Biblical Counseling, Todd Friel

Drive-By Trainwreck Counseling

Biblical Counseling, psychology, Wretched Radio, Drive By Counseling, Suicide, cutting



Someone tweeted this link to me. The video is only a minute long. I watched it. I wanted to scream. The end.

You can hit play to listen to it  – it’s just an audio.  Or you can read the words transcribed below.


* * *

I think about the 18-yr old I met who cut herself in the legs with an Exacto knife every time her dad yelled at her.


I think about the wife that came to me. Her husband had been cheating on her for 26 years, and they had been married for 25.  She was heartbroken, wanted to kill herself.


I think about the man I know, and he’s been married for 13 years, but he’s never been attracted to his wife, and he wants to leave her for another man.


Those people don’t need a mixture of the Bible and psychology. They need to hear about Jesus Christ.


They need to hear about repentant faith in Him. And the area that they go to for their resources has nothing to say about Jesus. In fact they think it is unethical.


In professional licensing standards, you are not allowed to proselytize, which is a fancy way of saying, you’re not allowed to fulfill the Great Commission.


I don’t want to learn how to talk to people from those folks. I want to learn how to people from the wonderful counselor.


You can get Drive By Biblical Counseling and all our Drive By resources at



39 thoughts on “Drive-By Trainwreck Counseling”

  1. I know many people that find their faith in Jesus Christ helpful in counseling and recovery. However, I find that sometimes the church thinks they can wave their magic Jesus wand over people and they just “get over it”. Seems to me that we in the church don’t want to take the long walk with them in their healing journey, like being available at midnight when they are desperate. It might take many years to learn how to not cut. Are we that patient in the church?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Isn’t this called neuthetic counseling, or something? “The problem is not the problem, it’s your own sin,” is basically the whole counseling experience. I, for one, would never again go to a Christian counselor. The first one never gave me any help for dealing with my problems, (which were anusive parents). The second one, when I told her I had to get away from my abusive husband else I’d kill myself, told my abusive husband, “Well, Stan, it looks like you have a choice to make.” My divorce lawyer said she advises her clients to avoid Christian counselors and pastors. But, yeah, I’m sure if I just got right with Jesus and unearthed every single last sin I ever comitted from the womb (which must be why my mother beat me as an infant) everything would be alright. Going to scream now.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The wretched radio person chooses to remain willfully ignorant of what professional counsellors do (“I didn’t want to learn how to talk to people from these folks”), then passes judgment on them? That’s no way to fulfill the great commission either.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Count me in with sarasamomx5. I have never and will never go to a Christian counselor. Ethical “secular” psychologists will respect your religious beliefs, and they’ll give you good information without all of the damaging religious guilt garbage to go with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My ex-NeoCalvinist pastors (senior pastor was a graduate of John MacArthur’s The Master’s Seminary) also subscribed to the Jay Adams’ (dangerous) thinking that the Bible is sufficient counsel for everything in life, i.e. Nouthetic Counseling. It’s malpractice. People with zero training run their mouthes and render opinions about things they have no knowledge or training about.

    The pastors/elders had months of meetings with members about a problem older woman & drew pictures on a blackboard about gossip. The pastors/elders NEVER dealt with the real problem: She’s an alcoholic and should be treated by a physician who should supervise her care. Harm was done to her, her adult children, and to church members.

    The pastors/elders didn’t get another older woman, extremely angry all of the time and lashing out at others, into professional therapy for her unresolved childhood issues. She was incredibly verbally abusive to men and women church members, taking pride in humiliating as many people as she could. Some people NEVER returned to church after being humiliated by her. She also had damaged relationships with family and friends. The pastors/elders inappropriately ordered everyone to “just get along” because “we’re all Christians.” Epic FAIL.

    A dyslexic woman (she gets a check from the federal government and can’t work) said that Jesus could heal her if He wanted to. She refused to get medical care for her disability. Dyslexia isn’t just a reading problem, it’s a memory problem with short term and working memory problems, both of which she had. She couldn’t remember events and went to the pastors/elders and accused church members of lying. Enraged pastors/elders demanded more meetings with church members. This is a brain wiring problem, not a Biblical issue. It’s a medical issue.

