A few weeks ago I attended a conference at Southeastern Seminary (my alma mater). It was called The Gospel Comes To Life. It was a great conference theme showing how the gospel is relevant for any culture and is useful not just for Christians to get saved but a way of thinking and acting in all of life.
I attended a couple break out sessions. Here were some notes from one.
Breakout: Psychology’s Gospel and The Gospel’s Psychology by Dr. Sam Williams
Biblical counselors must reclaim the cure (salvation) and care (sanctification) for souls. The fundamental problem with humanity is that we are sinners. Every soul is broken and disordered and it traces all the way back to the original fall of mankind (Genesis 3). We cannot manage or cope with this problem with our own solutions. The only cure and freedom is found in the offer of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Jesus frees souls from a history of messes, mistakes and failures. Even more, the continuing care for our souls is found in repentance, faith and obedience to God and His Word. At the heart of the issue is everyone is a worshiper, therefore every problem we face is a worship problem. The question is who or what are we worshiping and what is it that we are using to find “freedom”? This is the goal of biblical counseling and there is a difference from biblical counseling and “Christian counseling”. Christian counseling is often secular counseling cloaked in christianese language. To be clear, if prayer and seeking God’s wisdom through the Scriptures is not central to your counseling experience then it’s highly unlikely there will be any effective or long-term benefit to your sessions.
Dr. Williams offers this quote from David Fitch (The Great Giveaway):
“…psychology is an intepretive enterprise that shapes the very way we make sense out of our lives and see the world… It is a structure for the interpretation and understanding of self-identity… schools of psychology have as much interpretation in them as any religious history or other sytem of knowledge… As [others have noted], the therapist sits in a position of power over me imposing this pre-structured story line upon how I am recounting my life. The patient is virtually submitting his or her life to be analyzed and re-narrated according to a particular brand of psychology… Christianity and psychology do not necessarily lead to the same truth and experience. Instead, they are two different ways of interpreting our reality, producing two different ways of experiencing and living in the world… Now the all important question for the Christian entering therapy becomes, out of what story will I allow my life to be formed, Jung (or some other theorist) or [Jesus] Christ?”
God’s Word on the subject:
Colossians 2:2-8 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Another resource that has been helpful to me and that I am considering further education opportunities with is http://www.ccef.org/ This is probably the leading organization when it comes to restoring Christ and the Scirptures to counseling.