Biblical Counseling with Children and Adolescents

Biblical Counseling with Children and Adolescents offers focused, specialized training for helping children and teens between the ages of six (6) and eighteen (18). The student is given specialized training on matters of childhood development and the unique challenges that come with this population. Much emphasis is given to the process of helping parents in … Read More

Biblical Counseling with Individuals

Biblical Counseling with Individuals expands upon the basic principles offered in the introductory class. With a focus on individual spiritual, emotional, relational, and behavioral concerns, the student is trained in specific techniques of care in a one-to-one relationship of discipleship, education, and counseling. Common issues of depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties, grief, anger, and addiction are … Read More

Briarwood Presbyterian Church…Biblical Counseling Conference

Briarwood Presbyterian Church, in Birmingham, Alabama, will hold its annual Biblical Counseling Conference June 29-30, 2018, at the Briarwood church campus. There will be a number of great speakers and topics for your growth as a biblical counselor. Karen and I hope our students will take advantage of this tremendous learning opportunity. BRIARWOOD SUMMER COUNSELING … Read More

Introduction to Biblical Counseling

Introduction to Biblical Counseling is the first required course for all students. The course introduces the student to basic concepts of Biblical counseling including problem identification and definition, treatment planning, and counseling techniques and intervention with individuals and families in crisis. Students are trained in the direct application of Scripture to specific problem areas, the … Read More

Certificate Program in Biblical Counseling

The Body of Christ is called to restore the fallen (Gal 6:1-2) and evangelize the lost (Matt 28:18-19). Join us for this important training that helps the Church answer its biblical mandate to “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2).

Forest Lake Bible Church

Dr. Abercrombie will be preaching at the morning worship service beginning at 10:30 am. We hope to see you there!

Be Anxious For Nothing…

Dr. Ab Abercrombie

Anxiety can be a confounding and debilitating force in one’s life…and believers are not immune to its affect. Consequently, anxiety is often referenced as the reason for entering counseling. Most who become overwhelmed by this issue have tried numerous approaches before contacting a counselor including prayer, Bible study, and other Christian disciplines. Yet they enter biblical counseling discouraged, fearful, and filled with self-condemnation centered upon what many refer to as a lack of faith.

Other believers have taken a secular approach to anxiety, seeking relief through psychotherapy, medication, hypnosis, and other stress management approaches. Worldly approaches often focus upon external factors and circumstances rather than the fearful heart of an individual. And, there is a growing attitude that excessive anxiety is biochemical, and can only be the managed medically. And while these approaches can yield temporal relief, they offer nothing that is spiritually curative.

The biblical counselor must not be overtaken by the horizontal clutter surrounding this matter. Rather, we must receive the counselee in whatever state they arrive for this divine assignment. It is not our role to rebuke the counselee for a worldly orientation or for the use of secular remedies. At the same time, we must be very careful not to endorse or promote anything but a spiritual/biblical plan of care and counsel.

The frustration sufferers feel concerning anxiety is real, and very likely, lengthy in its history. To intervene biblically will require much perseverance, holding always to the sufficiency of Scripture as our foundation and guide. Transformation and not relief, is our objective…looking for the natural byproduct of God’s Word changing the nature of an individual, rather than providing a temporal respite that does not endure. As Jesus taught the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well:

“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (Jn 4:13b-14).

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Homosexuality: The Bible And Science Actually Agree

Dr. Ab AbercrombieSad Teen Boy

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error (Rom 1:24-27).

 The Bible on Homosexuality

Romans 1 defines the product of man’s unbelief. The disregard for truth and the rejection of God’s authority, leads to increasing depravity, absent any constraint that would inhibit the expression of one’s personal desire. Paul writes that in response; “…God gave them over” to lust, impurity, and degrading passions, wherein they would suffer the “due penalty of their error.”

Notice that within this discussion, homosexuality and lesbianism are specifically referenced as “unnatural” expressions; products of having been given over to “degrading passions.” God clearly denotes that such actions are not of His design; a reaffirmation of Old Testament warnings (Lev. 19:20). This truth is hard for some to accept and a spiritual war has erupted in opposition to its reality.

According to LGBT advocates, homosexuality, lesbianism, and transgenderism are innate, natural conditions that are scientifically verifiable. For years we have heard about scientific studies that confirm the biological, medical, and genetic reality that same sex attraction and gender dysphoria are normal, unchangeable, expressions of nature that should be acknowledged and accepted within our culture. Any other view has been labeled biased, hateful, and archaic. This referenced “research” has supposedly trumped Christian conviction and biblical truth with scientific evidence.

This would mean that God created and gave life to what He defined as unnatural, indecent, degrading, and impure. It would mean that God intended for humans to engage in this aberrant conduct that stands in opposition to His Word. And finally, it would mean that God has contradicted Himself, canceling His specific revelation of Scripture through the general revelation of nature, affirmed by human generated science. But we must recall this truth:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone (Jas 1:13).

