JohnCheatham.com

What is Counseling?

Since I am pursuing a Master of Divinity with Biblical Counseling, I figured I should write on counseling a little. Almost everyone goes to counselors / psychologists / psychiatrists now days. Why is this? Why do people go to these particular people with their problems? Because they tell us that they can fix us. Why don’t people take their problems to churches? Because when they do, many times the pastors themselves send them to these self-proclaimed specialists. Shouldn’t the pastors provide counsel from the Bible, instead of trusting in man-made advice that doesn’t even take into account the dichotomy (inner man and outer man) or trichotomy (body, soul, and spirit) of man and is instead anthropologically monistic. If all there is to man is man, and no spiritual side, then psychotherapy is fine. But, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. (II Corinthians 5:17) Just remember, all Scripture is God-breathed. (II Timothy 3:16-17)

You may think I’m crazy writing about how pastors should be counseling their people, since I’m majoring in counseling. Actually, I write this precisely for this reason. Counseling, when done in a biblical context, takes place in the local church and in a body of believers – it is not a separate entity. It employs accountability in the body and will utilize church discipline in the case of unrepentance.

Let me flesh this out a bit. Here’s how I see counseling operating within the context of the local body: 90% of the counseling is done as one-another ministry. If you have something with which you need help, you first go to your brother or sister (same sex) in Christ, and they will help you from the God’s Word. 90% of counseling would end there, as we have the Bible from which to counsel.

If there is a problem that seems too large for one-another ministry, the “another” should bring in an elder in the church. If the elder feels unqualified for a certain problem, they should bring in a counselor trained in that specific problem – from a biblical perspective. This progression is similar to church discipline. We are called to help one another and that is the method I proclaim. As 1 Thessalonians 5:14 says: “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle (or disorderly, or undisciplined), encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”

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