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Biblical Counsel: Resources for Renewal

Steven C. Kettler (Keezletown, VA: Lettermen Associates, c1994,
827 pages, $37.00)

Reviewed by David Powlison

   Biblical Counsel is a "book-length bibliography of author-
itative works explaining the solutions found in the Word of
God for the problems of everyday life."  Steven Kettler has
compiled references to almost 6,000 works (from 2,500 authors),
including books, audio and video tapes, pamphlets, sermons,
software, journal articles, and newsletters.  Many of the
citations are annotated with a brief description of the contents.
   This book's intended audience is roughly the same as that of
the Journal of Biblical Counseling, "persons involved with
helping others: all Christian workers, pastors, elders, deacons,
Christian counselors, lay Christian counselors, Sunday School
teachers, and youth workers.  Physicians, medical professionals,
social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, financial
consultants, nursing home workers, and managers will also find
it useful."
   The title--Biblical Counsel--makes a significant commentary on
contemporary views of people helping other people.  Kettler
recognizes that "counsel" is a far broader term than
"counseling," as that latter word is usually understood in the
twentieth century.  There are vast resources of wise counsel that
ought to be brought to bear for counseling to worthy of the
adjectives Biblical and Christian.  Kettler includes many classic
books on theology, Biblical exegesis, prayer, small groups,
evangelism, preaching, and Christian living.
   Kettler seeks to draw from historic, orthodox Christianity.
His sources span the centuries, from Augustine to Jay Adams, from
John Bunyan to John MacArthur, from B.B. Warfield to Martyn
Lloyd-Jones.  All references are to books in English.  He lists
numerous audio tapes and books by Biblical counselors from the
National Association of Nouthetic Counselors and from the
Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation.  His orientation
is heavily toward nouthetic Biblical counseling and toward
Reformed theology.  But he casts a wider net, disclaiming that
he agrees with every author's views and disclaiming that authors
always agree with each other.  He includes references to a number
of integrationist counseling approaches: e.g., Steve Arterburn,
William Backus, Gary Collins, Fred Dickason, and E.L.
Worthington.  And he cites from a number of non-Reformed
evangelicals: e.g., Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, Chuck
Swindoll, and A.W. Tozer.
   The first three chapters are the heart of the book (and fill
about 400 pages).  Chapter One, "The Foundation of Biblical
Counsel," cites classic Protestant and contemporary works on
theology and the means of grace.  Contrary to the popular
self-help psychologies of the 1980s and 90s, wise counseling
expresses a comprehensive theology and a comprehensive vision of
church life.  How many counseling books even care about the
category "Book-length Presentations of the Gospel Message of
Salvation" or the 50 listings under that topic?
   Chapter Two, "Biblical Counsel," helps readers to pursue
special counseling interests.  It arranges sources under some
100 topical headings, including crisis counseling, apologetics,
affliction, anger, drug abuse, sin, worry, homework, physiological
problems, and so forth.  Under some headings, where there was
little if any Biblical counsel in print, Kettler listed other
sorts of works, secular or semi-Christian, in order to prime the
pump for discerning readers.
   Chapter Three, "Special listings," contains about 30 pages of
annotated listings of Puritan practical works as well as 30 pages
of conservative Bible commentaries "containing Biblical counsel."
It also lists the complete works of Jay  Adams, Martyn Lloyd-
Jones, John MacArthur, J.I. Packer, Charles Spurgeon, and Charles
Swindoll, among others.  I found that Kettler had about ninety
percent of Jay Adams' books and pamphlets contained in the
bibliography in this issue of JBC. . . .
    BIBLICAL COUNSEL chooses books that are vigorously
Protestant, vigorously practical, and vigorously English-
speaking. The literary genre, annotated bibliography, is usually
associated with scholars. But BIBLICAL COUNSEL will be of more
interest to practitioners than it will to scholars, both because
of the strengths and the limitations of Kettler's purposes in
selecting, arranging, and annotating.
    Kettler's system of numbering books merits a word of explana-
tion. It is not immediately obvious to the reader and is not
explained in the text. Once explained, however, it is
straightforward. Kettler assigns each book a five digit number.
The first digit identifies the chapter in which the book appears
with its full bibliographic information and, often, with an
annotation. The last four digits number the books consecutively
through that chapter. For example, item 30468 appears in Chapter
Three as the 468th new listing within that chapter. (30468 hap-
pens to be the "Journal of Biblical Counseling.") Many items are
listed in several different places. When a book has multiple
listings, the reference number is placed in brackets in each of
the secondary listings. So Jay Adams' WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU
KNOW YOU ARE HOOKED? has its primary citation in Chapter 3 as
30100 among Adams' collected works. But it also appears in Chap-
ter Two under the topic Drug Abuse as [30100]. If you had first
encountered this pamphlet in Chapter Two, you would know to look
at the 100th listing in Chapter Three to find the full citation.
One wrinkle in this system is that books that first appear in
Chapters Ten and Eleven are assigned six digit numbers, and the
first two digits (either 10 or 11) identify the chapter.
    The book contains a complete index of authors, titles, and
reference numbers--almost one hundred pages. Unfortunately, one
feature that would have improved access to information is mis-
sing: page numbers. Readers can locate the primary listing with
reasonable ease via the reference number and some turning of the
pages. But it is not possible to locate secondary listings except
by happenstance. In effect, BIBLICAL COUNSEL has a one-way system
of cross-referencing. You can get from secondary listings to pri-
mary listings, but you can't get to the secondary listings. This
is something which the author hopes to revise in a future edi-
tion. [Authors are often an excellent sourse of specialized
information and the author/title index was intended to lead the
reader to other works by the same author. It only supplements the
Scripture Index and the 27-page subject index. The extensive "sa"
(see also) cross referencing of subjects in the subject index,
overcomes, to a degree, the shortcoming mentioned above. Rapid
access to specific information, made possible by the thorough
indexing, is, we think, one of the strength of this reference
work. -- Publisher's Comment]
    Let me say one final word about this book. BIBLICAL COUNSEL
is not bedtime reading unless you are the sort of person who
reads the dictionary for recreation. But if you peruse this
reference book, I can almost guarantee one thing; you will buy
another book that you never knew existed until you first saw it
listed here.

