• Spiritual Formation: Through HER Eyes

    Posted on October 6th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments
    Much of the time we view spiritual formation through less than half the church–because we ignore the remarkable contribution of amazing women of the faith. A new book co-authored by myself and Susan Ellis addresses this imbalance. Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith gives voice to the voiceless. Bill Higley and Chelsea Huizing have posted a review of Sacred Friendships at Bill’s excellent web site: http://bit.ly/124G6n

    Here’s their review.

    The purpose of this stop of the “Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith” bog tour is to review chapters 1, 2, 10, 11, and 12. Before I begin, there are a few preliminary things I want to say: First, thank you to Bob and Susan for allowing me this opportunity, it is my (and Chelsea’s—see below) privilege to be invited to participate in the blog tour covering the release of Sacred Friendships. Second, I must confess I’m cheating a little in my assignment. I have asked one of my former college students, Chelsea Huizing, whom is now in our school’s graduate Counseling program (specifically, the Master of Arts with an emphasis on Counseling and Writing), to help me in this process. I think it only fitting that someone like Chelsea be a part of this process. For in her educational preparation for future vocational ministry, she is in many ways standing of the shoulders of the heroes of the faith highlighted in Sacred Friendships. Moreover, she is a talented writer with a keen mind and she does an outstanding job with her assignment. So, a big “thank you” to Chelsea

    Therefore, in the division of this task, I (Bill Higley) will introduce and review chapters 1 and 2, and Chelsea will cover chapters 10-12. Here goes . . .

    Chapter 1 – So Great a Cloud of Witnesses: In Her Own Words.

    Chapter 1 of Sacred Friendships is crucial to understanding not just the content of this text, but also its presentation. In this first chapter, Bob Kellemen and Susan Ellis introduce us: 1) to their research process and intent; 2) to what we might call their “hermeneutical process” or “paradigm” for interpreting that research; and, 3) to the format with which they will present their findings.

    To understand these three aspects fully, I would recommend you to go back and read Dr. Kellemen’s previous works, Soul Physicians and Spiritual Friends, in which he carefully presents the foundation for his philosophy of counseling, and Beyond the Suffering , where he applies this counseling model to the spiritual history and contributions of the African American church in America. Sacred Friendships is built on this same philosophy of counseling and application model.

    That being said, it is necessary for the authors to reintroduce (or, first introduce) the Soul Care and Spiritual Directions counseling framework used for this book, and that is the purpose of chapter one. In their Introduction, they describe their approach as a: “. . . Cross-based, four-dimensional model (sustaining, healing, reconciling, and guiding) of soul care and spiritual direction as a grid to map the marvels of historical women’s ministry. This four-dimensional model is the traditional, time-tested, and widely-recognized pattern for understanding Christian spiritual care” (p. 2). Therefore, because it is so crucial to ones appreciation of this text, the authors dedicate chapter one as a sort of crash course in this counseling model.

    Without this brief introduction to the Soul Care and Spiritual Directions process the reader would be lost. As a matter of fact, Kellemen and Ellis call it the “Treasure Map” they will follow in their walk through the history of the contribution these women saints have made to the church (pp. 11-12).

    In presenting the model in this first chapter, Bob and Susan provide a helpful overview the Soul Care and Spiritual Direction on pages 14-15. The rest of the first chapter is a more careful unfolding of these concepts, through which they give further explanation of how they will use the model to decipher and apply the contributions the women heroes of the faith featured in Sacred Friendships, have made to the church.

    Most significantly, through this approach, Sacred Friendships combines the “grace and truth” perspective of Christian counseling and spiritual formation process, and skillfully uses it as an interpretive grid from which to read—and apply—these historical examples of the women they will introduce us to. Thus, chapter one introduces this quite helpful, “Treasure Map,” which will guide the reader through the rest of the text.