    Mental Health issues. Epic fail again.

    I find these people who espouse Biblical counseling for everything to be arrogant and lazy. They actually claim they have something special to offer when they are blinded to their own failings and that people with problems are better served by trained professionals.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Let’s just heap more guilt on those who suffer from a delapidating mental illness. Nouthetic counseling is one horrific joke!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Ive had horrible council from well meaning but ignorant christains. But have had tremendous help from licensed MS level councillors, that didnt cram Jesus down my throat but had a holistic approach (nutrition,spiritual, mental). There are so many things that effect our mental health you cant leave one of them out because we are three part beings. Physical,mental emotional and spiritual.
    For the longest time tried to forget and move on with my life…it didnt work, then tired only spiritual things, didnt work, my mental health issues are effected by passed abuse, by my spiritual health, and my physical health.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. and the “secular” psychologists also have some accountability.

    Seriously. You have sex with someone you are counseling you might lose your job or your license. Same if you take money from them.

    It is pathetic that the Churches care less about ethical lapses than the wider world.

    That’s not even getting into whether there is any attempt at research into effectiveness to see if these things they are doing actually, you know, work.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The following is part of a response to I posted to that thread a few weeks ago, and which I believe is also relevant to this one.

    Based on my previous experiences with Harvest Bible Chapel, which has probably been more vocal in promoting nouthetic counseling than any organization, here is what I would consider to be the practical reality of nouthetic counseling –

    • “Professional” practitioners of nouthetic counseling are, at best, only marginally more altruistic than secular therapists.

    The Biblical Counseling Center (BCC), which was partnering with Harvest Bible Chapel until it separated from Harvest due to the financial and personal misconduct of its Senior Pastor, James MacDonald, advertises its rate for an initial visit as $120 for up to 2 hours, and $80 per hour thereafter. In fairness, the organization’s web site ( says “We work with those who have limited funds. We have never turned anyone away who lacks the ability to pay.”

    • Organizations advocating nouthetic counseling are committed to commissioning as many people as they can within their bodies to practice nouthetic counseling.

    What is the accreditation process for these practitioners? Where is the peer review, the governing bodies, the sanctions against those who abuse the trust placed in them by those seeking counseling? The BCC refers to itself as a “certified ACBC center”, which is a reference to the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors ( Nevertheless, there appears to be no formal licensing or other procedures to authoritatively establish the credentials and qualifications of nouthetic counselors, under common law or otherwise.

    • This “Great Commission” of nouthetic counseling includes pretty much anyone, regardless of temperament, qualifications or other factors.

    The BCC offers a Lay Certificate Program (; “INDIVIDUALS [sic] and CHURCH [sic] ministry leaders may earn Biblical Counseling Center’s highly acclaimed LAY COUNSELING CERTIFICATE. To earn this certificate, you need to successfully complete three courses…”

    • “Treatment” is typically offered for no more than 13 weeks.

    This is the time frame I repeatedly heard referred to throughout the time I was at Harvest, and also when I spoke to practitioners of nouthetic counseling affiliated with other organizations.

    • Nouthetic counseling was developed primarily to serve the interests of pastors, in both making more assistance available to pastors and limiting the assistance their churches would be obligated to provide everyone else.

    The BCC advertises “Free and discreet counseling for pastors and their wives” ( I have also previously seen material from BCC advising that pastors are not subject to the same wait times for appointments and other inconveniences that others may encounter. This is in addition to “treatment” being limited to 13 weeks, most likely for anyone who is not a pastor.

    • Total devotion to nouthetic counseling is considered an article of faith among churches and other organizations that practice it.

    The typical reference I heard at Harvest to anyone who was seen as not being completely and utterly sold out to nouthetic counseling, regardless of the validity of their concerns, was that they were “practicing psychology”.

    • In order to demonstrate sufficient allegiance to nouthetic counseling, its practitioners and devotees must vocally condemn all other forms of counseling.

