The Minirth Guide for Christian Counselors defines Christian Counseling as the ministry of one person seeking to help another recognize, understand, and solve their problems in accordance with the Word of God. According to Gary Collins in Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide the Christian Counselor seeks to bring people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to help them find forgiveness and relief from the effects of sin. He states that the counselor is an instrument through whom the Holy Spirit works to comfort, help, teach, convict, or guide another. II Corinthians 1: 3-4 gives us the premises for comforting others with the comfort God has comforted us with. “Blessed be God, the Origin of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Origin of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our troubles, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, by the comfort we ourselves have been comforted by God.”
So what is, you may ask, so unique about Christian Counseling? Christian counselors believe that the Bible is the ultimate standard of authority for believers, and that the power of the Holy Spirit adds God’s enabling Spirit to the counseling process. It doesn’t depend on mere human will power to solve problems and heal individuals. Romans 8:5-6 states “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Christian Counseling has a godly component which is more powerful and resists the basic selfish nature of human beings. Romans 8:8 tells us that “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” but Romans 8:37 tells us that “…we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us.” The time factor in Christian Counseling deals with past issues, by reminding clients to forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead, and press on (Philippians 3:13-14), as well as dealing with the present, and future life, and the eternal destiny of a person.
Christian counselors don’t attempt to help with present problems without first addressing eternal issues. Christian counselors feel love (phileo) and responsibility toward clients based on God’s love (agape) for humanity. I John 4:10 tells that…God loved us and sent Jesus to be the payment for our sins. I John 5:1 shows why Christian counselors practice counseling: Whoever loves God, loves the children of God.“All who call on the name of Jesus Christ will be saved.” [Acts 2:21] Christian counseling is also unique because it deals with the whole person, the physical body, the psychological mind, the soul, and the spirit, based on the concept in Luke 10:27, which states: Love Yahweh, your God, with all your spirit, with all your soul, with all your body, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as you love yourself. All of these aspects, the physical, the psychological, and spiritual, are intricately related. Christian Counseling, based on God’s love for humanity, has a universal application, applying to all people, regardless of their genetic, social, or cultural background. Christian counselors believe that “All who call on the name of Jesus Christ will be saved.” [Acts 2:21] Christian counseling is also unique because it deals with the whole person, the physical body, the psychological mind, the soul, and the spirit, based on the concept in Luke 10:27, which states: Love Yahweh, your God, with all your spirit, with all your soul, with all your body, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as you love yourself. All of these aspects, the physical, the psychological, and spiritual, are intricately related.
So why is Christian Counseling so unique? It has unique assumptions about God, the nature of humanity, the authority of Scripture, the reality of sin, and a hope for the eternal future of humanity. It has unique goals, which presents the message of Christ, encourages Biblical values, encourages confession of sin for Divine forgiveness, seeks spiritual growth, and models a godly Christian lifestyle. Christian counselors don’t shy away from presenting the gospel or encouraging the confession of sin and a return to biblical values. They seek the Spiritual growth and development of their clients, while modeling a godly lifestyle to them. Christian Counselors also use unique methods that many secular counselors would frown on. Prayer, reading scripture, gentle confrontation with biblical truths, and encouragement of church attendance are a few. They don’t use methods that are inconsistent with Scripture, such as suggesting extra-marital relations. Christian Counselors have unique characteristics as well. They strive to be absolutely honest, spiritually mature, committed to Serving God and humanity, prepared with prayer and reflection, deeply familiar with Scripture, and to model a godly lifestyle.
Christian Counseling is based on five Biblical principles, which are: a human being without Christ is lost, a human being without Christ is incomplete, all human beings are depraved, humanity is under attack, and human beings are sinful. These biblical principles or truths are what good Christian Counselors base their practices on. The first principle, that a human being without Christ is lost and doomed to Hell, can be seen in these two passages: Yeshua said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the God, but by Me. (John 14:6) And God, who loved the world so much, gave us the only One born of God, that whoever believes in the Christ, wouldn’t be destroyed, but would have everlasting life. (John 3:16) Christian counselors, simply can’t help with a clients’ present problems, while ignoring their eternal destiny. The second principle, that a human being without Christ is incomplete, can be seen in these verses: Stay in Me, and I in you. As the branch can’t make fruit by itself, without the vine; neither can you, unless you live in Me. I am the vine, you’re the branches: Whoever lives in me, and I in them, makes much fruit; but you can’t do anything without Me. ( John 15:4-5) The client, without Christ, will at some point experience existential loneliness, in which they will feel the lack of the deepest comfort and most powerful resource for solving problems – Jesus. Christ fulfills the dependency needs of humanity in a way that nothing else in this word can.
The third principle that human beings are depraved, is seen in this verse: And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19) Human beings are naturally bent toward evil, and not basically good. The fourth principle that humanity is under attack is clearly shown in this verse: The thief only comes to steal, to kill, and to defeat… (John 10:10). Satan is a real entity that tempts people’s greatest weaknesses, as shown in this verse: But every person is tempted, when they’re lured by their own wants, and persuaded. (James 1:14) The fifth principle that human beings are sinful, is clearly stated in this verse: All have sinned, and fall short of God’s perfection. (Romans 3:23) Satan tempts us with what is most likely to draw us in, by those things we desire or need the most. Satan gives us sex for love, money for security, lies for truth. Often we excuse what we do with the current psychological explanations of why we do it, such as parental influences, subconscious drives, repressed memories, transference, etc. Sometimes we excuse what we do with physical and cultural explanations of what caused us to do it, such as genetic predispositions, cultural desinsitization, political advancement, economical concerns, etc. We don’t want to take individual responsibility for our choices and sin. But the word of God tells us that: Whoever loves life, and wants to see good days, let them stop speaking in sinful ways, and let them speak no untruthfulness: Let them stay away from evil, and do good; let them search for peace, and walk in it, because the eyes of God watch over those who do good, and the ears of God are open to their prayers: but the face of God is against those who do evil. I Peter 3:10-12
- The Minirth Guide for Christian Counselors by Frank Minirth
- Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide by Gary R. Collins, Ph.D.
- American Association of Christian Counseling
- Wikipedia: Christian Counseling
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