Twin City Bible Church joyfully practices biblical counseling as we seek to shepherd the spiritual needs of our members. This joy flows from our belief that the Scriptures are authoritative and sufficient to meet the spiritual needs of those we have the privilege of ministering to. As a way to help clarify what we mean by the term “biblical counseling,” we have provided a definition below as well as an explanation of various sections of that definition.
Within the context of the local church and with a heart of love and compassion for counselees, biblical counseling applies the authority and sufficiency of Scripture through the work of the Holy Spirit to the souls of Christians so that they become more like Christ by living according to God’s wisdom for God’s glory.
Within the context of the local church: The Scriptures are clear that it is the responsibility of every believer to be a serving member of a local church (Acts 2:42-47). Pastors and teachers are to equip the saints in the local church to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-14), and one aspect of a church member’s ministry is to cultivate relationships with other members in order to instruct and admonish one another (Romans 15:14; Hebrews 10:24). Within local church relationships, a member may need more focused and regular biblical instruction, an activity that can be called “biblical counseling.” All counseling within the ministry of Twin City Bible Church is done under the oversight of our elders, as they will ultimately give an account to the Lord for their care for the members (Hebrews 13:17; I Peter 5:1-2). Therefore, biblical counseling is the ministry of church members with more extensive training and experience who serve the wide range of spiritual needs of other church members through ongoing and concentrated times of counseling.
…and with a heart of love and compassion for counselees: Christ, as our perfect example, had compassion toward those He ministered to (Matthew 9:36, 14:14; Luke 7:13) because His heart is gentle and lowly (Matthew 11:28-29). No matter what needs a counselee may have, a Christ-like counselor must always minister with patience (I Thessalonians 5:14). Even when others are caught in sin, mature Christians are to restore them with a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:1). Therefore, biblical counseling is to model the loving and compassionate heart of Jesus Christ when ministering to the needs of others.
…biblical counseling applies the authority…of Scripture: Scripture derives Its authority from the Divine Author, God Himself (II Timothy 3:16-17). Because Scripture comes from God the Creator, all creatures are under Its authoritative standard of right and wrong. Therefore, biblical counseling admonishes counselees to submit to the authority of Scripture in their lives so that they can fulfill their God-designed purpose in life: to bring honor and glory to God by obeying His Word (Philippians 1:9-11; I Thessalonians 2:11-12).
…biblical counseling applies the…sufficiency of Scripture: The Scriptures contain everything a counselor needs to thoroughly equip himself and others to live a life pleasing to God (II Peter 1:3-4; II Timothy 3:15-17). No source of human wisdom or philosophy can conform a life to the image of Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:8, 18-23). Biblical counselors must depend on the Lord for wisdom in applying the Scriptures because counseling always involves issues of the heart and may even require the perspective of others directly involved in the life of the counselee (Proverbs 18:17). Therefore, biblical counseling relies on the sufficiency of Scripture and wisdom from God to show counselees where their life does not conform to Scripture and to help them align their lives to the standard of God’s Word (Psalm 19:7-14; Hebrews 4:12).
…through the work of the Holy Spirit: Without the supernatural aid of the Holy Spirit, no human can accept or understand spiritual matters (I Corinthians 2:14-16). God must open the spiritual eyes of a counselee to behold God’s truth in God’s Word (Psalm 119:18). Dependence on the Holy Spirit must produce humility in the heart of the counselor as they recognize only God can see and change a heart (I Corinthians 4:5; Psalm 139), and that counselors are merely instruments God may choose to use in His work of sanctification (I Corinthians 3:6-7). Therefore, biblical counseling must utilize the means God prescribes for Biblical change (His Word) while recognizing complete dependence on the One Who produces change through His Word (the Holy Spirit).
…to the souls of Christians: Biblical counseling has been defined as “soul care” for believers, meaning that it seeks to provide care for the part of man that can be distressed (Psalm 6:3; 31:7), need reviving (Psalm 19:7; 23:3), be cast down (Psalm 42:5), display trust in God (Psalm 57:1), and seek God (Psalm 63:1), among others. As Creator of man, God alone can instruct how to care for the soul and He has provided the wisdom for soul care in His Word (Psalm 119:28, 81, 129, 175). Mere behavior modification is never the end goal of biblical counseling but rather true heart change, because behavior flows directly from the inner man (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 12:34). Therefore, biblical counseling recognizes the deep needs in the soul of man and seeks to care for those needs with a wise application of God’s Word to believers.
