Jim Newheiser – IBCD https://ibcd.org The Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship Wed, 20 Nov 2019 20:55:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 The Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship info@ibcd.org info@ibcd.org (IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship) ℗ & © 2018 IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship The Care & Discipleship Podcast discusses common topics in biblical counseling to help believers grow in their ability to care for one another with the word of God. Jim Newheiser – IBCD https://ibcd.org/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/0e4709328_1448999107_itunes-art-8-913.jpg https://ibcd.org I will be Glorified https://ibcd.org/i-will-be-glorified/ Fri, 02 Aug 2019 21:38:51 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=850963

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This session examines how the sainthood of the believer informs their identity.  

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Defined by my Sexuality https://ibcd.org/defined-by-my-sexuality/ Fri, 02 Aug 2019 21:38:51 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=851366

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”  In this workshop, we will seek out the biblical response to those that define themselves by homosexuality

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I am a Grandparent https://ibcd.org/i-am-a-grandparent/ Fri, 02 Aug 2019 21:38:51 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=851653

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” This session considers how a Christian is uniquely called to live out Grandparenthood.

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I am not my Love Language https://ibcd.org/i-am-not-my-love-language/ Fri, 02 Aug 2019 21:38:51 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=851696

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” This workshop will explore the idea of “Love Languages” and how they should be considered in light of our identity in Christ.

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Finding Identity in Christ (Jim Newheiser) https://ibcd.org/finding-identity-in-christ/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 00:00:18 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=848240

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Jim Newheiser joins Bob and Ann Maree Goudzwaard to discuss his upcoming talks at the 2019 Training Institute on identity. They unpack why Christians should anchor their primary identity in Christ and avoid over-identifying with secondary labels or sins.

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For more information regarding this and other episodes in the series please visit The Care and Discipleship Podcast page.

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IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 16:21
Technology & The Church https://ibcd.org/technology-and-the-church/ Wed, 05 Dec 2018 14:00:57 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=70046

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Jim Newheiser and Bob Goudzwaard talk with Tim Challies about his popular blogging ministry and the blessings and challenges of technology for the church.

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For more information regarding this and other episodes in the series please visit The Care and Discipleship Podcast page.

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Jim Newheiser and Bob Goudzwaard talk with Tim Challies about his popular blogging ministry and the blessings and challenges of technology for the church. Jim Newheiser and Bob Goudzwaard talk with Tim Challies about his popular blogging ministry and the blessings and challenges of technology for the church. IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 21:36
The Growth of the Biblical Counseling Movement https://ibcd.org/the-growth-of-the-biblical-counseling-movement/ Wed, 21 Nov 2018 14:00:09 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=70045

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Jim Newheiser and the Goudzwaard’s sit down with Elyse Fitzpatrick to get a sense of the history of the biblical counseling movement. How did all this get started and where are we headed?

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For more information regarding this and other episodes in the series please visit The Care and Discipleship Podcast page.


 

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Jim Newheiser and the Goudzwaard's sit down with Elyse Fitzpatrick to get a sense of the history of the biblical counseling movement. How did all this get started and where are we headed? Jim Newheiser and the Goudzwaard's sit down with Elyse Fitzpatrick to get a sense of the history of the biblical counseling movement. How did all this get started and where are we headed? IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 17:54
Leadership & Accountability with Dave Harvey https://ibcd.org/leadership-accountability/ Wed, 31 Oct 2018 13:00:01 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=70043

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Jim Newheiser and Bob Goudzwaard talk with Dave Harvey about the challenges of ministry and leadership. How can we develop a church culture of authenticity and transparency?

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For more information regarding this and other episodes in the series please visit The Care and Discipleship Podcast page.

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Jim Newheiser and Bob Goudzwaard talk with Dave Harvey about the challenges of ministry and leadership. How can we develop a church culture of authenticity and transparency? Jim Newheiser and Bob Goudzwaard talk with Dave Harvey about the challenges of ministry and leadership. How can we develop a church culture of authenticity and transparency? IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 24:43
Dealing with Wayward Parents https://ibcd.org/dealing-with-wayward-parents/ Tue, 02 Oct 2018 13:00:17 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=2467

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Many young adults face significant challenges from their parents. Issues include controlling parents, parents who disparage one’s spouse, parents who don’t properly fulfill their role as grandparents, parents who are financially irresponsible, parents who fall into serious sins including immorality and substance abuse, etc. What responsibilities do adult children have to their parents? What should adult children do when their own lives and families are being impacted by the waywardness of their parents?

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Many young adults face significant challenges from their parents. Issues include controlling parents, parents who disparage one's spouse, parents who don't properly fulfill their role as grandparents, parents who are financially irresponsible, Many young adults face significant challenges from their parents. Issues include controlling parents, parents who disparage one's spouse, parents who don't properly fulfill their role as grandparents, parents who are financially irresponsible, parents who fall into serious sins including immorality and substance abuse, etc. What responsibilities do adult children have to their parents? What should adult children do when their own lives and families are being impacted by the waywardness of their parents?  IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 1:00:42
Practical Issues in Church Discipline https://ibcd.org/practical-issues-in-church-discipline/ Thu, 27 Sep 2018 13:00:14 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=2458

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Sound biblical counseling functions in the context of the local church. Counselees must be committed members of a faithful local church which follows biblical principles of church discipline. Counselors work with church leaders to follow biblical principles of church discipline so that counselees can be, if necessary, restored and so that the church will be kept pure.

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Sound biblical counseling functions in the context of the local church. Counselees must be committed members of a faithful local church which follows biblical principles of church discipline. Counselors work with church leaders to follow biblical princ... Sound biblical counseling functions in the context of the local church. Counselees must be committed members of a faithful local church which follows biblical principles of church discipline. Counselors work with church leaders to follow biblical principles of church discipline so that counselees can be, if necessary, restored and so that the church will be kept pure. IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 1:05:43
The Gospel Divides Families https://ibcd.org/the-gospel-divides-families/ Tue, 28 Aug 2018 13:00:23 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=2443

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What do you do when someone you love leaves? And how do you pursue someone who has hurt you, who has sinned against you? Whether you are dealing with an unfaithful marriage partner, a rebellious child, or a wayward friend, the counsel you offer needs to be pursued in a gospel-rooted approach, grounded in truth and practiced in the midst of Christian community.
This resource was recorded live at the 2018 Institute: Loving Wayward Souls: Grace for our Prodigals

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What do you do when someone you love leaves? And how do you pursue someone who has hurt you, who has sinned against you? Whether you are dealing with an unfaithful marriage partner, a rebellious child, or a wayward friend, What do you do when someone you love leaves? And how do you pursue someone who has hurt you, who has sinned against you?<br /> Whether you are dealing with an unfaithful marriage partner, a rebellious child, or a wayward friend, the counsel you offer needs to be pursued in a gospel-rooted approach, grounded in truth and practiced in the midst of Christian community.<br /> This resource was recorded live at the 2018 Institute: Loving Wayward Souls: Grace for our Prodigals IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 52:42
CDC2-21. The Divine Design for Marriage https://ibcd.org/cdc2-21-the-divine-design-for-marriage/ Fri, 01 Jun 2018 19:54:26 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?post_type=sfwd-lessons&p=841548

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Marriage is a stage designed to show forth the realities of the gospel. This seminar will set forth the biblical vision of marriage and give practical counsel of how we can reorient our hearts and actions so our marriages better reflect the profound realities they illustrate.

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Marriage is a stage designed to show forth the realities of the gospel. This seminar will set forth the biblical vision of marriage and give practical counsel of how we can reorient our hearts and actions so our marriages better reflect the profound re... Marriage is a stage designed to show forth the realities of the gospel. This seminar will set forth the biblical vision of marriage and give practical counsel of how we can reorient our hearts and actions so our marriages better reflect the profound realities they illustrate. IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 52:57
CDC2-22. Transforming Grace in Marriage Roles 1 https://ibcd.org/cdc2-22-transforming-grace-in-marriage-roles-1/ Fri, 01 Jun 2018 19:53:23 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?post_type=sfwd-lessons&p=841549

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The gospel of grace needs to be at the heart of how we understand marriage roles. Both husband and wife have a unique part to play that shows forth the relationship of Christ with his church. This session will focus on the role of the husband in marriage.

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The gospel of grace needs to be at the heart of how we understand marriage roles. Both husband and wife have a unique part to play that shows forth the relationship of Christ with his church. This session will focus on the role of the husband in marriage. The gospel of grace needs to be at the heart of how we understand marriage roles. Both husband and wife have a unique part to play that shows forth the relationship of Christ with his church. This session will focus on the role of the husband in marriage. IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 48:37
CDC2-23. Transforming Grace in Marriage Roles 2 https://ibcd.org/cdc2-23-transforming-grace-in-marriage-roles-2/ Fri, 01 Jun 2018 19:53:23 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?post_type=sfwd-lessons&p=841550

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The gospel of grace needs to be at the heart of how we understand marriage roles. Both husband and wife have a unique part to play that shows forth the relationship of Christ with his church. This session will focus on the role of the wife in marriage.

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The gospel of grace needs to be at the heart of how we understand marriage roles. Both husband and wife have a unique part to play that shows forth the relationship of Christ with his church. This session will focus on the role of the wife in marriage. The gospel of grace needs to be at the heart of how we understand marriage roles. Both husband and wife have a unique part to play that shows forth the relationship of Christ with his church. This session will focus on the role of the wife in marriage. IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 44:13
CDC2-24. Keys to Preserving and Strengthening Your Marriage https://ibcd.org/cdc2-24-keys-to-preserving-and-strengthening-your-marriage/ Fri, 01 Jun 2018 19:53:23 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?post_type=sfwd-lessons&p=841551

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Marriage requires lifelong maintenance to keep it healthy and strong. It takes a lot of effort to guard and grow your marriage but the reward is more than worth it. This session will discuss many practical ways to preserve and strengthen your marriage.

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Marriage requires lifelong maintenance to keep it healthy and strong. It takes a lot of effort to guard and grow your marriage but the reward is more than worth it. This session will discuss many practical ways to preserve and strengthen your marriage. Marriage requires lifelong maintenance to keep it healthy and strong. It takes a lot of effort to guard and grow your marriage but the reward is more than worth it. This session will discuss many practical ways to preserve and strengthen your marriage. IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 49:48
Counseling Medical Issues https://ibcd.org/counseling-medical-issues/ Thu, 19 Apr 2018 18:02:26 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=73040

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Bob Goudzwaard sits down with Jim Newheiser to talk about medical and mental issues in counseling. What can biblical counselors offer to those with pathological brain conditions?

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For more information regarding this and other episodes in the series please visit The Care and Discipleship Podcast page.

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Bob Goudzwaard sits down with Jim Newheiser to talk about medical and mental issues in counseling. What can biblical counselors offer to those with pathological brain conditions? Bob Goudzwaard sits down with Jim Newheiser to talk about medical and mental issues in counseling. What can biblical counselors offer to those with pathological brain conditions? IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 19:43
CDC1-18. Temptation 1 {Transcript} https://ibcd.org/cdc1-18-temptation-1-transcript/ Fri, 09 Mar 2018 21:03:35 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=72127 David’s Catastrophic Sin.
  • 2 Sam 11:1-5

[Jim] I think what I’d like to do is have you turn to 2 Samuel chapter 11. And there’s an outline in your notes if you wanna follow what I’m doing on David’s catastrophic sin. Got a couple of outlines about David’s sin. We’re tempted by many different things. Some people are tempted. We’re gonna talk about substance abuse, drunkenness, drug use. Some people are tempted by sexual lust of different kinds. Some people are tempted to anger, outbursts of anger. Some people are tempted to covetousness and overspending and we’re even having a workshop this time on hoarding as a growing problem with the ease of shopping online.

Temptation tends to follow the same pattern no matter what the temptation is and it’s stated in James chapter 1, if you will actually keep your finger in 2 Samuel, James says in verse 13 of chapter 1, “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted by evil and He himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” And this example of David, and you could take many other examples, but this is the most famous and one of the most clear, illustrates how temptation happens and on one level it’s one of the saddest chapters in the entire Bible. Especially since, I’ve been going through 1 and 2 Samuel for quite a while in preaching and the people of Israel are looking for a leader, they’re looking for a great man of God to lead the nation. And Eli fails, especially because of his son. Samuel seems okay but then his sons are a failure. Saul becomes the king of the people but he fails. And David looks like he’s the real deal, David up until now just seems to do almost everything right and then David falls in the most awful way.

And yet I’m also thankful this is here and the Bible is honest about its heroes and you read about other men. Noah being drunk and Abraham putting his wife at risk, his marriage at risk, her purity at risk. Peter denying Jesus. It serves as a warning that back to 1 Corinthians 10:12, Be careful if you think you stand lest you fall. You say, “Well that could never happen to me.” And maybe not that particular sin will happen to you but sin can make tremendous end roads in the life of a real believer. And David was the real deal, he was really a believer who loved God. You read his psalms. He was an amazing guy, that it’s instructive of how we need to deal with temptation which is why I’m talking with you about it.

It also portrays sin accurately and along with its consequences. Hollywood portrays sexual sin very glamorously. This passage portrays it along with how ugly and what the consequences are. Of course, also, it gives hope. Sometimes a counselee comes in, she’s had an abortion. They’ve gone through a divorce and a remarriage that was un-biblical and were sexually immoral. No matter what you’ve done, there’s hope. If a murderer, adulterer, thief, and a liar can be saved then God can save anybody. God can forgive anybody. One other aspect that I think is important to mention is that in the context of 1 and 2 Samuel that the failure of David shows us that no mere human ruler is ever gonna do. David was given the covenant in 2 Samuel 7 where he was promised that there would be one of his sons who would sit on the throne forever and David’s not gonna be that guy. And you keep reading in 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings is that it’s gonna take a man of an entirely different nature from David to be the king the people of God need. Of course that points us to Christ. But looking at the passage I’m just gonna read the first five verses. Then it happened in the spring at the time when kings go out to battle that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing. And the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? David sent messengers and took her and when she came to him, he lay with her. And when she had purified herself from her uncleanness she returned to her house. The woman conceived and she sent and told David and said, I am pregnant.”

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CDC1-16. Worry/Anxiety {Transcript} https://ibcd.org/cdc1-16-worryanxiety-transcript/ Fri, 02 Mar 2018 20:58:26 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=72125 Understanding Worry

We’re gonna talk about worry and anxiety. Worry is also a problem that’s incurring inside of us, in our soul, and the Bible teaches that there is a worry which is sin. In Philippians 4 verse six, we are commanded, “Be anxious for nothing.” So, if you are anxious, at least there’s a kind of anxiety which is a sinful anxiety. Likewise, Jesus says in Matthew 6:34, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Probably those come from the two passages I would use most in helping someone with worry, which is Matthew chapter six verses 25 to the end, and Philippians 4, you could really start in verses four and go through verse nine. When Jesus is talking to His disciples about worry, how we should not worry ultimately because God, Who is our Father, cares for us, He says in verse 30, “For if God so clothes the grass of the field which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, you of little faith?”

The implication there is, the real cause of worry, ultimately, is unbelief. They were not trusting in God. Oftentimes, the person who worries is desiring something in God’s place. They’re wanting their health. I had a person who was terrified of getting cancer, she doesn’t even have cancer, but she’s terrified of getting cancer. There are different issues going on. You could argue with her, well, statistically, it’s unlikely, you don’t have a lot of cancer in your family, you’re still fairly young. But can I tell her from the Bible, she’s not gonna get cancer? No, I can’t. Can I tell her she’s gonna live to see her children grown and married and grandchildren? No, I can’t make those promises. What can I tell her? I can tell her that God, Who is sovereign, has His plan, which is perfect for your life, and no matter what happens, whether He gives you cancer or not, that you can trust Him to do what is best, including taking care of your family. Some people, it’s financial security. They’re worried they’re gonna lose their house, they’re worried they can’t pay the bills.

And worry can become very life-dominating. That’s where all these things are together. A person who’s worried can get angry, when they’re threatened, they can become depressed. Worry can affect you physically. Laura talks about this, how when someone is really stressed on the inside, and they’re worried about a relationship, they’re worried about circumstances in their life, it’s going to affect you somehow, organically. Lack of sleep, tension in your stomach, digestive problems. Stress, worry, fear, all are related. And there are ways that we deal with worry sinfully when something concerns us.

One is by trying to control that which is beyond our control, in a sinful way. Manipulating people, manipulating circumstances. Okay, well I’m worried I’m gonna lose my job, so I’m gonna undermine my competitor in the layoff so that he’ll be the one to go. And some people deal with worry and stress by escaping. I will go to the bar and have a few beers and that will make me feel better, or using drugs, or for some people, their drug of choice is shopping. And I feel all stressed, so I’ll go to the mall and I’ll buy some new clothes, or I’ll go on the Internet and I’ll buy a gadget. And they feel better temporarily, but it, of course, makes things worse. While the Bible says that we shouldn’t worry, the Bible doesn’t say that we shouldn’t at all think about the future. Back to my beloved verse in Proverbs 21:5, “The plans of the diligent lead to advantage and everyone who is hasty comes to poverty.” Jesus says in Matthew 6, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for every day has enough trouble of its own.” And the point being, today, you shouldn’t be just one of these laid-back, I’m not worried at all, I’m not concerned at all, people. Use the energy God gives you to solve the problems of today instead of wasting your energy worrying about things you can’t do anything about tomorrow. So, it’s not that we should be utterly unconcerned. It’s valid to make plans, to have life insurance or health insurance, to prepare for possibilities in the future. But we have to leave the outcome to God. Proverbs 16:9: “The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” He’s not saying it’s wrong for the man to plan his way and his mind, He’s just saying, no matter what you plan, God may have a different plan, you’d better be ready to accept that. Key passages, you might actually have outlines in your notes from when I’ve preached these passages.

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CDC1-13. Grace When Things Are Hard {Transcript} https://ibcd.org/cdc1-13-grace-when-things-are-hard-transcript/ Fri, 23 Feb 2018 20:52:34 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=72122 Introduction.
  • Heb 5:8-10

In this session we’re gonna talk about counseling people who are undergoing significant trials. It’s gonna be grace when things are hard. And this is an issue when you’re counseling someone that you can focus on one particular passage of Scripture. There are a few different options. And the one I’m choosing is James chapter one verses two through 18. And how the Scripture helps people who are undergoing trials. I think many people are unprepared for significant trials. Small children have fairytales and at the end of every fairytale they live happily ever after. I guess teenage girls read romance novels or Jane Austen books and same things, you know, the book ends with a wedding and it’s all gonna be wonderful and happy. But the reality of life is often very different from that. And people actually often come for counseling when they are facing a trial perhaps for which they were unprepared and actually sometimes what drives them to invite you into their private world and where they’re desperate for help is they face a trial they just do not know what to do. And so this is an opportunity for us to minister the Word of God to them and the sufficiency of Scripture prepares us. And the Bible tells us how to face our trials be it with our families, rebellious kids, difficulty in marriage, conflicts with in laws, be it trials of health or finances. The Word of God speaks to these issues. As a counselor, this is a time when you want to offer hope and show compassion. It’s not just time to give a dated dump of all the verses you know, but to apply these verses particularly to the counselee and to show compassion as Christ is a compassionate Savior. And as I said, one of the most well known passages on dealing with trials is in James chapter one. And in this passage, James is teaching us how God uses our trials to bring about our spiritual growth. Now this is not the way we would choose to become more mature. We would like God to zap us with instant maturity. But God uses trials in our life to make us more like Christ and it is a process and it can be a difficult process. But it’s actually one through which our Savior Himself went as well.

You Will Face Trials.

Hebrews five describes how, that He Himself was made perfect in his suffering and he learned obedience from the things he suffered. And so we too will learn through these trials. And I find it also is helpful to give a counselee a structure that they can remember. Perhaps even write down on a note card. In this passage, we’re gonna see four things that I think we need to remember in the midst of trials. First, one, you will face trials. Second, God uses your trials to mature you. Third, in the midst of your trials, ask God for wisdom. And then finally, trust in the goodness of God in the midst of your trials. So beginning in verse two, James says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Trials are not unusual. Trials are the ordinary experience of believers as we live in a fallen world. James doesn’t say consider it all joy, my brethren, if you happen to encounter trials, it’s when you encounter trials. It’s going to happen. Jesus said in the world, you will have trouble. And we know here in the context the first verse is describing the readers of this book. We learn more about them as we read through the rest of the book. They were 12 tribes dispersed abroad. Later James is gonna describe how they’re being oppressed by their rich employers, how they’re being mistreated in court by powerful people. And so they were in the midst of trials. We are in the midst of trials.

And as you read in the Bible, trials are the ordinary experience of believers. People like in their families, people have these kind of idealized dreams of multigenerational peace and everybody’s on the same page. This isn’t what happens in Scripture. The very first couple, Adam and Eve, have one of their sons as a rebel against God who kills the other. And as you go through the rest of the people in Scripture, you have many, many trials. Abraham and Sarah where Abraham puts his wife’s purity at risk and then sleeps with her maid Hagar and there’s conflict in the home and Ishmael is kicked out with his mother. And on and on you go. In Jacob’s family, two wives and a brother beaten, tossed in, you know, Joseph tossed into a pit by his other brothers who were jealous and favoritism and on and on we go. In Ezekiel, you actually have an interesting chapter in chapter 18 where you have multiple generations. You have a believing generation followed by an unbelieving generation then another believing generation. The same thing happens in the books of the Kings where some righteous kings then they have wicked sons and vice versa. We’re going to have sometimes even in our own families. Jesus warned in Luke 12, From now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They’ll be divided father against son and son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, the daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. The Gospel itself will bring us, attract more trials of persecution. People have trials, as I said, so many of their trials are in their families.

I think it’s kind of funny how you see some of the titles of books on marriage like So What Did You Expect? Or Whose Dream? Or you know, When Sinners Say I Do. I’ve been shocked sometimes even counseling people in the first months of their marriage and the honeymoon isn’t over. The honeymoon almost never began. And there’s conflict between them. There’s conflict with in laws or conflict over finances. They wonder have I married the wrong person? People who’ve been married longer. Some end in divorce. Some deal with unfaithfulness. Some are married and many women are married but lonely because their husbands are off in their own worlds. And then likewise, with their children. Some can’t have kids. Other’s kids break their hearts. Some kids are born with down syndrome or have autism and other learning issues. And as we face these trials, it can be overwhelming. I think of a dear couple who came and they brought in their 20 year old daughter. This couple had just done everything for their kids. The mom had quit work, homeschooled them. They really, if anything, might have been somewhat of a child-centered home. But they bring their 20 year old daughter and she’s pregnant out of wedlock. And the mother is just weeping and mourning over this. Another couple and their 22 year old son. He was going to college and the couple kind of anticipating their kids are gonna be all grown. He’s the youngest. He has a brain injury. And now he can’t sequence events in his life and he may be living with them for the rest of their lives and they’ll have to worry about caring for him after that. We face tragedies. We face financial issues. We face health issues. And contrary to the health and prosperity teachers, James doesn’t say if you have a trial, just have enough faith and the trial will go away. He doesn’t tell us how to get out of the trials. He tells us how to benefit from the trials.

