What is our biblical counselling based on?

A God-ward focus

We cannot ignore who God is. The fatherly love of God is a great theme but should not be detached from God’s entire person—He is also sovereign, holy, just, the High King of Heaven, limitless in power and wisdom.

Many promote the teaching that people will be “better” when their need for self-esteem, love and acceptance is met. The Bible teaches that sinful motivation does not emerge from these “needs” but rather from cravings and lusts (Gal 5:16-24, Eph 2:3, James 1:14-16 and 3:13-4:12. The good news is that God is able to change desires and replace self-centred motivation. We believe that God is to be desired and worshipped above all else, this correct response resulting in ultimate satisfaction and joy.

The fact that God’s Word is enough

We hold to the Bible’s view of itself— the source of a comprehensive and detailed approach to understanding and counselling people. We believe that the Bible is all we need to tackle every non-physical human problem. However, we recognise that non-Christians cannot be counselled in the same way as Christians because they are not bound by the authority of the Bible. We communicate the truth that no-one can change in any significant way without embracing Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

The good news of Jesus Christ

The Bible speaks of God’s grace in the good news of Jesus Christ. The Bible is about Jesus Christ and therefore biblical counselling is about Jesus Christ. Our counselling is centred on the power of God in salvation and sanctification, through the person and work of Jesus the Messiah.

“Biblical counselling is the ministry of God’s grace to individuals, just as biblical preaching is the ministry of God’s grace to the multitudes.” (David Powlison)

The priority of the local church

Biblical counselling cannot be detached from the local church.

“[Psychologists view counselling] as a professional activity without any necessary connection to the church of Jesus Christ. A client with a felt-need engages a professional for help in attaining goals of personal adjustment, emotional happiness, stability, self-fulfilment, and the like. But biblical counsellors follow the Bible and view counselling as a pastoral activity. Their counselling aims at progressive sanctification and must communicate the true contents of Scripture. Biblical counselling connects logically and structurally to worship, discipleship, preaching, pastoral oversight, use of gifts, church discipline, and other aspects of life in the body of Christ.” (David Powlison)

If counsellees are not members of our church, it will be essential to involve their church leaders in the counselling process.