This past year I started working on a Doctor of Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Biblical Counseling and from Day-1 I have been overwhelmed as God has confirmed and affirmed my decision to enter into this program. In serving as one of the pastors at Oak Park Baptist Church I have been afforded many opportunities to “counsel.” I have heard it said and it’s worth repeating that biblical counseling is simply “discipleship on steroids.” The purpose of discipleship is the same as that of biblical counseling. Paul tells us that all Christians are being conformed into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29) and that Christian ministers are to work assiduously at presenting every man complete in Christ (Col 1:22-23).
With that being said, I have been discouraged by many individuals belief and confidence in the Bible, particularly in Christ Jesus as the incarnate Word of God, as the ultimate answer to their problems. I would venture to say that most individuals I meet would enthusiastically say, “yes, Jesus is the answer.” Yet, when it comes to “mining” out the truths of Scripture and working hard to appropriate biblical truth in their lives, marriages, and families most people’s lives would be devoid of such truth. Why you ask? Fundamentally, I believe it’s a discipleship issue. People, by and large, do not know what the Bible teaches. They have not been taught the Word. They have not been taught out to study the Word. We have succumbed to the easy-believism, where an individual professes faith in Jesus but fails to labor intensely at what that means. This lack of intentionality with the chuch-at-large regarding teaching, training, and inculcating the truth of God in people’s lives has fostered a serious and tragic lack of confidence in the Bible so that when people have problems or issues, instead of looking to the Scriptures, brothers or sisters in Christ, or pastors they could consult secular individuals who have secular means and methods. I’m not going to delve into answering the question whether or not an individual should ever consult a secular therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist (I have conflicting thoughts on the question myself and can see benefits to both sides concerning how you answer that question) but I do think it begs the question, “when people have problems, who or what do they turn to?” God or man? Also, it’s important to remember a methodology (or means) always stems from a belief system. A biblical counseling methodology stems from the Bible, because as Christians we believe that God is all-wise and knows best in terms of how to walk faithfully to what He has said in His Word (amazingly enough He also provides us the means to do so). Therefore, our commitment to a particular methodology comes from the pages of Scripture.
Lastly, here is a video discussing “How to Find a Trusted Counselor.” In the video David Powlison (a biblical counselor and prolific author on the topic) makes the statement that “Christian ministry is truth in love.” That’s my aim with people I meet with; to lovingly come alongside them and share the powerful truth of God’s Word so that their lives, marriages, and families would reflect the truth of the Bible. Enjoy the video and think seriously about what this means for your life, marriage, and family when you need help, in whatever capacity you might need it.