Biblical Counseling vs. Christian Counseling: What’s the Difference?
This post is adapted from Heath Lambert’s Theology of Biblical Counseling online course.
There are some Christians who disagree that the Bible should be used to help us solve our counseling-related problems.
Christians who rely—to one degree or another—on the counseling insights of secular people have been called integrationists, Christian counselors, and Christian psychologists—among other things.
I want to show how the decision to be a Christian counselor is a theological decision. In order to do that, I will describe areas where biblical counselors agree with our brothers and sisters in Christian counseling, as well as some areas where we disagree.
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Why Catholic Doctrine Is Not Unbiblical
A provocative question on the eve of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. And an appropriate one given lingering divisions between Protestants and Catholics in orthodoxy and orthopraxy.
It’s a question Catholic professor Matthew Levering asks in his new book, Was the Reformation a Mistake? Spoiler alert: He doesn’t think it was.
He is “deeply grateful” for the Reformers’ emphasis on a number of doctrinal positions and believes “they were right in seeking reform” (31). Yet he does insist they “made some doctrinal mistakes” (15), which he addresses in his book:
I focus on nine issues raised by Luther at the outset of the Reformation that continue to divide Catholics and Protestants. These nine issues are the following: Scripture, Mary, the…
Nabeel Qureshi, author of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, passes
(Nashville, TN) September 18, 2017—It is with deep sympathy for family and loved ones that HarperCollins Christian Publishing recognizes the passing of Nabeel Qureshi, who lost his year-long battle with stomach cancer on Saturday, September 16, 2017, and entered into the presence of Jesus, whom he had embraced as his Savior and Lord. He was 34 years old.
A convert from Islam to Christianity, Qureshi was known as an apologist for the Christian faith, a powerful preacher, and a best-selling author. He had an MD degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School, an MA in Christian apologetics from Biola University, an MA in religion from Duke University, and an MPhil in Judaism and Christianity from Oxford University. At the time of his diagnosis with cancer, he was in the midst of a doctoral program in New Testament at Oxford University.
How Luther discovered the doctrine of justification by faith alone
One of the decisive doctrines to emerge from the Protestant Reformation—and central to Luther’s theology—was the doctrine of justification by faith alone (sola fide).
But when and how did Luther come to his new understanding of this doctrine?
Rather than seeing his theological discovery as a single decisive event, we should view it more as a gradual process.
Let’s take a look.
Luther’s early encounters with Romans and Psalms
Between 1513 and 1516, Luther lectured on the Psalms and Romans. It is clear from these texts that he was beginning to think differently about how the individual sinner finds forgiveness from God.
He retained some of the older traditional concepts alongside his radical new ideas. Only after some years of biblical study under the inspiration of the theology of Augustine did Luther arrive at a more fully formed distinctive…
4 Reasons Why Faith vs. Science Is a Myth
“Tonight we will be talking about faith versus science. Our first guest is a former University of Oxford professor, evolutionary biologist, and bestselling author. He believes that science, not faith, holds the answers to all questions. On the other side of the aisle we have Joe Smith, who will speak for the legitimacy of faith and Christianity. Joe homeschools his kids, thinks Oprah is the Antichrist, and lives in a swamp” (23).
It does to Mark Clark. As he explains in his new book, The Problem of God, culture often portrays faith at odds with science: “science is about thinking, evidence, and rational justification, while Christianity and faith in general are about evading evidence and clinging to nonrationality” (25).
Gender and Sexual Identity: We Need a Fresh Perspective for Our People
For many years the intersection of gay identity and Christian identity in the United States was a virtual no-man’s land. Nate Collins is one of the more recent voices bridging that gap with his new book All But Invisible.
While similarly-focused books emphasize the biblical and theological issues surrounding faith, gender, and sexuality, Collins provides a renewed vision of gospel flourishing for LGBT people by speaking from his own experience as a gay man in a mixed-orientation marriage.
Collins is committed to helping churches include LGBT people in the family life of the church. But first, he addresses two big-picture problems facing Christians who want to explore identity questions at the intersection of faith, gender, and sexuality.
1) Vision Problem: An Abundant Life for LGBT People?
