Pastoral Counselors?

Some of the most prominent ministers in many churches today are self-identified as “Pastoral Counselors”. They define pastoral counseling as “a branch of counseling in which psychologically trained ministers, rabbis, priests and other persons provide therapy services. Pastoral counselors often integrate modern psychological thought and method with traditional religious training in an effort to address psychospiritual issues in addition to the traditional spectrum of counseling services.” Among their many services are pre-marital counseling, marriage counseling, family-life counseling, financial counseling, grief counseling, addiction and/or substance-abuse counseling, and counseling on various other problems one finds in the world.

One will search the Holy Scriptures in vain for such pastoral counselors in the church of Christ? Evidently the Head of the church did not permit His body, wife, and city to be afflicted with “psychospiritual issues” requiring “therapy services” founded in “modern psychological thought and method” administered by “psychologically trained ministers”. And evidently He was convinced that all issues arising in His church would be more than adequately resolved by the ministers He gave to her: apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11-13).

Indeed, pastoral counselors themselves admit that their ministry had its beginning in the first half of the twentieth century. Reasons for their necessity are obvious.

The foremost reason why the church of Christ does not need such pastoral counselors is because we have in Jesus Christ the “Wonderful Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6). He is “the LORD of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance” (Isaiah 28:29). If you heed this Counselor, you need no other. They who do so confess: “You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:24); “I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel.” (Psalm 16:7)

And unlike most of the afore-mentioned “Pastoral Counselors”, all the services of the “Wonderful Counselor” are free!

D. Parks

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