As you read the Scriptures again, and you read like the great hall of faith in Hebrews 11, these are people who demonstrated faith and who grew in their faith in the midst of great difficulty. So there’s no formula in life by which you can avoid trials. Not even in your own family. There’s not if you just raise your kids this way, everything will be fine. If you just eat this kind of food, you’ll never get sick. Trials are unavoidable. And in the language James uses here when it says when you encounter various trials, another way of translating, when they fall upon you. It’s the same word used in the parable of the good Samaritan where the traveler is going down the path, going down the road, and he fell among thieves. They came out of nowhere. There’s not trials that you can look on your Outlook or Google Calendar and say oh, yeah, there’s gonna be a trial next month. Trials come when life is going on like normal. You’re minding your own business and suddenly you get that call in the middle of the night. Suddenly you talk to one of your children and learn something that’s happened in their lives. You can’t plan for it when it’s going to happen but you can be sure it will happen. You don’t need to go looking for it. And God will bring these into your life. But then as we see, you will face trials.

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CDC1-12. Peacemaking 3 {Transcript} https://ibcd.org/cdc1-12-peacemaking-3-transcript/ Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:34:44 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=72121 Promote Peace by Confronting Sin Biblically.

Had some good questions people have raised. One question was raised in terms of address everyone involved and I had made the statement that if people were not affected by what you did, then you don’t need to approach them. There may be somebody you’ve wronged who has a right to know. They may not be aware they’ve been hurt. And the example being given, if one spouse has been unfaithful, I don’t think that’s something you can just settle between that spouse and the Lord, because they’ve broken their marriage vows and the other person has a right to know, to deal with it, and to forgive. So, you have to address everyone who has a right to know. Someone else said, well how much detail do you need to go into. And of course, sexual sin is where this is the most sensitive. General observation is the guilty party wants to reveal far too little, and the innocent wants to know far too much, that you need to admit in biblical terms what your sin is, but it’s not profitable to describe details which are inappropriate and unnecessary. The nature of the relationship which you’ve done. I mean there’s a difference between how far have you gone. There’s a difference between kissing somebody and having intercourse with somebody. But the other explicit details are harmful, hurtful, unprofitable, and sometimes the victim, because he or she is insecure, they wanna know what does this person have that I don’t have, what does this person look like, what do they weigh, what color hair do they have, what body features do they have or whatever else. It’s not the point. It was a sin against God and it was unfaithfulness to a promise in marriage. And these other details are harmful. In this section, we’re covering a lot of the topics that are important for us to cover in the main basics course that we’re gonna be talking along with peacemaking and this is also gonna bring us in this next hour into church discipline so there’s gonna be some overlap. We’re not gonna go separately through the entire church discipline outline ’cause a lot of it is overlapping with this. Also, we’ve been dealing with confessing of sin both to God and to others. As we seek to make peace, there will be barriers to peace.

Be willing to receive correction from others.

  • Prov 15:32

One thing I think each of us has to ask ourselves is that am I a person who receives correction well. We’re gonna talk about you need to go to your brother, your sister, when they are wrong, a lot in the proverbs about this, Chapter 15. Says he who listens to life giving reproof will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. So are you correctable, that’s Chapter 15 verses 31 and 32 in the book of Proverbs.Pride destroys peacemaking. Instead we should be making efforts towards peace, being slow to anger, being humble.

Love sometimes requires you to go and show your brother his fault.

  • Rom 15:14; Lev 19:17

And then, the other side of peacemaking is to pursue peace by confronting sin in a biblical way. Jesus said first get the beam out of your own eye but it doesn’t end there does it? Once you have gotten the beam out of your own eye then you can get the spec, the splinter, out of your brothers eye. And in love, often requires that you go and show your brother his fault. You shall not hate your fellow countrymen in your heart, you may surely reprove your neighbor, Leviticus 19 verse 17. And every believer has this responsibility. It’s not just the job of the pastor or pastors or elders or officers of the church, all of us in the community of believers have this duty to one another. The verse we’ve quoted so many times in Romans 15, it’s the entire congregation which is full of goodness, full of all knowledge, able to admonish one another. Galatians 6, brother and even if anyone is caught in a trespass, you who are spiritual restores such a one in a spirit of gentleness. So we can’t sit back and hope that someone else will do this. And this is the thing I think that we need to be teaching in our churches, that we have a responsibility in a positive way to be brother keepers and sister keepers when we see someone falling into sin. You can’t hang back and wait for them to come to you.

Now this is hard work. This is not easy or enjoyable sometimes and people don’t always like being confronted. It’s something you do in love and in faith. We’re gonna talk in Matthew 18 about how if your brother is sin go to your brother. And this needs to be said, you don’t send him a Facebook message. You don’t send him a text on his phone or an email. Ideally it’s face to face. At worst a telephone if you’re separated by many miles and can’t arrange a face to face meeting. But if you’re going to be confronting sin, so much miscommunication can take place. So many people have written emails, they’re mad and they let it fly, and you say things in an email you would’ve never said looking that other person in the eye. Or even if you tried to say it very well, looking eye to eye, expressing your care for this person, hugging this person, affirming the relationship can’t be done over phone wires very well and certainly not with emails or other electronic messages. So go in person, also gives you an opportunity to clarify any misunderstanding of what you may have said or written. Some people I’ll even say, okay, write it down, and then hand it to them and talk about it. If you feel like you have to write it down to get your thoughts together, but don’t just send it to them. I think that’s maybe our temptation, is I know I have to do this so here and then you run away. No, be a man, be a woman, and go face them in love.

Well which sins need to be confronted? Not every little thing. I think the bible gives us some guidance there. In 1 Corinthians 5, which is another important text on church discipline, it says, it’s actually reported among you that there is immorality among you and immorality of such a kind that does not even exist among the Gentiles. That someone has his fathers wife. And then later he says I actually wrote to you not to associate with any so called brother if he is an immoral person or covetous or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or a swindler, not even to eat with such a one. And so, the problem that Paul is addressing in 1 Corinthians 5 is that if a member of your church is acting in an immoral way or covetous, drunkard, swindler, idolater, that is reflecting on the entire community, which reflects on Christ. And we need to be concerned about His reputation.

He has a passion that His church be pure. A person who calls himself a Christian and is cheating people in his used car lot, or in his insurance or investment business, is troubling the reputation of the church to the entire community. I actually got a call one day from a pastor friend and he said one of my deacons is on the front page of the local paper today, but it’s not good, he’s been caught embezzling. The church has to take action as well. So sins which can damage the Lords reputation, sins which endanger the purity and unity of the church. Paul warns about those who cause dissensions. He also warns about a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. So if you have someone in the church, and this can also be a doctrinal issue, we talked earlier about differences of eschatology but we actually had in our church at one time two people who claimed that Christ had already come and was not coming back. That was it. And people who believe nutty things like that wanna share it with everybody else. And we had to clamp down on it and finally tell them to leave and they were no longer welcome here to protect the church from their influence. In a moral instance, that if you have, it’s just sadly so common today, people from Christian homes, young people claiming to be Christians and they’re living in fornication. A man and a woman not married to each other, take a cruise together or a vacation together, they’re gonna be in the same room, or it’s known that they’re living together and the church has to take action. What’s gonna happen if you don’t intervene? It’s going to spread and other people think it must be okay. And so there has to be again, loving confrontation but if they will not repent, that’s where it begins, you have to say, this is not right, you cannot do this and be a member of a church.

Also, you’re concerned about the soul of the offender. James says if anyone among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. So you care about this person. You see that the direction they’re going in can ruin their own soul. College roommates and you see your roommate is cheating on exams, or that he’s looking at things he shouldn’t be looking at and you confront him because you don’t want him to go down the path of sin and destruction.

And then sin, which will effect your relationship with this other person that you’ve lost trust, you’ve lost respect, you’re tempted to bitterness and you can’t delay and give the devil an opportunity, it needs to be dealt with. And so first, Matthew 18, if you brother sins, go and show him his fault in private, if he listens to you, you have won your brother. So, you go to him, it says, first, before involving others. You don’t tell everybody else because ideally many situations can be resolved one on one.

First, practice personal peacemaking.

  • Matt 18:15; 5:23-24

In building a culture of peacemaking in a church, one thing we wanna teach others is that if someone improperly tells you the sin of another person, you say well, and what did he do when you confronted him? What did he have to say when you admonished him? You shouldn’t be telling me, you need to go talk to him about this before involving me and then tell me how it goes now that you’ve pulled me in. Now there is an exception to this however. There are some cases we see in the New Testament of public sin, which then is a addressed publicly sometimes skipping the first stage. When Peter refused to eat with the Gentiles, Paul rebuked him in front of everybody because everybody was a witness to what happened. Sometimes in church discipline something that’s happened is a public sin or a public scandal and has to be somehow addressed in front of everyone, sometimes even if the person is repentant just to show that the church has dealt with it. Just as an example that a young couple, been courting and she’s pregnant and they decide to get married, but that takes awhile so after they’ve been married for four and a half months, she has a nine pound baby boy. You don’t have to be a biologist, a doctor, obstetrician, or math expert to realize something happened that was inappropriate, and it’s more or less public, and even if they’re repentant it’s appropriate that they confess to the community of God’s people that we did wrong, it’s public in this way, and we are repentant and we’re being married.

So you go, also and how you go, you go gently and lovingly and humbly. It says do it in a spirit of gentleness. You’re not venting anger. Often there’s a conflict and people go and they’re giving you a piece of their mind, they think they’re on Jerry Springer or Oprah or something and they’re gonna tell you how much that you’ve hurt them. No it’s, the word here, I love the word there, it says restore. You’re going to restore. It’s the word used when the disciples were mending their nets, they were restoring their nets, the nets had holes in them, nets with holes in them don’t work. We wanna fix them so they’re useful again. So you’re going in love to restore this person. Jesus says it’s like eye surgery. You’re taking a splinter out of somebody’s eye. You don’t want somebody with two crowbars trying to get a splinter out of your eye, you want somebody with clean, sanitized hands, being very careful and gentle. And we’ve been confronted. Last night when I was exercising I was, for some reason it was coming to mind different times in my life when I’ve been strongly confronted and boy when you realize how that feels, you wanna be gentle as you do it. It’s not easy. Be prepared to take some time to go again and again even for awhile before going on to the next step.

And then if he repents, forgive. It’s over. If he listens to you, good. And nobody else may need to know. If somebody has a right to know, good. But if not, it can be over. And no one else needs to be involved. And this should be happening a lot in almost all relationships. It should be happening in a marriage, it should be happening in close friendships, on elder and deacon boards because we’re all sinners and we hurt each other sometimes, and we wrong sometimes, we wrong each other and we stray sometimes, and so if you repent, you rejoice, and it’s done.

Then, if necessary, seek help in making peace (assited peacemaking).

  • Matt 18:16

However, if necessary, if he doesn’t listen to you, you need to get help in making peace, but if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you so by the mouth of two of three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. Now on this second stage, I wanna bring out two types of scenarios. First is the scenario being described here, which is a case in which a person is clearly in sin, and the other witnesses are being brought in and it’s actually like in the Old Testament, he’s quoting from Deuteronomy, where you have multiple witnesses to a sin before you move on and bring the consequences in the next stage of discipline. And so the other person is coming and is bearing witness. I’ll give you a concrete example, about 19 years ago there was a situation in which a woman, a single woman in our church confided to her friend that she was having an affair with a married man. And the friend admonished her, repeatedly and she would not listen so the friend then arranged a meeting where two elders came to join her in confronting her friend, who was actually scheduled to depart on a cruise the next day with her married boyfriend. And there was no dispute over the fact of the affair, of the cruise being the next day. It was just a matter of whether this adulterous woman wanted to repent. And so here at this stage, you bring somebody else in and you’re ramping it up. And even then you’re hoping, we were hoping that day that she would say you know, thank you, I know this is wrong, I’m gonna call him and tell him it’s over, and I’m not going. That isn’t what happened which brought us to the next stage, but that’s what you’re hoping.

I’ll give you a personal example, now that you’ve at least seen my wife. There was an occasion, I would guess 16 years ago, I’m using old examples on purpose, 16 years ago, in which she did something that really upset me. I cannot tell you what it was, and I doubt if it was that important, but in my wicked sinful pride I became angry. When I get angry I don’t yell or scream, I just get real quiet. And so probably for two entire days, I hardly spoke to my wife, I was just very sullen, just kinda yes, no answers, and wouldn’t make eye contact, just kinda slinking around and acting miserable. And she being the Godly peacemaking woman she is, was pleading with me to talk with her, and she wanted to understand what she had done wrong, and why I was so upset, and then finally she said okay Jim, if you don’t start talking to me and working with me on this, I’m gonna call one of the elders over here, and he’s gonna make you talk. And that really sobered me up really quickly. I decided I didn’t really want that to happen, and I decided whatever it was I was upset about wasn’t as important as I had initially believed, and I think I can tell you that it’s never gotten to that point since then, but I’ll also tell you that in the back of my mind I know that if I go down that road, that’s where it’s gonna take me. So, that’s the purpose of it, to bring the person, and we’ve had other cases in the church where somebody’s into some kind of sin, and a friend or a spouse has talked to them and a couple of the elders come and that’s been what it took to get that person okay, I gotcha, I’m gonna take care of it.

There’s another scenario however that occurs, which is a little different, and that is sometimes what you have instead of one person clearly in sin being accused by someone who is trying to help him, you have two parties who are in conflict and they’re both accusing each other. You’ve got Pete and Sam, let’s say, and let’s say that Pete hired Sam to remodel his bathroom. And Sam says he did the work and that Pete hasn’t paid him, and Pete says, well that’s because the toilet leaks, and the countertop is off, and the tile has gaps in it, and they’re in this dispute and they’re on the verge of going to court against each other, and they’re both accusing, he’s accusing him of stealing by not paying, and he’s accusing him of shoddy workmanship, and ruining his bathroom, and sometimes a point comes where you’re kind of at the second stage where you’re having to come in and mediate, I would, by the way, advise more than one person getting in the middle of something like that and not coming alone. And your ambition of mediating, trying to help them reach a solution, that’s I think what Paul is talking about in Philippians 4, where these two women are not in harmony, he says indeed, true companion, I ask you to help these women. And that’s a lot of what counseling will be.

We do a lot of premarital counseling, my wife and I do, and one thing we will encourage the couple to do is to have kind of an unwritten prenup, a prenuptial agreement that if they ever find themselves in a conflict they can’t resolve on their own, to commit that if either one of them thinks they need help, that they get help, from a Godly couple, leaders in the church, so things don’t get worse, don’t let the sun go down on your anger. So sometimes, ordinarily at this stage there’s clearly a sin, you’re confronting the sin, sometimes they both say the other one’s sinning and you may need either mediation, which is where you try to get them to come to agreement, arbitration is where, like Paul is saying, is there not among you one wise man who would be able to decide between his brothers, and that’s where the two parties, if it’s a financial matter, with Pete, Al whoever they are, they could agree to let two of the elders of their church, or one elder from each church if they’re from different churches, come up with a solution, whatever the solution was they both would agree, whatever those guys came up with, they would follow it. This is something that peacemaker ministries does a lot of. They have training where they have a whole week of training and doing mediation, arbitration, dealing with conflicts as a peacemaker.

Finally, if necessary, take it to the church.

  • Matt. 18:17a

And then, finally, if necessary, tell it to the church. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. So the woman who was going off on the cruise the next day, we warned her and said that if we don’t see you in church tomorrow morning, it was a Saturday, which was the same time the cruise left, we are going to publicly announce that you are under discipline and we’re gonna tell people what’s going on and we’re gonna tell them to admonish you when you get back. It even could be in the case of this arbitration, where the people look at it and say you know, that bathrooms okay, you go in there and yeah you can put a little more grouting in here but it really is okay and you need to pay him. And at this point if he refuses to pay, it can become a matter of church discipline, because he’s a thief. He’s trying to use an inadequate excuse to defraud his brother in Christ. So at this point, you tell it to the church.

Now, in the process of church discipline, this is important in terms of how it’s done. One is, since the church is to be lead by the elders, I don’t think this means that if two people in our church have an accusation that they can pop up in the middle of a Sunday morning and say we have this accusation, we want all of you to discipline him. Think the order of the church is to be maintained by the leadership and the leadership has to determine and make sure the process has been followed and there is a validity of the charge before making it public.

I also think it’s very important that when it’s presented to the congregation, that the case be presented clearly. The congregation is being asked to join in the discipline, which means they need to understand what the evidence is and what the proof is, it’s not the leadership getting up there and say trust us, this is a bad guy. Because there have been cases in which leaders of churches have abused their authority, like Deoctrifies, it talks about in one of John’s apostles who by his own authority kicks people out for no good reason. So then the greatest sin on earth isn’t a little bit of disloyalty to the senior pastor, although in some churches it is. What really happened, what proof do you have, what process have you gone through. Another reason why it’s important to lay out to the congregation exactly what your proof and it is what has happened, is you only get one chance to really do this well in front of the congregation, and oftentimes the guilty party mounts a defense and they put the leadership or whoever accused them on trial, you didn’t follow the process right, you weren’t loving, you weren’t fair, I didn’t really do much. There was a case of a well known pastor in Orange County who had been caught having an affair with a member of his staff, or the wife of a member of his staff, and the way it seemed to have been handled is the church initially kinda made well he’s had some problems relating to his qualifications so he’s gonna step down. And then he goes, oh poor me, I’ve been so harshly treated by these mean elders. And later on it kinda came out what he’d really done and they hadn’t… But you get one chance and if you’re wanting the congregation as they should be, to participate and at this stage they’re not even kicked out of the church yet, now this is the stage where those in the church who know this person are pleading with them along with the first two or three people that got involved, there’s still time to repent, turn to the Lord, before it is too late. So the other members of the church join in, and pleading with the sinner to repent.

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CDC1-11. Peacemaking 2 {Transcript} https://ibcd.org/cdc1-11-peacemaking-2-transcript/ Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:19:03 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=72120 Do All That Is in Your Power to Pursue Peace.
  • Matt 5:9
  • Heb 12:14

Don’t stir up strife.

  • Rom 16:17; Prov 6:19, 26:21, 18:21, 10:19; Titus 3:10; Eph 4:29; Jas 1:9, 3:1ff

Talked about the fact that conflict is inevitable. Conflict also can be very dangerous, but conflict brings opportunity for us, as believers, to bring glory to God. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” So, we want to do all that we can to pursue peace with all men. I have some counselees who are quarrelsome. There are a lot of verses in Proverbs about that. Some with anger, some just seem to argue all the time. So, we do not want to be the people who are spreading strife among brothers. “An angry man stirs up strife and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.” There are people you will meet that like to argue. Sometimes I’ll go to a conference, like a pastor’s conference or something, and you’ll meet somebody new, and you’ll want to find out, well, what do you believe about this, and what do you believe about that, and he’s trying to find something to disagree with you about so you could have a, I guess what he considers to be a good discussion. Proverbs says, “Like charcoals, hot embers, wood, fire, so is a contentious man to stir up strife, to kindle strife.” Many people need to be taught simply not to be quarrelsome, that, certainly there are times we have to speak because of conscience and say what we believe, but there’s some people who are just argumentative, and that needs to be admonished and identified. And it’s one thing, when you have the two people together, you see how they talk to each other. Here’s how you could have said this differently, or this wasn’t really helpful at all.

Our speech is very important. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. “Where there are many words, transgression is avoidable but he who restrains his lips is wise.” And then, another verse for your ever-thickening group of verses you use a lot, Ephesians 4:29: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment that it will give grace to those who hear.” That is a great filter for people, when they’re having a discussion. If they can’t do it when they’re with you, in the counseling situation, you can imagine how bad things are when they are together alone. So, are you saying this because you’re trying to build up the other person? And you can build somebody up with a loving admonishment. It’s not that you’re always positive and patting people on the back. But was this said to build up or to tear down? And there’s a lot of speech that is just in its purpose to tear down. We should be slow to speak, slow to anger. We, also, we’re told, “Do not grumble,” 1 Corinthians 10:10: “as some of them did and were destroyed by the destroyer.”

Overlook minor offenses.

  • Rom 14:19; 1 Pet 4:8; Prov 10:12; 19:11, 20, 22; 25:28; 15:18; 14:19; Matt 5:39-40; Phil 2:5ff; 1 Cor 13:7

We need to be ready to overlook minor offenses. “Love covers a multitude of sins,” 1 Peter, chapter 4. “It’s hatred that stirs up strife, that love covers all transgressions.” So much in our day is people standing on their rights and fighting for what they think is theirs. I’ve been following the World Cup some, and one team, the teammates got offended and they refused to practice because they were mad at the coach. We should be people who bear up under insults and mistreatment, who are not thin-skinned but thick-skinned. “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger and it is his glory to overlook a transgression. A fool always loses his temper. A wise man holds it back.” So it’s very, very important that we be patient and there are often times when we will be wronged and the best thing to do, rather than making an issue of it is simply to let it pass. I like Proverbs 25:28: “Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.” Another verse that I use a lot in counseling, in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, verse 7, it says, “Love hopes all things. Love believes all things.” And to paraphrase, love assumes the best. If somebody does something that may appear to you to be offensive, try to think of some way you can take it in the best way, rather than the worst way.

Be ready to make sacrifices for the sake of peace.

  • 1 Cor 6:7; Prov 17:14

We should be ready to make sacrifices for the sake of peace. Paul tells the Corinthians, “It is better for you to be wronged than to go to court before the unbelievers.” So we pursue the things that make for peace and the building up of one another. “Abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.” There are a lot of times you should just walk away, if it’s simply a matter of pride.

Trust God to defend your interests.

  • 1 Pet 2:23

And ultimately we have to trust God to defend our interests and not to feel like we have to always speak up for ourselves. Thinking of our Lord Jesus, “While being reviled, he did not revile in return. “While suffering, he uttered no threats, but kept entrusting himself to him who judges righteously.” Jesus did not stand up for his rights and as we trust God and trust, as Jesus did, that ultimately God is the one who cares for us, protects us. There are times you’re tempted. You hear somebody says something about you, and you feel tempted to blast back or to go tell everybody else how bad they are, and how good you are. There’s times just to be quiet. So part of peacemaking is not to make a big issue over everything that happens. We’re gonna talk about how to confront sin, but you don’t necessarily confront every sin. If the wife squeezes the toothpaste from the middle of the tube, or the husband, you know, leaves the toilet seat up or something, you really don’t need to be calling in the elders in all these situations. I had one time, it’s actually a lady I had tried to counsel when she had been having kind of an emotional affair with somebody and by God’s grace, she repented of that, and two or three weeks later, she calls me and says, I want to divorce my husband. Well, why? Well, we were in this store and a pretty girl walked by and I noticed him looking at her, and so, we need counseling and, you know. I don’t think we, as men, should be looking inappropriately at pretty girls, but, that’s, from what she described, wasn’t a matter to pull in the elders, especially in light of the forest in her own eye, which brings us to the next point.

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CDC1-10. Peacemaking 1 {Transcript} https://ibcd.org/cdc1-10-peacemaking-1-transcript/ Fri, 09 Feb 2018 20:11:46 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=72119 God Tells You How to Make Peace.

We’re gonna talk about peacemaking. And you have a handout on that in your syllabus. Also, you should’ve been given these folders which I hope you’ll look at. We’re going through this talk. We buy these by the hundred. I keep them in my Bible. I keep them on my desk. I keep them at home. There’s no counseling tool I use more than this little brochure, Which summarizes these principles. If you really wanna get down on what’s in here however, I would encourage you to go further into the peacemaking material. The place to begin would be to read The Peacemaker by Ken Sande, who was our speaker at our annual conference last year. They now have a lot of other material, Peacemaking for Families, Peacemaking for Women, Peacemaking for Children with comic books, Church Peacemaking, small group studies, so it’s just expanded all over the place. But it’s great biblically based material. I think for me, having read the book and having taught the material, this is just such an excellent summary of the most important parts of the material, something you can hand to the counselee. And I’ll do that along with our audio, which is really what you’re about to hear live on peacemaking, as a homework assignment. And this is material that I have seen the Lord use often and effectively. It’s really a large percentage of counseling is gonna involve peacemaking. Obviously, working with couples will most always involve peacemaking. But usually, even when you’re counseling an individual, anger is because of conflict, depression is because of relationships. So, this is really, really important stuff.

The Bible talks about the nature of peace in two ways. Heb 12:14

Now, peace is kind of a funny thing because everybody says he’s in favor of peace, right? Even the President of Iran will say he’s in favor of peace and yet peace is hard to come by. We live in a world full of conflict, among nations, throughout the world. There are wars, there are revolutions, there are divisions. And among individuals, our courts are full of lawsuits, divorces, people in neighborhoods fighting, couples fighting, abuse taking place, shouting, hitting. Churches have divisions. Conflict sometimes over important doctrine and sometimes over the color to paint a room or the addition of another musical instrument that some people don’t agree with or a different kind of worship. Pair church organizations often have a lot of trouble with divisions that can take place there. Actually, one of our missionaries, I was checking during a break, and he’s teaching in a seminary abroad, and he’s concerned that the seminary, which has been there for many decades, may dissolve because of a conflict taking place right now among the leadership of the seminary. And he’s been teaching there for some years and he may have to go find another place of ministry.

Well, if you think about peace, think about the nature of peace, and there are two different senses in which we can think of peace. One is more objective. Romans 5:1. Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God. That’s talking about a status, doesn’t it? You can say in a sense that we’re at peace with our neighbors North and South of us, meaning that we’re not fighting a war. We may not be getting along great, but there’s at least a lack of hostility, kind of a status of peace.

But also the word uses peace in a more subjective way of wellbeing. What’s the Hebrew word for peace? Shalom. That’s like one of three Hebrew words some of us remember from seminary 20 years ago. Shalom. And that goes beyond just a lack of conflict. It’s talking about a sense of wellbeing that all is doing well, all is great. The good news, biblically, is that God tells us how to have peace. A couple of summary verses that deal with that. One is Romans chapter 12, verse 18. It says, “if possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Another verse that’s kind of a summary verse, is Hebrews 12:14. It says “Pursue peace with all men “and the sanctification without which “no one will see the Lord.” What kind of sanctification is that? Progressive, yeah.

Christ is the Prince of Peace who has come on a mission of peace.

So, God tells us to have peace, but he also tells us how to have peace. And first, you think of Christ, that Christ has come on a mission of peace. He is the Prince of Peace. He makes peace between God and man. And even he makes peace among men. In Ephesians two, beginning verse 11 it describes how he is even among Jews and Gentiles made peace in his body, breaking down the division, the dividing wall that once separated Jew and Gentile. So he is the Prince of Peace, he is the ultimate peacemaker. Through him we have peace with God.

Our peacemaking flows out of Christ.

And our peacemaking flows out of Christ’s. And in biblical peacemaking, as much as anything else we talk about, is founded on the gospel. And as God has made peace with us, we make peace with one another. And God’s peace is a gracious peace. The effort came on his side, not our side. It was also a costly peace. So if you’re gonna deal with conflict, you’re gonna spend a lot of time talking about the gospel. So, again, everybody agrees that peace is a good idea. They might even appreciate that God likes peace. He’s a God of peace, Christ is the Prince of Peace, but the bible also teaches us how, in terms of method, to be peacemakers. Now, for some believers this may be review. Although, for many of us, in a group this size, I imagine some of us right now are involved in conflicts, unresolved conflicts. And it’s amazing to me how, even though many Christians know what the Bible says about this, that we’re failing to put it into practice. Just like we know the Gospel, but we’re not living the Gospel. You see the kinds of divisions that take place among churches, within churches, within families who claim to be Christian. It is shocking and grieving how Christians fail to follow these principles. I’ve even known people who have taught seven hours in sessions on peacemaking, and then when they get into a conflict, they resort to the flesh and their depravity in how they deal with that. So, these principles will apply in virtually every human relationship. You’ll find it’s in the home, it’s in the church, it’s with family, in a school situation, in a work situation. It’s really valuable. First though, you cannot completely avoid conflict. Romans 12:18 reminds us this. If possible, so far as it depends on you.

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Q/A When People Reject our Counsel https://ibcd.org/qa-when-people-reject-our-counsel/ Wed, 07 Feb 2018 14:00:07 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=73036

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When counseling, responses can vary widely. What do we do when people don’t take our counsel? Craig and Jim sit down to discuss a listener question about this personal aspect of the counseling process.

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For more information regarding this and other episodes in the series please visit The Care and Discipleship Podcast page.

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When counseling, responses can vary widely. What do we do when people don't take our counsel? Craig and Jim sit down to discuss a listener question about this personal aspect of the counseling process. When counseling, responses can vary widely. What do we do when people don't take our counsel? Craig and Jim sit down to discuss a listener question about this personal aspect of the counseling process. IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 19:42
CDC1-08. How Do People Change? 2 {Transcript} https://ibcd.org/cdc1-08-how-do-people-change-2-transcript/ Fri, 02 Feb 2018 20:02:42 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=72117 We and Our Counselees Are Responsible to Exert Effort Towards Change.

We’ve been talking about the biblical doctrine of sanctification or how people change. The change we seek is not merely an external change which could be motivated selfishly, but we seek a change of heart to the glory of God and we begin by saying that biblically, the key to change is the gospel. It’s understanding who we are in Christ. Understanding what it means to abide in Christ. Understanding applying the gospel to every situation and to see that Christ himself is more desirable than all else. And so so much of our counseling needs to be about the gospel, and not to skip it over too quickly, not just assume, well, they’re a Christian. Now we need to go to the law. Still the gospel is important, but along with that, we and our counselees are responsible, biblically, to exert effort towards change.

Some wrongfully stop with the indicative, declaring what God has done for us in Christ, while neglecting the imperatives of what God calls us to do.

There are some people who would have stopped this talk after the first half and just said, “Great, just look to Christ, believe in him, and don’t do anything else.” And that is not a biblical perspective either. And there’s some who seem to break out in hives if someone uses the imperative and uses a command even though the Bible is full of these commands as well, including commands to believers. And they’re so fearful of what they call molism that they, I think, shy away from the biblical imperatives. They will even say, both in preaching and in counseling, just tell people what Christ has done for them, not what they should do for Christ. Well, it’s not either or, it’s both and. Tell them what Christ has done for them. Don’t neglect that. Even if they’re already Christians, keep telling them. But then because of what Christ has done for them, they need to respond. An example of I think the wrong kind of counseling. This is an actual case that happened to me. A couple came in and the husband was enslaved to pornography of a very perverse type. He was neglecting his wife sexually and they went to their pastor and the pastor who had this mentality said, “All I can tell you is look to Christ.” And the wife said, “Well, do we need to like, “cut off the Internet, or put a filter on, “does my husband need some accountability?” “Just look to Christ.” Now, I think we should tell the guy to look to Christ but I think the Bible says a lot more than that as well, like flee youthful lust, if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. In the same way… I heard one time, again, someone of this mentality preaching through the Book of Ephesians. And as he came to the section, very practical section in four and five, he took a really big chunk. Immorality, impurity or greed should not be named among you, no filthiness or silly talk, let no one deceive you, don’t be a partaker of darkness, don’t participate unfruitful deeds of darkness. And he’s going through all of these commands that Paul is making, and he said, “All you need to know is that Christ has fulfilled this for you.” Now I would agree with the guy that it’s important for us to know when we proclaim the law that Christ has fulfilled the law for us or we’d be in despair because we fall short. But I don’t think Paul would have agreed that’s all we need to say about that passage.

What is the use of biblical imperatives (God’s law)?

I think Paul really meant that the should work at controlling their tongues and speech and being careful how they actually live and walk. John Murray writes, “The pilgrimage to perfection, the eternal state, is not one of quiescence and inactivity. It’s not let go and let God. The journey proceeds apace with the most intense exercise on our part. Our working is not suspended because God works and God’s working is not suspended because we work. They’re complimentary. Our working is grounded in God’s working. Our working receives its urge, strength, incentive, and cause from God’s working in us.” Now, I’ve referenced first Thessalonians 5:14 before about how we need to understand people and how we treat them. Admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak. Different types of folk will require different emphases in our counseling. Something that I’ve observed. I talked earlier about women who have been tempted to perfectionism and maybe comparing themselves with others or comparing themselves with their image of the perfect wife and mom. And there are many believers who, having a wrong idea of sanctification, not understanding how the gospel and justification relates to sanctification, after living for years under law, and really a kind of moralism where they had in their mind that God is only pleased with me according to how well I’m doing at making my own clothes and baking my own bread and keeping my husband happy and my kids being polite. And when these women come to understand that God is satisfied with you even if you didn’t break your own bread, even if you aren’t the perfect mom and the perfect wife. And that God is satisfied with you because of Christ and he could never be more satisfied with you than he is in Christ. Because Christ is the satisfaction and it’s his righteousness, not your righteousness, that makes God pleased with you. God can’t be more pleased. Some women, and it can be men too, but I’ve found that… It’s like, this is wonderful, and they’re so happy and they’re so thankful. But then in kind of reaction against their own self-imposed legalism of the past, they don’t wanna hear the commands of scripture anymore. And that, although I sympathize with them, is wrong. The Bible uses the law of God. And you said how is the law of God used? It’s used in at least a few different ways.

God’s law shows us our need for Christ who alone meets God’s standard and provides the righteousness we lack. Gal 3:23; 2:16; Phil 3:9

 

One use of God’s law is to show us our need of Christ. Galatians 3:24, it says, “The law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ so that we may be justified by faith.” So the law shows us our inability to meet God’s standards. The law rightly understood not merely as not actually committing murder but not even being angry, not merely actually committing adultery but even having lust. When we see our inability, and this happens at conversion, it’s the law of God to love God with all of your heart, to love your neighbor as yourself. And you see your utter failure that says, “I need grace!” It drives you to the cross, it drives you to faith, and turns you to Christ. And that’s beautiful. But even that use of the law is not over after you become a Christian. When we see what the Bible says and we are rightly trying to obey what the Bible says, the law keeps reminding us that we don’t measure up. Now I’m a believer, now I’m trying to be a good husband, I’m trying to be a good father, I’m trying to be patient with the people with whom I work. I still fall short. Which brings me back to the gospel again. As I fail to measure up, not to be in despair, but to remember yet again, I need Christ today as much as I did 35 years ago when I became a Christian. And thanks be to God for the gospel. So the law shows us our need for Christ who alone meets God’s standard.

God’s law also shows us how He desires His redeemed people to live. 1 Thess 4:1; Eph 5:10; John 14:15

 

But the law also shows how this desire we have to please God can be lived out. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Paul writes to the Thessalonians in chapter four verse one, he says, “as you receive from us instruction as how you ought to walk and please God, just as you actually do walk, that you may excel still more.” And so we as believers have been given God’s law. If you’ve been genuinely converted, if you’ve gotten the gospel and you know the love of God and Christ, you want to please him. And the law, the rules, the commands of scripture tell you how you can please him. In their book Counsel from the Cross, Dennis Johnson and Elyse Fitzpatrick write, “Since we cannot be made any more perfect in God’s eyes than we already are, we are now free to make the law serve us. It will serve us by making us more thankful for Christ when we see how we fail to obey it, and it will serve us by showing us how to love God and our neighbor as we long to. Rather than viewing the law as our enemy, we’ll learn to say along with our savior, I delight to do your will, O my God, your law is within my heart.”

Biblical Examples

So the law for us, God’s commands, and the Bible is full of these commands, informs us how to live in a way to please him whom we love. And we see this pattern throughout the Bible. I talked about it earlier, that in Romans after Paul has explained the gospel and explained our union with Christ and told us to think of ourselves as dead to sin but alive to God, then does say, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lust. Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” And he’s writing to believers. These warnings are repeated throughout scripture, and the warnings are even though you do have this new identity, even though the gospel is real to you, you still can fall into these old sins. You can still listen to the voice of your old slave master. You can still live as if you are dead though you’re alive. You can live as if you were in your old way. And you need to strive in your life not to give into these appetites of your flesh and of your old nature and your old identity.

In John 15, Jesus talks abiding in him, which we went through a little while ago. He explains in the passage what we can do. He doesn’t just say in the abstract, “just abide in me,” he describes how we as we abide in him it’s when we have his word in ourselves. Abide in me and my word abides in you. Ask what you will. So we’re praying and he even goes further to say, in the same context we’ve been talking about abiding in him, “If you keep my commandments you abide in my love.” John writes in first John two, “The one who says he abides in him ought himself to walk in the same manner as he walked.” So there is action on our part of obedience involved in abiding in him. A particular example, then, he gives as the commandment. “This is my commandment,” back to John 15, and this says, “that you love one another as I have loved you.” So abiding and loving involves doing.

And these patterns we’ve talked about in Ephesians, Colossians, elsewhere in the New Testament is as they begin with the indicative of what God has done for us, Paul especially will continue with writing to believers, continue with the imperative and the commands that are grounded on that. Again, I’ll emphasize the gospel in it. He doesn’t assume because they’re believers he can skip over the gospel part. He tells them that gospel and he intersperses it with the commands. But he does get to the point of commanding them. In Philippians 2, well known passage, we have both our responsibility and God’s work side by side. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who is at work in you. Both to will and to work according to His good pleasure. So we have the duty to live out. An explanation of that would be, like, if a couple was married, the preacher might say now go live out your marriage. By saying “I do” you entered into this relationship, now for the next 50 or 60 years, work it out, live it out. Work out your salvation. That’s gonna involve effort and obedience. But then knowing it’s God working in you by his spirit in this gospel that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

And the New Testament is filled with these specific exertations to fight sin. In Matthew 5, if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. In Ephesians 4, there are the put offs and put ons. I earlier said don’t rush to them, talk about our identity in Christ, but we’re told don’t be angry, don’t lie, don’t speak unwholesome words, don’t let bitterness and wrath and clamor be a part of you. And then put on righteousness. The one who steals shall steal no longer but work hard with his hands and have something to share with others. Instead of lying, speak the truth. Instead of being bitter, forgive and show grace as you’ve received grace. And even in the teaching of Jesus, and I think, again, is significant for this when you read the Sermon on the Mount… Actually, one part of the Sermon on the Mount that impresses me, in the third chapter in Matthew 7, where he’s going into the third chapter in our Bibles of the Sermon, when he says, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be open to you, for everyone who asks receives and he who seeks finds. Him who knocks will be opened.” I think part of the insight in there is by the time you’ve listened to the Beatitudes and you’ve listened to what real religion is in terms of praying and fasting and giving and not worrying, the things you’re asking for aren’t mansions and yachts. It’s, Lord, help me to live this way. Help me to live this pure, holy life you’re describing. To live out these Beatitudes.

And as he comes to the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount in verse 24 our Lord says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them may be compared to the wise man who builds his house on the rock and the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and slammed against that house and yet it did not fall for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like the foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the floods came, the winds blew and slammed against that house and it fell and great was its fall.” Our Lord is saying that if you’ve just listened to the Sermon on the Mount, it’s not, like James says, don’t just be a hearer but be a doer of the word, he says by their fruits you shall know them, and it’s to know their nature. Those who have this new nature that the gospel gives are diligent to put the word into practice. And then we do this, and this goes back to motive. We don’t obey so that God will be pleased with us. God is already pleased with you because of Christ. We don’t do it so we can feel good about ourselves, that I did the good thing and I’m a good boy. I’m no good. I need God’s grace as much the best day I ever lived as I did the worst day I ever lived. But it’s out of love for him, out of gratitude to him.

I’m gonna give an illustration of this. A couple of years ago when we were coming up to Valentine’s Day, my dear wife came up to me and said, “I really don’t think you should get me a gift for Valentine’s Day. You got me a lot for Christmas  and you don’t need to give me anything else, I’m perfectly content, I don’t think I need anything.” Now, different husbands would have to analyze that statement in different ways. For some men that might be this is a test, and you understand your wife and you realize that you still need to do something. But in my case, I knew she meant it. She wasn’t manipulating me. I knew that if I let that day pass and just said happy Valentine’s Day and gave her a kiss, she would love me just as much as if I went out and got her something. That I’m completely and fully accepted. I even knew that if I went out and got her a gift it would not make her love me more. She already loves me as much as she can. As I thought about this it was actually kind of stunning and that’s where a good marriage really helps you understand the gospel, that she loves me because she loves me, she loves me ’cause we’re husband and wife, and it’s really a reflection of God’s grace and that work of giving a gift isn’t gonna change it. But then as I thought about it I said, well, that’s exactly how it is in relation to God. It’s that I can’t make God love me any more by obeying him. He loves me as much as he can love me. He accepts me as much as I can possibly be accepted because of Christ. But then how does that affect me? I can tell you, with my wife the effect wasn’t oh good, now I don’t have to do anything anymore. Now I don’t have to try. Instead the effect was, I wanna get her something really nice now. A love like that makes me want to love in return. Even though I knew I wouldn’t get an upgrade in how I was treated or my status with her by giving the gift. In the same way, when we understand how we’re loved in Christ that is gonna motivate us all the more to show love.

So to summarize where we’ve been so far, we wanna change to the glory of God and that change begins with the gospel and the gospel isn’t needed just at the beginning of one’s Christian life. We need the gospel in our lives and our hearts everyday. It’s understanding who we are in Christ and meditating upon this gospel and all that God has done for us that is the key to change. But we don’t leave it at merely thinking about the gospel and looking to Christ, the indicative what God has done for us. The imperative is also important biblically. We love him and we want to obey his commands and so as we live our own lives and as we counsel others, building the foundation of the gospel we boldly preach the imperatives of the Bible, the put offs, the put ons, hoping that they will be, because of the new nature the believer has, lived out in that way.

]]> 034 Interview with George Scipione https://ibcd.org/034-interview-with-george-scipione/ Wed, 10 Jan 2018 14:00:29 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=70134

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Former Executive Director George Scipione talks about the early days of IBCD and the biblical counseling movement. He joins Jim Newheiser to pass on what they have learned over the years through difficulties in ministry and counseling. This interview was recorded live at the 2017 Institute “Addictions: Grace for the Journey.

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For more information regarding this and other episodes in the series please visit The Care and Discipleship Podcast page.

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Former Executive Director George Scipione talks about the early days of IBCD and the biblical counseling movement. He joins Jim Newheiser to pass on what they have learned over the years through difficulties in ministry and counseling. Former Executive Director George Scipione talks about the early days of IBCD and the biblical counseling movement. He joins Jim Newheiser to pass on what they have learned over the years through difficulties in ministry and counseling. This interview was recorded live at the 2017 Institute "Addictions: Grace for the Journey." IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 20:32
032 Interview with The Newheisers https://ibcd.org/032-interview-with-the-newheisers/ Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:00:31 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=70132

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Craig sits down with Jim and Caroline Newheiser to catch up since their move to North Carolina. They talk about Jim’s new work and Caroline’s experience in the Master of Arts in Counseling program at RTS. Caroline discusses how women can become involved in one-another care and the opportunities women have to serve in the church. This interview was recorded live at the 2017 Institute “Addictions: Grace for the Journey.

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For more information regarding this and other episodes in the series please visit The Care and Discipleship Podcast page.

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Craig sits down with Jim and Caroline Newheiser to catch up since their move to North Carolina. They talk about Jim’s new work and Caroline’s experience in the Master of Arts in Counseling program at RTS. Caroline discusses how women can become involve... Craig sits down with Jim and Caroline Newheiser to catch up since their move to North Carolina. They talk about Jim’s new work and Caroline’s experience in the Master of Arts in Counseling program at RTS. Caroline discusses how women can become involved in one-another care and the opportunities women have to serve in the church. This interview was recorded live at the 2017 Institute "Addictions: Grace for the Journey." IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean 23:58
030 Interview with Mark Shaw {Transcript} https://ibcd.org/030-interview-with-mark-shaw-transcript/ Tue, 21 Nov 2017 18:42:44 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=71030 Read More]]>

About This Transcript

Keynote speaker Mark Shaw works with Vision of Hope, a women’s residential program that deals with addictions, eating disorders, self-harm and unplanned pregnancies. This interview with Craig and Jim was recorded live at the 2017 Institute “Addictions: Grace for the Journey.”

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For more information regarding this and other episodes in the series please visit The Care and Discipleship Podcast page.

Craig Marshall:

Hello, and welcome to the IBCD Care & Discipleship podcast. We are on sight at Mission Hills Church in San Marcos, California for our 2017 Institute, and we are interviewing some of our keynote speakers. Today we’re delighted to have Mark Shaw with us, and Jim Newheiser is also joining us. So we get to talk a little before the conference starts. So, Mark, glad you could join us.

Mark Shaw:
Yeah, thanks for having me.

Craig Marshall:
Mark, I was wondering if you could tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and the ministries that you’re involved in with biblical counseling?

Mark Shaw:
Well, the first thing I guess you should know is I’m a pastor and so my heart is for shepherding God’s people. You do that with the Word of God and you rely on the Holy Spirit. To do that in the area of addiction is unique in the church today.

A lot of people do other things and so I love to lead people who think that the church is irrelevant for their problems. I love to help them with the understanding that the Word of God speaks to the heart of addiction.

I work in a unique setting. I work at a women’s residential program. I’m the pastor and the executive director of Vision of Hope. It’s at Faith’s Church in Lafayette, Indiana. I get to shepherd a staff of about eight ladies. We have eight staff members. We have 12 interns who come from all over the world to serve there. And then we have beds available for 26 residents who struggle in the areas of addictions, or eating disorders, self harm habits, and unplanned pregnancy. Those are the four primary areas that we help ladies with.

So that’s what I get to do and all of that in the context of the local church. Our ministry is not a 501c3 stand alone. We are part of the fabric of the local church, woven into that. That’s the part I really like about what I get to do in ministry.

Craig Marshall:
Yeah, wow. You know, I sent you an email, I think it was today, and the auto-responder popped back because you’re here, and it listed this huge list of, “If it’s related to this, contact this person.” I just couldn’t believe how many different contact things were going on, and part of what I wondered is what your day to day life looks like involved in those ministries.

