Our staff is attending the National
Association of Nouthetic Counselors Annual Conference for a few days this week. We are
privileged to have been approved as a NANC training center! Please watch
our Facebook pages for updates from the conference! While we are away, I am posting foundational truths about true and lasting change. They are also the basis of our ministry. I hope you learn and grow as you read!
Biblical counseling is committed to the position
that Scripture provides the only authoritative guide for what we are to believe
and how we are to live (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The Biblical Counselor is trained in the use of
Scripture and the principles of biblical counseling. We do not base our
counsel on mans wisdom, opinions, experience, or concepts of behavior, but
seek to bring the full range of Biblical truth to focus on the counselee's
need. At Reigning Grace Counseling Center we emphasize the
importance of change at the heart level.
Understanding the need for heart change for life
change is at the core of everything we teach and do. Our foundational and
fundamental presupposition is that the Bible is true and
our only source for God’s truth.
Culturally when we speak of the heart, we link it
almost exclusively to our emotional component. A phrase like, “speak from
the heart” means to say something about how you feel. A phrase like,
“follow your heart” means follow your feelings.
We live in a culture that is dominated by emotions
or feelings. When the heart is not being referred to as the physical
organ, it usually means “feelings.” “Feelings” have become the dominion of
the secular therapeutic world. People go to counseling because they “feel
bad” or “feel sad” or “feel depressed.” They seek a psychiatrist,
psychologist, or therapist because their emotions are out of balance, and their
moods are destabilized.
For a time in the history of the church it was
easier to send problem people off to the doctor to discuss their problems then
it was to really put the time and effort into discipleship and assisting them
learn to deal with life and problems biblically.
The basis for this was the understanding that the dictionary defines psychology as the science of the human soul. For
many years the church stood silently by, as secular theories were woven in with
Scripture and called Christian Counseling or Christian Psychology.
The result of this was that medical professionals
hijacked the right to address the needs of the human soul away from the church.
Some think the church just gave up and the result is the church bought
into the medical model. As a result, anti-God, pro-sin individuals are now in
the multi-billion dollar business of deciding what sin in many cases
is now sickness. The emphasis of psychology migrated from soul –care and
became humanistic and anti-God.
If you have never heard that before, or do not
agree, I ask you to consider the fact that Freud and all the other major
players in framing what psychology is were anti-God and
evolutionists. They were secular humanists.
Proponents of secular psychology want us to believe
we do not need God and that we have the power within ourselves to
change. Psychology’s premise is that man is a higher evolved form of
animal. If this is the case, then man does not have a soul or a spirit and
thus a secular approach is the only possible method for helping him appeal to
the basic drives he possesses. If he is an animal then there is no God-consciousness,
and no possibility to redeem his soul because it is not necessary- he has no
The Christian psychologist will follow the teachings
of the disease or medical model in counseling their clients, but will also
integrate Scripture where appropriate to give the client hope and to minister
to their feelings and emotions. They believe that the Bible has something to offer
their client, but is not sufficient to address the mental illness or medical
diagnosis of that client.
There is a new wave of Christian psychologists who
accept the science of what is proven medically but tend to reject the medical
model for treatment of what is called mental illness. Preferring instead
to help the counselee to see their spiritual problem and their medical illness
from a biblical perspective. They believe in many cases that there are
biological or genetic links to some of the maladies that since Jay Adam’s
brought nouthetic counseling back into the church have been
discounted as sin, or sinful responses to the problems of life.
Our counseling center believes that
Scripture is sufficient to address the problems of life. We do not discount the medical issues
that people face, but we are not
physicians, in charge of caring for the medical needs of the body. Instead, we are soul physicians who are
charged with addressing how all aspects of a person, including their medical
issues affect the immaterial part of them. What the Bible calls the soul, or the
So in biblical counseling, we are much
more concerned with how a counselee responds to life’s challenges. We know
that God is not impressed with our worldly or human wisdom about people and
their problems; and contrary to
humanistic thinking we believe that God is actively involved in the lives of
We know from Scripture that God has an entirely
different opinion of us than our secular counseling counterparts. We know
from Scripture that many of the problems that people face every day are
specifically mentioned in the Bible, And that many other problems are inferred throughout
the text. His Word reveals to us why it is pure foolishness to look
to man for the solutions to the spiritual problems we face.
"For my thoughts are not your
thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens
are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts
than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
Critics of biblical counseling say that we discount feelings and
emotions, that we are all about blasting people with the Bible and are
sometimes harsh and lack love and are even condemning of them. I do not believe
that a person who looks to the example of Christ as our Wonderful Counselor and
follows His example could be accused of this.
Christ was loving, truthful, honest, confrontational, discerning, wise
and a host of other things. He did not
excuse sin, He called people to repentance, and He expected change in the
hearts and lives of those who heard the truth. He understood the emotional
component of a person, and how emotions can sway their actions. He challenged
them not to live by their feelings, but to live in obedience to His commands. And
He gave the Christian the Person of the Holy Spirit to enable them to do that.