    Chapter 2 – Handmaids of the Lord: The Forgotten Church Mothers

    After the necessary introduction of the controlling metaphor of the book, chapter two wastes no time in taking us to the first line-up of the stars of this work. In this case, five “forgotten” (or maybe, more accurately, historically ignored) mothers of the church.

    First, in this chapter we meet Vibia Perpetua, whom is the author of “the earliest know document written by a Christian women” (p. 27). Perpetua was an early church martyr. But it is her example of persistence and boldness in Christ that marks her contribution to the church.

    Bob and Susan show the influence and power of their interpretive construct, when they conclude with this statement about Vibia Perpetua: “Here we witness not only Perpetua’s courageous example of persistence, but also her model of biblical confrontation. She provides riveting testimony to Christ’s power at work in the inner life of a Christian woman whose spirit could never be overpowered” (p. 30).

    Next we meet three women who demonstrated powerful spiritual influence towards three of the most significant early church Fathers: Macrina the Elder, grandmother of Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa; the mother of Gregory of Nazianzus; and, Anthusa, the mother of John Chrysostom. The authors’ introduce us to the each of these special ladies, and in so doing, show us how each modedl

    Appropriately, the chapter closes with an introduction to the mother of the most influential of all the early church fathers, Augustine. In their writing, Bob and Susan give us a needed context from which to better understand Augustine. In Augustine’s work, “Confessions,” we learn that his mother Monica “…. stands out above all others as the spiritual guide and anchor, indeed, as the determinative relationship in his life” (quoting Ranft, p. 37). How influential was his mother Monica on Augustine? She was his “best spiritual friend” (p. 40).

    This chapter leads us right to the heart of the message of this book. And in it, we are introduced to five huge spiritual influencers in the lives of the early Church Fathers. In all these cases, the legacy of their contribution to our soul care and spiritual formation would eventually run through their sons or grandsons— who are all recognized as pillars of the early church. And each one of these men was influenced significantly in their spiritual development by the ladies featured in this chapter.

    We do well to learn more about each of these women, for in so doing; indeed, our own souls are care for.

    Chapters 10-12, Sacred Friendships (Reviewed by Chelsea Huizing)

    The careful consideration given to each woman of the faith in chapters 10 thru 12 of “Sacred Friendships” quickly makes the book personable yet informative to the reader. The authors touch on several names that the reader is probably not aware of directly, but the connections to famous men make the names at least vaguely familiar. There is no fooling around or unnecessary introductions; the reader delves directly to the ‘meat’ of the stories, learning more about these women who had their hands on the development of the impressive men they were connected to.

    Each woman is looked at in detail, starting with her own personal life growing up and the spiritual background from which she came. It almost feels like you are reading a history book, capitalizing on spiritual influences and educational background that each woman had. The familiarity this attention to detail gives quickly serves to bring the reader to a personal, self-searching level of connection with each character. If you do not see elements of yourself in each person described, you almost certainly know someone who is similar in character or circumstance to at least one of the women within these chapters. And these connections keep the reader going, eager to learn more about these women and the potential they have for teaching lessons even today.

    The authors make no attempt to hide the faults of these women; indeed, the faults are described in full, perhaps to help the reader understand that they were merely human, as well, simply living day to day as best as they could, and seeking God all the while.

    The hardworking mother with overwhelming duties; the happy and forgotten housewife; the woman who is constantly fretting over things she cannot control; the neglected friend; and the companion who never ceases to struggle for and serve others, all the while battling thoughts of uselessness and depression. Such faults in women of faith did not serve to hinder their ministries, but rather drove them closer to the Lord.

    Details about the circumstances of their Sacred Friendships, and the specific ways that the Lord used them in the lives they ministered to, serve as gentle nudges to the spirit as one reads the accounts. Not one of the women was the same as the other, and these differences are highlighted; yet not diminished. What the authors describe as “spiritual soul care” takes on many different faces, as different as the personalities that these women displayed, and as varied as the roles they played. These differences serve as encouragements as you read further into each story: if these women can be used, and be used so greatly, by the Lord, than anyone can be.

