Introduction to Biblical Counseling by John F. MacArthur, Jr. and Wayne A. Mack (Dallas, TX: Word Publishing, 1994), 407pp, hardback, $24.99.
This book is rooted in the authors’ foundational belief in the “sufficiency, superiority, and practicality of Scripture for dealing with all the issues of life.” The information given proceeds from many years of biblical counseling practice as well as insights gained from personal biblical study and teaching others.
All aspects of biblical counseling are addressed from the “Theological Foundations of Biblical Counseling” to “Biblical Counseling and the Local Church.” This is a basic guide to the principles and practice of counseling as a unique Christian ministry. In other words, the material is Scripturally accurate and is not based on humanism or secular theories of psychological counseling.
The book is divided into four parts. First, the historical background of biblical counseling is presented covering the paradigm of the English Puritans up to the Twentieth Century. Second, the theological issues of the sinfulness of humanity and God’s answer to it through Christ’s atonement are discussed in regard to counseling. Third, the process of developing a relationship whereby counseling can take place is practically examined. Fourth, how biblical counseling can be practiced effectively within the local church setting is offered.
This comprehensive volume provides essential help for pastors and local church leaders as well as others in the body of Christ who wish to become confident and effective in counseling those who seek their help. In fact, it is a textbook used in some biblical counseling seminary courses. However, it is just as valuable as a resource in the local church and for personal study.
In addition to a Table of Contents, this work includes an Appendix that has a Personal Data Inventory form useful for gathering background information from a counselee. An Index of Authors, Index of Scriptures, and Index of Subjects is provided along with a notable List of Contributors.
Reviewed by Deb Garland, www.spiritandtruth.org