Source: "The Journal of Biblical Counseling," Volume XII,
        Number 2, Winter 1994, David Powlison, editor. The
        journal is a publication of the Christian Counseling
        and Educational Foundation, Laverock, Pennsylvania.

________________________________________________________________


Biblical Counsel: Resources for Renewal,
Steven C. Kettler, compiler (Keezletown, VA: Lettermen
Associates), paper, 827 pp., $37.00

    Kettler is an independent writer and a diligent worker
                       for our Lord.

    You won't ever have seen anything like this in your lifetime.
Under the 440 topic headings, you will find no less than 5,700
works, cross-referenced for easy access. Many of the works have
pertinent and helpful comments under the title. There is an
author index in addition to the listings under the 440 topics.
    This bibliography is right up to date, giving recent publica-
tions as well as the older ones. There is a Scripture index, and
also an index of subjects. Among the topics are commentaries,
classics, biographies, small group resources, counseling books,
master listings of works by noted authorities, including books
endorsed by them, an unusually large listing of books on the
teachings, counsel, and sufficiency of Christ, books that deal
with Christianity in the workplace, works exposing modern myths,
and a listing of the best books both in print and out of print.
    The authors list reads like a Who's Who in Christian history,
right up to today's authors. Included are the titles and comments
of Cyril J. Barber in the 2-volume set, THE MINISTER'S LIBRARY.
    In using this extensive bibliography, Kettler suggests that
after selecting a subject for study, it is a good idea to go to
the Scripture index and note down the Scriptures that deal with
that subject.
    Librarians, especially church librarians, will find this book
very helpful in ministering to readers, referring books to the
readers that deal with the subject they are interested in study-
ing. There is an excellent page telling one seeking God how to
become a Christian, and this is followed by a 3-page listing of
excellent books that should be helpful in such a quest.
    We certainly recommend this book for every avid reader, stu-
dent, librarian, researcher, Bible teacher, and pastor.
                                             -- Jay P. Green, Sr.

Source: "News and Views of the Christian Literature World,"
        December 1993/February 1994, p. 32, P.O. Box 4998,
        Lafayette, Indiana 47903. Jay P. Green, Sr. is the
        editor. He is the founder of Sovereign Grace Publishers
        and Christian Literature World, Inc., a Christian
        publisher and book seller, that has published many of
        the Christian classics. This review also appears in
        a compilation of Christian book reviews by Jay P. Green,
        Sr., BEST BOOKS IN PRINT (Lafayette, IN: Sovereign
        Grace Publishers, 1995).

