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New Biblical Counseling Program Director at Calvary University

New Biblical Counseling Program Director at Calvary University

New Director

Dr. Joaquim Braga accepted the position of Biblical Counseling Program Director in the Seminary starting July 1, 2017.  After he became a Christian in Brazil, Joaquim desired to learn more about Jesus and prepare for ministry. The missionaries who led Dr. Braga to Christ suggested Calvary!  After pursuing ministry and additional education elsewhere, he has agreed to serve in this important role at his alma mater.

Dr. Braga is the Executive Director of Counseling for Brazil Ministries, a missions non-profit that seeks to live out the gospel by counseling and teaching individuals, couples, and families in the country of Brazil.  He has a vision to transfer his experience and education to other men and women to use in the church and to use in the community.  Joa worked in the counseling field with families, individuals, and couples in the areas of addictions, trauma and abuse, marital conflict, family of origin issues, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and more. He completed a Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Studies at Calvary Theological Seminary.  He continued to study at Dallas Theological Seminary and completed a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling.  His passion for reaching others for Christ led him to complete a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Texas Women’s University this year.  He says, “Our prayer is that we will strive to struggle to the best of our ability and to turn to Jesus every time we hurt. Our hope is to love on others so they too can do the same.”

New Opportunities

Dr. Braga announced an additional opportunity for pastors and church leaders to receive training and certification without earning an entire degree.  He will announce new training opportunities soon.

Dr. Braga’s vision for the seminary program is to expand the Biblical Counseling Ministry program by adding courses and structure.  He aspires to create another track for Biblical Counselors who desire licensure.  Details will be announced in the future.  This program is not available yet.

Two New Courses From The Biblical Counseling Department!!

Two New Courses From The Biblical Counseling Department!!

The mission statement of Calvary University is as follows: “[to prepare] Christians to live and serve in the church and the world according to a biblical worldview…” The Biblical Counseling Department’s goal for our students has always been to keep our courses engaging, and challenging, so that wherever they go they will be able to rightly handle God’s word, and be fully equipped to think critically about the issues in our ever-changing world, and glorify God where He leads them.

In keeping with this objective at Calvary University the Biblical Counseling Department is proud to announce two NEW courses we will be offering for Spring 2018 that will highlight, and strengthen this mission: Ethics in Biblical Counseling and Theological Foundations of Biblical Counseling.

Ethics in Biblical Counseling will explore some of the following questions: Why is it important to have a Biblical counseling ethic? What types of problems does it create when one does not consider an ethic when they are serving their counselees? How do the Scriptures relate to what the Biblical counselor does in the session, such as informed consent, and confidentiality? These questions, and more, will be answered in this course. Students will be confident that not they are not only acting ethically, but biblically, in how they serve their counselees as a Biblical counselor.

Theological Foundations of Biblical Counseling will examine the theological foundations of Scripture in contrast to worldview of Secular-Humanism and Postmodernism. This course will not only make the case that the Biblical theological foundation is incompatible to the Secular-Humanistic foundation in the area of counseling, but why it is incompatible. In addition, this course will also explore the similarities and differences between counseling from a Dispensational system and a Reformed system. At the end of this course the student will be able to examine other worldviews in light of God’s word, and observe how having a biblical theology is essential to not only how the student is to counsel biblically, but why the student is to counsel biblically.

If you would like to know more about these courses, or any other classes that are in our program, please contact us! We are excited about offering these two new courses to our students at Calvary; as we desire to serve our students, and for the glory of God!

The Area Both Secular and Biblical Counselors Use In Counseling

The Area Both Secular and Biblical Counselors Use In Counseling

There is much contention between those who work as secular counselors and those who work as biblical counselors. However, what is the area both secular counselor and biblical counselors recognize and use? In addition, what is the fundamental reason for the contention between secular counselors and biblical Counselors? Before these questions are answered there are two terms that must be defined: natural (or general) revelation, and special revelation.

Natural revelation is the doctrine that God has revealed Himself, in creation. Matt Slick, gives a more detailed explanation described below:

[Natural] revelation is the knowledge of God, as well as the knowledge of right and wrong, that can be obtained through nature. This general revelation of God’s existence and basic morality is known by everyone.

 

Carm.org. Retrieved from: https://carm.org/questions/about-bible/what-general-and-special-revelation.

When it comes to natural revelation there are three areas that are specifically distinguished:

 

  • Nature: God reveals Himself generally through His work all over creation (Rom. 1:18-20).
  • Conscience: God is also revealed through the fact that all creation knows there is a difference between right from wrong, since man has been created with a conscience (Rom. 2:14-16).
  • Providence: God also reveals Himself through the work of His providence. God is in control of all things, and provides for His creation (Isa. 45:7; Deut. 32:39; Matt. 6:26).