Mark Shaw:
It’s chaotic. I guess that’s the way to put it. No, I oversee Vision of Hope, and then we’re working on a human trafficking ministry, which is fascinating. We’re trying to work with the state of Indiana to provide a safe house for girls that get caught up in prostitution and trafficking. We help these girls out of that.

The idea is they’re wards of the state, so the only way that you can have access to these kids is if you are a licensed program to do so. So if you are, then they give you the children and you can help them. We’re planning to do that with biblical counseling. The state is not as inclined to biblical counseling, as you can imagine, so that’s gonna be an interesting walk to see how all that transpires. So I do the human trafficking.

We have a house called Safe Haven that we have people stay in who are in trouble. The house is designed to help people with temporary homelessness. It could be a fire or flood. It could just be down on their luck or whatever situation, but they can live in that home, and we can help them for about 30 days to get on their feet to get to the next permanent place where they live. So I do that as well.

Then write books, and teach, and do stuff, so it’s fun.

Craig Marshall:
Wow, wow.

Mark Shaw:
Busy.

Craig Marshall:
Yeah. In the ministries that you’re describing it sounds like they’re involved in the community and then working with the state. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you’re able to interact with those things and biblical counseling?

Mark Shaw:
Yeah. I started out really wanting to help people. I wanted to be the next James Dobson. That’s who I was reading. I never dreamed that the local church could help people. I didn’t know anything about biblical counseling. I began to take biblical counseling classes from a guy named Lou Priolo.

God used Lou to open my eyes to see that, “Wow, the local church should be doing this,” and so then my goal changed from being a James Dobson to being a pastor and shepherding people in the local church, and helping people to use the Word of God wisely to help counsel hearts. So I don’t know if I remember the exact question. I started rambling there. What-

Craig Marshall:
Do you have any background in training that would help your interactions with the government as you’re trying to create these programs and interface.

Mark Shaw:
Yeah, I got a Master’s degree in educational psychology, and my initial eight years of work was all in the social science network. So I worked for mental health centers, and I worked in different capacities as a director of programs and that kind of thing. So all that experience in those institutions qualify me to do the human trafficking stuff.

Then I have, now, the biblical counseling stuff. You know, I have the Master’s in biblical counseling and Doctorate of biblical counseling, etc., etc. I have some secular credentials. I’m an addictions certified counselor, so I have that. I have both of those worlds right now.

I’m tailored made for this arena. We’re trying to make it very biblical. We’re trying to use biblical terminology, and it’s an interesting road. There’s a lot of pushback, and change, and that kind of thing with the state. They just think differently about it.

I appreciate Pastor [Viers 00:06:40] at Faith Church, because he says they’re pushing their religion, whether they realize it or not, with psychology being a religion. They’re pushing that and we are saying, “Hey, this is legitimate, too,” and really, more legitimate, I think, than the stuff that they’re pushing for Freud and all that.

I think we can really offer these girls help with that human trafficking program.

Jim Newheiser:
What are some of the things you come up against most frequently that they’re seen differently? What are some of the most common things, especially for people listening who just aren’t familiar with all the ins and outs of those dynamics?

Mark Shaw:
The way that the world counsels is therapy and medicine. That’s what their hope is in and that, somehow, you’ll magically find the answers within your own self. We know the answers come from God’s word and by his spirit. That’s what changes one’s heart, motives, and desires.

They just believe that you help the girls, you get them on medicine, and you create a safe environment for them, which we want that, as well, but then their method of change is not one that brings, really, any lasting hope. It labels them. It gives them medicine. It keeps them, I think, from finding the freedom that’s available in Christ.

We’re going to do counseling. The world says do counseling. We’re going to do it in a Biblical way and offer them anger management skills, but do it in a Biblical way. Everything that the world has to offer, we can offer in a Christ centered, gospel-centric way.

Jim Newheiser:
I had a question. I’ve actually had the opportunity to supervise people who are your interns, I think, or one who’s your intern at Vision of Hope. One thing that impressed me is, those people are working … I gave the analogy, “You’re not working the maternity ward, you’re working in the trauma unit.” I would assume you’re dealing with addictions, you’re dealing with the really hard cases.

I guess I’d have two questions. One would be, how do you keep yourself and others encouraged, because I’m sure there are a lot of cases where people continue in their sin, which is not your failure, but how do you keep people going? What kinds of successes are you seeing?

Mark Shaw:
Yeah, the first one is tricky, because we kind of ebb and flow. Whenever a resident leaves the program, whether they leave in rebellion or we have to dismiss them, and dismissals are usually for reasons where they’re not safe, or they’re not helping keep other people safe, they’re putting them in danger … Whenever someone leaves, it’s always a dagger to the heart of the girls that I supervise. It is tough.

We have a weekly staff meeting, which I think is as important for relationship and encouragement as it is to cover the business of the week. We communicate well. You have to stay on the scriptures. You have to understand that some people get more connected to certain counselee in our place than others.

I think that’s my role, is to shepherd this group of ladies to help them to not take it so hard when someone leaves or there’s a failure. We do see a lot of that. We do have about a 30% graduation rate, which is great. I compare that … The world’s graduation rate, there’s a 45% success rate for 90 day programs. Typically, our girls are in our program 18 months or so, so we’re talking about a year and a half versus three months and we have a 30% graduation rate.

We think that’s a tremendous success rate and we’re thankful for that, but you do have to encourage each other. Hebrews talks about that, encouraging one another every day, exhorting one another daily. I think that has to happen in an environment like you described, because you nailed it on the head. That’s exactly what we deal with.

In some situations, the girls are high handed rebels. There are girls now I’m thinking about, part, present, and future, and they’re just … They’re rebellious. They don’t even realize how rebellious they are. Part of what we do in a treatment center, rehab facility is confront them in love, but to help them to see that, “You guys are rebelling and you don’t even realize it. You’re against God.”

That’s tough to do, because these are, many times, traumatized girls. I’d say about 75% of them have sexual abuse issues and issues with their parents. They haven’t had good homes. A lot of them can’t go back to the home, which is why us being a church ministry is so important, because our girls can be part of the local church. They don’t have to be in a program and go find a local church. They’re in a program that’s connected to the local church.

Many of them stay, right there in Lafayette, in the church and they serve. We have a girl now, in the Dominican Republic, who graduated our program and is serving down there. We have a couple that have married interns, faith seminary institute interns, so those ladies are serving the lord as well. It’s really neat to see these girls move from counselee to counselor or minister in some way, whether it’s with their husband, and their families, and whatever God calls them to do, or ministry in Dominican Republic. It’s fun to see.

It takes a lot of work and a lot of investment. Emotional investment. It’s tough. It is taxing.

Craig Marshall:
Mark, hearing all of that, part of what I’m thinking is, most of us aren’t in the day in, day out type of ministry that you’re doing, especially with so many people, too. We have some people in our churches that are struggling with these things intensely, but what would you say to those who are wanting to better understand addictions, wanting to better understand these types of struggles that you all deal with, but don’t know where to start? What are some key things that you’ve learned, just in your time working so intensely with these types of situations?

Mark Shaw:
I love Proverbs 23, the end of that, 29 through 35. Really describes, to me, some of the key issues that you want to deal with whenever you’re working with somebody that struggles with addiction. It could be anybody. Addiction is just idolatry. I probably should take more time to explain that, but it’s the idea of putting other things that you want, for selfish reasons, ahead of God and everybody else, every priority in your life.

I always say, and I’ll probably say this tomorrow, is that … I always say that the church needs people who have been struggling with idolatry and addiction, because they know how to lay down their lives, they’ve just laid it down for the wrong thing, for alcohol and drugs. If you can get them to now love Jesus, and God has to do that, please understand, but if they make that change and you help them to now love Jesus, they’ll do so in a radical way, where they’ll lay down their lives for Christ, which is what we want.

We need people who have struggled with addiction. They understand sacrifice. They’re willing to do that. Proverbs 23 really gives some key insights. We’ll go through this tomorrow in the conference, but there’s just some very good things God’s given us in his word that help us to just understand the heart of an idolator, especially with a drug and alcohol addiction, that are laid out there in Proverbs 23, verses 29 through 35.

Craig Marshall:
As you mention these people who come to see Jesus as the one who truly satisfies and to really pour out their lives for him, do any examples come to mind of ways you’ve seen that change or people that jump out?

Mark Shaw:
Oh, yeah. It’s so rewarding. We talk about 30% success rate, but those 30% make the other 70 worth it. Even those 70, some of them have called me. We had a girl from California who once called and said, “I got saved the night before I was dismissed from your program. I was led to Christ. I repented and trusted in Christ the night before I left. I was dismissed the next day.” Usually those things are planned, especially long distance. She’s doing great. She’s one of those 70% who didn’t graduate but is doing great.

So you have those kinds of stories. We have girls that have been trafficked and treated just brutally. To see them now loving Jesus and having a different understanding of who God is, trusting him. It’s fabulous. They serve. They’re delightful to be around. The couple, few ladies I’m thinking about who have been trafficked by their own families, they’re delightful young women to be around. They’re so grateful for everything, because they’ve been in wicked, wicked situations, so they’re thankful. That’s always nice to see.

A lot of ladies will volunteer in our program, help us. Many take biblical counselor training and so forth. I mentioned one is in the Dominican Republic now, serving as a missionary, for a year. That’s neat to see. People who think, “Well, this is very hard and unrewarding. We should let other people, other than the church, handle this,” they’re missing out on the blessings of seeing God radically transform people who will just live for him in victory in a sacrificial way. They’re missing out on that.

Craig Marshall:
How do you prepare the ladies who help with these trafficked women and with women dealing with addiction? How are they prepared for this?

Mark Shaw:
Well, we’re not. It’s tough. We do biblical counseling weekly, but we also have something that we call an orange slip. If a girl’s really struggling with her thoughts, or with anything, we encourage them to fill those out. They fill out some information about what they’re struggling with, what their counselor’s told them to do already. Usually that’s on there. They have to list that. Then they meet with an intern to talk about it. We always have a staff person who’s on duty that they can then counsel with in a crisis moment. We do a lot of that with those girls especially.

Then you have girls that space out. They’re called flashbacks, or there’s just times where they’re in their thoughts and they get lost in that. You have to pull them out of that with truth and help them to deal with reality of the situation. You’ve got to go to places that are very dark. They’ve experienced very wicked things.

I typically don’t meet with the girls for that, because it’s a male-female thing, but our staff will walk them through those things. You have girls that don’t want to admit that they were raped, or that their stepfather did this. You know, just barriers. They’ve created a false reality, even different identities, if you will. You have to address those things, and bring them to the light, and deal with it in a new way. They can’t keep living this world filled with lies.

It’s just a long process. 18 months is probably not enough. We have girls that have graduated in three years in our program. Just takes time. My hope … I sit down every session. I just hoping and praying, “Lord, you have to open their eyes. You have to do this because we can’t. We can’t do it. We’re presenting your truth. We’re helping them. We’re working as hard as we can, but God, you’ve got to really open their eyes.”

They view people … The illustration I use is, they see people like we would a stranger at Wal-Mart or somewhere, who just looks hideous. You wouldn’t trust your purse or your wallet to this stranger that you see them and you think, “I couldn’t trust them with my wallet for six hours.” That’s how the girls are seeing God. They don’t know him. He looks strange. He looks like someone they can’t trust, because that’s how they’ve been programmed to see him and that’s how they’ve learned, themselves, to see him.
We have to help them to begin to see him in a new way. That’s the joy of discipling them. The word is helping them to see that he’s not that hideous stranger at Wal-Mart that you couldn’t trust with your purse or wallet. In time, they get to where they not only give him their purse and wallet, but they give him their lives.

That’s what we want to do. That’s what we get to do. The privilege of ministry with those girls. It’s fun. It is. There are ups and downs. We write reports. There’s end of shift reports. I’ve been reading those, since being here, just a couple of days. They’re discouraging sometimes. You’re reading those reports and a girl’s having an attitude, and another one’s struggling here, and this is going on there, and you read that stuff. When I’m away, it tugs on your heart strings a little bit.

That’s the joy of walking with them through the process. It is a daily thing and it takes our whole team to help these girls. Some will end up investigating the claims of Christ and walking away, but others will gladly trust him with their lives and then begin living for him. That’s our hope.

Craig Marshall:
Mark, one of the things, as we wrap up, that you’ve referred to over and over again is the centrality of the church in seeking to provide this help. That is something that’s often lacking in the conversations. We see Christians wanting to help people in this situation, but the concept of the church being involved in that’s just absent. Can you just let us know why that’s so central, or how you’ve seen that play such a role in this?

Mark Shaw:
Yeah. It’s probably my greatest disappointment, is that churches often think they can’t, or they’re not qualified, because they see addiction as a medical problem, rather than addiction as idolatry and as a heart problem. There are certainly certain physical things and other considerations, but for the church to think, “Well, I can’t help people,” that is crushing to me, because I believe that, too. Now I see that, man, the church is the only vehicle that can rescue people and teach them truth.

When Tiger Woods went to rehab years ago, he went to rehab at a place in Mississippi. They actually carry my book. They’re not a Christian organization, but they have a donor who gives a lot. He got my book in their bookstore. I always thought, “If Tiger Woods goes to this program … ” It’s not Christian. He did have access, technically, to the book, but what they teach there will not transform his mind. It won’t change his heart.

I heard, last month, or so, he had some addiction issues with prescription medication. He was arrested for driving a vehicle, and so forth, about a month ago. Years ago, he went to rehab, but it didn’t change the heart.

The local church … He’s not going to hear the truth without the local church. In programs like that, guys like Tiger Woods will go, they’ll get help, they’ll be sober for a while, but it’s not lasting heart change.

We won’t graduate a lady … We’ve had a few that have finished the requirements and done what was necessary, but I just don’t want to graduate ladies unless they’re really walking with Jesus. That’s what’s important to me. I think the local church has to be involved.

I think one of the dangers, again, with CR, is that they promote themselves as a replacement for the local church. “Well, if you can’t go to the local church, don’t go right now. That’s your decision. You come to CR,” is what they say. I think that’s a shame, because we need to get people in the local church, not in a CR program, which I know some of those folks are believers, but still, it’s the local church. That’s what Jesus said he would build. The gates of hell won’t prevail against it.

That’s what we need to be doing. The more I can get involved in local church training and help … Appreciate you guys and all the work you do. You guys are technologically ahead of all the rest of us put together in the biblical counseling world, just with all the resources and stuff you guys do here, so thank you for that.

We’ve got to get churches to believe, first of all, that, “Hey, I can do this.” That’s what I’m hoping to accomplish at this conference, especially with the “Biblical Insights into Addiction” workshop. That one is the one where, everywhere I teach it, people go, “Oh, okay, I think I can work with somebody who struggles with addiction now.”

It’s just unpacking Proverbs 23, verses 29 through 35.

Craig Marshall: Well, Mark, thanks so much for joining us. We’re looking forward to your talks. When this podcast airs, in the show notes we’ll have links to your talks, and the notes for those, and then also some of the resources that we mentioned here, so people can be checking those out. We’re just delighted to have you with us. We’re thankful for your heart and excited to continue to get word out of how God’s people can care for people in these struggles.

Mark Shaw:
Thank you guys.

Craig Marshall:
And finally, for our listeners, I just wanted to mention that by the time these episodes are airing, all of the audios from the conference will be available for free on our website. The pre-conference, workshops, everything, and videos from the general sessions as well. All available at ibcd.org. That’s ibcd.org.

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Lessons Learned On Sexual Abuse https://ibcd.org/lessons-learned-on-sexual-abuse/ Mon, 13 Nov 2017 22:51:14 +0000 https://jnewheiser.ibcd.org/?p=396 Continue reading "Lessons Learned On Sexual Abuse"

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The recent #Metoo movement on social media reminded me of a very dark time my wife and I encountered in our ministry. A missionary, who we knew and trusted for over twenty years, was exposed as a sexual predator. He was respected and revered by churches in the United States as well as thousands of people in the field. Yet, he used this position of power, influence, and trust to take advantage of women sexually his entire adult life. My wife and I made an emergency trip to Asia to minister to those who had been devastated by this man’s sin. While we often read of these situations, we never imagined that we would be in the middle of one. And, as we went through the deep waters, we were reminded of many truths that need to be reinforced.

Sexual predators are incredibly deceitful

I thought I knew this man well. I worked with him in ministry several years in the United States and also spent many months with him on the field. Our families were very close. My wife and I helped to raise his adopted son. He was one of the most respected Christian leaders in the country where he served. He appeared to be very effective as a preacher, counselor, mentor, and church planter. For many of us who thought we knew him well, there was no reason to suspect that he was involved in sexual sin, much less criminal behavior. Yet he was living a double life. Similar to Amnon in 2 Samuel 13, he manipulated circumstances to get alone with a trusting young woman and then took advantage of her sexually. He, as well as other trusted spiritual leaders and/or family members, exploited many women.

Young people need to be taught to “cry out.”

In Deuteronomy 22:23-24, Moses writes that a young virgin who is approached sexually by a man should “cry out” for help. If she did not cry out, it was assumed the girl was responsible for her participation in the fornication. Once our predator was exposed as having had a sexual relationship with a young woman (a minor, young enough to be a granddaughter), many other victims came forward. If someone had exposed this clergyman thirty or more years before he would not have held such a position of influence and trust. That knowledge might have protected many other women from abuse. More than one woman wept because she thought she was the only victim. If she had “cried out,” others might have been spared. Because sexual predators are masters of manipulation, and victims are naïve and vulnerable: young people need to be prepared to know exactly what to do if someone tries to take advantage of them.

The church needs to protect and help victims

After Amnon raped his sister Tamar, King David (her father) became very angry. Unfortunately, he did nothing to help her (2 Samuel 13:21). Tamar’s brother Absalom also failed to defend her, and instead told her to keep silent. “Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now keep silent, my sister, he is your brother; do not take this matter to heart” (13:20). Victims are often told to keep silent in order to avoid disrupting the family or church community. In the case of our missionary friend, some knew about his sin. Yet, like David and Absalom, they failed the victims by choosing to keep quiet. More than one person even tried to blame the young lady who was the most recent victim. If those who were aware of this man’s evil acts had taken action, he would have been stopped literally decades earlier. Instead, they hoped that he had changed and expressed shock that his pattern of evil had continued. Scripture teaches that we are to reflect God’s particular care for the weak and oppressed (Proverbs 31:8-9; Psalm 146:7). The church should be the safest place in the world.

Sexual predators need to be publicly exposed.

The Catholic Church was scandalized when it was discovered that they were moving priests who were sexual predators from one parish to another. These priests would then find and abuse more victims.  In the same way, many families choose to hide the crimes of a predatory grandfather or uncle in order to avoid the disruption and shame that would result from their exposure. The same type of cover-up has happened repeatedly in other churches and Christian organizations.

We learned that our missionary friend had been forced to quietly leave more than one place of ministry decades earlier because of sexual sins with young people under his care. He was then able to move on to the next community and establish the trust by which he was able to isolate and victimize more women. Church leaders who abuse their position of power and influence must be dealt with publicly (1 Timothy 5:19-20). Where appropriate, their crimes must be reported to the government authorities (Romans 13:1ff). Sadly, we learned that there were many other spiritual leaders in the country where this missionary worked who had engaged in similar vile behavior with impunity. The situation with our missionary friend appears to be first time that such sin has been dealt with biblically and publicly. One good thing God may choose to do through this tragedy is to help churches learn to protect victims by identifying and removing predators. Regardless of spiritual gifting or effective ministry, leaders who abuse their power to take advantage of others sexually must be permanently disqualified from leadership (1 Timothy 3:1-7).

Victims need help to deal with the past biblically

In his excellent book, Putting Your Past in its Place, Steve Viars writes how we can either respond righteously or unrighteously when we are sinned against. While the predator has the far greater sin, the victim may be guilty of responding sinfully to what has happened to her. Some victims fail to cry out. Some victims, after initial resistance, become willing participants in sexual sin. The victim needs to understand that, like Bathsheba and Tamar, a person who abused his position of power has sinned against her. She may also need to confess her own sin to God and to others who have been affected. A young woman victimized by the missionary when she was still a minor continued in a sinful relationship with this man for over ten years. God gave her grace to repent of her failure to expose his sins and also of her own sexual sin. She received godly counsel and is now walking with the Lord.

We must put our ultimate trust in God, not men

Our fallen missionary was excessively respected and revered. When such a man falls, the faith of those who trusted him can also be shaken. We are warned that if we put our trust in man we will be like the bush that withers in the desert (Jeremiah 17:5-6). But if we trust in God, we shall be like the flourishing tree planted by the river of water (Jeremiah 17:7-8). While many were deeply shaken by the fall of this missionary, the end result was that those who had relied on him too much now rely on the Lord. We thank God that the failure of a false messenger has not led to a rejection of God’s message. Furthermore, we see a new generation of leaders stepping up to care for Christ’s church in this nation. We hope that this will be a generation of leaders who will be careful to protect the flock, keep watch on themselves, and look out for one another.

Additional Resources:

 

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The recent #Metoo movement on social media reminded me of a very dark time my wife and I encountered in our ministry. A missionary, who we knew and trusted for over twenty years, was exposed as a sexual predator. The recent #Metoo movement on social media reminded me of a very dark time my wife and I encountered in our ministry. A missionary, who we knew and trusted for over twenty years, was exposed as a sexual predator. He was respected and revered by churches in the United States as well as thousands of … Continue reading "Lessons Learned On Sexual Abuse" IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean
CDC1-07. How Do People Change? 1 {Transcript} https://ibcd.org/cdc1-07-how-do-people-change-1-transcript/ Mon, 06 Nov 2017 19:17:52 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=72116 Introduction

Counseling is about helping people to change.

In this session, we’re gonna talk about sanctification. And sanctification is change, it’s transformation into holiness. And the outline in the syllabus, on which you can follow along is entitled How People Change. We all do want to change, not just wanting to change other people, but we, ourselves. Each of us has an area or more in his own life, we would desire more fruit, more discipline, maybe eating less, exercising more, some of you it may be to complete NANC exams you’ve been putting off, more time in the word, doing family devotion, more control of your tongue, or your anger. And then, of course, counseling itself is about helping people to change, to be sanctified. There are actually a stack of books I could bring out that have the word change in them, How You Can Change, You Can Change, How People Change. And the people who come in, they come in wanting to change, and sometimes very frustrated. The young man who is really addicted to pornography, he keeps trying, but he goes a few days and he fails again, he’s very discouraged. The middle-aged woman who periodically binges on alcohol, the single woman living in fear, they’ve diagnosed her OCD, she’s afraid to leave her house, lest she catch a disease in a bathroom, or a mother who can’t sleep because she’s worried about her kids, the empty nester, her kids are gone, she’s home alone, and she spends the day on the Internet shopping and buying stuff, thinking that’s gonna make her happy, her house is full of unopened boxes. She is a hoarder ready for the TV program. Or parents who see the fruit of their own inconsistency and impatience, and anger, they say their children are disobedient and disrespectful, the person who is obese who wants to lose weight, but can’t, or the brother sister embarrassed that when they come to church people can smell the tobacco, smell the smoke on them, they’ve tried to quit and they can’t. Or the couple, and there’s no abuse, there’s no hatred, but their marriage is just mediocre, they’re just kinda cooperating, but there’s no friendship, no love. Or the man who periodically has outbursts of anger, which destroys relationships. And so many people come and they’ve tried to change. Sometimes when they come to us and they will put in their form, intake forms, that, “I’ve tried everything, I’ve gone here, I’ve done this, I’ve done that, you’re my last hope.” Well, what can we do for them?

