Frequently Asked Questions
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We have yet to find a problem or life situation that the Scriptures do not address. We are not saying that Biblical Counseling is always the whole answer. Sometimes there are health issues involved that require the services of a medical doctor. We have also used financial planners, debt counselors and lawyers to help address various problems. And of course the faithful ministry of elders, deacons and pastors is essential. But the Lord Himself is always at the center of every situation.
There is not a happy ending to every problem. Some sicknesses are not healed. Some marriages do fail and some people do have to face financial ruin. Yet even in these situations there is hope, strength, comfort and forgiveness in Christ. The truths of God’s love and wisdom in Christ need to be made clear especially when life is hard. The Bible teaches that most of our problems are actually the result of sin, our own and other's. Our desire is to view problems as Christ sees our problems, knowing that He has an answer for every situation we face. Any marriage can be restored, any relationship healed, every sin overcome in Jesus Christ. Certainly the change does not come instantly: it requires a lot of work from the counselor and the counselee. However, the real strength and wisdom come from the Lord Himself.
Here is a list of common problems we address:
Care for Aged Parents
There are many other issues we have faced over the years; these are some common ones. Normally there is a mixture of problems. Often as counselors we are aware that our wisdom and power are not sufficient, so we pray and God is always faithful. As we study His Word and humbly seek His aid He is faithful to minister to His people and bring glory to Himself!
God has called us to a unique ministry in West Michigan. We stand out for the following reasons:
- We function as a ministry, not a business. We ask our counselees for donations but do not require payment. This allows us to minister to all who need our services. And since we are a Biblical ministry we do not believe it is right to “charge” people for the Word of God any more than a Church would charge someone to attend a worship service.
- We consciously put Christ first. We are evangelistic; seeking to lead our counselees to Christ if they do not already know Him as their Savior.
- We rely upon the Bible and its eternal truths rather than the constantly changing values and ideas of man popular in secular counseling.
- We require that our counselors have more training in the Bible than in secular counseling training.
- We seek to bring honor to God, even if that is difficult for the counselee. We view painful situations as being ordained by a loving God and as opportunities to grow and change. Therefore we teach our counselees to rely on God and His resources rather than giving solutions that simply offer relief or make them happy.
- We have hope in every situation. Many situations in life are beyond our ability to understand or to cope with. God is able to strengthen us by His Spirit and to give us wisdom beyond our own. He even gives us a peace that passes understanding. No matter how bad things may be there is always hope and comfort in Christ!
- We seek to honor the church as God’s approved authority over His people. We do not try to replace the Pastor and Elders, but desire to assist them. We work with the church not against it. We talk with the spiritual authorities of our counselees when necessary. seeking to avoid conflicting advice.
We use the term “Nouthetic” to describe the kind of Biblical counseling we do. It is a term coined by Dr. Jay Adams. On a popular level we often simply refer to ourselves as Biblical Counselors, but there are many who make such a claim and mean something different by it. So we use the term Nouthetic to distinguish ourselves and identify our philosophy of counseling.
Nouthetic is a Greek word we have brought into English which is why most people are not familiar with the word. It is the term used in passages such as Romans 15:14; “And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to instruct one another.” Here the term Nouthetic is used to indicate that God wants us to be directive in our ministry with each other (instruct). Counseling is not to be just “hand holding”, feeling sorry for the counselee, but using the Word of God to direct people in how to live. Another place in Scripture where the term is used is in Colossians 1:28; “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” Here the Greek word is translated “admonishing” stressing the authority that resides in God’s Word and our obligation to live by God’s commandments. We could look at other Scripture passages to further explain why we have chosen to identify ourselves by this term. But for the sake of brevity we simply want to say that the kind of counseling we do grows out of the Bible. Our Bibles are open as we counsel because it is THE source of our wisdom and authority. We seek to be loving, kind and gentle while standing firm for the truths of God’s Word. We seek to shepherd people into a greater understanding of and obedience to the Bible. We do not think the ideas of secular theories of counseling are to be adapted to the Bible. In counseling we must rely on the Lord, not the changing ideas of man.
Nouthetic counseling relies upon the Lord and in love seeks to help God’s people bring glory to Him in their lives. When we live for the glory of God we find peace and comfort for our souls.
1. that the Bible is the inspired, the only infallible and authoritative Word of God;
2. that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
3. the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His miracles, His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal return in power and glory;
4. that for the salvation of lost and sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential;
5. that a person becomes justified by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ;
6. the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life;
7. the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; that they are saved unto the resurrection of life, and that they are lost unto the resurrection of damnation;
8. the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ and His church.
