A Biblical Counseling Worldview
Author: John Henderson
There are particular truths and distinctions that make a biblical counseling worldview unique from all the other systems of counseling in the world.
In a previous post, we set out to provide a definition for biblical counseling. This lesson tries to answer the question: What makes biblical counseling unique and distinct from all the other systems of counseling in the world?
In one sense these worldview or paradigm distinctives compose a kind of creed, a statement of belief about biblical counseling. Of course, any number of other elements could be included, but we will focus on ten statements that, from one point of view, should never be removed from our message.
The Glory of God
The glory of God is “the Reason” for all things of creation. The glory of God is the ultimate answer to “Why?”
- The display of God’s glory in Creation, in Redemption, in Marriage, in Family, in Suffering, in Food…
Everything created has been created to display and give glory to our Creator. For example, marriage exists, not firstly for man, but for God. Marriage does not primarily exist to meet human needs, but to project God’s glory, to be a visible picture of the invisible reality of Christ and the Church. Marriage is a wonderful gift from God to people, but it also serves a purpose far greater than itself.
- The glory of God and enjoyment of God as the reason for counseling one another…
Counseling ministry can be a means to help people see, enjoy, and honor the God of the universe, especially those blessed people who have been redeemed by His grace in Jesus Christ.
“Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11)
The Word of God
The Word of God is “the Truth” (John 17:17), alive and active in our hearts, able to transform (1 Thess. 2:13), make wise, convict, comfort, heal, restore, and judge. The Word of God helps us discern good from evil, truth from falsehood, and everything else necessary for fruitful life before God and one another.
Scripture introduces Christ to the souls of people. By His Word, God grants us a true knowledge of Himself (2 Pet. 1:2ff) and fellowship with Jesus Christ. Through true knowledge of Himself and union with Jesus Christ, God gives us “everything pertaining to life and godliness.” (2 Pet. 1:2ff)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the essential and precious message of biblical counseling. The story of God’s redeeming grace is the chief story of the bible. Jesus Christ is the hero of God’s story. Christ crucified and resurrected is a defining event in Scripture, and thus, should be a defining event in our counseling. Understanding and applying the gospel brings real, substantial, and eternal transformation.
The real prize of our salvation is God Himself. The treasure of our salvation isn’t merely going to Heaven and avoiding Hell. It’s God, and rescue from His wrath, and restoration of life and communion with Him.
By the end of his life, Moses understood the real gift of redemption. Listen to how he prayed.
“Then he said to Him, ‘If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?’” (Exodus 33:15-16)
The Person of the Biblical Counselor
Christians who offer counsel are not firstly professionals, or social workers, or psychotherapists, but ministers of the gospel. We are firstly ambassadors of Christ and stewards of the manifold grace of God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; 1 Peter 4:10). While I think it’s fine to be a professional counselor or a social worker, such roles should be submitted to our overall identity as ministers of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
A biblical counselor is a minister of reconciliation, intercessor in all matters of life before God, and a spokesperson for the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been redeemed and left in the world to represent him and his interests, not our own.
A biblical counselor is an ambassador for Christ and a steward of “the manifold grace of God.” The gifts we have been given by the Spirit of God in our salvation are given for exercise in His Church, to the building up of His body and the glory of His name. We can accomplish this by speaking for God and about God to one another, and serving one another.
Suffering is the inevitable byproduct of life in a fallen world. It is the context for normative human life, and a means God uses to expose, speak to, redeem, and sanctify our souls. Suffering can make the gospel sweeter and the love of God more glorious than ever before, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or sword?” (Romans 8:35)
- Suffering provides a context, not a cause for who we are…
Afflictions and difficulties influence us. They affect us. They tempt and try us. Yet they do not control or determine us, no more than a refining furnace changes the nature of the metal inside. The furnace merely exposes the impurities and, by the refiner’s skill, purifies the metal.
- Suffering may find its cause in many sources, both internal and external to our hearts…
The forms and severities of hardship are vast and often changing. The troubles of life may come from our social circumstances, or the condition of our souls, or the weakness of our bodies, or the torments of the demonic realm. Some kinds of suffering arise from our own making, yet many kinds arise from the overall brokenness of our world and the wickedness of its inhabitants.
- Suffering is, by definition, painful, and so suffering people, by the grace of God, may be given our sincere attention, compassion, and “truth in love…” (Eph. 4:15)
Praise God for His compassion. Where would any of us be without it? When the Lord God passed by Moses, He announced Himself, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.” (Exodus 34:6) He shows compassion and grace in the forgiveness of our sins, and He shows compassion and grace in comforting us through affliction.
A Biblical Counseling Worldview is part of the Association of Biblical Counselor’s Equipped to Counsel Certification program. Our Biblical counseling certification helps develop a biblical philosophy of counseling that emphasizes the call of all believers to take part in the work of counseling and discipleship.
Posted on March 21, 2017