Gospel-Centered Counseling Review

December 3, 2014

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Crafted with Care and Concern in Order to Equip and Encourage

You know when you read a book and can sense the author on the other side penning each and every sentence? Crafting each point with care and concern so that the reader will be equipped and encouraged for whatever particular work they are writing towards?

That is the feeling I come away with every time I read something from Dr. Bob Kellemen. Whether it is a booklet on anxiety or a manual on equipping counselors for the local church, you can sense his desire for you to put into practice what you learn.

As you turn each page in Bob’s newest work, Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives, you will get the privilege of hearing from a man who has dedicated himself to the singular task of equipping people to care for others like Christ does. From the engaging narratives, which show Bob’s breadth of case wisdom, to the articulate and organized structure of each chapter, you quickly realize what a goldmine you have.

8 Ultimate Life Questions

Gospel-Centered Counseling is organized around 8 Ultimate Life Questions:

  • The Word: “What is truth?” “Where can I find answers?”
  • The Trinity: “Who is God?” “Can I know Him personally?”
  • Creation: “Who am I?” “What makes people tick?”
  • Fall: “What went wrong?” “Why do we do the things we do?”
  • Redemption: “Can I change?” “How do people change?”
  • Glorification: “Where am I headed?” “How does our future destiny impact our present reality?”
  • Sanctification: “How can I help?” “How can I change lives?”

With his characteristic precision and practicality, Bob spends several chapters carefully unpacking each of these themes. Using a blend of case studies, careful biblical exegesis, and concise summaries you will be guided by a wise and seasoned counselor.

A Few Favorites…

Here were a few of my favorite takeaways and insights:   

  • This is a book influenced and filled with Scripture, and not in a way where you feel like Bob is simply proof-texting his points. No, this book is a product of the living Word taking up residence in Bob’s heart and mind, and it pouring out in every word, thought and concept.
  • Each chapter ends with a helpful, “Where we’ve been and where we’re headed” section. For the directionally challenged, Bob’s orienting hand will ensure you never get overwhelmed with the amount of information, but are able to keep the big picture in mind.
  • Chapter 3 contains some of the most important and critical work I’ve seen on how a biblical understanding of the Trinity should impact our counseling. Counselors and pastors would do well to meditate and consider Bob’s conclusions.
  • In several of the chapters, Bob literally writes out the dialogue between counselor and counselee showing you his concepts play out in a real conversation.
  • Always one to keep various audiences in mind, Bob has included tweet-sized summaries for each of his main points. Not in an effort to be reductionistic, but rather to show the simplicity and clarity of his thoughts and conclusions.

Highly Recommended for Equipping People to Care Like Christ

I am eager to use Gospel-Centered Counseling in my church’s lay-counseling program, and I believe anyone who is interested in soul care will be returning to this book often. Pick this book up today, and be blessed and encouraged by Bob’s passion to see people become like Christ.

You can learn more about the book through Dr. Kellemen’s RPM Ministries site at the Gospel-Centered Counseling Page. You’ll find a free copy of the Foreword and Introduction, along with tweet-size summaries of every chapter, in addition to several other free resources.

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