The reason for our existence is to minister the Word of God to those in need of direction and change in their lives, to present the sufficiency of Christ as a practical answer to the daily problems of life and to train others how to minister God’s Word in a counseling setting (2 Timothy 2:1-2).
Our strength is not in ourselves or our wisdom. We gladly confess that our sufficiency comes from our loving savior, Jesus Christ. We believe that “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). We accept the Bible as being inspired by God and profitable... that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Jesus himself claims the title of “Wonderful Counselor”. He works through His Word and Spirit to change, comfort, and strengthen His people (Romans 8:1-2; 4-5; 9-11; 13-17; 23; 26-27).
We see ourselves as tools in His hand, intended to bring glory to God rather than ourselves. Our success and our pleasure lies in helping people draw close to God through Jesus Christ. We “have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 4).
The following churches support the Biblical Counseling Center in various ways. All have referred their members to us for counseling. Some have included us in their budgets and others receive special offerings for us on a regular basis. (Not a complete list)
Bethany United Reformed Church Grand Rapids MI, 49509
Beaverdam Christian Reformed Church Hudsonville MI, 49426
Calvary Baptist Church Greenville MI, 48838
Covenant Presbyterian Church Holland MI, 49423
Cornerstone United Reformed Church Hudsonville MI,49426
Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church Holland MI, 49423
Harvest Baptist Church Hudsonville MI,49428
Byron Center Bible Church Byron Center MI, 49315
Spencer Mills Orthodox Presbyterian Church Gowen MI, 49326
Whitneyville Bible Church Alto MI 49302
New Life Fellowship Zeeland MI, 49464
Redeemer Presbyterian Church Ada MI, 49301
Rockford Springs Community Church Rockford MI, 49341
Grace Community Church Hudsonville MI, 49426
Faith Baptist Church Muskegon MI, 49445
Faith United Reformed Church West Olive MI, 49460
Hudsonville Alliance Church Hudsonville MI,49426
Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church Hudsonville MI, 49426
Maple Grove Bible Church South Haven MI,49090
Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church Hudsonville MI, 49426
EastmanvilleUnited Reformed Church Coopersville MI,49404
LittleFarms Chapel Marne MI, 49438
Georgetown Grace Church Hudsonville MI, 49428
Nortonville Gospel Chapel Spring Lake MI49456
Huggard Bible Church Sand Lake MI,49343
Jenison Bible Church Jenison MI, 49428
Trinity Christian Reformed Church Sparta MI, 49345
Heritage Christian Reformed Church Byron Center MI, 49315
Reformed Heritage Community Holland MI, 49424
Reformed Baptist Church of GR Grand Rapids MI, 49506
Netherlands Reformed Church Grand Rapids MI, 49504
West Cannon Baptist Church Belmont MI, 49306
Southwest Protestant Reformed Church Grand Rapids MI, 49518
Bethel United Reformed Church Jenison MI, 49428
Harvest Orthodox Presbyterian Church Wyoming MI 49506
Dutton United Reformed Church Caledonia MI, 49316
Meadow Springs Community Church Kentwood MI, 49508
Byron Center Protestant Reformed Church Byron Center MI, 49315
New Richmond Bible Church Fennville MI, 49408
Ottawa Center Chapel Coopersville MI, 49404
Trinity Reformed Church Grand Haven MI, 49417
Zion Chapel Holland MI, 49423
True Light Baptist Church Grand Rapids MI, 49506
Southlawn Church of God Wyoming MI, 49548
Most of our counselees come by word of mouth. Our former counselees recommend us to a friend, or the extended familyof someone we ministered to will recommend us. Therefore our counselee’s church backgrounds can be very widespread. Here is a sample list of some ofthe church background our counselees have.
General Conference Baptist Churches
General Association of Regular Baptist Churches
National Convention of America Baptist Churches
Southern Baptist Churches
Conservative Baptist Churches
Christian & Missionary Alliance Churches
Christian Reformed Churches
Church of Christ Churches
Church of God in Christ Churches
Evangelical Free Churches
Evangelical Lutheran Churches
Free Methodist Churches
Grace Brethren Churches
Independent Fundamental (IFCA) Churches
Independent Reformed Churches
Missouri Synod Lutheran Churches
Netherlands Reformed Churches
Orthodox Presbyterian Churches
Presbyterian Church in America
Protestant Reformed Churches
Reformed Baptist Churches
Reformed Church in America
Roman Catholic Churches
Seventh Day Adventist
United Methodist Churches
United Reformed Churches
Wisconsin Synod Lutheran Churches
We also minister to people with no church background who are not believers. In these cases evangelism is an important part of our counseling. We also recognize that church membership does not automatically mean that a person has saving faith in Jesus Christ. Because a relationship with Christ is foundational for life we address this question with all our counselees.