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Archive for April 20th, 2013

Thomas

If you have questions about whether there are negative implications of uniting psychology with the Bible, you will want to read this journal article by Dr. Robert L. Thomas.  He is a very prolific Bible scholar in his own right.

In this article, Dr. Thomas will address general revelation and its implications on hermeneutics.  Consequently in this context, one’s understanding of general revelation will affect one’s hermeneutic and one’s hermeneutic will affect one in pastoral counseling positively or negatively.

Just to wet your appetite, here is Dr. Robert L. Thomas’ summary on general revelation:

General revelation’s noticeable impact on biblical interpretation has resulted from applying a broader definition of general revelation than is justifiable.  Reasons why general revelation should not include such matters as science, mathematics, literature, and music are the following.  First, “general” cannot refer to the content of the revelation.  Second, biblical references to general revelation limit it to information about God.  Third, sin distorts human discoveries of the non-Christian world in secular fields.  Fourth, general revelation is readily accessible to all, not just to specialists in certain fields.  Hermeneutics deals with the principles of biblical interpretation.  Unwarranted definitions of general revelation have led to widespread attempts to integrate general with special revelation.  This step is unwarranted because truth exists in varying degrees of certitude, all truth does not possess the same authority, all truth does not fall on receptive ears, and general revelation does not include the fields of secular study.  The emergence of integrative efforts has coincided with a growing tentativeness in biblical hermeneutics because of the influence of secular disciplines on biblical hermeneutics.  Psychology’s promotion of self-love provides a good example of the adverse effects of general revelation and integration on biblical hermeneutics.[1]

To access the journal article, please click on this link: General Revelation.  You could also access the journal article from the TMS website: General Revelation.



[1]Robert L. Thomas, Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Versus the Old (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2002), 113.

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Counsel

Goal of Counseling

The goal or end (τέλος) of counseling is to glorify God (Col. 3:23).  Whatever we do in this life given to us from our Creator must be done for the glory of God, not man.  As a result, we must filter out sin and mortify sin in our words and deeds so that we may glorify God.  Sin done by humans do not glorify God.  Since we are dealing with counseling, it is imperative for counselors to understand that counseling a counselee is a serious task. In order to glorify God in counseling, we need to have a desire to restore the brother or sister from sin in a spirit of meekness (James 5:19-20; Gal. 6:1).

To desire one to be restored, it would be wise that the counselor’s thoughts, models after Paul’s heart.  Paul glorified God.  His goal or end (τέλος) in terms of glorifying God when writing to young Timothy was for the Christian’s instruction to be in “love from a pure heart,” “good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).  Paul is clear when he uses the word goal (τέλος).  Paul underscores the notion that there is only one appropriate goal for a teaching ministry.[1]  True doctrine and genuine ministry find their satisfaction on love, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.[2]  Love is important to Paul, which is why he uses the word ten times in the pastoral epistles; and nine of the ten times, love is used with faith (πίστις) (1 Tim. 1:5, 14; 2:15; 4:12; 6:11; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2:22; 3:10; Titus 2:2).[3]

Out of love springs forth some powerful components that are essential to counseling.[4]  The components are: pure heart, good conscience, and a sincere faith.  Heart is the wellspring of the human life.  It is the seat of the human knowledge (2 Cor. 4:6), emotions (Eph. 6:22), and volition (2 Cor. 9:7).  It’s important for the counselor to examine his knowledge of God, emotions, and volition.

The word conscience (1 Tim. 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:3) is a compound word that is combined with the word “with” and “knowledge.”[5]  This speaks of a joint-knowledge one shares with oneself.[6]  In other words, it speaks of self-awareness.[7]  The conscience is a gift from God that can be defiled by sin (Titus 1:15) and seared to the point of desensitization if rebellion is habitual (1 Tim. 4:2).[8]  If the counselor does not have a good conscience, he can’t share biblical truths with conviction and genuine passion.

Since faith speaks of a faith that is not filled with hypocrisy, the counselor needs to examine himself before judging others (Matthew 7:5).[9]

On another note, I believe that if the counselor implements 1 Timothy 1:5, then God has been glorified, which is the ultimate goal of counseling.  Last but not least, in order to maximize the goal of biblical counseling, we need to believe in the sufficiency of Scripture, especially when it pertains to spiritual matters.  What the disciples and believers used in ancient times to counsel individuals is the same for us today: the Word of God (Psalm 19:7-14).

I will leave you with this last note: the aim of biblical counseling is to glorify God.  The manner  we must do it in is to “love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).

 


[1] John Kitchen, “The Pastoral Epistles for Pastors”: (Woodland Hills, TX: Kress Christian Publications, 2009), 47.

[2] Ibid., 47.

[3] Ibid., 47.

[4] Ibid., 47.

[5] Ibid., 47.

[6] Ibid., 47.

[7] Ibid., 47.

[8] Ibid., 48.

[9] Ibid., 48.

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