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What This Book Is All About
“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:10-11).
Our greatest joy in ministering is to lead those who are suffering from problems of living away from sinful problem-centered conversations into a daily walk with the Lord. We emphasize the daily walk because walking closely with the Lord, spending time in His Word and prayer, and being mindful of Him during the day will serve to enable believers to know and follow God’s will as difficulties occur. We pray that this book will give you confidence to minister in such a way as to strengthen fellow believers in their daily walk with Christ.
Why would anyone want to stop counseling? We give reasons throughout this book as to why Christians should be opposed to counseling, literally stop it, and start ministering. We choose the word counseling because it is generic enough to cover both psychological (psychotherapy) and biblical counseling. This is the type of counseling where those with personal and interpersonal problems of living seek help through psychological or biblical problem-centered conversations.
The problems discussed at length are those personal and interpersonal problems of living that are normally taken to one who is designated as a psychological or biblical counselor. The commonality for both psychological and biblical counseling is that both are sinfully problem-centered! Our concern is what the counselee and the counselor say as they pursue the problems presented and discussed.
Central to ministering to individuals in need is to overcome their fixation on their problems, turn their attention to Christ, and encourage spiritual growth. This is not an easy task as sinful problem-centeredness is the default position of people raised in the American therapeutic culture. It is a constant battle that one who ministers will need to deal with if spiritual possibilities are to be accomplished. As one ministers biblically this battle must be won in order to spiritually enable the one in need. As ministry increases, problem-centeredness must decrease so that the one in need develops a solid, dependent daily walk with the Lord whereby current and future problems of life can be confronted spiritually. This book is meant to enable you to Stop counseling! and Start ministering! by helping those in need become more Christ-centered and Word-centered, equipping them with the truths of Scripture, and encouraging them to live the daily life that will be honoring to the Lord and beneficial for meeting life’s problems.
Overview of Chapters
In Chapter One we reveal how the privacy of private lives became public and how the therapeutic mentality became ubiquitous throughout America. Early marriage education classes prior to World War II mandated a move from lives being private to a need to reveal as much as possible about one’s personal life, thoughts, and relationships in order to be helped. It was primarily women who sought the help. During the post-World War II era women’s magazines carried and conveyed a so-called necessity to express publicly what had previously been unexpressed and private. Also during the pre-war and early post-war periods the psychotherapeutic gospel, in which private lives are made public to the counselor, was the leaven being infused into marriage education and women’s magazines that eventually came to full loaf with licensed therapists and the therapeutic gospel permeating all of society and even the church. We briefly describe how the sinful problem-centeredness began with the psychological counseling movement after World War II and was later adopted by the biblical counseling movement.
Alongside the post-World War II counseling movement came the almost simultaneous arrival of the media driven exposure of personal lives becoming publicly proclaimed and drastically displayed in a new and unprecedented way. While men and women are both guilty of the publicizing of private lives, men were instrumental in initiating such exposure in therapy, but women led the way and are primarily responsible for its current popularity and expansion.
Complementary to the counseling movement was the rise of media moguls like Oprah and others who capitalized on women’s interests by corrupting women’s strengths to their own detriment. All of this gave rise to all of life in the United States being viewed through the lens of the psychotherapeutic gospel. At the same time the media madness with its expression and often sinful practices moved into the online availability of almost everything from benign banter to devilish debauchery through such social networking sites as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace and through search mechanisms such as Google and Yahoo.
We discuss the “Jeremiah 17:9 syndrome” in Chapter Two and the ramifications of the deceitful heart. We reveal various ways the deceitful heart of both the counselor and counselee affect psychological and biblical counseling. Popular biblical counseling approaches are discussed in Chapter Three to demonstrate the sinful problem-centeredness of biblical counseling and to reveal that biblical counseling, even at its best, involves sinful conversations through its unbiblical practice of problem-centeredness. In spite of the fact that many biblical counselors are often very biblical in their teaching of Scripture, we reveal how unbiblical they are in what they do.
We discuss the rise of problem-centered counseling in Chapter Four and reveal how it infiltrated Christian schools, Bible colleges, seminaries, Christian universities, denominations, and mission agencies. We reveal the erroneous use of Proverbs 18:13, which is the linchpin for much of the problem-centeredness in biblical counseling. We also demonstrate that counseling is a female-friendly environment, which is loathed by most men, who are often reluctantly forced into it.
The unbiblical practice of cross-gender counseling, with women counseling men, men counseling women, and a woman or man counseling a married couple, was “inherited” by biblical counselors from the psychological counseling movement with little thought or challenge and is practiced throughout the church. Chapter Five enumerates biblical and practical reasons why this practice should be discontinued.
Although problem-centered counseling itself is not a scientific or biblically supported activity, it can be evaluated scientifically to test its claims of efficacy or usefulness. The predominant reasons why psychological and biblical counseling maybe somewhat successful are found in the scientific literature. The results of the scientific examination are surprising and little known to the average person. These surprising and little-known reasons for the positive results are discussed in Chapter Six along with the detrimental effects of many counseling approaches.
Two major unbiblical practices in the biblical counseling movement are charging for counseling and counseling in separated-from-the-church counseling centers. These two unbiblical practices are typically found together as community counseling centers usually charge fees for their services. In Chapter Seven we name some names of the many who are in cahoots with respect to either directly or indirectly supporting this practice.
One of the greatest difficulties in personal ministry in the Body of Christ is overcoming the common practice of problem-centeredness. In Chapter Eight we describe the unbiblical nature of psychological and biblical problem-centered counseling and suggest what can be done when it occurs. Many will not know what to do if problems are not pursued and discussed in detail. Many will not know what to do to avoid getting bogged down in such sinful talk.
Though we have criticized problem-centered counseling as being sinful, because both the counselees and counselors converse sinfully about problems, we have made it clear in our past writings that “We are not saying ‘Do not talk about problems.’”We do listen to problems; but the way we respond and the direction we take differ from those in the biblical counseling movement.
Chapter Nine informs those who desire to minister biblically, but may not know what can be done absent problem-centeredness. One of the most powerful spiritual disciplines is an intentional daily walk with the Lord and all that implies. Lack of a purposeful daily walk with the Lord is one of the biggest shortcomings in a Christian’s life and often happens during times when one is experiencing personal and interpersonal problems. Chapter Ten discusses elements of the daily walk for Christians to consider as they are bombarded with the issues of life. The last chapter titled “Stop Counseling! Start Ministering!” gives a summation of the prior ten chapters and also includes recommendations of “Do Not’s” and “Do’s.”
The entire thrust of this book is to explain biblically, practically, and scientifically why Christians should Stop Counseling! and to provide suggestions for Christians who may need encouragement and guidance to Start Ministering! As a result of reading this book, we pray that you will become totally turned off to psychotherapy and contemporary biblical counseling, which are both sinfully problem-centered, and totally turned on to the traditional biblical ministry that preceded the Johnny-come-lately biblical counseling movement.
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, March-April 2011, Vol. 19, No. 2)