    I saw this applied to not only secular psychologists, but also 12-step programs, secular treatment centers, and even Christian organizations such as Focus on the Family that were not seen as sold out to nouthetic counseling. I vividly recall a teaching pastor at one of these institutions (not Harvest) condemning 12-step programs from his pulpit.

    While there is a legitimate debate to be had about the value of chemical therapy and various traditional and non-traditional forms of treatment in addressing different conditions, I can’t escape what I find to be a clear comparison to nouthetic counseling, which I consider to be neither biblical nor a form of counseling.

    Given the similarities between the counseling and therapy doctrines advocated by Christ Fellowship Bible Church, Harvest Bible Chapel and Tom Cruise, as he bounced up and down relentlessly on Oprah’s couch and viscerally confronted Matt Lauer on the Today show, it is my contention that nouthetic counseling more closely resembles Scientology than Christianity.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. wretched radio and train wreck counseling. sounded so good to me till i came to this site. i was in a catholic orphanage as a child and was beaten by nuns, mentallly tortured by nuns. i am victim of serial childhood sexual sibling incest. i prayed through all of it. my take away? there is no good, prayer is useless. the good word of jesus? if you god was so damn good why is the world so damn evil?


  11. I have a hard time understanding why Christians have a hard time accepting that the brain is a magnificently complex being. Why would Christians have such a difficult time wanting to know how and why the brain responds the way it does? God did create the brain – in all of it’s incredibly complex and wonderful ways.

    The same people who will fight for the right of a human to be born will fight against that same human when he/she is dealing with a mental health issue.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I think a lot of Christians have very distorted understandings of sola scriptura. Biblical counseling is a misapplied form of sola scriptura taken to an extreme.

    Maybe the Bible could or should be considered sufficient for understanding spiritual matters, but it’s not intended to be a manual for everything in life. It’s not a medical text book, for one thing.

    When I had to put an additional RAM card into my old computer years ago, I didn’t bother seeing what, if anything, the Bible had to say on the subject: I got a book about computer repair, which helped me just fine.

    Turning to the Bible would have done bupkiss for me on that. Ditto with the Bible and depression and other problems.

    The approach these Christian / Biblical / Nouthetic counselors use just does not work for 99% of people.

    When you are in emotional pain, you want a solution that works, period. All of their (the Nouthetic counselor’s) fear mongering tactics about ,”oh no, you can’t trust evil, evil psychology, it’s of the world!!” ceases to mean anything to a Christian person who has been struggling with a mental health problem for DECADES and who wants relief – not more guilt trips from some Christians for trying other methods other than the Bible alone.

    I used to have depression and anxiety. All the spiritual-only approaches the biblical counselors advise you to utilize (such as, beat yourself up over your sin, pray, read the Bible, go to church, focus on Jesus), did nothing, nada, zero to heal me of depression and anxiety.

    How I got out of depression (and decreased the anxiety) is a kind of long story, but suffice it to say, it involved things Nouthetic counselors would not approve of.

    Getting out of depression and lowering my anxiety levels involved doing things like reading books about topics like having boundaries – books by both Non-Christian authors and by the few Christian authors (psychologists) who “get it.”
    The ones who DON’T advise Christians struggling with issues to rely ONLY on church, God, prayer, Bible reading, and other spiritual- only means.

    There are books (by Christians) which explain why some of the approaches by Nouthetic / Biblical counselors are ineffective, stupid, unbiblical, or even dangerous, such as:

    12 “Christian” Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy (free sample chapters)

    Another good one (also by a Christian doctor):
    Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded?: Helping (Not Hurting) Those with Emotional Difficulties by Dwight L. Carlson

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Above I said,

    When you are in emotional pain, you want a solution that works, period. All of their (the Nouthetic counselor’s) fear mongering tactics about ,”oh no, you can’t trust evil, evil psychology, it’s of the world!!” ceases to mean anything to a Christian person who has been struggling with a mental health problem for DECADES and who wants relief – not more guilt trips from some Christians for trying other methods other than the Bible alone.

