Sonship and the Resurrection

Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. (Rom 1:3-4 NKJ)

The declaration of the Christ as the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead was foreshadowed in the baptism of Jesus, which was in itself a foreshadowing of His death, burial, and resurrection; for that in essence is what baptism signifies. It is not a coincidence then that we hear the first heavenly announcement that Jesus is the beloved Son of God after Jesus comes out of the waters of baptism.
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Mat 3:16-17 NKJ)
Therefore, those who are baptized into Christ are promised:
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection. (Rom 6:3-5 NKJ)
Jesus didn't become the Son at His resurrection; for, He is Son eternally. This is confirmed by the heavenly voice at His baptism. For the Son came to offer His body once for the sins of the world, but He rose, and He lives forever; and His eternal priesthood is after the power of an endless life (Heb.7: 16-25). 

There is a second time when the voice is heard again, and this is at the transfiguration of Jesus on the Mount.
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. (Mat 17:1-6 NKJ)
Peter had to understand that tabernacles of earth was not the end goal of God for man.
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (2Co 5:1-5 NKJ)
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Phi 3:20-21 NKJ)
Undoubtedly, the transfiguration of Christ was only a glimpse into the glory of the Son, and a foreshadowing of the transfiguration of believers at the coming of Christ, for "we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1Jo 3:2)
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" (1Co 15:51-55 NKJ)
This final redemption of the body, the glorification of the believers, is the point when creation will see the glorious manifestation of the sons of God, for "whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Rom 8:29 NKJ)
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (Rom 8:16-23 NKJ)
Share:

Faith as Absolute and Unconditional

"Faith is the foundation..." (Hb.11:1, SLT)

The empirical philosopher, whose method is chiefly inductive in nature, fails to understand faith. For he sees the faith of God as impossible and the explanations of a theologian appear to suffer faith to die the death of a thousand qualifications. Such is the case illustrated in the Parable of the Invisible Gardener by John Wisdom. Antony Flew, in his agnostic period, analysed the parable in the following empirical terms:

Let us begin with a parable. It is a parable developed from a tale told by John Wisdom in his haunting and revolutionary article "Gods." Once upon a time two explorers came upon a clearing in the jungle. In the clearing were growing many flowers and many weeds. One explorer says, "Some gardener must tend this plot." The other disagrees, "There is no gardener." So they pitch their tents and set a watch. No gardener is ever seen. "But perhaps he is an invisible gardener." So they set up a barbed-wire fence. They electrify it. They patrol with bloodhounds. (For they remember how H. G. Well's The Invisible Man could be both smelt and touched though he could not be seen.) But no shrieks ever suggest that some intruder has received a shock. No movements of the wire ever betray an invisible climber. The bloodhounds never give cry. Yet still the Believer is not convinced. "But there is a gardener, invisible, intangible, insensible, to electric shocks, a gardener who has no scent and makes no sound, a gardener who comes secretly to look after the garden which he loves." At last the Sceptic despairs, "But what remains of your original assertion? Just how does what you call an invisible, intangible, eternally elusive gardener differ from an imaginary gardener or even from no gardener at all?"

In this parable we can see how what starts as an assertion, that something exist or that there is some analogy between certain complexes of phenomena, may be reduced step by step to an altogether different status, to an expression perhaps of a "picture preference." The Sceptic says there is no gardener. The Believer says there is a gardener (but invisible, etc.). One man talks about sexual behavior. Another man prefers to talk of Aphrodite (but knows that there is not really a superhuman person additional to, and somehow responsible for, all sexual phenomena). The process of qualification may be checked at any point before the original assertion is completely withdrawn and something of that first assertion will remain (Tautology). Mr. Wells' invisible man could not, admittedly, be seen, but in all other respects he was a man like the rest of us. But though the process of qualification may be and of course usually is, checked in time, it is not always judicially so halted. Someone may dissipate his assertion completely without noticing that he has done so. A fine brash hypothesis may thus be killed by inches, the death by a thousand qualifications.

Contrary to such a situation, the Bible doesn't portray the faith of God as a conclusion reached through inductive reasoning or on the basis of mere empirical reasoning. On the other hand, faith precedes understanding and is the first premise from which all other conclusions are derived. Therefore, the writer of Hebrews says, "Faith is the foundation..." (Heb.11:1, SLT).

