Hypocrisy in Christian Counseling

He is considered the founder of the biblical counseling movement. A foundational principle of his approach is that the Bible is sufficient to address the whole man. He complains that Christians would preach about the salvation of the soul from the Bible, but when speaking to people with psychological problems, they would either refer them to non-Christian therapists or counsel them with non-Christian methods.

However, he himself teaches that when counseling someone who is suffering from something like depression, we should ascertain whether the cause is psychological or physiological. If the depression is psychological, then the Christian counselor should speak to this person from the Bible. But if the depression is physiological, perhaps due to a hormonal imbalance, then the counselor should refer the person to a physician. He does not suggest that the Bible is also sufficient to address problems that are physiological, and that we should have faith in God to miraculously heal the person of this chemical imbalance, even though the Bible prescribes miracle healing by its many promises and examples.

This cessationist hypocrisy injects a devastating deformity into a counseling system that claims to be biblical. He is most likely unaware of it. He does not think that there is anything wrong. The unbelief is so ingrained that he takes this policy for granted, while he criticizes others for doing the same thing. Since this assumption of cessationism affects how he deals with every counselee at every stage with every issue, the damage is incalculable. All those who are like him are culpable for hindering the gospel in their counselees, in the church, and in the world. Cessationism steers people away from the gospel. It tells people to believe in Christ, but then refuses to let them have him.

Counseling that is “biblical” does not mean that you only discuss the ideas in the Bible, and even then suppressing many of them, but it means that you also invoke the promises of the Bible. What the Bible promises should happen in your interaction with the counselees.

If a person lives in fear because he has a disease, we should not only confront his fear as sin, command him to repent, and then teach him to trust in God. This approach sounds good to a point, but it is also a lie, because in this situation, to trust God would mean to receive healing by faith. Counseling would entail commanding that disease to leave the person, or teaching the person to do it himself. His strong insistence on counseling from the Bible, without faith, becomes strong hypocrisy in practice, because he defies the same Bible that he claims to teach and trust.

Then, many people need to sit under long-term preaching that contains sound doctrine and much faith — more and more faith — more than they need individual counseling. Some people need counseling to tell them that they should stop thinking that they need counseling. They should listen to some good preaching, and be doers of the word. This is the problem, both in the counselors and in the counselees. They honor the Bible with their lips, but they refuse to do what it says.

From: email