Saturday, May 30, 2009

Walk for the Cure for Breast Cancer

Walk for the Cure for Breast Cancer:
Real Men Wear Pink!

Dear Friends and Family,

One week from today, I will be participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I am just $150 from my goal of raising $2,000 for this important cause.

All it will take is six people donating $25. Donate safely and quickly online at my home page. Click here to visit my personal page.

An estimated 40,000 women will die from the disease. Breast cancer takes another life every 14 minutes. Another woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 3 minutes. An estimated three million women are living with breast cancer. One million of them don't yet know it.

Any amount you can give is great; I just appreciate your support. It is faster and easier than ever to support this great cause - you can make a donation online by simply clicking on the link above. Whatever you can give will help! I truly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

Thank you for supporting me always, but especially in this challenge; you really do make a difference. Please feel free to forward this email to friends who would be supportive of this vital cause.

Donate safely and quickly online at my home page. Click here to visit my personal page.

Thanks so much!


Friday, May 29, 2009

The Book of the Year!

“This may well be the book of the year!”

Christian Book Previews Review of

Beyond the Suffering:
Embracing the Legacy of African American
Soul Care and Spiritual Direction

This may well be the book of the year! Engrossing, important, well researched, deeply biblical - what more can I say? Presenting imperative Christian nurturing, vividly illustrated by significant, scripturally-based, lifesaving lessons gleaned from some of our most downtrodden Americans, Beyond the Suffering provides essential truths for all Americans, no matter race, creed, or history. Let’s extend the arena - the rest of the world will profit from this heart/mind/spirit catching book.

Written for the express purpose of showing how Christ snatches triumphs from the jaws of defeat and transforming victims into victors, Beyond the Suffering is based on documents, biographies, and quotations from American slaves who learned that when absolutely everything else fails Christ is present, real, loving, in control. The format revolves around ministries which help hurting and hardened people. The examples used are shocking, horrifying, uplifting, always pointing to Christ.

A term found often throughout these pages is ‘Soul Physician’ - one who, from the depth of their own terrible yet wondrous experiences, helps others to reach out of their own particular pit toward the healing Lord. These slave Soul Physicians were lay-people whom our Lord had touched; a concept which today’s world desperately needs. Beyond the Suffering will not only heal and prepare us to face life, it will equip us to be Soul Physicians. Many materials in this book encourage the reader towards victory. The questions which summarize each chapter are thought- and action-provoking.

The history is well-researched; ideas are amply, tellingly illustrated. No punches are pulled. The authors tell about slavery exactly as it was, and about Christ and His ministry exactly like it is. Beyond the Suffering is not a book for those who like their American comfort and traditional misbeliefs. Be prepared to have growing pains and spiritual toothaches as you read. This book is a must for all Christians. It will make an excellent preparation for our youth as they head into a dangerous future.
– Donna Eggett,

Original Post At:

Order At:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An Evangelical Theology for Kids 10 to 100!

An Evangelical Theology for Kids 10 to 100!

Book Review Details

Title: Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God
Author: Bruce A. Ware, Ph.D.
Publisher: Crossway (2009)
Category: Parenting, Theology, Discipleship

Reviewed By: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC, Author of Soul Physicians, Spiritual Friends, Beyond the Suffering, and Sacred Friendships (

Recommended: A highly recommended antidote to the dumb-downed, frills, and cotton-candy approach so prevalent in American Evangelicalism today.

Review: An Evangelical Catechism for Kids Ages 10 to 100!

When someone like Bruce Ware, professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and 2009 President of the Evangelical Theological Society, writes a book on theology, I take notice. When he writes it for parents and children—my interest is truly sparked.

Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God is a modern-day Evangelical catechism. Ware’s purpose is to equip parents to raise their children to know and love God through raising them to know and love theology. How sad that such a goal seems so foreign in so many Christian circles today.

In many ways, as indicated by the precious foreword written by Ware’s young-adult daughters, Big Truths for Young Hearts is the “Theology 101” he taught (and modeled and lived) for and in front of his daughters. He’s just graciously sharing it with the rest of us. There is no grander testimony than their words, “Dad really believes the things that are in this book. His theology shapes the way he lives, as we have seen many times” (p. 11). There is no greater parental challenge than their challenge to us: “To parents: it may sound cliché, but we followed our father’s teaching in part because he practiced what he preached. Like all children, we needed to look up and see our parents looking up at a great God who has great things in store for those who love him” (p. 12).

