Why Biblical Counsel? -- By: Frank J. Catanzaro III

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 17:2 (Spring 2000)
Article: Why Biblical Counsel?
Author: Frank J. Catanzaro III


Why Biblical Counsel?

Frank J. Catanzaro III

Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Mike Forest, North Carolina 27587

In this article I will investigate the distinctives of a biblical orientation to counseling. While models are numerous in both biblical and nonbiblical traditions, examples from both will be limited. In particular, a discussion of the nouthetic model of biblical counsel will be addressed as an example of a well-developed approach. A general discussion of biblical counsel including distinctives, goals, and the role of the Holy Spirit will also be included.

Of particular interest is the variance of opinion concerning the role of “religion” by some clearly non-Christian theorists. Where one in particular, Freud, views religion as an enemy to be defeated, his follower Jung takes a much more positive view of the impact of a religious outlook.

A Comparison of Views

If there were but one theoretical framework to which all psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and counselors subscribed which was so precisely formulated that it could be applied to explain all that people felt and did, the lives of those who offer counsel would be much simpler. Even though this framework does not exist, there have been some theorists who have written as if the subject were a monolithic whole with a unified body of theory which is at variance with Christian beliefs. Freud was one who believed not only that a conflict existed, but that religion must be defeated and replaced by psychology. He proposed that science would be able to accomplish what religion had failed to do throughout the centuries.1 In a lecture dealing with the question of a Weltanschauung,2 Freud wrote,

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 psychological necessities. But religion cannot achieve this. Its doctrines bear the imprint of the times in which they arose, the ignorant times of the childhood of humanity. Its consolations deserve no trust. Experience teaches us that the world is no nursery. The ethical

demands on which religion seeks to lay stress need, rather, to be given another basis; for they are indispensable to human society and it is dangerous to link obedience to them with religious faith. If we attempt to assign the place of religion in the evolution of mankind, it appears not as a permanent acquisition but as a counterpart to the neurosis which indi...

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