A Message from Your BCC Team: At the Biblical Counseling Coalition, we love using our “megaphone” to fulfill our BCC mission: to advance the ministry of the biblical counseling movement. Throughout January, we’re helping you to learn about vital biblical counseling ministries—like today’s post from Dr. Bob Kellemen of RPM Ministries. Founded by Dr. Kellemen, RPM Ministries exists to equip pastors, lay people, educators, students, and biblical counselors to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth through Christ-centered, church-based, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed biblical counseling. RPM is an acrostic for Resurrection Power Multipliers, based on Paul’s prayer in Philippians 3:10: “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering.” As believers in Christ, we have within us the same power that raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:15-23).
The modern biblical counseling movement has always emphasized passages like 2 Peter 1:3.
“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.”
In the subsequent verses (2 Peter 1:4-9), Peter explains why we sometimes fail to live out the new person we already are in Christ—because we have gospel amnesia. “But whoever does not have them [Christlike character qualities] is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins” (2 Peter 1:9).
What Difference Does the Gospel Make?
Peter reminds us that we must understand how to apply the gospel to everyday life. In light of Peter’s exhortation, RPM Ministries exists to help people to answer the question:
“What difference does the gospel make as we face suffering and fight against sin?”
In addressing that question, biblical counselors often ponder two vitally important follow-up questions:
- “How do we find peace with God?”
- “How do people change?”
However, theologically and practically, we must ask those questions differently, like this:
- “How does Christ bring us peace with God?”
- “How does Christ change people?”
The Bible answers those questions with four words that encompass our complete salvation—justification, reconciliation, regeneration, and redemption. Please do not let those big theological words intimidate you. These big words carry big meaning that reveal the bigness of our God and the greatness of our salvation.
Our New Nurture and Our New Nature
The heartbeat of RPM Ministries is to help Christians to live out our new nurture—justification and reconciliation.
By new nurture we’re highlighting the change in our relationship with God that takes place because of Christ’s gospel of grace. It emphasizes who we are to Christ and answers the question, “How does Christ bring us peace with God?”
The second heartbeat of RPM Ministries is to help Christians to live out our new nature—our new creation in Christ.
By new nature we’re emphasizing the truth that a real change took place in who we are when we are made new through Christ. It highlights who we are in Christ and addresses the question, “How does Christ change people?”
Changing Lives with Christ’s Changeless Gospel Truth
Through speaking, writing, and consulting, RPM Ministries seeks to help us to learn together how to apply the gospel truths of justification, reconciliation, regeneration, and redemption to our lives and ministries. RPM Ministries seeks to answer the question:
“What would it look like to build an approach to one-another ministry based solely upon the gospel of Christ’s grace?”
My latest writing project through RPM Ministries is a two-book Equipping Biblical Counselors series with Zondervan:
- Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives (released October 2014, learn more here).
- Gospel Conversations: How to Care Like Christ (releases September 2015, learn more here).
We’ve all heard of brilliant surgeons with horrific bedside manners. We’ve likely known some scholarly people whose relational skills could use a little development. On the other hand, many people know what it’s like to care deeply, but do not know what to do after the hug. Perhaps we’ve experienced friends who can cry with us but seem unsure how to offer much additional help.
God calls us to love well and wisely. That’s why, in biblical counseling, we must weave together truth and love—comprehensive biblical wisdom and compassionate Christlike care.
That’s the design of the Equipping Biblical Counselors’ Series. In Gospel-Centered Counseling and Gospel Conversations, I unite Paul’s ministry theme of Scripture and soul in 1 Thessalonians 2:8. “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our own lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”
My prayer for this two-book series follows Paul’s wisdom and relationship prayer in Philippians 1:9-11. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.”
Equipping in biblical counseling is not either/or: either be a brilliant but uncaring soul physician, or be a loving but unwise spiritual friend. God calls us to be wise and loving biblical counselors. Gospel-Centered Counseling and Gospel Conversations offer you a comprehensive and compassionate approach to one-another ministry.
God’s Healing for Life’s Losses
The gospel applies not only to our sin, but also to our suffering. On Saturday, January 31, 2015, I’ll be at Uniontown Bible Church in Union Bridge, Maryland (outside of Baltimore), presenting a 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. seminar on God’s Healing for Life’s Losses. This interactive seminar walks participants through a gospel-centered journey through grief to growth by grace.
To learn more about gospel-centered biblical counseling, visit RPM Ministries.