Doctrinal Statement

Biblical Counseling Ministries Doctrinal Statement

Introduction

Biblical Counseling Ministries supports the doctrines of the historic, conservative, non-charismatic, Protestant Christian faith, and rests upon the inerrancy and integrity of the Word of God — the 66 books of the Christian Scripture.
BCM also holds that, through use of the Biblical Framework for understanding the inner workings of the human heart and through other scriptural truths, the Word of God is fully sufficient to diagnose and to treat at their root the immaterially caused mental disorders and common counseling problems of man (see The Heart of Man and the Mental Disorders).

1. The Godhead

The one true God eternally exists in three equal but distinct Persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – and these three are, in very essence, one God. (Deut 6:4; Matt. 28:19-20; Luke 10:21-22; John 1:1-3, 14, 18, 10:30, 17:5; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 8:6, 12:4-6; 2 Cor 13:14; Heb. 1:8-12, 9:14)

2. Jesus Christ

God the Son, eternal possessor of all the divine attributes, became a man, uniting to His divine nature a true human nature in an indissoluble union and so becoming the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ. In His incarnation, Jesus Christ surrendered nothing of His divine essence but only the prerogatives of deity for a time. (Isa. 9:6; Micah 5:2; Matt. 28:19; John 1:1-3, 14, 18, 8:58, 10:30, 17:5, 20:28; 1 Cor 15:28; Phil. 2:6, 3:21; Col. 1:15-17, 2:9; Tit. 2:13; Heb. 1:3, 8-12, 13:8; 2 Pet 1:1; Rev. 1:17-18; Phil. 2:5-8)
Jesus Christ was born of a virgin through the Holy Spirit. He had a sinless human nature, and He remained sinless throughout His life, while retaining His absolute deity, being at the same time very God and very man. (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18, 25; Luke 1:27, 34-35; John 1:1-3, 14, 18, 17:4-5; 2 Cor 5:21;Gal 4:4;Phil. 2:6-8; Tit. 2:13; Heb. 4:15, 7:26, 10:5; 1 Pet 2:22)
The purpose of the incarnation of Jesus Christ was to redeem man through His substitutionary, sacrificial death for mankind, to reveal God, and to rule over God’s Kingdom (Ps. 2:7-9; Isa. 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33; John 1:18, 14:7-9; Acts. 2:30; Rom. 3:24; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7; Phil. 2:9-11; Col. 1:13-14; Heb. 1:2-3, 10:13; 1 Pet. 1:18-19;1 John 2:2; Rev. 11:5, 19:16, 20:4)
Jesus Christ was literally and physically raised from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He had lived and died (guaranteeing the future resurrection of all believers). He was seen by many in His resurrection body, and He ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He is now ministering as the believer’s Advocate and High Priest. (Luke 24:51; John 10:17-18, 20:20; Acts 1:2-11, 2:31-32; Rom. 1:3-4, 8:34; 1 Cor. 15:3-8, 12-20, 51-57; Eph. 1:20; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Tim. 1:10, 3:16; Heb. 7:25, 9:24; 1 John 2:1-2)

3. The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity, of the same essence as the Father and the Son and co-equal with them — one God in three Persons. As God, the Holy Spirit possesses all the divine attributes and is eternal and self-existent. (Ps. 61:1, 139:7; Isa. 40:13-14; Matt. 28:19; John 6:63; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 2:10-11, 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 3:17, 13:14; Heb. 9:14; 1 John 6:7)

4. Angels

God created a great host of sinless, spiritual beings known as angels to worship and to serve Him. As created beings, they themselves are not to be worshipped, though they are presently a higher order of creation than man. (Ps. 148:2,5; Col. 1:16; Heb. 12:22; Ps. 148:2; Luke 2:13; Heb. 1:6; Rev. 5:11-13; Ps. 103:20-21; Heb. 1:14; Col. 2:18; Rev. 22:8-9; Heb. 2:7; 2 Pet. 2:11)
Satan (the angel of light, the dragon, the devil) rebelled against God and while the holy angels continued to worship and serve their Creator, a great number of evil angels, the demons, chose to follow Satan in his rebellion. (2 Cor. 4:4, 11:14; Eph. 2:2; Rev. 12:3-17; James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8; 1 John 3:8; Mark 8:38; Luke 15:10; 1 Tim. 5:21; Matt. 25:41; Mark 5:9; Eph. 6:12; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; Isa. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19; Rev. 12:4,9)

