Sunday, September 10, 2006

A J.C. Ryle Thought

A little child is easily quieted and amused with gaudy toys and dolls and rattles, so long as it is not hungry; but once let it feel the cravings of nature within, and we know that nothing will satisfy it but food. So it is with man in the matter of his soul. Music and flowers and candles and incense and banners and processions and beautiful vestments and confessionals and man-made ceremonies of a semi-Romish character may do well enough for him under certain conditions. But once let him 'awake and arise from the dead', and he will not rest content with these things. They will seem to him mere solemn triflings and a waste of time. Once let him see his sin, and he must see his Saviour.
J.C. Ryle

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Remarkable Book

A few months ago my wife started a weekly class on Biblical Counseling at the Bible Church of Little Rock. She hasn't enjoyed the 2 1/2 hour drive (one way) each week, but has learned a lot through the class. Dr. Wayne Mack has been instructing the class through his Nouthetic Counseling training.

I wasn't able to attend the class due to my work schedule, but I have learned a lot too. I pick Phoebe's brain each week as she returns home. I have learned the most from the books she has received. Through the weeks, she's piled up at least 7 books.

One of the books is "How to Help People Change: The Four-Step Biblical Process" by Jay E. Adams. This book is a step-by-step approach to counseling. There is more than changing a person actions ... It's changing the heart.

Adams points to the 4 steps in counseling from 2 Timothy 3:14-17. They are teaching, conviction, correction, and disciplined training in righteousness. By counseling with Scripture you help the person not to rely on himself, but to rely on God for change.

Some of the highlights that I took away were that we all must be counselors and the Bible equips us all to help one another. The Bible is able to meet all of our needs. Also, a primary purpose of counseling is evangelism. There is no hope until you are submitted to following Christ. Adams says, "You cannot build where there is no foundation. Trying to edify unevangelized people produces Pharisees."

I also took away the need for us to hold each other accountable. There is a great need in the church for discipline. Not for the "lost" either but for the saved. Only believers are able to understand and apply scripture and we must help each other to become more holy. As it says in Matthew, if we see a brother sinning, we must go to him and show him, in scripture, how he is sinning. By teaching him where he has failed, you start the 4 steps mentioned above.

I encourage you to find a copy and give it a read. It's easy to follow and encouraging to see how God can use you to help someone else.

If you have read the book already, I'd love to hear your comments.