CCEF is the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation, which was founded by Dr. Jay Adams and Dr. John Bettler. We have been very critical of CCEF over the years and have offered two critiques about them. Those two critiques can still be obtained from this ministry. (See items AP04 and AP05 on the enclosed Study Materials list.)
One of our many concerns about CCEF is that one of their counselors recommended the Alcoholics Anonymous model of 12 Steps and used a 12-Step type of approach. In response to that criticism, David Powlison, a popular CCEF counselor, said, "I cant imagine any CCEF staff person mentioning the 12 Steps, since we ruthlessly critique it" (letter from Powlison, 1/29/93, emphasis added). We responded that if the counselor in question would write to us and deny the accusation we would correct our critique accordingly. To date no such denial has been received.
Since that interchange two books have been co-authored by Dr. Ed Welch, who is Director of Counseling at CCEF. The two books were published this year. The book titled Addictive Behavior is written for the "counselor," and the book titled Running in Circles: How to Find Freedom from Addictive Behavior is for the "counselee." Both books are supportive of 12-Step programs and recommend some of the very books against which Christians should be warned.
In Running in Circles, Welch and his coauthor, Gary Steven Shogren, discuss support groups (pp. 84,85). Regarding attending such groups, they list "Reasons for Going" (pp. 85,86) and "Reasons against Going" (pp. 86,87). They conclude:
The "Resource List" in Appendix A, the books listed in their section "For Further Reading," and their list of "Recovery Devotional Guides" are more than enough to condemn this book for Christian consumption.
Without an appropriate warning, Appendix B displays "The Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions of AA." From the content of Running in Circles, it is obvious that Welch and Shogren are pleased to list them for the reader.
In addition to providing, recommending and listing support groups, books, and recovery devotional guides, Welch and Shogren provide misinformation. For example, they say, "The element of surrender in the Twelve Steps was taken mainly from Romans 6; just look at Step Three." There is no footnote for this statement. Nor could there be. We describe how the 12 Steps came about in 12 Steps to Destruction:Codependency Recovery Heresies (p. 109).
Another example is the following statement:
While Matthew 6:34 may sound like the slogan "Just for Today," it is doubtful that it originated from there.
The book Addictive Behavior includes an "Addiction and Recovery Books" section listing many of the same recovery books as are listed in Running in Circles. One of the many bad examples of what they recommend in both books is Melody Beatties book Codependent No More. Here is the description given in Addictive Behavior:
Not a word of warning. Not a suggestion here that there is anything wrong with self-love as the treatment. Here is the description of Codependent No More given in Running in Circles:
Not a word of warning is given for that book or any other listed under the section "For Further Reading." We contend that Welch and Shogren should warn against that book, as well as many of the others on the list.
In the Preface to Addictive Behavior, Welch says:
We disagree with Welchs evaluation of his book. While it may be "written specifically for the struggling addict," it is lamentable to see that Welch regards his book as "biblical." It is sorely contaminated with psychoheresy.
These two books about addiction reveal one additional fatal flaw of CCEF through its Director of Counseling, Dr. Ed Welch. Welchs blatant support of the 12 Steps certainly does not support Powlisons contention that "we ruthlessly critique it."
Welch and Shogrens book Addictive Behavior is one of ten books in the "Strategic Pastoral Counseling Resources" series. In the Series Preface, David Benner introduces what he calls "Strategic Pastoral Counseling." Benner says:
Benner describes the three states and the five sessions associated with them. Welch uses Benners format for five counseling sessions in five chapters of the book Addictive Behavior.
It is clear that Welchs book is connected to Benners book Strategic Pastoral Counseling, since Welchs book is in this series, includes Benners preface, and follows Benners counseling format. Therefore, logic would lead us to conclude that Welch agrees with Benners views on counseling.
In his book Strategic Pastoral Counseling, Benner describes Jay Adams Nouthetic counseling and says:
Benners characterization of Nouthetic counseling and his presentation of the views of pastors towards biblical counseling and psychology should have been enough to settle any alliance with anyone who understands the intent of biblical counseling and the flaws of psychology. Benner says:
That statement should be reprehensible to anyone who is at all sensitive to the destructive power of psychoheresy in the church and to those who claim that they are not integrationists. CCEF and Ed Welch, as its Director of Counseling, have some real explaining to do unless they are finally ready to admit that recycling is really integration after all.
Readers interested in examining Welchs books can purchase them through regular bookstores. Running in Circles (108-page trade paperback) and and Addictive Behavior (196-page hardback) are both published by Baker.
PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries, 4137 Primavera Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93110
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