Christian Counseling and the Life of Jesus

counseling image 2This is the fourth in a series of posts which examines the 95 Theses for an Authentically Christian Commitment to Counseling published by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and authored by Dr. Heath Lambert. I offer this critique from my perspective as a psychology professor and mental health counselor. For prior posts in the series on the first fourteen theses, click here. Today, I examine thesis 15.
Is Jesus the Standard for Everything?
This section focuses on Jesus as a standard for Christian mental health.

  1. Counselors require a standard to know what changes must be pursued in the lives of the troubled people they wish to help and, because the Bible portrays Jesus Christ as that perfect standard for human living, it is impossible to accomplish authentically Christian counseling without reference to him (1 John 2:5-6).

I can’t tell what this statement means in a practical sense. Knowing that Jesus is perfect in every way doesn’t tell me what kind of changes human beings should pursue in counseling. Three possibilities occurred to me which I will frame as questions:

  • Does Lambert mean Christian counselors should always pursue change in every dimension of personality (i.e., behavioral, emotional, cognitive, moral)?
  • Is he referring to the outcomes of counseling? Does he mean that Christian counseling should lead to clients being perfect as Jesus is perfect?
  • Or does he mean that counselors should only deal with issues depicted in the Bible’s accounts of the life of Jesus?

Each of these questions deserve a separate article for a full response. For the purpose of this post, I will briefly reply to each one.
Symptom v. Personality Change
Historically, counselors have debated the scope of counseling. Should counseling focus on symptom removal or on deeper personality change? Modern approaches aim for symptom relief while older approaches such as psychoanalysis focus on personality change.
I see nothing in the Bible which requires all counseling to deal with every level of human functioning. I believe counseling may properly deal with one aspect of functioning (e.g., symptom reduction versus deep personality change). In fact, Jesus at times healed diseases without any obvious attention to other areas of life. The needs of clients should guide counselors in planning their interventions.
Can We Be as Healthy as Jesus?
Although Jesus healed diseases in others, there are no recorded instances of Jesus suffering with medical or mental disorders. Does that mean he lived in such a way that he never suffered health problems? Or did His divine nature prevent those effects of a sinful world? Many theologians believe Jesus was unable to sin.* In like manner, could it be that Jesus was unable to experience mental or physical disease? Since He healed others, perhaps He healed Himself at the first sign of any disease. Or, on the other hand, is it possible that Jesus could have gotten cancer or suffered with bipolar disorder? Charles Spurgeon did not believe Jesus was ever ill. In his sermon, “Help for Your Sickness,” Spurgeon said no “disease was upon him.”
Spurgeon on sickness
Is Jesus a Perfect Standard for Every Aspect of Living?
Jesus is an example of obedience to the Father, holy living, and sacrifice. He modeled a life of virtue and was the substitute for our transgressions. He is our example for moral conduct and virtuous reflection. About this, most Christians agree. However, there is much Jesus didn’t cover during his short time on Earth.  Jesus’ teachings are the standard as far as they go.
We don’t know much about the life of Jesus outside of His mission to rescue people from sin. While the New Testament speaks in general terms about the humanity of Jesus, I don’t think it is possible to know with certainty what that means for mental health treatment.
Jesus didn’t deal with much of what we need to know to live today. He never chose a college, a spouse, or a profession. He never invested in a retirement account or purchased insurance. He didn’t play sports or watch movies. What He taught us we should emulate. However, on many aspects of human living, He offered no specific example or teaching.  We must use our minds in community with others to figure out how to pursue the rest.

For the earlier posts in this series, click here.

*This is certainly true of theologians who teach at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where Heath Lambert also teaches counseling. In a 2015 article, Denny Burk wrote:

Jesus’ impeccability in this regard has provoked some people to wonder whether his experience of temptation can ever be as intense as that of the sinners that he came to save. Can he really have known our weaknesses when he himself was not capable of sinning? (p. 104)

Burk believes Jesus did know the temptation but was unable to sin.