________________________________________________________________


Biblical Counsel: Resources for Renewal. An annotated topical
bibliography of works containing biblical counsel for persons
seeking lasting solutions to life's problems
Compiled by Steven C. Kettler.
Lettermen Associates, Keezletown, Virginia, USA, 827 pp., pbk.,
US$37.00

    This book contains 5700 works cross-referenced under 440
topical headings, and this reviewer has not checked them all out,
nor if he had would he be able to evaluate the character of such
a mass of works. Chapter 1 has a list of the basic books in this
Bibliography, and makes interesting reading, although there is a
significant weight in favour of some which surely must be of only
limited interest. However, having said this, it is a fair conjec-
ture that anyone seriously interested in Christian reading will
find this book fascinating reading and essential to have.
    Some books have a brief resume, other books of more signifi-
cance are given useful reviews. Such a book could have very
wide influence. Thus there is a five-page listing of all works by
Dr. Lloyd-Jones and books recommended by him. There is a section
on Reference works and another on Christian Biography. There are
contributions by Iaian Murray, Cyril Barber, Jay Green, J.I.
Packer, John MacArthur, and may others.
                                              -- John E. Marshall

Source: "The Banner of Truth," Issue 369, June 1994, The Banner
         of Truth Trust, The Grey House, 3 Murrayfield Road,
         Edinburgh EH12 6EL, P.O. Box 621, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
         17013, USA, P.O. Box 474, Riverwood, N.S.W. 2210,
         Australia. John E. Marshall is the book review editor
         for "The Banner of Truth."


________________________________________________________________


             Biblical Counsel: Resources for Renewal
           An Annotated Topical Bibliography of Works
         Containing Biblical Counsel for Persons Seeking
              Lasting Solutions to Life's Problems

Compiled by Steven C. Kettler, Keezletown, Virginia: Lettermen
Associates, c1994, $37.00. Reviewed by Pete Hurst.

    In this work, Steven Kettler has cataloged 5700 works cross-
referenced under 440 topic headings.  This book has to be one of
the most extensive bibliographies on Christian literature and
information available today. It lists everything from books to
audio cassettes to software.
    BIBLICAL COUNSEL must be understood in the broadest sense of
the term. This is not a book that limits itself to counseling
works properly so called, but essentially includes any Christian
literature, because all of life is affected in one way another by
God's Word. Thus, there are listings of everything from
canonicity, to angels, to commentaries and Christian biographies.
    Introducing his work, Kettler states his purpose to be to
give "authoritative works explaining the solutions found in the
Word of God for the problems of everyday life." This is a noble
goal; however, because it seems to list almost every Christian
work there is, some of these works are going to offer con-
tradictory authoritative solutions.
    The chapter classifications and table of contents are
arbitrarily chosen by the author. Some might disagree with cate-
gories he chooses, but here really is no right or wrong way to do
this. However, I believe the book could have been vastly improved
if the sub-headings of every chapter had been included in the
front of the book. This would allow someone to access various
listings at a glance without having to turn to a particular chap-
ter to check out which sub-heading the author listed. [The 27-
page subject index includes all sub-headings. -- Publisher's Com-
ment]
    Descriptions of various works and their value are taken from
whatever the publisher, author, or reviewer said about the work.
Therefore, you will not get Kettler's opinion. Descriptions are
much like what one would read from a library card catalog.
    In conclusion, one must appreciate the author's labors in
bringing so much information on Christian resources together in
one place. For this reason alone, this volume is most helpful and
welcomed.
                                                    -- Pete Hurst

Source: "The Presbyterian Witness," Vol. IX, No. 3, Summer,
        1995, p. 36. Byron Snapp, editor, 403 Whealton Road,
        Hampton, Virginia 23666-2887.