The faith of God cannot be contingent like the faith of this empirical universe. God is absolute; therefore, the faith of God is also absolute. It is not based on something else but is the foundation of everything else. It is not based on evidence. It is the evidence. It is unconditional and doesn't fluctuate or waver no matter what the circumstances are. It trusts in God like Job even when surrounded by adversity. It, like Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego, declares that God is able to deliver, but even if He didn't, they would not bow to fear or anything false. It is not utilitarian, the means, but is the substance. Faith is willing to let go off Isaac, because it is not based on Isaac, but is unconditional acknowledgement and trust in the goodness and power of God. Inductive reasoning can never be final; therefore, those who look for signs in order to believe can never really believe. Their hearts are divided, mixed, and faithless. However, those who come to God believe that He is and is the rewarder of those who seek Him. Faith sees evil, but is not destroyed by evil. Rather it overcomes it. For, trials cannot extinguish faith; trials strengthen and reinforce faith. Faith doesn't become weak and doubtful and stops praying because it has seen that the billows don't quell down despite all their cries; faith remains soundly restful on the pillow of peace that proceeds from the acknowledgement of the goodness and faithfulness of God. Faith is not irritated, frustrated, or exasperated with situations. Faith changes situations; for one who believes can move any mountain.

Viktor E Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and founder of Logotherapy, when faced with the question of faith in the midst of suffering and the problem of evil, observed:

Either you have your doubts. Then you have to start your skepticism, to quote a figure in a novel by Dostoevsky, you have to start it with one single innocent child that had to suffer. Or else, you will maintain your faith in God irrespective of any number of victims. Because either you have a belief in God which is unconditional, which you maintain under each and every conditions or the faith is too weak and will sooner or later break down. So, religious belief, as I see is to be an unconditional one. And the most and honest and appropriate approach is that.. of Job. After trying to bargain as it were with God, he then says that "I shut my mouth. I see I don't know enough to argue with You. You know better. I believe in You that You are not only omnipotent, but also omniscient and omnibenevolent." So, he confesses and this is... a thread that goes through out the history of the human spirit... So this skepticism has to turn itself against itself. This is the only approach we have.. approach by a believer. To say that "Up to Auschwitz I was a believer, from Auschwitz on I am no longer"-- this is impossible. Now, the strange thing that most of American theologians seem to forget or overlook, to my knowledge or, better to say, to my experience: those who were religious, among those who were, had been, religious personalities, the absolute majority, in view of the holocaust they had to go through themselves, and in spite of the holocaust and what they had to live through themselves, they not only maintained their faith, but... even their belief was fostered or strengthened because it had been an absolute one and an unconditional one. While the weak faith was crumbling, the genuine faith was strengthened. This is my personal experience with only a few exceptions.








Share:

Nothingness

"I am nothing" (2Cor.12:11)

Nothingness is the threshold of a new beginning. Spiritual nothingness is a recognition of the everythingness of Christ and the nothingness of self: in Christ, everything; through Christ, everything; for Christ everything. The chorus of heaven is "God is everything". The dirge of hell is "I am everything". The Throne of God is surrounded by "How Great Thou Art!" The vaults of hell resound with "How Great I Am!" The devil begs and lures for recognition. God commands submission. The meek inherit the earth. The poor in spirit inherit the Kingdom of God. God resists the proud, but exalts the humble. The humble are not those who try to look humble. The humble are those who recognize that they are nothing, but Christ is everything, and they are complete in Christ; and if so, there is left no more room for boasting of any kind whatsoever, no confidence in flesh, no praise of men, no provision for the flesh and its lusts. Nothingness is the door to everythingness, so that the child of God can say, "I am full, I lack nothing".

Share:

If The Doctrine of Trinity Is Illogical, Then Everything Else is Illogical

If the doctrine of Trinity is illogical, then by the same logic, everything else is illogical.