The change we as biblical counselors seek is unique. Col. 1:28; 1 Tim. 1:5

The change we, as Biblical counselors, seek to make in the lives of people is unique. It’s not a man-centered change where somebody says, “Well, I wanna be happy, I wanna be comfortable, I wanna think better of myself as slim, handsome, popular.” It’s not about man, it’s a God-centered change. As Paul writes, “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart. We desire to present every man complete in Christ.” And so we wanna help people to live lives for the glory of God, but that will involve changing things in their lives as well.

Unbiblical approaches to change (sanctification) will impede your spiritual growth.

There are many un-Biblical methods of change, of sanctification, that’ll actually impede the spiritual growth, either of your own spiritual growth, or of your counselee. Some are mystics, and they hope for change listening for the voice of God, waiting for a feeling, waiting for God to deduce something. Sometimes it’s a person who’s struggling, saying, “I’m just waiting for God to kinda zap me with diligence or purity.” Oftentimes folks are looking for some kind of second blessing, some grand experience. Someone in, actually many of these un-Biblical methods have this in common, some quick and easy path to spirituality, some prophet to come into town, and I’ve seen cases in churches, where some visitor comes in and he claims to have the answer, and he lays hands on people, and now they think their problems are gonna be solved. Well, when you look at what the Bible says about living well and living wisely, for example, the book of Proverbs, God doesn’t just zap you with a quick fix that wisdom is obtained through discipline, through a lifelong pursuit.

Others look to deliverance ministries. When I was in Nigeria not long ago, and talking about counseling and the sufficiency of scripture. The problem in that culture wasn’t psychology or psychiatry to which people were turning, but and even the churches there, every problem anybody had was boiled down to some kind of demon, a demon of lust, a demon of fear, a demon of alcoholism, or some demon from the past that’s– Family demon, or something cursed from the past. And the answer would be to identify the demon and cast it out. And there are also, in North America, people who try to identify demons and cast out demons, writing whole books about it. The Bible does not teach this is the answer. When you read the New Testament about how to overcome sin, and how to live a righteous life, what these people are saying is not the methodology described in the Bible. Now, you say, “Well, how do you know if there is a demon?” Typically, when I’ve run into cases and I’ve wondered whether there might be something demonic, but I don’t need to know. With the sufficiency of scripture, if I needed a detailed manual for identifying, naming and casting out demons, it would be in the Bible. All I need to do is tell the counselee, “Whatever your problem is, call upon God, seek after Him in Christ and the word of God, and God will help you.” And, again, the problem with the deliverance ministry methodology, it actually prevents the person from taking responsibility for their sin. There was a comedian in the 60s and 70s who had a routine, and it would be that always, “The devil made me do.” And so, well, if the devil made you do it, then it’s not your fault. Somebody needs to talk to the devil, not you. And, again, expecting instant easy change.

Another methodology, an un-Biblical methodology of sanctification, which many people turn, are various self-improvement formulas, to find within yourself the resources to change, and to make yourself a better person. “I’m gonna quit smoking, I’m gonna lose weight, I’m gonna read the book by the latest guy I saw on TV, and he’s gonna teach me how I have within myself the power to be a better person.” Well, that is a me focus, not a God focus.

And then another, related to that, is pure moralism, and that is rule-keeping. We all actually are kinda born natural Pharisees, by nature, that we want to find a standard we can keep so that we can feel good about ourselves. So, you know, what are the rules I need to follow? What do I need to do to succeed. And some people are very good at working programs and they can jump through the hoops and work the program, but as soon as the program is over, they fall into sin again. Paul says to the Romans, “What the law could not do, weak as it was to the flesh, God did in sending His own son, to the likeness of sinful flesh, as an offering for sin.” That the law couldn’t set us free, and the law, by itself, will not produce holiness. Other things which people turn, some do turn to psychology, or especially psychiatry, and my problem with fear or worry isn’t that I’m not trusting God, but is the easy way to take a pill, it’s all going to be fine? That’s not what the Bible teaches as a solution for those problems.

Other people reacting kind of against the moralism, and then the law and the working, are more passive. They say, “Well, look, God is the one who’s gonna change me, and I just have to wait for Him to change me.” I’ve had husbands basically say that, “Well, it’s God work to sanctify me, and I’m not gonna be a very good husband until He does. I’m just kinda waiting for God to do something.” That’s also a very un-Biblical approach. And then the recovery movement kinda combines several of these. There’s an element of mysticism. It’s obviously a self-improvement formula, and typically it’s also moralistic where you work the program as well. My understanding is the Bible itself sets forth a true, Biblical, wonderful perspective on how change works in us, how God works change in us. And, as I describe it, first the change begins with the gospel, but also that we have responsibility as believers.

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029 Interview with Ed Welch {Transcript} https://ibcd.org/029-interview-with-ed-welch-transcript/ Mon, 06 Nov 2017 18:26:43 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=71029 Read More]]>

About This Transcript

Ed Welch is a counselor and faculty member at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) and was our keynote speaker at the 2017 Institute “Addictions: Grace for the Journey.” In this interview with Craig and Jim, he explains how he views the intersection between shame and addiction and how to address it with counselees.

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Related Links:

The Care and Discipleship Podcast page.

Craig Marshall:
Hello, and welcome to the IBCD Care & Discipleship Podcast. We are on site at Mission Hills Church in San Marcos, California, for our 2017 Institute, and we’re excited today to have with us Ed Welch, who is one of our keynote speakers for our conference on addictions. Ed is a counselor and faculty member at CCEF. Ed, thanks so much for joining us for this conference.

Ed Welch:
Thanks, Craig. It’s good to be with you. I was wondering, how many years have you done this? Do you know?

Craig Marshall:
Jim can probably better answer that than I can as far as the-

Jim Newheiser:
On the conference?

Ed Welch:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jim Newheiser:
Started in the early ’80s.

Ed Welch:
Has it really? Oh.

Jim Newheiser:
For about the first 20-something, we had Jay Adams every year, and then everybody else we could bring in from the biblical counseling movement.

Ed Welch:
This is great. I’m looking forward to it. You’re experts at this, at this point, so …

Jim Newheiser:
I’m kind of third generation now.

Craig Marshall:
Right. Yeah. It’s great to have to look forward to every summer that we have this conference, and people come, and it’s a lot like a family reunion, and especially now that Jim and Caroline are out of town on the east coast, it’s great bringing them back and others.

Ed Welch:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Jim Newheiser:
Bring George back every year.

Craig Marshall:
Yup.

Jim Newheiser:
He’s been gone 10 years now?

Craig Marshall:
Since 2006, yeah, so it’s neat to be able to get-

Ed Welch:
Yeah. Nice to be part of that, thanks.

Jim Newheiser:
Yeah.

Craig Marshall:
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do, and how you came into biblical counseling overall?

Ed Welch:
See if I can remember. It’s been so long. I work at CCEF outside Philadelphia, and I’ve been there since 1981. So I feel I should be much wiser than I am having been doing these things for that long. My job description at CCEF has been fairly similar for the years. Through the years, it’s largely teaching and counseling and whenever I can try to squeeze in some writing and phone calls and emails and things like that. So it’s been, I couldn’t imagine a better job to consider how does this ancient text come alive in our present struggles. Have that as my job description for 35 odd years and to have, I’ve always found this strange. I have people that come to me for counseling.

As a pastor, sometimes they come to you, but typically, we go to other people and understand what’s in their life, so I always found that to be an odd thing that people would simply come to me and sometimes not even knowing who I am. At the same time, I’m honored by that and to have an opportunity to see the spirit working in the details of people’s lives, it’s just invigorating. Excuse me for rambling on this, but I was thinking the other day about pastoral burnout and pastoral stress, which is a perennial topic, of course, and there can be all kinds of different reasons for it. But I know in my ministry in counseling is, it’s hard. You hear very, very difficult things from so many things. At the same time, to be able to pray for them, to see the spirit on the move in their lives, it’s just utterly invigorating to be able to observe that, and I find that it brings life rather than saps it, so I’m very grateful for I’ve been able to do. How did I come at it?

I grew up in a Christian home, a great Christina home but was not really interested in following Christ. John Murray has this very fine book called Redemption Accomplished and Applied, which captures some of my own experience where he talks about how there are three different stages, in a sense, to faith. One is, I want to make sure I get this right. One is you have the facts of Jesus Christ. You had to know who Jesus was. The second is you believe that those facts are true, and the third is that you trust in the one who portrayed these facts to you. And I would say that throughout most of my life, I believed the facts were true, I believed that Jesus was the Messiah, I believed that He came to concur death, but I didn’t want to follow him. So when I read Murray, I realized that’s where I was. I was stage two and not in stage three.

When I stage three, it was largely through probably fairly typically in some ways, it was of my time in university, I was looking at life ahead of me, and things seeming to have little less meaning than I anticipated, with less purpose, little less depth, if you will, and I think between that and the Scripture beginning to … I was reading the Scripture, so I was drawn to truth in some way, and over the course of probably a few months, I found myself confessing sin and coming to Christ. As a result of that, I decided I want to go to seminary, I was essentially young in the faith, but at the same time, here’s what the Bible does and it changes people and I wanted to study it more. I wasn’t necessarily thinking about a career in ministry, I didn’t know what a career in ministry really was. I was just thinking about whatever I was going to do, I wanted the Scripture to be a more solid foundation.

Went to seminary and I was just a pig in mud, just every single course was, it was this delicious delight, and then the second year was a counseling course. It was actually observing counseling being done at CCEF, and it just sort of took me. It was suited to me. I think I probably, I do, I probably I enjoy speaking with people individually, probably more than I enjoy speaking publicly. So I think that individual face to face ministry suited me, and I ended up, for some reason, taking a detour into graduate school for a few years and then came back to CCEF after that.

Craig Marshall:
It’s interesting. I think when we talk to people about counseling or diving in and walking with people through the struggles of like, some people hear that and think, “Wow, walking into all these problems and darkness and difficulty,” as you were describing it. What’s coming out is you get a front row seat to seeing God work, and it sounds like that’s prominently on your mind when you think about it. How have you seen the Lord work through His word as you’ve been engaged in people’s lives like that?

Ed Welch:
Yeah. You’re actually raising a couple of different things. One is people raise these complex stories and situations that rightly should be overwhelming, and none of have these simple sort of, here, do this and everything will be better. Not that any problem has that as an answer. But that simple turn from knowing a person to, okay, how can we pray? Given what you’re saying, how can we pray? That’s what’s certainly I find great encouragement that essentially I’m introducing, there is a person to whom we can turn with this, and we might not even know what he says at this point, but we know to whom to turn and Lord teaches us to pray. And so that’s the part that I find utterly invigorating.

Your question was, what have I observed recently in people’s lives? So is that more or less …

Craig Marshall:
Yeah, that’d be helpful. Yeah.

Ed Welch:
… what you’re asking? That’s a great question. I’ll just give you a little slice of it. It might seem like a, I’ll choose the more rare slice because I think women tend to ask for counsel a little bit more than men, and I think there are probably lots of reasons for that. Women are, I think, more open for various reason to say life is hard and I need help. Men tend not to do that, so let me introduce you to the slice of life with men because I’ve just had the opportunity to speak to more men recently.

An angry man who, like all angry men, the more angry you are, the more right you are persuaded you are. In other words, the angrier you are, the more blind you are to your own anger, and that certainly fit this particular fellow. He was utterly blind to his own anger, had no idea the devastation this was creating in his wife’s life. I think we’re talking about anger in husbands even at this conference, correct? I think your wife, Jim, is talking about that? Is that what I saw?

Jim Newheiser:
Yes. I think that’s one of Caroline’s topics, hopefully not from recent personal experience, yes.

Ed Welch:
Yeah, this is a great introduction to whatever Caroline’s going to say, but I think what captured him was the simple observation that Jesus Christ, though he was angry many times in through the New Testament stories, he was never angry when it was done against him. He was angry on behalf of others, he was angry on the moneychanger, I assume he was angry on behalf of the gentiles who were coming to worship, and the moneychangers were set up in the court of the gentiles and it was a little tough to worship when you have all this commotion going on. There was anger on behalf of others.

He was angry on behalf of the children who were kept from him, but when he was tested, when he was reviled, when he was so thoroughly dishonored, disrespected by so many people, you never get a hint of anger. And that, the spirit just, that particular insight where essentially there’s zero tolerance for our anger when it’s done against us, that captured him and it set him on a course of repentance and peace and unity with his wife. I can say, I’ll talk of other men, but he’s one I’ve especially enjoyed.

Jim Newheiser:

I’d like to have a follow-up question, Ed, because sometimes ordinary counselors like ourselves, where they go, this is the guy that’s written all the books, he’s at CCEF, so probably all of his cases at least goes well as you just described. But I would guess that there might be some cases that don’t go as well, and how do you handle that?

Ed Welch:
That’s a nasty question, Jim.

Jim Newheiser:
But you said his questions were nice, and now mine is nasty.

Ed Welch:
Yeah. It’s … Yeah, that’s a great question. I have a drawer that I lock that has a lot of files in it from people that I’ve seen. I do different things with that file cabinet. One is sometimes I’ll call people, if I have a few extra minutes, people I haven’t seen for a couple of years I call just to see what’s happened, and more often than not, you see him who began this good work has continued it.

Yet, at the same time, there are a lot of files there where people I’ve seen once or twice and didn’t come back or people I saw for a longer period of time and they didn’t go back. It becomes an opportunity to pray for frankly lots of people. I couldn’t give you percentages of how that goes, but that’s certainly … I should say my particular counseling, there’s two different ways I do counseling. One is in the context of my church where it’s pursuing people, it’s having them over for a meal, it’s getting together for coffee, it’s getting together before church or after church. The other counseling is the actual more professional, people are paying. And you would think when people are paying to come, they would be fairly eager to really do something, and they’re coming to a Christian counseling center, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Going back to what I said before about how there’s probably not a day that goes by without me being encouraged by seeing the spirit and moving somebody’s life, there’s probably not a day that goes by without me being weighted down by a person who’s unmoved by the truth of Christ and persist typically in a habit of blaming everybody else around them.

Craig Marshall:
I’m really thankful that you’ve said that because I think a lot of our listeners will get the idea that I’ve got this counseling, and I’m sure if Ed Welch were counseling this person, in one session, they’d be all better. Or if I can just get them to the right counselor that somehow they know so much, the guys are CCEF or these people who have all the training and have written the books, they can work the magic and anybody could be changed, but that’s not how it works.

Ed Welch:
There are times where a person’s situation might be very complicated, and somebody who has experience with that can find door available that people with less experience might not be able to see, so those things do occasionally happen. But here, I’ll give you two answers to what you’re identifying. One is that the Lord is pleased to really ordinary ministry to do His work in people’s lives. And what I often find is if for some reason that ordinary ministry has not been effective in somebody’s life, I will not be effective either, so …

Jim Newheiser:
That’s exactly what one of our counselors has said a few times that if their local church has tried doing basically the right thing, they may look at us as a counseling center as being the experts, but if it hasn’t worked, same way you said, you said it very well, in the ordinary ministry, then bringing in some so-called expert often won’t change anything.

Ed Welch:
Yeah.

Jim Newheiser:
Because the spirit has to work.

Craig Marshall:
Ed, we’re so thankful for your writings and that’s at IBCD, the writings that come from CCEF and a lot of things you’ve written in particular are really helpful, and we’re able to turn to those, both for training and then also helping people walk through those resources and so we’re really thankful for that. One of the things you’ve written that pertains to this conference, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, I was just wondering how the writing of that came about a little bit and if you can just tell our listeners something about that book in particular.

Ed Welch:
How did it come about? It came about because I was seeing lot of people who were struggling with addictions, and I wanted to be able to help a little bit better than I did. This goes back many years ago, but seeing the simple teaching on idolatry that goes throughout Scripture and making it available to the topic of addictions came about by, and here’s one of the ways I think I’ve really appreciated seeing the nature of idolatry is this phrase voluntary slavery. It shows Scripture’s sophistication, understanding addictions where it’s voluntary, we do it because we want it, we love it, we love it more than life itself, but it’s also this abject slavery and it’s controlling us and telling us what to do even if we want to get out of it. Scripture brings both of those things to the struggle of addiction. So that’s, it came because I had friends I wanted to try to help.

In some ways I would say the book on shame, which is a more recent book, it doesn’t exclusively have addictions in view but as I was writing that book, certainly brothers and sisters I know who struggled with an addiction, all of a sudden, I realized this was so critical for them as well. And books on fear and anger and everything else that can become interwoven with our addictions.

Craig Marshall:
Really looking forward to your first talk tonight, every addict lives with shame. It sounds like it’s really bringing together shame interrupted and along those things. Can you tell a little bit about where you will be going in regards how shame ties in with addiction?

Ed Welch:
I would hope that any book you write, two years or one year later, we would write it differently and at least add some things, accent things more than others. If I were to write a book on addictions today, I would certainly include a larger section on how do we turn to Christ in the midst of pain and suffering, how do we turn to Christ in the midst of victimization and where do we go when we feel like we’re covered in shame? So it becomes a long book, granted, but those topics I think are so critical for people who struggle with addictions.

What I’ll be talking about with shame is essentially that I have never encountered an addict where shame wasn’t palpable. It was visceral to them. They didn’t have to look for it, they felt it, and what would be some other words for shame? They felt that they were simply not acceptable. They had done things or they had things done to them that somehow separates them and makes them worse than the rest of the world.

I’ll give you a sort of a representative story of shame. A person who has gone through rejections, everybody has gone through rejection, granted, but some rejections are more significant than others, and to have a parent who perhaps is involved in his or her own addiction and completely ignores his or her children to have gone through a divorce at a certain age and have one parent disappear and really not be engaged in your life, to have that kind of rejection and that kind of pain is going to be this visceral sort of phenomena that it always is with you, and you feel like you got to do something with it. And then that first time you get drunk, it did something. You were able to, it seemed like you jettison them, at least you were able to avoid it for a period of time.

Or the woman who has been sexually violated. I find that so often, people who have committed themselves to certain substances, they have a history of having being treated shamefully, and the substance ends up doing lots of different duties in their lives. But certainly, one of them is it’s an occasion just to alleviate the pain of that kind of victimization.

Then, of course, once they practice their addition, then they experience shame, not because simply of what’s happened to them, but then they’ve done things. They’ve betrayed people, they have stolen from people that they love, they’ve lied to people, they’ve given promises and haven’t come through on their promises. They’ve done things when they’ve been drunk or high that they remember enough to know that it was bad stuff and it’s hurt other people. So there’s that shame compounding, and what do you do when shame compounds? Well, all you can do is go back to the one thing that seemed to alleviate it temporarily.

So you can see how shame is so much a part of an addict’s story, and if the hope that we’re offering is an opportunity to be surprised by this God who invites, an addict who’s struggling with shame, they don’t want to turn to Christ because of all the things they’ve done. They don’t want to somehow be exposed before Jesus, they don’t want to be known before him. So the very one who is their only hope, the only place they can go with their shame is the one they feel like they have to avoid because of what they feel like to be the despicable things in their own lives.

So our task is how can we ask somebody to listen to a story that is different than anything they could possibly imagine and to begin to go through Scripture with them, the God who comes to enemies, the God who seems to have a preference for the outcast and the rejected and the one who’s considered to be despicable? To give those stories to people to pray through them with another person until they’re actually persuaded that indeed He is one who invites them and they can go toward Him.

Excuse me for going on that, but … What am I saying? I’m saying that I can’t remember the last … I talk about shame with every person who struggles with an addition.

Craig Marshall:
So you’ve been involved in biblical counseling since 1981, I think you said? Was that [crosstalk 00:22:45]?

Ed Welch:
More or less, yeah, that’s when I started at CCEF, yeah.

Craig Marshall:
That’s quite an amount of time to be involved and see things grow and change. I’m just curious from your own perspective what you’re excited about in biblical counseling, what challengers you see in the biblical counseling world, movement, whatever that can be referred to as, but some of your perspective of the things you’ve seen and what you’re seeing or hoping is going to continue to happen going forward.

Ed Welch:
Yeah. It’s a great question. What I’m excited about is that there’s so much more leadership, and maybe I’ll put it this way. There are, you have this organization here, you have ACBC, you have CCEF, lots of acronyms around here.

Craig Marshall:
Los of acronyms.

Ed Welch:
Yeah. Los of initials. That’s just three. There are all these really fine biblical counseling organizations that are cropping up, so for me, that is very exciting to see that. I especially appreciate how there are, in a sense, they’re cropping up independently. Instead of having this federal government that owns it all, there are all these states and they’re flourishing, so I’ve really appreciated that, that I think it comes from a church who is looking for help in their pastoral care. The sheer amount of people who are doing biblical counseling and the organizations that are leading the charge, that’s very exciting to me.

The other side, what needs to be done. I’m a glass half full kind of guy, I think, by nature, and you try to make your nature work for you, so I like being a glass half full guy.

Jim Newheiser: I covered the other half of that glass.

Ed Welch:
So maybe I’ll speak personally what do I need to do, what do I hope we all can do? I hope we can, you know, ministry consists essentially of these two parts of knowing a person and knowing the Scripture. And I think historically, we tend to know Scripture fairly well, but sometimes we go quickly over knowing the person. And I would like there to be this generation after generation of material that when people read it, they say, that’s me. That person has described my very experience better than I could have described it myself. This person knows me. I would like us to do that, I would like us to have stories and case studies of people that are vivid and three-dimensional and shows everything, the really good things in a person’s life and the hard things and the bad things all in one sort of composite mess. So first as a group for people to go away saying, not only did that person know me, but they know me in a way that I’ve never been known, they know me in depths where I haven’t been known before. That’s one.

I guess a second is, and this is certainly one of the things I see in biblical counseling is that we continue to reach broadly. We live in an era where there are new problems. There are variations on old problems, granted, but new problems emerge and how can we be prepared for them, how can we speak well to them from cutting to Asperger’s and autism to violent children, and there, I think it’s important for us to have as much experience as possible where we didn’t just see one violent kid, we’ve seen 10 violent kids. We didn’t just see one autistic child, we know 10 autistic families.

You know, there’s something about that experience that brings humility on one hand, because we realize we don’t know the answers, but at the same time, we have some idea of what has been helpful for individual people and families. So I would say those two things would be two things that the movement can grow onto have a depth of understanding the people and communicate that but also have these sort of farther reaches to continue to extend boundaries and move into every modern problem there is and speak persuasively to those.