________________________________________________________________



Walt Hibbard Book Review of Biblical Counsel: Resources for Renewal,
October 1996

HOW OFTEN HAVE you been at a loss when it comes to selecting the
most worthwhile Christian books to add to your library? Most of
us have experienced these times frequently. Here is an 821-page
guide to approximately 5,700 works cross referenced under some
440 topical headings. Some of the chapters included are The
Foundation of Biblical Counsel; Works for and by Women;
Discipleship; Family Life, Education, Church and Work; Physical
Health; The Christian World and Life View; Christian Biography;
Psychology and Psychiatry; A Selection of Works on
Pseudo-Christian Movements; Christian Action, and more.
Who will benefit most from this vast reference work? The compiler
answers the question: "persons involved with helping others: all
Christian workers, pastors, elders, deacons, Christian
counselors, lay Christian counselors, Sunday school teachers, and
youth workers. Physicians, medical professionals, social workers,
psychologists, psychiatrists, financial consultants, nursing home
workers, and managers will also find it useful."
Book descriptions have been provided by well-known Christian
authors, scholars, and theologians as well as various publishers,
and book sellers (including GCB), the staff of counseling and
training centers, and others.
This is a large book, to be sure. However, I believe it is a
worthy guide to help steer Christian people away from the less
beneficial (and even harmful) books that flood our bookstores
today, and into a greater knowledge of the thousands of very
excellent titles that are available. This book could easily pay
for itself many times over in the years ahead through help gained
in choosing the best available resources. ? Walt Hibbard

Source: This book review appeared in the "Chairman's
Choices" column of the special Puritan Reformed catalog of Great
Christian Books, October 1996. Walt Hibbard is the Founder and
Chairman of Great Christian Books, Elkton, Maryland. It is the
largest Reformed mail order book seller.

                What People Are Saying About
           BIBLICAL COUNSEL: RESOURCES FOR RENEWAL

"This is an extraordinary piece of work -- massive, exhaustive
. . . . I would also recommend a goodly number of the works
contained in it . . ."
                                                -- Jay E. Adams
                      Dean of the Institute of Pastoral Studies
                               Westminster Theological Seminary
                                     Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"The title BIBLICAL COUNSEL makes a significant commentary on
contemporary views of people helping other people. Kettler
recognizes that `counsel' is a far broader term than
`counseling,' as that latter word is usually understood in the
twentieth century. There are vast resources of wise counsel that
ought to be brought to bear for counseling to be worthy of the
adjectives biblical and Christian. . . ."
                                              -- David Powlison
                 Editor of "The Journal of Biblical Counseling"
            The Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation
                                         Laverock, Pennsylvania

"I've already looked it over and it's great. It's wonderful! Our
counseling staff thinks it's terrific . . ."
                                               -- John MacArthur
                                                  Pastor-Teacher
                                          Sun Valley, California

"Highly recommended . . ."
                         -- Cumberland Valley Bible Book Service
                                          Carlisle, Pennsylvania

"You won't ever have seen anything like this in your lifetime.
. . . This is a Best Books in Print book."
                                            -- Jay P. Green, Sr.
                                                  General Editor
              "News and Views of the Christian Literature World:
                An Important Look at Books for Home Bible Study"
                                              Lafayette, Indiana

"It is a fair conjecture that anyone seriously interested in
Christian reading will find this book fascinating reading and
essential to have. . . . Such a book could have very wide
influence. . . ."
                                                -- John Marshall
                                              Book Review Editor
                                  "The Banner of Truth Magazine"
                                             Edinburgh, Scotland

"This wonderful new resource for the busy pastor, counselor,
or student is a veritable gold mine of topically arranged
information on Christian books and other literary works.
Especially produced for the serious Christian who has question,
but not the time to do 3 to 4 hours of research weekly in big
libraries and special collections."
                                                 -- Walt Hibbard
                                           President and Founder
                                           Great Christian Books
                                                Elkton, Maryland

"An excellent book for a church or pastor's library."
                                            -- Librarian's World
                          Evangelical Church Library Association
                                            Glen Ellyn, Illinois

"Coincidental to meeting its primary objective, BIBLICAL COUNSEL:
RESOURCES FOR RENEWAL gives the reader a broad overview of
literature representing historic, orthodox Christianity. Viewed
from this unique perspective there is an evident connection
between absolute truth, life, moral behavior, freedom (religious,
political, economic, and individual), and social stability."
                                                      -- Preface
                         BIBLICAL COUNSEL: RESOURCES FOR RENEWAL


   Source: Biblical Counsel: Resources for Renewal. A Topical
           Annotated Bibliography of Works Containing Biblical
           Counsel for Persons Seeking Lasting Solutions to
           Life's Problems (Keezletown, VA: Lettermen
           Associates, c1994). ISBN 0-9636821-1-3


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