I really like the balance in this review of Counsel from the Cross. Sean Lucas helps us to get the best out of this book without embracing the unnecessary and false antithesis that undermines both it and the efficacy of biblical counseling. I wish more Pastors were as wise and courageous in seeing this and stating it.

Here is is Sean’s caution:

One caveat: Fitzpatrick and Johnson stress an antithesis between “psychology” and “biblical counseling” that is unhelpful. For example, they write that “we pray that you will understand, believe, and remember that there really are only two ways to counsel. You can counsel using either the tenets of psychology or even the Bible’s imperatives in the light of the glory story, giving helpful hints on how to progress in a personal pursuit of self-perfections, or you can counsel from the cross.” 

Such a stark antithesis neglects the possibility that God in common grace might actually give wisdom and insight to those who offer counsel from the tenets of psychology or sociology. Likewise, it also fails to reckon with the fact that in God’s general revelation, his truth “shines in all that’s fair” so that whatever truth may be found in psychology and psychiatry is actually God’s. While believers must evaluate all these things in the light of biblical revelation, I wonder whether positing such an stark choice actually assists the writers in advancing the cause of biblical counseling.