What You'll Discover in this Episode:

Current Trends In the

Biblical Counseling Movement*

In this episode of the Biblical Counseling Podcast, we invite you to, "Search the Scriptures..." Acts 17:11.

What are the current trends in the Biblical Counseling movement? 

*This episode is a commentary of discussion, articles and books sourced from  Psychoheresy Awareness Ministries

Jeremiah 17:9-10. This verse describes hearts that contaminate every issue. In counseling session, a counselee is often given freedom to talk about sins of others that are not present. And here, counselors can be self-deceived in their importance in the lives of fellow believers. We can be guilty of sinning by permitting others to sin through their speaking or writing.

Words are powerful. James 3:2, James 3:6, James 3:

It's important to know the devastating nature of some of the sinful statement made by counselors and counselees. Words can carry great destructive power and can reveal a person's conviction. Words can poison the soul of both speaker and his audience. The fire kindled by the tongue can start with the spark of gossip and tale-bearing and can lead to misunderstanding, ill-feelings, acrimony, and bitterness. This destroys people’s privacy and grows a wildfire.

How important is our conversation with one another?

In the Bible, individuals are to communicate with each other. Jesus Christ taught about the significance of words as in Matthew 12:35-37, “…by words you shall be justified and by your words you shall be condemned.” And He said this to the pharisees.

Idle and careless words can:

  • Tear down relationships
  • Can demean friendships
  • Can end marriage relationships

This can be evident in social media where it’s unrestraint.  We’re living in an age of outrage among Christian people. Hurt feelings, anger, frustration, self-protection, victim mentality, sinful responses to criticism and people.

We should not listen to this. Shred any written sinful conversation. Delete it. Pause that conversation. Deal with the person themselves and do not indulge in sinful speaking.

Listen to the full episode and share your thoughts with the community.


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  • This podcast is very convicting but also challenges those of us who are called to be Biblical Counselors. As a Biblical counselor you want to let the person seeking soul care to speak their heart and share their hurts and struggles. But it can lead to that evil speaking against someone they are struggling with. This is where the “biblical” in counselors comes into play. A biblical counselors has be filled with the word and just as Pastor Jeff encourages us to be that Berean in Act 17:11, and search the scriptures in order to find truth. If we are to be a beacon of light it is cruical that we don’t lead someone down the path of darkness by allowing them to sin by the words that proceed from their tongues. This podcast has been really opened my mind and heart to changing how I counsel and help those who are seeking soul care. My heart to help and not cause more pain. I pray for forgiveness for sinning by allowing this kind of counseling creep in and for Godly wisdom to help me grow into that Berean that honors and seek Godly truth. Thanks you Pastor Jeff.

    • We are all growing in wisdom in this counseling effort, MichelleR. We make mistakes and we learn. I know I have made plenty myself. Experienced and Godly men like Pastor Jeff are pouring themselves into us and helping us to grow in wisdom.

      • Thank your for your encouraging words. This is my goal to draw closer to the Lord. This will enable me to discern “evil speaking” and help guide the counsele to use their words the will bless and honor God.

    • Michelle, one thing which came to mind while listening to the Podcast and reading the posts on this subject was the song “All Who Are Thirsty” All who are thirsty, All who are weak. Come to the fountain Dip your heart in the streams of life Let the pain and the sorrow Be washed away In the waves of his mercy As deep cries out to deep, we sing. Legitimate folks are coming to us with hurts and pains as you stated in your post correctly. Most want help, a small percentage might just want a gossip session. It’s a fine line we walk.

      You are correct we should not allow folks to go down a sinfully path by allowing them to spew gossip, hearsay etc. in a counselling session. We need to be mindful of how powerful and destructive the tongue is and can be. The book of James describes it well. James 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles.

      • Thank for your insight. I am in agreement with you. It is very vital that as biblical counselors we set ourselves apart from secular wisdom and knowledge, and bring to hope and soul care that is needed.