    That got me to thinking, and I wanted to rant a bit more.

    I think a lot of these Nouthetic type counselor guys are afraid. They’re afraid that God or the Bible will be viewed (by atheists? by themselves, if they admit it to themselves?) as irrelevant all the way in life, unless they can “prove” or convince people otherwise.

    They seem to think if they can cram the Bible down people’s throats for every problem under the sun, that maybe this shows that the Bible is true.

    I suspect their reasoning is like this:
    The Bible cannot be true, and the Christian faith has to be a sham, if it cannot alone meet a person’s every need or solve every problem.

    It’s like they’re trying to take a square peg and force it into a round hole, too. They really try to cram the Bible down everyone’s throats, as though it’s a one- size- fits- all solution. But it’s not. The Bible alone does not help a lot of people (not with problems like depression).

    Years ago, when I had depression really bad, I read a lot of books about depression by Christians, and when the internet came out, and I visited forums for Christians with depression, I saw the same patterns again and again.

    I saw that a lot of other Christians who had depression, anxiety, or other problems, got the same terrible advice and platitudes from Christian pastors, lay persons, and many Christian counselors.

    It’s the same garbage that the Nouthetic counselors promote – blame yourself for your pain, read the Bible, don’t use medications, don’t use a psychiatrist or psychologist, you must lack faith so have more faith if you want healed, just pray some more, etc.
    These bits of advice have been tried for years by a lot of Christians, and it just doesn’t work for most people.

    Have these Nouthetic counselor guys never heard the expression about ‘trying the same thing over and over expecting different results is the definition of insanity’?

    As I said in my post above (I think this is something Nouthetic counselors do not appreciate), you get to a point (I don’t care how devout a Christian you are) where you are so tired of hurting (psychologically) you will consider any solution.

    And I don’t care if an atheist, New Ager, or a Wiccan has an approach that could have healed me of depression, I would’ve used it. You can scream at me all day that I used “worldly” methods to try and shame me, but I don’t particularly care – because I’m over a lot of the anxiety and the depression.

    I think Nouthetic counselors should stop pushing Jesus only or Bible reading as a guaranteed method for healing, because this approach has not and does not work for anyone.

    I can see how a Christian who gets suckered by these Nouthetic counselor guys may end up becoming atheists or agnostics because of this:
    You walk in as “Joe the Bible- reading Christian” seeking help with your depression. The Nouthetic counselor tells you stuff like read your Bible some more, beat yourself up over your sin, and pray some more, and focus on Jesus.

    So you try try try try this approach, you sincerely try their method so hard, but you still have depression.

    After months or years, you finally visit an atheist psychologist who helps you see your problems or yourself in a different light, and voila, your depression lifts. See, your atheist psychologist helped relieve you of your depression – not the Bible/ Jesus/ church/ Nouthethic counselor.

    I think stuff like Nouthetic counselor is a Ex-Christian Making Factory, cranking out some Ex-Christians. Is that really what these guys want?
    Or maybe they just don’t care, as long as they think they are defending their favored brand of doctrine and defending sola scriptura even at the expense of people’s mental health and well-being.

    I am sorry to rant so much about this stuff, but I had depression for a long, long time (and still have some anxiety), and all the junk Nouthetic counselors say today is either the same, or similar, to the junk I heard growing up from Christians (in person, or in sermons, or in books), and it was hurtful, and it did not work.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. kay said,

    APRIL 9, 2016 @ 4:48 AM
    I know many people that find their faith in Jesus Christ helpful in counseling and recovery. However, I find that sometimes the church thinks they can wave their magic Jesus wand over people and they just “get over it”. Seems to me that we in the church don’t want to take the long walk with them in their healing journey, like being available at midnight when they are desperate. It might take many years to learn how to not cut. Are we that patient in the church?

    applause, applause

    I completely agree with everything in your post!

    One point I saw in one book I read (cited above) is that to get through painful things in life, you need to have a friend help you through it (not Bible reading only, or just prayer). Like, a friend who will just listen (non-judgemental like) as you pour your heart out or sit and cry.

