Science in Christian Perspective

Letter to the Editor


Unfair to Jay Adams
Betsy E. Dart 

Cornell University student 
429 Mitchell Street Ithaca, 
New York 14850

From: JASA 29 (March 1977): 47-48.

The article "An Analysis and Critique of Jay Adams' Theory of Counseling" by James Oakland was most unfair in his presentation of Adams' material. He tried to discredit Adams' whole theory as nothing more than an opinion, supporting his argument by a string of misrepresentations of the material in Adams' Competent to Counsel. Oakland's careful selection of "evaluations" to include in his article made certain the onesidedness was preserved. Having read Adams for myself, I find Oakland and company far from accurate or fair. Must the Journal stoop so low?

The most glaring flaw in Mr. Oakland's article is that after accusing him of wrongly interpreting Scripture, he never offers a more appropriate interpretation which would discredit the nouthctic method. The basic argument comes down to one of how much can God be trusted? Adams says that God knew what He was doing when inspiring the Bible, referring to 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for correction, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto all good works," Evidently Oakland disagrees, but not just with Jay Adams.

By saying that the Bible cannot thoroughly furnish a man "unto all good works" is to say that man is somehow wiser than God. The impression left by Oakland is that psychoanalytic theory is able to put together a whole man without the Scriptural model, and the theory supercedes what is "out-dated" in the Bible. Our generation is not the first to see such a departure from Scripture: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:22) Another area where Oakland has sadly gone off the track is in the area of sin. All the "evaluators" are worried about calling "mental" patients "sinners" because of a fear of offending the client. There should be no fear of offending the person in this respect, because his need for God is evident.

Rosemary Camilleri accuses him of being a "frightened evangelical frightened of sin." But it appears to me that the
people who Oakland cited in his article are the ones who are afraid, afraid of sinners' ridicule. Otherwise, they would be more willing to acknowledge the consequences of sin (in a sinless world, there would be no mental disorders). Adams is merely, and rightfully, calling a spade, a spade. 

What is the ultimate effect Of Oakland's system of nonChristian psychiatric counseling? People are allowed to continue evading their responsibility before God, and to continue masking and denying their guilt for negligence and disobedience to the Scriptures. The Bible is made to appear incompetent where it claims expertise. People never learn how to use the Bible effectively for future problem solving on their nun. So he keeps returning to the psychiatrist all his life, never really solving the problem for good, never getting saved because the psychiatrist was afraid to tread on his toes. This process keeps the psychiatrist in business now, but I doubt if his eternal account can bear much fruit.

Adams' system provides for guiding a person to a lasting answer, and also to a Book which can guide him his whole life. The homework ridiculed so fiercely by Oakland, is merely a tool which forces a person to stop relying on someone else to solve his problems for him, and to start recognizing, through Scripture, his own mistakes, developing an ability to solve his own problems. This will produce people who are willing to stand firm in their faith, and can endure a testing "by fire." The counselor may not soak as much money out of a patient through years and years of extended counseling, but his eternal account with God will bear much fruit. For this effort, Jay Adams should be praised.