    At the end of each description, you feel as though you have sat down and read a letter from the life of each woman; there is no disguising of words, no mincing of emotions. Many sources are used to give color to the stories, both facts from history books and quotes from personal letters; they serve to paint ever clearer pictures of how these women lived, loved and ministered within their friendships and companionships.

    No matter the era, the culture or the background of each woman, God saw fit to use their humanness and His Grace in their lives to draw blueprints for what can rightfully be called Sacred Friendships. Chapters 10 through 12 serve as more of a challenge and exhortation to the reader than anything else: If God can use these women, with their faults and trials, in such a mighty way, perhaps anyone can be used. The authors’ challenge throughout the chapters is clear and valid. The women in these pages are not meant to be merely a history lesson or a sympathetic letter to whoever will take the time to read, but rather a nudge in the right direction on how to develop Sacred Friendships in our own lives.

    Blessings
    3 John 8
    Bill H.

  • The 20 Most Influential Books on Methods of Biblical Change

    Posted on September 6th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Kellemen’s Christian The Best Of Guide

    The Best of Books on

    Methods of Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation

     

    Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide: Making your life easier by finding, summarizing, evaluating, and posting the best resources on a wide variety of topics from a Christian perspective.

     

    The Twenty Most Influential Books on

    Methods of Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation

     

    Note: The following books focus on the methodology, practice, skills, relational competencies of biblical counseling and spiritual formation. They do not highlight theology/theory (see last week’s post for that: http://bit.ly/T75vO) (if it made last week’s list, it is not in this week’s list). The books on this week’s list focus broadly on methods of helping people to grow in Christ. They do not highlight how to help people with specific “issues” in living (such as depression treatment, anxiety treatment, etc.).

     

    Note: For the sake of space, I have not reviewed each of these books. However, I do have a 55-page document that reviews over 125 books on Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation: http://bit.ly/sYx1U.

     

    Note: The fuller document explains that I do not endorse everything in all the books below. That’s why my subtitle to this post is: “The Twenty Most Influential” rather than “The Best Of.”

     

    Bibliography

     

    Adams, Jay E. The Christian Counselor’s Manual: The Practice of Nouthetic Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973.

     

    Adams, Jay E. Competent to Counsel: An Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970.

     

    Clebsch, William A. and Charles R. Jaekle. Pastoral Care in Historical Perspective. New edition. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1994.

     

    Clinton, Tim, Archibald D. Hart, George Ohlschlager, eds. Caring for People God’s Way: Personal and Emotional Issues, Addictions, Grief, and Trauma. Nashville: Nelson, 2006.

     

    Collins, Gary. The Biblical Basis of Christian Counseling for People Helpers: Relating the Basic Teachings of Scripture to People’s Problems. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1993.

     

    Crabb, Larry. Soul Talk. Nashville: Integrity, 2005.

     

    Crabb, Larry and Dan Allender. Encouragement: The Key to Caring. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984.

     

    Fitzpatrick, Elyse, and Dennis Johnson. Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2009.

     

    Foster, Richard. Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. Twenty-fifth anniversary edition. San Francisco, Harper, 2003.

     

    Huggins, Kevin. Friendship Counseling. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2003.

     

    Kellemen, Robert W. Spiritual Friends: A Methodology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction. Revised Edition. Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 2007.

     

    MacArthur, John F., Jr. and Wayne A. Mack. Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005.

     

    Moon, Gary W. and David G. Benner, eds. Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls: A Guide to Christian Approaches and Practices. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity. 2004.

     

    Ortberg, John. The Life You’ve Always Wanted. Expanded Edition. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.

     

    Peugh, Roger and Tammy Schultz. Transformed in His Presence: The Need for Prayer in Counseling. Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 2005.

     

    Powlison, David. Speaking Truth in Love: Counsel in Community. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2005.

     

    Welch, Edward T. When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 1997.