    Most Christians, though, don’t want to do this. They cannot be bothered.

    The Christians on blogs such as this one are pretty good about being supportive, but I’m talking about real-life friendships and family. Most of the ones I went to for help didn’t want to invest any time or effort, not even so much as an hour long phone call once every 3 – 4 months.

    That was considered a huge imposition. I was given cliches, judged, criticized. These Christians didn’t want to get off their butts, take an hour out of their month every several months, just to listen (be there for me).

    One of my Aunts kind of let me know a few years ago when I phoned her asking if I could maybe call her every X number weeks or months for support that her old 1960s-era TV show re-runs pretty much took precedent over me calling her for support.

    She wanted me to cater my phone calls around her TV show repeats. Even when I did call (at her preferred times), 99% of the time, she would not answer her phone. She had caller ID and knows it’s me.

    The rest of my family is like that. And most are Bible believing Christians who go to church every week. I wonder what their churches are teaching them, or how they are reading the Bible, that they feel fine and peachy blowing off a distressed family member?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Has anyone here read this book?:

    The Failure of Evangelical Mental Health Care: Treatments That Harm Women, LGBT Persons and the Mentally Ill by John Weaver (link is to free sample chapters on Google Books)

    In the evangelical community, a variety of alternative mental health treatments–deliverance/exorcism, biblical counseling, reparative therapy and many others–have been proposed for the treatment of mentally ill, female and LGBT evangelicals.

    This book traces the history of these methods, focusing on the major proponents of each therapeutic system while also examining mainstream evangelical psychology.

    The author concludes that in the majority of cases mental disorders are blamed on two main issues–sin and demonic possession/oppression–and that as a result some communities have become a mental health underclass who are ill-served or oppressed by both alternative and mainstream evangelical therapeutic systems.

    He argues that the only recourse left for mentally ill, female and LGBT evangelicals is to rally for reform and increased accountability for both professional and alternative evangelical practitioners.


  16. First of all, they seem to believe in a gospel that says “believe in Jesus Christ and all of your problems will be solved.” There is no such promise in scripture. Their idea of “the great commission” then is faulty, their gospel is false. And counseling is not the appropriate time to “fulfill the great commission.” You have no right to pressure someone who is going through a difficult time to believe what you believe. This person is in a vulnerable state and deserves to be protected and cared for, not used to make yourself feel better or more important, or to validate your own belief system.


  17. Daisy said,

    “One point I saw in one book I read (cited above) is that to get through painful things in life, you need to have a friend help you through it (not Bible reading only, or just prayer). Like, a friend who will just listen (non-judgemental like) as you pour your heart out or sit and cry.

    Most Christians, though, don’t want to do this. They cannot be bothered.”

    I agree. Beyond not wanting to be bothered, I also have found Christians to be very uncomfortable with people pouring their hearts out. They’re fearful that it’s “wrong” – we’re never supposed to voice complaints or negative things, we’re always supposed to be happy. Negative things come too close to “gossiping” or being “unthankful.”. And it threatens them because they don’t want to think that God would ever allow them to suffer.


  18. nowamfoundatlast, I am so sorry to read of your experience. To be orphaned is a deep wound; abuse and sexual abuse on top of it, I can’t even imagine what you have been through or how you must feel. I just want to say that I’m sorry, I’m sorry this happened to you, I’m sorry you’ve had to bear this burden of pain and suffering. This should not happen to anyone.

    I really believe that the deepest evil that is done is that which is done in the name of God.

    I don’t know where you are at right now or how you are getting along but I want to encourage you to hang in there. Pain is so hard to bear and it seems like it will be there forever but it does pass and things do get better.


  19. nowamfoundatlast, all of this evil should not have happened to you, for shame, for shame on those who represent ‘the ‘church’ in the name of a false god. Good people should have been there for you and I can empathize with your pain. As Shy1 so compassionately stated, “I just want to say that I’m sorry, I’m sorry this happened to you, I’m sorry you’ve had to bear this burden of pain and suffering. This should not happen to anyone.”

