Paul's Passing Thoughts

A Review of Dr. Jay Adams’ Message to the Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary Student Body

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 2, 2015

On February 24, Dr. Jay Adams was the presenter for the student chapel service at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. The message was about 25 minutes long and can be observed here: The get to the point, make the point, and get out of town approach has become sort of a calling card for Adams in recent years, perhaps due to his age (86). On the other hand, he has written articles on the importance of only using the amount of words necessary to make a point.

The practice of reviewing books and sermons is something I gave up about a year ago because this ministry is past evaluating symptoms, and is focused on resolving the problem. For all practical purposes, it can be assumed that all Protestant sermons are going to be driven by progressive justification, Luther and Calvin’s false gospel. The Reformed deny this; apparently, in 3.14 of his Institutes, Calvin didn’t really mean to say that justification is progressive when he said it is progressive.

If we would only read every literary drone Calvin ever wrote we would understand that “progressive” really doesn’t mean “progressive” in the progressive sense. Justification and progressive sanctification are “never separate, but distinct.” Distinct? How? Well, sanctification is “justification in motion,” or as the brilliant Dr. Lou Priolo states it, “justification is always running in the background” like your Windows program is always running in the background. Thanks Lou. As one Reformed pastor told me, “Any idiot should know that the basis of something isn’t necessarily a progression.” And like Voddie Baucham told me personally, “That road out there is done, but we still use it.” In the exchange, something became very apparent to me: Voddie is a very large man, and not well acclimated to being challenged, so I left it there.

In other words, thou ignorant lay person, thou grasper of material shadows, something “running” isn’t really progressing when you see it in Luther’s “gospel context.” It takes a real metaphysical idiot to think a cat that is running is progressing. Just shut up and put your money in the plate, thou artisan.

So, why write a review on Dr. J’s message at Mid-America? Because he is one of the few pastors, if not the only one left in the institutional church, that is different. Apparently, Mid-America is friendly to Dr. J’s counseling construct and respects him enough to invite him to speak to those who are charged with indoctrinating. This means I must see Mid-America as different from all other seminaries: they are at least road kill that is still moving.

Furthermore, I believe Adams fathered the only real revival that the institutional church has ever seen since the Reformation. And excuse me, but a civil war isn’t a revival, and people executed for treason are not martyrs even if executed by a church state. A heretic executed by a heretic doesn’t make a martyr. What about the “Great Awakening”? That was spawned by the ideology of the American Revolution, not European political refugees. Sorry.

Even though Adams’ groundbreaking biblical counseling construct didn’t go far enough, it was predicated on the idea that Christians can actually do something along the lines of learn and do. Even flirting with the idea that Christians are empowered by obedience unleashed life and light in this Protestant Dark Age. In one of the most profound historical ironies of all time, the movement that returned the institutional church to authentic Protestantism began in the same year that Adams’ groundbreaking book Competent to Counsel was published. As both movements grew at breakneck speed, a contention between the two camps was inevitable.

The contention led to the unmerciful disparaging of Adams who has unfortunately given his entire life to the institutional church. All of his accomplishments are prefaced with the “but…second generation counseling’” from narcissistic, Platonist, psychopathic liars dressed up in Bible verses. And that’s not enough words, or the best words to describe them, but are the most tempered ones. Remember, his crime was to suggest that Christians can do something beyond gospel contemplationism.

I witnessed firsthand the results of the rise and fall of “first generation biblical counseling.” I saw the before and after at a NANC counseling center where I was an elder. The difference between first generation biblical counseling and second generation biblical counseling is the difference between a counselee handing the counselor a razor blade that was going to be used for suicide and a counselor drawing a map of the counselee’s life and then saying, “Here is where you are located in the gospel narrative” lest imperatives be used in counseling. I hope the Mid-America kiddies knew what they had sitting in front of them on Tuesday, but I doubt it. I am sure they would think that my description of second generation biblical counseling is the overuse of exaggerated words. That’s unfortunate. If people think there is something they can do about their situation, and even better yet, that God will help them, we call that “hope.”

And that brings me to the actual content of the message. Adams expounded on Ezra 7:6 and 10: “this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses…For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” The message was pretty straightforward; as elders, they are to be diligent to learn God’s word through independent study, live the word out in their own lives, and teach others the same. This is no different on any wise in comparison to what Jesus said in His introduction to the Sermon on the Mount.

The fact that an 86-year-old man of God is still actively preaching is in and of itself very powerful, and the need for complete follow-through with the word of God powerful as well, but in our day and age, the message, especially in that venue, lacked additional words.

HOW should one in our day study the word of God? Is every verse about justification? And if sanctification is not the “running” part of justification, how then should our Bibles be read and studied? Sure, seminary students should study the word of God for the right motive, viz, life application, but what do we mean by “life application”? According to the leading evangelicals in our day, we are to only expound on the word of God, and…don’t miss this, “the Holy Spirit applies it” which implies that we don’t actually do the word, it’s done for us. “It’s NOT about what you do, it’s about what Jesus has done.” Do we apply the word ourselves with the help of the Spirit, or are we sanctified by contemplative justification?

In addition, these are clarifications that determine how we will teach others to apply the first two.

My conclusion. Anytime Adams is allowed to come out and play in the institutional church, road kill is closer to not being completely dead, and there is a chance that they will learn to look both ways before they cross the road, but more words are needed.