      • YES! My morning meditation was on this verse, James 3:5, so I was delighted that the podcast touched on the topic. While words can be spoken and easily forgotten about by the speaker, it is important to remember that once they leave our mouth we have lost control of their weight on another (positive or negative). Someone may make a flippant comment or engage in gossip and not have any idea how those words sit with another….or who they end up travelling to. We are ultimately known by our doings and our words represent what is really on our heart.

  • This is a very needful podcast for us who are counseling people. First is the principle of keeping the circle as small as possible. It is best to not involve anymore people than what is necessary to get people moving in the right direction. All too often bringing other people into the circle for “prayer and advice” ends up creating a gossip circle. Keep the number of people involved to a minimum for the most effective results.
    I have found that it is best to spend a little bit of time in the beginning to get a history of the problem and then quickly move into a mode of problem solving. Dwelling too long in the history of the problems will just foster more bitterness and unforgiveness. Getting the needy party or parties on the road to scripture reading, faithful church attendance, putting others first, etc., will be much more effective in the long run,

    • Hi Harry, yes that is very important to get the needy party moving in the right direction salvation, scripture, worship, fellowship. Dwelling on the past only brings more frustration, bitterness and yes gossip. Thanks for sharing.

    • Harry; I agree with you this is a needful wake up call to the body of Christ in the are of counselling. I like your statement concerning dwelling too long in an area. You are correct when you said it would eventually lead into a gossip or grip session concerning, a fellow believer, friend, spouse or pastors. And your last sentence in your statement is spot on my friend hit the nail on the head. Then sooner the better it is for all involved to involve the word of God as soon as possible.

    • Yes. I worked with a group of women for some time, and the “prayer and advice” circle did turn into a mini “gossip” circle. I had a hard time being apart of the group because of the amount of talking. Thank you for your advice to keep the circle as small as possible; and I appreciate that reminder to be quick to lead them to Christ.

    • Hi Harry, I agree with you on keeping the circle as small as possible. I’ve been involved in group counseling sessions that so quickly turn into a gossip session filled with self-righteousness. I’ve been convicted of my self-righteous behavior and attitude as well. May the Lord continue to search my heart and mind and cleanse me of any self-righteous or blasphemous words against another person.

    • I agree! I have found in myself that concentrating on fixing my sinful attitudes, reactions or feelings is most often the solution to what I think is a problem with others. Walking in the Spirit makes what we used to consider “problems” no longer “problems” but instead viewed as challenges that are overcome victoriously through Christ who gives us strength.

  • I think at times we can all be like the man at the pool of Bethesda John 5:1-9Jesus asked him “do he wanted to be well? The man began to complain that there was no one to help him. And that started his complaining about not making it in time when the water was stirred. Because of sin we all have that problem blame shifting. Lately my thoughts have been that we have been created in the image of God, Genesis 1:27. I am a house wife with many duties and one is to care for my elderly mother in law. At times I have found myself stumbling with my words(James 3), and confessing my sin (1 John 1:9). Gods word reminds me to be holy as He is holy, moving forward and to speak life to her this helps me and her not to be so frustrated with the things she can no longer do. Thanks for your podcast it is a help and a reminder that whatever God calls us to it is important and we must always strive to do it well.

    • Thank you Sheila, I have been convicted of my sin of blame-shifting. Now that I identify as a child of God the blame-shifting is no longer an option in my heart. I’m truly seeking God in every word I speak as I find myself stumbling over my words unless they are holy and worthy of the Lord for His good purpose in my communication.

  • Biblical Counseling should be just that, counseling which brings, and points the person to the word of God. Thus, allowing the word of God to work from the inside out. Pastor Romaine, who for years was Pastor Chuck’s assistant pastor I have been told would console folks at Costa Mesa by giving them Pastor Chuck’s teaching tapes after hearing the person problem. He would hand them the tape and tell them to go listen to it.

    It is essential as counselors to bring that person to the living waters, just as Jesus did while He was sitting at the well talking to the Samaritan woman. Why is the person coming to see the counselor in the first place? I believe we need to keep the main thing the main thing, it’s easier said than done sometimes, however don’t allow them to wander off down rabbit trails, which will lead into a gossip session.

