If these review excerpts spark your interest, and you’d like to learn more about Gospel-Centered Counseling, check out my: Gospel-Centered Counseling Page. You’ll find a free copy of the Foreword and Introduction, along with tweet-size summaries of every chapter, in addition to several other free resources.
Excerpts: As a biblical counselor, I believe my counsel should flow from the Gospel. Therefore, I was very excited to read Dr. Bob Kellemen’s new book, Gospel-Centered Counseling. I love his writing anyway, and this book provides so much robust and relevant counsel for the counselor that I had difficulty putting it down. I found this book to be warm and comforting, like having a conversation with a friend. The tenor of the book reflects the heart of a Pastor/Teacher/Counselor who longs to impart loving, biblical truth to the reader.
Hope-Stirring by Melinda Lancaster posted at Melinda’s site.
Excerpts: I can’t imagine anyone who picks this book up not benefiting from it in some way. It is packed full of life-changing truths that have the power to transform people’s hearts and lives. I can say this with confidence because this book has significantly impacted my life. Prior to reading it, I was planning to leave ministry altogether. That’s a ridiculous notion, I realize. Every believer has a ministry. We don’t just walk off the field when things get tough. However a series of difficulties, unlike anything I’d ever before experienced, left me feeling depleted and extremely discouraged. What once had been a passion for “coming alongside others” had all but disappeared.
While not easy to admit in the context of a review, I must say that this book was a God-send for me. Not only did it serve to remind me of Whose I am, it helped me to recall why I embarked on the mission of “helping people” in the first place. I found my hope being stirred while reading, over and over again.
Excerpts: One of the characteristics of a truly good biblical counseling book is that believers who are not actually ‘counselors’ may gain just as much from it. Such is the case with Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives.
In his typical style, Kellemen engages the reader as if having a coffee together. While emphasizing from the outset the importance of sound theology, as it relates to every aspect of life, the reader never feels lectured or bogged down in hermeneutic explanation.
The compassion with which Kellemen writes, and longs for all counselors to employ, comes through on every page. Counselors and “average Joe Christians” alike will find much truth here—simply stated and beautifully written—to point their fellow sojourners to the Great Physician. A truly inspiring and helpful book to assist both reader and counselee growing in grace.
Biblical Counselors as Biblical Cardiologists by Emily Duffery posted at Emily’s site.
Excerpts: Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives by Robert Kellemen was by far the best book on biblical counseling I read in 2014. It is gospel saturated. If you started this book with an unclear picture of how the gospel relates to everyday life, you won’t end it that way!
The book is saturated with grace. It is warm and inviting—many a time, as I sat in a coffee shop with a cup of coffee in one hand and this book in the other, I felt like I was having a conversation with a friend I never knew I had. I laughed (shout out to the Smurfs!), I chewed my lip as the words on the page confronted my unbiblical thinking, I stood and walked around to avoid shouting AMEN to the patrons of the coffee shop when I read something written in a way I hadn’t previously considered, and there were tears as I was moved to conviction and repentance in some areas of my life came to light as I wrestled through the 10th chapter on applying the gospel to suffering: our gospel-centered self-counsel.
Excerpts: As you turn each page in Bob’s newest work, Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives, you will get the privilege of hearing from a man who has dedicated himself to the singular task of equipping people to care for others like Christ does. From the engaging narratives, which show Bob’s breadth of case wisdom, to the articulate and organized structure of each chapter, you quickly realize what a goldmine you have.
This is a book influenced and filled with Scripture, and not in a way where you feel like Bob is simply proof-texting his points. No, this book is a product of the living Word taking up residence in Bob’s heart and mind, and it pouring out in every word, thought, and concept.
Excerpts: In Gospel-Centered Counseling, you will not find pat answers or a five-step approach, but you will find deep truths and wisdom rooted in a person—Christ. You will find truths to challenge your thinking of theology, your perspective of the Trinity, and your overall approach toward people.
While geared toward counselors, pastors, and for equipping upcoming counselors, Gospel-Centered Counseling is also a book for the whole church. This single resource will help you become competent to counsel, and could easily become a foundational springboard for the care of souls in the local church. Since counseling and discipleship are united by the gospel, this book is for anyone believer looking for hope rooted in Christ.
Excerpts: I’m happy to commend Gospel-Centered Counseling to any, and all biblical counselors, counselors-in-training, pastors, small group leaders, and anyone interested in learning how the Gospel of Jesus Christ moves in and through the human heart, reconciling man to God, and man to his neighbor. In the pages of this book, we’re given the gift of experiencing the rhythms of biblical heart change.
Theology for Life by Ellen Castillo posted at Ellen’s site.
Excerpts: It is a breath of fresh air to have such a truly gospel-centered “text book” in this season of counseling ministry. I was challenged to consider my own approach to counseling by the “8 Ultimate Life Questions” that headlined much of the book’s teaching. The book builds on concepts based on these 8 questions such as “Where can we find answers?” and “Who is God and how can we know Him personally?” as well as “How do we find peace with God?” and “How do people change?” and more. The answers to the 8 questions are found in God’s Word itself, and we are taken there throughout the text. Bob skillfully and thoroughly takes us through theology and practical application in a user-friendly manner that is applicable to both experienced and new counselors.
Bob’s relational and comfortable writing style makes reading this book a joy. He has a way with words, using “tweet-size phrases” to condense concepts in to a user-friendly format that is easy for us to understand. I read this book one time through for the purpose of review. I am currently reading it a second time through because it is so rich and full of concepts that I want to further digest. This book will be a lasting resource in my ministry and in yours as well. No matter what kind of one-another ministry you serve, you will benefit from this valuable work.
Sound Theology for Personal Ministry by Nate Claiborne at Nate’s site.
Excerpts: One hallmark of Kellemen’s writing style is his clarity of expression and organizational prowess. This book is tightly organized and very clearly thought through. Kellemen doesn’t just want to present truth from Scripture for informed biblical counseling. He wants to present truth in a way that is understandable and that sticks. I think he succeeds on both counts.
I think this is a book that every pastor should read. Gospel-Centered Counseling gives a foundational and broad understanding of theology for a sound personal ministry of the Word. It shows how the truths from a systematic theology have practical application in the lives of everyday believers. In fact, it might be good reading for someone who is interested in systematic theology but put off by the breadth and dryness of many actual systematic theologies. It would also serve well for someone who wonders if theology is actually practical. Because Kellemen’s writing style is conversational and engaging, it makes the book ideal for a wide audience. And when it comes down to it, we all counsel each other to some extent as we give advice and listen to each other. We would do well then to make sure our advice grow from a biblical foundation and taking the time to read a book like this can help ensure that happens.