In my life as a LCMS pastor I have developed a heightened sensitivity to signs around me of blind subscription to neo-darwinian evolutionary theory in our culture. Far too often in the public realm Christians are expected to swallow the narrative that the earth is billions of years old. Tips for the right diet plan or any other healthy lifestyle advice stem from evolutionary considerations. The tradition of counseling also draws from this meta narrative of the unbelieving world. Some of the foundational thoughts of Freud understand human nature through biological drives. In the present field of psychology evolutionary assumptions about how the brain works are also in applied to counseling theory.
How does the faithful Christian respond to the pervasive neo- Darwinian values of our culture present in so many aspects of society? For some Christians the answer is found in listening to only Christian radio stations, making intentional consumer choices like Chik- fil- A-, and going through rigorous effort to block anti Christian influences from daily life. In 1Peter, the disciple Peter writes about the situation of believers in an unbelieving world characterized by various trials. The essential thing is that believers maintain a living faith in Jesus in the midst of the trials of an unbelieving world that does not see Jesus. “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1Peter 1:8-9
With respect to the consumer choice of counseling, I am proposing that what is essential is that the values of the counselor are not such that threaten your faith, or obscure your vision of God’s work in your life through the gospel. To insist that a counselor uses only the text of scripture to treat and care for symptoms of depression is to operate out of a suspicion that secular techniques of listening, caring for and solving psychological problems are contrary to the scripture.
In my clinical practice, my values as a Christian and as a theologian inform and shape my practice. In my professional development as a pastor and counselor I have not invested in any counseling theory that relies on an evolutionary assumption. Instead, I understand what happens in counseling through the scriptural narrative of redemption in Christ.
My understanding includes an honest acknowledgement of the role of sin in our experience of brokenness in life. Following Adam’s sin, the scripture describes the fallen nature of the world as humans separated themselves from God. Counseling helps individuals and families understand the particular ways in which sin in the world has interfered with God’s plan for nurturing and healthy relationships in the world. When sin is gradually addressed and exposed in therapy, the love of Christ remains bringing a marvelous freedom to live as God’s own child.
-There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.– Romans 8:1-2