 God “does not tempt anyone”. Therefore, according to His nature, God could not create an individual with a passion and temptation for anything He has defined as “unnatural.” God is not the author and creator of sin. Instead, sin is the rebellious expression of the human heart in opposition to God’s holiness (Mk 7:20-23). Belief and surrender to God through Christ Jesus our Lord brings life (Eph 4:5), while sin is progressive and always ends in death.

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren (Jas 1:14-16). 

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The Language of Scripture…

Dr. Ab Abercrombie

Thanks to the proliferation of television, self-help books, and the Internet, many counselees have researched their individual conditions and concerns before making an appointment for biblical counseling. As a result, many will enter counseling using secular, psychological, and even medical terms to describe their complaints. Often this terminology is applied to others instead of self, as the individual counselee seeks to describe his/her circumstance.

Some examples I have heard within my counseling room include:

  • “I have been reading on the Internet about adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and I think it describes me perfectly.”
  • “I saw a TV special on depression and now I understand that I have a chemical imbalance that causes me to be depressed. Do you think I should start medication?”
  • “My wife has a borderline personality disorder…”
  • “My husband has a narcissistic personality disorder…”
  • “My son has an oppositional defiant disorder…”

In each situation, the counselee had spiritual, behavioral, and emotional issues that were indeed painful and chronic. Each were seeking an explanation for their struggle. However, their use of secular language and humanistic diagnostic terms led them to pursue secular and humanistic relief. Each one had discovered a term or condition they believed absolved them of responsibility; both for the problem and the solution.

Scripture relates the following truth: “For as he thinks within himself, so he is…” (Prov 23:7a). Our meditations matter greatly and so do our sources of study and research. Whenever a believer consults and relies upon worldly versions of “truth,” he/she becomes vulnerable to the intoxicating influence of humanism.

As a Biblicist, I view the Bible as fully sufficient for the counseling task and superior to any explanations offered by the world. Most Christians however value and respect the Bible and might even see it as inerrant; but few have studied Scripture from the perspective of sufficiency. As a result, most of our counselees offer distorted renditions of life that strangely employ biblical language mixed with secular opinions and terminology. But when the counselee settles upon, and believes the secular explanation (as in the examples above), we know they are seeking the world’s remedy that may, or may not, find agreement with God’s Word.

This merger of Christian thought with secular reasoning, in time, defiles the purity of one’s relationship with Scripture. Humanism is diametrically opposed to biblical truth in most, if not all, circumstances. When attempting to find agreement between God and the world, one has already conceded that the Bible is insufficient for the problem at hand. In using secular and psychological terminology, the counselee demonstrates his/her urgency for relief, without regard to God’s intent and purpose. Paul wrote concerning the overtaking of the mind and conscience:

To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled (Titus 1:15).

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A Biblical Response to Dependency and Addiction

Dr. Ab AbercrombieWorried man

Dependency and Addiction

According to experts, alcohol and drug addiction are diseases; obesity and overeating are due to genetic predisposition; obsessive relationship attachments are labeled “codependent;” and excessive spending may be a symptom of bi-polar disorder. To refer to these matters as sin is considered taboo. After all, it isn’t our fault if we have a physical malady, genetic flaw, poor childhood, or biochemical imbalance.

Focusing on sin, some argue, is harsh and promotes guilty, shameful emotions. I argue that telling someone there is no remedy or cure for their behavioral prison is harsh. Without transformation, we can only teach someone to manage their illness rather than resolve their sin.

Addiction is indulgence of the flesh and the temporal pleasures that come with the element of attraction. For some substances, medical addiction can, and does, become a complicating factor making deception and entrapment still greater. Yet in its origin, it is the placement of something or someone above God.

Edward Welch (2001) calls addiction a worship disorder, pointing to idolatry as a central theme in our excessive consumptions. He writes:

Furthermore, the problem is not outside of us located in a liquor store or on the Internet; the problem is within us. Alcohol and drugs are essentially satisfiers of deeper idols. The problem is not the idolatrous substance; it is the false worship of the heart (p. 49).

Scripture states: “Now the works of the flesh are evident…” (Gal. 5:19). If the cravings and actions of our flesh are evident (obvious), then through them our heart is revealed. The heart conveys our affection; our devotion of time and energy; our longing; and our commitment.The heart invested fully in a person or substance will have little evidence of godly worship, service, or holy conduct, as these assets cannot be attained apart from godly adoration.

Many suggest that the Bible has little to say about addiction in general. For example, the Bible does not speak of pornography, drug addiction, or relationship dependence at all. The Bible also does not mention automobiles and rocket ships because they did not exist at the time God gave His revelation. But theologically and structurally, Scripture has volumes to say about idolatry (1 Cor. 10:14), worship (John 4:23), respect and maintenance of the body (1 Cor. 3:16-17), lust (1 John 2:16, sexual immorality (1 Thess. 4:3, self-control (Gal. 5:22-23), a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7), temperance (1 Cor. 6:12), and pure meditations (Ps. 19:14). Perhaps Paul summed it up best:

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any (1 Cor. 6:12).

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