Introduction To Insights
A large church in the Northeast recently asked us to do prayer resolution counseling with several members of their church, including one missionary family. The church has two distinct Christian counseling programs operating in the church to help its members yet has asked Cross Resources (Prayer Resolution) for help. There are thousands of sites on the internet labeled “prayer counseling” but none of these practitioners do prayer counseling with the thoroughness that Cross Resources’ Prayer Resolution counseling does. In reading this, you will better understand where I am coming from scripturally. In here is my philosophy of ministry, my core beliefs, so to speak, at least as far as I have thought them out so far.
As I began writing these “Insights” I occasionally sent them out to our supporters. Cross Resources does prayer resolution counseling with, for the most part, educated Christians: pastors, missionaries and lay people, many with extensive Christian training. I often encounter distorted thinking among these people and, since that is so, I am sure that such distorted thinking exists with many other Christians as well. The issues I bring up in here are intended to confront such distortions.
Missionaries are usually the most open to new thinking because they have encountered other cultures where their worldview and theological teachings were tested. The neat package of teaching they received in Bible school or seminary did not always account for real life in the new culture. Pastors, on the other hand, often teach or preach for years without being challenged. Missionaries are often forced to be learners while pastors may not be open to question what they believe. Both groups are ready to defend the Gospel, as they know it, but not to evaluate what they believe or what they were taught.
Each Insight reflects what I have seen as a distortion or lack of understanding in the church today. We act out of what we believe, not out of what we know. It is important that our belief system and our knowledge system work in harmony. If these do not, then we can correctly teach others out of knowledge that, for example, “We are God’s children through Christ” while our belief system keeps us from accepting that very truth for ourselves so instead it tells us that “We can only be servants; we don’t deserve to be His children.”
I still hold to the basic belief system I was taught in Bible school but I have tried to go beyond the surface facts of what I was taught and find the deeper principles involved. For example, I have reevaluated the definition of Christian counseling and found it faulty because, except in general ways, it leaves God out (Insight One). Many Christian counselors open and close a session in prayer and that is the extent to which God is included in helping to bring healing in a believer’s life.
Prayer is one of the most talked about topics in the church yet effective prayer is little understood. Connie and I did prayer resolution counseling with one pastor (7 years as a pastor) who said “You’ve taught me more about prayer in the last hour than all my seminary training” (Insight Two).
We must understand what forgiveness means if we are to truly give and receive it through prayer yet FEW Christians, even pastors, understand what forgiveness means (Insight Three).
What is salvation really about (Insight Four)?
Anthropology is a suspect field of study for many Christians but we can gain insights from the study of humankind. The most meaningful area to me has been the status and role we have through Christ (Insight Five).
Insight Six presents one man’s reaction to prayer and resolution counseling.
More often then not, prayer should involve other people, “safe others;” that is the topic of Insight Seven.
What do we need to consider as we share the Good News with others (Insight Eight)? What part does the Holy Spirit play in our lives (Insight Nine)? What is the place of the Bible (Insight Ten)?
We were created in the image of God and yet we are in a fallen state. What is the balance (Insight Eleven)? Insight Twelve answers the question, “Are there many ways to God?”
These are a few of the issues that we need to evaluate in the light of today’s 21st Century thinking. As we get more advanced technologically we are getting more simple-minded theologically. Truth can handle the light of scrutiny and, if truth is there, it should hang together and form a unified whole. Faith as a substitute for thinking has never been an option. My aim is to make us evaluate our positions and to either confirm or modify the truth or to recognize and reject our distorted thinking. Hopefully, out of this process we will have a closer walk with God as our Father, Christ as our Savor and the Holy Spirit as our Partner.
copyright 2000 Richard d Smith