I’ve enjoyed getting to know Bob Kellemen over recent months, both electronically and in person. Bob is probably the most balanced and careful biblical counselor that I’ve come across (he’s also got enough energy for five men!). He blogs at RPM Ministries, and has written a number of excellent books such as Soul Physicians, Spiritual Friends, Beyond the suffering (a fascinating survey of counseling lessons from the suffering Black Church), and God’s Healing for Life’s Losses. He’s also heading up the Biblical Counseling Coalition with Pastor Steve Viars. It’s quite a broad group, with various counseling perspectives represented on its Council and at its blog. However, with some discernment you’ll find some great resources there.

Bob recently linked to a fascinating article by Christian Psychologist Phil Monroe, on The Physiology of Fear. What pleased me so much about this post was Phil’s explanation of the physical dimensions of fear, the way the brain’s architecture and chemistry contribute to a person’s experience of fear and anxiety.

I’m so encouraged that increasing numbers in the Biblical Counseling movement are increasingly willing to allow their presuppositions to be influenced by evidence. The over-reaction to science’s false claims about human personality that closed many minds to science’s legitimate discoveries is slowly re-balancing and moderating. True science is the friend of true presuppositions.

Where there’s still a lot of work to be done is on seeing science not just as a helpful part of the diagnosis, but also as part of the cure. For example, while Phil’s article gives four physical causes of fear and anxiety, when he comes to cure, he asks, “What do we do with fear from a spiritual standpoint?” and lists four answers. They are great answers, but it feels a bit lop-sided. Yes, because of the body’s mysterious connection with the spirit, some chemical, structural and pathway problems can be helped with spiritual answers. But might not some physical (chemical?) element contribute too.

I can paint my house with an artist’s fine brush. And I’ll eventually complete it. But I’d prefer to use a power-spray and enjoy life a bit more.

  • Phil Monroe

    Thanks for highlighting my post. I appreciate your comments about the lopsided focus on spiritual interventions and they are similar to many I make in my classes. I suggest that medications as well as any number of researched based psychological interventions (CBT, mindfulness, etc.) that can be quite effective in the treatment of fear. Blessings on your ministry. Phil

  • David Murray

    Thanks Phil. I’m looking forward to reading through your archives. Looks like we are generally on the same page. Very encouraged to see you positively engaging with the secular world in a difficult field.