Now, there are some who consider it to be an evidently foolish thing to believe in the reality of God as One and yet three persons. They say, 1+1+1=3 in every case, or else mathematics is absurd. But, let me show you by an ancient argument, once again, that mathematics can’t explain reality as it is. I will adapt only one argument from the many that a Greek philosopher of the 5th century BC, Zeno of Elea, used in order to defeat the then philosophers of mathematics, the Pythogoreans. The argument is commonly referred to as The Dichotomy.


A..A6..A5  A4     A3          A2                      A1                                              B

Suppose a runner is standing at point A and must reach point B in order to finish the race. The only way he can reach point B is by reaching the halfway point, say A1, between A and B, before reaching B. But then the only way he can reach halfway point A1 is by reaching the halfway point, say A2, between A and A1, and so on ad infinitum in order to finish the course. Thus in order for the runner to reach point B, he will have to traverse an infinite number of points in a finite time, which is impossible, because space becomes infinitely divisible and one has to keep on reaching half-ways before reaching any other point, infinitely; thus, reaching nowhere. Therefore, though empirically apparent, logically, motion is absurd.

Well, but if motion is absurd, then the entire universe, all phenomena, is absurd. If so, what is logical after all?

Conclusion: If logic can't logically explain empirical realities such as continuity of identity in change, unity in plurality, and abstracts in concrete, how can it even begin to understand God who is Spirit? Reason is certainly not above faith. But, as far as the limits of reason exist, faith is certainly expected to not be irrational.
Share:

Led by God

I can't see the entire road, but the road is still there.
I'm just at this present spot, but God is everywhere.
He leads and I can see the next steps to take.
But, I must be perpetually alert, vigilant, and awake.

Share:

The Sun Rise

The sun has risen and his golden beams light up the horizon,
He draws the day across the sky on a blazing trail of fire.
But, he reminds me he's just a shadow of the soon coming Glorious One,
That Righteous Sun whose path is lit by God's healing desire.

Share:

Building Relationship is Like Building a House

Inter-personal relationship is something akin to building a house. It is not a readymade house that can be bought; it has to be built over time. The most intimate form of inter-personal relationship is the family. Therefore, a family is also known as a house. And, the Church is called the House of God, or the Household of God, in the same sense.

The first most important thing in a relationship is the foundation. The strength of the foundation determines the strength of the house. A house without real foundation is as weak as a castle built on air. There are many unreal materials that people use as foundation for their relationships. Some of them are physical beauty, academic excellence, wealth, skill, status, or any such impermanent things. Feelings and attitudes are subjective experiences that are not foundation materials at any case. Much of these unrealities are matters of mere assumption and imagination. It is like a fan who is enamored by a celebrity, but on drawing near is shocked that this was not the same person that she was a fan of. A planet shines brighter and more constant than the real star from afar. But, it looks plain as one draws near. The True Star twinkles dimly from afar, but becomes increasingly splendorous and bright as one draws near. A planet to a planet has no big reason to fantasize stardom of any kind. To each other, we are simply as human as each other. Fairy tales are for children.

The real material of a right foundation is right faith. Therefore, the Scriptures command us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Faith is an important foundation, for what one believes in determines in a great way the breadth and depth of a relationship. No matter how expensive the external materials are, if the internal understructure is not singularly rock-like, the externals will falter and fall.

But, faith also means faithfulness. And, all this involves a deep honor for word, covenant, promises, and hopes. A person who neither honors his word or promise is relationally an unbeliever. A so-called Christian who does not honor his duty towards his own family is worse than an unbeliever. But, faithfulness goes along with lovingkindness; so, that this keeping or holding together is not an act of grudge but is strengthened by the bond and longing of love. In fact, all the good virtues of faith, moral excellence, knowledge, wisdom, goodness, self-control, patience, godliness, diligence, brotherly kindness, and love are the building blocks of the foundation. Pillars and beams are part of the infrastructure of the house. They connect the building to the foundation and transfer the weight of it to the ground. They are what bind the whole building together. The supporting structure must, thus, possess unity, integrity, solidarity, consistency, and endurance. One lays strong foundation by loving and wise acts of faithfulness, kindness, goodness, diligence, sacrifice, and patience of faith in Christ. A relationship builds up over time and has a history of understanding, cooperation, kindness, and unconditional love.

