Friday, October 6, 2017

Counseling Under the Cross by Bob Kellemen - REVIEWED

About the Book:

Martin Luther was not only a theologian, a writer, and a preacher, he was a pastoral counselor who longed for peace with God. Now, 500 years after he posted his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church, his teachings on gospel-centered and cross-focused pastoral care can transform our approach to soul care, and teach us that daring faith in Christ alone can change our life today and give us peace forever.

In Counseling Under the Cross, biblical counselor and noted author Bob Kellemen mines the riches of Luther’s letters of spiritual counsel to give readers a new understanding of how Luther engaged in the personal ministry of the gospel. He guides pastors, counselors, lay leaders, and friends toward a deeper understanding of the gospel that will directly impact their personal ministry to others. Through lively vignettes, real-life stories, and direct quotes from Luther, readers will be equipped to apply the gospel to themselves and others, and learn that pastoral care is what every believer does in one-another ministry.

As one of the most influential figures in Christian history, Luther was not only the father of the Reformation, he was also the father of “gospel-centered counseling.” As sons and daughters in the faith, we have much to learn from him. Counseling Under the Cross equips us to apply the gospel richly, relevantly, and robustly to suffering and sin so that we find our hope and help in Christ alone.

My Thoughts:

Grace is Christ’s prescription for our disgrace – forgiving medicine for sin, preventative medicine for victory over temptation, and cleansing medicine for victory over Satan’s condemnation.” (p. 169)

This power-packed truth is what is referred to in Bob Kelleman’s book, Counseling Under the Cross, as a “tweet sized summary.”  Lest you think this is a light, non-relevant book, think again!  This brilliant author has made a very complex and historically foundational giant of the faith VERY relevant and very timely!  Martin Luther began a movement away from religion and toward relationship with Christ that has changed the very heart of Christianity.

Kelleman takes a look at the life of Luther and places in the context of his desperate longing to know and walk in the freedom of God’s grace that was purchased for us at Calvary.  At the end of each chapter he closes with “Timeless Truth for Life and Ministry Today.”  He realizes that now, more than ever before, we need to be able to tell others why we cling to the truth of Christ.  He speaks to a generation that has walked away from religion and is hungry for relationship. 

I must confess, I haven’t read all of this book yet.  The mailman delivered it to a neighbor, and it wasn’t returned to me until just a few days ago.  But I’ve read enough to be able to tell you that this is an important book for church leaders and pastors who want their body to be healthy and strong in a time where many are walking away from the church all together.

I am happy to recommend this book!  It is a powerful teaching tool that will make a difference in many lives.

About the Author:

Bob Kellemen, PhD, is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Chair of the Biblical Counseling Department at Crossroads Bible College and the founder and CEO of RPM Ministries. He is also the author of many books, including Gospel-Centered Counseling and Gospel Conversations. Bob and his wife Shirley have two children and two grandchildren.

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