Christmas is once again in our midst and there are numerous prophecies from the Old Testament that foreshadow the coming Messiah. There are none richer than Isaiah 9:6 and it promises that this Jesus will be called Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father, Mighty God, and Wonderful Counselor. One thing I love is counseling with people. And one of the foundational changes we're instituting at Sovereign Hope is that all our counseling will be biblical counseling. You can read more about what we believe in this area.
The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5:18-21, "All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
With such an incredible witness from the Scriptures how can we not seek to give away what God has given us? The great grace upon Sovereign Hope is that we're heading in this direction. There is currently a group of lay people from our church who are going through a biblical counseling training program, it's part of our vision for the future. If you believe, like we do, that God is bringing a revival to our valley then he will be bringing broken people just like us into our church. You see God doesn't save perfect people he saves dead people, like Lazarus. Resurrected people need help too (John 11:44), so if we need help with our brokenness and pain imagine how much the new believers God is surely going to save will need it too.
The training we've implemented is both schooling and counseling me personally and at times it's kind of awkward. Frequently I tell people that I could easily be the one on the couch because my heart is wrecked too. One of the things I've learned is that for anyone to realize a biblical solution to their problems they have to use biblical language to describe their condition. Current therapeutic models, psychologies, and secular theories have subtly infiltrated and displaced biblical words and biblical conditions. You've heard the words and terms, e.g. dysfunctional, self-esteem, damaged emotions, perfectionism, and the granddaddy of them all, addiction.
When you quit using the Bible to describe our spiritual condition you can't offer the right prescription that cures the soul. The greatest need any of us has is Jesus. How long would a heart doctor be in business if he always prescribed an x-ray being taken of a person's ankle when they're complaining of pain in their shoulder? Or someone goes to an optometrist for glasses and they recommend pedicures for improving eyesight.
How different would things be in our church if we used the Bible instead of worldly vocabulary to define and describe some of our common challenges? How would things look for you or those you know that instead of saying they have too many "un-met needs" they used biblical words instead? What the world calls "un-met needs," the Bible uses words and phrases like lust, deeds of coveting, greed, pride, sensuality, lover of self, foolishness, without self-control, conceited, lover of pleasure, led on by various impulses, worldly lusts? Mark 7:21-22, 2 Tim 3:1-6, and Titus 2:11-12 use language that is both convicting and powerfully liberating...if we act on their truth. Or how about instead of workaholic we go with what the Bible depicts as the true driving force in working too many hours in our jobs? Like idolatry, greed, envy, pride, covetousness, foolishness, evil thoughts, gratitude, desire to make a good showing in the flesh, fear of man. Proverbs 29:25; Mark 7:21-23; Rom 1:29-31; Gal 5:19-21 are the tip of the iceberg. These words sting and give life at the same time.
Two things have happened in the last 50 years in the area of biblical counseling. 1) Secular thought and practices have displaced the church and 2) the church has stood by and allowed it. In some cases they've been unwittingly complicit by creating hybrid models of counsel that are antithetical to the Bible and its clear teaching or even outsourced it to others.
In changing the way we counsel Sovereign Hope is also endeavoring to wrestle the care of people away from secular counsel that competes with Jesus. Outside of Jesus, counsel cannot actually cure souls, or change us from unholy to holy, from sinners to righteous, from insanity to sanity, from blindness to sightedness, from self-absorption to faith-working-through-love.