Now, it is a sad thing when people allow issues like caste and creed to determine the nature of a relationship. However, it is also a fact that where faiths collide, relationships crash. Right faith has truth as its object, love as its motive, patience as its strength, and action as its expression. False faith has deception as its object, self-gain or fear as its motive, greed or violence as its strength, and the respective action as its expression.

It will be difficult for a person who loves Christ deeply to connect spiritually with a person who doesn't love Christ fully. Christ is the foundation of all Christian relationships. Christ already provides a pre-given foundation for Christian relationships. Thus, in Christ we are one family and members of one another. If people differ in what they believe in, the relationship cannot be beyond the physical and, in some way, be only socio-economical. We can connect in a socially friendly manner with anyone, without bringing in the matter of faith, which is not necessary in cases of secular contracts and dealings, and neighborliness. There are different kinds of relationships: business, workplace, classroom, customer, family, community and so on. However, where relationship involves the question of Christ, to be or not to be becomes the question. It is like the difference between one's house and someone else' house. One can visit another man's house but is not expected to be too frequent, far be it even try to dwell in that house. This is because what is one's own is one's own; one cannot claim something that one doesn't belong to. A non-Christian relationship (house) is still a real relationship (house), but built on a different foundation. The foundation defines the nature of relationship: friendship, marriage, family, community, and so on. A Christian relates to others from the vantage point of his Christian belief. Suppose, a man at job in a company is forced by his company to do things (let's say, practice dishonesty) that would conflict with his Christian faith, the relationship is sure to suffer breakage. Sometimes, it may happen that the company will realize that the Christian wouldn't accept their illegal ways and accept him as such; other times, they may not wish to require his services anymore. Whatever be the case, a true Christian whose foundation is Christ cannot compromise his faith for any relationship in the world. A wife who has come to know the Lord may not face opposition from her husband with whom she continues in the natural human love. However, after knowing Christ, her behavior qualitatively changes since she loves and cares for his soul as well. The man may be convinced of the genuineness of this faith by observing this change in his wife. However, in cases where there emerges a conflict, one knows that a person who finds truth cannot throw it away nor compromise her faith. A true witness will remain consistent in her testimony. But, one must also remember Christ's rule that he who is not against us is with us.

Next come walls. Walls define the boundaries of the house. They also define its space or roominess. A relationship without walls is undefined, uncertain, haphazard, and tensed. It is important to first build the walls, and this happens by stating in clear terms what the limits and boundaries are. Of course, the limits cannot go beyond the foundation, but are based on it. Walls must adhere to and respect the terms set by the foundation. Boundaries define roles and function too. They also protect privacy and intimacy. Usually, they consist of do’s and dont’s, but beyond the legalistic tenor there is a right understanding of expectations and fulfillment of the same. The do’s and dont's must not come from mere traditions of men but from the teachings of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant; not according to the letter, but according to the Spirit. The Scriptures define the meaning and roles of parents, children, friends, and siblings. But, what about relationship with people outside? Every relationship accepts the metaphor of this house, and when we try to build relationship with anyone, foundations and walls must come into place; or else, there is actually no bonding of any kind. Ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit that connects people and it is He alone who marks the boundaries. Walls ensure that everyone has his/her own personal space.

However, a house with only walls is more like a prison than a house. Every house needs windows and doors. Windows allow fresh air and light to come in. Doors allow us to go out and come in. Windows and doors speak of freshness and freedom. They also speak of true friendliness. Windows help health and growth by dispelling stagnant airs and channelling the freshness that only comes from God who created the world. Windows help us to see things better both within and without. They allow light that illuminates the house. They allow us to be able to possess our space within and yet not be unaware of what's happening without. But, they also remind us to mind our own business, because windows are set on walls. A relationship without proper windows and doors is more like a slave camp. God never created slaves. He created humans in a way that we need the help of each other. One does not need to submit to slavery if he or she has the means to be free. One does not need to submit to a relationship in which people allow them neither windows nor doors. A healthy relationship honors the freedom of the other. Windows and doors also must be strong and provided with proper locking systems; for, they are meant to be locked against thieves and damaging rain and wind. Doors also define the proper entry system into a relationship. We know that there are many thieves who will rather try to climb up some other way than come through the proper door. Their motives are evil. They try to use carnal means to rob human souls. Doors intimate watchfulness. A wise woman and a wise man knows when to open or to close the windows and doors of the house. Every Christian door is smeared with the Blood of the Lamb. Christ is the Door. He is the Mediator, the One who comes in between separating, yet joining perfectly, people together.

