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Should We Listen to the Experts?

I just started reading Jay Adams’ book, “Competent to Counsel.” His thinking is that counseling is not just the job of psychiatrists but the job of the Christian.

His philosophy of counseling is called nouthetic counseling. This is basically biblical counseling.

Anyway, I read today from Acts 27 and it struck me that here we also have a situation where the people listened to the “experts” instead of the Christian…

Acts 27:9-11
Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.

Here we see the centurion listening to the experts – the pilot and the owner of the ship – instead of Paul. This would seem a natural thing as we always think that an expert gives better advice than a novice, but look at the consequences – shipwreck and loss of cargo.

After Paul turned out to be right, they listened to him more seriously…

Acts 27:30-36
And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship’s boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go. As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food. It will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves.

Now it seems that the tables have turned and Paul is the one in charge!

I think there is something here about listening to Godly advice, even in the opposition to the “experts.”
I also think there is something here about when we give advice, even when folks may not listen at first, they will listen when they see through experience that we have given good advice.


About theologian

I'm a child of the King, my Father who is in Heaven, by the precious blood of His eternal Son, Jesus Christ. I am married with children and currently reside in Pennsylvania. I am a Pastor with the Association of Charismatic Reformed Churches (ACRC) working as an Urban Missionary in Chester, PA. Throughout my time in ministry God has also blessed me with opportunities for formal education by which I earned my terminal degree (Doctor of Theology) from New Geneva Theological Seminary in 2013.


5 thoughts on “Should We Listen to the Experts?

  1. I never linked that passage with psychiatry, but I agree with your premise.

    We also must notice that Paul was completely confident in God even though he knew that he, himself, knew nothing of what it meant to be a captain of a ship. I don’t have to know all about psychology to biblically counsel someone either, but must trust in the life changing word of God.

    Posted by Seth McBee | December 8, 2006, 3:00 pm
  2. Larry,

    I’ve a link to Jay Adams site on my blog. I am just about to begin his course work to become certified as a nouthetic counselor. I believe his approach to godly counselling to be very sound and very needed in our churches today. It is a good compliment to any pastor’s ministry.

    Posted by David McCrory | December 8, 2006, 4:20 pm
  3. David,

    I am enjoying his book so far, and i really like the biblical perspective that he is coming from. I have the book on order, and am reading a copy that i borrowed from my pastor now. He also loaned me a video tape series and The Christian Counselor’s Manual…
    So once i finish the current book it will be on to the tapes and the other book.

    I am very much enjoying learning about nouthetic counseling.

    Good luck with your certification.

    Posted by theologian | December 8, 2006, 4:48 pm
  4. I also highly recommend the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation. Their site is:
    http://www.ccef.org It’s biblically solid, deals with heart issues (and not just ‘behavior modification’), and seeks to equip the church to be used of God in the body of Christ.

    Posted by rpcb | December 8, 2006, 4:57 pm

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