On Fridays for the next several weeks, I hope to interact with the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s new book, Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling. Not sure how it will all pan out, but my plan is to take a chapter each week, summarize the main teaching points, highlight good quotes, develop some of the ideas, and offer some constructive critique here and there. Apart from a couple of weaker chapters, there won’t be too much of the latter as this is a superb book that would benefit not just pastors and counselors but anyone who wants to learn how to help others with God’s Word. Why not read along with me and add your own comments as we go? Today we’ll start with the short introductory chapter. Next Friday I’ll take a look at Chapter 1: The Glory of God – The Goal of Biblical Counseling.
Introduction: In Christ Alone by Bob Kellemen and Steve Viars
Aim of book
To promote authentic spiritual growth among God’s people in ways that are:
(1) Grace-based and gospel-centered: Not a system or a program.
(2) Relationally and theologically robust: Relationship with God through His Word.
(3) Grounded in the local church: Caring like Christ in the body of Christ
(4) Relevant to everyday life and ministry: Speaking the truth in love to meet spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.
Structure of the Book
Chapters 1-14: A practical theology of biblical counseling
Chapters 15-28: A practical methodology of biblical counseling
Authors of the Book
The coalition of 40 authors produces variety, synergy, humility, and better resources.
Biblical Foundations of the Book
Ephesians 4:1-3; 4:15-16; 2 Peter 3:18
The Introduction sets up the book well by explaining its rationale and aim. As with everything Bob writes, the chapter is clear, concise, and well-structured. If I was just beginning in biblical counseling or even just wanting to speak more helpfully into people’s lives, I’d be encouraged that this is a book for me. And yet, the more experienced pastor or counselor will also be drawn in by the promise of more substantial discussions in some chapters. Those familiar with some of the critiques of biblical counseling will also recognize the promise to address some of these issues and offer more comprehensive care for sinners and sufferers. As a bonus, there are some great “soundbites.”
“We are less interested in the number of disciples and more interested in the quality of discipleship.”
“We want to grow together in learning how to promote personal change centered on the person of Christ through the personal ministry of the Word.”
“Biblical Counseling does not offer a system or a program, but rather is shares a person - the Person – Jesus Christ.”
“Counseling is not ultimately about the counselee or the counselor, but about the Divine Counselor.”
“Our team rejects the notion that the Bible is simply an encyclopedia of disconnected Bible verses. God’s Word is less like a cookbook and more like a novel.”
“God calls and equips the church to be not simply a place with biblical counseling, but a place of biblical counseling.”