Monday, June 7, 2010

Idolatry and Counseling - Arms, JOFMM Fall 2005

There is nothing like a good metaphor to communicate an idea succinctly and clearly. Good communicators have used them since
the time before oral communication was reduced to writing. Every
effective preacher of God’s Word understands how effectively a
well-crafted metaphor can bring understanding to his hearers.
They are among the “fitly spoken words” that are like “apples of
gold in silver settings” (Proverbs 25:11).
The Use of Biblical Metaphors
The use of metaphors is one of the reasons the Bible is such a
robust book, communicating more truth per square inch than any
other volume. Think of the countless truths about our God that
are communicated by the simple phrase, “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
Immediately God’s protection, His provision, His comfort,
His leading, and His tenderness all come flooding into the mind as
a picture is painted in our hearts that would take thousands of
words to explain. The same metaphor, when used of God’s leader
in His church, is equally instructive (and condemning) as God’s
man seeks to emulate his Lord’s leadership when leading his people.
How could the protection of our God be better communicated
than describing Him as our “Refuge and Strength,” a God
Who surrounds His people “as the mountains surround Jerusalem”
(Psalm 125:2)? The confidence and comfort His people are
able to have in Him is like “a weaned child with its mother” (Psalm
131, cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:7). We have a God Whose “yoke is easy
and His burden is light.”.

Helping People Who Are Prone to Making Rash Judgments - Priolo, JOFMM Fall 2005

“What in the world is a rash judgment? And what does it have
to do with biblical counseling?”
No, a rash judgment is not the diagnosis made by a dermatologist.
A rash judgment is jumping to hasty and unfounded negative
conclusions about another’s character without having sufficient
biblical cause. Rash or Snap (Superficial, Nondiscriminating And
Presumptuous) Judgments have much to do with biblical counseling.
Not only are some of your counselees fond of making them, but
also you, as a counselor, must avoid making them about those to
whom you minister.
At best, a rash judgment is a violation of 1 Corinthians 13:7 (not
believing the best about others) and thus is an uncharitable attitude.
At worst, it is a violation of the ninth commandment: “You shall not
bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16)...

Directions for Using the Mini-PDI - Adams, JOFMM Fall 2005

There are times when you will be able to counsel a person only
once. Perhaps he will be leaving town for good, or an emergency
has arisen and he needs quick counsel. On such occasions, you will
have to do one-session counseling. This is anything but ideal, but
we don’t live in a world where we often encounter the ideal! So,
here is a slimmed down Personal Data Inventory for just such use
(See The Christian Counselor’s Manual for information about the full
The goal is not to use the Mini-PDI as a substitute for the PDI.
To do so would be foolish because the purpose of the PDI is to
gather as much data as possible before beginning counseling. The
Mini-PDI serves the purpose of gathering only those absolutely
essential data that will be used in the single encounter. In most situations,
it is insufficient for data gathering and will actually hinder
the process of in depth data gathering. So, don’t think that you can
cut corners by using it in those circumstances for which it was not

Loving God and Loving Neighbor - Priolo, JOFMM Fall 2005

When you analyze it, people have problems with people.
Your counselees don’t come in saying:
“My car and I aren’t getting along.”
“My telephone is not speaking to me.”
“My teenage refrigerator is rebelling.”
“I just can’t seem to control my violent bicycle.”
Rather, they come in with problems like:
“I can’t get along with my boss.”
“I’m having a hard time forgiving my husband.”
“I don’t love my wife anymore.”
“I lose my temper with the kids.”
“I can’t seem to say no to certain temptations.”
“I’m depressed and worry all the time.”
“I feel guilty, lonely, fearful, and despondent.”
People are people’s problems! Persons have problems with persons.
They have problems with themselves.
They have problems with others.
They have problems with God! (He is a Person, too!)...

A Critical Review of Escaping the Matrix - Wingerd, JOFMM Fall 2005

I must admit that I was a bit intimidated when someone suggested
that I read and review the book, Escaping the Matrix. It is
directed to Christians, but it is also related to clinical counseling,
and I am not professionally trained in that field. I am a former
police officer, a pastor, and an editorial assistant for another Christian
ministry. Greg Boyd, on the other hand, is a well-known pastor
and theologian. Al Larson is a professionally trained clinical
psychologist. My initial thought was that someone more wellknown
and professionally qualified should review their book.
While I am not a clinical counselor, however, every pastor is
called to be a biblical counselor and a theologian. Keeping those
two pastoral roles in the forefront, my main emphasis will not be
to evaluate the authors’ psychological counseling philosophies or
methods. I intend to examine their use of the Scriptures – the theology
that formulates their opinions and drives their methods. But
before beginning, I want to make a personal appeal to any pastors
who might decide to read their book. An ever-widening separation
exists between those committed to biblical counseling, and those
who insist on mingling Scripture with modern psychology...

The Biblical Key to the Doctrine of Eternal Security - Pixley, JOFMM Fall 2005

After preaching a sermon on the doctrine of eternal security, I
was standing at the front of the church when a woman approached
me. “I’ve never heard that teaching before,” she stated warmly.
“I’ve never before heard that a Christian cannot lose his salvation.”
She explained that she had been brought up in a denomination
which I knew to be steeped in Arminian theology. Consequently,
she had been taught that since a Christian can indeed lose his salvation,
it is therefore both conditional and inherently insecure. She
believed such teaching to be true mainly because it was all she had
ever heard. The fear of losing her salvation gripped her life until
she was liberated by hearing the contrary biblical evidence from
my sermon.
Providentially, my conversation with this dear woman occurred
in the early days of my ministry. I was grieved to think of her years
of spiritual angst. Like her, far too many in the Church today suffer
needlessly for lack of sound biblical preaching. The Lord taught
me a profound lesson that day – doctrinal preaching is critical to the welfare
of the body of Christ...

Confession - Adams, JOFMM Fall 2005

Confession is poorly understood by many Christians. What, for
instance, does it mean to adhere to the Westminster Confession of
Faith? What is a confession of faith anyway? How does the title of
this important document relate to confessing sins? And, in relationship
to the latter matter, does one confess his sins to God
alone – or also to others? Moreover, if he is to confess to others, to
whom does he confess, and in what manner? These – and other
issues – may be confusing to your congregation. Perhaps I shall be
able to help you clear it up for them.
The one fact that ties confession of one’s faith to the confession
of his sins is the word confession itself. In Greek (as in its
Latin equivalent, from which the English word is derived) to “confess”
means “to say the same thing.” When one confesses anything,
he is agreeing with someone or some idea. In extra-biblical
writings from New Testament times the word homologeo (“confess”)
was used when persons entered into contracts as the parties
involved agreed to the terms of the contract. Thus, when we confess
our faith in terms of a “Confession of Faith” we are agreeing
with what is written in it. We, and others today, are together saying the
same thing that the framers of the confession did...