    I am sorry too, for all of your suffering and pain. These atrocities should never happen to the innocent amongst us, ever.

    And Daisy, I can agree with your assessment of the ‘c’hurch’ wholeheartedly. Jesus commands us to share our burdens with one another in comforting, edifying, and building up the true Body of Christ, for it is His love at its finest hour. But most c’hurches that I have attended exhibit only ‘selective love’ based on how worthy one is to the institution in promoting the outward appearance of the religious institution in the community.

    Through all of the suffering and pain you have gone through, those tribulations have added much in the area of wisdom for you and I can relate with much of your testimony. When I opened up about my illness in my ‘conservative, knowing jesus better than any other c’hurch in the community type of social gathering,’ one of the first responses by a man who ‘guest preaches’ in this church said this to my face, “The reason you are sick is because of YOUR sin.” This important religious man in this church said this with a SMILE on his face, leaving me standing there asking, “What in the world just happened here?”

    In another instance when I was suffering and needed a Christian sister from my former church to bear one of my burdens, for I felt that she was safe as I listened to her pour out her sufferings for over two years, she said to me point blank, “Well now, your problem isn’t so bad compared to so and so over there who has it far worse than you.” Once again, I stood there in the c’hurch edifice, stunned and shocked to silence because her problems dominated our visits together, whether in person, via the telephone, emails, and at c’hurch and other social functions. She was a very powerful deaconess, church board member, and superintendent of the Sunday School program and had this charming way of manipulating and controlling people within that particular c’hurch. And yet with all of these great and glorious titles, she lacked empathy and compassion for others, c’hurch and secular life was all about her, lock in step with that wicked guest preacher man who said that I was ill because of my own sin. (And yet, when he had his hemorrhoids removed, we were supposed to feel sympathy, compassion and love for this man, for in fact, the arrogant surgeon told him that ‘hemorrhoid surgery generates far more pain than a pregnant woman giving birth to a baby.’ Now how in the world would a man know this? What fools are running these professions?

    Daisy, what I have discovered over the years, when the fog finally lifted and I was set free from what is exhibits itself as visible c’hurch going, is that most folks in these c’hurches really don’t care about most people, just certain ones that add to their power posturing schemes. They ‘feel’ so sorry for certain ones while plotting evil and wickedness against others for at the end of the day, these individuals desire the worship, the praise and the glory for themselves, which we know to the fullest, that all of these belong to Jesus, who is the true Shepherd, the true Head of His sheep, of His Body. Jesus washes away all of our sins, and yes, you are right, a good and faithful friend with a kind, loving heart and a patient, compassionate ear, can help a person heal and learn to love again.

    And truthfully, from my heart, those loving individuals are not found in most visible churches, at least I have not experienced them there anyway. My personal support system comes from what the church labels “all of those worldly sinners out there” most of whom are born again believers who actually know and love Jesus, and who live His teachings and ways more than the religious institutions. Jesus’ words, “You brood of vipers, you white washed tombs, you people full of dead men’s bones, etc.” applied to the religious folks of His day and very well describe much of what we see and experience today. Jesus was not addressing the unbelievers with these descriptive, name calling, truthful words, HE was addressing those who wore a veneer of Christianity.

    Thank-you Daisy, for your truthful insights. I love what you have to say for it has witnessed to the depths of my soul. Ministry begins with honesty and ends with empathy, compassion, and love in the Name of Jesus. From one sister who once suffered from depression as well (myself), to another beautiful sister, I love you from afar. Please keep speaking out in truth and in love.


  20. ” really believe that the deepest evil that is done is that which is done in the name of God.” This is the very essence of Spiritual abuse! Where one should be safe,lived, accepted as a child of the King, we are judged, criticized and called sinners , redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. This has caused many deep wounds, as we all know.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. @sarasmomx5:

    Isn’t this called neuthetic counseling, or something?

    Just like Scientology Auditing, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. @Shy1:

    I really believe that the deepest evil that is done is that which is done in the name of God.