The text plainly says that God cannot be tempted by evil. In what way are we tempted by evil that God is not tempted by evil? Verse 14 gives the answer. We face temptations that arise from our “own desire” (1:14). By contrast, because Jesus never desired evil, Jesus never faced temptations arising from “his own sinful desire.” His heart never in any degree fixated on evil. Temptation had no landing pad in Jesus’ heart nor did it have a launching pad from Jesus’ heart. The same is not true of sinners, who are often carried away by their own desires, as James describes it. (p.105)


Petition Reignites Biblical Counseling Controversy at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

counseling image 2In September, I wrote about a controversy at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary involving the Christian psychology of Eric Johnson and the Biblical counseling of Heath Lambert. According to Johnson, his version of Christian psychology is no longer compatible with how SBTS wants counseling taught at the school. Thus, he had to step down from his position. It is not clear if he was fired or negotiated a settlement of some kind.

Reviving Eric Johnson’s Position Revisited

At the time, a petition was constructed to register discontent with Johnson’s ouster. Now, an update has been posted to the petition with a broader aim. The petition to SBTS now asks:

Given the obvious harm that these consequences would cause both to the standing and reputation of Southern Seminary, the following are recommended steps that should be taken and questions to be asked next week as the Board of Trustees visit Southern Seminary:


  • Offer immunity and anonymity to any and all professors who would be willing to speak with the trustees regarding this situation. Many of them know far more than we do but are terrified of speaking out for fear of ending up like Professor Johnson. Allow them to simply affirm, deny, or elaborate upon anything said in this letter without the fear of disciplinary actions.
  • Reconsider the silencing effects that the removal of tenure in 2014 has had up the seminary’s faculty, as they have been afraid to speak up for their terminated colleague, Professor Johnson. Please take steps to reinstate tenure. Tenure ensures the continuity of an institution’s identity, maintains the financial security for faculty families, and establishes boundaries that prevent the president from wrongfully firing professors. Before the removal of tenure in 2014, professors could be justifiably removed for moral or doctrinal transgression. There is no added benefit to the new faculty contract policy aside from the consolidation of power within the office of the president. The reason alumni are writing this letter is because all the faculty and staff members who contacted us were afraid that they would lose their job by speaking out.
  • Southern Seminary’s counseling program is very important in the life of Southern Baptist Churches, as it is on the front lines of pastoral and congregational soul care. Is it in the best interest of the churches that Southern Seminary serves to train up future pastors in a monologuing counseling department? Should pastors not study under both biblical counselors and Christian psychologists as they learn how to care for the complex needs of their churches?
  • Ask President Mohler directly whether any ACBC-affiliate (church, person, organization) was involved in his termination of Johnson. If Mohler refuses to provide a direct “yes” or “no” answer, ask him whether or not his reluctance to speak about the termination is the result of a non-disclosure agreement. It is imperative that the truth come out so that the Seminary can move on and begin a healing and reunifying process.
  • Based upon the findings of the above mentioned investigations, if it is found that there was any improper conduct that led to the termination of Professor Johnson, we recommend that the Board of Trustees extend a public apology to Johnson and offer to reinstate him in his original position at Southern Seminary.

This Story Is About More Than Eric Johnson and Heath Lambert

Johnson’s personnel matter is wrapped up in a broader issue. Will Southern Baptist pastors be exposed to one narrow approach to counseling or will they have access to training and teaching which takes psychological insights into account? Why this matters to a broad audience is that many people go to their pastors for counseling or for recommendations for counseling. It would be tragic and potentially dangerous for pastors to refer only to Biblical counselors.
Note to the folks at SBTS, mental illness is real and the Bible doesn’t say much about it. Recently, I featured representatives of Biblical counseling and Christian psychology in a discussion about a case. It was clear to me that the Biblical counseling approach left important components out. Furthermore, there are many problems in living which Scripture doesn’t address.

Should Christian Counselors Talk Only About The Bible And Jesus?

If a resource is authoritative, does that make it all you need?

counseling image 2If a resource is authoritative, does that make it all you need? According to the 95 Theses for an Authentically Christian Commitment to Counseling, the Bible is both authoritative and sufficient for all counseling conversations. In this post, I challenge that claim.
This is the third in a series of posts which examines the 95 Theses from my perspective as a psychology professor and mental health counselor. For prior posts in the series on the first eleven theses, click here. Today, I examine statements eleven through fourteen.

What Does the Bible Claim?

11. When the Bible claims to address all the issues concerning life and godliness, it declares itself to be a sufficient and an authoritative resource to address everything essential for counseling conversations (2 Pet 1:3-4).

