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Should I go see a Christian counselor about my problems in life?


I have some specific and strong opinions on this topic which tend to cause me much grief the day after I publish them. So I’ll answer now, and get the Excedrin ready for tomorrow…

Much, if not most, of “christian counseling” today is little more than humanistic counseling dressed up in Christian vocabulary. Like humanist psychology, it’s foundation is “self” (self-love, self-esteem, self-forgiveness, self-focus, etc.) and the Christian version is every bit as dangerous and non-productive as it’s worldly twin.

Many, if not the vast majority, of “christian” psychologists and counseling are trained by the same curriculum, same philosophies and the same basic principles as any secular psychologist or psychiatrist.

It is even all the more insidious for Christians because it comes disguised in Christian language and cloaked in Biblical prooftext (taking verses out of context to support an idea). UnBiblical, humanistic counseling ideas and techniques have infiltrated the Church almost completely to the degree now that Biblical Pastoral Scripture-based counselors find themselves outcast, ridiculed as “simpletons” and pretty much on the defensive all the time trying to convince people that the Bible is sufficient for the life of the Christian, something the Bible is abundantly clear about:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NKJV)

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: (NKJV)

So my first advice, is that if anyone chooses to seek out Christian counseling, make sure that you are getting a Biblical, pastoral, Scripture-based counselor who bases their advice and direction on God’s Word, who seeks to evaluate your situation based on Biblical principle and who understands that it is the sinful heart, human pride and selfishness that is the foundation of suffering and turmoil.

The general tendency in modern counseling is to dig up the past, process it, analyze it and then attempt to apply it as “reason” or “cause” for present behavior. The Bible emphasizes that as Christians, we live in the present, and the future. We make Godly choices now based on His Word and our Holy Spirit led conscience, and we look forward to the future and becoming more like Christ.

Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NKJV;emphasis mine)

Simply putting the past behind is considered childish and ignorant today. We are encouraged to dissect the past, evaluate it and figure out how the past is making us weak, sinful failures today.
Simply putting the past behind and moving on is considered childish and “psychologically ignorant” today.
Modern “Christian psychology” and its humanist counterpart, would have us live in the past, and assign some reason or circumstance to all our sin rather than simply calling it what it is – SIN – and determining to choose God’s way regardless of our feelings. And move on.
Barring a genuinely extreme and traumatic past (as opposed to the common difficulties and troubles most people have), my personal opinion is that the world is far to quick to assume and assign blame for past events concerning present sin. (and even those genuinely traumatic pasts can be Biblically counseled)
Are there lessons to be learned from the past? Of course! But lessons learned are not excuses or justification for present behavior. Nor is a constant dwelling on the past productive or necessary.
If counseling is sought, then my emphatic advice is to make sure you find a Biblical, Pastoral counselor (sometimes called “nouethic” counseling; though I’ve seen counselors by that label not stick to Scripture at times but hopefully these were individual examples and not indicative of all:
A counselor doesn’t have to be a “professional”. Seek out a Godly, spiritually mature couple or person who has demonstrated faithfulness to God’s Word. The qualifications are a demonstrably faithful and mature life, Bible knowledge, wisdom and compassion, not necessarily a piece of paper or a yellow pages ad.
Being the Biblical simpleton that I am, I believe there is one short passage in Scripture that, if lived out, would spell the end to the vast majority of “counseling need” as it is manifested in our world today (good counselors are hopefully leading people towards this anyway):

Philippians 4:5-9 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (NKJV; emphasis mine)

I know there will be a lot of comments on this advice, so post your thoughts on the message board for everyone to consider. Go here