Craig Marshall: One of the things you mentioned is the various organizations, the various groups speaking to these things, and on the one hand, that’s exciting to see what the Lord is doing. The downside of that can be, not to be glass half empty but we can-

Jim Newheiser:
Oh, please. Yeah.

Craig Marshall:
Do you want to bring that … But we can not know what the other groups are saying or speak past each other or there can be disunity as more groups develop or things like that. Are there things that you have in mind that can help us all continue to work well together as we’re seeking to help people or [crosstalk 00:28:23]-

Ed Welch:
You’re asking the wrong person for that in some sense. I don’t think I do that very well myself. In part because I get emersed in a project and I’m busy and I have plenty to do in front of me. But what I’ve seen happen within biblical counseling is, well, here’s one thing. I’m at an IBCD seminar or conference and I work at CCEF. Well, you guys have graciously invited me to come, and having come means, Craig, I get to know you a little bit better, I get to know some of your people a little bit better, hear some of the things that are happening here. So, for me, that’s just plain invaluable. There’s something about knowing someone and meeting them face to face and spending time on their turf which you just feel like you know somebody better.

And I do see that happening throughout biblical counseling where people are being invited to each other’s conferences, and that makes a huge difference. So it’s happening. I feel like a slugger there in part because I don’t put on the conferences and don’t decide who’s going to come, but I so appreciate how there is much more face to face contact with people from different organizations.

Craig Marshall: And I guess interpreting some of the lack of face to face contact sometimes is just exactly what you’re saying. Being so focused on just seeking to help people, not wanting not to talk to each other, but we’re all just poring into the various things we are.

Ed Welch:
Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Craig Marshall:
Interpreting that in the most charitable way possible goes a really long way as well.

Jim Newheiser:
You say you like to be buried in your projects, so do you have another project on which you’re working?

Ed Welch:
The one I just finished. This man I mentioned who struggled with anger, actually, it comes out of a, probably around 10 years ago, I had a few angry men that I was speaking with, and they were all going bad, all going bad. And I began to consider have I ever seen an angry man change? And I couldn’t remember. A person who really specialized in anger haven’t really changed. And I began to ask my colleagues, “Have you ever seen an angry man change?” And they sort of chuckled, but they said no. Get a face in mind. Can you identify somebody? Don’t just give me a hypothetical, yeah, Scripture can change anybody through the spirit. And it just set me off, I think, to Lord, teach me how to speak to angry men.

So what came out of that was a book of, I think, 50 different devotional kinds of things, assuming that angry men at not going to read a whole lot. And it’s really easy, it’s looking in the mirror and you forget who you were as soon as you go away, so I’ve written 50 devotional for angry men on anger. So it’s just something to remind you every day, so I’ve done that. That was good fun.

The project I’m working on right now is I’m finishing up a book, this is not going to sound very exciting. It’s essentially asking the question who are we and the Scripture has various answers to that, but the answer that I’m pursuing is we are a royal priesthood and that priestly motif, that priestly calling in Scripture is such a precious one because it’s the priests who were close to the Lord. They were the ones who were invited into the farther reaches of the temple. So when you talk about communion and living in the very house of God, a priest is very much in view. And I found that to be personally very profitable. For example, to recognize that growth and obedience is not some version of try harder in stoicism, it serves the purpose of communion. In the same way that obedience to the rules of marriage, they serve communion and closeness in my relationship with my wife. Similarly, growing obedience to Christ, it’s not obedience for obedience sake, it’s obedience that serves the purpose of communion and progressive nearness to the Lord. So that’s just one of the themes that comes out of the priesthood.

That’s what I’m working on now. Thanks for asking that.

Jim Newheiser:
I’ve really appreciated how the Lord has used you and your ministry. When you describe what you think the movement needs to do or somebody would hear you or read what you wrote and say, “That’s me,” because that’s been my experience and the experience of people whom I’ve counseled when they’ve read what you’ve written where I remember especially with the addictions book and with when people are big and God is small where I would assign to people and they said, “That’s me. You understand how the addict feels, you understand how the person who’s idolizing approval or people, not just on the theoretical level, and I’m sure it flows out of the counseling where you’ve been with these people and so is the temptations we face, we have in common. But coming out of that, you can bring the Scripture to bear very effectively.

Ed Welch:
That’s kind of you to say. It’s very encouraging. I see the glass half empty and more than half full, so I see all kinds of room to grow in that but thanks. Thanks, Jim.

Craig Marshall:
Well, Ed, we’re so thankful for you coming into speak at our conference. We’re really looking forward to the talk that you’re going to be doing and then just getting down to sit down and talk with you some more. We’re so thankful, too, for the ministry of CCEF, the resources you have, the training you have, so we’ll have links to those things in our show notes as well. Thanks so much for coming out here, and we’re really looking forward to getting to know you a little bit better.

Ed Welch:
Oh. Pleasure. Thanks so much, Craig.

Craig Marshall:
And finally, for our listeners, I just wanted to maintain that by the time these episodes are airing, all of the audios from the conference will be available for free on our website. Pre-conference workshops, everything, and videos from the general sessions as well. All available at IBCD.org. That’s IBCD.org.

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028 Interview with Chris Moles {Transcript} https://ibcd.org/028-interview-with-chris-moles-transcript/ Thu, 02 Nov 2017 16:49:30 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=71128 Read More]]>

About This Transcript

Our keynote speaker Chris Moles sits down with Craig and Jim to discuss how he got into counseling domestic abuse cases and ministering to abusers. They also discuss his book, ͞The Heart of Domestic Abuse.͟ This interview was recorded live at the 2017 Institute “Addictions: Grace for the Journey.”

Related Links:

For more information regarding this and other episodes in the series please visit The Care and Discipleship Podcast page.

Craig Marshall:
Hello, and welcome to the IBCD Care and Discipleship podcast.

We are onsite at Mission Hills Church in San Marcos, California for our 2017 Summer Institute. And have a great opportunity to spend some time with the speakers who have been blessing us this weekend. And today, we have Chris Moles with us who did our pre-conference on Domestic Abuse. And then also, is doing a few workshops for us during the conference as well.

So Chris, it’s great to have you with us.

Chris Moles:
Great. Great to be here, thanks.

Craig Marshall:
Chris, can you tell us a little bit about who you are for our listeners who haven’t heard the pre-conference and all of your jokes?

Chris Moles:
So I pastor a small church in a small town in my home state of West Virginia. But the reason why I am privileged to partner with groups like you all is that God saw fit to draw me into a Ministry where I work with men who’ve been convicted of domestic violence crimes or currently under protective orders. And that’s expanded to men who are just seeking help who recognize that they’re abusive or destructive.

Craig Marshall:
Chris, one of the things that I so appreciate about your talks and about your writings is how involved you are with what’s going on in the state and outside the church with this issue. How is those relationships developed?

Chris Moles:
I think one of the benefits of being in a small state and in a small community is as we were praying about getting involved, there is some reality that there’s not a lot of resources. And so there are opportunities available to us. You know, the fact that I have a college education that I have time, that I was willing, that I could rewrite. I hate to say it that way but the idea that I could function well in that role, there was a place for me.

And so, how it actually got started was I was asked to sit first on a Crime Board. It was a juvenile crime coaliltion and we helped sentence young people. So the judge would make a decision about their case and it would come to our Board and we would give community service or require counseling. When they found my resume, when I had to submit my resume, they saw that I had counseling training. Now it was biblical counseling, they didn’t know what biblical counseling was. But I was the only one with counseling credentials. So I began to counsel young people on a regular basis.

From there, I started teaching parenting classes because we thought, well the parents need something. So it was voluntary and parents were coming and we had great attendance on our parenting classes. And it was all gospel centered, biblical material and it went so well that other departments and other agencies were asking, “Well, could you help our people because we don’t have someone teaching this, and we need someone to teach this.” And it just blossomed into this education model, this Educational Ministry where I was just serving wherever I had the opportunity. And that’s grown over the last 17 years.

Craig Marshall:
What would you say to people who are intimidated at the thought of that. I mean, when I think of biblical counseling and helping other people, the idea of the church is comforting to me, that’s what I think about even though that’s hard and difficult. But the thought of like, “Wow, just being dropped in to these cases with people who aren’t professing Christ at all.” What would you say to people like me?

Chris Moles:
Yeah, so I think one, you have to have an evangelistic heart. There has to be kind of a missional mindset to it so you understand that this is an opportunity for me to engage in the workplace. So I think I came into it first saying, “There are certain things about me that the people I work with and the people I work for need to know. One, I’m a Christian. Two, I’m a pastoral ministry. So my experience is not from some other field.”

One of the great blessing for me was I had a supervisor who told me one time, “Chris, you know, if we had a psychologist in this role, we would want him or her to speak to mental health. If we had a law enforcement officer in this role, we’d want them to speak to legal issues. So we want you to be free to speak in your area of expertise. So if a guy has a question about the Bible or you have some insight that can help them spiritually or from a faith-based perspective, we want you to feel free to do that.” So having that type of freedom was a huge blessing upfront in this particular work.

But also, I think, it’s just a matter of being obedient and allowing God to do the work that He’s called you to. And it’s certainly, not every community is going to be like my community. And there’s going to be maybe some resistance but I’d say if you’re really interested, give it a shot. And the first place to do that or how to do that is to maybe connect with some local agencies and get to know the believers that are there. Because they are there. There are believers in government agencies that are really looking for allies.

Craig Marshall:
So you have written and speak a lot about domestic abuse and those situations. I think there’s an increasing awareness of that in the Church but it seems like, for a long time, something not talked about a lot. What do you think’s most important for our listeners to know just as they’re hearing about that topic and may have people around them who are actually experiencing that?

Chris Moles:
Several years ago I was on my way to a conference. I had not been speaking long, for very long on this subject, and I was on my way to a pretty large conference. And I called an advocate friend of mine, somebody that I trusted who has been in the work longer than me. And I asked her, I said, “Look, if you were in my situation and you were going to be addressing hundreds of pastors, what would you say?” And she thought for like just a few seconds and she said, “Chris, can you just remind them that the domestic violence is a sin?” And I think where that was coming from was all her years in the shelter, the place she had seen the most resistance was from the Church. And so I think there has been growing awareness in the Church. And I think the most beneficial thing we’ve done is we’ve actually reached out and had conversations with folks that maybe philosophically, we disagree with but we’ve acknowledged there’s a problem. They’ve been doing this work for a while. Let’s at least have a conversation, “How can we best help as members of the body of Christ?” Rather than just denying its existence. Once we recognize how severe of a problem it is, understanding we have a role to play.

And I think when service providers see that, especially in this day and age when government funding is down, where shelters are closing, where talk therapy’s not so popular, the Church actually has a pretty big void that we can fill. And if people who are doing this work see our compassion and our genuine sincerity, it can be an inviting atmosphere. So I think there’s plenty of work for us to do here.

Craig Marshall:
Chris, one of the things just as you talk and with your experience, you are talking to people in the secular realm, you’re talking to people who think differently about biblical counseling, and you’re having conversations with them. Sometimes I see that as a weakness in the biblical counseling movement overall and it’s something we’re really seeking to grow in and encourage all of our people to get better at.
What do you keep in mind as you’re interacting with people who may frame things up with words that may set off alarm bells for some of us and things like that? How do you handle that?

Chris Moles:
Yeah, I think you have to be honest. And one of the things that I try to do, is I try to have a pretty open dialogue. It’s a little easier with my integrationist friends. And so some of your listeners will understand that term, maybe more so than the general culture would. But I think with some of my integrationist friends, I try to frame things so that we understand that, “While I’m talking about this, even though you’re using this word, is there some commonality here?” When there’s not, we try to be open and honest about it. When there is, we try to find mutual ground and work with it.

Now from a secular point of view, all that really does is give an opportunity to share the Gospel because if someone is talking about hierarchy, for instance, which is a huge model in the secular world as far as domestic abuse. And they’re talking about hierarchy or power and control and they’re using power as a term of evil, it’s like every power is problematic. It reminds me of an instance I had with one coalition worker, one lady who I really respect, and she was telling me what Christians believe about marriage. And it was a very stereotypical belief. So I was able to say, “Well, can I tell you what I believe and what I think most Christians believe from an evangelical perspective?” And so I laid out complementarity from Jesus’ servant leadership position and she literally said, “This is remarkable. I’ve never heard anything like this before.”

So I think honesty’s a big piece and willing to have dialogue and understanding that even the culture nowadays, I think, especially amongst younger generations, it seems to be disagreement is somehow contempt. But just keeping an open mind with folks and saying, “Look, we can disagree and still have healthy conversations. We might not be able to work together in every area, but let’s find the areas where we can cooperate.”
So I think there’s potential for the biblical counseling movement to be collegial, to be kind, to be compassionate and not have to, for the lack of a better word, drink the Kool-Aid as it were. We can still hold our convictions, be as resolute as we can. And do good work. I think that says a lot too. If we are committed to our convictions and our work is good and valuable, it speaks a lot to Unbelievers in particular.

Craig Marshall:
That’s a lot different than hearing these buzzwords that set off alarm bells and just running or writing a blog that just says how bad that is or something. Like it’s way different to move towards someone in conversation, seeking understanding. I like what you’re saying too about doing work well, thinking through the issues well, so we can engage.

Jim Newheiser:
One thing that I’ve appreciated about your work, which is one reason why I assigned it to my students this last semester, is as awareness of domestic violence has grown in the Church, there’s been so much written, rightly so, to keep women safe. And how do you identify a violent man? An abusive man? And how do you get away from him? And even acknowledging or pointing out the failures of the Church to protect women, often sinfully sending them back to a dangerous situation instead of keeping them safe. And so I affirm, where the emphasis has been in many ways appropriately.

But the unique thing about your book and your teaching here has been actually working with these men who many might just cast off as saying, “Get them out of here. I never want to see them again.” What got you going in that direction? And what hope can you offer a violent man? Because some, from a psychological standpoint, might say that these people are … Their DNA, their neurology or whatever, their nature-nurture has just made them this way and the best thing you do is just keep them away from women forever.

Chris Moles:
So first of all, I have met a great deal of wicked men and individuals where at the end of the day, it’s not hopeless because I don’t think any situation’s hopeless. But at the end of the day, you look at it and you say, “Well the odds are really stacked against us on this one.” Clip 3And I was talking to one of our participants here at the Conference earlier where he was talking about batting averages. He’s like, “It doesn’t seem like we have a good batting average.” And I said, “This is not an all star game. This is not a high percentage game because it’s hard, hard work.”

But with that said, Jim, I think what does distinguish, and I don’t want to say my work, but I think what distinguishes biblical counselors. Let me put it this way, when I first got involved in batterer intervention, when I was invited into this secular model of working with men to see behavioral change, I knew going in that that wasn’t my goal and I quickly found a partner or the lady who invited me into the program, my partner, I quickly found an ally. Once we began talking about the centrality of the heart and she’s also a Believer, it transformed the way that we did programming. Because we knew that behavior changes is not enough, right? It’s like stapling bananas on an apple tree, it’s only temporary. There had to be heart transformation.

And so over the years we’ve doing this, I discovered that this type of work fits our paradigm extremely well. Because at first, in order to do batterer intervention or abuser intervention, you’ve got to believe, I think, that change can happen. And you’re right, we get pushback. It’s interesting, I get some pushback from the biblical counseling movement, but I get more pushback from my secular peers who, “Men can’t change. You shouldn’t invest this much time in them. Some programs, they should only exist so that two hours a week, advocates can go to the house and try to persuade women to leave.” Some people literally see us as babysitters so they can try to go and work with the victim.

So I think for me, what really compels me is that we have the message of the Gospel that says, “Not only did Jesus die for us, He died for violent men,” as I like to say. That’s the reality. Not only did He die for violent men, He died in place of a violent man. It’s not like Barabbas was this every day dude. He was an insurgent. And so the very message of the Gospel reaches even to men who’ve used coercion, control, physical force. And so if we don’t hold steady that hope, then I think we’re — I don’t want to say we’re not Christian — but we’re a little less than Christian. And so we got to really hold on to that.

But I would agree with you, I think there is this model out there or this mindset that abusive people can’t change and that we should just kick them out of the Church, which my next question to that is always, “Well what about the next Church?” “We should remove them from the home,” and my question to that is, “What about the next victim?” Because if we do victim care, which I’m all for, I agree with you on that. We help a victim and I want to do that. But if we do really solid perpetrator work, then what happens if a man’s heart’s changed? Then that victim’s safe and every subsequent victim is safe because this is a men’s issue.

I’m proud in many ways to have that banner but I think it’s something that biblical counseling can really get behind because of all the models out there, we’re the one who believes that change is possible for anybody.

Jim Newheiser:
I’m intrigued as well by you talking about batting average. And I’ll sometimes tell people that even one blade of grass on the moon is a miracle. And even one person like this transformed from a person of anger and judgment to becoming a person of grace and love is a miracle. So tell us in terms of what kind of positive results do you see? I don’t know if you have percentages? Or instances of … How have you seen this happen since a lot of us probably haven’t seen many cases where it’s happened?

Chris Moles:
So I think you’re going to look at a few different things. So let’s just do the statistical rubrics which don’t tell us a whole lot about the heart. But interventions, statistically, has a higher or I should say a lower rate of recidivism. So a man convicted of a crime who completes a course similar to ours in anything, even biblical or not, has a lower rate of recidivism. Even self-reflection helps the behavior.
But as far as transformation, that’s something that is observed over time. So one of the passages I like to use when I’m talking with pastors about this because one of the things in biblical counseling is that, I think, some of us have been pre-programmed to, “Well, if this takes longer than eight weeks, then it’s not worth my time.” And this type of work is not an eight week work.

I mean I tell pastors, when we’re doing consulting stuff, that we should plan for at least a year of work. That’s really a conservative estimate. Because I like to use Ephesians 4, the idea of, “When’s a liar no longer a liar? When’s a thief no longer a thief?” Paul communicates that, for instance with the thief, he’s no longer a thief when he has a job and he’s become generous. That doesn’t happen after a couple weeks of counseling, right? He’s got to build an income. He’s got to be demonstrative in his generosity so over time, people can see it. I think the same’s true in our work.

So we can look at recidivism and say, “Okay, it works that way.” We can look at behavior change and say, “Okay, he’s not as violent and people at home seem to be safe.” But the really filter has to be transformation. In order to see that, we have to watch over time, as you just said a second ago. Has he moved from a person of violence to a person of gentleness? Has he moved from a person who exercises privilege as a husband to somebody who exercises leadership as a husband? And that’s only going to be observable over time.

I think those are the marks of transformation, is giving him every opportunity to succeed and then holding him accountable when he doesn’t.

Jim Newheiser:
One problem I’ve seen in cases of angry and violent men is worldly sorrow too.

Chris Moles:
Right.

Jim Newheiser:
Where you get enough pressure and for a period of time, the behavior will change but it’s only the Spirit who can move someone from the deeds of the flesh to the fruit of the spirit.

Chris Moles:
That’s a good observation. So two things there. One as I’m doing training, I often talk about the pivot point of repentance. We tend to like that in the Church when someone says, “Yes, I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.” And we can be guilty of then dropping the ball there in saying, “Oh good, everything’s good.” But that’s just the turning point and we need this eventual, observable repentance, that fruit of repentance over time.

The second thing that I like to say is that pithy little statement, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” And then I say, “But you can’t feed him crackers.” We can’t force anyone to do anything and that worldly sorrow can come by pressure along. But Godly sorrow comes only after a man is thirsty enough to see not just the how dastardly his choices were in the past, but how amazing the opportunity is in the future. And so I want to see men become so thirsty to be the type of man that God’s designed him to be that they abandon that old way and they embrace the new way. So yeah, that’s a wonderful observation.

And the key to that in many ways, is time and then avoiding hoops for an individual to jump through. So we don’t just want things to check off the list when we hold men accountable. We want concrete measurable, observable steps in spiritual development.

So yeah, he might be a Bible scholar now because he’s reading his Bible every day but is there a gap between that as practical theology? Evaluating that, and again guys, this comes back to how positioned biblical counselors are at this. We’ve been doing this with other things for so long. We’re really positioned to speak into this maybe better than any other field I know.

Jim Newheiser:
I’ve observed both with physical abuse and with substance abuse that those who have that as a lifestyle are really good at programs. They’re really good, “Tell me the steps that I’m supposed to do. I’ll go to the class. I’ll do the homework. I’ll give the speeches to the people I’ve hurt.” But then that’s an expression of worldly sorrow that typically doesn’t continue.

Chris Moles:
Yes so it’s a reparative attempt. It’s, “I can put a shiny new coat of paint on this,” but that heart transformation’s really got to be key to that.

Craig Marshall:
Chris, for the guys in our Churches, one of the things we’re running in to is you’re describing guys involved in domestic abuse and unkind to their wives and things, a lot of times can look like leaders in the Church, be very knowledgeable of the Scriptures. What are some of those ways, what are some of those evaluative measures you put in place that aren’t hoops? For guys like that who are real schooled in Church things?

Chris Moles: Absolutely. So I’m going to base most of my steps and goals upon some of the counseling that we’ve done. So for me, nothing works better than asking good questions. It is possible to be knowledgeable in the Scripture and be far from Jesus. I mean, if you watch the History channel more than four minutes, you’ll know that. There’s people in the History channel that know more about the Bible than the three of us combined. But they don’t Jesus from a hole in the head, right?

So it’s not simply a matter of, can he regurgitate the information? It’s I want to see if the information is changing him. One example maybe because it’s hard to give programmatic examples without dealing with a specific guy. But one example is I was working with an individual not long ago who ascribed the Sovereignty of God as a major piece of his doctrinal existence. He valued the Sovereignty of God. And yet his home was marred by control. He had to control his kids. Had to control his wife. Had to control their schedules. Financially, he was in control. It was an amazing amount of dominance.

And so as your asking those questions and pulling that rope, as I like to call it, what we discovered was yes, he had an ascent of the Sovereignty of God but practically, it wasn’t there. So we were able to use his own information. He knows the doctorate, right? He’s a fan of all the people who talk about it. Is to use that doctrine to say, “Well, let me ask you how is this consistent when you consider the fact that you control the finances in this way? Or how is God’s Sovereignty consistent in your life when you consistently check your wife’s cellphone out of suspicion? Who’s really in control?” And then of course, for the sake of time, I won’t go into all of it but you can spend hours drawing that out to connect that, “What I believe up here,” to really transcend it down to the heart level.

Craig Marshall:
Chris you’ve seen a lot of difficult situations and I know during the last session you were playing some audio from 911 calls of children seeing horrific things happen. And seeing some successes, lots of failures. How do you keep going? Just personally too? How do you keep going in these things?

Chris Moles:
I was teaching a parenting class, probably I guess it would have been 14 or 15 years ago now. And my entire student body, at that time our state was ravaged with methamphetamine. And as you probably know, nationwide, we restrict access to one drug and of course, the new one comes up. It’s basic economics. It’s basic supply and demand because legislation doesn’t change the heart. So at this time, methamphetamine was the most affordable drug of choice.