5. Man and the Physical Creation

In accord with the Book of Genesis, God specially created all things for His glory — all material and immaterial existence, the heavens and the earth, all living things after their kind, and man who was specially and immediately created from the dust of the earth, in the image and likeness of God, and free of sin. God created all things in the beginning within the span of six normal days some several thousands of years ago. (Gen. 1:1-31, 2:4-25, 3:19; Ex. 20:11; Neh. 9:6; Job 33:4; Ps. 33:6, 102:25; Matt. 19:4; John 1:3,10; Acts 4:24; 1 Cor. 8:6, 15:39-41; Col. 1:16-17; 1 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 1:10-12, 11:3; Rev. 4:11)
When Adam chose to sin by disobeying God, he lost his innocence, he incurred the penalty of spiritual (and eventually physical) death, he became subject to the wrath of God, and thereafter he passed on to all mankind (except Jesus Christ Himself) an inherently evil and depraved human nature, totally incapable of pleasing God. (Gen. 2:16-17, 3:6; Ps. 14:1-3, 51:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:9-18, 5:9, 12-19; 1 Cor. 15:26; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:3, 32:3; 1 Tim. 2:14 )
All men are sinners by nature and by choice and are spiritually dead (separated from God) and without hope, apart from the grace of God and the salvation which is in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ps. 130:3, 143:2; Prov. 20:9; Isa. 53:6, Rom. 3:23, 24, 5:12-19, 6:23, 8:1-3, 11:32; 1 Cor. 15:22; Gal. 3:22; Eph. 2:1-3, 8-9; Tit. 32:5-7; 1 John 1:8)

6. The Holy Scriptures

The sixty-six books of the Bible, and they alone, are verbally and plenarily inspired by God. That is, all of the Bible and every word of it, in the original documents, is breathed of God, inerrant concerning every subject on which it touches, and God’s sole, final, infallible rule of faith and practice for every believer. (Ps. 12:6, 119:11, 89, 105, 160; Isa. 40:8, 55:8-11; Mark 13:31; John 14:26, 16:13, 17:17; Rom. 10:17, 15:4; 1 Cor. 2:9-11, 13; Eph. 6:17; Col. 3:16; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 4:12; ; Jas. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:23-35; 2 Pet. 1:20-21, 3:15-16)

7. Dispensations

The Scriptures, interpreted in their natural, literal sense, unfold divinely determined dispensations (stewardships), during which God directs and tests man’s submission to Him through specifically revealed rules of life. (John 1:17; Rom. 11:26-29; Eph. 1:10, 3:2-6; Col. 1:25-26; Heb. 1:1-2)
However, these rules of life are not ways of salvation, for regardless of the ruling dispensation, salvation is always by grace through faith and ultimately rests upon the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 4:1-16; Gal. 3:11, 19-26; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5-7; Heb. 11:1-40)

8. Salvation

One receives eternal salvation solely by God’s grace through one’s faith in the shed blood (death) of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. Salvation is totally apart from any works, religious deeds, or merit of one’s own. (John 1:12, 3:16, 14:6; Acts 16:31; Rom. 1:16-17, 3:22, 4:5, 6:23; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 2:16, 21, 3:13, 22; Eph. 1:7, 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5-7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19, 23, 2:24)
Because of Christ’s substitutionary, sacrificial death for mankind, the moment that the believer trusts Christ as his personal Savior from sin, he passes out of spiritual death into eternal life; he is freed from the penalty of sin; he is united with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection; he is forever forgiven for all his sins; he is declared to have the righteousness of Christ; he is given a new nature; and he is placed into the body of Christ, the Church universal. (Matt. 20:28; John 3:3, 5:24, 10:18; Rom. 3:24-25, 5:1,8, 9,4:1-5,6:3-6, 23; Cor. 1:30, 6:20, 12:13; 2 Cor. 5:17,21; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 1:7, 2:5-6, 15, 4:4, 5:25; Phil. 2:8; Col. 1:14, 2:12-13, 3:1, 4:32; Tit. 2:14; Heb. 10:10, 14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 2:1-2, 5:12; 8:1, 31-34)