     

    Whitney, Donald. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1991.

     

    Willard, Dallas. The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. San Francisco: Harper, 1998.

     

    Willard, Dallas. The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. Reprint edition. San Francisco: Harper, 1991.

     

    Important Stuff

     

    *Your Guide: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC, is the Founder and CEO of RPM Ministries (www.rpmministries.org) through which he writes, speaks, and consults to equip God’s people to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth. He blogs daily at http://rpmministries.blogspot.com.

     

    *My Necessary Disclaimer: Of course, I don’t endorse everything in every article, book, or link that you’ll find in Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide. I report, you decide.

     

    *Your Suggestions Are Welcomed: Feel free to post comments and/or send emails (rpm.ministries@gmail.com) about resources that you think deserve attention in various categories covered in Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide.

  • Be Equipped to Change Lives

    Posted on July 17th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Be Equipped to Change Lives

     

    I’d like to invite you to join me (Bob Kellemen) at the AACC’s World Conference from Wednesday, September 16, 2009 through Saturday, September 19, 2009 in Nashville, TN.

     

    Our Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Network (BCSFN) has many equipping events planned to empower you to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth.

     

    BCSFN Pre-Conference

     

    The BCSFN will hold its first “Conference-within-a Conference” during the AACC World Pre-Conference on Wednesday, September 18.

     

    In the morning session from 9:00 AM to Noon, I (Bob Kellemen) will present on Developing a Theology and Methodology of Biblical Counseling. Learn seven essential biblical counseling competencies necessary to build a truly scriptural approach to Christian counseling.

     

    In the afternoon session from 2:00 to 5:00 PM, Ron Hawkins will present on Using the Bible Accurately and Effectively in Biblical Counseling.

     

    To register for the Pre-Conference go here http://tinyurl.com/nw5z2p

    and then select the Pre-Conferences by Kellemen and Hawkins to join others interested in biblical counseling and spiritual formation equipping.

     

    BCSFN Track Presentations

     

    During the AACC World Conference, from Thursday, September 17 to Saturday, September 19, the BCSFN has its own track, where we will be hearing from the following speakers:

     

    *Ian F. Jones, “Biblical Counseling in the Historical Church,” Thursday, September 17, 8:45 to 10:00 AM, Session 103.

     

    *Gary Moon, “Discipleship vs. Apprenticeship: An Experiential Approach to Spiritual Growth,” Thursday, September 17, 2:15 to 3:30 PM, Session 203.

     

    *Robert W. Kellemen, “How to Practice Comprehensive Biblical Counseling: Implementing a Dozen Dreams,” Friday, September 18, 8:45-10:00 AM, Session 303. Learn how to care like Christ by providing Christ-centered, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed biblical counseling and spiritual formation.

     

    *Scott E. Wiggington, “For Crying Out Loud: Reclaiming the Lost Language of Lament in Christian Counseling,” Friday, September 18, 2:15 to 3:30 PM, Session 403.

     

    *Phil Monroe, “Engaging Biblical Texts in Trauma Therapy,” Friday, September 18, 4:15 to 5:30 PM, Session 503.

     

    *John Thomas, “What’s Good About Feeling Bad: Developing a Theology of Suffering, Saturday, September 19, 8:45 to 10:00 AM, Session 603.

     

    *Rick Marrs, “Making Christian Counseling More Christ-Centered,” Saturday, September 19, 2:15-3:30 PM, Session 703.

     

    To register for the AACC World Conference Tracks, go here http://tinyurl.com/l284w6 and then select the Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Foundations tracks when you sign-up.

     

    BCSFN Mixer

     

    Please join us on Friday evening for the BCSFN Mixer. Our time together will include fellowship, connecting, discussing the latest happenings in the BCSFN, and interacting about ways our division can better equip our members. We want to get to know you and benefit from your participation!