Ware’s own testimony about the origin of the book mirrors his daughter’s memories. From the time they were toddlers, he tried creatively to teach them the same theology sequence he was teaching his seminary students. Ware has crafted his two-decade-long instruction of his girls into a theology book for parents and children.

The book covers the classic core doctrines of systematic theology. (Shh. Just don’t tell the children the “theological terms” in the parentheses below!)

*Chapter One: God’s Word (Bibliology) and God’s Own Life (Theology Proper)
*Chapter Two: God As Three in One (Trinitarian Theology)
*Chapter Three: Creator and Ruler of All (Theology Proper, The Sovereignty and Glory of God)
*Chapter Four: Our Human Nature (Anthropology) and Our Sin (Hamartiology)
*Chapter Five: Who Jesus Is (Christology)
*Chapter Six: The Work Jesus Has Done (Christology/Soteriology)
*Chapter Seven: The Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)
*Chapter Eight: Our Great Salvation (Soteriology, Election, Sanctification)
*Chapter Nine: The Church of Jesus Christ (Ecclesiology)
*Chapter Ten: What Will Take Place in the End (Eschatology)

Big Truths for Young Hearts is meant to be read together—parents and children. Each chapter is like a series of brief “theology devotionals,” each about three pages in length, and each concluding with Questions for Thought and with Memory Verses.

Frankly, as I read each chapter I kept thinking, “Now this is how theology should be taught to adults and to seminary students!” And I’m a seminary professor who teaches a class on theology for biblical counseling. In other words, any adult, no matter how well schooled in Evangelical theology, could and would benefit from this book. The book is beautifully written, Bible-saturated, Christ-centered, creatively-illustrated (word-pictures), and theologically-comprehensive.

As a parent of two young adult children, and as a parent who attempted to do similar training with our children, I repeatedly asked myself, “At what ages would this book ‘work’”? The reading level is likely best suited for the late elementary to the young adult. I would imagine that most children—toddler through fourth grade—might have somewhat of a difficult time staying with the reading.

I was a little surprised that there were no “Instructions for Parents.” This excellent book could benefit from a “Parents’ Manual” which could give parents ideas for how to “teach” and not just “read” these truths. What creative methods might a parent use? How could a parent best engage a child in the material? What personal life applications could parents and children discuss? How could parents apply the Deuteronomy 6 principle of “throughout the day” inculcation of truth applied to life? Big Truths for Young Hearts is a “what to teach book” (and does it extremely well). It is not, per se, a “how to teach” book. Perhaps a companion training book is in the works.

That said, Big Truths for Young Hearts is still a tremendous book for adults, young adults, middler schoolers, and high schoolers. It is an excellent book for parents to explore and apply with their pre-teens and teens. It would make a fine Sunday School book for teachers in grades 5th through Senior Saints! Youth groups, small groups, and homeschooling groups all will find Big Truths for Young Hearts very attractive, informative, and beneficial.

Seven Questions Every Biblical Counselor Must Answer

Seven Questions Every Biblical Counselor Must Answer

In yesterday’s blog ( (Whatever Happened to Truth?), I included a section on Seven Questions Every Biblical Counselor Must Answer.

Many of my readers asked, “Where do you address each of those seven questions in Soul Physicians (”

Glad you asked!

Seven Biblical Counseling Questions Addressed in Soul Physicians

1. Do I know how to use God’s Word to change lives?

I address this question everywhere in the book. I also provide concentrated focus on it in pages 1-58.

2. Do I comprehend how the Trinity serves as the foundation for how I relate to others?

Pages 59-116.

3. Do I understand people—biblically?

Pages 117-214.

4. Can I diagnose problems—biblically?

Pages 215-322.

5. Can I prescribe God’s solutions—biblically?

Pages 323-500.

6. Do I grasp how our eternal future makes all the difference in how we live today?

Pages 501-540.

7. Am I able to dispense God’s grace and care for others competently?

I cover this throughout the book, including in the two personal application/ministry implication discussion guides at the end of each chapter. Additionally, in my second book, Spiritual Friends (, I spend the entire book equipping pastors, counselors, and lay people how to develop twenty-two biblical counseling relational competencies.

*Quick Link to Your Copy of Soul Physicians on RPM Ministries:

*Quick Link to Your Copy of Spiritual Friends:


Of course, the idea is not that I have “cornered the market” on the right answers. As I tell my students frequently, “Be a Berean and take these content areas and test what I teach against the inspired, inerrant Word of God.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Whatever Happened to Truth?

