Shepherding, Counseling, and the Early Church
The overall objective of this course is to build an comprehensive shepherding strategy for a church, which is rooted in the traditional pastoral care paradigm, drawn from the Scriptures, especially from Paul's early letters, rather than the secular psychological care paradigm of contemporary culture. Specifically, this means that each person studying the course would:
Develop an understanding of the biblical model of pastoral care practiced in the early churches as a basis for formulating a philosophy of pastoral care which is consistent with New Testament guidelines for living in community and treating problems in our own lives and in our churches.
Formulate a clear perspective of the gospel and the work of the Spirit in our lives (from an examination of the message of the gospel in Paul's early epistles) as a basis for addressing the foundational needs and life-controlling problems of new or unestablished believers.
Examine the contemporary practice of integrating psychology and theology, and assess the legitimacy of such an endeavor and its implications for the practice of counseling within the church.
Lay necessary foundations for skillfully handling the Scriptures in counseling, and develop convictions regarding the sufficiency of the scriptures in the counseling process.
Critique the contemporary emergence of a new Christian profession--Christian psychologists and psychiatrists--and the church's reliance upon it for pastoral care while examining its implications on biblical authority structures and responsibilities.
- Design a contemporary and comprehensive pastoral care strategy consistent with the biblical guidelines set forth in the Scriptures for the life of the church and the individual's growth in the Spirit.