    Listening to the Podcast and reading the first chapter in “How People Change by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp, states there is a gospel gap which will eventually be filled with something. Whether it’s filled by the Word of God or things of the world. Self-righteousness is very dangerous to the believer as well as the body of Christ. We cannot allow hearsay, rumors wicked talebearing to enter the counselling session.

    • I like your comment about self righteousness. People coming for help are often already caught up in defending themselves by taking the high road. The last thing they need to see is a self righteous attitude from the counselor. As a counselor I have no answers, but the Spirit of God does and that is where we need to take those seeking help.

    • I like how you brought up the woman at the well, I had to read the story in John 4 to refresh myself. I love how quickly Jesus is able to get into her heart: First with the water, then with her life, and then with her spiritual life, and ends by declaring He is the messiah.
      The pride of being the wise one to the counselee was also a good warning for me, as I do get huffed and puffed on my own little pedestal sometimes. It’s never a good place to be because it will fall, and when it does, I get hurt and it may hurt others! Speech is a big one for me to humble myself before the Lord before I say something with my untamed tongue.

  • Thank you Jeff for expressing your conviction in this matter. I can agree, as a student that watched the mock up counseling session, there were many little things that I picked up on that I found “distasteful.” Though, I always have to remember to pull the planks out of my eyes first, as I know I am a sucker for certain details.
    As I think about counseling others, I had to ask “Would I have any ‘speech/conversational’ boundaries?” and I think those would be hard to implement, but they would lay a foundation that I would hope could keep the counselee and myself focused on the main issue, to keep either of us from getting sidetracked on side stories.
    I know for my own life, I have said many things that should not have been said or thought about, and it’s hard to be reconciled after them. There is forgiveness in Christ, but there are also consequences to my sin, and I have learned those the hard way. My heart has deceived me, and I would like to encourage others to really open up before the Lord and seek His counsel, He knows the truth of the heart and His Spirit can convict whatever needs conviction.

    • I love your openness “I am a sucker for certain details”, I can relate. I, like you, asked my self similar questions, “what would be my boundaries and how would I implement them without discouraging them?”. This podcast brings so much valuable information but also leaves me with many “how to” questions.

      • Amen. It really gets your gears turning on how to better my Christian walk with others in a way that is holy and pleasing to God, but also allows for them to be completely open.

    • Kayla, I relate, and have said many things that I have repented over.Our tongues are like a little member that boasts great things and can defile the whole body(James 3:5,6) and even the body of Christ. Grace is not an excuse for sin to abound. I am blessed to have received so much Mercy. Boundaries for speaking are not just for the counseling session but for everyday. I am in the Psalm 34 and the the first verse is “ I will bless the LORD at all times His Praise shall be continually in my mouth”. I pray that I will sing His praises for all eternity and that when situations arise that I need to help others that my ears are tuned in to hear the spirit for wisdom and direction and that my tongue will speak Gods word. Thanks for sharing.

  • There is a gospel gap in Christian Counseling referred as PsychoBlasphemy, which is one of the most deceptive and devastating alternatives to the Gospel, new life in Christ, Word of God, and the inner work of the Holy Spirit is made up of man-devised psychological means and methods of studying the soul and dealing with the problems of living and human suffering. (Fieldhouse Jan 3, 2021). According to Jeff Christianson, as Biblical Counselors, one must be careful and not be encouraged in sinful communication. This is Blasphemy. The word blasphemy simply means slander, insult and any action or gesture that devalues another person or being, living or dead. This secular was made more specific where blasphemy means to insult, mock, or doubt the power of God. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” (Col. 2:8-10.).
    As I dig deeper into the problem were facing as counselors the ministry has been influenced world-wide. Thousands upon thousands of evangelical pastors are encouraged annually to visit psychologists for mental and moral adjustments when the Word of God fails! What does this mean? It means that when evangelical leaders turn to man for their needs, to them the Word of God has become second- or third-rate power. This is not the way to the cross: they are not evidence of the crucified life of Christ (Gal. 2:20). They are NOT even the old covenant of works. They are, indeed, another way, the author of which is the same one who asked Eve, “Yea, hath God said?”
    This is an abomination, a devilish evil: “I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me” (Psa. 101:3). I am angered to severe action over this matter; not just to state the evil of it, but from this point and onward to prove it utterly erroneous and to convince you mightily to have absolutely nothing whatever to do with it—no, not so much as to touch it with one of your little fingers, lest God judge you in That Day, when indeed He will arise and mete out to the entire blasphemous system the just deserts of its transgression.
    As I search the scriptures (Act 17:11 NKJV – 11) beginning my Journey into Biblical Counseling through the Word of God, I commit myself to never entertain any blasphemous word or gesture from those I counsel. But to cast out these blasphemes and receive the message as a chance to lead them to the holy living water of Jesus Christ.

