Churches have too long forsaken their role in counseling. “Let’s leave these complex issues up to the medical professionals” has been said by far too many pastors. “Let’s instruct counselees on how the Bible applies to their situation and walk with them in their journey, whether or not it may include medical assistance in addition to Biblical counseling” is what pastors should be saying. The Bible is completely sufficient for life and godliness, including helping us navigate our emotional issues.
The Church is a Community
God did not create Christians to live lives of isolation. He has commanded that we be active members in a church. One of the reasons is so that we can have a community of like-minded fellow believers with whom we worship and grow. A part of corporate worship is instruction and godly exhortation. We are not living in obedience if we are not involved in a local church.
For some believers, whether they have a severe infirmary of some sort or they are elderly and cannot drive, they are hindered in attending weekly corporate worship. For these believers, it is of vital importance that the church is the community that they are called to be and involve those believers and edify them as much as possible. Whether it is through visits or phone calls or interaction on social media. My church started a program called Home Church. Once a month on a Sunday afternoon the entire church would split up into groups. Each group would go to the home or nursing home of a home-bound believer and take the church to him/her. Each group would have preaching and singing and fellowship. It has wonderful!
Another aspect of the Church Community is helping one another cope with the problems of life. Some believers are especially gifted at counseling others. It should be normative that the Church be the first place that believers go to seek counsel. God has providentially placed you within your church community for your good and His glory. He has purposefully set certain men to watch over your soul. As an active member of your church, you would be well known by these leaders. Who better to walk with you through life’s problems than someone who knows you well, the very people who are committed to walking with you for the long haul?
“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.” Hebrews 13:17
Some churches call this “intentional discipleship” but it, in essence, is the core of Biblical Counseling. We are to continue the Lord’s command to “make disciples” and help one another grow in Christlikeness. We make disciples by walking with someone through their trials, speaking Biblical wisdom into their lives, mutual accountability, and teaching them God’s Word and how it applies to their situation. And in serious situations, the need may arise for church discipline. This too is an aspect of the church counseling its members.
“We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me,” Colossians 1:28-29
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and to the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13
Commanded to Edify
“So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’” Acts 6:2-4
Counseling is for everyone. No one is perfect, and no one lives a trouble-free life. Everyone has a need at some point in their life, and frequently at multiple points in their life, to have someone walk alongside them and speak truth into their situation. We were created for community. God built this need into us. Man was created to be counseled. Most of the first two chapters of Genesis is God giving counsel to Adam and Eve. Repeatedly in scripture, we see examples of counseling.
“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25
“Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
We are commanded to edify one another. This is a process of building one another up. The goal is spiritual growth – which is also the goal of Biblical Counseling. We are not called to “fix” one another, but to spur one another towards growth and godliness. This is done out of a heart of love and compassion. Even when harsh truth needs to be spoken.
“Bur solid food is or the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Hebrews 5:14
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted,” Galatians 6:1
God’s Word is Sufficient
“I will worship towards thy Holy Temple, and praise they Name for they lovingkindness and for they truth; for thou has magnified thy word above all they Name,” Psalm 138:2
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work,” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Bible teaches that it is the very Word of God. God has exalted His Word over even His Name. The Bible is sufficient for addressing all the trials of life. The Bible is also sufficient for equipping us to serve God and to grow in holiness. It also equips us to train others and to reproof others who are in error. The Bible teaches us how to edify others and to encourage them towards godliness.
“Sanctify them by your truth, your word is truth,” John 17:17
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick, who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds,” Jeremiah 17:9-10
We cannot know our own hearts apart from the Word of God. We cannot rightly judge what is considered truth apart from Scripture. Scripture has to be our ultimate authority because it rests in the authority of God Himself. The Bible clearly teaches us all we need to believe and equips us with all the knowledge we need in order to live a life in godliness.
There are few things more harmful than a pastor who sends his flock to someone for advice who rejects the sufficiency and authority of Scripture. The church needs to be better equipped at helping one another. Pastors and church leaders need to be able to counsel the church body. Parents should be able to counsel their children. Husbands should be able to counsel their wives. And the body should be able to counsel one another. Jay Adams said, “Let the church, then, assume her counseling duty, and let Christians of all sorts encourage her to do so. Let no one stand in her way, lest he be found opposing her Head and King Himself!”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
To read more about the sufficiency in scripture and how it applies to Biblical Counseling check out this article: https://strivingforeternity.org/the-sufficiency-of-scripture-in-counseling/