There is a huge difference between a pastor or someone trained to do Christian Counseling and a secular counselor (called him or her whatever you want). There is a method of Christian Counseling that is totally Biblical known as “Nouthetic Counseling”. The Greek noun “nouthesia” is used by Paul in the New Testament and when translated means “admonish, correct or instruct”. In English, the best way to describe “Nouthetic Counseling” is to say “Biblical Counseling”. An example of its usage is found in
Romans 15:14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
There is the word “instruct” … “nouthesia”. In this passage we see Paul encouraging the members of the Church to “counsel” each other … informally. To do this one would share prayer requests, apply Biblical passages and pray for each other. Then in a formal sense we find him speaking of the pastoral team “admonishing” (noutheteo – counseling) the Body of Christ
1Th 5:12 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.
The point about this counseling is that it is set deeply in the Scriptures. The ideas arising from nouthetic counseling are
(1) Confrontation. The counselor loving uses the Bible and not secular or personal ideas to address the counselee’s problem.
(2) Concern. The welfare of the counselee is always the counselor’s chief concern so that God will be glorified. This includes the spiritual, mental, physical, financial, family, career, marriage of the counselee, laid against the pages of the Bible.
(3) Change. The reason a Christian seeks counseling is because something in his or her life does not meet Biblical requirements and restricts pursuing a God honoring life.
The intent of such counseling is to assist the Christian towards becoming more and more Christ-like, not only in the area of concern but in all of life. The counselor requires a loving, prayerful spirit to assist the one in need to change. This is why we read
1Co 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: 16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
This last sentence is vital for without it, counseling is secular and not Biblical (not nouthetic). Maybe you are asking “Why all this about counseling?”
1) Simply because without the Spirit of Christ, counsel is not from God! Daniel might have lived before Jesus visited planet earth in the flesh, but our Lord is the “eternal Son of God” … and His mind was in the mind of the servants of God.
Da 5:8 Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant.
What we need to see firstly is that these wise men … the enchanters, astrologers and diviners … are the king’s wise men. They were the ones who lead the king in the worship of the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. They were his counselors, advisers … hence called “the king’s wise men” … and excuse the pun … they were “all the king’s wise men.” They could not read the writing on the wall. Much speculation has gone into the reason why they could not read or understand the writing. The short answer is that this was a miracle … one that could not be deciphered by knowing the various writings of the day. In our case, such as Chinese, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, English, etc. The way the lettering is laid out, using linguistic skills and tools will help one to know the language and provide interpretation. But in this case, being miraculous, only divine illumination would work. This is the reason these wise men could not provide interpretation and counsel. Only one with the mind of Christ could do what the king required. Beloved, we need to be careful who provides us with interpretation of the Scriptures. Unless the interpreter has the mind of Christ, being well schooled in Biblical Knowledge where doctrine and theology can be applied properly, counsel will cause more damage than good.
2) The king and his entourage were besides themselves not knowing what the writing on the wall meant!
Da 5:9 So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled. The drunken feast turned into a confusion of panic, at least around the king’s table on the elevation.
The word “terrified” has been translated as “deeply disturbed”. The king’s face grew more pale. All the blood drained from his face. This supreme leader of the world’s superpower was sacred. His table guests were bewildered and upset because of what they saw and because the king’s wise men could not provide any counsel on the matter.
3) This happens when the blind lead the blind. These wise men were totally dumb because their gods were as dumb as they were. I do understand that some of the greatest evangelists were not schooled in theology … some not even having been to school. But surely, if the great apostle Paul who studied under Gamaliel, a teacher in Judaism and once converted to Jesus he spend three years in Arabia (Galatians 1:17-18), learning Gospel application to the Old Testament teaching, with special reference to Messiah … those in Christian ministry also need solid Biblical preparation for ministry. Zeal does not replace preparation. Time spent in formal education expands and assists ministry by bringing depth, maturity and truth. Naturally, having said that, the New Birth is foundational to any Gospel Ministry. Many “good men” have had all the gifting for pastoral ministry, yet failed because they did not have the formal theological education required for the task. Not only must a man desiring to enter the ministry be in much prayer, he needs the loving support of nouthetic counsel from God’s wise men. Otherwise he will fail and failure not only injures the individual … the Church and God’s people are affected.
Our Father, Thank You for the Bible and Bible Based Theological Colleges and Seminaries. Raise up many good men to study there. Amen.