9. Sanctification

Every believer is sanctified (i.e., ‘set apart’ for God) in the Lord Jesus Christ. This unalterable position means that in God’s eyes the believer is seen as holy in Christ and is identified as a saint. (Acts 20:32; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2, 30, 6:11; Phil. 4:21-22; Col. 3:12; Heb. 10:10, 14)
Every believer is also in the process of being sanctified. That is, as he is controlled by the Holy Spirit and as he grows in God’s Word, he is becoming increasingly more conformed to the image of Christ in his everyday life. (Rom. 6:19; 2 Cor. 3:18, 7:1; 1 Thess. 4:3-4, 5:23; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; Heb. 2:11, 10:14)
Every believer will one day (at his death or at the Rapture of the Church) be completely sanctified. No longer will he have a sinful fleshly nature, but his Christian walk will match his holy position in Christ. (Rom. 8:29-30; 1 Cor. 1:8, Col. 1:22, 1 John 3:2; Jude 24)
Though the believer is positionally sanctified from the moment of spiritual birth, he is still involved in a spiritual conflict with his old fleshly nature and will not reach a point in this life where his sinful fleshly nature is eradicated. The believer does, however, have adequate provision for daily victory over sin through the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells him. (Matt. 5:45-48; Rom. 6:11-14; Gal. 5:16-25; Eph. 3:16-19, 4:22-24, 5:18, 6:10-13; Phil. 3:12-16; Col. 3:5, 9-10; 1 Pet. 1:14-16, 2:11; 1 John 1:8)

10. Security

Every believer from the moment of regeneration is kept by God’s power and is secure in Christ forever. (John 6:37-40, 44, 10:28-30,17:9-12, 15, 20; Rom. 5:8-10; 8:31-39; 1 Cor. 1:8; Eph. 2:6, 4:30; Heb. 7:25, 13:5; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; Jude 1, 24)
While the believer’s security in Christ is settled at salvation, his assurance (the confident inner perception of his salvation) is dependent upon both the testimony of Scripture and upon his possession of a clear conscience before God. (Rom 6:15-22, 9:1; Gal. 3:1-3, 5:13-26; Eph. 4:1; 2 Tim. 1:12, Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; 1 John 2:6, 3:18-21, 5:13)

11. The Christian’s Walk

The Christian’s walk is summed up in the law of love: love for God and love for others. This love is evident within the believer as his life is characterized by the fruit of the Spirit and as that fruit is expressed in the thoughts, words, and deeds which God’s Word commands. (Matt. 22:37-40; John 13:34-35, 15:12; Rom. 13:8-10; 1 Cor. 13:4-7; Gal. 5:13-14, 6:2; Col. 3:14; Jas. 2:8; 1 John 4:19; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 3:16-19; John 14:15, 21, 23; Col. 2:6; 1 John 2:6, 5:3; 2 John 6)
However, the believer cannot love and walk as he should unless he is consistently filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit, thus putting on the new man. Otherwise, his flesh, which wars against the Spirit, will produce in him thoughts, words, and deeds dishonoring to God. (Rom. 6:11-13, 14:14; Gal. 5:16-25; Eph. 3:16, 4:22-24, 5:18; 1 Pet. 2:11; 1 John 2:15-16)

12. The Church

At the moment of spiritual birth every believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, which is the Church — the spiritual organism headed by Christ and universally composed of all Christians. The Church, having begun at Pentecost, is distinct from Israel and will continue until Christ comes for her as His Bride at the Rapture. (Rom. 6:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27-28; Eph. 1:22-23, 2:16-22, 3:4-6, 4:15, 5:23-24; Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 4:4, 5:23-24; Col. 1:18; Acts 1:2-7, 2:4-5, 3:19-21, 10:44-47, 11:15-17; Rom. 11:25-28; 1 Cor. 10:32, 15:51-52;l 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Tit. 2:13)
It is God’s will for those who compose the universal Church to gather together in local churches for the purposes of worshipping Him, praying to Him, growing in His Word, ministering their spiritual gifts, caring for one another, celebrating the symbolic ordinances of water baptism and the Lord’s Table and scattering to tell the world of their Savior, Jesus Christ. (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8, 2:42; Rom. 12:3-8, 16:1,5; 1 Cor. 11:223-31, 12:4-31, 16:19; 2 Cor. 5:19; Gal. 6:2; Eph. 3:21, 4:14-16, 5:30, Phil. 1:1; Col. 3:16; 1 Thess. 1:1, 5:11; 1 Tim. 2:8, 4:13; 2 Tim. 2:2, 15, 3:16-17; Heb. 13:15-16; 1 Pet. 2:9)

