What is Nouthetic Counseling? Grace Dependent provided a simple definition in a recent post; today we will expand that definition and gain a clearer understanding of Nouthetic Counseling (NC).
Let’s begin with this statement:
Jesus Christ is at the center of all true Christian counseling. Any counseling which moves Christ from that position of centrality has, to the extent that it has done so, ceased to be Christian.
To avoid any confusion, let me say that I believe NC and Biblical Counseling to be synonymous terms. I am not saying that all nouthetic counselors act biblically all the time, however, NC cannot be anything else but biblical if done properly.
There are three elements to NC that we will examine briefly here:
- Nouthetic counseling involves confrontation.
- Confrontation can be defined as “…one Christian personally [giving] counsel to another from the Scriptures.”
- Confrontation finds it’s foundation in 2 Timothy 3:16,17.
- Confrontation, when done biblically / nouthetically, keeps me from counseling my own ideas or the ideas of others. It keeps me focused on biblical solutions to spiritual problems.
- Nouthetic counseling involves concern.
- Concern can be defined as “…that counseling [which] is always done for the benefit of the counselee.”
- Concern can find it’s foundation in 1 Corinthians 4:14.
- Concern, when biblical or nouthetic in nature, implies that I always have the best, biblical interest of the counselee in mind. It is my duty as a brother in Christ to assist my brother / sister in Christ in the process of progressive sanctification. As they heed biblical / nouthetic counsel, they become more like Christ.
- Nouthetic counseling involves change.
- Change is necessary because “…there is something in another Christian’s life that fails to meet the biblical requirements and that, therefore, keeps him from honoring God”.
- Change is necessary to the degree that I deviate from the duties I have as a believer in Christ (as found in 2 Corinthians 5:9 and 1 Corinthians 10:31). Those duties are, simply put: please God and glorify God.
- Change, or progressive sanctification, can be further defined in Ephesians 4:17-24.
This should provide you with a fairly good idea of what NC is. We’ll examine who should be counseling nouthetically in our next post.