What would you like your local Baptist Christian counselor to understand?
Many Lutheran pastors find it challenging to know who to refer their beloved parishioners to for psychological, marital, or family counseling. Many pastors strive to find competent local Christian counselors to refer to, but very few Christian counselors are Lutheran or understand Lutheran distinctions. Most counselors in the USA who are Christians probably come from a Baptist, Calvinist, or Roman Catholic mindset. As you’ve probably seen from earlier blogs, I am writing a book entitled Making Christian Counseling More Christ-Centered. In it I hope to share with non-Lutheran Christian counselors the importance of properly distinguishing Law and Gospel when Christian counselees have concomitant spiritual issues with their psychological disorders (which I would assert is very often).
If you had 30 minutes in which to engage ten local non-Lutheran Christian counselors in your area (or ten minutes to engage 30 of them), what would you emphasize? What would you encourage them to read? What questions would you ask them? What would you ask them to know for the sake of your parishioners?
I’ve had many opportunities for such conversations in my circles since the 1980s. Fifteen years ago I was having a conversation with one Baptist counselor friend. He agreed to read the condensed version of Walther, God’s Yes and God’s No. A few days later he came back, excitedly shaking the book in my face, saying “You’re right, you Lutherans do take an EXTREME position on GRACE!” It changed the way he did counseling and even led to a constitutional revision in his congregation. Another conservative Methodist friend was less convinced of our grace position during our early conversations. But then, years later, after he was the director of counseling for an influential fundamentalist college with legalistic professors and students, he told me that now he understands the importance of grace in counseling.
What would you want counselors like these to know? I think having a blog conversation about this will help us all to clarify how to speak to our non-Lutheran counselors. It might also help me improve a book that I hope will help them.