13. Spiritual Gifts

For the accomplishment of God’s purpose in the world He has given spiritual gifts to the Church. On the one hand, He has given gifted men (foundational Apostles and prophets; continual evangelists and pastor-teachers) to equip the saints (believers) for the work He has called each one to do. (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:20-22, 4:11-12)
On the other hand, the Holy Spirit has given every believer at least one spiritual gift to be used for God’s glory in building up the Body of Christ. (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; Eph. 4:12; 1 Pet. 4:10-11)
Biblically, there are two categories of spiritual gifts: temporary gifts (foundationally used of God to authenticate the Apostles and their divinely inspired message or used of Him to communicate special revelation) and permanent gifts (used of God even today to build up the Body of Christ). (Mark 16:17-20; Acts 2:43; Rom. 15:18-19; 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:3-4; Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; 1 Pet. 4:10-11)
The temporary gifts (not present today) include at least the gifts of additional revelatory prophecy, tongues, their interpretation, miracles and healings. However, God still today hears the prayer of faith of all believers and chooses to heal the sick, the suffering, and the afflicted and to do the miraculous, according to His own will and purpose. (Mark 16:17-20; Rom. 15:18-19; 1 Cor. 14:1-33; 2 Cor. 12:6-10, 12; Heb. 2:3-4; James 5:13-18; 1 John 5:14-15; 2 Tim. 4:20).

14. Physical Death

Physical death for man is the separation of the soul and spirit from the body. Upon physical death, the soul and spirit of the believer pass immediately and consciously into the glorious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, awaiting bodily resurrection and eternal blessedness. The soul and spirit of the unbeliever, however, pass immediately and consciously into hades and its torments, awaiting eternal punishment in the lake of fire. (Gen. 35:18; Matt. 10:28; Matt. 13:42, 50, 24:41, 46, 27:50; Luke 12:5,20, 23:43, 46; Luke 23:43; John 19:30; Acts 2:27; 7:5920:4; 1 Cor. 15:35-44, 50-54; 2 Cor. 4:14, 5:8; Phil. 1:23, 3:20; 1 Thess. 4:16-17 5:23, 16:23; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet 2:9; Jas 2:26; Rev. 6:9, 20:4, 20:11-15)

15. The Rapture of the Church

The Rapture (carrying away) of the Church (all true believers) is imminent and, as the next great prophetic event, it is the Church’s blessed hope. (1 Cor. 1:8; Phil. 3:20-21, 4:5; 1 thess. 1:10; Tit. 2:11-13; Heb. 9:28; 1 John 3:2-3)
At the Rapture the Lord Jesus Christ will come in the clouds with the souls and spirits of all the saints who have died in Him and He will personally and bodily carry away to Heaven all Church age believers, living and dead, in their resurrection bodies. (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-17)

16. The Tribulation

Following the Rapture of the Church, God will resume His dealings with the unbelieving nation of Israel through what is known as the Tribulation period or Daniel’s seventieth week — a time of great trouble and judgment on the entire unbelieving world in general, and on Israel in particular. (Ps. 2:1-10; Isa. 63:1-6; Ezek. 20:33-44; Dan. 9:24-27; Mal. 3:1-6; Matt. 24:9-28; Rev. 11:1-19:21)

17. Second Coming and Millennial Reign

When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to earth with His saints to climax the Tribulation period, the Old Testament saints and the Tribulation saints will be raised, the unsaved on earth will be put to death to wait final judgment, and Christ will set up His Millennial (1000 year) reign on earth. (Dan. 2:44, 7:13-14, 12:2; Zech. 14:1-15; Matt. 25:31-46; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-28; Rev. 19:11-21, 20:1-6)

18. Judgment and the Eternal State

At the close of Christ’s Millennial reign on earth, Satan will be released from the abyss for a time and will lead the nations against Jerusalem , only to see them devoured by fire from heaven and himself to be cast into the lake of fire for eternity. (Rev. 20:7-10; Matt. 25:41; Jude 6)
Also at that time, the unbelievers of all ages will be raised and will face the judgment of their works at the Great White Throne Judgment, and, condemned, they will receive everlasting, conscious punishment in the lake of fire, cut off from the life of God forever. (Dan 12:28; 2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 19:20-21, 20:11-15)
Following these things, the present heavens and earth will be destroyed with intense heat, and the Lord God will create new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells and in which the believers of all ages will reign with Him forever. (2 Pet. 3:10-13; Rev. 22:5)