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Controversial Issues

Gifts of the Spirit: In regard to the Sign Gifts, I believe that spiritual gifts such as the gifts of tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing and prophecy were intended to validate the teaching of the original apostles and that with the completion of the New Testament canon, this purpose ended and so did the expression of those gifts.

Styles of worship: In regard to styles of worship, the more important question is the source of worship: from whence are we getting the substance of the lyrics we sing, from God’s Word or from human experience (no matter how mystical). In my mind, good worship is God-focused and Gospel-centered, drawing the redeemed heart and mind upward into a deeper appreciation of God through His Word, and making much of Christ and His cross. Biblically regulated worship is God-focused, not man-focused.

If these understandings are honored, the issue for me is less the style than the substance; I don’t think believers should get into dictating style preferences upon one another, but should rather be engaged in a pursuit together of God-honoring worship that draws their adoration toward Him in harmony with Scripture. The outer forms (lifted hands or lighted candles) are not elemental to the question; the actual content of worship and its ultimate and spiritual conclusion are the greater issues.

Women in roles of leadership: This is a very broad issue, so I’ll just tackle the main question: I do not believe the Scripture gives room for women to serve as Elders or Pastors in the local church. 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 clearly describe these roles in terms of being for males only. This is a matter not of prejudice, but of God’s apparent design to provide clear order and healthy leadership understanding in His churches. I believe there are many other impactful roles for women to assume in leadership and influence in the churches, which I would be happy to review with you if we get the chance.

Counseling philosophies: I am a Biblical counselor in my work with people. What that means is that I work from the Bible as my exclusive truth source on the dynamics of human life, the processes of human change, and the power of human transformation. I don’t place any source of human insight regarding the design of personality or the goals or processes of daily living on the same level with the Bible in any way, although I don’t deny that some of these secular insights can fall into line with revealed truth from the Scripture.

The most important thing I bring into my counseling is an understanding of the Theology of New Life that the Scripture teaches all believers possess as a result of their regeneration in Christ (Romans 6, Colossians 3, and Ephesians 1 all describe this reality). Understanding our possessions and power as believers is the greatest source of transformation in regard to vexing emotional and behavioral problems. I counsel with an understanding that discovering these rich realities is the greatest need of any counselee, and I believe the Holy Spirit is in the counseling room with me doing His great work of revealing these principles to people as I work with them.

I should note that my philosophy of ministry is such that I don’t usually invest myself in long term counseling engagements with people. Rather, I work in partnership with gifted professional Biblical counselors in the community who can provide focused work with individuals who need extended counseling, in concert with my continual awareness of the process.

I also am exceedingly careful about meeting with female counselees in terms of the open setting in which such meetings are conducted, the awareness of others of my involvement in the counseling relationship, and a general refusal to be involved in longer term one on one counseling with women. I prefer to see this done by others, in concert with my outside participation in the case. It is impossible to be too careful in this regard.

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