In seminary I was plunged into the world of philosophy of counseling. There has been a meaningful debate in recent years between what many would call “integrated Christian counseling” and what many would call “Biblical counseling.” As you can probably tell already, I have reservations about both titles. . . . but I am always engaged in this debate in my head, especially because I am neck deep in clients 3 days a week. I am living this debate, I am working it out with fear and trembling! If you aren’t familiar with the debate this post might not be of much use to you.
One of the most significant elements in the philosophy of counseling is the element of wisdom. Many would argue that there are two opposing polarities, one being the wisdom of God, the other being the wisdom of man. At face value, it may seem logical to pit these types of wisdom against one another, but I believe this is a false dichotomy. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to see this issue in terms of wisdom vs. foolishness?
Because of this ongoing debate I was motivated in seminary to set up a meeting with Harold Bullock, a highly respected pastor in Fort Worth who had studied wisdom and foolishness for years. My biggest take-away from that meeting was this statement: Wisdom always corresponds to reality. Let me tell you why I believe this statement is so significant.
Any extra-biblical theory, book, technique, intervention, or method in counseling must be evaluated on its own merits, and not discredited merely because of its source. How is it evaluated? Against God’s created order, as revealed in Scripture. Against REALITY. There is only one correct worldview. God created us and our environment. He made the game and therefore the rules to the game. This includes all aspects of humanity; our emotional, psychological, physical, social and spiritual lives.
There are those who believe Christian counselors should not use any material in the counseling session that is not found in the text of Scripture. I believe that is an unnecessary limitation. Please hear my heart when I say I am a thousand percent sold out to the supremacy and superiority and sufficiency of Scripture. But all truth is God’s truth. I don’t believe I have to be scared of something that came out of a man’s mind if it corresponds to reality, meaning God’s created order. This is why knowledge of the Bible, discernment, and prayer are essential. Here is what I’m trying to say: If someone’s counseling book does not correspond with God’s reality as revealed in Scripture, then is it really the wisdom at all? I would say it is actually foolishness masquerading as wisdom. There is only one true wisdom.
As always I welcome comments and feedback. My desire is to learn!