Gospel Matters in Counseling 6

Tim AllchinFor Those Giving HelpLeave a Comment

gospel matters

The Gospel Matters in counseling. 

So why do some Christian counselors act like the Gospel has no place in the counseling office?

This Gospel Matters series shares the Christ’s compassion for the broken. It answers the question, Is biblical counseling really a viable, possibly a better, alternative than secular counseling?  

Read the first post on competency of Biblical Counselors and state-licensed counselors.

Read the second post on Biblical Counseling, the Gospel, and chemical imbalance that may contribute to mental/emotional difficulties.

Read the third post on the divide between Biblical Counseling and some Christian Counseling that negates the Gospel.

Read the fourth post on the truth that Biblical Counselors are not unethical faith healers.

Read the fifth post on the convictions of Biblical Counseling.

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Claim #6: Psychology has the answers to life’s problems; the scripture is not sufficient for handling struggles. 

This quote nails this claim:

The premise of biblical counseling is seductive in its simplicity: God has given you a guide to humanity’s most difficult problems, and the solutions are all in one place. But if you grant that non-biblical knowledge has any role to play—whether it is in ‘challenging wrong interpretations of Scripture,’ as biblical counseling pioneer Jay Adams suggests, or in parsing the line between which mental illnesses have biological roots and which do not—then the solutions stop being in one place. Scripture is no longer sufficient. And this upends the very premise of biblical counseling.

Truth: The Gospel Matters Deeply

Adam Embry, M.Div., Th.M., and pastor and doctoral student in Biblical Counseling, wrote an excellent article on how theology affects and enhances biblical counseling. It’s titled “How Can Systematic Theology Help a Drug Addict?”

I was asked this question last night. It’s a legitimate question. And if you call yourself a theologian and you can’t answer it, you’re not much of a theologian. And if you call yourself a counselor and you can’t answer it, you won’t help the drug addict be confronted by the living God.

Here’s my response, as if I were addressing the drug addict who needed help.

‘Friend, I believe there’s help for you because God has told us how he can help you. He’s a powerful God who has brought you to this point of recognizing you need help. You see, he knows the problems in your life, and he wants to help those in need, which is really all of us. This is where Jesus can help you. Jesus can change your life. He can make you right with God, and help you overcome your daily struggles, which I know must be difficult. The struggle with be difficult, but God will help you endure. He can help you change your desires and destructive habits. Part of the help God offers is being in community with those struggling with sin and suffering. So, I’m here to help you, as well. You know what? He’s promised never to give up on Christians. God wants you to be with him and enjoy him more than the drugs you love. How can this now sound wonderful?’

Did you catch the systematic theology in my response? If not, here it is.

  • Doctrine of Scripture: Friend, I believe there’s help for you because God has told us how he can help you.
  • Doctrine of God: He’s a powerful God …
  • Doctrine of Providence: … who has brought you to this point of recognizing you need help.
  • Doctrine of Man: You see, he knows the problems in your life and he wants to help those in need …
  • Doctrine of Original Sin: … which is really all of us.
  • Doctrine of Christ: This is where Jesus can help you.
  • Doctrine of Justification: Jesus can change your life. He can make you right with God …
  • Doctrine of Sanctification: … and help you overcome your daily struggles, which I know must be difficult.
  • Doctrine of the Spirit: He can help you change your desires and destructive habits.
  • Doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints: The struggle with be difficult, but God will help you endure.
  • Doctrine of the Church: Part of the help God offers is being in community with those struggling with sin and suffering. So, I’m here to help you, as well.
  • Doctrine of Election & Doctrine of the the End Times: You know what? He’s promised never to give up on Christians. God wants you to be with him and enjoy him more than the drugs you love.

And all of it leads to worship, which is really the heart struggle for any addict: How can this now sound wonderful?

In Close

As mentioned in the first post in this series, I grew up in the biblical counseling movement. My dad was president of Association of Certified Biblical Counselors in years past, serves on its board, and helps direct Biblical Counseling Center, which has counseled and trained thousands of people in biblical counseling.

I now am executive director of Biblical Counseling Center so I do have vested interest to answer these types of critiques like the one in the Pacific Standard magazine article. However, more than this interest, I have an interest in helping people because Christ says to.

The Gospel matters.

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