Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Don't Listen to the World's Ideas for Counseling, Listen to This

I'm not a trained counselor, but every Bible teacher will come into situations which require some discernment and counseling. Therefore I heartily recommend Tim Keller's classic article "Puritan Resources for Biblical Counseling."

Here is his summary for why we should model our counseling after the Puritans:

The works of the Puritans are a rich resource for biblical counselors because:
  1. The Puritans were committed to the functional authority of the Scripture. For them it was the comprehensive manual for dealing with all problems of the heart.
  2. The Puritans developed a sophisticated and sensitive system of diagnosis for personal problems, distinguishing a variety of physical, spiritual, tempermental and demonic causes.
  3. The Puritans developed a remarkable balance in their treatment because they were not invested in any one ‘personality theory’ other than biblical teaching about the heart.
  4. The Puritans were realistic about difficulties of the Christian life, especially conflicts with remaining, indwelling sin.
  5. The Puritans looked not just at behavior but at underlying root motives and desires. Man is a worshipper; all problems grow out of ‘sinful imagination’ or idol manufacturing.
  6. The Puritans considered the essential spiritual remedy to be belief in the gospel, used in both repentance and the development of proper self-understanding.

Print, read, and mark up the whole article.

Note: Keller references Thomas Brooks' work which is on my "read annually" list. Nothing better has been written about Satan's standard playbook and recovering from sin.

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