I covered this thesis in the last post but I want to say something else about it. There I pointed out that living a “godly life” doesn’t mean the absence of emotional disturbances. A godly life is certainly possible for the person who believes God’s promises, but this by itself doesn’t prevent mental illness. The Bible does instruct us in moral teaching but is not a medical or psychological text. We need knowledge not contained in the Bible to provide the best care for many human problems.
Here again are the verses which form the basis for the statement:

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

One must read into these verses to say that “the Bible claims to address all the issues concerning life and godliness.” One could assume that the Bible is an aspect of his divine power, but the verse doesn’t limit God’s divine power to the Bible. I think Biblical counselors make a claim for the Bible that it doesn’t make for itself.

Authoritative Doesn’t Mean Sufficient

12. Christians must not separate the authority of Scripture for counseling from the sufficiency of Scripture for counseling because, if Scripture is to be a relevant authority, then it must be sufficient for the struggles people face as they live life in a fallen world (2 Pet 1:3-21).
13. The authority and sufficiency of Scripture for counseling means that counselors must counsel out of the conviction that the theological content of Scripture defines and directs the conversational content of counseling.

Sufficiency does not necessarily follow from authority. One may see the Bible as authoritative when it speaks but not believe it speaks about everything. There can be no doubt that the Bible doesn’t speak about everything. The Bible does say some things about medical issues (e.g., Timothy was told to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake, 1 Tim. 5:23), but doesn’t describe brain surgery procedures or how to do a heart catheterization. Taking some wine instead of tainted water might be good advice, but it isn’t sufficient for most of our other medical questions.

Does Jesus Solve Every Problem?

14. The Bible teaches that the person and work of Jesus Christ provide God’s sufficient power to solve every problem of humanity so, according to Scripture, he is the ultimate subject of every counseling conversation (Col 2:2-3).

Surely, Dr. Lambert and the Biblical counselors don’t mean that Jesus actually solves “every problem of humanity.” A quick look around wherever you are will demonstrate that Jesus hasn’t solved every human problem. One can argue that Jesus has the power to solve them all but decides not to do it, but you can’t argue that all problems are solved.
Since all problems aren’t in fact solved, what happens in those counseling conversations where Jesus didn’t solve the problem? Do client and counselor keep talking about the power of Jesus in a theoretical sense? I can’t imagine how it would be helpful to keep telling a chronically depressed person that Jesus has the power to solve every human problem, just not yours.
By analogy, one would not say Jesus is the subject of every medical visit. Most evangelicals believe Jesus could heal any illness, but that He doesn’t often do so. Because we believe Jesus provides sufficient power to solve every medical problem, is it necessary for a Christian physician to make Jesus the subject of every medical conversation? Of course not, if I have a medical need, I want extra-biblical medical knowledge brought to bear on my problem along with prayer.

SERIES: Evaluation of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors’ 95 Theses

I am evaluating a proposal by Heath Lambert, the executive director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, for an authentically Christian approach to counseling. Lambert listed 95 theses on the ACBC website which he believes defines an appropriate Christian method. I disagree with most of the points and am writing this series to offer another perspective. To read all posts in this series, click here.  To read a similar series on Biblical counseling v. Christian psychology, click here.

Biblical Counseling v. Christian Psychology: Tim Allchin Reacts to McConnell and Throckmorton

In this final article in the Biblical Counseling v. Christian psychology series, Biblical counselor Tim Allchin provides his reactions to A.J. McConnell and me. I will have some additional remarks at the conclusion of this post.

Allchin: Thank you for letting me take part in this series.  I enjoyed the interaction and perspectives and the shared heart we have for helping this young man thrive (click here for the case of school refusal).  I also appreciated the fact that we could disagree without choosing to divert the conversation into name-calling or mockery.  Too many of these conversations have carried the tonality that was often found in the comments section but the main articles modeled a better way of interaction.  I hope biblical counselors and Christian psychologist and secular counselors can learn from each other and learn to discuss our differences with respect.  We will often disagree, but Christian counselors must be committed to conversations that are full of grace and truth.
Regarding the case study, I agree with Dr. Allen Frances when he states that “accurate diagnosis in kids is really tough and time consuming. Misdiagnosis in kids is really easy and can be done in 10 minutes. Accurate diagnosis in kids leads to helpful interventions that can greatly improve future life. Misdiagnosis in kids often leads to harmful medication and haunting stigma.”  All three counselors clearly care about the child and want him to be treated carefully and bring different perspectives to the table.