     

    Register for the AACC World Conference

     

    Please visit the following link to register for the 2009 AACC World Conference:

    http://www.aacc.net/conferences/2009-world-conference/

     

     

  • How Biblical Counseling Lost Its Way

    Posted on June 17th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Why Some Biblical Counseling Is Only Half Biblical!

    Part Nine: How Biblical Counseling Lost Its Way

    By Robert W. Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC

     

    *Note: If you’re disappointed that I’m saying that some biblical counseling is only half biblical, then please read my comments at the end of my first post in this series: http://tinyurl.com/n8k799.

     

    My Premise

     

    Some modern biblical counseling considers the seriousness of sin—sinning, but spends much less time equipping people to minister to the gravity of grinding affliction—suffering. When we provide counseling for sin, but fail to provide counseling and counselor training for suffering, then such biblical counseling is only half biblical.

     

    Pulling Back the Pendulum . . . Too Far . . . One Way

     

    Recall the situation pastors faced in the 1960s when hurting parishioners walked into their pastoral office. You could turn to secular psychology to address their personal issues. Or, you could ignore their personal issues and just keep preaching from the pulpit theology unrelated to life.

     

    Those individuals who revived modern biblical counseling returned to the shepherding task of the personal ministry of the Word. However, when they pulled back the pendulum:

     

    1. They feared that anything other than confronting sin would be a return to the social gospel.

     

    2. They feared that focusing on life’s hardships might easily encourage evasion of moral responsibility and blame-shifting.

     

    3. They feared that “empathy,” “non-directive responses,” and “passive listening” would be a capitulation to liberalism and secular psychology.

     

    They pulled back the pendulum to the shepherding task of the personal ministry of the Word and to a focus on moral responsibility and sin—for which we all should be thankful.

     

    Their pull went too far, was one-dimensional, and fear-based—from which we should all learn.

     

    It is never biblical to ignore any part of our biblical calling out of fear that someone might respond in an unbiblical manner to our biblical ministry.

     

    We do not have to shift blame to past traumatic experiences in order to be a biblical emphathizer, encourager, and hope-giver. It is not blame-shifting to recognize the biblical truth that being sinned against causes pain (2 Samuel 13, the lament Psalms, etc.). It is not blame-shifting to empathize with, console, and comfort our suffering parishioners and spiritual friends.

     

    Our Calling to a Fuller Shepherding Response

     

    Given the climate in which they lived, pioneers of the return to biblical counseling saw suffering as an occasion for revealing either faithfulness or sinfulness. That much we can applaud.

     

    Their response, however, was primarily one-dimensional. They exhorted moral responsibility through the directive teaching of biblical principles. They viewed suffering exclusively as an occasion to warn against sinning. They explored suffering chiefly to discover sinful responses, to determine what responses would be morally appropriate, and to exhort such morally appropriate actions and behaviors.

     

    However, the Bible and Church history demand a much fuller shepherding response to suffering and sufferers. It includes, but is not limited to:

     

    1. Weeping with those who weep (Romans 12:15).

     

    2. Comforting those who hurt (2 Corinthians 1:3-11 and over 100 occurrences in the New Testament of parakaleo—comfort and encouragement).

     

    3. Sharing not only Scriptures but our very own souls—our selves—relational connection (1 Thessalonians 2:8).

     

    4. Relating with the mutual care modeled within the Trinity (John 1, John 17).

     

    5. Bearing one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-4).

     

    6. Encouraging one another and scores of other compassionate “one another” passages.

     

    7. Sustaining empathy and compassionate commiseration (the opposite of Job’s miserable counselors—Job 3-42) modeled by the Church Fathers, the Reformers, the Puritans, women throughout Church history, African American soul care-givers, etc.

     

    8. The collaborative application of Scripture emphasizing the use of passages such as the Psalms of Lament in a consolatory manner as Martin Luther and countless heroes of the faith did.

