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Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling Review3

October 9, 2013

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BCC Staff Note: David Murray has been reviewing each chapter of our Biblical Counseling Coalition book, Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling. With his permission we often link to his chapter reviews. Today we are providing David’s review of chapter seven, The Spiritual Anatomy of the Soul. You can also read the review at David’s Head Heart Hand site

A Review of Chapter 7: The Spiritual Anatomy of the Soul by Bob Kellemen and Sam Williams

In this chapter the authors provide our Creator’s answer to the question “Who am I?” Having used Bob’s books (Soul Physicians and Spiritual Friends) in my counseling classes I was familiar with most of the content of this chapter. However, as I believe Bob’s insightful and comprehensive anthropology is one of his most significant contributions to Biblical counseling, I’d say that this is one of the most important chapters in the book.

But this is not just helpful for counselors, I also find it very challenging as a preacher to regularly re-read Bob’s analysis of human nature and try to gauge whether I am ministering to the whole person in my sermons. Here are his headings, but I’d encourage you to read the chapter for summary exposition of each point, and then to read Soul Physicians to get the full explanation and application to humanity as originally created, fallen, and being re-created.

  1. We are Relational Beings: Creation to love passionately/sacrificially (affections)
  2. We are Rational Beings: Created to think wisely (mindsets)
  3. We are Volitional Beings: Created to choose courageously (purposes)
  4. We are Emotional Beings: Created to experience deeply (moods)
  5. We are Embodied Beings: Created to love fully (bodies)
  6. We are Embedded Beings: Created to engage our world (social)
  7. We are Eternal Beings: Created by, like, and for God (coram deo existence)

Some biblical counselors have been criticized for having a too simplistic or dualistic view of human nature. The chapter title (“The Spiritual Anatomy of the Soul”) might suggest that what follows will be similarly narrow and limited. However, Bob and Sam defy the title and demonstrate that the Bible gives a thorough explanation of who we were, who we are, and who we shall yet be by God’s gracious regenerating and renewing.

Previous Posts in this Series of Reviews by David Murray

Introduction: Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling

1. John Piper on Biblical Counseling

2. Charity and Clarity in Counseling 

3. The Counselor’s Role in the Holy Spirit’s Counseling

4. Is the Trinity Relevant in Counseling?

5. Counseling and the Grand Narrative of the Bible

6. Biblical Counseling and the Sufficiency of Scripture