Second Reformed Church

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Review: "Counseling One Another"

I have just finished reading, Counseling One Another:  A Theology of Interpersonal Discipleship, by Paul Tautges.
The author begins with a historical anecdote about Fuller Seminary in which he credits the seminary’s departure from an orthodox view of the Scripture to the incorporation of nascent physiological teaching (12ff).
He the moves to give this definition of biblical counseling:  “Biblical counseling is an intensely focused and person aspect of the discipleship procession, where y believers come alongside one another for three main purposes:  first, to help the other person to consistently apply Scriptural theology to his or her life in order to experience victory over sin through obedience to Christ; second, by warning their spiritual friend, in love, of the consequences of sinful actions; and third, by leading that brother or sister to make consistent progress in the ongoing process of biblical change in order that he or she, too, may become a spiritually reproductive disciple-maker” (20).
For Tautges, counseling is the normal framework of carrying out the Great Commission (or Great Command, as he would have it) in the sense that biblical counselling is discipleship (23).
Since sin affects every part of every mere human being since the Fall, all humans are in need of communal counseling that together all progress towards holiness (45).
Most cases in which one would seek out psychiatric or psychological care are based on the need to root out, confess, repent, and stop sinning.  However, (and I am very grateful for this sentence): “I am not eliminating the legitimate use of medical physicians and treatment of problems which may truly have an organic, biological cause” (102, emphasis his).
In the final chapter, he discusses what seems to me to be the biggest hurdle for the 21st century church:  being the biblical community we are called to be (chapter 8, 157ff).  We, as a church have so separated ourselves from the biblically communal life of the church that returning to a place with such trust and accountability seems, almost, wishful thinking.  Not that Christians ought not to work towards this – this would best be done with a strong leader who holds the Scripture as the only authority, but it must be understood that this may be a longer road to hoe than one might hope.
I would benefit from reading him explain how to “push off” as it were with, as in my case, a small, elderly congregation, who are faithful, but outside of morning worship, there is little connection.
The author writes in a readable style and is well-grounded in the Scripture – also quoting from Christians throughout the centuries
Each chapter ends with a summary of the chapter and discussion questions to help think through and remember the chapter.
The book ends with an index and bibliography which this reader found very difficult to read in the font used.
This book is a very positive move in fostering biblical health and growth in the church.  May her tribe grow.
[This review appears on my blog and  I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.]

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