     

    9. The healing permission to and encouragement to grieve as those who have hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

     

    It is simply not biblical enough to say, “Oh, of course we deal with suffering,” and then to “deal with it” simply by exhortation to moral behavior. Such is not a comprehensive, compassionate, biblical, historical shepherding response.

     

  • Why Some Biblical Counseling Is Only Half Biblical

    Posted on June 10th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Why Some Biblical Counseling Is Only Half Biblical

    Part One: The Gravity of Grinding Affliction

    By Robert W. Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC

     

    *Note: If you find yourself upset that I am saying that some biblical counseling is only half biblical, then I would ask you to be sure to read my comments at the end of this blog post. Thanks!

     

    Thankful for Modern Biblical Counseling

     

    I thank God for modern biblical counseling and biblical counselors. I consider myself one of them. That’s why I direct the Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Network 

     

    I also know that any human “movement” is imperfect and that all human beings are finite and are born fallen. Thus, we need to and are called to learn from one another.

     

    My Premise: Half Biblical Counseling

     

    Having said that, here’s my premise:

     

    Some modern biblical counseling considers the seriousness of sin—sinning, but spends much less time equipping people to minister to the gravity of grinding affliction—suffering.

     

    When we provide counseling for sin, but fail to provide counseling and counselor training for suffering, then I am of the conviction that such biblical counseling is only half biblical!

     

    My Premise Expanded: One-Quarter Biblical Counseling

     

    Throughout this blog post mini-series (first run from June 1 to June 18, 2009), I will develop a further premise:

     

    Even when some biblical counselors do address suffering and sufferers, their focus seems to be upon “directive” counseling that exhorts the suffering Christian to be faithful. When we provide only or primarily directive exhortations to faithfulness, but fail to engage in biblical “sustaining” (empathy, compassionate commiseration, weeping with those who weep, sharing Scripture and soul, “climbing in the casket”), and when we fail to engage in biblical “healing” (encouragement, collaborative exploration of biblical responses, trialogues, spiritual conversations, scriptural explorations, “celebrating the resurrection”), then such biblical counseling is only one-quarter biblical. 

     

    The Evils We Have Suffered and the Sins We Have Committed

     

    Over a quarter-century ago, when I was a seminary student, “counsel wars” erupted over two “competing models” of counseling. As I watched the wounded souls strewn across this Christian battlefield, I kept saying to myself:

     

    “Surely the Church has always been about the business of helping hardened and hurting people.”

     

    After over twenty-five years of biblical and historical research, I can assure you that the Church has always been about the business of helping hardened people to deal with their sin and helping hurting people to deal with their suffering.

     

    When we fail to deal with both, then our biblical counseling is, at best, only half biblical. Frank Lake says it well,

     

    “Pastoral care is defective unless it can deal thoroughly with the evils we have suffered and with the sins we have committed. The maladies of the human spirit in its deprivation and in its depravity are matters of common pastoral concern.”

     

    When the Rubber Meets the Road

     

    Of course, every Christian biblical counselor is loving. As bearers of God’s image and as renewed image bearers because of our redemption in Christ, we all love the people we minister to.

     

    And, of course, every Christian biblical counselor spends time at the bedside of a cancer victim, or at the gravesite of grieving loved ones.

     

    But please hear this. That does not mean that our focused approach to biblical counseling comprehensively emphasizes suffering and sin.

     

    I’d ask you to do this. Browse through some of the comprehensive biblical counseling texts. Review your notes from a biblical counseling training seminar. Read the typical definitions of “biblical counseling.” How much time is spent on how to deal with sinning counselees versus how to help suffering counselees? How often is “suffering/hurting” included in definitions of what makes biblical counseling biblical?

     

    In my book, Soul Physicians, I attempt to address both sin and suffering throughout, and I add two core chapters on biblical sufferology. In my book, Spiritual Friends, half of this biblical counseling training manual focuses on equipping counselors to provide sustaining and healing care for suffering counselees (pages 39 to 214).

