How Biblical Is Biblical Counseling? -- By: David P. Murray

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 05:2 (Jul 2013)
Article: How Biblical Is Biblical Counseling?
Author: David P. Murray


How Biblical Is Biblical Counseling?

David P. Murray

How would you like to write an article on the weaknesses of your family? That’s how I felt when responding to a request to write an article on the weaknesses of biblical counseling. I am a biblical counselor, and biblical counselors are my family. I know and love many of them; I read their books; I listen to their lectures; I value their counsel; and I rejoice at how God is working in them and through them for the benefit of His church.

Like all families, the biblical counseling family has strengths and weaknesses, but how do I identify particular weaknesses without naming particular people on the one hand, or being too general and lumping everyone together on the other hand? Both will result in family uproar—and maybe a homeless orphan, too!

So let me first prove my familial love by highlighting what I value about my biblical counseling family.

  • I appreciate my family’s emphasis on counseling presuppositions. Biblical counselors have exposed the dangerously unbiblical presuppositions behind much secular counseling today (and some Christian), and have rebuilt biblical counseling on biblical presuppositions resulting in more biblical aims and methods.
  • I honor my family’s courage in boldly reclaiming pastoral care, so much of which has been usurped by secular counseling in our day.
  • I value my family’s emphasis on the power and suitability of God’s Word in addressing people’s problems. They have inspired and trained many Christians to use the Bible

to diagnose the roots of problems and to prescribe lasting solutions.

  • I admire the way my family has restored the biblical vocabulary of personal sin and personal responsibility, giving huge hope of forgiveness and change.
  • I’m grateful for the quality of the theological and practical resources my family has provided for the church to address a vast range of life problems.
  • I welcome my family’s emphasis on the necessity of the Holy Spirit, prayer, and the Christian community to effect long-term transformation.
  • Above all, I love my family’s compassion for people and the multiple hours they invest in repairing broken lives.

It’s a great family, and I’d encourage many more to join it. However, we’re still quite a young family, and as such we’re not perfect. We still have much to learn from one another and from those outside our family. Biblical counselors still need biblical counseling!

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So what counsel would I give to my biblical counseling family? I want to give only one piece of very simple yet very radical co...

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