A Word from Your BCC Team: You’re reading the sixth of a multipart BCC Grace & Truth blog miniseries on International Biblical Counseling. Today’s post is by Matthieu Caron on Gospel-Centered Biblical Counseling in French-Speaking Quebec. You can read Part One by Kyle Johnston: Biblical Counselling in South Africa, Part Two by Steve Midgley: 5 Concerns and Responses about Biblical Counselling in the UK, Part Three by Sacha Alexandre Mendes: News from Your Relatives in Brazil, Part Four by Michael Leister: Tracing God’s Story of Biblical Counseling in Germany and Switzerland, and Part Five by Betty-Anne Van Rees: The Growth of Biblical Counselling in Canada.
Quebec: A Mini-France
If there are unknown corners of North America, the French-speaking province of Quebec is certainly amongst them! The reasons: the langage barrier and cultural differences.
One could say that the province of Quebec is a mini-France. The 7 million population is mainly French-speaking and truly have a culture of their own. They are much more atheistic and hostile to any kind of Christianity than any other province of Canada. No wonder, because if you study Quebec history, you will learn about all of the terrible abuse that had taken place under the rule of Catholicism in the last century. There was a time in Quebec (before the sixties) where Quebec was almost 100% Catholic. In the sixties, a cultural revolution called La révolution tranquille by historians was characterized by an almost complete rejection of not only Catholicism but also all belief in Jesus.
Today, there is less than 1% of the population of Quebec who are considered evangelical (on all levels). The churches in Quebec tried their best to survive in a culturally-hostile environnement.
In the counseling field, in the nineties, our churches were characterized by the uses of integrationist material. It was more culturally-relevant for our folks living day-to-day in an almost completely secular environnement.
The Power of the Gospel for Daily Life
About 5 years ago, there arose a huge renewal of interest in the power of the gospel in our churches. Our pastors rediscovered that the gospel is not only a tool for salvation but for sanctification too—that the gospel is a way of life. The Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel have been good influences for us.
With that newfound belief about the importance of the gospel in day-to-day living, our churches needed tools to apply the gospel practically in ministry. At this point, integrationist systems where the gospel is only peripheral at best were not anymore so useful and so valued. We were in need of new gospel-centered and gospel-powered tools to apply the gospel in daily living. This is were another revolution began…
The strong belief about the importance of the centrality of the gospel sparked a strong interest about biblical counseling that could do just that! An agreement and partnership was concluded with CCEF so that SEMBEQ Seminary (the stronghold for training pastors in French in Quebec) created a biblical counseling curriculum.
Personally, as a young and inexperienced CCEF-trained pastor, I became responsible for their biblical counseling program a few years ago and became their first biblical counseling professor.
In the next years, the increasing demands for biblical counseling training were astounding. Our main publication house, the édition Cruciforme began to translate more and more books and material in French under the overview of Director Daniel Henderson. We also had the help of another publication house—Publication Chrétienne. We are indebted to their director, Douglas Virgint, for his generous help and care.
Today, we have more than 100 students enrolled in the biblical counseling program.
How can you pray for us?
- Pray for wisdom in the development of biblical counseling in the province of Quebec.
- Pray for money to translate good and sound biblical counseling books from English to French.
- Pray for finances to pay biblical counseling professors for SEMBEQ Seminary. I am alone with 2-3 assistants to run the program. We need to hire more biblical counseling professors, but SEMBEQ seminary is a faith-based organization that depends on gifts from generous donors.
- Pray for the creation of scholarships to help students make it possible for them to enroll in our program.
- Pray for the creation of a French-speaking biblical counseling journal.
Join the Conversation
How is God growing gospel-centered biblical counseling in your sphere of ministry influence?