What Is Biblical Counseling?
In simple terms, biblical counseling is ministering Scripture to those who face struggles in life or who desire wisdom or God’s direction. It is based upon an understanding that God’s Word is sufficient to help people (lost or saved) in their struggles and far superior to any of the world’s wisdom so commonly used to help people. Biblical counseling is not a new concept. There are examples throughout the pages of Scripture where God’s Word was cited in instructive and corrective ways to both individuals and groups. There are also examples throughout the history of the church of the utilization of Scripture by pastors and others to provide encouragement and admonition to members of the flock.
Unfortunately, there was a drift away from trusting God’s Word in counseling, and most in the church shirked their responsibility to care for hurting people and turned to the therapeutic culture of the world. In the world, counseling had become a formal, professional discipline (actually, many disciplines: psychiatry, psychology, social work, marriage and family counseling, etc.) and was often either imported into the church or pastors and others referred Christians to the world’s “experts” for help.
In the midst of this sad state, Jay E. Adams “re-discovered” biblical counseling. In his book Competent to Counsel, first published in 1970, Adams utilized the term “nouthetic” (related to the Greek New Testament word that is most frequently translated “admonish”) to describe counseling that focuses on ministering Scripture by speaking the truth in love to those in need of counsel. The Nouthetic Counseling field has grown dramatically since Dr. Adams wrote that first book in 1970. Recently, Mid-America cosponsored the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) Annual Conference with over 3,000 participating.
Even though biblical counseling has grown, there continue to be many voices within the church advocating for the necessity or importance of utilizing the world’s wisdom through the behavioral sciences to effectively provide counsel. The Biblical Counseling program at Mid-America was begun in 2015 by Jay Adams himself, and we are proud to emphasize the sufficiency and superiority of God’s Word for the counseling task in contrast to those who advocate for the use of the world’s wisdom.
Biblical Counseling Education
Having taught at the seminary level for more than 30 years, I have watched ministry training change and evolve. The opportunities for education have expanded dramatically with the offering of online degrees and flexible scheduling. Those called to ministry have many options available to them as they follow God’s calling. Ministry education must stay lashed to a solid foundation and not follow worldly trends.
Mid-America has a commitment to stay true to the founding principles of focusing and building upon the Bible, missions, and evangelism. Biblical counseling is a vital part of a ministry preparation that is committed to this foundation. We continue to build on the foundation Dr. Adams laid and are proud to offer fully accredited Biblical Counseling degrees at the bachelor, master, and doctoral level. Our commitment as a Seminary and College to the Bible, missions, and evangelism partnered with our commitment to train students to effectively minister God’s Word through counseling make Mid-America the best place for you to receive your biblical counseling training.
Mid-America’s Expanding Impact in Biblical Counseling
Under the guiding hand of Dr. John Babler, we’ve seen major developments in biblical counseling at Mid-America.
ACBC Certified Training Center
The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) approved Mid-America as a Certified Training Center.
Cosponsor of ACBC Annual Conference
For the second time, Mid-America cosponsored the Annual Conference of the ACBC, attended by 3,000 participants from across the nation.
Launch of Counseling by The Book Live!
In addition to five fully accredited degree programs from BA to PhD, Mid-America offers two certificate programs. One, Counseling by The Book, was developed by Dr. Babler and is available online. Each fall and spring, Dr. Babler also offers the program live at Mid-America, enabling participants to fulfill an ACBC certification requirement in just four weekends.