    “Nowhere do we corrupt as effectively as at the very foot of the Enemy’s altar!”
    — Screwtape

    Liked by 1 person

  23. @zooey111:

    Yikes. What a name! Wretcched Radio?

    Gotta be Calvinist. Who else would masturbate their egos with a name that says “I Am Such a Depraved and Wretched Sinner”?

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Once again, I stood there in the c’hurch edifice, stunned and shocked to silence because her problems dominated our visits together

    Ugh. Some people just like to talk about themselves and check out when you want to talk about yourself. I had a guy (at work not church) who would go on and on about all sorts of things and the only way I could get him off the phone was to talk about something that was not him. Ridiculous! (and illness is not a result of sin = didn’t any of these people read jesus’s comments about blind man? I hate this nonsense.)

    Daisy, I’m so sorry you haven’t had anyone to talk to. I think sometimes that is the benefit of real therapy, just someone you can actually talk to! For me, it’s not that I don’t have family I could talk to, but I feel really private about certain things and I don’t want to talk. But probably should.


  25. I just left a church where I was counseled by someone who had trained through CCEF which also believes that the bible is the answer to all things. One of the pastors at our last church was taking training and he had the personality of a gnat. He did a teaching based on what he learned thus far and I got up in arms at him. He made light of adhd and implied that special needs wasn’t real. I was never one to sit and take it so I questioned him. He had me meet with him. Never apologized. I have a daughter with autism and adhd, but his talk basically stated these things weren’t real. They were just sin.

    CCEF isn’t hard to get certified. The website says this “The certificate program provides a robust education. CCEF foundational courses explain what biblical counseling is, how biblical counseling happens, and the primary place biblical counseling happens. But as students continue in the program, students are able to explore specific topics (for example: marriage, children and adolescents, addictions, depression, anxiety, etc.) in a deeper and more comprehensive way. CCEF’s certificate program can help train pastors and other ministry leaders, but can also assist those in a variety of lay ministry responsibilities.” So any monkey with money can get certified and counsel people. My husband and I got counseling from a different pastor and he didn’t get to the root of the problems. Just basically told me to submit and him to do nothing. I am considering seeking a counselor again but I will not be going to a Christian counselor. They are useless.

    Liked by 4 people

  26. The thing that I find funny is when scripture talks about biblical counseling it never means someone with a degree.

    At the end of the day its your choice as to who you allow to give you “wise” counsel. I have personally seen some of the oversimplifications of biblical counseling. The training I received had some good but also some very bad points. Bad enough that would never pursue certification. But even secular counseling often has a sort of 60’s hippyish kind of mentality when it comes to counseling. Its hard to find a good counselor … anywhere.

    Counseling is hard work… and finding good wise counsel is your life whether is is paid or unpaid counsel is worth its weight in gold… but buyer and user beware! Use your own choices!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. I should not have said biblical counseling in the first sentence… rather someone that gives you “counsel”.


  28. c.o.t.g.

    You obviously know very little about trained, licensed counselors. All of the schooling. All that they learn about how the brain works, the body works, and
    how to handle a variety of problems. There are very good, highly trained, very helpful counselors/therapists/psychologists and no it’s not some “60’s hippyish kind of mentality. It’s hard to find a good counselor…anywhere.” I don’t know where you live. I live in a major metro area and we have very good licensed professionals in our area.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. While there are issues with both secular and nouthetic counselors, and also with both secular and nouthetic counseling methods, it’s interesting that one major difference between secular and nouthetic counselors is that the secular counselors have a much higher level of accountability.

    Secular counselors generally have to obtain masters- or doctoral-level education, which generally includes writing a thesis. They then have to be licensed at a State-level, obtain malpractice insurance and other indemnification, are subject to at least some level of peer review, and are also subject to other forms of ongoing accountability sanctioned both within their profession and by government agencies.

