The Place for Biblical Counseling
Biblical counseling effectively finds its place within a paradigm of discipleship and the Body of Christ, under the regular teaching and preaching of God’s Word.
The Great Commission finds fulfillment in two primary efforts: “baptize” and “teach.” First, we introduce confessing believers into the body of Christ (as displayed by baptism) and then we help them walk worthy of that baptism as the Spirit conforms them to the likeness of Jesus Christ over time. We long to see people throughout the world saved in Christ and then sanctified in Christ before they are eventually glorified in Christ.
Biblical Counseling Belongs Within a Paradigm of Discipleship
As discussed in a previous post, counseling the Word compliments preaching the Word in “teaching them to obey all that has been commanded.” If we want to make disciples of Jesus Christ, then we need to help people see, hear, know, love, and enjoy Jesus Christ through face-to-face conversation. Since all professing believers are called to make disciples, then I think all professing believers should be growing in their commitment and ability to counsel people according to the Word of God.
One could argue biblical counseling with unbelievers is an exception to this view of counseling. In these cases, biblical counseling belongs under evangelism and gospel ministry to those outside the body of Christ. Either way, biblical counseling fits well under the umbrella of discipleship or evangelistic outreach in an attempt to make disciples for Jesus Christ of all nations.
Biblical Counseling Belongs Within the Body of Christ
Counseling the Word of God, while always valuable, will be most effective when the recipient of counsel is also devoted to Christ each day, engaged in the body of Christ, and hearing teaching and preaching of the God’s Word on a regular basis. When biblical counseling is removed from the oversight and community of the church, it tends to become greatly professionalized or clinical. Both the counselor and the counselee are to be a part of the body of Christ.
Now, I do not believe this means biblical counselors cannot hold a license to practice counseling or even work in a professional setting, but rather, even in such cases, the counselor, firstly, functions as an extension of the body of Christ on earth and secondly, should function under the oversight of Christ through His church.
A good example of this kind of thinking may be found in I Corinthians 6:1-6 where Paul is elevating the resources of the Church in mediating and counseling human problems while minimizing the wisdom and ability of secular or “pagan” resources. One would believe that Paul’s reasoning applied to legal matters could be and should be applied to overall life matters.
The exception to this is biblical counseling with unbelievers. It is unreasonable to assume an unbeliever will be living within the body of Christ (though they may be on a physical level). This exception does not apply, however, to the biblical counselor.
Whether counseling unbelievers or not, the biblical counselor must be devoted to Christ each day, engaged in the body of Christ, and hearing the teaching and preaching of God’s Word on a regular basis.
If you are committed to sound counsel from the Word in your own life and the lives of others, consider becoming an ABC Member today! Members have full access to the ABC website including 100s of downloadable counseling resources that will help you grow as a biblical counselor.
Posted on October 17, 2016