… so that they become more like Christ by living according to God’s wisdom for God’s glory: The ultimate end of biblical counseling is to help counselees joyfully submit to the Word of God so that they are freed from the entanglements of sin and freed to live life in conformity to Christ’s example, all for God’s glory (Hebrews 3:12-13; Colossians 1:9-14). This world’s wisdom leads to disorder and every evil practice, while God’s wisdom leads to righteous living (Psalm 1:1-3; James 3:13-18). Therefore, biblical counseling seeks to skillfully apply the wisdom of God, given through His Word, to the life of a counselee so they can enjoy a life submitted to God’s good will (Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 13:20-21).
Counseling Unbelievers and Non-Members: If, in the context of biblical counseling, it becomes as clear as humanly possible that a counselee is not a Christian, the counselor will seek to use counseling appointments to present the gospel with the goal of seeing the counselee place saving faith in Jesus Christ.
There may be scenarios when those who are not members of Twin City Bible Church reach out to us seeking counsel. In these situations, we desire to have at least an initial meeting with these individuals to help assess the situation and to provide care as we are able. However, because of our view of the vital nature of local church membership and involvement for the spiritual health of every Christian, non-members seeking ongoing care may be asked to regularly attend our services and to pursue membership. If a non-member seeking biblical counseling is already connected to a biblical church, the counselor will either direct the counselee back to their local church for ongoing counseling and/or include a pastor or other leader in their local church in the counseling process since those leaders will ultimately give an account for the souls of their congregation.
Regarding Legal Matters: We believe that the Scriptures are completely authoritative and sufficient for every matter that They address. However, within the context of biblical counseling, scenarios that require legal counsel may arise. Unless a biblical counselor is also a trained legal expert, they will not give counsel regarding legal decisions that may need to be made by a counselee. Rather, counselors will point counselees to appropriate legal counsel as those needs arise.
Regarding Criminal Matters: We care about those who are in abusive or harmful relationships and situations. We also believe that God has instituted every arena of government, including the justice system, in order to reward good and to punish evil. Should a situation arise within the context of biblical counseling that requires the notification of criminal authorities, we will fully comply with any local, state, or national laws that govern our actions in those situations in order to see justice pursued by those in whom God has entrusted that authority.
Regarding Abuse: As a helpful summary of how to handle cases of abuse as well as the need to avoid abuse as counselors, we affirm the following statement from the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors:
Biblical counselors must care for counselees in protecting the weak from harm. Counselees can be harmed by others and can inflict harm on themselves. Biblical counselors avoid sinful language and behavior that brings harm into the lives of their counselees. Biblical counselors understand that it is impossible to protect the weak from every danger in a fallen world and yet they endeavor to protect counselees from exposure to the harmful treatment of others through false teaching, unbiblical counseling, harsh speech, abusive treatment, and any other manifestation of sinful relationships. And they actively seek to protect counselees from harm through their own persistent sin.
Regarding Medical Matters: While biblical counseling seeks to apply the Word of God to the souls of Christians, we must not deny that the material part of man (the physical body), also created by God, is an integral part of a person’s health and can affect as well as be affected by the state of his soul (Psalm 6:1-3; 22:14-15; 31:9-10). Therefore, biblical counseling must take into account any physical needs presented by a counselee and may also recommend that a counselee visit their primary caregiver to ensure that there are no underlying physical ailments that are contributing to their need for biblical counseling. Biblical counselors will not give any medical advice or treatment, but rather are to trust the common grace of trained medical professionals to care for the medical needs of counselees.
Training: Within our Adult Equipping Hour on Sunday, we frequently offer our church members training through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). This includes providing all of the necessary instruction to complete Phase 1 of ACBC Certification, as well as help in completing Phase 2 (Exams and Evaluations), and guiding a trainee through Phase 3 (Counseling Supervision).