    Nouthetic counselors, on the other hand, apparently don’t need any education other than that prescribed by individual churches, or their partner organizations, in order to counsel. As I pointed out in my post to this blog from April 9th, all anyone has to do to obtain a Lay Counseling Certificate from the Biblical Counseling Center ( is to “successfully complete three courses…”

    One would think that the same churches regularly calling on people to join small groups so they can be held accountable, would insist on the highest possible standard of accountability for nouthetic counselors. However, it would appear the only accountability nouthetic counselors would ever face, is whatever their senior pastors, church boards and/or ministry leaders felt was appropriate. As Oprah Winfrey said in one of her recent Weight Watchers commercials, “I been down that road, honey-child”.

    Several years ago, Kenneth Copeland responded to a Congressional subpoena for information about his ministry’s finances, by refusing to provide the information. His rationale at the time was that the money received by his ministry was God’s, and thus Kenneth Copeland owed no explanation to the governing authorities for what he did with it.

    By contrast, Romans 13, 2-3a (ESV) states, “…whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.” By the same token, Romans 13: 4b-6 (ESV) also states, “…if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.”

    I can’t wait to hear the explanations given by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC, and the Biblical Counseling Coalition ( when they are ultimately called before governing authorities to explain misconduct committed by nouthetic counselors.


  30. I just posted about this article over at Deb and Dee’s blog. I did ask if they wanted to cover it on their blog. If not, Julie Anne, I didn’t know if you would want to discuss it here, or maybe it’s just sufficient for me to post about it in the comments.

    Here is what I said on their blog:

    Which Do You Need More, Counseling or Repentance?

    Most of what I’m reading seems to be anti-counseling.

    Snippets from the page:

    by Shane Idleman

    Too many are choosing therapy over obedience, counseling over conduct, and talking over doing.

    An African pastor was asked, “Why is there so much counseling in the American church but not in the African church?”

    He responded, “In America you counsel; in Africa we repent.”

    …but I do want to remind you that God makes provision for all of our needs through a relationship with Him and obedience to His Word.

    Counseling with those skilled in the Word is invaluable, and desperately needed, but all the counseling in the world will not work if the heart is not right.

    I used to have clinical depression and anxiety. I used to read a lot of books by Christians about depression and anxiety, and they said much the same thing this guy did.

    This sort of view had the result of making me feel guilty for trying any method other than spirituality only (eg, prayer, Bible reading). The spiritual-only method didn’t help me at all.

    I don’t mean to suggest that any Christians who are hurting from mental health problems give up all prayer or Bible reading if it helps them in some way, but I’m concerned for anyone out there who reads that stuff and feels bad about seeing a psychologist or taking medication.

    That guy’s article seems to imply that if you do have some kind of mental health problem that it’s probably due to personal sin.

    That is just not the case with some people. It’s more victim-blaming and might keep a person “stuck” in their condition, when they do need to see some kind of mental health professional or maybe take medication.


  31. The Mercy Girls. These young women enrolled in an influential Christian counseling center for help. That’s not what they found.


    by Jennifer Miller

    These young women enrolled in an influential Christian counseling center for help. That’s not what they found.

    Over her seven months at Mercy, Hayley says staff often denied her requests for Xanax, instead emphasizing prayer as a better way to treat the panic attacks.
    ….When her brother died unexpectedly a month into her stay, Mercy didn’t bring in the certified grief counselor that her parents had requested, she says. According to Hayley, Mercy staff unswervingly held her and others to a one-size-fits-all counseling curriculum.
    …In a larger sense, Mercy illustrates what happens when a hard-line, religiously oriented organization inserts itself into a gaping hole in the United States’ mental heath system. Because organizations like Mercy are barely subject to government oversight, it’s likely not an anomaly.

    …Mercy doesn’t require its counselors to be licensed mental health practitioners, which Christy Singleton, Mercy’s executive director, confirmed in an email.

    ….Whenever Lily brought up her anorexia, her counselor would say, “Have you prayed about it? Have you talked to God about it?” “And I thought maybe I’m the weird one for not having this open heart,” Lily says.


  32. Corinthians 2:14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.


  33. Three courses? THREE??? Good grief! Are these at least credit courses? I mean, do they make any pretence at knowing a bluidy thing, or what?


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