Book Review: Scripture and Counseling: Introduction

The following is part one of a chapter-by-chapter review of "Scripture and Counseling: God's Word for Life in a Broken World." The book is the latest publication from the Biblical Counseling Coalition and Zondervan Publishing. Dr. Bob Kellemen is the General Editor, and Dr. Jeff Forrey is the Managing Editor. 

My intent for this review is to create a series that interacts with each of the book's chapters, and their main ideas. I've chosen this format because of the importance of each chapter. 

Scripture and Counseling is a book that draws upon the knowledge and expertise of twenty leaders from within the biblical counseling movement. It seeks to help the reader regain confidence in God's Word as sufficient to address life's issues. The book is a critical addition to the greater body of work concerning biblical counseling, and one that every counselor, pastor, and small group leader should possess.

Scripture and Counseling: Introduction: The Preacher, The Counselor, and The Congregation
by Kevin DeYoung and Pat Quinn

As the Founder and Executive Director of a still-new biblical counseling ministry, in an area relatively unfamiliar with biblical counseling, one of the most important tasks I've faced in introducing pastors to the ministry is sharing with them the ways in which biblical counseling complements their pre-existing pulpit and teaching ministries. 

In the Introduction to Scripture and Counseling, authors Kevin DeYoung  and Pat Quinn have provided not just another superfluous opening act to an otherwise good book, but a chapter that answers questions like how counseling and pulpit ministry coalesce in a local church, and, perhaps most importantly, what is the basis for counseling and pulpit ministry being joined together.

In the Introduction, DeYoung and Quinn provide the reader with four pillars upon which the partnership of pulpit and counseling rest. Concerning God's Word, those pillars are the necessity, authority, sufficiency, and relevance of Scripture. Each of these are explained in brief, and connections made between the office of preacher and counselor. 

In making their argument for the local church embracing biblical counseling ministry, DeYoung and Quinn show that, contrary to the common view that separates what the pastor does on Sunday, from what the counselor does on Monday, the work of these two disciple-making ministries are intricately linked because of their shared reliance upon Scripture, that is, where Scripture is in fact the basis for ministry.

In the opening paragraph, DeYoung and Quinn write that, "The ministry of the preacher and the ministry of the counselor are not different kinds of ministry, but rather the same ministry given in different ways in different settings. Both are fundamentally, thoroughly, and unapologetically Word ministries."

To this point, and within their explanation of the necessity of Scripture for preaching and biblical counseling, DeYoung and Quinn show that, "The care of souls requires revelation from the Maker of souls. We preach and we counsel from the Scriptures not simply because they help us see a few good insights, but because they are the spectacles through which we must see everything."

DeYoung and Quinn then share specific case examples of how their ministries have complemented one another in the local church where they serve, beginning with the preaching of DeYoung, followed by the one-another ministry of Quinn's counsel. 

DeYoung and Quinn write that their unique ministries have been mutually supportive because of a "shared commitment" to the pillars of Scripture for "helping people work through suffering and sin issues in a way that glorifies God and brings spiritual growth."

From my perspective, as someone who's reaching out to local pastors in a community not accustomed to church-based, clinically-informed biblical counseling, the Introduction to Scripture and Counseling serves as an excellent opportunity to encourage pastors and church leaders to consider how biblical counseling promises to enhance disciple-making, promote lasting life transformation within the congregation, and enhance existing pulpit ministry.

DeYoung and Quinn rightly point out, "We do not need to be afraid to preach and counsel from the Word of God into the deepest places of the human heart." And, through their Introduction to Scripture and Counseling, we also learn that the church can embrace preaching and counseling as complementary ministries of the Word, each emanating from confidence in the necessity, authority, sufficiency, and relevance of Scripture.

Kevin DeYoung is the Senior Pastor of University Reformed Church, serving alongside Pat Quinn, who is the Pastor of Counseling Ministries.