Thursday, September 14, 2006

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. ~Romans 15:4

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. ~Hebrews 3:12-13

How else does one expose an unbelieving heart? How else does one expose a heart hardened by the deceitfulness of sin? Psychology will not tell me that the root of my idolatry is sin, nor is such counsel provided that produces true hope and sanctification.

In 2002, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution entitled "On the Sufficiency of Scripture in a Therapeutic Culture." There is a deep conviction for God-glorifying, Christ-centered, Bible-saturated counseling evidenced in such a resolution. Anything less is insufficient and falls short of the real solution to the human condition.

  • WHEREAS, Southern Baptists are committed to the authority, sufficiency, and relevance of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15-17); and
  • WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that human beings are created in the image of God—made by Him, like Him, and for Him (Genesis 1:27-28)—and that because of sinful rebellion against the Creator, our entire being suffers from sin's corruption (Genesis 3:6-19; Ecclesiastes 9:3; Romans 1-3); and
  • WHEREAS, All aspects of our lives—including our spiritual, moral, and psychological conditions—are to be informed and governed by the application of and obedience to Holy Scripture (1 Corinthians 10:31); and
  • WHEREAS, In this therapeutic culture, physicians and counselors often ignore human sin and its effects, neglect our most fundamental human and spiritual needs, and therefore, misunderstand our condition, mistreat our problems, and sometimes unintentionally do more harm than good; and
  • WHEREAS, An uncritical acceptance of the therapeutic culture too often has infected our pulpits, ministries, and counseling (Colossians 2:8); and
  • WHEREAS, Our churches often have neglected our God-ordained responsibility for the care and cure of souls, becoming practically ineffective, both marginalizing ourselves from the culture and being marginalized by the mental health establishment; now, therefore, be it
  • RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 11-12, 2002, affirm Christian counseling that relies upon the Word of God rather than theories that are rooted in a defective understanding of human nature (John 17:17); and be it further
  • RESOLVED, That we affirm that any method worthy of the name "Christian counseling" must address the root of our problems and reveal the crux of God's solution—the redemptive work of Christ and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, by which the depths of sin and the fullness of grace are made known (Hebrews 4:12-16); and be it further
  • RESOLVED, That, while we affirm that there are real conditions that warrant legitimate medical treatment, we reject the assumptions of the therapeutic culture that offer a pharmacological solution for every human problem; and be it finally
  • RESOLVED, That we call on all Southern Baptists and our churches to reclaim practical biblical wisdom, Christ-centered counseling, and the restorative ministry of the care and cure of souls.
(A Resolution Adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention-St. Louis, Missouri-June 2002)


Chris said...

I think I'm confused; what do they expect counsellors to do, just read scripture at their clients?

My wife and I attended counselling with a Christian psychologist and pastor for about six months, as there were some depression issues to work out and a few other things. Some of it had to do with sin, on my part and on hers; but mostly it had to do with a really insane past - verbal abuse, negligence, and overindulgence from our parents had culled in both of us a certain amount of misunderstanding about the freedom that comes with Christ. We both had horrible self-images (of the "God hates me because I suck" variety).

The counsellor was trained in each school of psychology - including Freudian, Behavioral, and Social - and I think it was one of the best decisions we've made to go see him. He mentioned scripture, certainly, but the vast majority of our time together was spent talking through our issues, referring to the occasional behavioral model (which I think are NOT completely crap as the SBC seems to think), and a prayer at the end of each session. It's more balanced to keep the parts of the theories that actually work, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

GloryandGrace said...

The approach to psychology isn't "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" as you mentioned. Biblical counseling affirms that while psychology may be helpful, it's not authoritative. When you get down to the base, the foundation, of many psychological theories, they are unbiblical. Biblical counseling does not ignore one's past, the outward influences that have effected individuals, but rather looks at one's past through the lense of Scripture and who God says man is. As I said, psychology can be helpful, but it's not authoritative nor sufficient. Does that help any? Thank you for your concern and your comment, and let me know if I can answer any other questions you may have.
Psychology helps in such areas as: life experience, practical suggestions, and observation.