Then, another most important element of relationship is the ceiling, the overcovering, the roof above the head. It speaks of shelter. A covenant relationship is a place of protection and shelter. The roof defines shelter. Imagine a house with foundations, pillars, walls, windows, and doors, but without a roof. It is far from being a shelter. However, it is possible for someone to find shelter under the shadow of a tree or even a plastic sheet tied to poles. The importance of the roof cannot be mitigated. No man can be the covering or roof of any relationship, family, or church. There is only one covering, the Capstone, Christ. Christ is the shelter to whom every eyes will turn. Christ is the Head of the House.

Construction is not an automatic event. It requires wisdom, diligence, passion, action, timeliness, patience, and endurance till the end. Then, the embellishments come into place. And, then one also has to learn to keep the house well in order for it to be homely. Relationships are not the goal of life. They are also not the means. They are what we are. We are relational beings. We are the House of God. Thus, to build relationships only means to be what God made us to be. God is a Family, God is Love, and God created us in His own image and likeness.
Share:

Plato's Political Theory of Music

Ref: The Republic

Gymnastic is for the body, and music is for the soul.

Gymnastic as well as music should begin in early years; the training in it should be careful and should continue through life.

Music includes literature and literature can be true or false. Therefore, censorship is necessary.

When modes of music change, the laws of the State always change with them.

The music style must be more narrative than imitative; the artist, willing to imitate only the good and virtuous.

A song or ode has three parts--the words, the melody, and the rhythm. The melody and rhythm must depend upon the words

The State must not allow mixed styles that create confusion.

The State must banish melodies that express lament and sorrow, and also banish instruments such as flute for promoting such melodies. Thus, only the lyre and harp are allowed.

When a man allows music to play upon him and to pour into his soul through the funnel of his ears sweet and soft and melancholy airs, and his whole life is passed in warbling and the delights of song; in the first stage of the process the passion or spirit which is in him is tempered like iron, and made useful, instead of brittle and useless. But, if he carries on the softening and soothing process, in the next stage he begins to melt and waste, until he has wasted away his spirit and cut out the sinews of his soul; and he becomes a feeble warrior.

And so in gymnastics, if a man takes violent exercise and is a great feeder, and the reverse of a great student of music and philosophy, at first the high condition of his body fills him with pride and spirit, and he becomes twice the man that he was.

The end of music is the love of beauty.

Simplicity in music is the parent of temperance in the soul; simplicity in gymnastic, of health in the body.

Share:

Faith and Nothingness

"God..calls things that are not as though they were." (Rom 4:17)
-----------------------------------------------
Emptiness, the seeming void around;
Frustration of silent blankness;
Impatience, the restless hunger inside;
Darkness, the unknown nothingness;
Faith that triumphs over all, for it calls
Things that are not as if they are.
Share:

Stewardship

"It is required in stewards that one be found faithful" (1Cor.4:2)

Tit.1:7 - Steward of God
Luke 12:42 - Faithful Steward

For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. (Luk 12:48 NKJ)

Steward:
1. The things in his possession don't belong to him.
2. He must protect what he has been given.
3. He must strive to increase and make better what has been entrusted.
4. He must keep a record of all things.
5. He must give an account of his stewardship at the end.
6. He will be rewarded for good work and punished for failure.

Stewards of:
1. The Mysteries of God (1Cor.4:2)
Matt.5:18-20; Rev.22:18-19.
Ex. Peter.. Obey God or man. Acts4:20; 5:29
Paul. Woe to me if I don't preach the Gospel. 1 Cor.9:16
Acts 20:26-27 - whole counsel of God
Watchman. Eze.33:7,8
2. The Manifold Grace of God (1Pet.4:10ff)

Share:

False Guilt

In the same manner as there is false fear and false pride, there is also false guilt. False guilt is feeling guilty about something that you are not truly guilty of. You are guilty of something only if you violated your obligations in relation to it. A moral obligation is a binding that is governed by the principle of love. We know what love is from 1 Corinthians 13. This talks about real sacrificial love where your own desires and needs are not more important than the well-being of others. False guilt, however, can hurt both persons of a party. Because it thinks in legal and carnal terms alone and not according to the freedom of the Spirit. For instance, people were astonished that David rose up, washed and ate when he came to know that his son was dead. Usually, the world would say that he really never loved his son. But, this is false. David was thinking rationally. His crying was useless now. False guilt is irrational. Why cry over spilt milk? When you made a rational decision, you don't need to look back again or spend times of mourning over the dead. False  guilt submits to the voice of men and desires to please them. But, rational guilt is related to the just Law of God. False guilt brings condemnation, but the Word of God brings transformation. If God tells us not to grieve over something, it is sinful to grieve over it. We all make mistakes, the Bible says. But, the wisdom of God helps us to move forward in peace.

For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:16-18)

Share:

Counseling in the Church

THE BIBLE upholds the importance of seeking counsel in times of need. We are told that “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Pro 11:14). If the law is taught by priests and the word proclaimed by prophets, then counsel was expected from the wise (Jer.18:18). The most important source of counseling in the world is the Bible; for, it is the Scriptures that make one wise for salvation (2Tim.3:15). And, the witness of Scriptures is of Jesus who is called the Wonderful Counselor (Isa.9:6). The greatest blessing for the church is the presence of God with us through the Holy Spirit who is called the Counselor (Parakletos, Jn.14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7). The ministry of counseling, therefore, in the church is always through the Spirit based upon the Word of God for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father.

Pastors are counselors; however, this doesn’t mean they should use the title “Counselor”, since that title is a professional one and pastors are not counselors in the sense of a professional that the world understands. They are counselors only in the sense that they use the Bible to help someone understand a situation and find for themselves the biblical solution for the same. Therefore, pastoral and biblical counseling is not the same as psychological counseling. The role of a pastor is of a shepherd who watches out for the souls of Christ’s flock, as one who must give account (Heb 13:17). A pastoral church is that in which each member knows that he is his brother’s keeper. Therefore, biblical counseling lies at the core of Christian fellowship. We are called to exhort (parakaleo) one another daily (Heb.3:13).

AREAS OF COUNSELING IN THE CHURCH
The issues of the soul are many. The soul is the part of man that reasons, feels, and decides. It is the place of intellect, emotion, and will. Therefore, it often gets engrossed with intellectual, emotional, and decision problems. The pastor approaches such issues with, chiefly, the word of God and prayer. “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb 4:12). Some of the areas that biblical counseling addresses are:
• Healing and Deliverance
• Spiritual Formation
• Family Counseling
• Pre-Marital and Marital Counseling
• Grief and Crisis Counseling
• Leadership Counseling

Healing and Deliverance
Biblical counseling is not psychological therapy. It flows from the comfort, consolation (paraklesis), and power of the Holy Spirit. The word of comfort is spiritual in nature and is life-giving and comforting. Therefore, from the Spirit comes life and deliverance. Jesus declared that He was anointed by the Holy Spirit to heal the brokenhearted, i.e. heal those whose heart has been broken in pieces (Isa.61:1; Lk.4:18). However, He cannot heal those who think they are fine and do not need a physician (Matt.9:12). Those living in fear, anxiety, and depression need healing and deliverance and there is nothing more powerful than the Word of Truth that can truly bring spiritual and emotional deliverance. The Word instructs anyone who is sick to call for the elders of the church so that they can pray for him (Jas.5:14,15). Sometimes, this prayer session may also involve confession of sins to one another and prayer for one another (Jas.5:16). The prayer of faith is not discouraging but full of positive expectations and encouragement. Therefore, it is effective. The man of God will not discourage the sick, but will minister through word of faith and the prayer of faith that both can only build the other in faith and bring healing into his soul and body. There are some who are in bondage of evil spirits. Such need the ministry of deliverance and also the ministry of the Word in order for them to be rooted in the truth that sets them free.

