Spiritual or Secular

By: W.P. “Ab” Abercrombie, Ph.D.Crown of thorns

Over the past three decades, the Church has largely forsaken its mandate to counsel and restore its people. Rather than a function of ministry, counseling is more commonly viewed as a professional endeavor, requiring psychological training, offered outside the Church, through a community provider. With the development of this orientation, the Body of Christ has come to adopt a secular worldview regarding behavior, emotion, and relationships. Further, we have come to apply the world’s solutions to issues that require kingdom empowerment.

In Scripture, the world is never defined as a reliable source of wisdom, nor does it offer patterns worthy of emulation. Paul wrote:

“Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”  (1 Cor 1:20 )

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Marriage God’s Way: The Husband’s Call

By: Dr. Ab and Karen AbercrombieWedding hands

Excerpt taken from Christian Shrinks Answer ALL Your Questions…(No Couch Required), Xulon Press, 2005

What does the Bible say about the role of the husband in the home?

Biblically, the man is called to be the priest of his home.  He is directed to love, honor, protect, and lead; indeed he is held to a very high standard of accountability.  One of the first instructions given to the husband is the most basic, yet the most demanding:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. (Eph 5:25)

This scripture is a powerful calling.  It is an instruction to minister to our home as Christ ministered to the church.  If we are to love as Jesus loved, then we are to be close and active, not distant and passive.

There was nothing passive about our Lord’s love for us.  God could have loved us from the heavens, but instead drew near and demonstrated His love in an active, behavioral expression.

Jesus touched (Matt 8:1-3); He healed (Matt 14:14); He instructed (Mark 10:1); He provided (Mark 6:37-44); He prayed (John 17:13-21); He forgave (Matt 9:2); He resisted temptation (Heb 4:15); He served (Mark 10:45); and finally, He sacrificed all (John 19:30).

Using our Savior as the template of comparison, allow us to inquire:

  • Do you touch your wife as Jesus touched?  His touch was filled with understanding and compassion.  It was a touch that gave but did not take.  Touching your wife physically in this way assures her of your commitment and love for her (2 Cor 7:3).
  • When your wife is in pain, do you promote healing?  Our wives need to know they can bring their injuries and needs to us.  They need us to be engaged, interested, and invested in reestablishing their peace (Gal 6:2).
  • As the spiritual leader of the home, is your study of God’s Word faithful so that you can instruct and encourage your wife? A man cannot feed others unless he is fed.  Your fervent attention to learning the Bible will allow you to lead your family from a Christian worldview and will transform not only your message but also your heart (Heb 4:12, 1 Cor 14:35).
  • Are you providing for your family’s financial needs and security?  So many families today are overburdened by debt and commitments beyond their means, creating tremendous stress.  Financial problems are cited as the second leading cause of divorce.  Fiscal responsibility and leadership from the husband is central to protecting the home (1 Tim 5:8).
  • Are you in prayer for your wife and with your wife?  Do you make it a priority to lift her needs to God and to share the intimacy of prayer together?  Research tells us that less than 1 percent of couples who regularly pray together get divorced (Jas 5:16).
  • Do you forgive as Christ forgave?  Can you resolve and release the issues that divide you, or do you harbor them in your heart, allowing anger and sin to take root?  Studies tell us that the capacity to forgive is fundamental to the maintenance of good healthy relationships (Eph 4:26-27).
  • When temptation comes, what do you do?  There is no safe level of thought or deed when it comes to sin.  Any compromise or concession made by the man will affect his family (Gal 5:9). Boundaries are essential if we are to preserve the marital covenant.  We must actively pursue God’s cover and protection for our homes on a daily basis (Eph 6:10-18).
  • How do you serve your bride?  Whether in small matters or large, serving our wives is one of the foremost ways to demonstrate honor.  It expresses consideration, it defines her as valuable, and it produces a climate of mutual respect and loyalty.  Do something unexpected that reminds her of her precious place in your life (John 13:14-15).
  • Finally, is your love sacrificial?  Jesus gave everything for those entrusted to His care, and husbands are called to do the same (Luke 9:23). What can you sacrifice today that will bless your wife?  Is it time at work, hours watching T.V., attitudes or ambitions, behaviors or habits?  If it limits or injures the marriage, it needs to go.

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Ethics in Ministry and Counseling

By: Dr. David Penley, Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and BCI Faculty Member. The link below will take you to a recent Webinar presented by Dr. Penley on the topic of Ministerial Ethics. It is a presentation relevant to all areas of ministry and specifically to the ministry of biblical counseling. … Read More

Relief in the Midst of Remedy

By: Pastor Larry Creamer I recently spoke at the Lawrence Christian Fellowship on the Lawrence University campus in Appleton, Wisconsin.  The students in the fellowship have a theme of service this year and gave me the assignment of speaking from Exodus 16. The chapter gives the account of the Israelites a month and a half … Read More

Marriage God’s Way: The Wife’s Call

By: Dr. Ab and Karen AbercrombiePre-marriage bride & groom hold hands

Excerpt taken from: CHRISTIAN SHRINKS Answer ALL Your Questions…(No Couch Required), Xulon Press, 2005.

