'CHRISTIAN COUNSELLING' COURSES - ARE THEY JUST
The Alarming Truth is that Most "Christian Counselling" Courses Have Almost Nothing to do with Biblical Christianity Whilst Upholding Most of the Assumptions of Liberal Christianity!
What is "Christian Counselling"? Is Your Church
Starting to Strongly Promote the Need for Christians to Study on
These Courses? You Need to Check Out This Article
ere is a scenario
for you to consider....
A Baptist minister - currently without a pastorate - offers his
services to a specifically Christian charity which reaches out to
those with various social problems. To his surprise, however, the
charity insists that he will be of no use unless completing 2 or
3 'counselling courses'. His reluctance to do so means that he is
turned down for a counselling role. So this man, with a wealth of
experience, compassion, knowledge of life and a deep knowledge of
the Word of God is rejected! Yes - you understood correctly: A
Bible-believing and theology degree holding Christian minister is
rejected from joining a "Christian" counselling charity, because
he has not undertaken certain 'counselling courses.'
Surprising?? Actually this sort of thing is starting to happen a
lot, at least here in the UK. So what are these mysterious
"Christian counselling courses" which Bible believers have
somehow managed to do without for 2,000 years, but which a few
now consider so essential?
I'm afraid that just a little research reveals that in all too
many cases Jesus Christ is firmly sidelined in such courses and
the Scriptures are rarely consulted. On the contrary, people like
Freud (the 'father' of psycho-analysis and an enemy of the
Christian Faith), are given great credence even while many are
increasingly rejecting his various theories. But whether or not
his theories are being rejected, they are inherently unchristian
and in no way based on the Word of God. The 'father' of situation
ethics, Joseph Fletcher, too (we understand) often plays a role and the whole
package apparently comes delivered in a highly permissive and
Joseph Fletcher (1905-1991) published the book, Situation Ethics, in 1966, thereby securing for himself the dubious distinction of, "the Father of Situation Ethics."
Fletcher was a leading academic involved in the consideration of such socio-moral topics as abortion, eugenics and cloning. His approach was unflinchingly liberal. Once ordained as an Episcopal
priest, Fletcher later identified himself as an atheist. He taught Christian Ethics at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts for many years where, sadly, he influenced many young Christians to adopt 'pragmatic situationism' as the best approach to ethics. This, of course, opposed any concept of ultimate, or divine truth emanating from an omnipotent God.
In 1974, the American
Humanist Association named him 'Humanist of the Year.' That, perhaps, says all we need to know about Mr Fletcher!
One person who left such a 'Christian counselling course' told us
that it is amazing that the word 'Christian' was connected at
all, even though several church-attenders were involved. She
revealed to us that the only form of "Christianity" which could
be discerned was the most liberal form. Religious Pluralism ('all
religions lead to God and have equal worth') was at various
points (though not always) assumed and Bible-believing
evangelicals would be bound to feel highly uncomfortable on many
Such courses - all too often - pursue this society's liberal,
permissive and non-judgemental agenda and do not follow
Truth is that 'Christian counselling' courses buy into our society's new fascination with "Therapism" and 'Therapism' is inherently anti-Christian but finds a place for liberal Christianity (as long as the concept of the authority and sovereignty of God is ditched). But we must see 'Therapism' as yet another aberration of this self-absorbed and responsibility-dodging modern society. What is particularly worrying is how such flawed and intrinsically atheistic lines of human reasoning (which, essentially, deny the realities of sin and of human responsibility), are now even making inroads into evangelical Christianity. So suddenly we see people advertising their services as "Christian therapists" and "Christian counsellors" even when some of these people would deny the great Christian creeds and statements of faith.
In some large evangelical congregations the practice of counselling with a minister has just about gone, having been replaced by the recommendation to counsel with a team of "trained counsellors" within the congregation.
One senior gentleman told me this,
"I wanted to see my senior pastor about a private, personal matter but I was told that the pastor no longer handles these things. I was offered a choice of three counsellors. All three were less than half my age and my wife used to babysit two of them! One of the guys was barely out of his youthful acne! When I questioned this I was simply told about the Christian counselling and psychological training the guy had come through. I later rang my pastor to complain. He said, 'Some of these things are now a matter of law and have been taken out of my hands.' HELP! What's happening to us??"
We need to ask whether such courses can give Christians 'counselling skills' which the
study of the Holy Bible cannot?
Let us consult a few Scriptures:
What should be a Christian's foundation of knowledge?
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools
despise wisdom and instruction."
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who
follow his precepts have good understanding..."
(Psalm 111:10 NIV).
