Recently I saw a notice that I had received a Twitter private message from Dr. Aaron New. (You can learn more about Dr. New here.) Dr. New is a self-described “outsider” to the modern biblical counseling movement who has at times been critical of biblical counseling. So, before I read his private message, I took a deep breath and wondered what he might have to say to me.
A BC Outsider Ponders Consider Your Counsel
I quickly realized that Aaron was talking about my latest book, Consider Your Counsel: Addressing Ten Mistakes in Our Biblical Counseling. Then, I thought, “Oh boy, what is Aaron going to think/say about a BC book…?” Here’s Aaron’s Twitter PM to me—shared with Aaron’s permission:
“Bob! I got your book today and sat with it until I finished it in one sitting. It was very good! I suspect we may still have some differences of opinions on the sufficiency issue (though your definition on pg 79 may be nuanced enough to bring us pretty close.)…
BUT, I so appreciated this book. If Biblical Counseling looked and sounded and felt the way you described it in this book, I would lock arms with this type of Biblical Counselor any day (if they would have me, lol).
I have sometimes wondered if the picture of BC that I have in my head is too much of a caricature. And I know I can still be off in my perception (or stereotype, even) of BCers. But it was encouraging to me to see a BCer acknowledge and challenge what I think I have seen in BC too often.
That’s a lot of words to say thank you for this book and for your voice in the BC world. I hope it is / has been well received. And thank you for the reminder/challenge to a nonBC guy that there are good and beautiful and creative ways to bring God’s Word to bear on all our lives.”
A Critic of BC Reviews a BC Book
Then Aaron PMed me again, sharing that he was going to post an Amazon review of Consider Your Counsel. I asked if I could share his review on my blog, and Aaron graciously agreed. Here’s Aaron’s thoughts…
Reviewed in the United States on October 12, 2021
I’ve been reading, thinking, studying, and teaching about psychology and counseling from a distinctively Christian perspective for a long time now. I’ve never identified myself as a proponent of the biblical counseling model. In fact, I’ve been quite vocal in my critique of it at times (emphasis added). Take that for whatever it is worth when I say this: I really appreciated Bob’s book.
In it, Bob identifies mistakes that have often felt to me rather like *hallmarks* of the biblical counseling movement. So I’m glad for Bob to see them as mistakes and offer some helpful correction. Bob and I are going to still have some fundamental differences about how counseling should be done, I think, but he paints a compelling picture of how biblical counseling can/should be done.
The book is brief, but packs quite a punch. Seems well-suited for laypersons, undergrad students, grad students, and professionals – if not as a good introduction to what biblical counseling should look like, then as a reminder.
I hope Bob’s book is well-received in the biblical counseling world. As an outsider, I’m grateful for the reminder/challenge that there are good and beautiful and creative ways to bring God’s word to bear on our lives. And I think I would lock arms any day with a biblical counselor operating like this.
It’s Not Every Day…
It’s not every day that a self-described critic of biblical counseling pens a positive 5-star review of a BC book. So, I’m thankful for Aaron’s encouraging words.
I also appreciate Aaron’s model. Could we in the BC world read counseling books written by non-BCers and charitably respond? If we’re honest as BCers:
- Sometimes we are defensive when non-BCers critique us.
- Sometimes we are hyper-critical of non-BC writings, seemingly with an inability to find any positives, instead highlighting only negative critiques.
Aaron models a different way…
To Learn More
Here are links to free resources related to Consider Your Counsel: Addressing Ten Mistakes in Our Biblical Counseling.
- Live Video Presentation: Consider Your Counsel, 60-Minute Teaching Session
- Outline/Handout: To Accompany 60-Minute Video Teaching Session
- Table of Contents: Learn What the 10 Mistakes Are
- Introduction: Read the Introduction and Learn Why I Wrote Consider Your Counsel
- A Biblical Counselor’s Self-Assessment Tool: Use This 40-Question Tool to Evaluate Your Biblical Counseling Competency.
- Read Chapter 10, Part 1: Learn about The Relationship Between Scriptural Sufficiency and Counselor Competency, Part 1.
- Read Chapter 10, Part 2: Learn about The Relationship Between Scriptural Sufficiency and Counselor Competency, Part 2.
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