Topic Article #19: Biblical Counseling
by Dr. Eugene Clingman, Executive Administrator
Copyright 2006, International Church Council Project
(This article may be freely distributed so long as it is not altered
and the above information remains intact.)
Counseling is a scary thing for me to do. It is scary because the implications of dealing with human lives are serious indeed! It unnerves me to think that my words, my suggestions, my advice will likely have a significant influence on the course of life of the person I am counseling. For this reason I pray with fervency that I will take heed to the words of James who warned that any who would be teachers of others must be very careful because they bear a stricter judgment.
In order to help rather than hinder, the counselor must hold tenaciously to some essential and non-negotiable basics.
God is Creator, Man is God’s Creature!
Article I reads:
We affirm that the Bible is the only basis of true knowledge about God, human existence, relationships between God and man, and relationships between people.
We deny that man, his psyche, or his relationships with other people, may be understood apart from the authoritative knowledge contained in the Bible.
Any theory of counseling that denies or ignores the fact that God created, and that man is God’s creature, will lead to disaster and the ruination of souls. Man and his hopes, fears, and problems, etc. cannot be understood without whole-hearted acknowledgment of who man is. And who is he? God’s creature!
Man’s Real Problem is Sin!
A second key ingredient to Christian counseling is the nature of man. Man is not just sick or a little broken and in need of repair or a few slight modifications. He is dead in sins and trespasses and in need of resurrection.
Article X reads:
We affirm that what the Bible calls sin is what is fundamentally and pervasively wrong with people, and that counseling should be approached with this presupposition foremost in the mind of the counselor who should seek to bring the counselee into this same understanding.
We deny that Christian counseling should rest on the presupposition that man’s fundamental flaw is sociological, environmental, or psychological, or that such a presupposition is ultimately helpful to the counselee.
Obedience is Paramount!
Any progress toward lasting wholeness and happiness will come only as the counselee learns progressively to live in whole-hearted obedience to Jesus. Jesus is Lord, and life lived apart from a heart bowed in humble reverence while lifted in joyful expectation of the good promises of God will result in frustration, depression, and guilt. The counselee must be nurtured toward a growing obedience with alacrity.
Article XIV reads:
We affirm that the goal of Christian counseling is to aid in the process of biblical conversion and sanctification, which process progressively restores human beings to the image in which man was originally created, and ultimately into the image of Christ.
We deny that self-actualization, individuation, self-fulfillment, the meeting of supposed psychological needs, etc., describe the goal of Christian counseling.
The International Church Council Project has elected to deal with the Biblical Approach to Christian Counseling because many Christian counselors have traded biblical fundamentals for modern theories of the nature and need of man.
You can download the entire document titled “Concerning a Biblical Approach to Counseling” at www.ChurchCouncil.org.