My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The sufficiency of God’s Word for discipling and counseling one another is the key theme throughout this excellent, well-written book. Written at a lay level, throughout the book we are pointed back to the Bible for help in coming alongside our fellow believers to encourage growth in sanctification. Discipleship happens as we walk alongside one another and point each other back to what God’s Word teaches us in how we are to live.
Secular humanism and psychology have come into the church through the ideas of self-love and self-esteem. This book counters this ideology by pointing us back to what the Bible says we are: depraved sinners who already love ourselves and our sin and are hostile to God and His ways. The Bible teaches that we are to deny ourselves, not to love ourselves more. Counseling from the Bible exposes our sinful hearts and points back to Jesus Christ as the way of salvation from our sin.
The author starts off with our call to make disciples and how that is done. He then continues by explaining conversion and the call to godliness. Growth in discipleship happens in community. The subtitle of the book is “A Theology of Interpersonal Discipleship”. And this book then proceeds to describe what that looks like.
This is one of those books that I wish every Christian would read. It is succinct, well-written, easy-to-read (though convicting!), and powerful. There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter, which make it easily used as a discussion book for a small group study.
Some quotes to ponder:
“Believers in Jesus Christ must be taught and trained to be richly indwelt with the Word of God, to live under the influence of the Holy Spirit, to be driven by the gospel, to express dependence on God through prayer, to be motivated by love for God and neighbor, and to be moved with compassion to help one another make progress in the ongoing work of sanctification. This is authentic biblical counseling.”
“Biblical counseling is an intensely focused and personal aspect of the discipleship process, whereby 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. This definition describes the aim of biblical discipleship and supports the underlying principles of this book. Biblical counseling is helping one another, within the body of Christ, to grow to maturity in Him.”
And many more – I could probably quote half the book – it was so good! So I encourage you to read it for yourselves.
*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Shepherd Press as part of Cross-Focused Reviews in exchange for my review.