    • Thank you for your insight and for sharing your journey. Im also very disturb to see how the church is allowing this blaspheme of truth into the body of Christ and called it godly. This is a lie from the enemy and we must be diligent in the word to be able to recognize it for what it is and not allow it into our counseling sessions.

    • Shauna; you make some excellent points, however, this statement in your post caught my attention, the first thing I did after reading it was, I asked myself; self why did it fail? Why in those people’s opinion did the word of God supposedly failed them?

      Your statement} “As I dig deeper into the problem were facing as counselors the ministry has been influenced world-wide. Thousands upon thousands of evangelical pastors are encouraged annually to visit psychologists for mental and moral adjustments when the Word of God fails!”

      The word of God has never failed me, Jesus has never, no never forsook me or abandoned me. Yes, when I sin, I have broken the relationship but there is a way to repair my relationship with the Lord. However, the word of God stands forever. In Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Are these pastors not applying the word of God or teaching the word of God correctly? Are the people hearing the word of God do they truly have a relationship with Jesus Christ? 1 Samuel 15:22 obedience is better than sacrifice.

      Why is the church turning away from the pure, healing word of God? Especially when we have this encouragement from 2 Peter 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
      5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

      Everything that pertains to life and godliness is wrapped up in His word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 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. Thank you for your post, why is the church turning away form its dependency for the word of God? I think its just that the church with its itchy ears is turning away for God’s word?

  • I’m so glad you bring this up Pastor, it is so easy for sin to creep in. The more I learn, the more I learn that I need Jesus because I can so easily sin without even knowing, even when I think I’m helping. Just a few weeks ago I would have thought that our job as a counselors was to listen, the more detail the better grasp I could get on their situation, and then to guide to scripture based on what the Holy Spirit put on my heart. I would have not really thought of it as gossip or as dishonoring. But through your recent podcasts I can understand how deceiving the devil is to creep into our sessions. Our God is omniscience, omnipresent and omnipotent, and it is He who is guiding me to guide them. That means all I need to know the basic information. For example, if a women goes in for counseling because her husband was unfaithful, all I need to know is that the act occurred and her feelings and reactions to it not how she found out, anything about the mistress, or details about the affair. That’s my understanding and please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Such valuable information, let us not be deceived!

    • Ericka – thank you for sharing. I love how you mention how easy it is to step into sin while just engaging in a simple conversation, and not even know it. I was asking a co-worker how her week was going today, in passing. She gave a full stop and said “I am so glad you asked because I am in the middle of something that I wanted to run by you to get your opinion on…”. She launched into telling me about a tense situation with her ex-husband. While I was willing to listen for a moment in the hopes I would be able to lend helpful insight, she wanted to read me some of their personal emails to outline her grievance. I stopped her and told her that was unnecessary as I didn’t feel comfortable with that. As her grievance seemed valid and her hurt was evident I asked her if she had prayed about it yet? Or for him? She is also a Christian. She said no and looked at me like prayer was a novel idea. All the while she was talking to me, I was talking to God asking for the right words for the moment. We prayed and later in the day we found time to listen to a sermon that I knew would be rightly timed in her life. We shared some scripture and both of us left feeling lifted up and refreshed in the HS. Isn’t is so funny how prayer seems like such a simple solution yet is not always the first tool we turn to?!

      • Yes, the solution is so simple yet we are to blinded to see it! I used to be the person so focused on my problem, looking for a word from everyone but God. It always does feel like you need to tell the complete story to prove your point, lol.