So there was about 12 students and I was at the head of the table and the discussion got really fun, like we were having fun. And I think at that moment, like I said about 15 years ago, was the first time that as an educator in that setting, in Corrections, my students really became human to me. And that connection was just that solidarity was just there and that little phrase that you probably heard your entire life, there by the grace of God. And I was like, “This lady is just my cousin so-and-so. And this guy is just like my brother.” And the idea that the choices they made may have led them here, I’m one of two bad decisions, one or two rebellious acts from being here.

So as I look across a group of men, I’ve got a class of 20 guys or I’m doing an individual with a guy. Yeah, there’s a lot of work that’s got to be done but the reality is, for me, what keeps me going? Twofold. One there’s hope, right? This is not an indescribable monster in front of me, this is a human being who yes, has made wicked and sinful choices. And that’s why Jesus came and did what he did, praise God. And secondly, each man that I minister to or work with, is representative of a family, behind him. So with every face of every man, even if he’s rebellious or angry or bitter at me or whatever, there’s a victim, children, maybe potential victims that are there.

So to me, it’s worth the effort even if the batting average is low. Because Jim’s exactly right. I love the blade of grass analogy. You can go for weeks or months and just things seem to be hopeless and that Sisyphus type thing, which is like, “I got to push this boulder again and nothing’s happening.” And then you have that one incident where this guy comes to you and he says, “Hey I was baptized last weekend. I’m being discipled by my pastor and he wanted to talk to you.” Or, you have the one guy who years after the program, you find out that he’s working at a Church camp and his marriage is great. Or you worked with a guy for weeks upon weeks and then his wife sees you in a restaurant and she hugs you out of nowhere.

While those are rare, right? Those are great reminders of how efficient and powerful the Gospel is. So to me, I guess if you focus on that, it really doesn’t get you down.

Jim Newheiser:
I think it takes a certain kind of gifting from God, not just to be able to help people but to be able to be resilient, to keep going. I see that very much in my wife. A little bit in me and certainly in you where it’s a thing to be thankful for that you can go a couple of weeks and you just feel like you’re saying the same thing to no one listening. And have hope that God will work when you try again. So that’s something I’m thankful for, is that God has given you.

Chris Moles:
You know Jim, one other thing that I often say is and I didn’t anticipate this in the work when I first got involved in the work. I would say, I mean, I’ve got a long way to go. I mean obviously we believe in progressive sanctification so. I’ve got a long way to go as I grow closer to the Lord and conforming to Christ. But I really think, and my wife would be a better one to ask than me, but I think I’m a better husband. I think I’m a better pastor. I think I’m a better father. I think I’m a better neighbor, in large part because of the work that I do.

Yeah, I work with a lot of problem guys but I’ve learned a great deal from those experiences too. And so I’m thankful for every guy whether success, failure, rebellious, even the guys that gave me trouble, or threatened me, or whatever. I’m thankful for all of those because I really do, looking back, think, “Thank you Lord for how this has shaped me.” Because you know how it is, when you teach, you learn more than your students do a lot of times. So teaching is material over and over. Pursuing it over and over has shaped me.

Who knows, maybe another 20 years of this, I’ll be pretty close to just right. I don’t know.

Craig Marshall:
Chris, you’re also involved with a Ministry that helps people better understand these things, right? Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Chris Moles:
Sure. Last year I started PeaceWorks which is just an extension of my personal counseling and teaching that I do. We’re in the process right now of reworking the website. Initially it was simply an opportunity for me to have connections so I could go somewhere and speak and maybe teach. But what we’ve learned is that the Church needs resources. And so I’m in the process of redoing the website.

And hopefully, Lord willing, this fall we’ll start having a content based website so we can have more helpful discussions like this. So that it’s not just Chris’ voice but it’s other biblical counseling and conservative Christians and pastors and teachers that are in the work, so we can have more and more conversations similar to this. Just have more information.

And I think I told you when I first started in the work and started researching, I grabbed every Christian resource and I know I had them all, I know I did. And they all fit in a cardboard file folder box. I printed off every article I had, every book. And that was how little there was. So there’s a lot more to be said regarding this. And a lot more happening right now. So praise the Lord for the resources that are being built.

Craig Marshall:
So thanks so much for taking time to be with us. It’s a blessing to have you at this conference and also great to get to know you as a friend of IBCD.

Chris Moles:
It’s been great to be there. Thanks.

Craig Marshall:
And finally for our listeners, I just wanted to mention that by the time these episodes are airing, all of the audios from the conference will be available for free on our website. The pre-conference, workshops, everything. And videos from the general session as well.

All available at IBCD.org. That’s IBCD.org.

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Reformed Parenting https://ibcd.org/reformed-parenting/ Wed, 01 Nov 2017 20:29:02 +0000 https://jnewheiser.ibcd.org/?p=376 Continue reading "Reformed Parenting"

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Many parents struggle with guilt and confusion over how to train their children. Old-school parenting books emphasized discipline derived from the exhortations in Proverbs. The book of wisdom was used to chastise the foolishness out of children. The next generation of parenting books suggested that parents should go beyond controlling their children’s wayward behavior and instead instruct their hearts. Most recently, books about grace- or gospel-focused parenting exhort parents to see that their primary mission is evangelism.

Given that we are celebrating the Reformation this week, I thought that it would be appropriate if we learn something from the Reformers. This may help us to maintain biblical balance in our parenting.

Reformed theologians have taught that there are three uses of God’s law:

  1. The Civil Use – God’s moral law, which is written on every human heart (Rom. 1:32 2:14-15), restrains sin in society by common grace as human government punishes wicked behavior such as stealing, perjury, assault and murder (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2: 13-14). We thank God for the civil order we enjoy because of the first use of God’s law.
  2. The Evangelical Use – God’s law functions as a mirror to show us our sinfulness and our inability to meet His perfect standard of righteousness, thus driving us to seek salvation and forgiveness through the gospel. The law is a tutor that leads to Christ so that we may be justified by faith (Galatians 3:19-24). This is the use of the law which Luther was known to emphasize.
  3. The Normative Use – God’s law serves to teach those who have been justified by faith how to show love to our God and Savior by doing those things that please Him (John 14:15 1 John 2:3-4). We obey, not in order to earn our justification, but out of love and gratitude to Him who saved us.

These three uses of God’s law, Civil, Evangelical, and Normative, provide useful categories for parents to consider as a framework for thinking through the dynamics of Christian parenting.

  1. The First use of God’s Law – Civil: Because children are born sinful and foolish, they need outward restraint through discipline. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. The rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (Prov 22:15). A child who is not yet a believer will not be motivated to stop lying or to cease from hurting his siblings by a true love for God. Instead, painful consequences restrain his sin and foolishness – in the same way that sinful people in society are restrained by the threats of punishment from government authorities. Until recently, most Christian parenting books emphasized this aspect of parental discipline. This type of discipline is primarily aimed at controlling outward behavior of children through consistent discipline – the establishment and enforcement of reasonable standards of behavior. Parents should not hesitate to use the means God has given to address the foolish and sinful misbehavior of their children.
  2. The Second use of God’s Law – Evangelical: A child’s sinful failures produce wonderful opportunities for parents to show the need for the gospel. Children, like adults, are prone to self-righteousness. An outward standard of goodness, such as decent grades or respectable manners, has the ability to make one feel good about themselves. However, children need to be shown that they are not truly good. No one is good (Luke 18:19), and children, just like adults, must come to realize their need for a Savior. When a child lies or loses his temper, his parents should take advantage of the opportunity to remind him that he is a sinner who needs the forgiveness and transformation that comes only through the gospel. Jesus came into the world so that needy sinners might have their guilt washed away (1 Pet 3:18 2 Cor 5:21). He died that we might receive a new nature that frees us from slavery to sin (Romans 6:1ff). The first time I was exposed to the idea of using our children’s failures evangelistically was in Tedd Tripp’s wonderful book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart. More recent books, including Give them Grace, by Fitzpatrick and Thompson, also strongly emphasize the second use of God’s law in parenting. Many parents who had been focused merely upon external discipline promoted by the first use of the law have greatly benefited from learning how to bring the gospel into their parenting.
  3. The Third use of God’s Law – Normative: Once children profess saving faith in Christ, they desire to grow in the knowledge of and obedience to God’s Word. Scripture teaches us that we express love for the Lord who saved us by doing the things that He commands (John 14:15). A child who is truly converted no longer needs to be motivated merely by fear of consequences (the first use of the law). Rather, they love God (and their parents) and are eager to do those things that please Him (Titus 2:14). Parents then come along side their believing children to encourage their progress in discipleship. This is the ultimate goal of Christian parenting, and a blessed work of the Lord in a child’s life.

Two words of caution:

  1. Popular instruction on parenting tends to focus almost exclusively on controlling outward behavior (the first use of the law) rather than adequately emphasizing evangelism (the second use of God’s law). Children can become little Pharisees who think that they are good because they follow the rules. A related problem is that children are often taught Scripture in a moralistic way which disregards the fact that the central theme of all Scripture is redemption in Christ (Luke 24:26-27). This approach often uses Bible characters merely as moral examples (“Dare to be a Daniel,” or, “Like David, you can fight the giants in your life”) while failing to recognize the redemptive themes in biblical history. The outcome of such instruction might be outwardly obedient moral kids who do not realize that they are wicked sinners desperately in need of a Savior.
  2. In recent days, there has been a refreshing emphasis on bringing the gospel into both our discipline (the second use of the law – our sin shows us our need for Christ) and our instruction (showing our children Jesus in all of Scripture). Some have also helpfully incorporated the third use of the law – when our children are converted they should obey out of love for Christ.

There is a danger, however, that some who joyfully embrace the second use of the law in parenting can swing too far in this direction and neglect the first use of the law (the need to control outward behavior through painful consequence). This error occurs when a parent’s sole response to his or her child’s sin is to point them to Christ without bringing the painful consequence that Scripture commands (Prov. 13:24). Just as civil laws are necessary in the unbelieving world so that sin will be restrained, discipline is necessary for children so that their foolishness will be restrained (the first use of God’s law).

Children need restraint because they are prone to foolishness and sin (Prov. 22:15). Even more, they need the gospel that cleanses them from sin and gives them a new nature that empowers them to joyfully keep God’s commands.

For more on parenting see:

 

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Many parents struggle with guilt and confusion over how to train their children. Old-school parenting books emphasized discipline derived from the exhortations in Proverbs. The book of wisdom was used to chastise the foolishness out of children. Many parents struggle with guilt and confusion over how to train their children. Old-school parenting books emphasized discipline derived from the exhortations in Proverbs. The book of wisdom was used to chastise the foolishness out of children. The next generation of parenting books suggested that parents should go beyond controlling their children’s wayward behavior and … Continue reading "Reformed Parenting" IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean
CDC1-17. Fear {Transcript} https://ibcd.org/cdc1-17-fear-transcript/ Tue, 31 Oct 2017 11:30:20 +0000 https://ibcd.org/?p=72126 Understanding Fear

Fear, very closely, related to worry. And depression. Fear is not necessarily sinful. We’re to fear God. When somebody, for example, starts talking about saying they’re mad at God they should fear God. And fear what just came out of their mouth. And repent. And Isaiah chapter six, when Isaiah has the vision of the Lord in His glory, he falls down. God is awesome and we should reverence him. Fear is also a reasonable and helpful response to danger. Some of our youth were talking about going to Yosemite and climbing Half Dome. That’s something I’ve done twice. And I have a built-in fear of heights. I think most people have some, I have a lot. But that fear is helpful, especially, I don’t know if you’ve ever done Half Dome, but the end of Half Dome you basically have cables you hold on to while you’re going up, and it seems like you’re going up a sheer, but it’s you have 45 degrees or something, and you’re going up this thing, and it’s sheer granite. And if you let go and you fall down, you’re gonna bounce a few times, you’re gonna land in the valley thousands of feet below and you’re going to be dead. And fear helps me to hold on really, really tight. And the people who have died are people who didn’t really have fear. There have been people who have been high when they’ve gone up there. And so they’re dancing around, they’re making jokes, they don’t have a sense of the fear, and they’ve slipped and there’s a whole book of all the people who’ve died at Yosemite and all the different ways it happened. There was one guy, a tourist, I think, from Japan, not long ago. And again, you see all these people going up and down these cables the last hundreds of yards up the top of Half Dome and, I guess they think it’s like they’re in Disneyland and it’s safe, and so a guy is hanging off the edge of the cable, posing for the camera, he loses his grip, and he falls and dies. That’s never gonna happen to me. My hands probably still have the impress of those chains in them from the two times I’ve gone up, and then down is even worse than up, cause you’re looking at what’s happening. So fear is a reasonable and helpful response to danger.

But it’s also a reasonable and helpful response to spiritual danger. First Corinthians, 10, 12, Paul says be careful if you think you stand lest you fall. And I’ve been going through second Samuel lately and preaching, and when I read what happened to David, who was a good man, a godly man, I see that happen to him, I’m afraid, it could happen me. I’m not paralyzed by fear but it means I don’t counsel women alone, and I’m cultivating my relationship with my wife, it’s like hanging on those chains going up Half Dome, is I don’t wanna ruin my life that way. We should be fearful of the sin that we are capable of in our own wicked hearts. When I counsel couples who have had conflict and now they’re hateful to each other, and they’re on the verge of divorce, and there’s bitterness built up over years, and then when have a little spat with my wife, I realize, this is the beginning of what they got into. And I should be afraid, not to let the sun, do not want to let the sun go down on my anger. I use this in counseling. The man who has been looking where his eyes should not go, or the woman who’s been flirtatious at work, and is kind of enjoying the attention of a man there, that she has let go of the rope. And she’s in grave danger, he’s in grave danger, of a fall they would never really intend.
Like anger, fear can have physical manifestations. We see this especially in some of the Hebrew and how it’s portrayed in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy, two, 25, the Lord says I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the peoples everywhere and to the Heavens, when they hear the report of you, they will tremble and be in anguish because of you. So, most of us have trembled at one time or another, maybe public speaking does it for some of us. Exodus, 15, 16, terror and dread shall fall upon them by the greatness of your arm. They are motionless, as stone. So frozen, and you’ve got people quaking. Some people get rashes when they’re fearful.

Fear can also be paralyzing and damaging. Proverbs 22, 13, The sluggard says there’s a lion outside, I will be killed in the streets. Okay, he’s afraid to go outside, he’s afraid, afraid of work is what he’s afraid of, but his alleged fear of the danger outside makes him lazy and worthless. The wicked flee when no one is pursuing. There are disorders, so called by psychologists, one would be obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD. There’s a very helpful pamphlet that CCF has on OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder. And I’ve counseled people with this, and they have fears, which are improper, which prevent them from functioning. I have a woman who, when she was in college, contracted some kind of disease from a toilet seat, and when that happened, because it’s disease which can also be sexually transmitted, it was extremely upsetting to her. She was among Christians, in a Christian college, I think, and she got blamed for something that she swears she did not do. But now, she does not want to ever leave the safety of her parents’ house where the toilets are under her complete and total control, and so she, 20 years later, can’t get a job, can’t have relationships, can’t be out of the house more than three hours, because she is controlled by the fear of public toilet seats. I met a young man, college student, and he is afraid of lots of different things, one of which is that he’s afraid he’s gonna wear clothes that God doesn’t want him to wear. And so, when he’s about to go to work, or about to go to school, he’ll put on a shirt and think, well maybe God wouldn’t like that, so he takes that one off and he puts on another one and he might spend an hour and a half in his closet, trying, putting on clothes, and not putting on clothes, meanwhile, he misses class, he misses work, he loses his job. When I showed you on the first day, that stop it video, remember what the doctor was doing at the beginning, you know, he was washing his hands, and when the patient says, well I’m always, oh that’s okay, there are lots of germs out there. Well, there are people, that can be kind of a halo date, where you see at counseling, comes in, and the hands are rubbed raw from washing, cause they fear diseases. They’re thinking like Howard Hughes, if you’ve seen movies about him, or heard about him, and was so fearful of germs that he ruined his life. So fear can be debilitating. Some people have panic attacks in which they’re so consumed by a certain fear it can affect them physically, they’re shaking, they’re delirious. I had a seminary student, one time, who would have a panic attack if he even thought too seriously about getting on an airplane. Interestingly, when there was a girl across the country, that he was courting, he was able to overcome that. Which will get to my point later.

So fear is damaging and the damage can be that if you’re so afraid, you’re not going out and doing your job, or you’re having some fear, whatever the fear may be, it’s preventing you from doing your duty to God and to others. And that’s actually one major basis on which I will attack these kinds of problems. So fear becomes sinful when you fear men more than God, Proverbs 29, 25, the fear of man brings a snare. That’s another kind of fear. But the one who trusts in God will be exalted. Fear becomes sinful when you fail to trust God. God has said He wants you to work. And so, even though there are germs out there, you have to trust that it’s better to go face the risk of getting a germ, catching a cold or the flu, or whatever you’re afraid of, than to fail to fulfill your responsibility and stay at home. Fear becomes sinful when you want control and certainty which belongs to God alone. That’s a big issue for people with OCD, it’s I want complete control and complete safety. That was the bizarre stuff with Howard Hughes. Well, that’s you trying to be God again. You’re not God. You can’t create perfect safety for yourself. Good news is, you’re a child of God and He can make it safe or, if He doesn’t, then He has a reason for it. But a fearful person, especially an OCD type person, they’re wanting to have complete certainty of safety that God does not promise. It can be another lady, she’s afraid to drive a car. Fearful of accidents, fearful of something going wrong. But if that keeps her from caring for her kids, caring for her family, doing her job, that is sinful, but part of the answer is to realize I have trust God rather than feeling like I have to be the one who is in control.

Keys to overcoming fear, most of all, is fearing God and then realizing that the thing you really have to fear, Jesus said don’t fear those who destroy the body but those who destroy body and soul in Hell. Thanks be to God that what we have most to fear, which is death, has been removed in its sting, by Christ. There are things to be afraid of and it’s to stand before God and your sin. Hebrews two, speaking of the work of Christ, verse 14, since children share in flesh and blood, He, Himself, likewise also partook of the same. That through death, He might render powerless him who had the power over death, that is, the Devil. And might free those who walk through fear of death who were subject to slavery all their lives. So Christ, by his work, has set us free from the real fear. That we should have. And instead, we need to learn to trust God is your shepherd.

Psalm 23 is a good verse for fearing people, I’ve got an outline on that in your notes, I’ve got audios on that, to learn to trust God. That He cares for you as a shepherd. He’s the one who protects you. You can’t ultimately protect yourself. Those who are trusting God are characterized by boldness. Proverbs 28, the wicked flee when no one coming, pursuing, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. And when facing fears, especially OCD type fears, the critical question is what would God have me to do? I can’t, quite frankly, if God wants you out working, it’s safer to get out of the house than to be in defiance of God, watching TV all day. That safety is found in doing God’s will. There’s famous quotes by Stonewall Jackson, who said I feel as safe on the battlefield as I felt on my own bed. Now, there may have been a bit of unbiblical fatalism in some of what Stonewall Jackson said, but there’s also some truth in the sense that he had this trust in God that, for him, he was doing his duty. And if he’s doing his duty, he’s as safe as a man could be. Not to mention the fact that when the bullet finds me I’ll be with the Lord anyway. So safety is in doing the will of God.

Some people are fearful because of fear of imperfection. I may mess up, so I won’t even try. Yeah, you’re gonna mess up. Only God is perfect. You have to trust Him. Only God possesses certainty. Only God has absolute control. He is to be trusted. And that means you need to stop trusting in yourself. The Scripture says as we look to Him, then you will walk in your way securely and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid. When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden fear, nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. That’s Proverbs, chapter three, verses 23 to 26.

Review of Previous Segment

Yesterday, we were talking about the subject of fear and we talked about the fact that fear isn’t all bad. There is an appropriate fear of the Lord. Also, the Lord has designed us when there is danger to have a sense, like climbing up a mountain, or something, you know, to be careful, in danger and even spiritual danger, be careful if you think you stand lest you fall, Paul warns the Corinthians. There are a few different types of fear. When we talked about the kinds of fears which can be debilitating, those who have panic attacks, those who have obsessive, what’s called obsessive, labeled obsessive compulsive disorder. And how do you help people like that? And the focus has to be on fearing God and not man. Trusting Him as our shepherd. And along with that, as well, to acknowledge that He is in control and He is one who keeps us safe. People who are very fearful, including OCD, want to be in control, they want to be completely safe, and they need to realize that God is the one who is ultimately in control. And He is the one who will keep us safe, or if He allows us into a trial, He will be with us in the midst of that trial. And it’s safer to be doing what He wants us to do than trying to keep ourselves safe in a sinful way.

]]> Martin Luther and Jay Adams https://ibcd.org/martin-luther-and-jay-adams/ Mon, 16 Oct 2017 10:22:41 +0000 https://jnewheiser.ibcd.org/?p=291 Continue reading "Martin Luther and Jay Adams"

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This year we remember the work of a reformer, Martin Luther, who five hundred years ago dared to challenge the established ecclesiastical authorities when he nailed his ninety-five theses to the church door in Wittenberg. I see many similarities to what happened about fifty years ago when another reformer, Jay Adams, came on the scene and challenged the established church in the area of counseling and soul care through his book, Competent to Counsel. I believe that there are many significant parallels between Adams and Luther.

  • Both men based their conclusions on the Bible alone – Sola Scriptura.

Luther, when his life was on the line, said, “Unless I am convinced by scripture or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in counsels alone, since it is well known that they often err and contradict themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me Amen.”

Jay Adams, as he began the new movement of biblical (or nouthetic) counseling, wrote, “The conclusions in this book are not based upon scientific findings. My method is presuppositional. I avowedly accept the inerrant Bible as the standard of all faith and practice. The Scriptures, therefore, are the basis and contain the criteria by which I have sought to make every judgment” (Competent to Counsel p. xxi). And, “I am aware of the sweeping implications of the changes that I advocate. I am willing to refine my position if I have gone too far. I want to alter any or all of what I have written provided that I can be shown to be wrong biblically” (ibid, p. 269).