The area where secular counselors and biblical counselors agree is in natural revelation. When a secular counselor works with a married couple on how to communicate better, and uses counseling exercises to assist the couple with this goal, the secular counselor, whether they are aware of it or not, is using exercises that originate from natural revelation. When a biblical counselor uses counseling exercises to assist people in working through their feelings of distress, they are using tools that highlight natural revelation. When a secular counselor, or a biblical counselor, teaches on how the human brain works in relation to emotions and behavior, both are instructing from natural revelation. When a secular counselor, or a Biblical counselor, looks at human behavior and how it impacts interactions in relationships they are observing the natural revelation of God. Where the secular counselor, and the biblical counselor strongly disagree is in the source of where the natural revelation originates. The secular counselor works from a philosophy that is antithetical to a biblical worldview. Therefore the conclusions they both come to concerning the origin of human beings, and their respective behaviors, will be in conflict with one another.

 

James Kalat, a professor of Psychology in North Carolina State University wrote this about the origin of human beings:

 

Every gene is subject to evolution by natural selection. Evolution is a change over generations in the frequencies of various genes in the population…we must distinguish two questions about evolution: How did species evolve, and how do species evolve? To ask how species did evolve is to ask what evolved from what, basing our answers in inferences from fossils and comparisons of living species. For example, biologists find that humans are more similar to chimpanzees than to other species. These similarities point to the probability of a common ancestor from which both humans and chimpanzees inherited most of their genes. Similarly, humans and chimpanzees together have some striking resemblances to monkeys and presumably shared a common ancestor with monkeys in the remoter past.
 
Biological Psychology. 8th edition. Thomson Wadsworth. 2003. Emphasis mine.

 

Dr. Kalat would have no trouble agreeing that humans are complex creatures by plain or scientific observation (natural revelation). The issue Dr. Kalat has is the in the conclusions he makes concerning the origin of human beings, which derives from an evolutionary perspective. The biblical counselor would assert that God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1), and the creatures God created bring forth after their own kind (Gen. 1:21, 24-25). The reason the Biblical counselors come to these conclusions is they observe natural revelation from special revelation. A website defines special revelation in this manner:

 

Special revelation refers to the more specific truths that can be known about God through the supernatural.

 

Got Questions.org. Retrieved from: https://www.gotquestions.org/general-special-revelation.html.

 

God has chosen to reveal Himself is His word (2 Tim. 3:16), which was supernaturally given to man to know (2 Pet. 1:19-20). Therefore there are the two revelations a biblical counselor stands on (natural and special revelation). By contrast, the two revelations the secular counselor stands on is natural revelation and speculative revelation due to their corrupted nature (Rom. 1:18-23; Rom. 8:6-8; 1 Cor. 2:14). While the secular counselor may employ techniques for the counselee to be a good member of society (moralism), touch some aspect of the “divine spark” in the counselee (spiritualism), work with the counselee to be “one” with the essence of the universe (pantheism/mysticism), or to have the counselee tap into their “innate goodness” to solve their problems (humanism), the biblical counselor employs techniques so a counselee, through guidance, reflects the glory of God, and does good works for their neighbor (Eph. 2:8-10; 1 Cor. 10:31). The distinct difference is not the techniques the secular counselor and biblical counselor uses, but the philosophical rationale behind why each person employs them.

 

Take for example breathing techniques. A secular counselor and biblical counselor may use the same breathing techniques to assist their counselees with anger. As a result of using these techniques the counselee decreases their anger (natural revelation). The secular counselor could conclude, based on their worldview, the counselee tapped into their “innate goodness” to change their attitude (speculative revelation). However, the biblical counselor, employing the same technique, recognizes this is a tool God has given (natural revelation), which is used to assist the counselee in their progressive sanctification (special revelation). The biblical counselor is convinced this activity will assist in managing their anger in a way that glorifies God, and serves their neighbor.

 

When it comes to natural revelation both the secular counselor and the biblical counselor employ techniques and tools from this area. However, while the secular counselor uses speculative revelation as the worldview they endorse in light of these techniques, the biblical counselor understands the importance of special revelation, knowing the tools that are used in counseling are given by God to assist in the progressive sanctification of a person.

 

 

Until next time…

 

Soli Deo Gloria

 

Dr. L.S.

 

 

If you would like to read other articles relating to theology, counseling, and current events, from a Biblical worldview please visit my personal blog page, which can be found here.

Christianity: The Only True Feminism

Christianity: The Only True Feminism

 There have been recent discussions about the inequality, and oppression, of women in the United States. With the Women’s March that took place in Washington D.C. on January 21st, this topic has been placed in the national spotlight. Among this crowd were a group of women who believe in the struggle against what they call a “Patriarchal” culture in America.  Dina Leygerman, the author of “You Are Not Equal. I’m Sorry,” after paying respect to the women she believed paved the way for women’s rights in America wrote the following:

You can make your own choices, speak and be heard, vote, work, control your body, defend yourself, defend your family, because of the women who marched. You did nothing to earn those rights. You were born into those rights. You did nothing, but you reap the benefits of women, strong women, women who fought misogyny and pushed through patriarchy and fought for you. And you sit on your pedestal, a pedestal you are fortunate enough to have, and type. A keyboard warrior. A fighter for complacency. An acceptor of what you were given. A denier of facts. Wrapped up in your delusion of equality.

After this comment, Dina Leygerman made another statement concerning inequality and women who live in America:

You are not equal. Even if you feel like you are. You still make less than a man for doing the same work. You make less as a CEO, as an athlete, as an actress, as a doctor. You make less in government, in the tech industry, in healthcare.You still don’t have full rights over your own body. Men are still debating over your uterus. Over your prenatal care. Over your choices.You still have to pay taxes for your basic sanitary needs.

Dina Leygerman concluded her letter by writing:

Open your eyes. Open them wide. Because I’m here to tell you, along with millions of other women that you are not equal. Our equality is an illusion. A feel-good sleight of hand. A trick of the mind. I’m sorry to tell you, but you are not equal. And neither are your daughters.

The ideas mentioned by Dina Leygerman, and many others who share her perspective, come from a worldview known as secularism. The word secularism has its origin from a 13th century Old French word meaning “living in the world, not belonging to a religious order” (etymology.com, 2017). A more current definition is defined below:

[Secular humanism] believes that humans are on their own and must depend on their own resources and strength to attain the good life. They do not affirm or deny the existence of God, but most are atheist or agnostics (New Standard Encyclopedia, 2002).

Secularism, in essence, views human history without a consideration of God. A person who holds to a secular worldview, at the very least, is indifferent about the existence of God. Consequently, they observe feminism very differently than one who holds to a Biblical worldview. Consider these two types of secular feminism: Liberal Feminism and Radical Feminism.

Liberal Feminism is described below:

Liberal feminist focus on helping individual women overcome the limits and constraints of their socialization patterns. Liberal feminist argue that women deserve equality because they have the same capabilities as men. These feminist tend to believe the differences between women and men will be less problematic as work and social environments become more bias-free (Corey, 2005).

Radical Feminism is characterized as follows:

Radical Feminist focus on the oppression of women that is embedded in the patriarchy and seek to change society through activism…Radical feminists strive to identify and question the many ways in which patriarchy dominates every area including household chores, paid employment, intimate partnerships, violence, and parenting. The major goals are to transform gender relationships, transform societal institutions, and increase women’s sexual and procreative determination (Corey, 2005).

These are the philosophies of those who observe feminism from a secular worldview. There is no God that governs their thoughts, and attitudes. As a result, they believe the problem resides in social structures and cultural attitudes only. They also believe either education, activism, or a complete overthrow of the “patriarchal” system is necessary for true equality However, a person with a Biblical worldview observes feminism very differently.

First, the Biblical worldview asserts God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1), and He created male and female in His likeness, and image (Gen. 1:26-27). The very way male and female were formed by God came from the very mind of God. Man and woman, according to a Biblical worldview, are equal, because male and female are both fashioned by the same Creator who is greater than the both of them, and they bear His image and likeness in creation.

Second, Paul gave insight into the equality of man and woman, and how they were to observe one another. In addressing the churches in Corinth, concerning head coverings, Paul wrote the following:

For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9 for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God (1 Cor. 11:7-12, NASB emphasis mine).

Paul pointed out all things “originate from God”(1 Cor. 11:12). If all things find their origin in God, then this makes all things (that is, male and female according to the context) equal and interdependent on one another. Woman came from man, as we observed in the creation account in Genesis. However, man is conceived in the womb of a woman by conception. A person who has a Biblical worldview understands men and women are both important, and necessary to bring about physical life.

