this re-discovered gospel into a counseling program that contended against Adams’ program. This resulted in a Calvinist civil war within the church.

What was the crux of this civil war? Two different gospels…period…end of fact. The recognized leader of the contra movement (David Powlison) even stated such in no uncertain terms while doing a seminar at John Piper’s church. So, let’s call on our commonsense to draw some logical conclusions in the form of a rhetorical question. There were Protestant revivals prior to 1970 when the Protestant brain trust didn’t even know what the authentic Protestant gospel was? Calvinism? Which Calvinism? 1 point? 2 Point? 3, 4, or 5? No, which gospel? is the question.

Adams doesn’t have Calvin or Luther right either, but the key here follows: Adams is half right and half right is the best the church is ever going to get. Adams, while being a staunch Protestant, counsels people based on the abilty of believers to do things (as in, they are really the ones doing it), and a separation between Justification and sanctification. That was NEVER Protestantism. Calvin’s “two-fold grace” is really two-fold salvation; sanctification is just as much about salvation as justification. The church had problems prior to 1970, but was right enough about the gospel to maintain its billing that Churchians are good people who can really change. A return to the authentic Protestant gospel has plunged the church into something that doesn’t even make a bad joke. Is there anyone out there who will deny this with a straight face?

Adams would agree that believers are literal co-laborers with the Spirit in sanctification, and the key to that co-laboring is a practical application of a historical-grammatical understanding of Scripture to life. That was NEVER Protestantism either. But for the first time in church history, people were really being helped, and in areas that secular psychology was unable to help. That’s another fact and I witnessed it firsthand. Fact is, Adams’ biblical counseling saved my life. And by the way, I was openly mocked by the elders of the church I last attended for saying so.

Only thing is, I could have been cured a lot sooner with a dual perspective on the law; this is where Adams’ counseling is lacking. The law for those under law (a call to be justified to escape condemnation) is different than the law for those who are being sanctified by their own obedience while helped by the Spirit. Because I only had one perspective on the law like all good Protestants, I never knew for certain what my motives were while applying Adams’ practical application to my life. Was I doing it to love God and others, or was I doing it to justify myself? This doubt hindered my recovery time. With a proper Romans 8:2 perspective on law, one knows that it is impossible to justify yourself through obedience using the law because the law that condemns has no jurisdiction over you; you literally died with Christ.

The other law, the one for sanctification, not the one that convicts the world of sin and the judgement to come, is what we use to aggressively love God and others with no fear of condemnation. It is the law that we are under after being resurrected with Christ; it is “faith WORKING through love.” The other law is our manual for loving God and others, and that is done by applying God’s wisdom to our lives in how we think and what we do. In contrast to the New Calvinist anti-gospel now endorsed by most evangelicals (rediscovered by the true father of the movement, Adventist Robert Brinsmead), it IS about what we do, NOT what Jesus has done and is still doing as a second substitution for our love. If you conflate justification and sanctification, that also conflates love and works making both the antithesis of faith. That necessarily denies the new birth and how it changes our relationship to the law.

Nevertheless, what Adams has right about the gospel is much better than the authentic Protestant version and its rotten fruit. I witnessed what the Adams revival did in people’s lives and especially when it peaked during the 90s. What the New Calvinist movement has done to the church since 1970 is abundantly obvious. Who will deny that our secular society has a totally different view of the church? Who will deny the mass exodus that is taking place? And, all since the “gospel recovery movement.”

Jay Adams will never agree with me on Luther and Calvin, and he will certainly never agree that he is the best thing that ever happened to the church. But that’s where I stand. The church should at least try to recover its former glory prior to 1970 when it functioned on biblical generalities, and especially its testimony of the 90s that caused the secular realm to take note in a positive light. During the 90s, I was proud to be connected with church. FACT: I witnessed, firsthand, secular psychologists sending their “hopeless cases” to the church. I witnesses, firsthand, people being weened off of psychotropic drugs after being told by psychiatrists that they would need those drugs the rest of their lives. What was the response by the “gospel recovery movement” that started the “second generation” counseling movement? Supposedly, Adams’ counseling construct was only making people in the church, “better Pharisees.” In my mind, Randy Patton, David Powlison, Paul David Tripp, and others, were/are the real Pharisees who in the same way attributed the works of the Holy Spirit to Satan.

Yes, I know, if they looked at what the first generation biblical counseling did and attributed the fruits to Satan, what hope is there for them? Not much, and the same goes for everyone else who threw Adams under the bus with their silence and capitulation like Dr. John Street. But I see where Adams still has some who have bought into his counseling construct. And he still lives. For those who can’t make heads or tails out of what New Calvinism is doing to the church and wail about it nonstop, here is a chance to at least return to the 90s. It’s a single perspective on law which is a hindrance, but because of its separation of justification and sanctification it will yield much better fruit than you have now. Remember this if you forget everything else in this post: the present insanity propagated by TGC, SBC, and T4G is totally driven by the “second generation” counseling construct that waged war against Jay Adams. Oh, I know, they claim fruit as well, but let me tell you what it is: it is a stoic indifference to life based on all reality being a gospel narrative. They have the demeanor of complete inner peace with a silly grin on their faces while the testimony of the church can be likened to a septic tank in total disrepair.

Adams would totally disagree with me on one more thing: I believe the church is a hopeless case. Its very beginning is the institutionalization of Christ’s assembly. “Church history” is just that, church history and nothing else. That’s why I believe one of the few shinning momments in its morass of political intrugue, confusion, and religious wars is the first generation biblical counseling movement. If you want some hope for saving the church why not call someone who also has hope for the church and proven results? Since I love you and want to give you the best advise I can give you under the circumstances, I would advise the following:

Call Jay Adams and listen to him.


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