Whatever Happened to Truth?

Do you need a theological foundation for your people-helping ministry?

Do you want to know the seven topics every person must master if they are to do truly biblical ministry?

On the first page of my first book, Soul Physicians (, I describe why we need a theological foundation for people ministry. I also outline the seven-part foundation we must understand if we are to have a comprehensive and compassionate approach to the personal ministry of the Word of God.

The Physician’s Desk Reference

Two books are standard in any physician’s office: The Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) and The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy (Merck). Both are considered “Bibles of medical knowledge and practice.”

With its 3,223 pages of prescription drugs, the annually updated PDR is the most comprehensive, widely used drug reference available. It details the usage, warnings, and precautions for more than 4,000 prescription drugs.

Merck is the most widely used medical text in the world. It provides the latest information on the vast expanse of human diseases, disorders, and injuries, as well as their symptoms and treatments. Intended for physicians, it is still useful for the lay person. As one sage has commented, “a must for everyone in a human body.”

The The Soul Physician’s Desk Reference

If the PDR and Merck are the Old Testament and New Testament for physicians treating the body, then the Bible is God’s final, authoritative word for soul physicians treating the soul. It is the soul physician’s desk reference manual for dispensing grace. It’s “a must for anyone who is a soul.” God’s Word provides not only the latest, but the eternal, lasting information on the soul’s design and disease, as well as its care and cure.

What do we discover as we read the pages of the Soul Physician’s Desk Reference (SPDR)? We learn what makes Christian counseling Christian. We learn our Great Physician’s authoritative truth about:

1. Nourishing the Hunger of the Soul: Preventative Medicine—God’s Word

2. Knowing the Creator of the Soul: The Great Physician—The Trinity

3. Examining the Spiritual Anatomy of the Soul: People—Creation

4. Diagnosing the Fallen Condition of the Soul: Problems—Fall

5. Prescribing God’s Cure for the Soul: Solutions—Redemption

6. Envisioning the Final Healing of the Soul: Home—Glorification

7. Dispensing God’s Care for the Soul: Spiritual Friends—Sanctification

These seven biblical categories are essential for developing a theology of soul care and spiritual direction. In Soul Physicians (, we examine them meticulously, as a physician would the skeletal structure of the human body.

Watered-Down or Nourished with the Spring of Living Water

Christianity today is all-too-often watered-down. You can attend church and not even need to bring a Bible. You can attend seminary and not even be equipped thoroughly in biblical studies and biblical languages. You can go through training in biblical counseling and not even open your Bible!

However, if you want to do truly biblical counseling, then you must have a biblical foundation. The bare minimum includes the seven content areas listed above.

Seven Questions Every Biblical Counselor Must Answer

If we are to do God’s work in God’s way, with depth of insight, then we need to be able to ask and answer the following seven questions:

1. Do I know how to use God’s Word to change lives?

2. Do I comprehend how the Trinity serves as the foundation for how I relate to others?

3. Do I understand people—biblically?

4. Can I diagnose problems—biblically?

5. Can I prescribe God’s solutions—biblically?

6. Do I grasp how our eternal future makes all the difference in how we live today?

7. Am I able to dispense God’s grace and care for others competently?

Truth and Love

If we can’t answer these questions, then we need to go back to “soul school”!

It was the Apostle Paul who prayed that our love would abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight (Philippians 1:9). Society today says, “Let your love abound more and more in more love!”

No. We need truth and love—love grounded in God’s truth.

We have no “love life” if we have no “truth life.” We need both, with our love founded in God’s Word.

Do you need a theological foundation for your people-helping ministry? I do!

Do you want to know the seven topics every person must master if they are to do truly biblical ministry? I do!

*Quick Link to your copy of Soul Physicians on RPM Ministries:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Tributes

Memorial Day 2009 Tributes

On this Memorial Day, when many of us, myself included, tend to forget the true significance of the day, here are two tributes.

The first tribute honors African Americans and their service for our country. Go to to read about the opening of a new African American Military History Museum.

The second tribute is from the President of the American Association of Christian Counselors, Dr. Tim Clinton. View his moving tribute to those who gave their lives to defend our freedoms:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Where to Go for Evangelical Book Reviews

The Site for Evangelical Book Reviews

Interested in book reviews written by Evangelicals? Then look no further than Discerning Reader:

"Doc. K" Writing for Them Now

Ever since I discovered the site, I've visited it regularly. When they read some of my reviews on Amazon, it became apparent that we were kindred spirits. So a month ago they added me to their select list of reviewers--I'm honored to play a small part.