THE WOMAN’S CALL

What does the Bible say about the wife’s role in the marriage and home?

God’s Word tells us that the wife is indeed unique, created in a manner unlike any other creature.  Do you realize that God spoke the world and all its creatures into existence?  He made man from the dust of the earth brought to life by His very breath.  But, God created woman from the rib of man.  God didn’t do this because he needed a spare part!   We see this as the ultimate expression of intimacy between a man and woman, and it reflects the Creator’s plan for oneness in the marital bond (Gen 2:1-25).

God could have created woman through any means, but He chose this rendering of life so that man and woman were forever to be “one flesh” (Gen 2:24).  This reality does away with the idea that husbands and wives are to be independent of one another.  Instead we are to relate in an interdependent way.  Each is different, yet each bears gifts and strengths central to the union.  Remove the idea from your mind that dependency is bad.  God requires our dependency on Him and has joined husband and wife in just such a manner.  Early in Genesis, God describes the primary role of woman:

“…I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Gen 2:18b)

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Repentance and Forgiveness in the Family

Couple argue back to back Dr. Ab Abercrombie

Actions and behaviors are damaging. Things said and done between people often provoke emotions that are hurtful, even destructive, over time. Often, it is the root of bitterness and unforgiveness that lies at the core of unresolved issues and without attention, can deceive and destroy the peace of our relationships. Unforgiveness undermines:

  • Our relationship with God and places us in a state of disobedience.
  • Our communication with loved ones and provokes a state of disharmony.
  • Our self-awareness building instead a response of righteous indignation that becomes impenetrable and condemning over time.
  • Our willingness to reconcile, resting instead in our “right” to feel as we do, justifying the return of sin for sin, reviling for reviling, and evil for evil.

The Bible is clear concerning this topic…the heart condition of unforgiveness is unacceptable to the LORD who calls believers to display His character and standards toward others. Jesus said:

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matt. 6:14-15).

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Review of “Wonderful Counselor: A Return to Truth”

Wonderful Counselor: A Return to Truth by Dr. Ab Abercrombie and Rev. Kerry Skinner. The review is authored by Dr. Paul Martin Henebury, President of Veritas School of Theology in Granbury, Texas (www.inquiroveritas.com). We are grateful indeed to receive such a powerful and positive endorsement. I think this is one of the very best introductions … Read More

The Impact of Biblical Counseling

Valley Baptist Church Biblical counseling is having a significant impact toward fulfilling our purpose of “Preparing People to Meet Jesus” here at Valley Baptist Church.  This is taking place on three distinct levels. First, we now have about 16 people who either have completed or are working toward certification in biblical counseling in a congregation … Read More

The Danger of Relying on Emotions…

 

By: Pastor Larry Creamer & Dr. Ab AbercrombieWoman dazed

In a recent seminar entitled, “The Dangers of Relying on Our Emotions,” two questions were posed to the group before the instruction began: “What was the emotion you experienced most strongly today” and “What emotion do you struggle with the most on a day-to-day basis?” Take into consideration the group was comprised of committed Christians, church leaders and staff, and most were either graduates or students within a biblical counseling program.

The result of this inquiry was interesting indeed, if not startling. Answers were submitted anonymously and totaled by the instructor. Out of the 31 responses, only eight conveyed a positive emotion as the dominant feeling of the day. Most reported included joy, peace, thankfulness, and happiness.

The 23 remaining answers were surprisingly negative. Frustration, anger, anxiety, fear, stress, shame, and regret were the dominant themes.  How, we asked, could the Body of Christ, be so miserable? How in the presence and provision of our Lord and Savior could these feelings become the central experiences of a routine day of living?

The apostle Paul wrote:

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1).

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The Problem of Anger

By:Dr. W.P. “Ab” AbercrombieAngry man red shirt

Anger has become so commonplace in our world that we have fallen prey to the idea that it is a normal, even useful, condition. We have slowly shaped its definition into something more palatable and acceptable, while ignoring its seductive and controlling capacities. Regrettably, like many other elements of the world, anger is considered a reasonable and ordinary human reaction within the Body of Christ. But how has something so physically and relationally toxic, been weaved into our daily standard?

The psychological notions of health and normalcy have hypnotized Christians. Many issues that were previously addressed within a biblical context now are infused with humanism based upon the experience and report of the world and its authorities. Regarding anger, many Christians have come to believe that:

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