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Biblical Concepts with Counseling

Is the Bible inadequate to bring about sanctification by itself? Must we have psychological counseling to become whole? Is all counseling good? What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the counseling process? Can we ever become truly whole? If not, how can God use “sick” pastors and counselors? This issue of Focal Point, while not intended to answer all questions related to counseling and sanctification, seeks to address several issues and give examples of the use of biblical concepts with counseling.

As president of an evangelical, Christian seminary, let me emphasize key presuppositions for this issue on counseling:

The Bible is sufficient in its inspiration and its scope of truth to teach us what we need for sanctification (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4). But the Bible doesn’t tell us all we know about people. Any humanly discovered truth about people that is not contradictory to Scripture is helpful as “common sense” or counseling wisdom for therapeutic value.

  • The appropriate application of biblical truth is essential for holistic growth and greater sanctification. This happens in part through the ministry of Spirit-gifted pastors, teachers and counselors in the ministry of the Body of Christ as they apply biblical truth and sanctified wisdom to believers (2 Peter 3:1-2; James 5:19-20; Hebrews 13:17, 22; Philippians 4:8-9).
  • Some counsel and counseling is at best misguided and at worst a Satanic lie. All teaching and counsel is based on presuppositions and principles. If those foundations are humanistic their superstructures are condemned to topple (2 Peter 2:17-22; Matthew 7:15-27). Scripture is our ultimate authority for truth and counsel (Hebrews 12:4).
  • The Holy Spirit in Christian counseling is an essential element in bringing about holistic healing and true freedom at the spiritual level of a person’s life (John 14:26, 16:7-11; Ephesians 4:30; Titus 3:5).
  • In this life, we cannot be sinless and completely whole, but we are always in the process of becoming more Christlike through God’s sanctifying work (1 John 1:8; Philippians 1:6, 9-11).
  • While still less than perfect, God chooses to use and does use his servants for his sanctifying purposes in others (Galatians 2:11-21; 1 Timothy 1:15-16; 2 Corinthians 4:7-12).

Dr. Clyde McDowell, Focal Point, Fall, 1997, p. 3