Ep. 266 When Biblical Counselors Don’t Act like Biblical Counselors

Ep. 266 When Biblical Counselors Don't Act like Biblical Counselors

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Shows Main Idea – I recently posted a few concerns about the Duluth Model Power and Control Wheel in response to a biblical counselor who asked. This biblical counselor was okay with the critique and shared similar concerns. I then posted my concerns on the private Facebook group that our ministry makes available to anyone interested in biblical counseling. Someone shared my views on another group in which their reactions were instructive.

Life Over Coffee · Ep. 266 When Biblical Counselors Don’t Act Like Biblical Counselors

Show Notes

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Podcast Purpose

My purpose in this podcast is to draw a parallel between a few of their responses to how it reflects some of the things we see in biblical counseling. This parallel is not artificial. How we communicate in any space reveals how we think and interact in other spaces. The mouth reveals the heart. Thus, what comes from our lips affirm what’s inside our hearts. Of course, you can mask heart matters, but that is a darker problem that I’m not addressing here.

Thankfully, some of the biblical counselors in that conversation responded biblically and shared their concerns within the group. Please understand that I’m not sharing my views out of a personal grievance, but it’s a genuine concern for things I have seen many times among biblical counselors, not just this instance.

Who we are impacts those who are on the receiving end of our care. We are the ones who should be bringing expert, skilled, biblical care to the vulnerable. If we cannot conduct ourselves well with each other, the chances of doing it the right way when it really matters—especially when the degree of difficulty increases—is not likely.

Still Working on Me

I do realize we’re all in process. It would be unfair to expect every student of biblical counseling to be at a highly-skilled level or that they ever will be. God did not create counselors equally. There are those who aren’t at this level of soul care but will be at some point. Of course, others will not be there because of what’s involved in caring for folks in acute and complicated suffering.

High-end, formalized biblical counseling is a job for the called, competent, courageous, and compassionate who have the God-given capacity to help these vulnerable souls. If I did not speak up about these matters, it would be a dereliction of duty; I care too much for the victims to be quiet.

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No Names

I have been an advocate and critic of biblical counseling for a long time. I hold both these things in balance, while not overly-leaning to one or the other. I rarely “call names” unless it’s a widely public matter, e.g., John MacArthur and IABC. I won’t use names here because my desire is not to draw attention to a person but a few vital issues we all need to address, starting with me.

I trust a few will hear and heed. Here are some of those issues in no particular order of significance. I will present an issue from the Facebook exchanges and then connect the parallel to how we should also conduct ourselves when doing biblical counseling.

Problems and Tips


  • Problem – Labeling someone as an oppressor without talking to them or interacting with them, but drawing that conclusion through second-hand perspectives and fitting them into their paradigm for problem-solving. This approach is descriptive psychology, a hallmark of some counseling.
  • BC Parallel – The counselor works from a list of words and categories, i.e., the Duluth Model, and if the shoe seems to fit, they pin the person to their pre-approved label, though they never talk to the person.


  • Problem – Like most blurbs and posts on social media, they are brief, not exhaustive. Those mediums aren’t for plenary explanations or critiques of anything. Thus, wisdom implies that you extend grace and ask clarifying questions to gain the intent of the meaning.
  • BC Parallel – If your practice is to respond to things you partially understand without asking for clarification, your counseling will be ineffective and possibly hurtful.


  • Problem – Only one person asked me a question.
  • BC Parallel – If your reactive habit is to make statements first, you will limit your counseling effectiveness because you don’t start with questions.


  • Problem – Reacting and defending. One person responded with a lengthy defense of why they use the Duluth Wheel. They did not ask for clarification but made statements in defense.
  • BC Parallel – If your first instinct is to defend yourself, potential insecurity blinds you to basic biblical principles, guidelines, and propriety.

Direct Video Messages


  • Problem – The person who was looking for clarification went to another private Facebook group to ask about what I wrote. There was a link to our private community on our website, but they chose to talk to someone who did not know what I had said and had no idea what I meant or intended.
  • BC Parallel – If you have an issue with someone and need clarification, go to that person. I’m not sure of a more basic biblical or counseling principle.


  • Problem – The individual who responded, from what I understand, did not appeal to them to go to the source, which is common sense disciple-making. They gave their opinion, though stating they had not read what I had written. They said some folks might have a conscience issue with using an integrated tool for counseling. For the record, I don’t care about that.
  • BC Parallel – If anyone asks you what another person meant, send them to the source. It’s okay to speculate, but with biblical discretion, plus a directive to go to the source.


  • Problem – The leaders and moderators of the group let the conversation go places that it should not.
  • BC Parallel – If you lead a team, group, or organization, keep Ephesians 5:29 in view and practice. If you were to go to our public forums on our website, you would read this in the introduction:

Ask questions or make comments about any of our content. Anyone can chime in on these posts. Please do so with Paul’s words from Ephesians 4:29 in view: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

We have a fantastic community where folks speak with the “image of God” in view.


  • Problem – It is unwise to speak before you hear a matter or if you’re unclear about it.
  • BC Parallel – This problem is one of the most significant in abuse counseling. Too many counselors do not hear the whole matter but receive a one-sided perspective without gaining more knowledge. I’m quite aware of the minefield with a potential victim of abuse, which is why this type of counseling is not for the novice or unskilled.


  • Problem – Participating or permitting gossip inside a group forum.
  • BC Parallel – If you are part of a group that is not using edifying speech, is speaking with limited data, and talking about things they do not fully understand, you have options. Consider not participating, possibly confronting the unwholesome speech, and, perhaps leaving the group. (I did see one screenshot of someone who did confront the group, saying I was not an “oppressive BC’er,” had gone through abuse, and have produced a lot of content on abuse. Kudos to this courageous soul. Perhaps there were others.)


  • Problem – Participating in a group-think session like this, knowing something about it is not right, but you don’t speak.
  • BC Parallel – If you don’t speak because of a lack of courage but you know you should, it’s a sin (James 4:17). You should not be counseling at this level if you’re that insecure.


  • Problem – Participating in a group-think session like this and not discerning that something about it is wrong.
  • BC Parallel – If you don’t see how something like this is wrong, my appeal would be to get alone with the Lord and find a friend to help you mature in biblical wisdom. It would be best if you were careful about who you counsel until you work through this matter.

Call to Action

I have zero desire to be mean-spirited or create unnecessary concern with anyone. However, I do have a determined passion to self-examine myself as well as those demographics that I love the most, which are the Christian ranks, and the smaller subset, biblical counseling movement.

  1. If none of this applies to you, move on while praising God for His good work in your life.
  2. If the Spirit of God is bringing conviction, even if slight, please respond. Find someone who’s has the compassion, competency, courage, and capacity to help you. It’s worth it—for God’s fame, your maturity, and the benefit of those who will receive your care.

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