        I’m glad she had you to turn to. That’s why the body of Christ is so important, when we loose focus because the storm around us makes it hard for us to see, the lighthouse is there shining it’s light, directing us back to Jesus. Thank you for being that light that shined the way back to Jesus for your co-worker, great job!

  • Very educational podcast Pastor Jeff. I have been in the book of James myself and have felt the weight of words being damaging…for we can forgive unkind words but it is much more difficult to forget them. While a counseling setting should be one that a counselee feels comfortable and at ease to speak in, we have a duty to ourselves, and the people that we are trying to help, to set boundaries for the counseling setting. Just because someone being spoken about is not present in the room, doesn’t mean that if cruel words are spoken about them they do not cause harm. We are there to help others, not to be hurt in the process. There is tendency, when discussing personal issues, for projection and blame shifting. It is quite easy to blame others and far more difficult to take personal responsibility when things are not as we want them to be. Typically we like to examine the faults and actions of others before allowing ourselves to be put under the microscope. As biblical counselors we have a duty to protect ourselves as well as others from using malicious words, gossip, criticism and therefore stepping into sin. I have found success upon applying a tactic that I picked up from a previous class by Pastor Jeff. When I am counseling someone who begins to launch into trash talk about another person (or gossip of any kind) I adjust the focus from the other (not present party) back to the counselee. Try to become a mirror of sorts and ask them “Before we go any further into this issue – how much of the blame in this scenario is on YOU?” Afterall we are there, in the counseling setting, to discuss THEM…not others who are not present. If I can get the counselee to admit fault and/or take ANY portion of blame, more often than not it naturally flows into more of a conversation of how we are all sinners and no one is without blame, fault or sin. My takeaway from this podcast is that it is not just our tongue that we must be in control of but our ears as well. While we can pray and receive direction from God (before/during/after a counseling session) we must remember that we are ultimately responsible for our own actions or lack thereof. This podcast has allowed me to better understand the boundaries that I am comfortable working within and given me much food for thought in regards to self conduct and care in a counseling setting.

    • Hi Jessica , I think Jesus is a great example of listening. We are responsible for our own actions and being led by the spirit to walk in the spirit. The scripture says to confess Your(ownership of ) sin to one another and pray for one another(James 5:16). So I think it is good what you mentioned about turning the conversation back to make the counseled look at themselves so they can see their fault. I think it is important to set up boundaries in the counseling room( I am not a biblical counselor by the way) or in any situation that you are in. A pastor we had in years past shared with us a quote he uses when people begin to get on a tangent and that is “can we call this person to verify that statement?” As rough as that sounds 100% of the time it ended the gossip. Thanks for sharing.

  • Wow…so much to ponder on here. I believe this is why James opens up chapter three with these words, “My brethren, be not many masters/teachers (and I will add counselors), knowing that we will receive the greater condemnation” (James 3:1). It is true…we can sin by allowing others to sin in their corrupt communication during a counseling session.
    However, it is also true that we are dealing with people who have been deeply wounded, betrayed, deceived, abandoned (and the list goes on), most are harboring unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, regrets, and a strong, deep rooted animosity towards others.
    People do need a safe place to unload and share these unbearable burdens, it is important to verbally share with God how we feel, but Pastor Jeff is right, as leaders we must do this God’s way and according to God’s Word. As leaders we must stay in control of the session. The enemy is always trying to sneak in, and as you all know, different spirits are always popping their little heads up to cause confusion, and to keep hold of the captive. It is important that the counselor stay, prayed up, read up and Spirit led. This will keep us spiritually aware of those moments when the enemy presents an opportunity to get one into the flesh (usually the counselee is already there). The greatest gift that one can have in helping others (outside of the Spirit of the Lord) is the gift of discernment. The Holy Spirit will prompt us when we are to stop and redirect the conversation. I remember that when I was first being discipled/counseled, I was often shut down in my conversation. This upset me at the time and I became offended. I know now that the man discipling me was wanting me to be honest with myself, to quit blaming others, to focus on my faults and shortcomings/sins, and not on the faults and shortcomings/sins of others. Never did he allow me to gossip, nor did he ever engage in any type of gossip.

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