Anyone concerned about the rise of professional secular counselling at the expense of Bible-based counselling will be greatly encouraged by this book. The central comparison is between the man-centredness of the former and the God-centredness of the latter — which should deter any Christian from embracing the type of non-directive counselling which is on offer today.
As Tautges says, ‘Therapeutic massaging of the bothered soul is not counselling as God defines it’.
The subtitle of this book is ‘A theology of personal discipleship’, so the author stresses the doctrines which are fundamental to understanding the human psyche — the unpalatable fact of original sin; the sufficiency of the Bible for all our mind’s needs as well as our soul’s needs; and the need for conversion and reformation from long-standing inner sins.
Counselling should be based on all these principles, and every mature Christian is assured that he or she is able to counsel those in need; it does not always need to be left to the pastor or elders.
Various chapters look at conversion, the call to disciplined godliness, and the community for stimulating faith.
The book’s ‘black and white’ attack on all ‘worldly psychology’ may be controversial. What may be necessary is a follow-up book, describing actual scenarios with a rather warmer approach, in the light of some genuinely hurting Christians and non-Christians who need help.
We need to sensitively apply the undoubted truths of this book to damaged souls who are suffering from a combination of mental and spiritual problems and whose troubles may be partly due to other people’s sins.
As a theology of personal discipleship, the book is excellent. How true it is that ‘Authentic biblical counselling grips the wisdom of God embodied and revealed in Jesus Christ, and refuses to surrender the higher ground of the Holy Spirit’s revelation of Truth in the gospel to the inferior wisdom of man’.