Why They Are Unique

What I've always appreciated about Discerning Reader (DR) and their founder, Tim Challies, is that they are both loving and discerning. Far too many folks in the "discernment movement" are unloving and quite frankly, undiscerning. Tim and DR are not part of a "movement." They show great wisdom and great grace as they review books from an Evangelical perspective.

About Discerning Readers

Here is what Tim Challies, the founder of Discerning Readers, says about the site. Enjoy.

Around the world some 120,000 new books are published each year. That adds up to ten thousand every month; over 300 each and every day. Americans buy over 4.5 million books every day, including many of these new titles. This adds up to over 1.5 billion books per year that are consumed within America. Yet even this totals only 35% of the books that are sold worldwide. While it might seem that television and the Internet are decreasing our love for reading, it is clear that books sell better today than at any other time in history.

As the number of books rolling of the presses increases, the discernment of Christians decreases. Local churches are finding it increasingly difficult (and tragically, increasingly unnecessary) to equip their people to discern good from bad, better from best.

We would like to help.

Discerning Reader is a site dedicated to promoting good books--books that bring honor to God. At the same time, we hope to help Christians avoid being unduly influenced by books and teachers that are not honoring to God.

We do not seek to be harsh or judgmental. Rather, we seek only to be discerning as we compare books to the written Word of God. We let the words of authors speak for themselves and simply hold the books up to the light of Scripture. In doing so, we are building a database of reviews which we feel cast a discerning light on the books that are found in Christians homes, churches and bookstores.

We invite you to browse around, to read the reviews, and to examine the features of this site. We think you will find it to be a blessing.

On behalf of the Discerning Reviewer review team,

Tim Challies

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Counsel of Heaven on Earth

The Counsel of Heaven on Earth: Foundations for Biblical Christian Counseling

Book Review Details

Author: Ian F. Jones, Ph.D.

Publisher: Broadman & Holman (2006)

Category: Biblical Counseling, Christian Counseling, Christian Living, Discipleship

Reviewed: 05/22/09 by Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC, Author of Soul Physicians, Spiritual Friends, Sacred Friendships, and Beyond the Suffering (order here:

Recommended: A valued addition to the field of biblical Christian counseling that is well-balanced, practical, and theologically-sound.

Review: What Makes Biblical Counseling Truly Biblical?

In The Counsel of Heaven on Earth, Dr. Ian Jones, Chair of the Counseling Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, outlines the essential features of biblical counseling. He clearly demonstrates how the Bible from cover to cover provides Christian counselors with the blueprint for developing an effective counseling ministry.

Dr. Jones is a bridge-builder, as depicted even in his subtitle: Foundations for Biblical Christian Counseling. In our day, few, unfortunately, make “biblical” and “Christian” synonymous when describing counseling models. Jones refuses to evade the issue, addressing the “alphabet soup” of counseling models, even in Christian circles. However, rather than being a “basher” of other approaches, Jones seeks to provide his readers not with THE one model, but with a foundational approach from which they can build a model that is truly Christian and biblical.

Jones’ foundation follows the CFR Narrative: Creation, Fall, Redemption. He rightly sees Creation as the starting point for biblical Christian counseling, building on the imago Dei and the truth that we are born to relationship. He moves from our family of origin to the distorted image and the deceit in our family history. Jones places us in the Fall, calling our lostness “the human location.” Appropriately, Jones does not leave us in our lost condition, moving his readers to “the supreme rescue”—Redemption.

Having laid the theological foundation of Creation, Fall, Redemption (people, problems, and solutions), Jones moves his readers to methodology. This is where all too many biblical/Christian counseling texts become bogged down. Presenting solid theology, they assume a somewhat simplistic “information in” approach to the counseling relationship. Rather than saying, “Just pour truth into the brains of your counselees,” Jones focuses his readers on “the guiding commandment in Biblical Christian counseling”—Matthew 22:35-40.

Thus Jesus, the Counselor of heaven on earth, becomes our primary model. Jesus’ commandment to love God and others becomes the essential guide for “methods” in counseling. In this, Jones follows the Apostle Paul, who in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 stated that he loved the believers so much that he gave them not only the Scriptures, but his own soul. Scripture and soul, truth and relationship, are the twin compass points for the truly biblical Christian counselor. Jones spends several chapters then developing the “relational how to” of communicating truth in love in the counseling process.