Spiritual Formation
The Christian is not a perfect human being in this world. His life in Christ from day one of his conversion is a life of progress in faith. He moves from strength to strength (Psa.84:7). He doesn’t consider himself that he has attained, but keeps moving forward (Phil.3:13-16). But, such progress is not possible without the ministry of the Word, fellowship of the Body, and prayer. Now, the ministry of the Word in spiritual formation has two aspects: Preaching and Teaching. While preaching calls forth one to repentance from sins and obedience to faith, teaching roots, builds, and establishes one in faith. Teaching that builds one up is patient in nature and convinces one of the truth by proper reasoning from and interpretation of scriptures. It also rebukes someone who is hardened against the truth and is frivolous about sin. But, it exhorts the one who is weak and needs help to stand again. Therefore, it says: “Preach the word! …. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching (2Tim 4:2).

Family Counseling
Churches are made up of families. A big role of the pastoral ministry is to help families be founded upon the model of the Divine Family of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The church herself is the Household or the Family of God (Eph.2:19). Family counseling involves counseling to children, to adolescents, to teenagers, to adults, to parents, and to the elderly at home. Therefore, it is required of a pastor that he should be someone “who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)” (1Tim 3:4-5). Elderly women are called to be godly teachers of good things, and to counsel the younger women to love their husbands, children, and be good homemakers (Tit.2:3-5).

Pre-Marital and Marital Counseling

Pre-marital and marital counseling occupies a very important space in the ministry of the church in the present age. Humans are bombarded with all kinds of conflicting and false-liberation ideas that have damaging influences on their views of relationships, marriage, and marital life. The Lord has raised several ministers in these days who specially minister in this area to help married couples as well as prospective couples to learn the teaching of the Bible on this subject as well as understand important practical lessons on the same. Increasing conflicts, separations, and divorces have drawn the ministry of church heavily towards this area of need. It is not surprising that much of teaching today caters to the need of family and marital counseling. Certainly, people fall where there is both no counsel and bad counsel. But, they are established by right counsel.

Grief and Crisis Counseling

Grief that comes from loss of beloved ones cannot be comforted by mere words alone. Then, there is also grief from loss of job or business. The more one draws deeper in the waters of counseling, the more one knows how much it is important to identify and feel along. The very words “sympathy” and “compassion” carry the connotations of feeling along. Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor because He is a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses (Heb.4:15). The Holy Spirit (Parakletos, One who is called to our side) “helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom 8:26). One without mercy and compassion cannot even start to think of helping anyone in times of grief and crisis. A minister detached from the conflicts, anguishes, cries, and fallings of people around is a minister at paradox, for he cannot even begin to minister unless he comes along with them. The Good Samaritan is good because he didn’t talk much but helped so much with all he had.

Leadership Counseling

Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus teach us that he was truly a very good counselor to leaders, through the grace of Christ given to him in all wisdom and understanding. The letters give us only a glimpse of all the time and mentorship that he invested in them so that they could become good soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Leadership counseling involves attempts to understand others. Paul knew that Timothy was young, therefore he encourages him to be strong, fearless, and an example to others. He empowers him with sound words and authority. He calls both Timothy and Titus as his “true son” (1Tim.1:2; Tit.1:4). We also see the leadership counseling of Paul in his letters to the Corinthians, where he instructs them about the various questions of doctrine, practice, and church discipline. Jesus said that a true leader doesn’t lord over others but serves them (Mk.10:42-45). Peter tells us to shepherd the flock by being examples to them (1Pet.5:3). One cannot counsel a leader just by power-point presentations; one has to be a leader indeed and be able to say like Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1Co 11:1)

CONCLUSION
We briefly went through the various areas of need that calls for the church to minister by the comfort of the Word and prayer. It is important to note that one cannot teach unless one has learned; therefore, the Bible discourages the church from appointing a novice to a place of authority (1Tim.3:6). Unless one has spiritual maturity and understanding of the truth of God, one cannot teach the truth of God. Therefore, the Bible discourages people from being hasty to become teachers (Jas.3:1). However, this doesn’t mean that we should not stop exhorting each other daily. Yet, true biblical counseling will have the all-sufficient and irrefutable backing of the Holy Scriptures, in all right and proper interpretation. Therefore, it is called biblical counseling and is an important ministry of the church.

Share:

Popular Posts

Blog Archive

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *