Statement of faith
➢ That the Bible is the Divine revelation of God and that every word of the entire original documents was inspired.
➢ In one living and true God who exists eternally in three distinct persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
➢ Jesus Christ, equal in nature with the Father and Holy Spirit, came to earth through a supernatural birth, possessing both a divine and human nature, and lived a sinless life, qualifying Him to die for the sins of all mankind.
➢ Man was created in the image and likeness of God, but through personal disobedience is a sinner in need of salvation.
➢ Salvation is a gift of grace from God received through faith alone in the gospel, which is neither merited nor secured in part or whole by any virtue or work of man.
➢ That the church is made up of believers in Christ and is committed to the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper.
➢ That each believer is sealed by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation and receives a spiritual gift that is to be used for the edification and good of the local church.
➢ In the imminent, personal, pretribulation, premillennial, appearance of Christ to rapture the church.
God is Creator
God, who made all things, exists and He alone, as the creator of all things, interprets the meaning of things and events. Being created in the image of God, we know that we are dependent on God for the truth. As sinners we suppress this knowledge and reinterpret the universe on the basis that we give all things and events their meaning. Special revelation, which not only informs us but, is also redemptive, is needed to deal with our hostile suppression of the truth. We will hear this redemptive word, the gospel of Christ, only as the Holy Spirit of God brings us to repentance and faith.
The chief aim of counsel to non-believers is that they would be evangelized by the Gospel of Christ so that the fundamental change necessary for their life might occur.
All people need the counsel of God, which stands in direct contrast to the counsel of our own hearts, counsel of the world, and counsel of others who are conveying the wisdom of man rather than the wisdom of God. God’s wisdom is fundamentally different and antithetical to man’s wisdom. We receive counsel from God through His Word as the Holy Spirit illuminates and reveals truth. We receive/provide true counsel from/to others only as the counsel is shaped by and accurately reflects the counsel of God. Discipleship recognizes that Scripture alone stands sufficient in providing a comprehensive understanding of the nature of man and they do not mix or “integrate” any other false beliefs with the truth of God’s word.
True disciples seek to reflect the love, compassion, kindness, gentleness, and patience of Jesus Christ. They are called to be quick to listen, to encourage the timid and the weak, and to speak the truth in love. Should confrontation or rebuke be necessary, it should be done in a spirit of humility, remembering that authority to do so is not given based upon status, ability, or credentials, but because God’s grace alone has permitted them to speak such truth as His ambassadors and servants of the Kingdom.
The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit or traditions of men.
Discipleship recognizes that the primary element of transformation is not inherent in man but is given to him by God in the form of grace. Grace always propels individuals towards holiness, goodness, godliness, and righteousness. Without such grace, authentic soul change within the counseling process is unattainable.
Discipleship views human struggle from a model of depravity rather than a model of deprivation. Theoretical approaches that are built upon a deprivation model assume an individual’s emotional/mental condition is the direct consequence of unmet psychological needs, poor socialization, genetic predisposition, or emotional wounds. Such a view inherently classifies the human heart as neutral and/or passive. Scripture, however, stresses a model of depravity, and recognizes the active, perpetual, and intentional influence of the law of sin on the heart of Man. Depravity is viewed as having an active role in thinking, emotion, perception, and living. This depravity always moves individuals away from God and towards self-indulged, selfseeking, and self-absorbed ways of living. Properly understood, the flesh is the greatest enemy with which an individual must contend within a spirit-led life .
Dying to Self
Joyful living develops as people learn to live with a reverent fear of God, not by training counselees to place more trust and confidence in themselves. The secular concept of self-esteem stands in direct opposition to the “dying to self” message of the Gospel.
Biblical discipleship recognizes that the chief understanding of change in those who are professed believers must be grounded in the doctrine of sanctification. If conformity to the image of Jesus Christ is not the central goal of change then change itself must be viewed as merely superficial as it falls desperately short of Biblical transformation. Any system of psychology, “Christian” or otherwise, that fails to acknowledge and operate according to this supposition cannot by nature be categorized as Biblical discipleship.
Discipleship views human experience as always transpiring within the realm of God’s sovereignty. A believer’s suffering (physical or emotional) should not be viewed as arbitrary, but purposeful as it provides a context in which the Holy Spirit equips, empowers, and encourages people to live Christ in all things. Counseling that ignores the sovereignty of God in all circumstances is human-centric as it ultimately seeks to make sense of existential reality independent of the greater reality of God’s divine purposes.
As we disciple others, we recognize that individuals who have been reconciled to God by faith are considered perfectly righteous “in Christ” because of the finished work of the Cross. Such individuals have been given a new nature that is being divinely transformed by grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, a significant aspect of counseling resides in helping believers in the Lord, Jesus Christ recognize their proper identity as saints of the living God. As such, ultimate evidence of human change resides in God’s finished work as understood in the Gospel, and does not ultimately rest in modern psychological constructs such as symptom relief, sobriety, marital harmony, etc.
Authority of the Church
Disciples submit themselves and their counsel under the authority of the Church and its leadership. They seek to involve pastors/elders in the process of caring for others as deemed necessary and appropriate by God’s Word. This would include areas such as support, discipleship, and church discipline.
- Consider the following verses:
Hebrews 12:7-11, I Corinthians 10:31, Ephesians 4:22-24, I Peter 4:1-2, James 1: 2-4, Romans 8:28-29, James 4:1-8, 2 Timothy 4:2, Romans 15:14, Galatians 6:1, 1 Timothy 4:16, 2 Timothy 2:24-25, Psalm 139, Titus 2, Romans 8:5-8, I Peter 4:12-19, Jeremiah 17:5-10, Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Acts 17:28, 2 Peter 1:3-4, Romans 5:17, I Corinthians 15:10, 1 Timothy 5:20-21, Luke 17:3, Psalm 32:11, Psalm 35:27, Matthew 5:43, John 13:24, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Galatians 5:16, Galatians 5:22-24, Philippians 1:9, Psalm 111:10, 2 Corinthians 5:20, Proverbs 4:7, Proverbs 8:14, Matthew 18:15-19, Matthew 15:19, Psalm 112:1.
- Reference material used:
- Association of Biblical Counselors
- Graeme Goldsworthy, “Is Biblical Theology Viable?”, Explorations 11 Interpreting God’s Plan: Biblical Theology and the Pastor, General Editor R.J. Gibson, 1998, Paternoster Press, p. 36.
- Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 1, Section VI