Why I Am a Biblical Counselor
Last week I was at the 40th-anniversary celebration for the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). I was once again reminded how important biblical counselors are for the church. Several of the speakers (Dr. Richard Ganz, Dr. David Powlison, Dr. Garrett Higbee) are former psychologists who once made their living from practicing psychology. These men and several others that I know realized that despite their best efforts they were not truly helping people. Part of Dr. Ganz’ testimony is that when he began to understand that the Scriptures were sufficient to help people he was actually fired from his job. You see, psychological methodology views biblical counseling as an enemy.
Psychology is anti-God at its roots but for decades now, the church has given the care of hurting people over to secular and “Christian” psychology. The church gave up the care of hurting people and put them in the hands of the medical doctor. Unfortunately, the church at large has bought into the medical model for people helping and as a result, anti-God, pro-sin individuals are now in the multi-billion-dollar business of labeling what is in many cases sin or sinful behaviors as diseases or disorders. The truth about psychology is there is actually little that is scientific about how behaviors and mental processes are conducted, and little that is scientific about the psychological approach to studying organisms. I believe that psychologists and psychiatrists get into their respective fields because they want to help people. They think they are!
Psychology relies upon various theories of personality to help people. One important issue in psychiatry and psychology (including Christian psychology) is that there are numerous theories, but no agreement among them on which theory is right or even best. Many Psychologists, especially Christian ones, say that because the Bible doesn’t contain these theories it is not sufficient for counseling the really tough problems like kleptomania, and schizophrenia.
The Bible does not present a theory of personality but is clear on God’s viewpoint on man. While psychology’s premise is that man is a higher evolved form of animal, God has an entirely different opinion of us. He tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), and that we are made in HIS image and likeness (Genesis 1, 2).
God’s Word reveals to us why it is not wisdom but pure foolishness to look at man for the solutions to the problems we face (Isaiah 55:8-9). Due to original sin, we have departed from our initially created state of being. This is why we struggle to understand God’s ways! Our sinful state causes us to have flawed logic and reason. Because of the sin that has completely marred the image of God within us, sometimes, we need counsel and help; we need others to come along beside us and redirect us back to the path of righteousness.
Biblical counselors who are ministering to the unbeliever and the Christian have the ability to show them something better than diagnosis codes and a life dominated by “disease” and medication.
Our counsel is life-giving and hope-filled because it flows from the God of the universe who knows us better than we know ourselves. A personal relationship with God and the Bible is the only source of help for our spiritual and emotional problems. Scripture is the only reliable unchangeable resource to which we can turn to solve our spiritual problems.
Isaiah 8:19-20 “…people should ask their God for help. Why should people who are still alive ask something from the dead?”
Psalm 119:9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word.
The Bible gives us numerous insights regarding how intimately God is involved in the emotional and mental life of His people. Nothing escapes God’s notice, not any thought, belief, desire, want, or perceived need. He is the one who restores us to health and wholeness when we are ill in any way.
Scripture insists that we be transformed changed by the renewing of our minds by the Word of God (Romans 12:2). If Scripture commands that we do this, it must be possible! That is the function of salvation, preaching, teaching, biblical counseling, and discipleship. The more of Jesus we know, and the more of His life we emulate the more awkward and out of place we will feel in this world.
2 Corinthians 5:9 sets up the standard for our behavior – to be pleasing to God. “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” We are to be in the process of transformation our entire Christian lives. Beholding the glory of God and desiring the same for our own lives (2 Corinthians 3:18). The understanding of the Christian is to believe in heart and in practice that everything that happens to us is for our good, all for the purpose of conforming us to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:28-29).
I am a biblical counselor because the Bible has far superior answers to anything psychology can explain about deep issues. I have hope to offer, I have God’s unchanging truth to offer, and I have the promise of a changed heart and a changed life through Christ. The biblical counselor’s answer to difficult events in life is to help others become more and more like Christ as a direct result of going through them.