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Why Biblical Counseling?

June 7, 2015

DISCLAIMER: I do not want this blog series to be a monologue. I want to hear your comments and questions. So please, if you have any thoughts about the ideas I am presenting, share them in the comments section at the end. Thanks and I hope to hear from you!

I think it only makes sense to start this series answering the why question. Why biblical counseling? Why did I spend time studying it and why am I spending time to write about it? And on your end, why should you take the time to read and learn about it?

Let me answer that question plainly and pointedly. We cannot fulfill our mission as followers of Christ without biblical counseling. If we want to be a church who makes disciples of all nations and builds redemptive communities of gospel-centered people, then we must practice biblical counseling.

Consider three things:

  1. People are hurting
  2. Only the Word is sufficient to address our pain
  3. The church is God’s chosen context for healing

People are Hurting

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22-23)

Don’t you feel that? Don’t you know that groaning? People are hurting. You are hurting. You are dealing with your own struggles, fears, trials, etc. Because we live in a fallen, sin-ridden world these things are inevitable experiences for every single person. All of creation groans in anticipation of our redemption and freedom from the pain.

Our circumstances leave us with physical, emotional, and spiritual scars. In Redeemer Church alone we have individuals who have dealt with sexual abuse and chronic health issues. We have individuals who have struggled through depression and who have dealt with crippling fear from financial problems. You might be one of those who can just never seem to feel close to God or one of those who desperately but unsuccessfully has been trying to let go of guilt from past sins. You might have grieved the loss of a loved one or felt the sting of utter rejection from someone you held dear. We all have experienced these and other pains to some degree or another, and we will continue to do so in this life.

In all of these ways we are hurting people. And in light of all of this, we have two ways we can respond. We can either ignore or address the suffering. We can either let those around us suffer alone or we can enter into the suffering with them and help. To decide what to do we need only look to our God and see what He does in the face of suffering.

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD, “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” (Psalm 12:5)

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. (Psalm 121:3-7)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Our God calls us to be counselors because he is a counselor. He loves, comforts, and helps those who are hurting, so we do the same. But what can we do that professionals can’t? Why don’t we all just start seeing therapists? There are plenty of them in Champaign-Urbana after all?

Only the Word is Sufficient

We as Christians have the only true and right counseling paradigm because we have the Word of God. Through Scripture God acknowledges all of the different forms of pain that we experience and He shows us how Christ brings us healing and growth in those areas. The Spirit working through the Bible can awaken a soul out of the darkest depression. Through the Bible He convicts and humbles the proud and angry. He gives hope and strength to those fighting terminal illness through His life-giving Word. Only the Bible can do this because it is the wisdom of God and not man.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

We need to live as those who really believe Paul’s words. We need to believe that the Bible is sufficient and enough for us to not only train each other but also to care for each other and love each other. If someone does not know how to help a brother or sister through a difficult season or crisis, then the issue isn’t so much that the person needs psychotherapeutic techniques as much as that person simply needs to better learn the Bible and its application to life.

Schools of thought within secular psychology fight over what ultimately motivates us. They can’t agree on what drives us to do the things we do. They each seem to recognize one thing while ignoring all of the rest. Some think we are merely driven by physiological instincts, some argue that we are driven by a need for self-actualization, and others maintain that we are ultimately seeking love and approval from those around us. I am not saying that these things are completely wrong. Those are certainly aspects of the truth, but they are not the whole truth. Only the Bible accounts for the full spectrum of the human experience and human nature with its multi-faceted motives and feelings. Also, only the Bible addresses our deepest need, which is Christ. Secular psychology tends to completely miss the spiritual aspect of our human nature with deadly consequences.

Therapy without the Bible and its gospel message is giving someone stitches for a wound while there is still massive internal bleeding going on under the surface. For those who are hurting, we want to offer true relief and healing. We don’t want to offer symptom relief without treating the cause. For a sister who has faced pain and abuse at the hands of a man, I want to help her trust that the hands of Christ will offer her peace, love, and safety. She needs to believe that she is worthy of so much better than what that man did to her because God tells her she is, not simply because she is trying to convince herself that it’s true. Biblical counseling, unlike any other form of counseling, offers true and lasting healing and change. That is why it matters.

The Church: God’s Context for Healing

Finally, we must realize that the context for biblical counseling must be the church because that is the context in which God ordained for healing and sanctification to take place. Consider all of the “one another” passages of Scripture. They are all directed to the churches. In what context does God promise sanctification and transformation for His people? He is addressing the church.

I will not belabor this point because this post is already too long and I trust that our church has a great understanding of the importance and need of fellowship and involvement within the local congregation. Just know that God commands His churches to have jurisdiction over soul care. It is not meant to be out-sourced. He calls us to be the setting in which people receive help dealing with their personal problems whatever they might be. And that makes sense because it is the grace of Christ which is the remedy to all of life’s troubles.

All of that is to say, biblical counseling is one of the most important things that we can devote ourselves to because it is how we love others in the sinful, fallen world that we live in. It is even more important considering the ways that our society tries to counter biblical teaching with its own methods that distract from Christ rather than direct people to him. Because we have the sufficient Word of God and the life-saving message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can offer healing, hope, and a restored relationship with God to people who desperately need it and are dead without it. Our mission must include biblical counseling and our attention must involve seeking to do it well.

Intro: An Appetizer in Biblical Counseling
Up next: Biblical Counseling = Discipleship


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