Two questions I would raise in response to the critiques of biblical counseling and the case study mentioned:

What is the best way to view anxiety?  Is anxiety a cognitive, physiological or spiritual issue? It is all three.  Anxiety is not best viewed as purely a physiological disorder disconnected from any current or past thought process that have solidified one’s viewpoint of life.  This is confirmed by the fact that the evidenced based research confirms CBT is the most effective mental health treatment for anxiety disorders.  I agree with AJ’s statement, “a child with this condition, is experiencing a significant amount of fear that they do not know how to respond to appropriately.” Even adults don’t know how to respond to our fears on our own.   More than 500 times in scripture the condition of fear is address either in command or narrative.   Why is this such a strong theme?  Fear is part of our fallen condition which needs to be redeemed and transformed.  It is there from birth and in some ways will be there till we die, but hope for the anxious is not found in relaxation, medicine or distractions.  It is found in the cross, where Jesus died and where the new creation is consummated.  Our anchor in anxiety within a Christian counseling model should be Romans 8:38-39  “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  If we have the hope of the world, why would we hide it?
Anxiety is clearly a spiritual condition as well if we are to take seriously the words of Jesus, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow,” “which one of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life,” “Do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul.”  In the case of PANDA’s (which is likely a small portion of overall anxiety cases), physiological feelings that mimic the physiological feelings of anxiety are not the same as cognitive and spiritual anxiety. Throckmorton writes, “Depression, panic disorders, eating disorders, etc., represent mind-body dysfunctions which require the help of science to understand and treat. I appreciate that Tim Allchin recommends good medical care, but in doing so it appears to me that he goes beyond the scope of the 95 Theses.” But Heath Lambert writes in Theses 84 “It is a misunderstanding of the essential nature of human beings—with a body and a soul—for Christians to minimize the importance of medical treatment in their care for troubled people (1 Tim 5:23).”  If any part of anxiety is a spiritual issue, then it is a heart issue. Again Lambert asserts in Theses 83,  “It is a misunderstanding of the essential nature of human beings—made with a body and a soul—for Christians to present physical interventions as solutions to spiritual problems.”  In reality, every counseling issue is also a spiritual heart issue (Proverbs 4:23).  With our heart, we choose to care for our God-given body (I Cor. 3:16-17).  With our heart, we choose to embrace new ways of thinking about our anxieties (I Peter 5:7-9).  We respond to physical pain, emotional trauma, and relational disappointment with a spiritual response, not just a physical one (James 1:2-4).  Certainly, we need a medical response to physiological issues, but thriving physiology is not sufficient to help people thrive.  They need to know, fear and love God to thrive.  This is an essential evangelical commitment that shouldn’t be placed aside, even in the counseling office.
Why does this matter?  Throckmorton writes “Techniques are judged by their utility in solving a problem.”  Biblical counselors would insist that anxieties are both physiological and spiritual in nature.  Just because you might be able to sever the physiological difficulties associated with anxiety does not mean that you have solved the spiritual struggle of anxiety.  It’s not that we would minimize the physiological care, but we would see it as inadequate and incomplete for holistic care. Second, we would view many physiological symptoms that accompany anxiety as able to be reduced through healthier thought patterns and physical care (sleep, exercise, nutrition and structure) in keeping with the pattern laid out in scripture.   The spirit of man is real, even if it can’t be measured and it needs to be treated.  Conversely, the spirit of man resides within a physical body that impacts how the spirit functions and it needs to be treated as well.  This dualist nature of man is routinely described within the commands and narratives of scripture and corresponds with good science in the contemporary culture.   It also corresponds how the Christian church has wrestled with these issues through the entirety of the history of the church.  I like how David Powlison brings a balance to this tension, “If you don’t seek to meet people’s physical needs, it’s heartless. But if you don’t give people the crucified, risen and returning Christ, it’s hopeless.”
Does biblical compliance help a young person thrive? 
Throckmorton’s critique of biblical counseling was that the “biblical counseling approach is wrong to put emphasis on lack of biblical compliance, especially with childhood mental health concerns. It is too easy to feel false guilt tied to the belief that mental and emotional problems stem from lack of biblical compliance. This focus can also distract a counselor from more pressing problems in a client’s life.”  I would ask in response,  “Is there ever a downside to someone who chooses biblical compliance as a way of life?”  For instance, Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments,” “my ways are not burdensome,” and “teach them to observe all that I have commanded you.”  How could a Christian counseling model not intentionally teach that biblical compliance is of utmost importance to thrive in life?
Biblical Counseling is careful lest we create “better functioning rebels” who behavior and symptoms improve but whose heart is no more tender towards the Lord.  I would argue that all of us in our natural state are rebels and offensive towards God.  This applies to everyone regardless of what diagnosis they face.  The cancer patient is a rebel towards God.  However, the Bible does not teach that cancer is a punishment for sin or that the cancer patient received cancer because of their sin.  Still, “no one is righteous, not one.” However, I absolutely agree that Jesus’s conversation were deeper than simply than a declaration of the sinfulness of humanity. They were full of questions that revealed grace, hope, judgment, doctrine, empathy and correction. They were the full orb of conversational dynamics that were flexible to meet the heart condition of those he encountered.  He was the “good shepherd” in every way.  His conversations sought to increase the faith of those he came in contact with.  Those who were seeking answers, terminally ill, spiritually tormented, downtrodden from life, trapped in sin, oppressed by systemic injustice, hard-hearted by traditions, similar heart conditions to those who would often seek counsel in any psychologists or biblical counselors office today.  Jesus had an agenda to seek to strengthen their faith and love for him.   This is at the core of Christianity.  Biblical compliance without heart change was offensive to Jesus. He referred to it as “whitewashing a tombstone.”
Finishing with a few things I learned:
Biblical counselors are always looking for creative ways to help people apply the principles of the Word of God to everyday situations.  Both psychologists gave some creative answers about how to help a young person thrive and to help his parents love him well.  I appreciated reading the creativity and much of that is adaptable in a biblical counseling context.
Christian psychologists and biblical counselors often speak about the same things in different language.  It required all of us to be patient to understand the perspectives that each brings to the table. I think we made a good attempt to do that and the christian counseling community would benefit if we all did that more.

