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Seeing with New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture [Paperback]

David Powlison

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Book Description

Oct. 31 2003 Resources for Changing Lives
"When our gaze awakens to the gaze of God, we have started to see. Seeing clearly, we can love well."

Seeing with New Eyes is collection of essays written over almost twenty years by a respected biblical counselor. David Powlison’s articles are Bible exposition, topical essay, editorial, and sermon. All of them show God’s gracious self-revelation in Jesus Christ and Scripture.

"We learn to see how God sees," writes Powlison. "Learning the gaze of God, we come to weigh life aright. We discern good and evil, fair and foul, lovely and degraded. We become able to pry apart true from false, instead of living in a murk of half-truths and flat lies."

This book explores two main topics.

- Scripture: God’s voice speaks into real life to reveal the gaze and intentions of the Christ who pursues us. How do we embrace, probe, and unravel Scripture?

- Understanding people amid their real life struggles: How do we embrace, probe, and unravel the problems of daily life?

We learn how to see many of life’s struggles through the lens of Scripture, including

- Worry

- Victimization

- Love languages

- Biological Psychiatry

Powlison encourages readers to "think Christianly" by thinking God’s thoughts after him. He asks, "Does God have a take on counseling? Of course, yes, amen." This book seeks to listen, look, and think hard within the patterns of God’s gaze.

God has the real take on things. And God teaches us his gaze!


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Seeing with New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture + Counseling the Hard Cases: True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God's Resources in Scripture + Christ-centered Biblical Counseling: Changing Lives with God's Changeless Truth
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Perspective on Soul Care Oct. 24 2004
By M. Teresa Trascritti - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is an effort to bridge psychology of counseling with "moral-spiritual" issues (249). Powlison believes that "sinners sin instinctively," and though external factors such as having a dysfunctional family or experiencing childhood abuse can contribute to sinful desires or actions in adulthood, his contention is that "sin is its own final reason" (206). People have sinful thoughts or do sinful acts because they are focused on themselves rather than God (230).

Powlison points out that "secular psychology" views "human problems" simply as "things that are not working right," this is because the Bible was not utilized to understand the core issue of all humans, which is their "alienation from God" (192). He explains that if sin is seen as a "willed action" then "complex inner troubles" will be classified under "other categories" (194). In fact, psychiatrists will not explain that a paranoid schizophrenic is yielding to sin, but rather he or she is experiencing a psychosis. Powlison states that paranoid schizophrenia is a "defensive behavior" and actually refers to it as the personification of "powerful unconscious defensiveness" (193). Powlison explains that the underlying issues for schizophrenics are pride and "hiding" (195).

Powlison admits that biblical counselors are seen as "bizarre spiritualizers" because they rely on God, repentance, and faith as their main focus in counseling (251). He speculated that the premise of Jay Adams (the founder of Nouthetic counseling movement) was not fully understood when he said, "to be feeling-oriented is the central motivational problem in people" (215). Powlison believes that the problem with current counseling practices is that the counselor is seen as "primary" while God (if He is even considered at all in the process) is usually "secondary" (178).

This book has helped me to understand the stance of Nouthetic counselors, and to comprehend the reason why they say sin is the core issue of human disorders. However, I did not get a clear indication of Powlison's position regarding psychotropic medications. Powlison's perspective on counseling is a good start in the right direction, but his book does not outline the direction. There is something missing. To counter society's view of biblical counselors as "bizarre spiritualizers," Powlison suggests, "We have work to do to protect and build up the body of Christ" (251). This is not a solution-it is merely a generalized statement. In order for others to see biblical counselors as competent practitioners, they need to find a way to truly bridge the gap between traditional and biblical counseling.
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars People, Problems, and Solutions Sept. 18 2005
By Robert W. Kellemen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Seeing with New Eyes" is the first volume in Powlison's proposed three-volume set on Christian counseling. This first volume he sees as providing the theological foundation for understanding psychological issues from a spiritual, biblical perspective.

The "new eyes" are the eyes enlightened by faith in Christ and restored to sight by confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture to explain life and relationships. "Seeing with New Eyes" offers a theological-intellectual defense of "Nouthetic Counseling" as a biblical counseling model seeking to understand truth about God and humanity through God's eyes as revealed in Scripture.

It is an excellent introduction by perhaps the leading theologian in the Nouthetic Counseling movement. However, the book is also a compilation of many previous articles by the author. Thus at times it reads more as a string of excellent artilces than a tightly woven and thematically consistent book. That aside, Powlison is to be commended for his articulate explanation of the human condition through the lens of Scripture.

Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of "Soul Physicians," "Spiritual Friends," and the forthcoming "Beyond the Suffering: The Story of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Expository Perspective on Counseling July 3 2007
By Steve Carlock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Powlison provides a solid analytical expository perspective on counseling that is helpful and insightful. I personally found the last 200 pages much more motivating than the first 58 pages. His exposition of Ephesians 5:21 through 6:9, several Psalms, and Luke 12:22-34 is excellent. Similarly, his annotated list of X-ray questions (chapter 7) is the best I have seen. His biblical analysis of defense mechanisms is extremely helpful as are his chapters on "Love Speaks Many Languages Fluently" and "Biological Psychiatry". To write this book Mr. Powlison patched together a series of articles that he had previously authored. Unfortunately, his book ends up coming across as just that, a patchwork of articles that lack a uniform purpose other than the general theme of Biblical Counseling. If you have an interest in two or three of the topics I have highlighted this book is probably well worth the purchase.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See others and yourself with new eyes... July 31 2006
By James John Hollandsworth, M.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The title really says it all with this book: we really do need to see ourselves and others with new eyes, with both an accurate paradigm and with individual insight that can only come from Scripture. In this challenging book Dr. David Powlison examines how our "old eyes" tend to see, both through our natural fallen selves and through the warped and inadequate psychological theories that permeate our current cultural (and often "Christian") milleau.

The book speaks to both the reader's personal walk with God and to how we can accurately see and minister to others. Each chapter is on a specific theme, from comfort to worry to God's love to "defense mechanisms." In each Dr. Powlison shares warm and rich insights that are both Scriptural and practical. There are dozens of quotable passages to deeply think through, such as:

Many of the people we counsel live inside a black hole of self-will, misery, and confusion. They need God to break in on their shadowland from which sin has erased the light of the personal and living God.

Seeing With New Eyes is a volume to read, and read again, to fully absorb its God-saturated wisdom and to be changed by it.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradigm shifting Aug. 2 2008
By B. van Caspel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read many books from the usual secular self-help and Christian counseling scene this book really shattered most of their half-truths and revealed the wonder of the cross in a totally different light.

I don't think I've ever felt as challenged about my views and motives nor as in absolute awe of what Christ's death on the cross as was revealed by this book. Unlike many books this is not one big idea padded out, this is real meat as each chapter addresses different aspects of our psychology with the sharp blade of scripture.

I just hate it when you're taught things at church and by well meaning Christian friends that are actually so against the beauty of the cross and our ongoing sanctification. I loved that Powlison addressed much of the popular advice and how their small presuppositions lead people off track on big matters. If there's anything this book will do it won't let you finish it with your pride intact.

I would say if you want to know what counseling that is empowered by understanding the bible, God's character and our place in his scheme then this book is my suggested starting point.

For the sake of your ministry, even if you're just a member of a church, please read this book!

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