This world is full of a sort of 'knowledge' but if this knowledge
is not according to the Word of God, it is ultimately futile and
meaningless. It is the product of a 'fallen' mind. Yes, very
often, quite sincere - no doubt - but as Christians we are bound
to accept that it is the product of minds who 'did not like to
retain God in their knowledge' (as Paul says). The great learning
of this world and society is, of course, not all wrong but it is
ultimately the product of a system which has firmly ruled God to
be 'out of court.' As Paul says,
"Professing to be wise, they became fools."
So what is it that makes the difference for Christians?
It is the receiving of Christ for the remission of sins and the
Gift of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit - among other things -
imparts the gift of sound reasoning and understanding. This is
why the cause of the problems in modern society are so
crystal clear to the truly converted mind, even while experienced
politicians struggle to see a solution!
Again, the Christian has a grand and panoramic understanding of
the non-Christian mind, yet are we not sometimes a little
surprised to notice that non-Christians have no understanding of
us? We should not be surprised! Paul said it would be this way a
long time ago,
"But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit
of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual
judges [* 'understands'] all things, yet he himself is
rightly judged [* 'understood'] by no one."
(1 Corinthians 2:14-15, [*] my inserts).
So we see that it is the Holy Spirit Who makes a vast
difference. He is the 'Comforter' who would guide Christians into
One of the great problems with too many so-called 'Christian
counselling courses,' it seems to us, is that such courses
constantly appear to seek 'common cause' with the world; they
quickly take on board a politically-correct and permissive stance
while such course organisers, if they are Christians, should be
profoundly aware how much this permissive age has
encouraged sinful behaviour. Oops!! Apparently, that word
'sin' is not allowed to be used on many such courses!
So two final questions to consider here:
1. Is it wrong to ever use this world's knowledge?
Of course not and we are often grateful for such knowledge. I
don't think that those who discovered the dangers of misusing
electricity were Christians but - My! I am grateful for their
learning!! But that is materialistic and strictly
non-spiritual knowledge. Do we see the difference? We
don't go to this world's philosophers and psychologists for
spiritual knowledge even though they may freely offer
2. Are all Christians - by virtue of having received the Holy
Spirit - great counsellors? The answer is no, because we are all
granted differing gifts and strengths, yet in my experience the
great majority of those 'well-seasoned' in the faith, are able to
give the correct spiritual advice. Whether that advice is
delivered in the most politically-correct way is another matter,
but we should be far less concerned with such
'political-correctness', and far more concerned with straight
talking and the application of sound biblical
When Christians are encouraged to go on 'Christian counselling
courses' what message are we giving them?
We appear to be saying that Jesus is not enough, better to have
Jesus plus a tiny pinch of Freud and perhaps a dash of Fletcher
and maybe even a sprinkling of Schopenhauer so we can speak to
others about our faith, and the reality of their sin! What
absolute nonsense!! Actually, of course, as we have already
noted, 'sin' is often ruled out of court on such courses, and
course students are taught never to use that word when
counselling. If this is indeed the widespread approach (and I am reliably informed that it is), then
there is no doubt that only a form of "Christianity" which denies
the authority and integrity of the Word of God is being embraced.
In other words, Liberal Christianity. This - without a doubt -
has no power to change lives.
Just as the apostle Paul told the Colossians: Jesus REALLY IS
ENOUGH! We don't need this or that philosophy to reinforce our
Christianity before we can counsel with others:
"See to it that no-one takes you captive through hollow and
deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the
basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in
Christ all the fulness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you
have been given fulness in Christ who is the Head over every
power and authority."
(Colossians 2:8-10, NIV).
Robin A. Brace
2002. 2009 re-edit.
AN OBJECTION TO THIS ARTICLE
FROM A 'CHRISTIAN COUNSELLING' LECTURER:
'It is hard for me to understand your
complaint. It is good for Christians to become aware of the work
of Freud, for instance, he was a great man who can teach us a lot
about why people are unhappy and about the human condition. I
don't think he disbelieved in God either...'
Please allow me to quote from an essay:
'Freud described the concept of God as merely a projection of
the childish wish for the protection of an all-powerful father.
He added that "religion is an attempt to master the sensory world
in which we are situated by means of the wishful world which we
have developed within us as a result of biological and
He concluded that the religious view is "so pathetically absurd
and . . . infantile that it is humiliating and embarrassing to
think that the majority of people will never rise above it."
Except for the brief time as a college student under the
influence of a brilliant philosopher named Franz Bratano, a
devout believer, when Freud wavered in his atheism, he stated
that he remained an unbeliever all of his life. A year before he
died, Freud wrote to Charles Sanger, "Neither in my private life
nor in my writing have I ever made a secret of being an
(From the essay, 'The Real Issue; When Worldviews Collide',
Armand Nichol, Jr., M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry,
Harvard Medical School).
Think my article may be exaggerative?
TRY TO GET THIS BOOK;
'How Christian is Christian Counseling?'
By Gary Almy MD.
(Almy is a Christian with a very extensive background in
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