Apologetic Counseling Of Addicted People: Truth Encounter In Spiritual Warfare -- By: Wayne A. Detzler

Journal: Christian Apologetics Journal
Volume: CAJ 11:1 (Spring 2013)
Article: Apologetic Counseling Of Addicted People: Truth Encounter In Spiritual Warfare
Author: Wayne A. Detzler


Apologetic Counseling Of Addicted People: Truth Encounter In Spiritual Warfare

Wayne A. Detzler

Wayne Detzler is Professor Emeritus at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC.

Obviously counseling is a matter of genuine complexity. This term usually evokes the image of a psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist, or a family therapist. Also, there is the field of pastoral counseling, which is likewise regulated by academic rigor.

Having the temerity to suggest that apologetics may play a role in counseling is rather bold. This writer approaches the question of counseling after a career of crisis counseling as a fire chaplain and pastoral counseling as a care pastor. It is within this experiential framework that he approaches the concept of apologetic counseling.

The rationale for this process is based upon the following reasoning:

A. The Thomistic synthesis of faith and reason guides our approach to philosophy in general and epistemology in particular with specific reference to the apologetic task of defending the Christian faith.

B. Counseling is essentially a cognitive process designed to change the thought processes of the counselee.

C. Therefore, it is altogether appropriate that classical apologetics be applied to the counseling process.

From a secular standpoint Marvin Perry introduces his discussion of Thomas Aquinas with this sentence: “Rejecting the position of conservatives [within the Catholic Church], who insisted that philosophy would contaminate faith, Saint Thomas Aquinas [c. 1225–1274] upheld the value of human reason and natural knowledge. He set about reconciling Aristotelianism with Christianity.” Armand Maurer of the Pontifical Institute in Toronto puts the epistemology of St. Thomas into proper historical perspective.1

It is the basis of Thomistic philosophy that allows us to apply the truth of revelation by using the creation gift of rationality to the task of Christian counseling. It is the assumption of this author that rationality is not only a gift of God but also a means of natural revelation.2 This is neither a novel nor an ill–advised approach.

For instance, the distinguished former cardiologist turned minister, Dr. Martyn Lloyd–Jones, followed this approach in his helpful book, Spiritual Depression. He applied the wisdom of his medical training while wedding it to the passion of a biblical expositor. His book gained wide acceptance among evangelical Christians during the 1970s.

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