Evangelism in Counseling for the Glory of God
- Monday, March 28, 2005
Rev. Johnny J. Touchet has been my chief mentor in the area of biblical counseling. He developed a practical means of evangelizing those counselees who come for help but don't know Christ. He and I collaborated together in writing this article. His biblical method grounded in Gal. 5:19-23, which he calls "The Tree," is highlighted herein. We hope it will be helpful to you.
The disciplines of evangelism and counseling are regarded by most to be vastly different in both theory and method. However, a biblical understanding of the disciplines reveals the congruity of the two. The purpose of this article is to ground our understanding of evangelism and counseling in the Scriptures that the reader might understand their interconnectedness in relation to the glory of God. The concept of the glory of God comes into play here because that dynamic is ultimate.
D. T. Niles rightly noted that "evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread." Could not counseling be described in the same way? Let us examine then, the glory of God in counseling and the need of humankind in counseling. We will close with a synthesis of these two dynamics, that is, some practical application regarding evangelism in counseling.
First, there is the glory of God in counseling. The primary focus, in biblical terms, in evangelism is the glory of God in the lives of individuals. This focus is the missionary goal. Missionaries are sent to the people groups of the world with the message of hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. While the conversion of those who do not know Christ is of paramount importance, behind the goal of conversion is the desire to see those who do not know Christ come to know Him that they might worship Him in Spirit and in truth. In other words, as John Piper has pointed out, because unbelievers do not worship Christ, we go with the purpose of making worshippers of the true and living God.
We engage in this activity that God might be glorified among the nations. A thorough-going understanding of evangelism and/or missions in biblical terms must include the notion that the ultimate goal in such activity is the glory of God. Paul wrote in Rom. 15:8-12: "For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, 'Therefore I will give praise to Thee among the Gentiles, and I will sing to Thy name.' And again he says, 'Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.' And again, 'Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise Him.' And again Isaiah says, 'There shall come the root of Jesse, and He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, in Him shall the Gentiles hope.'" Paul affirmed that Christ came that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.
Second, there is the need of humankind in counseling. The question arises, "Does the above understanding of evangelism have any connection with counseling?" Most people who come for counseling are not coming because they sense their need for a Savior. They come for counseling because they hurt. We, as God's spokespersons, should understand that so often the people who come to us have never been truly converted. We of all people should understand that their first need is to become worshippers of the true and living God.
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