"[P]pastors may have difficulty helping couples save their marriages, because churchgoers on the brink of separation often keep quiet at church about their marital woes."
A bad idea is one thing. Flawed execution of a good idea is something else. Thomas Edison is said to have botched the execution of the light-bulb concept about a thousand times before he got it right. Today, we’ve decided that the incandescent light bulb is not such a great idea anymore. But does anyone think that the general concept of converting electrical energy into light is a bad idea?
With changing times and advances in learning and understanding, we’re in constant danger of thinking that all old ideas are bad ideas—and in even greater danger of seeing any flawed execution of an old idea as a failure of the old idea itself. In our hurry to embrace “progress” we often don’t pause and look more carefully at where failure is truly located, and as a result, our piles of obsolete notions include increasing amounts of the wisdom of the ages.
Lately, at least in the West, we’re especially prone to do this with the social sciences. This week’s (or this decade’s) scientific consensus trumps all. And if you’re out of step with it—well, the fact that you’re wrong is self-evident. Because we just don’t do things that way anymore. We know better … until we change our minds again.
“Have you ever told your father that you love him?”
When the gray-haired, glasses-wearing lady sitting across the table from me in the Bob Jones University (BJU) Dining Common spoke these words to me after I had asked her to pray for my dad’s salvation, I felt like jumping across the table and choking her! How dare she expect me to speak such words to the man who had neglected me and treated my mother with such contempt!
At that moment, God convicted me. I still harbored negative feelings toward my father. I thought, “How can I ask people to pray that God would save a man that I don’t care for myself?”
As a seminary student at BJU, I received assurance of my salvation. God’s Spirit showed me that a right standing with God does not come through my own merits and actions, but it is founded solely upon the sacrifice and the righteousness of Christ. As I began to understand the unmerited love and forgiveness that God offers me in Christ, I knew that I needed to love and forgive my father in the same way.
Thankfully, by God’s grace and the help of BJU, I was able to forgive my father and cast off my negative feelings towards him. I know that forgiving my dad back then has enabled me to serve God and enjoy a healthy life today.
“I propose that Christian mental health professionals operate on a middle ground, the bio/psycho/social/spiritual model, which considers both our dignity and depravity as humans.” The Integration of Christianity and Psychology: A guest post by Sarah Rainer
From Voice, Sep/Oct 2014. Used by permission.
I am thrilled to be a witness of the rediscovery of biblical counseling! “Now in order to rediscover something, it must have been lost,”1 says David Powlison. Unfortunately, that is true. Powlison explains:
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, American Christians basically lost the use of truths and skills they formerly possessed. That is, practical wisdom in the cure of souls waned…. The Church lost that crucial component of pastoral skill that can be called case-wisdom—wisdom that knows people, knows how people change, and knows how to help people change.2
As a result, Christians sprinkled man-centered psychology with a few Bible verses and called it “Christian psychology.” The outcome has been confusion, hopelessness, and the abandonment of biblical faith. John MacArthur is right when he says Christian psychology “has diminished the Church’s confidence in Scripture, prayer, fellowship, and preaching as means through which the Spirit of God works to change lives.”3 It is sad to think that God’s Church could lose something so basic and essential as the skill and conviction to use Scripture to help people work through their problems. Yet that is where the American church is. Those who embrace psychology as the answer are in the majority by far. There is no reason to pretend they are not. But to know that God is, in our lifetime, calling His people back to His Word as a working manual for life is exciting to say the least. This is what is referred to as biblical counseling.