And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)



Monday, January 16, 2012

An Overview of Biblical Counseling Part 1

These days I am thrilled with my studies in Biblical counseling.  The deeper I study the more I am humbled for my very being abd in awe of my Creator.  I also find great hope.

Recently I finished up counseling a dear sister.  Over a relatively short time the truth of scripture took hold by the work of the Holy Spirit in her life.  She now redily testifies that "She didn't need pills but needed what was in the bible."  Now there are times where medication is necessary.  But we ought to look to find that our Savior died on a cross to not only give us the grace of forgiveness, but to set us free from bondage and effects of sin.

It is my hope that over the next few days these posts will help you to gain insight to the methodology and implimentation of Biblical counseling.


THE ESSENTIALS IN DISCIPLING/COUNSELING OTHERS



                                                                             Introduction

            Though there are a myriad of viewpoints in secular psychology, and five main vistas of counseling that use the scriptures as some reference, this paper will focus from the single viewpoint that the bible and its teachings are sufficient in itself for counseling.[1]

The scope of this paper is to highlight the essentials of counseling others. Biblical counseling is merely an intense form of discipleship, usually focusing on a particular issue.  It should be apparent that discipleship from the bible is treated as the only viable work of grace for the Christian in behavior.

            This paper will attempt to briefly cover those aspects of discipleship and biblical counseling that structurally support effective spiritual growth.  Working from the admonition to be holy as Christ is holy, and pursuing the earth long trek of sanctification, biblical counseling seeks to fulfill the believer’s purpose in Glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.[2]



The role of the gospel in counseling

            Without the gospel all counseling is in vain.  It would be of no use to work in the motives and mind of a person, to even see lasting change in their behavior, and still miss the glory of God.  The greatest need for the counselee is a saving relationship with Christ,  This is why we evangelize the lost before we counsel them.  The gospel is the motive of all biblical counseling.  It is what empowers us to change by the working of the Holy Spirit. [3]

            Counselees need to be aware that they were bought with a ransom price by Christ Himself.  The gospel message evokes in us not only a thankful indebtedness, but a love for God.  Discipleship stems from the realization of being saved from wrath, as a free gift of God.  Further, God is glorified when we are discipled and the sanctification process is a joy of our life.  The turning from sin to God is an act of worship.

            Biblical counseling and discipleship are often called Nouthetic Counseling. This term was first utilized by Jay Adams.[4]  It refers to the admonishment from scripture to be a disciple.  This view of counseling sees the scriptures as sufficient for addressing the sin issues that plague man.[5] It reveals that we need to be taught of God.

            As stated above, anyone who is in biblical counseling needs to be a Christian.  If not, all that we do should be considered evangelistic pre-counseling.  We thus take such opportunities to evangelize non Christians.  The entire structure of biblical counsel is predicated upon the counselee having a saving relationship with Christ.  Outside of this relationship the person is powerless to change.  Inside the relationship we can illustrate the entire bible as being promises based upon the character and covenant of a redeeming God.  This is what is essentially different in biblical counseling than all other methods or even integrations. Biblical counseling bases its hope in God.

            Therefore, if the gospel is central to the discipleship of a counselee, the bible must also be considered as such.  Second Timothy chapter three is a treatise on this fact.  It simply outlines how in last days people will seek counsel that appeases themselves, and the remedy to such is by the grace of God through His word as fact and goal for living.  For biblical counseling we find it essential to share its distinctive difference from secular counsel. 

            With the truth of God’s word and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit we can also safely say that modern psychology has no place in counseling.  Christians for centuries have found that God’s truth can set them free.  This axiom has never changed.  To integrate any other teaching would be to both dilute the power of the gospel and to shift glory from God to man.  Therefore, the biblical counselor will have to use sound theology and good communication to share with counselees the promises of God for their sanctification.  It must again be stressed that biblical counseling is not like any other methodology.



[1] Johnson, Eric ed., Psychology & Christianity; Five Views., Downers Grove, IVP Academic., p.40.
[2] 1 Peter 1:16; and Vincent, Thomas. ed; The Shorter Catechism Explained from Scripture, Carlisle, PA. Banner of Truth, p.13
[3] (Colossians 1:9-14 and Romans 8:5-9)
[4] Adams, Jay. Competent to Council., Grand Rapids, Zondervan. 1970. p.44
[5] 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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