6 Areas Where Biblical Counselors Are Growing
I’ve been blogging of late about biblical counseling and Christian integrative counseling:
I plan to share a post or two about Rubber-Meets-the-Road Questions for My Christian Integrative Counseling and Christian Psychology Friends.
However, I thought it might be wise to first share some areas—just a quick survey overview—where biblical counselors have been listening to the feedback from our friends…
A Quick Survey Overview of Areas Where Biblical Counselors Have Been Seeking to Grow
1. An expressed attitude recognizing the need for growth.
You can’t grow until you admit your need for growth. The biblical counseling world has been doing that. In our Biblical Counseling Coalition Confessional Statement we begin and end with such a recognition:
We confess that we have not arrived. We comfort and counsel others only as we continue to receive ongoing comfort and counsel from Christ and the Body of Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-11). We admit that we struggle to apply consistently all that we believe. We who counsel live in process, just like those we counsel, so we want to learn and grow in the wisdom and mercies of Christ.
We want to listen well to those who disagree with us, and learn from their critiques.
In fact, the entire Confessional Statement is designed to point toward areas of continued growth and development. My document, 12 Dreams for the Future of Biblical Counseling, had that same focus.
Both of those documents address not half-a-dozen, but a dozen areas where the biblical counseling world is seeking to grow.
Two historical books on biblical counseling, The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context by Powlison and The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams by Lambert are both examples of “self-aware” and “self-critical” writings about our movements history and continued need for growth.
2. Growing in addressing saints, sinners, and sufferers.
Our friends and our critics, and our friendly critics, as well as those within the BC world, have all expressed the need for the BC world to continue to grow in addressing not only issues of sin. We have been encouraged also to address issues of suffering and to develop models that better incorporate the new covenant, gospel, the Cross, regeneration, etc.—that we are saints.
The now oft-use phrase in the BC world—saints, sinners, and sufferers—is a clear recognition that we see the need for a comprehensive approach.
Many books and chapters and blog posts and seminars and classes and conferences in the BC world now address suffering through parakaletic comfort. Just a few examples include God’s Healing for Life’s Losses, Putting Your Past in Its Place, chapters in Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling, Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness, and so many more.
The Biblical Counseling Coalition’s Grace & Truth blog site regularly addresses saints, sufferers, and sinners in the focus of their posts.
3. Growing in developing comprehensive approaches to the human personality.
We have been listening to feedback that suggested that at times our approached seemed focus on behavior. Books, articles, chapters, seminars, classes, blog posts, conferences, and more are developing comprehensive approaches to understanding people, diagnosing problems, and prescribing solutions. They are, frankly, too numerous to even begin to try to outline. But we are listening and growing in seeing and counseling the complexity of the human personality.
We are writing about and counseling seeing people as relational, spiritual, social, self-aware, rational, volitional, motivational, purposeful, emotional, and physical beings.
We are writing about and counseling people seeing the influence of our social setting and our physical bodies—we are socially-embedded and personally-embodied.
We are writing about and counseling in light of medical issues and the influence of the complex mind-body beings that we are. We are writing about and counseling compassionately regarding the complexities of our emotional nature.
We are developing robust, rich, relational approaches and models for relating Christ’s gospel of grace relevantly and lovingly to the hurts and hardships of living in a fallen and broken world.
4. Growing in developing the relational aspects of compassionate truth-in-love ministry.
We have heard our friendly critics encouraging us to highlight not only Scripture but soul (1 Thess. 2:8). We are writing about and equipping counselors who speak truth in love. We are writing about and equipping counselors who share both Scripture and soul. We are writing about and equipping counselors in the vital importance of the relationship between the counselor and counselee. We are writing about and equipping counselors to embed counseling in the Body of Christ—it is a Christian community, one-another focus/endeavor.
5. Growing in addressing “the hard cases.”
We have heard our friends encourage us to address “the hard cases.” In fact, Counseling the Hard Cases does exactly that.
When mental illness was in the news after the tragic death of Matthew Warren, the BCC responded with over two dozen comprehensive and compassionate blog posts about a biblical counseling perspective on mental illness.
BC para-church organizations have been hosting conferences on themes related to psychological and psychiatric disorders and a biblical counseling perspective on them.
A growing number of BC churches and para-church groups have established residential inpatient treatment facilities/centers to assist those struggling against life-debilitating issues. See the BCC’s Find a Counselor page for a list of some of these facilities.
6. Growing in Christ-like cooperation.
From within our BC movement, we’ve been listening to the concern that we at times are more about silos than synergy. The Biblical Counseling Coalition was launched to advance cooperative relationships that then produce robust resources for the entire BC movement—and for all those who care for hurting people.
It is the mission of the Biblical Counseling Coalition to multiply the ministry of the biblical counseling movement.
Over 50 leaders in the BC world meet together for three days every year for mutual iron-sharpening.
Nearly four dozen BC leaders worked together to co-author Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling.
Two dozen BC leaders are now working together to co-author Scripture and Counseling: God’s Word for Life in a Broken World.
Dozens of BC leaders will be working together in 2014 to co-author a book on Counseling in the Local Church.
Over three dozen BC leaders worked together to produce the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s Confessional Statement.
As we teach about one-another ministry, we are growing in ministering to one another.
I could go on and on… But I promised myself that I’d keep this post around the 1,000-word mark (and I’ve already surpassed that). I’m simply wanting to set the context for my discussion of feedback for the Christian integrative counseling (CIC) world.
If the BC world is not open to hearing from our CIC friends, and responding humbly, then I should not offer my CIC friends feedback. But, since we have been listening, and since I’ve worked diligently over the years to build relationships with my CIC friends, I hope I’ve earned the right to share some constructive reflections…
Join the Conversation
Where have you seen the biblical counseling world being open to growth and development?
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