This first problem is a fundamental…
What it means to read the General Epistles theologically
We recently sat down with Peter H. Davids to discuss what it a biblical theology of the General Epistles looks like. See his answer below.
His online course on the theology of James, Peter, and Jude is now open. Sign up today.
In James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude, we have a group of letters very heavily dependent on Jesus—especially First Peter and James. And they are showing how the teaching of Jesus was used by the first century church.
A theological study tends to draw the ideas together—what are the implications of this for the building of the whole of Christian theology?
I think a major issue in these works is that they’ve been so neglected. How does this Sermon on the Mount work in everyday life? How does the God that Jesus talked about function…
What Are the Top 10 Problems People Have with God?
Whether because of #FakeNews or post-modern relativism, our post-truth world posses a significant challenge to Christians who want to share their faith.
How does one speak into and reach a culture like that with the gospel?
Good question, one pastor Mark Clark takes on in his new book, The Problem of God, a handbook answering skeptics’ challenges to Christianity. Each chapter addresses one of the top ten God questions of our present age culled from a popular sermon series. Nearly a thousand skeptics showed up for it and never left. Clark thinks he knows why:
[B]ecause Christianity answered their questions, and their longings, better than anything else. They saw that it presents a rational and…
Christ Alone & Catholic Sacramental Theology: A Reformation Response
In order to understand the nature of the Reformers’ disagreement with Rome, you have to understand the nature of two intertwining ideas that anchor Catholic sacramental theology: the “nature-grace interdependence” and the “Christ-Church interconnection.”
Stephen Wellum traces the contours of this main point of disagreement and the Reformers’ response in his new book Christ Alone—The Uniqueness of Jesus as Savior. In it, he explores what the Reformers taught about the exclusivity and sufficiency of Christ—and why it still matters.
For the Reformers, solus Christus entails the confession of Christ’s exclusive identity and his perfect, complete, and all-sufficient work as our covenant head and mediator (258).
Below, we’ve briefly outlined Wellum’s engagement with these ideas to help you understand the Reformers’ solus Christus response to…
Grace Is Profoundly Existential, Beginning With the Church
“Grace is a profoundly existential matter” (157).
That’s the verdict in Carl Trueman’s new book Grace Alone, a tour de force through the biblical, historical, and existential conversations surrounding salvation as a gift of God. How is grace existential?
[Grace] does not simply explain how the Creator and his fallen creatures are brought back into communion with each other… Grace should hold us in its grip in such a way that our whole being is affected. That which brings us from being under God’s wrath to being his beloved children is surely something that we cannot contemplate in a dispassionate manner. (157)
This is why Trueman culminates his book with an extended conversation on the means of grace through the church, preaching, the…
[Common Places]: 9.5 Theses Concerning Our End
Common Places has been a regular column on the Zondervan Academic blog with a focus on systematic theology. The loci communes or “common places” of Christian theology, drawn out of the Scriptures and organized in a manner suitable to their exposition in the church and the academy, have functioned historically as common points of reference for theological discussion and debate. This column has focused upon the classical loci of systematic theology, not as occasions for revision, but as opportunities for entering into the ongoing conversation that is Christian systematic theology. After a three-year run, this final post concludes Common Places. Thank you for joining the dialog.
1. We live in a day and age marked by the active life. In theological terms, this tendency manifests itself in a proclivity to focus upon conversational theology wherein theological concerns are put to…
Was Katie Luther Spiritual? The Piety of the Reformation’s First Lady
In Katie Luther, Ruth Tucker introduces us to Katharina von Bora, wife of Martin Luther and First Lady of the Reformation.
This is not the sweet and submissive, subdued and godly woman many assume the great Reformer married. Instead, we discover a strong, independent woman whose voice echoes among modern women, wives and mothers who have carved out a career of their own.
Last week we learned five notable things about Katie—including that she was a nun who escaped her convent and a businesswoman who ran a brewery and inn. But what about her faith? When we consider her husband Martin’s profound spiritual nature imbued by a deep love for theology and the Bible, does Katie’s piety come up short?
As one person put it, “Her piety is more…