Dr. Raja Paulraj, Consultant Psychiatrist, BCTI

Often Biblical counseling is viewed as an outdated method not only in secular world but also within the Christian counseling arena. Many people think that Biblical counseling means simply prescribing few Bible passages as an answer to human problems. Or they go on to label Biblical counseling as a reductionist approach. Both are wrong conclusions. Biblical counseling goes to the source (God, His word and the Spirit of God) to bring restoration not solution.

In his article “The bondage of sin” Ed Welch brings out the deepest truth about human condition and sin. A care giver should meditate on the biblical theme “United with Christ” to understand the power of the gospel that restore people. What a great privilege and opportunity to bring hope and healing to our clients through this theme!

In my Psychiatric practice many patients that I counseled over the years often describe their problem as “identity crisis”, “guilt” or “unable to move on”. For these kinds of sufferers I see a good source of counseling embedded in the book of Ephesians. The problem and solution mentioned in Eph 2:3 and 4:19 applies also to the problem of addictions. The core or root cause is explained as our sinful heart never finding satisfaction in what we repeatedly consume. We can explain all addictive behavior with this whereas popular de- addiction programs like AA or NA do not see it as such or address these as issues of the heart.  Ed goes further to explain that addiction is a ‘worship disorder’ i.e., replacing the living God the creator with created beings or objects.

Secular psychology’s approach to deal with this problem is reinforcing self-confidence of the counselee with more self-knowledge, more self-esteem, more self-love, more positive changes in environment, more extended holidays and the like all of which in effect are different forms of self-worship. As a biblical counselor we need to see the inadequacy and inefficacy of this approach in the long run. In the second chapter we see why sin separates us. I have heard many patients sharing their hopelessness and loneliness. Dr Ed explains the connection between interpersonal alienation and Godward alienation. Christ brings reconciliation to God first. Reconciliation to people is an outcome of this reconciliation with God (verse 2:16).

Ed brings into the light three things that operate in all of us: world, flesh and the Devil. He calls the world “Church of the dead” and “corporate flesh”. How can we bring this realization to the counselee? Ephesians 1:1 to 4:24 offer wonderful insights into our new self in Christ by answering the question, who are we? Ephesians chapter 4 to 6 explains solution to the problem of sin. We can take our clients through chapters 4 to 6 over a few weeks and address specific counseling issues by connecting them to the message of Ephesians in the larger context of the spiritual warfare and the resource we have in Christ Jesus to face it. Ephesians offers a great counseling approach to guide our clients gently at the same time truthfully.

Foot notes: This is a comprehensive reflection on the article “The Bondage of Sin “from Dr Edward Welch. For more insight please read full article.

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