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BIBLE Counseling

©2004 by OAIM

In the eyes of the counselors here at OAM, there is absolutely no difference between these two concepts. By most people's definition of counseling these days, Jesus did not counsel people. And we do agree in a way. Jesus certainly did not do the type of counseling that our society thinks of. When we say the word "counseling," we immediately are influenced by 40 years of intense secular infiltration of our thinking.

Think about this for a minute. Our society's concept of "counseling" is someone going into an office for a specific appointment, unloading all their problems to someone who should only listen and not make judgments about what the person is saying, and then they get up and leave, paying the fee on the way out.

But is this in keeping with the Bible? We don't think so. In the 1950s, most church people would have been stunned and appalled if a pastor refused to counsel someone and sent them to a psychologist instead. Psychology was not at all accepted as a valid science by mainstream Christianity. As the 50s flowed into the 60s, things changed quickly. Just as Eastern Mysticism was not part of most people's knowledge (let alone their lives) in the 50s, the 60s opened a door to Eastern religious practices. Psychology, rooted in many of these Eastern practices, followed close on its heels.

One of the major ideas that this Eastern influence enhanced was the man-centered philosophy that we have the answers within ourselves to solve our own problems. This is why psychology students are taught to listen instead of giving advice. They listen and ask questions because in that way, the person will find the answers within them that they need. And thus we see a man-centered counseling model.

This is also where the separation of client and professional came into being. The "professional" ends up being the aloof mystic teacher who does not teach, but who merely guides his client into the person's own truth (because truth has become relative, shifting from person to person).

BIBLE Counseling, however, looks at things quite differently. As sinful human beings, we realize that we are all only dust. We are not aloof from the brother or sister with whom we work. God's grace is necessary in our lives equally as much as in theirs. The relationship is not a cold, impersonal client/therapist one, where you avoid each other in public situations, but a brother/sister one, worshipping day in and day out with them. The people in this group that we have counseled with are not my "clients," but my friends. We have had the privilege of working with them when they needed help and we know that if we ever need them in a similar way, they will be there for us. This is how God set up the Christian church to work.

This is why we are rebels in the world of counseling, and even in the world of biblical counseling. We don't think it is right to charge anyone for this type of counseling, because it would be charging them to hear the word of God. Shouldn't people be able to hear the word of God without having to pay for it?

Our goal is to move people closer to God. Any other counseling goal is superficial and is like a mist that appears for a time and then soon disappears. What does it profit someone to help them to be happy in their life here on earth if it doesn't bring them closer to God? What does anything matter if it doesn't bring the person closer to God? Psychology's goal is to make people happy. BIBLE Counseling's goal is to move people closer to God. Happiness is worthless if you are not moving closer to the One who created you.

Our counseling is not one hour a week and then living as if that person didn't exist until our next one hour session. Our counseling is helping people to see God as an integral part of their entire life. Isn't that exactly what discipleship is? This is precisely what Jesus did. He didn't counsel the disciples one hour a week and then forget about them. His counseling was a daily, hourly discipleship. He lived with them, walked with them, ate with them. This is discipleship and this is BIBLE counseling. If these people are merely our clients, then we do them a great disservice. We're only on an ego trip if that is the case.

This is why OAM stands so firmly on sound doctrine. To sit idly by while someone spouts false teachings on our board just so we can say we "listened" and let them talk is not a biblical way of doing things. It is the secular psychological model.

Does this mean we should not listen to people's problems? Not at all! But as Jay Adams said in one of his works, we don't need to know the WHY people do things. We already know it. People are sinful beings. We do sinful things. It doesn't take us near as long to listen to people since we don't base our counseling on relative truth that changes from person to person. BIBLE Counseling is based on an unchangeable truth, one that doesn't change because of your situation or your feelings. God's truth never changes so we don't need all the gory details of someone's sin life to see what needs to be said to them.

I know this frustrates a lot of people who come to us because they think we should be like secular counselors. While the details of your specific situation might be different from those of other people's, the basic truths of the Bible are still the same: your purpose is a relationship with God and our purpose is to move you closer to Him. The past is in the past and, while we can learn from it, God is going to hold us responsible for our behavior right here and right now, not something that someone did to us years ago.

And we also know that many people are frustrated when they see us stopping someone who wants to continue to pursue a false teaching. Whether it's in the Monday/Friday room or on our message board, allowing someone to talk about a false belief is just dangerous. We've been accused of not letting people have their say. Imagine being with someone who is putting arsenic in the drinks of the people in the room. How much arsenic should we let them put in before we try to stop them? Should we let them do all they want to do and then deal with the after effects of people dying of arsenic poisoning? Or should we try to stop them right then and there?

Doctrinally speaking, this is the same thing. To allow people to start in on their word/faith poison or their legalism poison should not be an option. If you let them spray their poison on all who hear, there WILL be casualties, make no mistake about it. It is illogical and unloving to let people get very far at all with a false teaching.

Why do we seem to move quickly on people sometimes? It's because we can see it coming. After the first few thousand people in our chat room, we noticed that the comments usually are the same ones, over and over again. What you think we're hearing for the first time is something we've heard hundreds of times in the past. If you are aware of the false teachings, you can see it in how people phrase things, the words they choose, the questions they ask. After seeing the same comment (worded only slightly differently) about 300 times, you do start to see what's coming next.

We get a lot of criticism for our strong stance against false teachings. It saddens and wearies us that we have to defend the Bible from Christians who prefer secular psychological ways of dealing with things instead of God's way. And from Christians who see "theology" as a study for fools. (Theos = God, logos = study of…if the study of God is for fools, then may we always be the biggest fools of all!)

It becomes very irritating to encounter Christians who want us to roll over and play dead by never questioning anyone's theology. This is how the U.S. got to the point we are now, with students imprisoned for 6 months for mentioning the name Jesus in a graduation prayer, with the only acceptable use of the word "God" is when it means an impersonal force that is different for everyone. We have been silent for too long and it is time for us to take a strong stand on biblical truth. We cannot join with false teachers in any way. We feel a bit like Jesus in the temple when He drove out the moneychangers. That is exactly how we see our responsibility in regards to false teachers and this message board or our chat room.

We realize this is not the view of everyone who comes across OAIM, but it is the stance of this ministry. We are told to "contend" for the faith (Jude 3). Contend is a very active verb that means: to strive against rivals or difficulties, to argue, maintain, assert. We do not see anywhere in here where we are told to listen to false teachers. On the contrary, in 2 John 10-11 we read, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work." If we support these false teachers in anyway, even by welcoming them, we are sharing in their work of evil.

Again, we challenge Christians to reevaluate their ideas of contending for the faith and see if they think it is a valuable thing or whether they have bought into the New Age teachings that say that all belief systems are equally valid. They cannot both be true. Either we are to stalwartly contend for the faith or we are to let all beliefs be true. One or the other, my Christian brothers and sisters. It is long past time to choose!



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