Our counseling center recently held an event in the area about suffering biblically. We contacted churches and pastors and the two local Bible Colleges in the area. I was somewhat discouraged at the response. We had exactly zero people from either Bible College, and zero pastors from the local churches attend our seminar. One of these colleges has a Biblical Counseling program that is integrated, and the other has a program that is similar to our teaching. All the churches who were invited profess to be Bible believing. Yes, I was disappointed at the lack of response, but now I understand why it is that way.
Our Counseling Center preaches Christ. He is the centerpiece of everything we write, everything we speak, and He is the center of every counseling session we have. We point people to the complete and total sufficiency of the Word of God as the place for answers to the problems people have in life. That is not what most people want.
I wish I could say that reaching local non-church people was our bigger target, but this time our aim was for "our own" people! Today I realize how foolish I was to expect or even hope that there would be a larger response to our seminar. Unfortunately, our churches are full of people who have been seduced by the likes of the television talking heads, and it is from them that they get much of their theology and "counsel."
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NASB)
How can the Word of God compete with the likes of Oprah and Joel and Joy and Dr. Oz? Don't get me wrong, there truly is no competition, but in a practical sense what the previously mentioned people offer is immediate solutions that involve simply rearranging the flesh, making one feel better, and they provide nice worldly advice that will profit the listener nothing of eternal value. They offer encouraging fluffy stuff that demands no internal change of heart, but promises a change of life. What the hearer doesn't understand is the commitment to change is only as deep as the flesh, when true change that sticks must begin in the heart in order for there to be lasting value for the effort.
What we offer is Christ, and few want that. 12 steps to happiness, having your love cup filled, and having those all important emotional needs met seems to be more important in our day than living ones life to glorify God. Fixing what is broken begins with dealing with the heart of the matter, Church!
I fear we have reached the place where we are only interested in having our ears tickled, being followers of the latest and greatest "christian" icon or speaker, and allying ourselves with too much wisdom of the world.
1 Corinthians 1:19 says, For it is written,
“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
Do we think God is kidding when He writes these things? Does the Church not realize that we are to be a light in the darkness? What business does the Church have in dabbling in the wisdom of the world? Where in Scripture are our pastors and leaders encouraged to send their sheep into the dens of wolves and thieves of psychiatry and psychology? Isn't our mission to preach Christ crucified and bring the hope of the gospel to the lost? How can we begin to think of doing this for them when we are not promoting it among our own people?! Has the gospel lost its power? Is the blood of Christ no longer effective? Is Christ no longer King of kings and Lord of lords?
We cannot say He is enough with our words and refuse to counsel from His Word any longer. We cannot say His Word has the answers to the problems of life and then send our people to psychologists for "help" for what the Bible clearly defines as spiritual problems!
There will be a day of accounting for what is being promoted and preached in our churches by those pastors who poorly shepherd their flocks (1 Cor. 3:10-15).
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 25 (NASB)
Jesus Christ is enough. His Word truly has all the answers to the problems we face in our daily lives.
...but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31 (NASB)