Living in a fallen world
In this ET issue we interview Dr Paul Tautges, Consulting Editor of a new series of booklets from Day One Publications. Paul is author of several counselling books and pastor of a church in Wisconsin, USA. Here we ask him about HELP! booklets, just released in the UK.
ET: You are Consulting Editor of this helpful-looking series; how did the concept come about?
PT: My involvement was quite unintentional. Day One had been gradually collecting small manuscripts on a variety of real-life struggles, all of which seemed to address problems we suffer as a result of living in a fallen world. Once the series concept developed in seed form, I entered the picture as a prospective author, who then committed to write two titles. Since I know a number of men and women committed to true biblical counselling, I offered additional author and/or title suggestions to the publisher. Shortly after, Day One approached me with the opportunity to serve in an editorial role. It was not a role I had ever sought or pondered. But I sure am enjoying it!
ET: Tell us about the bitten apple logo.
PT: Of course the bitten apple takes us back to the Garden of Eden and, specifically, the fall of man. As a result of mankind’s rebellion against God, we now live in an imperfect world universally affected by its curse. The Bible does not identify the fruit that Adam and Eve ate, but since an apple is typically what comes to mind, it serves as an effective and eye-catching logo.
ET: Some of the titles of HELP! seem to address situations, whereas others perhaps deal more with sinful practices. Could you comment on this?
PT: Every form of suffering that we experience is connected to sin, at least indirectly. However, not all our struggles are the result of personal sin. What do I mean? Before sin entered the world human life was perfect. But the curse God pronounced upon man, woman, the devil, and the earth, has far-reaching consequences. For example, all disease is a result of sin, because before sin there was no disease; but not every disease that you and I suffer from is a direct result of our own personal sin. Do you see the difference? There are unexplainable ‘life struggles’ that come to us according to the sovereign plan of God and his desire to redeem sinners and conform us to the image of Christ. Then there are forms of suffering that we bring upon ourselves through our own sin, by means of the law of the harvest, ‘you reap what you sow’.
ET: So, how does that influence the topics that are addressed in the series?
PT: Understanding that there are trials that come into our lives according to the good and wise plan of God, as well as ongoing battles against the power of indwelling sin, we seek to include titles that will be of help to people in both realms of suffering.
ET: What makes these booklets distinct from other counselling booklets?
PT: That’s a great question! There are several ways they are different. First, they are more thorough than most counselling-related booklets – almost double in size. Second, they are gospel-centred in that, though addressed primarily to the believer in Christ, the salvation of the reader is never assumed. Therefore, each booklet contains a clear gospel call to repentant faith in Jesus. This makes the booklets very useful as evangelistic tools. Third, each booklet contains ‘personal application projects’ that may be used by pastors and counsellors who want to assign ‘homework’ to the people they help, or which may be used as discussion points in small groups.
ET: How do you imagine these booklets being used?
PT: All believers will benefit greatly from them and be helped in their own struggles, but also equipped for ministry to others. Churches will find them useful for their congregations. To aid this, a custom-designed display unit is being offered as a gift with quantity orders, making for discreet takeaway at a church facility.
ET: Do you plan to produce other titles in this series?
PT: Yes, actually we have many titles planned. Topics include anger, depression, homosexuality, hearing-impairment, food-related sins, teenage rebellion, and more. Be sure to watch for them! And HELP us spread the word – to the end that many will come to know, love and obey Jesus Christ.