“Counseling is a theological discipline.”
This opening line of A Theology of Biblical Counseling has the potential of being quite controversial, as it draws a line between biblical counseling and other methods of counseling. In the following pages of A Theology of Biblical Counseling, Dr. Heath Lambert details why counseling is, in fact, a theological discipline, how counseling has been theological throughout history, and why it is important for Christians to recognize the theological significance of counseling.
Heath Lambert is the Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, and Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. He formerly served as an Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College. Dr. Lambert has extensive experience in the field of biblical counseling, giving him credibility in the field to write a book such as this one.
Throughout A Theology of Biblical Counseling, Dr. Lambert skillfully argues for the sufficiency of Scripture in all of life, including counseling. Lambert unpacks the core theological convictions that biblical counselors hold to, and he provides sound, practical wisdom for counselors today.
A Theology of Biblical Counseling is a helpful book that unpacks the core theological convictions that underlie sound counseling, and practical wisdom for counseling today. Dr. Lambert shows how biblical counseling is rooted in the Scriptures while illustrating challenges that counselors face by utilizing stories from the counseling room. Dr. Lambert does this by sharing real counseling cases that he has faced (with the names changed for privacy!) and leading the reader through his process for counseling and showing how Scripture has brought about real and lasting change for the counselees. It is helpful to read these cases to learn practical application, as well as to see that biblical counseling methods do work!
In A Theology of Biblical Counseling, Dr. Lambert compares biblical counseling to Christian counseling to give readers an overview of the differences. Christian and biblical counselling are often thought to be “one and the same”, but there are vast differences: biblical counselors rely fully on Scripture to counsel their counselees, whereas Christian counselors often turn to secular scientific methods to try to address the problem at hand. While there are vast differences between biblical counselors and Christian counselors, Lambert points out five essential areas where biblical and Christian counselors do agree. The main area where biblical counselors and Christian counselors disagree is when it comes to the use of psychology to help counselees. While Lambert says that biblical counselors and Christian counselors agree that psychologists make true (and often helpful!) observations, he later says that biblical counselors and Christian counselors disagree on the necessity of using secular, scientific methods to help people.
A Theology of Biblical Counseling is a great introduction book to those wishing to study counseling, specifically biblical counseling. It is helpful to understand why this is a theological discipline, and I think Dr. Lambert does an excellent job of showing that theology is not only the knowledge of God, but it is powerful to transform hearts and minds. This makes A Theology of Biblical Counseling an optimal resource, in my mind, for training biblical counselors and training Christians who want to counsel (whether formal or informal) in their church. I highly recommend A Theology of Biblical Counseling for anyone who wants to understand more about the biblical counseling movement, or anyone who is looking to understand how they can counsel better.
Lambert, Heath. A Theology of Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016. 352pp. Hardcover, $24.99.
Visit the publisher’s page.
Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy!