Conducting Services In the Anglican Church & Dress Code for Lay Readers & Trained Evangelists by Ven. Dr Endurance Otobrise
We consider this simple and liturgically technical assignment as a rear privilege that has paved way for us to share together as co-labourers in the Lord’s vineyard the liturgical intrigues and etiquettes involved in conducting services in the Anglican Church. I personally applaud this initiative geared towards sustainability of the fundamentals of the Anglican Heritage and to guide against the Liturgical Virus (importation of irrelevant varieties during worship) into the system. I therefore crave the indulgence of all participants to pay apt attention to all we shall discuss and learn today.
CONDUCTING MATTINS/ CELEBRATION OF HOLY COMMUNION- ISSUES INVOLVED:
- Understand the task and your role as a minister/priest 1 Cor. 1:26-30
- Make the Holy Spirit your senior partner.
- Preparation (1) Spiritual – Solitude. (2) Physical- Get acquainted with the prayer book and rubrics
- Avoid over confidence/ familiarity 2 Sam 6:6-11
- Ensure self participation- The minister/ priest is a part of the worship.
- Be congregational oriented- Carry the worshippers along
- Appreciate the supremacy and sovereignty of God- God is the object of worship not the minister. His gifts, talents and other spiritual endowments notwithstanding.
- Avoid profuse apology in case of error during the course of leading worship.
- Guide against the people making you the object of worship.
- Deal with personal mannerism during any liturgical assignment.
- Avoid congregational distractions.
- Fight and overcome inferiority complex.
- Time management-Avoid unnecessary waste of time.
- Self aggrandizement- Don’t lead to impress the congregation or to outsmart a colleague
- Composure/personal carriage.
- Stability in all ramifications- psychologically, emotionally, and mentally.
- Understand the dynamics of the liturgy- The liturgy is dynamic with contemporary update e. g
- The expression “all that is seen and unseen” (Gloria in excelsis)
- No personal welcome and exchange of pleasantries apart from what the rubric provides at the beginning of the service.
- Dismissal before withdrawal hymn is sung
- Skipping stanzas of hymns to the last stanza is liturgically wrong. ANNOUNCING OF LESSONS/ READINGS IN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH LESSON/MATTINS Before- (Before each lessons these words may be said, ‘Hear the word of God, as it is written in (Name of the book), the chapter, and the …verse’). After- At the end of the lesson this may be said: This is the word of God. All: Thanks be to God READINGS/ HOLY EUCHARIST OLD TESTAMENT READING: Before: The reader says, ‘Hear the word of God, as it is written in (Name of the book), the chapter, and the …verse’. After- At the end of the lesson this may be said: This is the word of God. All: Thanks be to God EPISTLE: Before: The Epistle is written in the (name of book), chapter… beginning at …verse. After: At the end, the reader may say: This is the word of God. All: Thanks be to God THE GOSPEL: The Holy Gospel is written in the (name of book), Chapter,… beginning at the …verse. All: Glory to Christ our Saviour. At the end the reader shall say: This is the Gospel of Christ. All: Praise to Christ our Lord DRESS CODE FOR LAY READERS/ TRAINED EVANGELISTS The biblical injunctions pertaining to dress code of priests and other ministers assigned special duties in the Old Testament were given serious considerations during the Levetical Era, Exo39:22ff; which is an indication that the LORD is interested in the manner and form in which we appear before him during worship. We should be constantly guided with the popular saying that ‘you will be addressed by the way you dress’. My personal encounter with security personnel with and without my clerical outfits is a good instance to cite in this regard. Consequently, the need to be properly dressed during divine worship cannot be overemphasized. In the Anglican Diocese of Warri for instance, lay readers/ trained evangelists are expected to appear neatly in cassock & surplice and scarf upon a black shoe and socks including the customized hat for female only.
- It is imperative for every Anglican minister to be guided by the liturgical rules and rubrics in conducting services in the church. The Minister must see himself/herself as a channel and a vessel to preserve our most cherish heritage as Anglicans. The Anglican Church is a Church of order with very robust and rich liturgical heritage. Thus, varieties introduced in course of divine services should not distort the liturgical ingredients of the service.
WHAT IS CONFLICT MANAGEMENT?
The word ‘conflict’ refers to some form of friction, disagreement, or discord arising within person (i.e. Inter-personal conflict), two or more people (i.e. Interpersonal conflict), individuals in a group (i.e. Intra-group conflict), groups such as clubs, class versus class, family versus family etc. (i.e. Inter-group conflict), nations, involving the different groups (i.e. Intra-national conflict), and nations such as Nigeria and Cameroon Republic issue over the Bakassi Peninsula (i.e. International conflict) when the beliefs or actions of oneself, one or more members in a group are either resisted by or unacceptable to oneself, one or more members in another group. This usually brings to mind pictures of fighting, quarrelling, war, crisis, aggression, anarchy etc.
CONFLICTS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
CONFLICT BETWEEN SARAH AND HAGAR (GENESIS 16:1-9)
The cause of this conflict is the barrenness of Sarah at that time. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, had bore him no children so she gave her Egyptian maidservant named Hagar to her husband to sleep with her in other for her to build a family through her. Abraham slept with Hagar and she became pregnant; when she knew she was pregnant she began to despise her mistress. After which her mistress Sarah ill-treated her and she fled from her. The resolution of this conflict was observed when the angel of the Lord told Hagar to go back to her mistress and submit to her and Hagar did.
DESIRE TO KILL GIDEON (JUDGES 6: 28-32)
The demolition of the altar of Baal by Gideon caused this conflict. ‘’in the morning when the men of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar demolished, with the Asherah Pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!’’ (Vs.28, NIV). Consequently, the men of the town demanded that Gideon’s father, Joash bring him to be killed (Vs. 30). This conflict was resolved when Joash (Gideon’s father) asked Baal to fight for himself, but could not. ‘’But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, ‘Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks his altar’’ (Vs. 31).
CONFLICT BETWEEN JOSEPH AND PORTIPHAR’S WIFE (GENESIS 39)
This conflict occurred when Portiphar’s wife took notice of Joseph as a well built and handsome man and she said come to bed with me, she said this to Joseph day after day, but Joseph refused to go to bed with her. One day, Joseph went into the house to attend to his duties and none of the household servants was inside. She caught Joseph by his cloak and said come to bed with me but Joseph left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. This conflict was resolved when Joseph finally left the house of Portiphar and vindicated by God.
CONFLICTS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
CONFLICT BETWEEN PHILEMON AND ONESIMUS (PHILEMON 1:1-25)
The cause of this conflict was Onesimus, who robbed Philemon his master and ran away to Rome. The resolution of this conflict is that Philimon, the slave owner was a Christian and a friend to Apostle Paul living in Colosse. The conflict resolution was that Paul wrote a letter to Philemon encouraging him to forgive Onesimus the run-away slave and treat him like he would treat Paul himself. And Onesimus went back to Colosse in company with Tychicus the bearer of the letter, and Philemon did as Paul wrote to him.
CONFLICT BETWEEN JOSEPH AND MARY (MARY’S PREGNANCY) (MATTHEW 1: 18-25)
This conflict was as a result of Mary’s pregnancy when Joseph had not had sexual intercourse with her; Joseph intended to put her away quietly. The conflict was resolved when the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph telling him that the pregnancy was from the Holy Spirit, and the son to be born shall be called Jesus, who will save the world from their sins, hence he should take Mary as his wife. Joseph did as the Holy Spirit commanded when he woke up from the dream.
CONFLICT OF THE STORM BETWEEN JESUS CHRIST AND HIS DISCIPLES (MARK 4: 35-41)
This conflict was caused as a result of a furious squall that came up, and wave broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped, and Jesus was asleep. This conflict was resolved when the disciples of Jesus woke him, He rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘’Quiet be still’’. After which the wind stopped and it was completely
CHURCH CONFLICT, ITS CAUSES AND RESOLUTION
This refers to conflict within the church which may occur between the priest and the Parochial Church Council (PCC) members. It can be as a result of misunderstanding after a harvest thanksgiving for instance. Usually some members of the PPC form the sub-committee that worked with the harvest committee members who were involved in the planning and preparation of the harvest. By implication, if a conflict arises over thanksgiving items between the priest and PCC, then the harvest planning committee members would be involved.
Some of the things that can cause conflict over thanksgiving are: food items; harvest proceeds or products; money realized and the plan over it.
- Food Items: Food can be a source of conflict between the priest and the PCC, for instance, if both have agreed to cook food or not to cook, then peradventure, the harvest planning committee now met with the priest or the PCC on behalf of the priest to do otherwise, then it would result to conflict between them. In resolving such conflict, the harvest planning committee will be actively involved to explain the need or reason for the changes to either cook or not to cook, after which they come to mutual understanding. In all, there should not be communication gap, and there should be honesty among all that is involved.
- Harvest Proceeds/ Products: In most cases, the harvest proceeds or products brings conflict due to the sharing ratio. The people involved may favor some set of people, which may be seen as cheating and conflict may arise. In resolving such, proper arrangement should be made on time concerning the sharing ratio for the harvest proceeds or products by the priest or those involved in the sharing.
- Money Realized and The Plan over It: When this is not properly managed, it may result to quarrel, fight, crisis or conflict. When proper arrangement is put in place for how the money will be used, the priest or the PCC should not change the agreement without a genuine reason because this change may cause conflict. If a conflict arises, the priest would call everyone in the committee to explain the reasons for such changes. For example, if the initial plan was to use the money to buy a bus but the change is now to building of which is a genuine reason, the conflict will be resolved.
CAUSES OF CONFLICTS
- Misunderstanding: Conflict do arise from misunderstanding about: the nature, aims and objectives of a job; differing expectations about how things should be done; work conditions and wages; the different responsibilities of management and employees; difference in values, beliefs, needs and priorities.
- Poor Communication: Communication relies on clear and complete massages being sent as well as being received. Conflict may arise from poor communication from staff to clients, from children to husband through his wife. It is vital that house rules are written down to avoid variation in interpretation.
- Poor Staff Selection: Inappropriate selection of staff can result in ill-feeling and conflict. Feelings of ill-will may be increased by dismissing staff members. Poor staff selection can also result to conflict if they cannot be minimized with good staff selection procedures. Not considering existing staff views when approaching staff selection will also cause conflict in a workplace.
- Frustration, Stress and Burnout: When people become frustrated or stressed, they are more irritable and more likely to create conflicts. So, it is impossible to recognize the signs of stress in people’s work situations in order to prevent burnout. Frustration, stress, and burnout could result into conflict due to the following factors such as: violence or actual violence; overcrowding or lack of privacy; verbal abuse; dirty or untidy work space; noise; harassment; continual cries; lack of ability to influence the working environment; tension between staff members; lack of direction from management; criticism and lack of support; poor communication etc.
- Lack of information: Conflict can arise when one party lacks proper/important information, when employees are continually experiencing change that they were not informed about, or if there are decisions being made that the staff feels it should be involved in such, can bring about conflict between employees and managers.
- Land dispute: Land dispute generates a lot of conflict across the country. The community of Aguleri and Umeleri in Anambra state and the Brass and Numbe community of Bayelsa and Rivers state are typical examples of conflict emanating from prolonged boundary dispute between these neighbors.
- Personal relationship: A work environment can be a stressful place and it can be worse when personal difference begins to develop between employers. Of the major causes of workplace can be particular counterproductive, because problem may be generated both at home and in the office. Some employees bring stress from their home to work and this can cause conflict among co-workers and managers.
- Lack of resources: Lack of necessary resources can cause conflict among employees and between management. If employees feel there is a lack of resources needed to do their job, competition will arise among employees for the availability of resources. The employees who are unable to obtain what they need to perform their duties will begin to blame management for that lack of recourses.
BENEFITS OF CONFLICTS
- Conflict helps to effect necessary change: When there is conflict, the people learn to do things in a new way; they no longer do things the same old way they have been doing them. There deliberate and necessary changes in their character, attitude and way of thinking so as to avoid whatever leads to conflict and avoid re-occurrence.
- It helps to generate new ideas: When there is conflict new ideas are generated in order for things to work well. For example, a company that is not making progress, the management of the company must seek new ideas from the staff in order for the company to progress, sometimes, it can even make them to employ new personnel that can bring this ideas. When conflict arises, people generate new ideas of doing things, by implication, their way of thinking changes and improved.
- It tests existing and noble ideas: When there is conflict, ideas that have been existing before the conflict are tested to see if they still fit in the post- conflict era, and if they can still work with them. If they are tested and found noble, they continue with them but if the reverse is the case, they are dropped.
- It checks the boundaries between noble and ignoble: When there is conflict, the people check themselves to know what is true and what is not true; what can and cannot be done; this will help to know who is saying the truth and who is lying. For example, in a conflict between two communities, some people will say, we cannot win the case because what we are fighting for does not belong to us; it is not a just fight, and this is the truth hence the impossibility of winning the case, but others may sat it is possible when they know still that it is not a just fight, and also know they cannot win the case. The conflict between this two groups will help the people to check whether what one of the group is saying is true or not true, possible or impossible
- It reveals and exercises fear: Conflict brings about fear because it is a period where there is the experience of killings, destruction of properties etc. for example, the conflict between Ewhe and Igbide communities say a lot of destruction of lives and properties; created fear in the minds of the people living in both communities; there will also be fear to go to the farm or even travel along the Ewhe-Igbide road, because one of these communities may strike back. They were very alert; fighting mode always active, ready to kill and destroy. It is worthy to note that the two communities sited above share boundary with each other, in other words, they are neighbors.
- It tests group cohesion and understanding: The presence of conflict within a group helps to ascertain if the group is working together or not; if they really are working together, and have great understanding of each other, when ever conflict arise, which is inevitable, it is resolves but when there is no group cohesion and understanding, people will break away from the group. When there is group cohesion and understanding, people will stick together with a common understanding to resolve the conflict and make sure things become normal again.
In studying this course, we shall be using the material of Dr. Elmer Towns; a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.
The Bible provides abundant evidence of the existence of demons. Satan’s evil angels are known in Scripture as demons. We know from certain Scriptures that Satan fell from heaven and other angelic beings (demons) shared in Satan’s fall and became evil (Ezekiel 28:18; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:4).
The word for demons in the Greek language is daimon and is found more than 75 times in the Greek New Testament. In each case it is translated by the word devil in the King James Version.
In Jesus Christ’s teachings and ministry He often confronted demons and their activities, i.e., demonic possession of individuals (Matthew 12:22-29, 15:22-28, 25:41; Mark 5:1-16). Christ demonstrated His power over demons and, furthermore, He gave His disciples power to cast out demons (Matthew 10:1). (ANGELS ELECT AND EVIL, C. Fred Dickason, p. 150).
Demons attack in a number of ways. Examples provided in the Bible include:
The Spread of False Doctrine
Theories Surrounding the Origin of Demons
There are a number of suggestion origins of demons, with the most logical being that they are fallen angels.
They are spirits of deceased wicked men. However, this cannot be, for the Bible declares the unsaved dead are in Hades and not roaming the earth (Psalm 9:17; Luke16:23; Revelation 20:13).
They are spirits of a pre-Adamic race. But there is no scriptural support whatsoever for this view. The Bible declares that Adam was the first man (1 Corinthians 15:45).
They are the spirits from the unnatural union between angels and women in Genesis 6. However, this view, like the previous two, is without the slightest Biblical support.
The most logical conclusion is that the word demon is simply another title or name for fallen angels. (THE DOCTRINE OF ANGELS, Dr. H. L. Willmington, pp. 23,24).
Two Greek words are translated similarly in the New Testament but their meanings are slightly different. The word diabolos is translated ‘devil’ and refers to the devil himself. Another word, diamon, is usually translated ‘devils’ in the King James Version but might be better translated ‘demons.’ The Bible makes a very real distinction between a single devil and many demons. Whenever we read of ‘devils’ in the Bible, we are reading about demons.
It appears most likely that demons are fallen angels who rebelled against God in heaven and were cast out of the presence of God. As such, what things are true about the nature of good angels are also true of demons. When it comes to identifying demons, the question that should be asked is “Where do demons come from?” At least four suggestions have been made to help explain the origin of demons.
Spirits of the Dead
One contemporary idea relating to the origins of demons claims they are the spirits of the evil dead. This is the underlying assumption of much of the popular occult literature. It is not a new idea at all, for it was the explanation of some Greek philosophers years before Christ. The early age of this theory does not however make it any more believable. It stands in direct conflict with biblical teaching.
The Bible teaches that the souls of the evil dead go to ‘Hades’ (Luke 16:23). They will remain there until the end of the millennial reign of Christ on this earth. Only then are they brought before God to be judged (Rev. 20:11). Then they are cast into eternal punishment.
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. Revelation 20:14
Children of Angels
Some have suggested that demons are the result of the union of angels and women as described:
The Nephilim (giants) were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. Genesis 6:4
Some suggest that this verse describes sexual relations between angels and women, since the expression ‘sons of God’ is used elsewhere in the Old Testament to identify angels. Even if this interpretation is correct, it is extremely unlikely that such a union produced demons. Some have suggested the ‘giants’ could be an expression of the political or military might of these men. Others believe it could refer to the results of genetic tampering in a pre-Flood society. But there is no scriptural evidence to prove that the result of the union of humans and angels were demons.
One explanation, called the ‘gap theory,’ presupposes that the world is several million years old. According to this theory, God created a perfect world and society, as recorded in the first verse of the Bible but, for one reason or another, God had to destroy it before the situation as described in Genesis 1:2. This theory allowed for a society which existed for millions of years, thus harmonizing the contemporary views of the age of the world with the Bible account of creation.
The spirits of those who lived before Adam, still inhabiting the earth are the demons, according to those who hold this view. But before we can conclude that demons are the disembodied spirits of a pre-Adamic race, we must first prove the existence of such a race. Once again, most biblical evidence is against such a theory.
Most conservative scholars believe that demons are fallen or evil angels. When Jesus described hell, he called it “eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). John described the fall of Satan in a highly symbolic fashion, noting that the devil took a third of the angels in heaven with him.
His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. Revelation 12:4
This has led some to conclude that Satan was of three angels responsible, with Gabriel and Michael, to other angels. When Satan fell, a third of the angels which he had supervision may have followed him in rebellion against God.
When Israel finally prepared to enter the Promised Land, God instructed Israel regarding their relationship to the occult demonic religions of Canaan.
When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. Deuteronomy 18:9
Despite the obvious implication that Christians should not be engaged in occult practices, some church youth gatherings have played around with such things as astrology, Ouija boards, and other games that have some relationship to ‘the spirits.’ One who recognizes biblical authority will seek to rid his life of any occult influences.
Names of Demons in the Bible
In rare instances, the Bible mentions demons by name. These demons had such an impact on the lives of believers that their presence warranted mention by the writers of the scripture.
Although the scriptures never explicitly refer to Molech as a demon, the worship of Molech was a recurring problem for Israel throughout the Old Testament. The origin of Molech worship is unclear. Scholars believe that Molech worship came to the region of Canaan with the Phoenicians.
You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. Leviticus 18:21
Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. 1 Kings 11:7
One of the most documented practices of Molech worship was that of human sacrifice. Molech worship reached its peak during the reign of Solomon and would not be abolished until the time of captivity in Babylon.
Demons in the Bible often congregate together and one example is Legion. When Jesus arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, He encountered a possessed man on the outside of the city in a cemetery.
And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Mark 5:2-10
The man was not only considered a menace, but he had such great strength that he could not be contained. When Jesus spoke to the man, the Demons within him referred to themselves as Legion, for there was not one demon but many.
One of the most frightening examples of demons mentioned in the Bible is Abaddon. Abaddon is described by John during the ‘Seven Trumpets’ prophecy.
They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon. Revelation 9:11
When the fifth trumpet is blown, the ‘abyss’ will open and demonic locusts will be released to torture those who have not received God’s seal. Their leader will be Abaddon, one of Satan’s underlings and leader of the ‘abyss’. Abaddon will have a simple mission, inflicting pain and suffering on those who have not responded to God and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.
Types of Occult Satanic Worship in the Bible
There are many ways satan is worshipped through occult means that includes demon worship:
Divination was one of the specific practices named by Moses in his prohibition on occult worship (Deut. 18:10). Often this practice included the killing of a chicken or some small animal, and on occasions to observe its liver to determine the state of affairs and direction of the immediate future (Ezek. 21:21). Divination is an illegitimate means of determining the will of God. The Christian desiring to know the will of God should consult the Scriptures, not the stars (Ps. 119:9).
A second occult practice of today was also banned by God. ‘Necromancy’ is an effort to communicate with and interrogate the dead. As the Bible teaches the dead are unable to communicate with the living (Luke 15:27-31), it only stands to reason that those who claim to have this ability are lying or are themselves deceived. In either case, the necromancer was considered an abomination unto the Lord (Deut. 18:11, 12).
The use of magic formulas and incantations was also forbidden. Today it is popular to distinguish between white and black magic, but leading biblical scholars agree that both forms of magic find their source and strength in demonic power. Those who practice magic are under certain limits as to what they can accomplish (Dan. 4:7). Even when it appears that magicians are able to duplicate the power of God, they still fall short of what God is able to accomplish (Exod. 7:11, 12).
Closely related to magic is sorcery. Magic usually relates to accomplishing specific acts-such as rods becoming serpents-whereas sorcery relates more closely with calling upon demons to create situations around people. Thus the enchanter or sorcerer is one who uses incantations or omens. Their practices may have also included the use of mood-changing or mind altering drugs. This has led some Bible scholars to denounce the use of such drugs because they are used as part of occult worship.
Around the world today, there exists a growing number of those who call themselves witches. Witchcraft is directly opposed to God (Dent. 18:10). When Saul became the first king of Israel, one of his first acts was to ban the practice of witchcraft from the kingdom (1 Sam. 28:9). A witch is one who makes use of magic and sorcery to accomplish the will of demons.
One of the oldest forms of the occult still practiced today is astrology. Contemporary astrology is a combination of what astrological cults practiced in Babylon, Egypt, and Canaan. In Canaan, astrology centered around the bull. The worship of the golden calf, child sacrifices to Molech, and Baal worship were all part of Canaanite astrology. The Old Testament is very clear to prohibit God’s people from involvement there.
In Egypt, God challenged the astrological gods of Egypt in sending ten plagues which directly attacked the authority of those gods. The highest of the Egyptian gods was Ra, the sun god. Three days of darkness was a direct indictment against the religion of Egypt.
What Are The Works of Demons
Several activities are identified in the Bible in which demons may be involved. Sometimes they are responsible for physical disease or mental suffering. While not all mental disorders are demonic in origin, some apparently are. Demons are also credited with tempting people to engage in immoral practices. They are the originators and propagators of the false doctrines taught by heretical religious groups. The Bible also teaches that some people were possessed by demons. Demons are committed to evil, yet God will use them to accomplish his plan during the end of the world.
Demons Unknowingly Do The Will of God
It must be frustrating to demons after they had accomplished some evil scheme to later find out that they were carrying out the will of God. Satan did not realize what God wanted to do in Job’s life when he caused him physical suffering. Also, God used ‘an evil spirit’ to accomplish his will in the life of Saul, Israel’s first king (1 Sam. 16:14).
On another occasion, God used ‘a lying spirit’ to deceive the false prophets of an evil king (1 Kings 22:22, 23). At the end of the Great Tribulation, demons will be used by God to gather the nations of the world to battlefields of Armageddon (Rev. 9:16). God is able to use even demons to accomplish his will.
There are many reasons why a person may experience physical illness. Sometimes it is the result of God’s judgment for sin (1 Cor. 11:30). On other occasions the same sickness may come as a result of breaking some health law and exposing oneself to germs or viruses. It may come from God as his means of ending a person’s life in a natural way. On other occasions, demons may be the reason a person experiences physical suffering.
Several specific physical afflictions are attributed to demons in the Bible. Jesus cast a demon out of a dumb man who immediately began to speak (Matt. 9:32, 33). On another occasion, a blind man began to see when the demon went out of him (Matt.12:22). Job was afflicted physically with boils covering his body, the result of satanic activity (Job 2:1-10). Demons may have been the messengers that carried out Satan’s commands to smite job. Of course, afflictions are not always symptoms of demon activity, but demons are capable of and do occasionally cause physical pain and suffering.
Various forms of mental diseases can also be attributed to demons. In at least two cases of demon possession treated by Jesus during his ministry, the demons had so affected the minds of the victims to cause abnormal behavior. One man lived among tombs, a practice considered unclean during this time, and created a disturbance day and night (Mark 5:4, 5).
A young boy possessed with a demon involuntarily went into an apparent convulsion when he encountered the presence of Jesus (Luke 9:37-42). In both instances, the victims engaged in some form of self-destruction and physical mutilation of the body. After the demon was cast out of the person, the apparent mental problem disappeared.
For the Christian, our final moral code of ethics is the Bible. Those who oppose God would also oppose, the morality of the Bible. Demons are instrumental in leading both the saved and unsaved into moral compromise. One of the often-used names for demons in the Bible is ‘unclean spirit,’ an appropriate name, as they tarnish everything they influence. When Israel left Egypt, God gave them the land of Canaan. One of the reasons God wanted them in a separate land was that the heathen nations had given themselves over to unclean spirits and had become: corrupted (Lev. 18; Deut. 18). According to Tom Brown, Demons gravitate more to sexual sins than to any other kinds of sins.
If you want to open yourself up to demons, then practice sexual immorality, and demons will hang around you. Demons are sex-hungry.
This might explain why the mad man of Gerasenes was naked, and when the demons left him, he clothed himself (Mark 5:15). This why Mary of Magdalene—through being a prostitute—had opened herself to seven demons (Mark 16:9). Sexual perversion opens the door to demons.
Most of the hideous mass murderers were in bondage to sexual perversion. We wonder how in the world could someone kill dozens of people. What could make them do such a thing? Demons could do it. When demons are in control, humans will stoop to anything. Demons can drive people to commit horrible acts that defy human comprehension and sensibility.
Sexual sins can expose people to these demons. When you live free from sexual sins, you close the door to many demons.
Paul discussed one main work of demons when he warned young Timothy of conditions “in the latter times.”
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons. 1 Timothy 4:1
Demons are the source of many organized doctrines of the false cults. Even in the early church, there were false apostles (Rev. 2:2) and false doctrines (Rev. 2:14) that had to be opposed.
The Bible teaches the coming of an antichrist during the Great Tribulation but, by the end of the first century, John wrote, “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18). The word ‘anti’ had a twofold designation; first it meant ‘against’ Christ, but the secondary meaning was the most evident, it meant “in substitution for,” or “instead of,” Christ. The existence of ‘antichrist’ leaders throughout the church age is the result of demon activity.
Their main activity is to foster a ‘substitute religion’ in place of Christ and his doctrine.
One of the chief difficulties of living for God today is not the social pressures or inconvenience of life; it is the spiritual battle in which we are engaged. Our enemies are demons. Paul observed, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12). The phrase “the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil” refers to demons and their activities.
Part of the work of demons, particularly as it relates to the Christian life, is doing battle with Christians on the spiritual level. This condition is the reason behind the apostolic imperative, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Eph. 6:11). Without spiritual help from God, the Christian is unable to win the battle against demons.
‘Demon possession’ is not a biblical expression, yet the idea of demon control is more than simply a carry-over of ancient superstitions. Demon possession, as we understand it, occurs when God permits demons to possess a person and control his mind or body. On many occasions demon possession resulted in mental derangement. In most cases recorded in Scripture, the person possessed was apparently responsible for being possessed.
Understanding Demon Possession
There is much confusion about demon possession. Demon possession is the culmination of a volitional rejection of God and a volitional acceptance of Satan and his demons. A person does not become possessed by demons on a casual basis.
Demon possession is the opposite of the filling of the Spirit just as some Christians are more effective when filled with the Holy Spirit, so some unbelievers have greater demonic power as a result of their demonic possession. The same word is used of the Holy Spirit controlling in Ephesians 5:18 as Satan’s control of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5.
Demon possession and demon activity is more commonly recognized in third world countries. However, there is increasing evidence of demonic activity in our Western society because of its waning Christian influence. As our nation turns from God and more people worship Satan and demons, there will be more evidence of demon activity in our society.
Many have conjectured about whether or not demons can ‘possess’ or ‘influence’ believers. Since the Bible is silent concerning Christians being ‘possessed,’ it has much to say concerning demons’ possible influence on us and of our need to be aware of their desire to adversely affect our wall with God.
Can Christians Have Demons?
The short answer is no. Satan and his demons may tempt us, but they cannot dwell within us.
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17
Thus, you see, the Holy Spirit lives in every child of God. Additionally, Jesus says in verse 23: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
Not only does the Holy Spirit dwell in every Christian, but the Father and the Son, through the Spirit, dwell in every Christian. No demon, nor the devil himself, can dwell in a Christian if the Father and the Son or the Holy Spirit are dwelling in that Christian. God and the devil cannot dwell in the same place or in the same person.
God emphasizes in His Word the Holy Spirit lives within those who have repented of their sins, have accepted Jesus as their Savior, and have thus been born into the family of God.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Romans 8:9
The Holy Spirit who lives in a born-again child of God bears witness with that person’s spirit that he is a child of God. If the devil or a demon lived in that Christian, and possessed that Christian, the Holy Spirit could neither dwell in that person or bear witness that such a person was a child of God.
What Will Happen To Demons?
When Jesus encountered a demon-possessed man during his earthly ministry, the demons asked, “Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matt. 8:29). Demons understand something of their eternal destiny, The phrase, “before the time” could mean that they feared premature expulsion from the man, but it probably meant premature judgment to hell. The destiny of demons can be summarized in three phases of confinement.
Some demons are currently confined. John described the release of some of these demons in Revelation 9 during the Great Tribulation, when they will come from the bottomless pit to afflict the people. Jude identified another group of demons whom God “he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). Apparently the crime of these angels was so horrendous that they will never again experience any degree of liberty (2 Pet. 2:4).
During the Great Tribulation, there “are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.” (Rev. 16:14). As demons are in part responsible for the battle of Armageddon, it is reasonable to expect they would be prevented from making war during the millennial reign of Christ.
While their millennial destiny is not specifically identified in the Bible, most commentators would agree that they would be confined with Satan their leader in the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:3). They certainly are not active during Christ’s reign on the earth.
One of the key thoughts to keep in mind when attempting to understand hell is to remember it was never the will of God that anyone should go there (1 Pet. 3:9). When confronted with that truth, the obvious question is, “Why did God create hell in the first place?” The answer to that question is found in Matthew 25:41. Hell was “prepared for the devil and his angels.”
A man will only go to hell by choice, his choice as expressed by his rejection of Christ. Demons are apparently aware that someday they will be eternally confined to the lake of fire (Matt. 8:29).
Christians Become Judges
The Bible also teaches that angels are not exempt from judgment. Paul asked the Corinthians, “Do you not know that we are to judge angels?” (1 Cor. 6:3). Toward the end of the age, it will be our responsibility as Christians to represent God in the role of judge.
It may be that during the Tribulation, the millennial kingdom, or eternity to follow, we will serve as judges similar to the judges who ruled before Israel’s first king. As judges, we will be given a position of authority over angels.
WHAT IS CHRISTIAN COUNSELLING?
Counsel means to give advice and /or encouragement especially by a professional known as a counsellor
Counselling can be defined as the provision of assistance and guidance in resolving personal, social or psychological problems and difficulties, especially by a trained counsellor. A counsellor on the other hand, is a trained personnel by profession who carries out counselling responsibilities or services.
Counselling can also be referred to as “talking therapies” which allows people to discuss their problems and any difficult feelings they encounter in a safe, confidential environment. The term counselling may mean a different thing to different people but it is generally a process whereby people seek to want to change something in their lives or simply explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth. It is however a process where, by talking to a professional (counsellor) about how you feel, you can work out, or try to change the things that cause you distress.
James C. Hansen (1977) defines counselling as a process that assists individuals in leaning about themselves, their environment, and methods for handling their roles and relationships’ counselling is an applied field in which the counsellor uses behavioural knowledge to help the client – with decision making process in educational and vocational matters as well as resolving interpersonal concerns.
Counselling maybe seen as both an applied social science, and a profession that rest on an interdisciplinary base composed of knowledge from the field of psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology, education, economics, and philosophy (Ghanz, 1974). Counselling is the application of mental health, psychological or human development principles through cognitive, affective, behavioural or systematic interventions, strategies that address wellness, personal growth or career development as well as pathology (ACA, 1997). Counselling helps the individuals discover their potential weakness, which after the counselling process, changes may/is expected to abound.
Lelek, Jeremy (2014) defines Christian counselling as a pastoral counselling that draws upon psychology and Christian; practitioners approach psychology through the lens of the Bible. It is specifically geared not only towards the members of the Christian faith, church worker, but an avenue for the church to affect its environment positively. It bears in mind the tenets of the Christian faith, hence ministers and other Christian social workers are the ones that are saddled with the responsibility of giving Christian counselling.
Otobrise (Lecture Note, 2016) define Christian counselling as a process where a trained Christian counsellor carefully, skilfully, and sensitively, listens to and understands a person’s problem, those counselled can then be given advice on how to approach the issues of life and experience solutions to the problems.
Christian counselling has been referred to as “Biblical Counselling” by other authors. According to John Henderson (2011), “Biblical Counselling is a fluid event and process, as part of the great commission, whereby one or more theologically and relationally qualified persons provide spiritual, emotional, and behavioural services, comfort, and guidance in love to one or more persons through the truth and power of God’s word under the ministry of the Holy Spirit”. The implication of this definition is thus; the Christian counsellor must have the basic knowledge of the word of God and possess right application of the same under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to bring about the descried and meaningful change in the life of the counselee. Rick Thomas (2011) is of the view that Biblical counselling is “Compassionately and completely bringing relational care to others through the means of God’s word and the local church”. Rob Green and Wayne Vander Wier (2011) gives similar definition thus: “Biblical Counselling is the process where the Bible, God’s word, is related individually to a person or persons who are struggling under the weight of personal sin and or the difficulties, with sufferings, so that he or she might genuinely change in the inner person to be pleasing God; “Biblical Counselling is the action or process in which a believer (or group of believers) lovingly confronts and scripturally instructs a (sinning or suffering) fellow believer for the purpose of affecting God – glorifying charge”.
For Bob Kellemen (2011), Biblical Counselling is, “Christ-centred, Church-based, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally- informed one-another ministry that depends upon the Holy Spirit to relate God’s word to suffering and sin by speaking and living God’s truth in love to equip people to love God and one another. It cultivates conformity to Christ and communion with Christ and the Body of Christ leading to a community of one-another disciple – makers” (Matt. 22:35-40; 28:18-20).
Christian Counselling responds to the need of someone, caring for the troubles of those in Church fellowship and even those who love no church, but turn to a minister for help when crisis strikes. Christian counselling focus on the care of the whole person, body, soul and spirit as it is sometimes called “Soul-Care” and maintains the values taught in the bible. The aim of Christian counselling is to help people regain a sense of hope for their life that is found in Jesus Christ. The outcome of Christian counselling however is that the counselling lives are transformed and changed in a positive way. Christian counselling believes that at the core of what they do is to help others achieve a better understanding of themselves and God which is rooted in the Holy Spirit’s conviction.
The Christian counsellor should not only know the gospel, but know the person; not only the “What” question of the individual, but also the “who” question of the person in order to get at the person’s identity and uniqueness. By implication, the Christian Counsellor should know the culture, the norms, their personal values of the cure of souls, of the parishioners or those who come for such purpose in order to receive holistic recovery which can stand the test of time and eternity. In conclusion, the counsellor should have a deep faith; counsel with excellence; hold a Christian world view; be guided by Christian values in choosing the means, goals and motivation of counselling activities; seek the presence and work of God; and actively utilize spiritual interventions and resources with ethical guidelines.
TYPES OF CHRISTIAN COUNSELLING
The following counselling type has been identified to help people overcome their challenges such as anxiety, depression, guilt, etc.
- Secular Psychotherapy
- Integrated Christian counselling
- Authentic Christian Counselling
- Secular Psychotherapy
This type of counselling abounds in the society and is available to a very large population who seek help from the counsellors. The secular psychotherapy counsellors obtain their training by attending a secular institution, and obtaining a high level of graduate degree in the field of psychology and other humanitarian approaches in order to solve or soft pedal or proffer solutions to the difficulties and challenges facing mankind; this is done through human research and analytical tools as guidance. They rely on human reasoning and research to answer life’s questions about people’s problems and solutions. In other words, they don’t use the Bible as a counselling tool rather; they look at issues and provide help that in most cases does not solve the problem. Most a time, they just listen to the counselee and give back to the counselee that which often leads to more frustration. For instance, someone who engages in extra-marital affair and feels guilty about it is asked to keep it a secret. This actually hurts more and increases the guilt feelings, and peace of mind is not restored. This is contrary to the main focus of counselling which the end result should be a positive change.
Integrated Christian Counselling
This type of counselling involves integrating scriptures and secular psychology to help people. The counsellors are trained to obtain certificates or degrees by recognised and established institutions. Integrated Christian Counselling is very much like secular psychotherapy. The only difference is that the counsellors do go to church or are Christians.
However, they do not use the Bible as a tool in their counselling. They do not help the counselee based on the word of God but by relying on the skills and training acquired in the institutions. The result or outcome of these counselling is frustration, depression, loneliness, lack of self worth, etc, because they do not approach the spiritual dimension of humans; they certainly do not bring God into the equation as having any influence on human issues or solutions. The danger this approach seems to pose is that “the end justifies the means”. People must be made to know the truth which brings freedom. The “Truth is the means”, and the “Means is that justifies the true end”. And that “Means” is Theocracy on the other hand, theology and the bible have been around decades of thousands of centuries before the emergence of psychology and as such, the glory goes to Christ Jesus.
In this type of counselling, the counsellor may sometimes encourage the counsellee on the word of God Such as “God loves you”, God is able to handle every situation”, however, they do not seek God’s help to resolve the issues at hand.
Authentic Biblical Counselling
This type of counselling is the most trusted, reliable and effective. It provides the healing, assurance and peace of mind that every counselee desires. It is the beginning and ending of life; it is described as the best because it starts and ends in God the creator of the Heaven and Earth and all that is therein. Its teachings are based on the bible and a belief in God as our creator based on the appreciative fact that God is the one who created us, and not the other way round. In other words, it is based entirely on God’s word, making references to scriptural verses in the Bible that deals with the specific issue. The faith of the counselee is built on the word of God, while providing support or assistance with the love and mind of Christ. Both counsellor and counselee spend time together to read relevant scriptures from the Bible, pray to God for divine intervention and when necessary, take some practical steps in resolving the issues. This type is the tenants upon which scriptural revelation thrives, a comprehensive, compassionate, culturally – informed approach to who we are, what went wrong, and how to solve the issues of the soul. This type of counselling is spiritual and leads to a wholesome healing and restoration; it shows us to possess the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:1-11), and allows the Holy Spirit to fill and dwell in us (Eph.5:18), gives us direction, and when our journey on earth is over, we will meet our Lord Jesus Christ.
Importance of Christian Counselling
Counselling can be seen as the relationship that exists between a troubled individual and the one willing to offer help or solution. The Christian counsellor has the responsibility to help distressed or disturbed persons with the help of or in line with the word of God. The importance of Christian counselling however cannot be over emphasized. This is because every member of the church like any other individuals are faced with different types of challenges of life for which they seek help daily.
Secondly, the secular psychotherapy which is easily attained or obtained have little or no help whatsoever to render as regards the problems faced by men and women, especially when such problems burdens on spiritual or moral issues. Consequently, to allow such persons (counsellors) handle the problems of the Christians, will only mean compounding their problems.
Thirdly, when members of the congregations are faced with a lot of troubles that takes away their peace of mind, the growth of the church will be inevitably affected, hence the need for trained Christian Counsellors.
Fourthly, a healthy church makes up a healthy society, and a healthy society will certainly translate into a healthy/great nation. Therefore, since it is only the Christian counsellor that can effectively understand and proffer effective, life transforming and permanent solution to the multiplicity of human problems, Christian counselling should be encouraged and practiced.
Christian Counselling is also encouraged to avoid saved Christian members from being “prayed” upon by non-Christian counsellors; for harmonious living; helping the youths in the areas of career choice, marital choice, and for goal setting; guiding the youths from associating with bad friends (peer group influence) who may influence them negatively.
Characteristics of Christian Counselling
The characteristics of Christian Counselling are as stated below:
- Christ centeredness
- Passion Driven
- Total reformation focused
- Prayer Bath
- Faith Accessed
- Theological training required
- Fruit yielding
- Christ-centeredness: Everything about the Christian counselling is channelled or centred on the person of Jesus Christ. The Christian counsellor is an individual with a genuine encounter with Jesus Christ. He is one with the mind of Christ, who is willing to sacrifice his time and talent in helping troubled persons to be free.
- Scripture-based: Unlike the secular counsellor who consults other sources for their practices, and rely on skills acquired from school, the Christian counsellor consults the Holy Bible for guide in counselling. As a result of this, the Christian counsellor is able to effectively help people with problems like anxiety, guilt, depression, fear, etc.
- Spirit-led: The Christian counsellor understands problems which may be spiritually related with the help of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, they listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit; and can be able to understand hidden things that may not be known to the person involved.
- Passion Driven: In Christian counselling, the driving force is not to make money but to see the person with trouble free hence the Christian counsellor does not see counselling as a profession to make ends meet rather, a passion to help others. That is why after the counselling section, the counsellor still prays for the client. In most cases, the Christian counsellor sees the troubles of the counselee as his trouble but this is not the case with the secular counsellor.
- Total Reformation focused: The joy and desire of the Christian counsellor is to see a “totally reformed man” at the end of the counselling. This may not be found easily in the secular counselling.
- Prayer Bath: Christian Counselling demands a lot of prayers in two ways; the counsellor prays for himself for strength because the task of counselling can be very demanding. He also prays for the counselee to be sustained by God, so that after the counselling, he/she will not fall back to the early stage of life.
- Faith Accessed: Unlike in secular counselling, faith is key in a Christian counselling. For instance, in the case of person with guilt problem, the Christian Counsellor works on the faith of the counselee to believe and accept that the problem for which he/she is experiencing the guilt problem can be forgiven by God. This cannot be achieved if the faith of the counsellor is in doubt. Therefore in Christian counselling, faith is key.
- Theological Training Required: Theological training is a major characteristics in Christian counselling, of which the counsellor is required to update his knowledge at intervals. His knowledge in other fields of human endeavours may also be required in the cause of counselling.
- Fruit Yielding: At the end of the counselling process, the counselee is expected to experience a positive change. The end product of the counselling should produce fruits that is heart-healing, obstacle removing and mind renewing.
- Ethics and Principles of Pastoral Counselling
The following are the ethics and principles of pastoral counselling:
- Seek the best for the counselee: In pastoral counselling, the counsellor is ethically bound to seek the best for the counselee. He is not expected to do anything against this expectation; it is a fundamental principle.-
- Confidentiality of Information: The pastoral counsellor keeps every information given him by the counsellee during counselling. Only with the permission of the counselee should any of such information be shared with any other person. Betrayal of trust in this regard is unethical in pastoral counselling; it is also against the principle.
- Unprofessional Advice: Ethically, the Christian counsellor or pastoral counsellor is not expected to give any advice in the area which he is not familiar. Instead, he should refer them to the professional personnel involved. This also is guiding principle in pastoral counselling.
- Integrity: The pastoral counsellor must be watchful of his relationship especially with the opposite sex during counselling. Here the principle and ethics forbids the counsellor to be in any form of romantic relationship with the opposite sex (counselee).
- The setting arrangement and place during counselling especially in the case of the opposite sex must be noted. Such places should not be lonely and hidden or too far from people. It is a principle that must be kept faithfully.
- Counsellor should not be emotional with the body movement of the counselee. If the dressing and body movement is suspicious, the counsellor should call the attention of his wife (if married) or call off the counselling and ask the counselee to dress properly on a rescheduled day. As a matter of principle, the counsellor is guided by this as well.
- If prayer is required at the end of the counselling session, such should not be done in the secret, but in the main church, (if the counselling is done in the church environment), or invite a matured person to be around before the prayer.
- The counsellor should not impose his idea on the counselee. The principle and ethics do not encourage that, rather, the counsellor should only render advice.
- Ethically, the counsellor is expected to seek to honour God in carrying out the counselling session; not the honour of self. Honouring God in all we do as Christians is a godly principle.
- Assist and Encourage the Counselee towards Success: Where and when needed, the pastoral counsellor should assist and encourage the counselee to be brave to face the present challenge and or difficult situation to come out of it a success; the focus of the counsellor has always been to render help that will yield positive outcome.
Biblical Basis for Christian Counseling
The Christian counsellor must be sure to carryout counselling services directly based on the bible, God’s Holy Scriptures or in harmony with it. Anything short of this is regarded as working in the energy of the flesh. A Christian counsellor should begin and end with the bible as his basis for biblical counselling foundation and build upon a Christian methodology of counselling.
The biblical basis for Christian counselling is thus:
- The Bible is the Book on Behaviour: The Bible instructs us on “how” and how not” to live, showing us that which is acceptable behaviour and unacceptable behaviour, i.e. it shows us a step-by-step approach on how we can bring about better behaviour and personality change. The bible lays the framework for interpersonal relationships. It gives practical advice on solving family, marital and personal conflicts.
- Real Biblical Foundation: Jesus Christ as the very centre of all Christian counselling is the chief corner stone. Jesus knows more about the human mind, personality, and behavioural change; He is the centre that is why Psalm 139 indicates specifically and intricately, the designer of every single person. He is the master designer of every life.
- We must begin with the Scripture instead of beginning with Psychology: The bible being the word of God, and the final word for faith and practice should reign paramount. II Tim. 3:16-17; Rom. 15:4, 15; 1 Corinthians 10:11.
- The existence of God and Theological Truth: We are created by God to live a life after which we will give account of ourselves; hence the consequences for our thought and action follow the affirmation or denial of God. Theologically, it is clear that man was created by God using the material and non-material nature. He is from both dust and God. Theologians, Psychologists and Physiologists often find themselves in serious disagreement on this, but the truth remains, and nothing can be done against the truth but for the truth, the Bible and God remains our infallible stand.
History of Christian Counselling
The beginning of Christian counselling can be traced from the 1960s leading into the 1970s with the Biblical counselling movement directed by Jay E. Adams which brought to attention in his book component to counsel, a Christian-based approach which was different from the psychological and psychiatric solutions of the time. Adam was devout protestant who believed that it was the job of the church to heal people who he believed were morally corrupted, but labelled by society as mentally ill. He rejected other models of counselling, such as the medical model, which gave clients a medical diagnosis based on a list of other behaviours or actions. Adams believed the lists of maladaptive behaviours listed under each diagnostic category, were actually behaviours emanating from our volitional nature, rather than illness we were suffering from. Maladaptive behaviours according to Adams, are a matter of sin and therefore subject to confrontation and education in God’s word, exhorting the client to choose behaviour that is obedient to God’s word, thus removing us from complete responsibility for our choices.
According to David Powlison (2010), Adam’s model of Nouthetic counselling identifies many scriptures that a counsellor may use to exhort clients to change their behaviour and come into obedience and away from sin. The term “Nouthetic” is derived from the Greek word “nouthetoe” meaning to “admonish”; critics however point out the complexity of God’s creation and that telling an anorexic to eat because starving themselves is a sin, is not likely to be an effective method of treatment for eating disorders, nor many other issues clients present with, that have intermingled bio-psycho-social-cultural origins as identified in scientific research.
Methods Involved in Christian Counseling
Various methods have emerged in accordance with the proponents’ views of man and his problems; and what they believed is true. This is in agreement with Oludipe who asserts that in counselling, “your method to bring about change, or to deal with a person, will grow out of your basic view of man”. In other words, a counselor’s believe determines his/her attitude and treatment of people in counselling. Among the various methods or Approaches of counselling are:
- Expert knowledge whose proponents are Sigmand Freud and F.J. Skinner: They held that only those possessing expert knowledge are competent to counsel. Freud for instance says only experts can solve perplexing and complicated problems; In other words, the counselee’s past is responsible for his problem. F.J. Skinner – will rather see the counselee’s environment as responsible for his maladaptive behaviour. Therefore to him like Freud, the Counselee is not responsible for his problem, but should be held responsible for their actions.
- Common Knowledge: the proponent of this method is Carl Rogers. He believed that all men have adequate knowledge and resources to handle their own problems; therefore, there is no need for expert knowledge at all. To him every person has the potential to do right, and that deep within man lays the solution to all his problems. He fails to know that man does not have adequate resources to help himself. He also fails to understand that mankind at the core is sinful, inherently evil; and that man needed God to save him from problems.
- Divine Knowledge: This is the sole method involved in Christian counselling. Dr. Jay E. Adams said, “Christian counselling must start with a Biblical foundation and build from it a Christian methodology of counselling which rests upon and is consistent with the foundation”. Adams, who based his method on the scriptures and God’s revelation through the Holy Spirit, can be referred to as the Father of Pastoral psychological counselling or Divine knowledge. This method of Christian counselling highlights the following procedures to be adhered to in carrying out Christian counselling.
- We must begin with the scriptures: This is because the Bible has been referred to as the Book on Behaviour; as the Bible;
- Instructs us on how to live and not to live;
- It shows us what is acceptable behaviour and unacceptable behaviour. It shows us step-by-step on how we can bring about behaviour and personality change; and
- The Bible lays the framework for interpersonal relationships. It gives practical advice on solving family, marital, and personal conflicts (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11).
- Too often in the past, counsellors have begun with external date, like B.F. Skinner; Sigmund Freud; Carl Rogers, and others who never truly found solution to human problems, as they have not been able to link man back to God. Therefore, Christian counselling must have a methodology that is Christian or Biblical in order to be Christian counselling.
- Too often in the past, Christians has been guilty of building upon the sinking sand of psychology. Oludipe posits that in the past, many have tried to find scripture tests to support the foundation already laid from the teachings of the world.
- Christian counselling must begin with the scriptures instead of beginning with psychology if the Bible is the word of God, and if it is the final word of faith and practice, then it should reign as the final authority to the solution of human problem.
- Christian Counsellors should know the word of God so well that they can properly evaluate teachings of psychology in the light of the “thus saith the Lord”. They should know the scripture thoroughly enough as to use it to help the suffering persons come out of their problem. Jesus Christ is the centre of all Christian counselling; He is the chief corner stone. This incontestable fact simply proofs that Jesus Christ is the Master designer of every life. He has the solution to every human problem, whatever it could be.
Ken Wooldridge (2006) highlighted six tools used in Christian pastoral counselling as follows:
- The Bible – God’s word
- The personal experience of the counsellor
- Counsellor’s Training
- Reference Counselling Material
- The help of trusted family or friend of the counselled person.
GUIDELINES AND PRESUPPOSITIONS
For effective, result oriented and God glorifying adjustment in the life of the counselee, the following guidelines and presuppositions are very important to the Christian counsellor.
- Ability to maintain confidentiality: This is very crucial for the confidence of the counselee. The only exception to this regard is when it involves ethical or legal reasons; such as suspicion of child abuse.
- Avoidance of counselee’s manipulation: Every pastoral counsellor must avoid playing upon the intelligence of the clients; do not manipulate the counselee.
- Avoid making decisions for the person seeking help: Though people see the pastor (the Christian counsellor) as an authority with the knowledge of the Bible, he or she need to be careful about simply making decisions for the counselee.
- Do not be a Voyeur: In the area of sexuality in particular, the pastor must be careful not to seek directly or indirectly information that is not germane to the issue at hand. Seeking information for sexual gratification is inappropriate, unfair and counterproductive.
- Never become romantically or sexually involved with a counselee: It has been observed that, a one-on-one counselling relationship with a person of the opposite sex can be very seductive; hence Pastors carrying out counselling should ensure that someone else is in the office area when counselling an opposite sex counselee.
- The Bible is the inspired, inherent word of God, the final authority regarding faith and practice.
- Man’s basic problem is a sin problem. If we must bring about the behaviour and personality change that God required, which is possible only through the work of the Holy Spirit, then we must begin with the right basics and foundation-man’s problem is sin, so the remedy is Jesus Christ.
- Man is responsible for his actions; because God created man to make responsible choices, any failure therefore on the part of man should be traceable and blameable on man and never God.
- The Christian counsellor should assume the person is suffering from spiritual maladjustment or sin. The spiritual problem will evidence itself in improper thinking or improper behaviour, and doubtless both are involved.
- Biblical Counselling is directive in nature. The Bible, which is the main tool in the hand of the Christian counsellor, should be used and applied as such.
- American Counselling Association (1997) – Sourse:
Gladding, S.T. (2004): A Comprehensive
Profession (5th edition). Upper Saddle River,
NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall. P 6-7
- David (2010): The Biblical Counselling Movement:
History and Context. New Growth Press.
- Counselling Directory (2016): Retrieved from http: //www.google.com/counselling.
- George, Timothy (1984): Competent Christian Counselling, Colorado Spring, Colorado: Water Brook Press.
- John Henderson (2011): Association of Biblical Counsellors http:/www.christiancounselling.com
- Ken Wooldridge (2006): Good News Church of Knoxville.
- Lamber, Health(2012): The Biblical Counselling Movement After Adams. Crossway
- Lekk, Jeremy (2014): “Biblical Counselling Defines” Association of Biblical Counselling.
- Otobrise, E.A. (2016) Lecture Note
- Rob Green (2011): Faith Biblical Counselling Ministries (http://www.faithlafayette.org/counselling)
- Rotimi Oludipe (2016) Lecture Note
- Rick Thomas (2011) Counselling Solutions Group (http://www.competent counselling.com
- Tim Lane (2011): Christian Counselling and Education Foundation (http://www.ccef.org)
- Wayne Vander Wier (20ll): Overseas Instruction in Counselling (http://www.Discover O/C.org)