Statement of Purpose
IABC is Committed to Staying out of the Ditch of Legalism
At IABC, we begin with Scripture. Therefore, we are committing to staying away from any kind of teaching that would lead our counselees into a “performance trap” of trying to earn the favor of God’s deliverance, joy, or peace through a merit system or some form of biblical discipline. Our counselees are desperate for hope. Galatians 2:16 makes it clear that there is nothing anyone can do or not do to change justification, apart from which we are all hopeless. IABC counselors (or pastors, church leaders, biblical caregivers, helpers or servants) point counselees (fellow believers) to the one and only relationship they extremely and essentially need – Jesus Christ.
In that relationship, with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we help counselees grow to be more like Christ. You may think that sounds like a vague and unattainable goal, but it has a starting point. There’s a concise description of Jesus recorded in John 1:14 – “full of grace and truth.” Grace and truth are the necessary guardrails that protect and guide every biblical counseling conversation.
IABC counselors agree that to ignore grace leads to inaccurate understanding of God and the deceptive counseling of perfectionism or behavior management – performance based counseling. We equally agree that to ignore truth also leads to inaccurate understanding of God and the deceptive counseling of humanism or liberalism – emotions based counseling.
Grace is not only for new birth (justification), but it is available for growth (sanctification). Grace is not forgiveness alone, but also provides God’s resources to grow in godliness.
As biblical counselors, we take time to be still before God. We soak in His grace as we confess our sin and walk in mercy towards others. We bask in His truth as we learn and grow in the study of His Word. The only standard we choose is God’s Word, as we seek to avoid performance standards for ourselves and our counselees. We check criticism and judgmentalism in our spirits. We counsel the grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing that only therein is found the joyful freedom of forgiveness which our counselees lack and long for.
We at IABC stress the living relationship with Jesus Christ. We teach the spiritual disciplines of 1 Timothy 4:7 within the guardrails of grace and truth. We teach that the truths of Scripture can and do minister to every aspect of the human condition, but only under God’s grace. In this grace, our counselees are enabled and empowered to persevere in applying their lives to truth.
We endeavor to remember, and encourage our counselees to remember, that the saving grace of God is also the changing power of biblical counseling.
IABC is Determined to Point People to Christ
With awareness of the danger of counseling apart from relationship with Christ, our constant aim is saving relationship with Jesus Christ. In that context, we seek to move counselees from infancy to a deep knowledge of God, while maintaining that true maturity is possible only through Scripture (Hebrews 4:12, 5:12-6:3).
We resist counseling from a pragmatic, practically minded social gospel that slowly meanders off the narrow path of the Christ-followers. At the same time, we seek to incarnate the love of Jesus Christ in ministering biblical truths to the heart of the counselee. We remain mindful that radical adjustments or accountability measures necessary for our counselees’ success will only be an academic exercise apart from relationship with Jesus Christ. It is our goal never to offer a message of hope from any other position than clinging personally to the Cross of the Savior, and from any other promotion than relationship with the powerful Redeemer, who is the King of Grace and Truth.
IABC is Purposeful in Beginning with Truth
From within the guardrails of grace and truth, we understand that truth gives grace context. We are convinced, and desire to convince our counselees, that the Word of God is the authoritative absolute truth that provides super-sufficient and relevant counsel for our lives.
- Jesus Christ lined Himself up perfectly with truth (John 17:17-19).
- Jesus came for the purpose of truth (John 18:37).
- Jesus Christ is the embodiment of truth (John 14:6).
- To see counselees walking in truth provides the greatest joy (3 John 1:4).
Because the Word of God is God revealing Himself to us; as we know the Word of God, so we know God. We are counselors whose highest priority is daily reorientation of ourselves to see the Savior, adore the Savior, and rejoice in the Savior through His Word.
It is in the personal soaking in of Truth Himself by which biblical counselors can and do follow through, graciously counseling the truth of the Savior.
IABC is Motive-Driven, not Mode-Driven
With serious intent to avoid blindly following after other gods, we reject modes driven by motives that reject the One True God. We carefully stand firm on God’s Word as the only protection to shield us from adopting Godless theories or motives.
We embrace Scripture’s proclamations of lavished grace that introduce functional obligations. We reveal the glorious, loving, sacrificial power of God before counseling towards adoring obedience. We keep at the forefront of our minds the fact that biblical counseling works because God transforms. Our goal is not that counselees become better at coping, functioning, or handling life – we want them to overcome; to live out Christ’s imputed righteousness; to shine abundant life.
IABC Recognizes the Role that Cognition Plays in Biblical Counseling
We know that lack of biblical understanding hinders spiritual growth, that unbiblical mindsets and worldviews arrest faith. Our counselees’ greatest need, contrary to cultural definitions, is not remembering a painful past, opening old wounds, nor venting feelings in the safety of an empathic relationship. Our counselees’ greatest need is to fear God and thus seek His wisdom.
Biblical counselors trained through IABC learn what God says about the human condition, and how the Bible shows them to think about life situations. We maintain that the overriding responsibility of a biblical counseling session is to make people aware of how God’s authoritative and super-sufficient Word makes His love real to them. We seek to help our counselees to become wise, we help them understand how relevant passages bear connectedness to their problems.
IABC Counsels Victory
We are not ashamed to declare that the great, ultimate, final victory of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection that defeated sin and conquered death is the crucial need of our counselees. It is the reality of this gospel that our counselees need in order for their lives to be characterized by the joy and peace they seek. Romans 8:6 teaches that only in the power of the Spirit of God can their lives exhibit the life and peace of God.
We are aware of the reality that in this sin-cursed fallen world, our counselees often innocently suffer horrific travesties. Equally, we recognize that in Christ there can and are responses that reflect the joy and peace possible only in God. Biblical counselors are sold out to the fact that by the Holy Spirit, every counselee can be delivered from sinful responses and from expectations that there will be no sin against them (Romans 8:1-4). As we walk together with our counselees through the dregs of conviction of sin; our goal is that they revel in the joy of being forgiven, and radiate the grace of Christ’s mercy. We appreciate that victory over sin is not just a potential battle; it is of absolute necessity a feverish all-out war; a war in which the enemy has been defeated.