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Counsel from the Cross (Redesign): Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ Paperback – April 30, 2012
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"A triumph of a maturing biblical counseling movement. Elyse Fitzpatrick, a counselor with uncommon insight into common problems, teams with Dennis Johnson, a seminary professor with a firm fix on justification and the centrality of the gospel, to produce a cross-centered counseling tool. Expect to find the refreshing intersection of the liberating truth of the cross and the power of the gospel to move counselees and impart hope. This book is a major contribution not only to biblical counseling but also to the person in the pew."
—Tedd Tripp, Pastor; international conference speaker; author, Shepherding a Child's Heart
"Broken people remain so because they never truly understand the nature or extent of God's love. Following the pattern of Paul's letter to the Ephesians, this book triggers worship and hope with exhilarating descriptions of the gospel of Christ and shows us how to live out the love and freedom of the gospel in the relationships and struggles of everyday life. May God use this book to bring a wholeness and joy to believers that is irresistibly attractive to everyone around them."
—Ken Sande, founder, Peacemaker Ministries and Relational Wisdom 360
"Fitzpatrick and Johnson teach that effective counseling for broken and hurting people does not mean walking beyond the gospel into some modern form of psychotherapy, which ultimately provides no solutions. All Christians, especially pastors, counselors, and church workers who yearn to see genuine healing and transformation in their families and churches, should practice the principles of this book personally and use it to help others. This book is biblical counseling at its best; absorbing its teaching will make us all better counselors."
—Joel R. Beeke, president, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
"A treasure of gospel-proclaiming, biblical, and practical help for every person striving to grow in grace and help others to do the same. Professional counselors, church leaders, and laypeople will all benefit from the accessible case studies drawn from the authors' decades of experience ministering to real people in real situations. This is no mere how-to manual. If seemingly hopeless cycles of sin and immaturity are tempting you to wonder if real change is even possible, Counsel from the Cross is just the book to encourage you and help you to remember both what the gospel declares about us and what it demands of us."
—Tara Klena Barthel, Author, Living the Gospel in Relationships; coauthor, Peacemaking Women
"Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis Johnson present a compelling case for the very radical and eminently practical power of the gospel in helping counsel broken people. One will not find here the usual Scriptures taken out of context or mere proof-texting approach that so-much of Christian counseling has offered the evangelical community. Instead, Johnson's exegetical insights and Fitzpatrick's case-wise counsel show how and why we must apply the love and grace of Christ at each stage of our counseling. They are to be praised for mining the riches of the gospel and offering a real model for and recovery of Christ-centered counseling."
—Alfred J. Poirier, Author, The Peacemaking Pastor
"I've learned more about biblical counseling from Elyse Fitzpatrick than from anyone else writing in the field today. I tear into her new books, and return repeatedly to them for inspiration in my own work. Elyse's collaboration with Dennis Johnson has produced a volume that is both theologically astute and full of practical wisdom. I'm already applying the principles I've learned from it in my counseling."
—Laura Hendrickson, author; psychiatrist; biblical counselor
About the Author
Elyse Fitzpatrick (MA, Trinity Theological Seminary) is a counselor, a retreat and conference speaker, and the author of over 20 books, including Because He Loves Me, Comforts from the Cross, and Found in Him.
Dennis E. Johnson (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is professor of practical theology at Westminster Seminary California and associate pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido, California. He is the author of several books and contributed to the ESV Study Bible. Dennis and his wife, Jane, live in Escondido and have four children and sixteen grandchildren.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's ostensibly a biblical counseling work. And it is that, and so much more. In short, it's a gospel-oriented take on what counseling should be if one were to have the gospel directly under-girding and being applied to a person's broken life/heart.
What this book does is tear the mask off of Christian counseling that applies various sanctification strategies in order to deal with sin w/o necessarily "exploiting" the objective realities and benefits of the gospel of Christ. It shows the reader why those strategies fail and why the gospel is the only real panacea to every soul-sickness.
It has a realistic take on our broken world, the heinousness of sin, the self-deception web that our hearts spin over themselves, and most wonderfully, the idol-destroying and hope-renewing power of the gospel.
Fitzpatrick and Johnson connect the dots from gospel-doctrine to gospel-change. Through dismantling powerless legalistic sanctification methods and proffering, in crystal-clear terminology, specifically how doctrines like justification, resurrection, incarnation (etc.) CAN & DO break the cycle of sin-repentance-good works-sin. The authors show how we can so often, in fighting sin and putting on holiness, bypass Christ and let the gospel become white noise.
Awesome book b/c it's so challenging (to all my old notions of what it means to put off and put on) and so convicting. Take your time w/ it. The authors wisely shepherd our hearts by reminding us that faith & fruit (gospel-life) takes time. There is no simple or direct equation that churns out godliness. It takes time for faith to mature and fruit to be borne. And the Spirit goes wherever He decides to go.
I think that such sober counsel goes a long way to ensure not only that the book will be taken seriously but also taken as just a resource that points the way to THE Resource: Jesus Christ and His life, death, and resurrection. I'm thankful for the humility of the authors.
The authors write for the counselOR, but address the reader much of the time as a counselEE, which I found eminently helpful. COUNSEL, in the title, can be taken both as a verb and as a noun. Their work does remind the counselor how the Gospel can be applied to every category of "issue" you'll encounter in the counseling room, but it first counsels the counselor, helping the reader apply the Gospel to what they're facing right now. Early on, the authors explain the two sides of the "Gospel-deficient" coin: "Sad moralists" apply the Gospel obligations without any of the declarations. They get trapped in legalism and, eventually, begin to deceive themselves that their obedience gains them favor with God. They see most often how far their practice deviates from the perfection God seeks to build in them, and only end up discouraged and defeated by their sin and pride. On the other side of the coin, "happy moralists" remember many of the Gospel declarations, but don't follow through with the Gospel obligations. They rejoice in who they are in Christ, and think that position is "enough," and that their practice doesn't need to change. These get trapped in license and a lack of understanding of what it cost God to give them that position. As one of my counselees puts it, they "trample on grace." Everyone fits into one of these categories (most of us will swing back and forth according to our individual areas of sinful bent), so the authors spend the rest of the book applying the Gospel to these two extremes in the "big-box" arenas of emotions, relationships, growth in Christ, and life purpose and focus.
I picked up COUNSEL FROM THE CROSS to read through it quickly enough to get a sense of it and write a knowledgeable review, and realized I needed to slow waaaaaay down. I needed to let the truth of the Word soak into my spirit, warm me, recharge me, kick me in the pants a few times, and remind me of the goodness and unfailing love of the God I serve. As a Biblical counselor and teacher, I've already been using the material, and look forward to getting this book into the hands of the women I meet with on a regular basis as soon as possible, beginning with going through it (again) with a counselee this winter. I highly, highly recommend that you allow Mrs. Fitzpatrick and Dr. Johnson to offer you "counsel from the cross."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is judgmental and arrogant to refer to people with mental health problems as "broken.Read more