Pastoral counseling is a personalized dimension of shepherding the flock of God, conducted as a ministry of the Word in the overall context of the life and ministry of the church, with a view to seeing Christ more fully formed in the one to whom we are ministering.
2. Identifying a vital Distinction
As with the subject of preaching, we must make a very clear distinction between the basic precepts and principles which should regulate our pastoral counseling, and the outworking of those principles which will take on elements from our own distinct humanity and Christian experience. 3. A two-fold answer to an obvious Question
a. The problem of availability
b. The problem of full compatibility
4. An explanation concerning the Content of these lectures
Unit I: An Overview of Pastoral Counseling
I. The NECESSITY for Pastoral Counseling
A. The biblical description of the duties of the pastoral office and function demands it.
Acts 20:28, with verse 31
1 Thess. 2:9-10
1 Tim. 3:4-5
John Calvin, Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: The Acts of the Apostles, vol. II, (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977), p. 175.
Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry, (Edinburgh, Banner of Truth Trust, 2006), p. 343.
B. The inevitable results of effective pastoral preaching will precipitate it. The man who paves a way into the hearts of his people by solid instruction in and close application of the Word of God in compassion and earnestness, has also paved a path to his study door.
C. The peculiar circumstances of our culture at this time intensify the need for it.
2 Tim. 3:1
II. The Proper Place or Relative Priority of Pastoral Counseling.
Four major axioms fix its proper place.
AXIOM #1 – As a general rule, do not allow the demands of pastoral counseling to erode the disciplines essential to consistent, solid, fruitful, public teaching and preaching of the Word of God.
John C. Ryle, Christian Leaders of the 18 Century, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2002), pp. 168-169.
AXIOM #2 – Do not allow the demands of pastoral counseling with people who have chronic problems to erode the time available for positive constructive pastoral influence.
AXIOM #3 – Do not allow current ministerial trends and fads to dictate your practice and emphasis upon pastoral counseling.
1 Chr. 12:32
a. The present emphasis upon pastoral counseling has been nurtured in a climate in which biblical preaching has been at a low ebb.
b. The present emphasis upon pastoral counseling has been nurtured in the context of the judgment of God upon a God-rejecting society.
(1) A word of admonition
(2) A word of counsel
(3) A word of observation
c. The present emphasis upon pastoral counseling tends to make a man feel incompetent unless he has had specialized formal training in this area.
2 Tim. 3:16-17
1 Cor. 6:6
AXIOM #4 – do not forget that it is in all other aspects of ministerial function there will is a exist a great diversity of aptitude and extent of usefulness in pastoral counseling.