I have appreciated the tone and content of this exchange involving Allchin and McConnell. I believe the series is a good model for how to discuss deep differences among counselors of various types.

My Response to Allchin

Regarding Allchin’s remarks, I am skeptical of the following claims:

Allchin: What is the best way to view anxiety?  Is anxiety a cognitive, physiological or spiritual issue? It is all three.

Sometimes it is all three and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes and for some people, anxiety comes as the result of faulty thinking and/or a lack of trust. At other times and for other people, anxiety is more like a faulty fire alarm. It just goes off with a full blown anxiety reaction without any spiritual or cognitive trigger. Effective counseling interventions reflect the assessment of different types of anxiety. While I might consider emphasizing patience in the case of anxiety as faulty fire alarm, I would not be inclined to use verses about one kind of fear as an intervention for another kind of fear. Lumping all experiences of anxiety together can lead to misapplications and ultimately unhelpful interventions.

Allchin:  Certainly, we need a medical response to physiological issues, but thriving physiology is not sufficient to help people thrive.  They need to know, fear and love God to thrive.  This is an essential evangelical commitment that shouldn’t be placed aside, even in the counseling office.

We don’t have a definition of thrive, but I am skeptical about this in a general sense. According to Christianity, we need to know God to be redeemed. If thriving is defined as being in a relationship with God, then only those in such a relationship can be described as thriving. However, non-believers prosper and can be well-adjusted and happy.
Another problem I have with this statement is the claim that evangelical commitments shouldn’t be placed aside in the counseling office. While that may be defensible when counseling Christians who seek it, I can’t see how this works with non-believers.

Allchin: Just because you might be able to sever the physiological difficulties associated with anxiety does not mean that you have solved the spiritual struggle of anxiety.  It’s not that we would minimize the physiological care, but we would see it as inadequate and incomplete for holistic care.

Allchin argues that a spiritual struggle must invariably occur with anxiety as a psychophysiological experience. I disagree. Anxiety might provoke a spiritual crisis but I believe anxiety can happen to any human, no matter how spiritually sound. For me, the care of the individual is what drives how holistic my interventions will be.
Allchin takes my disinterest in biblical compliance in the case of the school refusal as a sign that I minimize or disregard compliance with the Bible.

Allchin: I would ask in response,  “Is there ever a downside to someone who chooses biblical compliance as a way of life?”

I never argued that being compliant with the Bible isn’t a good thing. I did argue that we should not assume that non-compliance is behind the problems bring to counseling. Since I didn’t see any link between the school refusal symptoms and the boy’s religious life, why would I spend time focusing on something that wasn’t mission critical?
Allchin’s answer is that all people are sinners and so all people need an intervention at that level. While I agree that all people are fallible and subject to problems, I don’t think Christian counselors must address specific sin as a component of medical and psychological treatment.


