The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context
“David Powlison has well served the church of Jesus Christ with this historical survey of the biblical counseling movement. His writing style is informative, engaging, and full of grace. You feel like an old friend is telling you a story by the fireside. At Faith, we consider this book to be so important that it will be a required textbook for several of our biblical counseling training programs.”See All
D.Min., Senior Pastor, Faith Baptist Church, Lafayette, IN
“Understanding history enables us to make better sense of people’s ideas and practices. Biblical counseling has been around now for over forty years, and it has developed. This definitive and reflective examination of its origins in the story and work of its founder, Jay Adams, provides the necessary context to appreciate its important contributions to the Christian counseling world from a second–generation leader in the movement.”See All
Eric L. Johnson
Ph.D., Director, Society for Christian Psychology; Lawrence and Charlotte Hoover Professor of Pastoral Care, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of Foundations for Soul Care
“David Powlison has written the definitive account of a biblical counseling movement that arose in the 1960s and continues to influence the field of Christian counseling today. The reader is taken on a journey through the historical development of nouthetic counseling, its origins, influences, theological content, organizational fault lines, and key figures. Powlison is not a dispassionate outsider. He is clear in what he believes, but he approaches his subject with such a thoroughness and fairness in his research and assessment that he will leave readers from all sides of the Christian counseling field with a new comprehension of the theological, philosophical, personal, social, and cultural components of the movement. This book is a must–read for anyone interested in understanding the rapid and turbulent growth occurring in faith–based counseling in the latter part of the twentieth century.”See All
Ian F. Jones
Ph.D., Director, Baptist Marriage and Family Counseling Center; Professor of Psychology and Counseling, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of The Counsel of Heaven on Earth
“David Powlison and I share a deep commitment to biblical counseling and to church history. Dr. Powlison unites these twin themes in his excellent work, The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context. Everyone interested in the modern biblical counseling movement over the past generation needs to read this well–researched and well–written book. This is a fair and balanced presentation of one of the most important movements in the evangelical church over the past forty years. Readers will be equipped not only with historical insight but, more importantly, with wisdom for how to speak the truth in love.”See All
Ph.D., Author of Soul Physicians, Spiritual Friends, Beyond the Suffering, and Sacred Friendships
“I have watched with much interest the developments in Christian counseling over the past forty years. The issues discussed here are still very important, and this book is a good introduction to them. Even readers already familiar with this movement will learn new things. David’s book is entirely judicious, careful, and balanced in its treatment of Adams, his opponents, and the events affecting the biblical counseling movement. I hope the book attracts a large readership.”See All
John M. Frame
D.D., Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary; author of The Doctrine of the Christian Life
“It is difficult to overestimate the importance of this book. The ‘counseling wars’ of the past half century have ignited passions often characterized by labels rather than by careful analytic thought. This is the first broadly comprehensive history of these developments. Although Powlison is one of the important players, he takes extraordinary pains not to misrepresent those with whom he disagrees. Above all, while trying to be open to truth and insight whatever their source (after all, the reaches of common grace are vast), Powlison faithfully argues that the Christian faith must play a constitutive role in building a robust model of Christian counseling. Amen and Amen.”See All
D. A. Carson
Ph.D., Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; author of The Gagging of God, Christ and Culture Revisited, and An Introduction to the New Testament
What Is Biblical Counseling? In principle, Christians believe that knowing Jesus Christ is the original and abiding ‘cure of the soul.’ But in practice, the church’s provision of personalized care and counsel has often been unthoughtful and unskillful. Psychiatry and psychotherapy (transliterations of two Greek words for ‘cure of the soul’) claim to offer the deep truth that explains a human being.
Beginning in the late 1960s, a biblical counseling movement sought to reclaim counseling for the church and provide a Christian alternative to mainstream psychiatry and psychotherapy. The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context is an informative and thought–provoking account of that movement.
This book is an invaluable resource for those who want to understand the biblical counseling movement. The core chapters were originally a PhD dissertation in history of science and medicine (University of Pennsylvania). This new edition adds a lengthy appendix, containing articles by Dr. Powlison that give an analysis of developments within the biblical counseling movement and in its relationship to evangelical psychotherapists.