Friday, November 04, 2005

True Biblical Counseling vs. Psychology

Psychological counseling strengthens the flesh. Paul said "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh;" Who wants to strengthen that!?

Better to zero in on the new man, that spirit which is now joined to His Spirit, that spirit which now loves Jesus and hates sin.

The Word of God, and the Wonderful Counselor is what we need in our times of trials (which is almost always), not a psychologist.

"Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:16) Too often we need counseling because we avoid the throne of grace. First counseling instruction: draw near to Him!

A caution, however, regarding so-called Biblical Counseling. Sometimes "Biblical" or "Nouthetic" counseling is reduced (as the Gk noutheteo --admonish-- implies) to merely "admonishing". That is, it becomes merely rule-oriented, or Law-based. Sort of, "Repent, don't do that anymore, do this, and everything will be O.K." Duty, duty, duty. And if the counselee doesn't comply pretty darn quickly...well then they're just stiff-necked and hopeless.

True Biblical counseling will encompass such important doctrinal foundations as the sovereignty of God, His great love for His children, His total acceptance of His children "in the Beloved", the ongoing grace of God after salvation, the attributes of God which engenders love for Him in true believers, and training in how to walk by the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit in an ongoing lifestyle.

Without those kinds of foundational truths, instead of the "love of Christ constraining us", and true repentance of the heart as a lifestyle, it becomes a Holy Behavioral Modification that makes someone look good, smell good, but wither on the Vine. Without preaching the whole counsel of God, and particularly feeding the sheep with Him Who is the Bread of Life, even so-called Biblical Counseling can become the "letter [that] kills" (2 Cor. 3:6).

Listen to "Grace For Life" Radio Program.


Anonymous said...

I've wrestled with this issue a number of times, and the most compelling thing I've read on nouthetic/Biblical vs. Integrationist is The Journal of Psychology and Christianity: Sola Scripture (CAPS), Vol 16, Winter 1997, NUmber 4, which was devoted to the issue. Well worth picking up because both side make their case, then both critique one another, then the editor steps in a sums up. tx for bloggin!

Vanessa D. Alexander said...

This is a much needed message in the Body these days. Thanks for posting. Blessing to see you on the Twitter Time line.

marcopaz said...

This is something that I hope my generation does not forget, as many of us are pursuing being pastors and counselors. Thank you for your wise insights.

Terry Rayburn said...


Thank you very much.


Thanks, Warrior Peace. I enjoyed your "introduction to Marocpaz" poem.


Unknown said...

This is something that those of us who are biblical counselors should have posted as a constant reminder. It's too easy to get into the works mode.

Terry Rayburn said...

Thank you Unknown -- but "known" by Him :)