  • Each was engaged in academic studies for the purpose of training future leaders when he, in a sense, stumbled upon his challenge to the status quo. Luther was a professor in Wittenberg, while Adams was teaching at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.
  • Neither initially had any idea what he was starting. Nor did he anticipate turning the world upside down by starting a new movement.
  • Neither saw himself as an innovator beginning something new, but rather believed that he was recovering something old which had been lost. Luther sought to restore the biblical truths of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to the glory of God alone. Adams was seeking to restore a faithful heritage of soul care. As John Frame has written, “Sola Scriptura has historically been a powerful housecleaning tool” (p. 573, The Doctrine of the Word of God).
  • Both were preceded by forerunners who had significant influence on them. Luther came after Hus and Wycliffe. Adams was influenced by men like Machen, who stood firm on biblical authority, and Van Til, whose presuppositional approach to biblical truth was foundational for Adams.
  • Both had sympathizers who urged them to tone down their rhetoric. And both ignored such advice. Each was gifted with a personality that didn’t mind standing alone against the religious establishment. Sometimes the church needs a man wielding a machete and a blow torch who can blaze a trail of truth through a jungle of error and confusion.
  • Both upset the existing establishment which first tried to dialogue with them and then separated from and maligned them. Luther participated in several disputations with representatives of the Roman Catholic establishment before being excommunicated as a “wild boar in the Lord’s vineyard.” Adams had some significant public and private discussions with Christian psychologists before being written off by the great majority who were threatened and offended by his condemnation of secular psychology and his assertion of biblical sufficiency.
  • Both were sharpened by debates with their critics. Luther’s initial challenge to church errors over indulgences led him to question church authority in many other areas, leading to a clear understanding of biblical authority and the gospel of free grace. Adams’ views were refined through debates with those who wanted to integrate psychology with Scripture.
  • Both were followed by consolidators who had different gifts which God used to shape the ongoing movement. Phillip Melanchthon came after Luther and consolidated Lutheran theology and ecclesiology throughout much of Europe. Men like David Powlison have followed Adams and have helpfully built upon the foundation he laid both by placing greater emphasis on certain key themes (such as understanding suffering along with sin in our counselees), and by expanding resources and opportunities for church leaders to be trained as biblical counselors.
  • Both were committed to the involvement of lay people in their movement. Luther emphasized the priesthood of all believers and translated the Bible into the common language of the people. Adams taught that all believers are to be involved in soul care and took Romans 15:14 as the theme verse for Competent to Counsel, which was, in essence, his 95 Theses. “And concerning you, my brethren, I myself am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish each other.”

I realize that it is out of fashion in certain circles of biblical counselors to speak positively about Jay Adams. Some are embarrassed by what they perceive to be his shortcomings and would like to think that we have moved beyond Adams. Many people who have never heard Jay or even read one of his books are extremely critical of him.[i] Some, when they take the time to read Jay’s books, are surprised to discover how biblically balanced and insightful he was, especially given that he was starting something very new.[ii] While most of us can’t affirm everything Martin Luther ever said or did, we thank God for Martin Luther and how he was used five hundred years ago to recover the great Solas of our faith. In the same way, I am not claiming that Jay Adams is a perfect man or a perfect scholar, but I thank God for how Jay has been used to lay a foundation of soul care which is based upon God’s all-sufficient and powerful Word and is centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The rest of us are building upon that foundation.

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[i] I ran into an editor who said that he would never recommend a book based upon biblical counseling because he hates “John Adams” and all for which he stands (based upon something he had heard decades before). I didn’t point out at the time that while this man had the wrong Adams, it is true that John Adams, like Jay, was a founding father.

[ii] I had a friend who once said, “Imagine what Calvin and Luther could have written if they could have read Calvin and Luther before they started writing.” Similar things could be said of Jay.

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This year we remember the work of a reformer, Martin Luther, who five hundred years ago dared to challenge the established ecclesiastical authorities when he nailed his ninety-five theses to the church door in Wittenberg. This year we remember the work of a reformer, Martin Luther, who five hundred years ago dared to challenge the established ecclesiastical authorities when he nailed his ninety-five theses to the church door in Wittenberg. I see many similarities to what happened about fifty years ago when another reformer, Jay Adams, came on the scene … Continue reading "Martin Luther and Jay Adams" IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean
Do You Need a Counseling Coach? https://ibcd.org/do-you-need-a-counseling-coach/ Wed, 11 Oct 2017 16:26:26 +0000 https://jnewheiser.ibcd.org/?p=253 Continue reading "Do You Need a Counseling Coach?"

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During the first half of this year’s baseball season, Yankee rookie Aaron Judge was a phenomenon. He hit for both power and average, and he was on track to set numerous batting records. During the second half of the season, Judge’s production fell way off. The only record he set was most consecutive games striking out at least once. Many theories have been proposed to explain Judge’s extreme slump. Some experts believe that opposing pitchers have discovered how to exploit Judge’s weaknesses at the plate. Others suggest that Judge’s hitting mechanics have deteriorated and he needs to work on his swing. Judge’s coaches worked frantically to help him recapture his early season form before the playoffs began.

A baseball player’s performance can significantly diminish if his opponents recognize that a hitter tends to swing at a cut fastball out of the strike zone low and away, or that a pitcher almost always throws a fastball on a 2-1 count (or when he touches his cap before his windup). Based on over twenty years of experience, supervising dozens of biblical counselors, I would suggest that many counselors also go into a slump like baseball players and might benefit from coaching. I have noticed that some biblical counselors have unhelpful tendencies. Consider just a few:

Does your counsel include unhelpful tendencies?

  1. Do you tend to show favoritism to certain types of counselees? Do you give preference to wealthy or influential counselees? Do you favor one particular gender?I supervised a woman counselor who had been in a terrible marriage and she had a tendency to make unfounded negative assumptions about only the husband in a marital conflict. I also know of counselors in cases of marital abuse who have a tendency to focus on the wife for provoking her husband to anger, while at the same time failing to recognize that the husband’s abusive behavior is a much more dangerous sin. As the counselor, the duty is to make efforts to ensure the safety of the wife and children. Scripture reminds us of God’s impartiality and warns us against showing improper favoritism (James 2:1-9; Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 10:17; Proverbs 24:23). 
  2. Do you find yourself missing key points because you did not listen well or gather sufficient data?Are you doing the great majority of talking in the session? I have had cases in which I jumped on an issue early only to realize later that I had failed to address a much more urgent and significant problem. This can happen due to poor listening (Proverbs 20:5; 18:13), or a failure to adequately hear from all sides (Proverbs 18:17). Do you allow one party in couples counseling to dominate the conversation? In one case, I was guilty of allowing a talkative and domineering husband to divert our attention from his marital infidelity to the trouble he and his wife were having with a teen-aged son. In addition, an abusive man will often try to take over a session in order to focus on the sins of his wife (and even the counselor) rather than address his own sin. 
  3. Do you find yourself running out of time in the session?Do you have sessions in which you spend too much time gathering counseling data and not enough time opening the Scriptures? Is the hour up before assigning homework? Do you mismanage your time with one counselee causing the next counselee to wait? The possibility exists that we may run out of time on occasion. However, if this is a pattern, you may need to grow in your ability to plan the session (Proverbs 21:5). 
  4. Do you find that you give the same counsel, using the same passages, with most—if not all—of your counselees? Scripture teaches that different people require different emphases in counseling (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Do you over emphasize the biblical imperatives (what we should do for God) while not giving adequate attention to the foundational gospel indicatives (what God has done for us)? Do you address every problem in terms of idolatry?

 Do you need coaching?

  1. One of the most valuable benefits of training through organizations like ACBC and educational institutions that teach biblical counseling is when the student counsels under the supervision of a seasoned This person can help identify the counselor’s weaknesses and work with her or him on making improvements.
  2. Experienced counselors also benefit from regular feedback; we all need sharpening (Proverbs 27:17). I am privileged to work in counseling ministries where student observers sit in on counseling cases. Afterwards, both the students and counselors meet together to discuss their cases. It is fascinating to hear feedback about my counseling from an observer’s perspective. The questions they ask challenge me, as do their helpful suggestions. In addition, I profit from as I receive feedback from fellow counselors and learn from how they handled their cases. I would strongly encourage you to go through this beneficial process.
  3. If you are not regularly counseling in an environment where you can receive coaching, seek out a mentor with whom you can discuss your cases. Ideally, with the permission of your counselees, your mentor can listen to some of your sessions and help you identify blind spots in your counsel.
  4. Finally, are you coachable? Some highly gifted athletes don’t improve because they don’t like to be corrected. Scripture teaches that those who counsel and correct others should welcome counsel. We should love those who correct us (Proverbs 9:8). 

 

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During the first half of this year’s baseball season, Yankee rookie Aaron Judge was a phenomenon. He hit for both power and average, and he was on track to set numerous batting records. During the second half of the season, During the first half of this year’s baseball season, Yankee rookie Aaron Judge was a phenomenon. He hit for both power and average, and he was on track to set numerous batting records. During the second half of the season, Judge’s production fell way off. The only record he set was most consecutive games striking … Continue reading "Do You Need a Counseling Coach?" IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean
Stop Biting and Devouring Each Other! https://ibcd.org/stop-biting-and-devouring-each-other/ Mon, 02 Oct 2017 15:58:28 +0000 https://jnewheiser.ibcd.org/?p=235 Continue reading "Stop Biting and Devouring Each Other!"

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A friend of mine once said that it is easy to overlook an injustice until it is our ox that gets gored. This is especially true when it comes to one of the more respectable sins like gossip. When the victim is someone with whom we are not close, we are either unconcerned spectators or passive participants. If, however, we are the victim, or someone we care about is maligned, our tendency is to fall into the same trap that Paul warned of in Galatians. We “bite and devour” one another and ultimately contradict the gospel.

Paul spends the first four and a half chapters of Galatians defending the gospel of free grace alone, by faith alone, against those who would corrupt it by adding human works and ceremonies. Then, as is his pattern, he turns to how we are to live out the gospel in relation to one another. He warns that we should not misuse our gospel freedom, but rather should serve one another through love; the fulfillment of God’s Law (Gal 5:13-14). Paul follows this with a striking warning, “But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” Paul’s vivid language reveals his concern that the believers in Galatia were at risk of contradicting the gospel by the way they were treating each other. This sets the stage for Paul’s famous section that calls believers to walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:16), put aside fleshliness with its destructive deeds (Gal 5:19-21), and bear spiritual fruit (Gal 5:22-23). Paul’s primary concern as he describes our inward battle of the flesh and Spirit (Gal. 5:17) is how we treat each other. Sadly, but not surprisingly, Paul’s exhortations are still needed for believers in our day. My heart is deeply grieved as I see professing Christians biting and devouring one another. I would like to offer some specific, biblical exhortations so that we might be more spiritual and less fleshly in our dealings with one another.

  1. Always be careful of how you speak about others, especially those with whom you disagree. “In your bedchamber do not curse a king and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known” (Ecclesiastes 10:20). It is easy when speaking publicly or privately to a friendly audience to throw “red meat” by being harsh or sarcastic towards those with whom we differ. The fact, however, is that the world is full of “birds” who will carry the sound and make the matter known online through social media. Our speech should always be characterized by love, kindness, and gentleness (aspects of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23). We should avoid saying or writing that which unnecessarily stirs up strife, enmities, disputes, dissentions and factions (Gal 5:20). One of the most valuable lessons I learned from a favorite professor in seminary is that we should speak of someone with whom we disagree as if he were sitting in the front row with his wife and children. Even if you argue against his position, you would hope that he would say that you represented his views fairly and that you treated him with kindness. I would also add that merely avoiding the mention of an opponent’s name does not give license to be harsh. In a world of searchable e-books, Google, and Twitter, It is not difficult for people to figure out about whom you are speaking.
  2. The rightness and justice of your cause does not justify fleshly personal attacks. “He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool” (Prov 10:18). Social media provides a forum for people to air their disagreements about important issues. Some of the dialog can be constructive. Often the discussion becomes passionate, fleshly, and even hateful[i] as disgruntled people pile on. In recent weeks, I have observed multiple cases[ii] in which people who were deeply offended over what an opponent said or did vented their opposition publicly. They slanderously assumed the worst in the motives and actions of others and repeated hateful gossip and rumors. Proverbs 18:8 warns, “The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels…” In our flesh, we can find sinful pleasure in hearing and repeating hurtful things about our opponents. Scripture teaches that we should assume the best of others – “Love hopes all things and believes all things” 1 Cor 13:7).  When correction is needed, it should be offered gently by those who are spiritual (characterized by the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 6:1). We must heed James’ warning, “Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother judges the law, but if you judge the law you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy; but who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:11-12)
  3. Be careful about what you “like.” “Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, but any fool will quarrel” (Prov 20:3). “Like one who takes a dog by the ears is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him” (Prov 26:17). Posts on Facebook invite “likes” and comments from “friends.” By liking or signing a post, blog, or petition that is slanderous gossip you participate in the spread of hurtful speech. Even if you agree with the general sentiment of a post or petition, you do not need to affirm it. If it was expressed in an unspiritual/fleshly way you become a participant in the “biting and devouring” against which Paul warns in Galatians 5:15. We can put out the fires of contention as we refuse to listen to, believe, or repeat gossip and slander (Prov 26:20-21).

“Where there are many words, transgression is unavoidable. But he who restrains his lips is wise” (Prov 10:19). Paul was grieved that the believers in his day would bite and devour one another with their fleshly words. He pleaded with them to walk in the Spirit so that they would bear spiritual fruit; especially in their relationships to one another. Believers today also struggle with fleshly speech. Online speech can be especially dangerous because it is more impersonal; the person of whom you speak is not there. In some cases, it may even be anonymous. This means that we need to be all the more careful with what we say or write. While it is good for us to remember the practical lessons of being cautious in what we say (or “like”), Paul states the key to godly relationships (and speech) in Galatians 5:16. If we are walking in the Spirit we will not carry out the deeds of the flesh. Other people’s errors and provocations cannot make us fleshly. Our response reveals what is in our own hearts. “His mouth speaks from that which fills his heart” (Luke 6:45b). As we continue to walk closely with the Lord, living in light of His gracious love for us, we will bear spiritual fruit in our hearts and with our speech.

[i] It is even worse when these harsh statements are posted anonymously.

[ii] Including one case in which it was my ox which was gored.

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A friend of mine once said that it is easy to overlook an injustice until it is our ox that gets gored. This is especially true when it comes to one of the more respectable sins like gossip. When the victim is someone with whom we are not close, A friend of mine once said that it is easy to overlook an injustice until it is our ox that gets gored. This is especially true when it comes to one of the more respectable sins like gossip. When the victim is someone with whom we are not close, we are either unconcerned spectators or … Continue reading "Stop Biting and Devouring Each Other!" IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean
Helping Churches to do a Better Job Handling Cases of Abuse https://ibcd.org/helping-churches-to-do-a-better-job-handling-cases-of-abuse/ Mon, 18 Sep 2017 14:22:53 +0000 https://jnewheiser.ibcd.org/?p=217 Continue reading "Helping Churches to do a Better Job Handling Cases of Abuse"

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Sadly, I have been witness to a discouraging pattern in local churches as they handle cases involving abuse. It begins as church leaders are made aware of a situation in which a husband is acting abusively towards his wife, and it has been going on for quite some time. The abuse may include any or all of the following: coercion, threats, outbursts of anger, or some degree of physical force. Typically, church leaders get involved late in the situation because the victim is in fear of reporting her abuser, or perhaps thinks she is somehow to blame for his actions.

Church leaders often initially treat these cases as typical marital conflict, treating the sins of each party in a more or less equal way. They fail to make a sufficient distinction between the wife’s “misdemeanor” sins of provocation or disrespect, and the husband’s “felonious” sins of murderous anger. Abusive husbands intensify this problem as they manipulate the situation and focus their counselor’s attention on the wife’s faults.

As the church intervention progresses, the relationship between the husband and wife continues to deteriorate. In spite of the husband’s promises to change, hateful outbursts of anger, intimidation, manipulative control and even violence persist. Church leaders realize the seriousness of the husband’s sin, and take steps to put pressure on him and to protect his wife and children. They counsel the husband separately with the hope that he will truly repent and the marriage can be reconciled. Sometimes at this stage the church leaders agree that a physical separation may be necessary for the safety of the wife and children.[1]

When the pressure is ramped up, the husband willingly participates in counseling and is outwardly compliant towards church leadership. The wife, on the other hand, begins to be influenced by certain friends, family, and various victims’ advocates (online and in print) who tell her that her church leadership has failed and that she should divorce her husband. Her heart becomes hardened and eventually she announces that she is done and plans to leave.

Because the husband claims to be repentant and appears compliant to church leadership, and the wife refuses to be reconciled; church leadership initiates a process of church discipline against the wife for divorcing her husband without biblical grounds. The wife and victim advocates publicly label the church leadership as heartless enablers of abuse and threaten lawsuits. Gossip infiltrates the church and further divisions ensue.

My question is, what can be done to break this tragic pattern? Surely the church can protect the helpless while also upholding the sanctity of marriage. It would be my desire that church leaders might consider the following suggestions:

  • Church leaders need to be well informed regarding the multiple, deceitful ways in which abusers harm their victims and manipulate those in authority. Claims of abuse need to be taken seriously, investigated thoroughly (Prov 25:2), and acted upon expeditiously (Prov 31:8-9). Pastors and counselors who press in on abusers know that they will reveal themselves by their words. The sin that lies in their hearts will expose them (Luke 6:45; Gal 6:7-8).
  • Even if the wife is responding imperfectly to her husband’s sinful anger (Prov 22:24-25), her more common marital sins of selfishness and careless speech should not be treated as equivalent to the sins of violence, harsh verbal outbursts (Prov 11:9; 12:18), physical intimidation, and manipulative threats made by her husband. Abusers need to come under the discipline of the church and victims must be protected. Error on the side of safety.
  • Both the abuser and the victim need godly counsel. It is usually best to counsel them separately at first so that the wife’s abuser will not intimidate her during the session. She needs protection and healing. The abuser needs strong admonition and accountability. I highly recommend Chris Moles’ The Heart of Domestic Abuse, which takes a tough love approach with an abuser while also offering hope that he can be changed through God’s Word and Spirit.
  • An abuser’s claim to be repentant should be carefully tested and proven over a period of time. Many abusers are skilled at working programs and saying what counselors and church leaders want to hear. The Scriptures below contrast the characteristics of worldly sorrow that results in death with the qualities of true repentance that lead to salvation (2 Cor 7:10-11).[2]

Characteristics of worldly sorrow (2 Cor 7:10b)

  1. Self-focused (1 Sam 15:30; Gen 4:13)
  2. Hates the consequences of sin (Gen 4:14; Acts 8:24; Ex 10:16-18)
  3. Self-protective (Gen 4:14; 1 Sam 15:30)
  4. Blames others (Gen 3:12; 1 Sam 15:19-21, 24)
  5. Impatiently demands trust and restoration (1 Sam 15:30)
  6. Criticizes the disciplinary process (Gen 4:13)
  7. Unchanged heart that does not produce fruit (Luke 3:7-9)

Characteristics of true repentance (2 Cor 7:9-11)

  1. God focused (Ps 51:4a; 2 Sam 12:13)
  2. Hates the sin (Ps 32:5; Ps 51:1-3)
  3. Fully accepts responsibility (Ps 51:3; 2 Sam 24:10)
  4. Concerned for others (2 Sam 24:17; Phil 2:3-4)
  5. Patiently accepts consequences (Ps 51:4b; 2 Sam 24:13-14)
  6. Submits to discipline and accountability 1 Cor 10:12; 2 Cor 7:8)
  7. Changed heart that produces fruit (Ps 51:6-12; Luke 19:1-10 3:8)
  • Churches should handle situations in which the victim of abuse chooses to pursue divorce very gently and carefully. Abused wives often become hardened towards their husbands. They sometimes are critical and disrespectful towards those in the church who tried to counsel them. Church leaders may be tempted to react against this bad attitude by disciplining the wife for her hard-heartedness in pursuing a divorce without clear biblical grounds.[3] Wisdom and compassion are necessary for a biblical response on the part of the church as well as the woman.
  • When a victim has given up hope of her marriage being reconciled it is prudent to ask for patience on all sides. Time should be allowed to see if the Lord might work to genuinely transform the abuser and to soften the heart of the victim. The abuser can demonstrate the sincerity of his repentance by patiently respecting his spouse’s need for time and space rather then pressing to be allowed to return home and have his full marital rights restored. The victim should be assured that she would not be pressured to go back to an unsafe situation.[4]
  • In spite of the counsel of church leaders (who hope that the marriage can be restored), some victims are absolutely determined to press ahead with divorce. My understanding is that Scripture does not teach that church leaders are obligated to exercise church discipline in every case of divorce. In 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, Paul tells a wife not to leave her husband, but then he says, “But if she does leave, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.” Paul cannot affirm her decision to leave, but rather than put her out of the church or treat her as an unbeliever; he speaks to her as a Christian sister and tells her that she must either be reconciled to her husband or remain unmarried.

While we are not told why the woman in Paul’s example chose to depart from her marriage, this passage fits some of the situations churches face today. The wife wants out of the marriage because she believes that the abuser has violated the marriage covenant through his violent actions. While church leaders may hope that the abuser is really a believer and truly repentant, they cannot be absolutely sure. It is very possible, humanly speaking, that in the months or years to come he will go back to his abusive behavior.[5] This may serve to demonstrate that he is truly not a believer. Church leaders may rightly plea for the victim to be open to reconciliation, but if she will not, they are not obligated to put her under formal church discipline. Instead they should show compassion for how she has been horribly mistreated and express appreciation for her previous efforts to save the marriage. They might even need to seek forgiveness for not intervening as quickly and strongly as they should have when they first learned of the abuse. They can tell her that, while they cannot give their blessing to her decision to divorce or acknowledge her freedom to remarry, they will not press charges against her in formal church discipline. They also can express that they want to continue to lovingly minister to her and her children during this difficult time.



It could be that, over a longer period of time, the husband would prove himself to be truly repentant and the wife’s heart would be softened so that they could remarry. It also might happen that the husband would prove himself to be an unbeliever[6] who has no interest in living peaceably in marriage. In this case, according to my understanding of 1 Cor. 7:15, the wife would be free to remarry.

Summary:

While church leaders should do all they can to restore broken marriages, they sometimes fail victims of abuse by not offering them the protection and support they need. When we learn of cases of abuse, we need to be proactive in confronting the guilty party and compassionate as we seek to help and protect victims.

[1] In many cases it would have been wiser to have taken concrete steps to ensure the wife’s safety much earlier than this.

[2] I have written elsewhere that in some cases spousal abuse may be considered abandonment of the marriage covenant (1 Cor 7:15). A professing Christian who abuses his spouse without truly repenting should be disciplined by the church, which would result in him being regarded as an unbeliever. See Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage: Critical Questions and Answers.

[3] There hasn’t been adultery (Matthew 19:9), and the husband professes to be a believer who is repentant over his sin so the wife justify the claim that she has been abandoned by an unbeliever (1 Cor 7:15).

[4] I am not limiting “unsafe” merely to situations that are physically violent. There are cases in which the intimidation along with emotional and verbal abuse is so severe that the innocent party should not be expected to remain in the home. I had a case in which it was the wife who would follow her husband around the house screaming at him, not even letting him sleep at night as she verbalized her ungodly anger at him so much that his health was impacted.

[5] Just as adulterers are often repeat offenders.

[6] If the husband is a professing Christian who proves to be unrepentant, the church would through a process of discipline remove him from membership, thus putting him into the category of unbeliever (Matthew 18:15-20 1 Cor 5:11-13). This would free the wife to remarry as one who has been abandoned by an unbeliever (1 Cor 7:15).

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Sadly, I have been witness to a discouraging pattern in local churches as they handle cases involving abuse. It begins as church leaders are made aware of a situation in which a husband is acting abusively towards his wife, Sadly, I have been witness to a discouraging pattern in local churches as they handle cases involving abuse. It begins as church leaders are made aware of a situation in which a husband is acting abusively towards his wife, and it has been going on for quite some time. The abuse may include any or … Continue reading "Helping Churches to do a Better Job Handling Cases of Abuse" IBCD - Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship clean
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