Monday, June 30, 2008

What I didn't learn in CPE

Sometimes, less is more...

In all seriousness, in seminary we're given a psychological model for handling all pastoral crises. It has its legitimate and godly function within our churches. I've had the benefit of some training in these resources and have used them in counseling (formal and informal). I've also been shown that there are limits to my abilities and have made successful referrals to those more competent in therapy than myself.

However, I have been surprised at the number of issues raised (normally by middle-class+ white educated people) that could be solved with a more direct, straightforward, and biblical rebuke to quit sinning!

Westminster Confession of Faith in chapter XXX "Of Church Censures " in sections 3-4 proclaimed Biblical teaching of rebuke of sins:

III. Church censures are necessary, for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethres, for deterring of others from the like offenses, for purging out of that leaven which might infect the whole lump, for vindicating the honor of Christ, and the holy profession of the Gospel, and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the Church, if they should suffer His covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders. (scriptural support)

IV. For the better attaining of these ends, the officers of the Church are to proceed by admonition; suspension from the sacrament of the Lord's Supper for a season; and by excommunication from the Church; according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of the person. (scriptural support)

Many times Bible exhorts us to judge righteous judgment (even mean old Jesus) and rebuke sins before all (classic "meanies" like Paul, who probably learned it from that nasty Old Testament... or from archmeanie Jesus). Bible says there that sin must be condemned and judged. In Lev. 19:17-18 we see that love and rebuke are together and cannot be divorced. In fact, true wisdom (listen up, those who love Sophia) declares that rebuke is a loving act!

I end with a collection of verses that have been hidden in my heart for a long time. They're in KJV because that's what I used when I came back to the faith, and it's the official translation of my new ecclesial stuff it (yeah, I mean that with love).
"Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear" (1 Timothy 5:20)

"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." (Isaiah 58:1)

James 5:19-20 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Leviticus 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1).

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent

John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

Proverbs 9:7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

Proverbs 9:8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

Proverbs 10:17 He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.

Proverbs 12:1 Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.

Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

Proverbs 15:5 A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.

Proverbs 15:10 Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.

Proverbs 15:12 A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.

Proverbs 15:32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

Proverbs 19:20 Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

Proverbs 19:25 Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.

Proverbs 24:25 But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.

Proverbs 25:12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

Proverbs 27:5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.

Proverbs 28:11 The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.

Proverbs 28:23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.

Proverbs 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Proverbs 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Ecclesiastes 7:5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

Amos 5:10 They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.

That last one I can attest to in my dealings with adultery and apostasy and financial chicanery in my old presbytery. When you start pointing out problems, you become the problem.


Benjamin P. Glaser said...


As someone who will have a failed Pastorate because I did not have CPE I have not much to say but want to ask have you you ever looked at Jay Adams Nouthetic Counseling books and articles?

Chris said...

I have several of Jay Adams books on my shelf. As a genuine, card-carrying, mouth-breathing, insensitive fundamentalist, I use them to hit folks over the head when my Bible is worn out. ; )

If you haven't heard of it, Thomas C. Oden (of paleo-orthodoxy fame) has edited an excellent resource called Classical Pastoral Care. The 4 volumes are small, but they are DEEP. Nothing after the 18th century. Very uplifting and geared toward the cure of sin-sick souls rather than the pacification of affluenza.

Anonymous said...

But what about affirming people right where they are?

What about the accepting love of Jesus?

What about feeling people's pain? Group hugs?

I guess you took the red pill...

Benjamin P. Glaser said...

The Pastoral Care Professor I had here at PTS (Rev. Dr. Craig Barnes) uses Thomas Oden's stuff. Really liked it. I have that set on my wish list at Amazon.

The crazies at RPTS are starting a Center for Biblical Counseling (which. You can find info on it here.


will said...

Card carrying?

Oooh - are we supposed to have cards?

Chris said...

Will - Of course...for inflicting paper cuts.

Of course, now that we're outside of the PCUSA they don't call us "fundamentalists" anymore. We're simply known as BELIEVERS.

Kevin said...

I'm feeling a little nouthetic lovin goin on, am I not? ;)

will said...

I was feeling all left out ... but you're right - outside of our former context, the cards and the name no longer apply.