Author Interview Q & A, Part 1 with Bob Kellemen
BCC Staff Note: In this Biblical Counseling Coalition author interview Q & A, we connect with Bob Kellemen, our Executive Director. Bob is the General Editor for the new Biblical Counseling Coalition book, Scripture and Counseling: God’s Word for Life in a Broken World. As Bob notes in the interview, Scripture and Counseling was collaboratively written by over twenty leaders in the biblical counseling world. We had so much we wanted to learn about this important new book that we’ve divided our interview with Bob into two parts. In this post—Part 1—you’ll learn about the intended audience, purpose, and need for Scripture and Counseling.
BCC: “Who would you say your primary audience is for Scripture and Counseling?”
BK: “As the book’s subtitle suggests, Scripture and Counseling is for everyone who wants to learn how to apply God’s Word to our life in our broken world. Because life in our broken world is complex, it requires robust wisdom from God. Scripture and Counseling addresses this complexity with an accessibility and practicality that assists pastors, counselors, one-another ministers, spiritual friends, small group leaders, educators, and students to answer the question:
How do we view and use the Bible to help people to grow in grace and to help one another to deal biblically with the profound issues of suffering and sin?”
BCC: “How can Scripture and Counseling be beneficial to pastors? The average Christian? Counselors?”
BK: “We face a tremendous weakening of confidence in the Bible as central to life. Let me say that again: we face a tremendous weakening of confidence in the Bible as central to life. At times we seem to see the Bible as irrelevant to real life struggles. This can be true for the pastor in the counseling office, for the person in the pew talking with a struggling friend at Starbucks, and for the small group leader unsure of what to say to a hurting group member. We penned Scripture and Counseling to encourage pastors, counselors, and the average Christian to regain their confidence in God’s Word for real life issues and to equip them to grow in their competence in using God’s Word to tackle the difficult issues of life.”
BCC: “What is the main purpose of Scripture and Counseling?”
BK: “We wrote Scripture and Counseling because we’re deeply concerned that the Evangelical church and even Evangelical seminaries no longer see God’s Word as robustly relevant for the difficult issues we face every day. Almost all Evangelical seminaries train pastors to relate truth to life in their pulpit preaching. Unfortunately, far too many of those same seminaries teach pastors either to refer hurting parishioners to outside counselors or they teach pastors to rely upon secular thinking rather than upon God’s wisdom when it comes to counseling issues.
That’s why we penned Scripture and Counseling to help people answer this core question:
Is God’s Word sufficient, necessary, and relevant to equip God’s people to address specific, complex issues in today’s broken world?
Scripture and Counseling does more than answer with a resounding ‘Yes!’ It communicates a way of viewing God’s Word to address life in a broken world—a robust theology of the personal ministry of the Word. And it models a way of using God’s Word to address life in a broken world—a practical methodology of the personal ministry of the Word.”
BCC: “Your subtitle seems pretty vital to the focus of the book: God’s Word for Life in a Broken World. Tell us more about the importance of the subtitle.”
BK: “Counseling is about helping people discern how to deal with life that has been twisted and tainted by the fall. And it’s about discipling Christians in responding well to life in our broken world. Because the biblical writers tell us how to think about people, problems, and solutions from God’s perspective, all truly relevant and robust counsel must be drawn from God’s Word.
The Bible is not irrelevant, ivory-tower academic theology. The Bible is truth for life—life in our broken world.”
BCC: “Scripture and Counseling is a Biblical Counseling Coalition book, co-authored by nearly two dozen leaders in the biblical counseling world. Tell us about this group of co-authors. What are the advantages of a collaborative book like this?”
BK: “By God’s grace, we were able to bring together a wonderfully diverse team of co-authors. Among the co-authors are Sr. Pastors such as Kevin DeYoung, Steve Viars, and Kevin Carson; along with Counseling Pastors such as Deepak Reju, Jonathan Holmes, and John Henderson; educators such as Heath Lambert, Jeff Forrey, and Lilly Park. Most importantly, every co-author is also a practicing biblical counselor. This enabled us to write Scripture and Counseling with a practical focus on real-life ministry.
One of the greatest advantages of a collaborative book like this relates to the collaborative chapters where a Sr. Pastor writes with the Counseling Pastor of his church. Kevin DeYoung and Pat Quinn are one example of this as are Steve Viars and Rob Green. This not only provides the reader with a richly nuanced chapter, it also deepens the personal and ministry relationship of the co-authors.”
BCC: “Scripture and Counseling is divided into two major sections: How we view the Bible for life in a broken world and how we use the Bible for life in a broken world. What is the focus of each section? How do the sections support one another?”
BK: “Section one addresses our concern that there exists today a stunning lack of theological understanding among Christians who counsel. Past generations of Christians, from the early church to the church fathers to the Reformation to the Puritans looked to God’s Word for their understanding of people, their diagnosis of problems, and their prescription of solutions. Scripture and Counseling calls the church back to this confidence in the robust, profound wisdom of God’s Word for life in a broken world.
Section two addresses an equally important concern: our stunning inability to relate truth to life. It’s one matter to say, ‘Yes! The Bible is relevant!’ It’s another matter to understand how to relate God’s relevant Word effectively to the lives of hurting parishioners. Biblical counseling is not preaching at people. Biblical counseling does not follow a model of one problem—one verse—one solution. Section two demonstrates how biblical counseling takes the whole counsel of God, uses it to develop biblical wisdom about specific life issues, and then compassionately empowers struggling people to relate God’s truth to their daily lives.”
BCC: “Thank you, Dr. Kellemen, for taking the time to help our readers learn more about this important Biblical Counseling Coalition book, Scripture and Counseling: God’s Word for Life in a Broken World. We look forward to our upcoming Part 2 of this interview with you.”
BCC Staff Note: We invite you to return for Part 2 (embed link when it is ready) of this Author Interview Q & A as we explore questions with Dr. Kellemen such as:
- “How is biblical counseling, as developed in Scripture and Counseling, different from other models or approaches to counseling that we might find in the Christian/biblical counseling world?”
- “What role does psychological theory play in the development of a biblical counseling model?”
- “What role does scientific/psychological research play in the development of a biblical counseling model?”