Again, I appreciate the participation of Drs. Allchin and McConnell. The exchange has taught me a lot about Biblical counseling and helped me sharpen my perspectives.

Biblical Counseling and Sufficiency of the Bible

counseling image 2I am in the process of evaluating the 95 Theses published by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. The first post is here.  Today, I evaluate theses six through eleven. These statements seem to be key components of biblical counseling.

6. When people experience difficulties as they live in a fallen world, they require wisdom about life to help them face these problems (Prov 19:20).
7. The wisdom to confront life’s difficulties is most often communicated in conversations our culture refers to as counseling.
8. The issues of concern in counseling pertain to problems people face as they relate the difficulties in their life to the faith and practice described in Scripture.

I agree that counseling conversations often relate to common problems with work and family and that clients often want advice about them. I also agree that many problems in living are illustrated in Bible stories. In these situations, Christians could be well served by getting advice from someone who has studied the Bible thoroughly and has a knack for application. However, I don’t believe that all counseling problems involve requests for advice or guidance. Some relate to mental illness in self or others. I will say more about those counseling conversations below.
Furthermore, people today face problems never contemplated by people in the Bible. For instance, advice about what college to attend, what major to take, or what career to pursue, etc. are all specific issues which require specific, individualized conversations. The Bible doesn’t give any specific advice about how to choose a college or academic major.
Although clients may benefit from biblical principles about decision making, a conversation about the specific college and major still requires an individualized focus which could involve various career assessments and information about occupations not mentioned in the Bible.

9. Because counseling problems concern the very same issues that God writes about in his Word, it is essential to have a conversation about the contents of the Bible to solve counseling problems.

I may not understand the meaning of this statement, but on the surface, it seems inadequate and unrealistic. Frequently, counseling problems are similar to those described in the Bible, but often they are much different. We live in a different era and culture. There are daily demands which are radically different than anything reported in the Bible.

10. The subject matter of counseling conversations is the wisdom needed to deal with life’s problems, and so counseling is not a discipline that is fundamentally informed by science, but by the teaching found in God’s Word.

As I demonstrated in my article on school refusal, all conversations don’t require Bible knowledge in order to address the problems people bring to counseling. We could have talked about the Bible in my sessions with the school refusal family, but I can’t see how it would have addressed the main reason they came to see me. On the contrary, we discussed a solution which did not come from my study of the Bible but rather my study of family systems theory. I could have consulted the Bible for days and not come up with that.
Although the case of the boy with school refusal ended well, I now realize he might have had a medical problem which triggered separation anxiety. The problem I wrote about — PANDAS — was discovered by scientists at the NIMN, not theologians in the Bible. There are many other problems which afflict humans in the mind and mood which we have come to understand through science. Counselors, biblical or otherwise, ask for trouble when research is ignored.

11. When the Bible claims to address all the issues concerning life and godliness, it declares itself to be a sufficient and an authoritative resource to address everything essential for counseling conversations (2 Pet 1:3-4).

Actually, these verses don’t say that the Bible addresses “everything essential for counseling interventions.” I think Dr. Lambert and his supporters engage in eisegesis and not exegesis of these verses. Second Peter 1:3-4 reads:

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Through His divine power, we have the Bible (although the New Testament wasn’t fully together at this time), we have the Holy Spirit and the church. These resources provide sufficient moral teaching to let us know what God requires of us. Because of those divine resources, we can have a place in God’s Kingdom. This is Peter’s focus in the chapter.
However, the Bible does not promise to provide the best way to assess and treat medical and mental disorders. I can’t find that promise in 2 Peter or anywhere else. Those disorders are valid subjects of counseling conversations. Often with the involvement of several healthcare professionals, people find relief from these problems.
Peter promises that resources are available to live “a godly life” not a problem-free life. As a matter of experience, I have known many godly people who experience mental and emotional disorders. Godly Christians and non-Christians experience these conditions. Assertions to the contrary are contrary to reality.  I believe biblical counselors who hold to thesis eleven read into 2 Peter something that wasn’t intended.
The authority and sufficiency of Scripture for counseling is the key tenet of biblical counseling. There are numerous overlapping statements in the 95 Theses. I will pick up my critique of this theme in the next post.
To read all posts in the 95 Theses series, click here.