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Should Canadian Churches Adopt Biblical Counseling?

The Biblical Counseling movement is growing in Canada. In light of this growth, should Canadian Churches be excited about this development? Here are four reasons Canadian Churches should not only be excited about it but should also adopt Biblical Counseling into their ministry.

We need care

In broken churches filled with hurt, God’s people need God’s people.

We have two needs today in Canada: (1) the need for truthful and compassionate ministry of God’s Word (public and personal) with humility and (2) the cultivation of care for people. Biblical Counselling brings both together creating conversations based upon “truth-grace.”

The Lord seems to be calling many churches in Canada back to His Word and His truth. As part of this calling, churches are battling the enemy of isolation and individualism. In other words, God’s leading His people to rediscover a passion to help the hurting and sit with the broken. The need is simply too great to ignore any longer.

The heart for Biblical Counselling is present but needs encouragement in Canadians churches.

We need to hear the story of Christ

In broken churches filled with hurt, God’s people find the beautiful story of Christ.

In his typical enthusiastic manner, John Piper communicates the essence of Biblical Counselling:

God-centered, Christ-exalting, cross-cherishing, Spirit-dependent, Bible-saturated, emotionally-in-touch, culturally- informed use of language to help people become God-centered, Christ-exalting, joyfully self-forgetting lovers of people who spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples. (in Toward a Definition of the Essence of Biblical Counseling)

The story of Scripture is not simplistic nor is the gospel message shallow. The pages of Scripture unfold a beautiful, captivating story which speaks of truth, righteousness, grace and compassion to fear-filled broken people. Ultimate change converges on the person of Jesus – beautiful and breath-taking change bringing lasting hope and loving help.

His story meets our story in beautiful and messy ways.  

Canadians are growing in their interest for Biblical Counselling because contained in the beauty of Scripture (written Word) is the beauty of Jesus (living Word) who speaks real and honest words rescuing people from their suffering, searching, and sin.

We need to be a caring community for broken people

In broken churches filled with hurt, God’s people find a home in His Church. God saved us to be in a caring community. And amazingly, God equips His people to care for one another.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:14, Paul instructs us to “warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” As God calls, He equips. What a beautiful picture of God caring for His people through the gift of the church.

We need to the hard work of loving people

In broken churches filled with hurt, God’s people work hard to love one another by faith. Biblical Counselling (or caring for people) is not simplistic nor easy. In his book Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition, Andrew Purves writes:

It suggests that pastoral work is an aesthetic discipline, one that requires a certain cast of mind, an intuitive apprehension that is deeply guided by the things of God and an understanding of the nature of people. The discipline is not without skills, of course, but it is more than skills. Pastoral work, we might suggest, is given its shape by a spiritual apperception that is profoundly controlled by a conceptual grasp of Christian doctrine. (119)

Purves is simply saying God’s church must work hard to learn to care for one another.

In Mark 1, after Jesus calls some fishermen and teaches in the Synagogue, he heads straight for the hurting. His disciples would learn the gospel among the broken, the demon-possessed, the stubborn – the hurting.

Learning to love is hard work. Compassionate and truthful long-term care is even harder. But what joy (and pain) to walk with a teen who cuts; a dad who struggles through the guilt of abortion; a woman who walks in Psalm 88 darkness. What a privilege to speak words of peace, hope, and reconciliation to those quietly suffering.

Let’s Begin

Many of us misunderstand Biblical Counseling. No, Biblical Counselling does not deny the need for wise, helpful and necessary medication. Yes, the secular world gives worthwhile and helpful observations. No, Biblical Counseling is not sending a person home with simply a Bible verse.

God’s Word is powerful, powerful in the Psalm 19:7 sense: “the instruction of the Lord is perfect, renewing one’s life; the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise.” God’s Word is personal, personal in Psalm 119:153 sense: “Consider my affliction and rescue me, for I have forgotten Your instruction.”

In a broken church filled with hurt, I have the privilege to love – wisely, truthfully and graciously – hurting people. Why? Because there is so much hope, so much love and so much wisdom in God. We have so much to learn … but by grace, we have so much to share.

Am I, are we, captivated by God so we will pursue the rugged beauty of the “whole-body” care of His broken people?