Discipleship Counseling provides training in bible discipleship and gives descriptions and techniques on how to provide instruction to people in need according to God’s word. Anderson uses the Word of God as the sole authority in his book Discipleship Counseling and discusses forms of therapy based on the biblical concept of discipleship. The purpose of this paper is to first briefly summarize the book and then discuss three major themes that were stated in Anderson’s book. Discipleship Counseling widely discusses the concept of mental health and how to set valuable principles in helping Christians and non Christians alike.
Showing people how to find their identity in Christ and to give up false lies of Satan shown through the world’s eyes. Anderson’s discipleship counseling is to give support that can help clients overcome psychological and emotional problems by setting captives free by ridding false beliefs about the true Creator, our God of the Bible and His infinite and loving character. People are transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:2) and must be conformed to the image of God to understand how the mind works; this and faith walking is an essential part of the sanctification process throughout the book (Anderson, 2003, pp. 86-87).
Discipleship Counseling also demonstrates how an individual must give up their control in order to walk in that newness which is ours through what Christ has done for all of humanity (Romans 6:4) and in that relinquishing walk people can “give up the pleasure of things in exchange for the pleasure of life” (Anderson, 2003, p. 280). In Discipleship Counseling conflict resolution has varied levels each of those based on the maturity of the people being helped. In order to come to the very first level one must go through the sanctification process.
Without a person knowing their heritage in Christ and having assurance and faith of their salvation, they will not be capable to be rooted and to grow in Christ. With no rooting, the plant will not grow and God has given us models of how people are to grow in His word, which is the ultimate truth in one’s heritage. The levels laid out rely on defining who counselors are working with and by determining that person’s level of maturity At which time the councelor can start at root issues that need to be resolved, growth issues, and walking with Christ in life issues.
At level one, there’s changing from previous ways of living into a new and righteous relationship with God. If they are dealing with believers, the believer must change from their sin ways and start walking in God’s truth. After which, they are instructed to walk by faith through the truth of His word. People must believe that His word is true or their faith will not be fruitful. The suffering or wounded people must be able to obtain and demonstrate their new found character of Christ even while walking through their difficulties.
People at the stage of needing help must surrender to the new growth being attached to the word of God and His presence because with Him, there is no life at the root, without life the root the vine will not grow. Their first priority should be their personal relationship with God. The very basic first stage must be managed because unsettled issues will hinder the other workings of the other stages as well. If someone has harmed you, either at home or in a work situation, bring the matter to God. “Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:3-4) Identifying and overcoming road blocks will lead to forgiveness and reconciliation of self brokenness or broken relationships. The apostle Paul talks about how conflict can bring glory to God (Cor. 10:31-11:1) helping to serve others and to grow in Christ. If people can step through the stepping stones of resolution they will have a better and closer relationship to God, which will flow through them into the lives of others through the guiding of the Holy Spirit.
The Freedom appointment was also an essential element in where the counselor helps their Christian counselees’ take the responsibility of their life and consequences, claiming their personal identity and purpose in Christ and then resolving past personal and spiritual conflicts. These key points help them live life productively in Christ (Anderson, 2003, p. 198). In the Freedom Appointment section Anderson gives full credit to Jesus as the wonderful counselor and makes no assertions at his writing being solely needed to become an effective counselor.
He himself claimed to have learned most through trial and error. However, he does state that it requires helpers to be dependent on God, in His character and in His truth. “Just because so many lies flourish in the realm of psychology does not mean Christians should abandon it. Instead, Christians must bring God’s truth to a deceived discipline” (Anderson, Zuehlke, & Zuehlke, 2000). Christ came to destroy the craftiness of the devil and his scheming, He alone can conquer satan. If God alone can conquer satan, what could people do if they are walking with an omnipotent, omnipresent God?
Being one with God in spirit gives much power to denounce the lies and deceit. Once a lie is found out it has no power over an individual, truth will heal the falsehood and barrier. Through prayer, declaration and generational resolutions people can be liberated from past inventory and give affirmation to their common ground with God. “Where will you be stricken again, as you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint” (Isaiah 1:5). One’s mind and heart must also be examined and working in compliance to His truth.
Satan loves to hit the mind and his lies live in the darkness and dark thoughts, but he is overwhelmed and will flee when the truth of the light shines upon his wickedness. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? ” (Jeremiah 17:9) The heart and mind are the first targets of satan and his lies but when in God’s word and following truth, this is when people can overthrow him. “This word or truth is called the seed of God, because it is introduced and made known to the mind by the Holy Ghost. Hence we are said to be ‘begotten of God.’
It is his truth that quickens the mind into right voluntary action. Now everyone knows, by his own consciousness, that this is the way in which he was born again. ” (Finney) Even through hidden lies deep-set into the mind satan destroys hope and encourages spiritual suicide. A person must come to forgiveness of his past and his throw away his previous false teachings to send the lies of satan into the pit of fire. With a heart and a calling to serve the Lord in Christian counseling, people can be trained by Anderson through his Christian counseling techniques.
Along with the Holy Spirit leading them, they and their counselees can strive to conform themselves to the image of Christ through the His sufferings and to the abandoning of all self-sufficiency for living life. This is when a person gives up his own control with reckless abandon. Satan started lies and trickery in the Garden of Eden when he claimed the Eve could be like God. That human temptation of trying to control every aspect of life has still rung true through the ages.
In this day and age, people have a desire for total control but when all else fails they must sacrifice themselves to God in order for a richer blessing and peace. “The only real control we have is deciding whom we serve” (Anderson N. T. , 2003, p. 281). The principles described in Anderson’s book are laid out well and useful, and they are echoed throughout the bible. Discipleship Counseling seeks to lead the believer to the end of his own personal strength regardless of how productive such self-seeking strengths may have proven to be.
The Holy Spirit will work against the believer’s dependence upon the flesh and when the worldliness and self skilled ways become unproductive the believer will come seeking counseling. This is when one seeks out God and His ultimate truth for healing. God works through His peacemaker and with that peacemaking training, through the love of Christ and resembling His gentle loving direction “a gentle answer turns wrath aside, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Prov. 15:1) a Christian counselor can open many doors and steps leading to the Lords ultimate healing.