Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nouthetic Counseling and Discipleship Training

Brad Bigney shares a Biblical
Perspective on Worry and Fear
This weekend my pastor and I attended the third installment of NANC Counseling and Discipleship Training at Christian Family Chapel in Jacksonville, FL. Over three weekends, we received an introduction to the basics and fundamentals, and we hope to pursue more education in this area in the future. My former pastor, Brad Bigney, was one of the featured speakers. It has been wonderful to sit again before this man whom God used at a critical time in my life. Soon after I first met Brad back in 2000, my marriage fell apart and my wife and I were separated for two and a half years. We are walking miracles, now committed to our family and working hard to raise up our children in the ways of the Lord! We have received such mercy at the hands of our God, who not only forgave and accepted us, but also lives in us and transforms us by His Word. As I sat next to my current pastor, Craig Bowen, it struck me how perfectly God has provided for the care of my family under faithful servants of Christ.

The 30 hour NANC training course was amazing. Some of the other featured speakers were:

Randy Patten - Executive Director of NANC. He is a solid, hard-hitting preacher and teacher with vast counseling experience and lots of insightful lessons to share.
Stuart Scott - Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling at SBTS and Department Coordinator of Biblical Counseling at Boyce College. Dr. Scott served 10 years under John MacArthur at Grace Community Church. He is a pioneer in the art of Biblical Counseling and a man of great discernment.
Jim Newheiser - Pastor of Grace Bible Church of North San Diego County, CA and head of the Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship. He is a wise, balanced thinker.
Nicolas Ellen - Pastor of Community of Faith Bible Church in Houston, TX. He is a great speaker with energy and passion for the Truth!
Dan Gannon, MD and Pam Gannon, RN - This husband/wife team includes an orthopedic surgeon and a registered nurse who share valuable insights regarding medical issues in counseling. They are thorough and extremely helpful in their analysis of challenging topics.
Andrew Rogers - Pastor of Sunrise Community Church in Atlantic Beach, FL. He is a solid preacher and teacher with a gift for exposition and application.

A key concept shared by several of the speakers is the fact that humanity's problems revolve around two primary issues: sin and suffering. All suffering is a result of the fall, but not all suffering is the direct result of one's own sin. Often a counselor must confront sin, but sometimes he is simply called to offer comfort to an afflicted soul. The counselor is a fellow sinner and a fellow sufferer who desires to share God's grace. The goal is always to help the counselee to grow to become more like Christ, pleasing and glorifying God through the situation. NANC's overall perspective included a great deal of humility and nuance, while holding resolutely to the sufficiency of Scripture. Integrationist methods that attempt to reconcile secular psychology with Biblical theology were briefly critiqued, but the main focus was on the power and efficacy of the Word of God itself.

I have met a few people who have gotten a poor impression of nouthetic counseling. My suggestion would be to attend a NANC training course before believing any negative reports about what is taught. The things you actually hear might surprise you!

In conclusion, I highly recommend this training for any Christian who is interested in helping others and making disciples.

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