Throughout church history the Bible has been sufficient to minister to the personal and interpersonal problems of living without resorting to the very wisdom of man about which God warns His people (1 Cor. 2:5, etc.). How did the church move from the comfort and confidence in the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in the fellowship of the saints to its current condition where solutions to the issues of life are found in the unbiblical evil speaking (Eph. 4:31) that takes place in problem-centered counseling and in the public undressing of private lives? In attempting to provide something better than the world, Christians nevertheless followed the problem-centeredness of worldly counseling along with its sinful speaking. Not only have these Christians opened Pandora’s Box, but apparently they believe that its evil contents of exposing the sins and failures of others are necessary in the process of helping people who are suffering from the trials of life. Like the Israelites during the time of the Judges, they are doing what is right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25).
Two main streams of influence occurred historically to promote this evil, both of which began in the secular society and eventually weaseled their way into the church. Like the proverbial camel’s nose in the tent, unbiblical evil speaking became the common parlance of God’s people. God’s Word was first replaced by the “camel” of communication called “counseling,” and then Christians went public by expressing instead of suppressing their private emotions, thoughts, and lives. The first stream is counseling gushing forth with the psychological counseling movement and followed by the biblical counseling movement, where sinful speaking became part and parcel of the lingua franca of the people of God in the counselor’s office. The second and tandem stream is the progression from personal privacy regarding thoughts and lives, once considered sacrosanct and kept private from public disclosure, to public exposure with sinful speaking and its ptomaine touchy-feely talk, with grumps and grumbles rumbling beneath a facile façade of pseudo righteousness. The publication of private lives first began in the confines of counselors’ offices and eventually evolved into the broadcast blather of talk shows….
All of this is done in the context of unrestrained self-revelation while publicly and verbally trashing others…. Likewise, in the private counselor’s office everything said about self and others can be brutal and requires no proof….
The sinfulness of mankind has been an undeniable plague upon the earth from the first bite of the forbidden fruit. Rebellion against the Creator has replicated itself throughout the progeny so that “There is none righteous, no, not one…. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23). The verdict is in; the judgment is true. Each and every person is a sinner. The only exception is the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to save mankind from the condemnation, power, and eternal results of this putrid condition. The evil and ugliness of sin are obvious when there is bloodshed, destruction, gross injustice, widespread misery, and wartime horrors. Conversely, sin may not appear utterly sinful in the average “nice” person, but it is there lurking beneath the surface and emerging in thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions.
The reason we emphasize this ugly fact regarding the sinful nature of humans is because no one in the counseling room is free of this evil. Whenever two or more people meet together, even for seemingly good purposes, they are sinners in the nature of their being. Yes, they may be saved sinners who have a new life and the imputed righteousness of Christ, but even saved sinners are not free of sin, because sin yet dwells in what the Bible refers to as the “flesh,” the very nature of the “the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Eph. 4:22). Furthermore, if we deny that we are sinners, we are deceiving ourselves (1 John 1:10). Even though biblical counselors may attempt to remove the “logs” from their own eyes before examining the “mote” in their counselees’ eyes (Matt. 7:3), they are nevertheless more vulnerable than they realize to their own sinfulness, especially in the process of listening to and participating in the ensuing sinful communication endemic in problem-centered counseling….
In the counseling room much of the conversation has to do with the alleged sins of people who are not there. Even when counselees talk about their own faults and sins, there always seem to be extenuating circumstances to explain away or relieve the guilt. While counseling may appear helpful, it is often superficial and unhelpful. Talking about problems with a counselor may not only be superficial; it is often downright sinful.
*This brief article is excerpted from pages 13-14, 43, and 49-51 of the book Stop Counseling: Start Ministering, which is available as a free PDF ebook at www.pamweb.org.
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, July-August 2017, Vol. 25, No.4)