This week’s author interview is with Jim Newheiser. He is the author of our upcoming release, Money, Debt, and Finances: Critical Questions and Answers. He also wrote Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage: Critical Questions and Answers, Money: Seeking God’s Wisdom, and Parenting Is More Than a Formula, and cowrote along with Elyse Fitzpatrick, You Never Stop Being a Parent.

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself.

While I consider myself a Texan and had, as a young man, committed to serve the Lord anywhere so long as it was in Texas, we haven’t been residents there since 1981. We spent from 1981-1987 in Saudi Arabia where I had the privilege of serving as a tent-making pastor in an underground international church. Then we lived in Escondido, California from 1987 until 2016 where I completed my seminary education, helped to plant a Reformed Baptist church, and got involved with IBCD (The Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship). Though we were very happy with our lives there, we became convinced that we could best serve the Lord in this later chapter of life (Psalm 90:12) by moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, where I am on faculty at Reformed Theological Seminary as the Director of their counseling program.

My dear wife Caroline and I were “just friends” in High School (in spite of my efforts to make it more than that) but then became serious about one another while we were at Baylor University. She has been an amazing helper for many years as a pastor’s wife then as a co-laborer in biblical counseling. Since moving to Charlotte, she has completed her seminary degree and is now working with female counseling students at RTS. Caroline also has a book coming out this year! 

In terms of personal interests/hobbies, before moving to Charlotte I was running marathons every couple of months. In more recent years I have been walking similar distances with Caroline in Disneyworld (primarily her hobby).

  • When did you first want to write a book? 

Most of my books have flowed out of my pastoral/counseling ministry as I encountered real life situations for which I could not find existing biblically based resources. As I worked through these problems with my counselees by studying and applying the Scriptures, I then was motivated to make what I had learned available to others. For example, we encountered many parents who had various struggles with their adult kids, but we couldn’t find a book which we could recommend, so we wrote You Never Stop Being a Parent.

  • Have you always enjoyed writing?

I find writing to be very very hard work. I do enjoy seeing the finished product and getting the message out. I have been blessed and humbled to work with skilled writers and editors from whom I continue to learn as they tear apart my writing so that the content of my message can be presented more effectively.

I was excited about combining my financial background from college and my early career with my training and experience as a pastor and biblical counselor. While there are many books which offer practical financial advice, my goal was to offer biblical wisdom grounded in careful exposition and sound theology. I believe that the question and answer format will help to make the book more readable and the answers more accessible.

  • Do you have a favorite quote?

Is it wrong to quote yourself? Several years ago, while teaching an introduction to counseling class I told the students that a key to being an effective biblical counselor is to have a “thick Bible” – meaning that you not only know what the Bible says in general, but that you can actually find the verses. Also, it is not enough to merely rattle off verses as proof texts, but you must be able to explain them accurately in their context. So, my quote is, “How thick is your Bible?” One only gets a thick Bible by carefully reading and studying Scripture. We have built this principle into our counseling degree program at RTS as our students take more classes in Bible and theology than in counseling. In the long run, the best way to thicken your Bible is to preach or teach through books of the Bible over an extended period of time. 

  • How do you deal with writer’s block? 

I read in a biography of Winston Churchhill that he had a routine of writing 2000 words a day and laying 200 bricks. When in writing mode I would often set a goal of writing a certain number of words a day and when I would get stuck I would get some exercise – often a run on the beach. 

  • Is there anything you would like to add that you have not been asked about?

I have had the privilege of meeting Ronald Reagan (from whom I got an autograph) and Margaret Thatcher (with whom I was photographed). I can’t think of (m)any other politicians during my lifetime whom I would have wanted to meet.

  • Favorite sport to watch?

English Soccer: Liverpool – not having a very good year due to injuries.

  • Favorite flavor of ice cream? 

Anything Bluebell.

  • Favorite animal? 

Cows and chickens because they taste so good.

  • Tea or coffee? 

Flavored iced teas. I never learned to drink coffee.

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