     

    Now, let me be clear—my works are just as imperfect as any other books. I am not saying that I’ve cornered the market on the perfect balance.

     

    I am simply saying, when the rubber hits the road, when we train people in our books and in our seminars, when we offer definitions, when we launch lay counseling ministries in our local churches, are we dealing both with the evils we have suffered and with the sins we have committed?

     

    Where Do We Go From Here?

     

    I know, you have a million or even a bazillion questions. I’m glad. So do I!

     

    This is just one post in a series of blog posts. In future posts I’ll try to address some of the questions that I imagine that you have. Questions like:

     

    1. So, are you watering down sin?

     

    2. So, are you saying that Christ came to heal our suffering and not to save us from our sin?

     

    3. So, are you saying that our primary problem is our suffering rather than our sin?

     

    4. So, has anyone else in Church history ever said we must focus on both sin and suffering?

     

    5. So, what would it look like to focus on both sin and suffering?

     

    6. So, what’s your definition/description of truly biblical counseling?

     

    7. So, why do you think this “imbalance” exists?

     

    8. So, how can we equip people for comprehensive biblical counseling?

     

    9. So, how can we shape biblical counseling so that it deals comprehensively with real life issues?

     

    10. So, how can biblical counseling become a natural part of one another ministry in the local church?

     

    I’ll address questions like these and quite a few more.

     

    *Note: Why I Am Addressing This Topic

     

    All who have followed my ministry know that I am about bridge-building and not about wall-building. You might wonder then, “Bob, why blog about something that is surely to be controversial?”

     

    Those who follow my ministry also know that I am about equipping God’s people to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth through Christ-centered, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed biblical counseling and spiritual formation.

     

    Biblical counseling that fails to deal with suffering, fails the test of Christ-centered, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed biblical counseling. I would be a hypocrite to my calling if I remained silent.

     

    Others might wonder, “Are you talking about a particular ‘model’ of modern biblical counseling, or about a particular person or persons who are writing today?”

     

    No. I am not. This is not an attack against. These blogs are not directed toward any one person or group.

     

    These blogs are directed to all of us—myself included—who love biblical counseling. They are for all of us—myself included—who need good Bereans to help us to assess how biblical or unbiblical our approaches to biblical counseling truly are.

     

    Still others might wonder, “But why not at least name names?” Frankly, I am not called to be part of the growing blog movement known as the “Discernment Movement.” Their calling seems to be to call out publicly those they feel are psycho-heretics. I have no desire to engage in such tactics.

     

    If my blog posts were an “academic” tome, then for scholarly purposes I would quote some people directly. But these are simply blog posts and I am not attempting to demean any person or group.

     

    Additionally, some pastors, student, lay people, and counselors who may practice “half biblical counseling,” are “nameless” to me. I have had numerous godly, mature Christians tell me of pastors and others who have confronted their sin but never comforted their suffering. It would be neither possible nor wise for me to try to name names.

     

    I write to help, not to hurt. I write to equip, not to attack. I write to start a conversation, not to finish one.

     

    Please join the conversation.

     

     

  • Welcome!: Our Calling Meeting Your Calling

    Posted on June 1st, 2009 admin No comments

    Welcome!: Our Calling Meeting Your Calling

     

    Welcome to the BCSFN Blog!

     

    We know that as a pastor, lay person, spiritual friend, student, Christian psychologist, or Christian counselor you care deeply. We also understand that sometimes we all struggle to speak the truth in love.

     

    The Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Network exists to equip you to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth. It is our goal to empower you to care like Christ.

     

    We are passionate about equipping you through Christ-centered, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed biblical counseling and spiritual formation. We are a community learning together how to use the Bible powerfully, effectively, and lovingly.

     

    The Apostle Paul expresses the desire of our heart. “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). True biblical counseling offers Scripture and soul—truth and love.

     

    Join the journey. Post your comments. Share the Scriptures and your soul.

     

    Bob Kellemen,

    On Behalf of the BCSFN Team