Introduction: Occassionally I like to give the readers of this blog the opportunity to read materials written by others. I call these blogs: Guest Blogger blogs. My wife Debi is currently studying for her Bachelor of Science Degree in Christian Counseling at Liberty University. She recently wrote a paper on "Battling the Unseen in Christian Counseling". I believe you will find what she wrote insightful and informative. May the Lord bless you dear reader and thanks for stopping by the blog.
Battling the Unseen in Christian Counseling
by Deborah Smith
Abstract: This paper will explore three themes in Christian counseling as explained in Neil T. Anderson’s book, Discipleship Counseling. First, can Christian counseling in some cases offer aid that clinical psychology and psychiatry cannot using the Holy, inspired, inerrant Word of God? Second, the Bible states that mankind consists of more than just physical components. Humans are made up of body, soul, and spirit. If this is true, can the spirit realm affect a person’s mental wellbeing? Is there an enemy to the soul of man that desires to destroy and keep its victims bound and unproductive? Thirdly, deception is one of the most de-habilitating weapons in the enemy’s arsenal. If lies can be spoken into the minds of people and allowed to fester there, the individual over time will begin to believe the enemy’s accusations and will accept these falsehoods as truth. How can one fight these lies and protect their minds against future deception? The Bible, in the hands of a counselor surrendered to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit, can disciple a person bound by the ploys of the enemy into a life of freedom and fellowship with God.
When one looks at a person they can see their physical body. With the right medical equipment and training, a doctor can even see their internal organs and evaluate what might be amiss. Even human behaviors can be observed and opinions can be rendered based on what is seen. However, what about the areas of men and women that remain unseen?
Dr. Neil T. Anderson in his book, Discipleship Counseling, aids Christian counselors in understanding that there is more to humans that what can be observed with physical eyes. There is a spiritual realm that consists of the human spirit as well as the supernatural that also plays a part in why people think and do the things they do. This is not an area that psychology or psychiatry focuses on and a Christian counselor armed with the Bible can aid a counselee, resulting in breaking free from dangerous deception of the enemy of our souls.
Christian Counseling vs. Secular Behavioral Sciences
The studies of psychology and psychiatry attempt to answer the questions of why we behave and think in certain ways based on scientific evaluation of what is seen. With a certain amount of success, doctors in these fields can address the physiological symptoms that they observe. “They are observing what the Bible calls the flesh in the vast majority of cases”. (Anderson, 2003, p. 27)
Dr. Anderson points out that scientific research can be helpful in illustrating behaviors consistent in sinful humanity, but there are limitations that keep behavioral sciences from shedding light on the nature of man that remains unseen. For example, science not rooted in Christ tries to prove that mankind is “an evolutionary product of our past environment and shaped by our individual choices”. (Anderson, 2003, p.27) With all of its research science cannot explain the supernatural, prove or disprove the existence of God, or how faith works in the life of an individual. (Anderson, 2003)
Man is both material and immaterial. The material aspect of man is the physical body as can be observed and experienced. The immaterial consists of the soul and spirit, with the heart of man at the center. (Anderson, 2003) The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. (Proverbs 4:23, New International Version)
Oswald Chambers explains the heart this way: “According to the Bible the heart is the centre: The centre of memory, the centre of mercy, the centre of damnation and of salvation, the centre of God’s working and the centre of the devil’s working, the centre from which everything works which moulds the human mechanism.” (Chambers,1912, p.100)
How would secular science be able to observe and treat the condition of the human heart? Only God can read a heart. (Romans 8:27) What happens when something goes wrong in the heart of a man or woman? God has given humanity a gift called the Bible. It is through the Bible that people can understand how to live, function, and respond in a fallen, sin sick world and a Christian counselor can point a person with a heart hungering for God in the right path. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, New International Version)