Contrary to popular belief, biblical counseling is not “take two verses and call me in the morning”. Nor is it instruction for people to “just trust God”, “try harder”, or “pray more”. No, true biblical counsel comes from God through His Word and is intended to be shared with others to encourage, help, and speak the truth in love. It acknowledges the reality of pain and suffering in this fallen world while pointing people to the One who knows our struggles and gave Himself to draw us near. BCTM’s counsel aims to serve the glory of God and the good of people. What we believe informs how we counsel:
- Biblical Counseling’s authority is the Word of God.
Biblical counseling is not a man-made idea like the thousands of secular psychologies. We don’t look to the DSM-V (Diagnostic Statistics Manual) for our answers. However, psychologies can be very helpful in locating pain. It puts a name on something that hurts or helps define various symptoms of a larger problem. Man can put helpful words around struggles but doesn’t have the solution in and of himself to cure the ultimate problem. Sure, we can change behavior, and our family tree is definitely a shaping influence on our lives. But shaping influences do not define us. God does. Our identity is in Christ alone, and His Word is sufficient for all things.
- Biblical Counseling has a biblical view of who God is, who man is, what man’s problems are, and solutions to those problems.
We aim to understand who God is, so we can know ourselves and then love and care for His people made in His image. Problems and people are complex, so answers to difficult issues are never easy. Discovering this truth is part of the counseling process. In fact, the process is usually more important than the content or “presenting problem.” For example, in marriage counseling, how the husband and wife discuss their struggles is usually more important than what the struggles actually are!
- Biblical Counseling aims for the heart.
We believe the Bible is not another best-selling self-help book promoting personal happiness, but the Living Word of God moving us toward a real and vibrant personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Ultimately we are all addicted to sin, our hearts are wicked and deceitful above all things. So, as biblical counselors, we are not surprised by anyone’s sin. We attempt to understand total depravity of the human condition, but more importantly we aim to be thunderstruck by the grace, mercy, and forgiveness found only in Jesus Christ. We are no longer dead in our transgressions, but His grand story of redemption is difficult for sinners like us to believe.
- Biblical Counseling is most concerned with God’s holiness, not only personal happiness.
Most people enter counseling saying, “I just want to be happy or normal.” The gospel is much better than happy, and what is normal anyway? As people, of course we want to be happy, but we are built for eternity, and are being refined on this side of Glory into the likeness of Christ. The process often hurts, so we must exercise patience and wisdom as we walk with God’s people, because we know there are no quick fixes for true and lasting change.
- Biblical Counseling depends on the Holy Spirit – we seek long-term biblical change.
Biblical counselors can’t fix you nor your spouse nor your children. But we are called to rightly divide the word of Truth when the Spirit decides to move. Our litmus test is the Fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Where do we see the Spirit increasing these in our lives? What is the Spirit up to – and are we celebrating His movement? We are constantly looking for the good, the hard, and then the bad – in that order! We are on a grace hunt, not a sin hunt.
- Biblical Counseling is “we”.
Given what we know about the total depravity of all people – and what we know about believers’ adoption into the family of the Father – we counsel others as one brother to another, as brother to sister rather than expert-to-patient. However, we do believe the Lord calls some in the body of Christ to be trained and equipped to provide wise counsel according to His Word. All BCTM counselors are trained to think biblically, rather than to lean on various ideologies. Since we all share in the same kinds of weaknesses and sufferings, we help one another along in the journey to become like our true Elder Brother and Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our counselors and staff realize our own need for Jesus and understand that we continue to grow in grace along with our counselees. Every wise biblical counselor surrounds himself with wise counsel, and we are no exception.