7 years ago
"Marie, from what I have read of Dr. Adams, he is a behaviorist/moralist. He teaches that changing the behavior is the way to change the heart. At least that’s what I read on the pages of Competent to Counsel. I was so shocked at what I read that I withdrew my application to a seminary that uses Dr Adams as its text. Check it for yourself."Of course, I HAVE read CTC for myself, as well as the books mentioned above and a great many more. What this straw-man argument fails to acknowledge is that Adams himself has written specifically and succinctly on the subject of progressive sanctification in a small, highly readable book, "Growing by Grace". At less than 100 pages, (I read it at McDonalds' PlayPlace last summer), it is a useful overview of what the Christian life should look like for anyone desiring to follow God. He discusses the New Birth and why it is necessary for any true, inner change; then goes on to describe how God enables His children to live lives "worthy of the calling" they have received (Eph. 4:1). This is a basic, fundamental calling of every believer throughout his/her entire life; it is not limited to those in the counseling room. Adams writes,
"When counselors help counselees to develop new biblical habits to replace old ones, for instance, they encourage them to ask God to change not only externals but also to change their hearts. Peter speaks of "hearts trained in greed" (II Peter 2:14). The heart is where the habit is.....The heart must be changed as the habit is; the habit will be changed as the heart is. The one cannot be divorced from the other. Holiness is first and foremost an inside job! To encourage counselees merely to change their outer behavior is to create hypocritical counselees and to make God out to be nothing more than a decorative God who superficially paints over the rotten wood beneath! The biblical counselor must stress prayer, the work of the Spirit, and the Word in enabling him to obey. God is an Interior Decorator."Big, fat 'Amen'! The insight that working on changing the behavior right alongside the heart is one that rings especially true for former addicts. More than once, I have received the question from young women with eating disorders, "When will God change my heart? Did you stop [bulimic behavior] after God changed your heart, or did it all happen at the same time?"
"Not if what he does is done out of love for God! One must have the inner desire to please God when out of duty he obeys a commandment that is not pleasant to obey. A housewife cleans the toilets not because she enjoys the chore but because she loves her family. A counselee may be called on to obey a command out of love for God and his neighbor, even when he does not look forward to the task itself. That is what must be stressed. The counselee must understand that in his inner person, he must not do anything God commands for brownie points; he must obey out of love."(Emphasis mine)