A Review of Chapter 8: The Influences on the Human Heart by Jeff Forrey and Jim Newheiser in Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling.

The authors of this outstanding chapter discuss the physical and social influences upon human choices and behavior. They tackle the social and genetic determinism that is so often used to excuse sinful attitudes and actions, but they do so in a beautifully balanced way. I’d describe this chapter as:

Honest: Jim discusses his own counseling journey, moving from a classically nouthetic view to a much more holistic view of our human nature, our problems, and the solutions to them.

Compassionate: A sincere acceptance and description of the impact of social history and bodily factors. A recognition that the body can affect the soul and vice versa.

Biblical: While accepting genetic and social influences, rejecting the idea of them as determinative of human behavior.

Constructive: Five scriptural principles that help us interact with people who struggle with bodily weaknesses PLUS five scriptural principles that help us deal with people who have difficult relationship influences.

Encouraging: Both  counselors and counselees should be greatly encouraged by the way the Bible frames and interprets genetic and social factors in such a way that promotes both loving sympathy and strong hope for strugglers.

Previous Posts in this Series

Introduction: Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling

1. John Piper on Biblical Counseling

2. Charity and Clarity in Counseling 

3. The Counselor’s Role in the Holy Spirit’s Counseling

4. Is the Trinity Relevant in Counseling

5. Counseling and the Grand Narrative of the Bible

6. Biblical Counseling and the Sufficiency of Scripture

7. The Spiritual Anatomy of the Soul