Third, women were instrumental in serving the body of Christ in many ways in the early church (and even now). One example is Phoebe, who was a fellow servant of the Lord, was a help to many of the saints in the region of Corinth, and even Paul himself (Rom. 16:1-2). A second example was Priscilla, the wife of Aquila, who took Apollos aside with her husband, and explained the Scriptures with greater accuracy to Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). Priscilla, along with her husband, even risked their own lives for Paul’s sake (Rom. 16:3-4). In addition, godly women were to serve as an example to younger women with the way they lived their life (Tit. 2:4-5).

Fourth, the sacred Scriptures instruct men to love their wives. This is highlighted with how Christ loved the church, who sacrificed Himself for His bride (Eph. 5:23-25; Col. 3:19). Peter cautions that husbands who do not love their wives, and do not live with them in an understanding, and honoring way, will have their prayers hindered (1 Pet. 3:7).

Fifth, in terms of female widows, the body Christ is to be charitable to older widows who are faithful to Christ, and serve His saints (Jas. 1:27; 1 Tim. 5:9-10). A person with a Biblical worldview observes younger, and older, women in high regard, and understands women are made in the image of God, are unique in their function and position in the world, and godly examples for other female saints.

Sixth, a secular feminist, and a Biblical feminist, would agree there is injustice against women in the world. However, the source of injustice, in contrast to a secular feminist worldview, sees a world that has been cursed, and corrupted, not by a “patriarchal” society, but by sin (Gen. 3:15-19). The reason there are injustices against women is that all mankind is born dead in trespasses and sins (Ps. 51:5; Eph. 2:1-2).

The hostility against an almighty, omniscient, Creator, makes us hostile to the people God has fashioned. If you ponder it, we are all “equal opportunity offenders,” who have offended God, and thus have been hostile to mankind, and have all earned His wrath equally. However, Christ has paid the cost, has forgiven men and women for their sins, and rescued them from His wrath (Jn. 3:16). In short, it is the regeneration of the conscience by the Holy Spirit, through the gospel of Christ Jesus and His word, and love for one’s neighbor that promotes true equality between the sexes.

Lastly, Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit, has also made the saints one in body. It is the Holy Spirit that has joined men and women into the body of Christ. Paul wrote there was neither Jew, Greek, slave, free, male, or female, and that all who belong to God are one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28). Paul also wrote believers are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). This has everything to do with the unity in the Holy Spirit believers have in Christ, who is Lord and Master. The distinctions of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, cultural position, or even male and female orientation, are removed when considering the divine unity, and the glorification that is soon to be revealed in the saints at His Great appearing.

If we are believers in Christ who subscribe to a Biblical worldview, we hold that Christianity is the only true feminism. Christianity recognizes the value of women, because women are made in God’s image and likeness. A Biblical worldview acknowledges we must speak out against injustices concerning women, understanding the world is under the curse of sin, and subjective equality is not equality at all, but bondage. The only thing that brings true liberation and freedom for women (and men) is the gospel of Christ, and the word of God. The perspective of feminism, apart from a Biblical worldview, although sincere, may lead to chaos, and hostility between both male and female.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S.

Dr. Luther Smith, New Counseling Professor

Dr. Luther Smith, New Counseling Professor

Weekly Portraits of Calvary Life

Dr. Luther Smith spoke in Chapel on Wednesday.

This spring semester has brought some new faces to Calvary’s student body, faculty, and staff.  One of the new, full-time faculty is Dr. Luther Smith, who is now serving as an Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling.  Dr. Luther Smith recently moved here from California with his wife and daughter.  On Wednesday, Dr. Smith spoke in Chapel and encouraged all of us to remember that our God cares.  A new part of chapel this school year is a question and answer time with the speaker following his message.  Dr. Smith fielded questions and gave practical answers for applying this truth to our lives.

Sara Klaassen

Alumni Relations Coordinator

 

Upcoming Calvary Events

January 24-27       Missions Emphasis Week

February 2-28      Alumni Phone-a-thon

Upcoming Basketball Games

January 20, 5:00 (Women) & 7:00 p.m. (Men) vs. Faith Baptist Bible at Home

January 21, 2:00 (Women) & 4:00 p.m. (Men) vs. Emmaus Bible at Home

January 24, 5:00 (Women) & 7:00 p.m. (Men) vs. Ozark Christian at Home

January 27, 5:00 (Women) & 7:00 p.m. (Men) vs. Barclay at Home

Upcoming Evidence Performances

January 22, 10:45 a.m. at Abiding Faith Baptist Church and Mission in Kansas City, MO

January 29, 10:45 a.m. at Northwest Bible Church in Kansas City, MO

February 5, 10:05 a.m. at Holden First Baptist Church in Holden, MO