Jones also links biblical Christian counseling with spirituality through chapters on the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, the fruit of the Spirit, spiritual disciplines, and spiritual formation. Thus “counseling” for Jones is discipleship that forms the image of Christ in the counselee through dependence upon the work of the Holy Spirit.

Jones augments each chapter with personal illustrations, counseling narratives, and descriptions of counseling in the local church. Additionally, the built-in discussion/application guide, along with extensive references, make The Counsel of Heaven on Earth a valued addition to the field of biblical Christian counseling.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Plea for Listening to One Another

The State of Biblical Counseling Today:
Discussing the ABC Symposium
Part III—A Plea for Listening to One Another

Note: This is Part Three of a three-part blog mini-series about the Symposium on Biblical Counseling that took place on May 14, 2009 at the Association of Biblical Counselors’ National Conference. For Part One, in which I highlighted the bios of the speakers, visit: For Part Two, in which I highlighted the distinctive DNA of each speaker, visit:

My Plan Today, And My Hesitancy Today

My plan today is to discuss some possible stereotyping that may continue to exist in the field of biblical Christian counseling today. To be very honest, I am very hesitant.

The ABC Symposium was an incredible bridge-building time—which is a major passion of mine. Since the event, I have received numerous emails and comments like the following one, which was posted on the blog of my friend Dr. Phil Monroe: (

“My gratitude to the four Doctors. I had the privilege of attending the symposium and listening to the discussion. The evidence of love for things primary was apparent. The respect for disagreement on tertiary matters was exemplary. The love for each other in Christ was encouraging. Hats off ‘gentle-men’. Thanks ABC.”

I believe that the vast majority of people connected with the modern biblical Christian counseling movement interact and think like “the four Doctors.” They/we all try to evidence love for things primary, and respectful disagreement on tertiary matters, with a love for one another and for Christ.

So, why bring up any possible “stereotyping”?

Precisely because of my passion for building bridges of communication.

A Hypothesis

Here’s my hypothesis. We all give people we identify as being in “our group” a much greater benefit of the doubt than we give to people we identify as being in “another group.”

I do a great deal of teaching, writing, speaking, and consulting on Christ-based Intercultural Relationships. The Bible has a tremendous amount to say about relating across cultures. In fact, everyone one of the ten classic doctrines of systematic theology address intercultural relationships!

And guess what, our alphabet soup of counseling groups involve intercultural relating. We don’t think of it that way because we often think of “culture” as ethnicity and race and color of skin. But culture includes any way we have been taught to relate, think, choose, act, and feel by the “group” we associate with, are connected to, and surrounded by. Keep that in mind as you keep reading.

Here’s What Struck Me

Pastor Steve Viars is a great friend of mine since kindergarten! Honest—we attended the same elementary school, middle school, high school, Bible college and seminary, were saved in the same church, and discipled in the same youth group. Pastor Steve is a past President of NANC (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors). I assume that the majority of the nearly-500 people at the symposium self-identify with the NANC more than they do with the group I am with—the American Association of Christian Counselors’ Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Forum (AACC/BCSFN).

Pastor Steve talked with passion about his church’s nine-month residential treatment center for young women: Vision of Hope. Pastor Steve also talked about wondering if he and more of his staff might want to become state licensed so that more referring agencies would be able to refer. (I am paraphrasing and certainly encourage you to buy the DVD).

I assume that the vast majority of people who self-identify with Pastor Steve thought, “Incredible. Wonderful. They are reaching out to hurting women. They are taking biblical counseling places it has not always gone!” I do not assume that most people who self-identified with Pastor Steve thought, “He’s going liberal. He’s an “integrationist. He’s sold out!”

But what if I had highlighted similar ideas and ministries? Would people who do not know me as well, who are not members of the AACC/BCSFN, who may have some caricatures about the AACC, have given me the same benefit of the doubt? Or, would some possibly have taken some of my words out of context and perhaps reported that, “Dr. Kellemen is an “integrationist”?

Now, in all fairness. I have had Pastor Viars speak for me at an AACC/BCSFN event. When he spoke candidly and passionately on Ephesians 4:17-32, did all those who self-identify with the AACC/BCSFN truly “hear” what he said? Did they all truly “hear him out”? Or perhaps did some “hear him” only through their stereotyping grid of “nouthetic counseling” and misinterpret what he said, why he said it, and what he meant?

Here’s the Thing

As the TV detective, Adrian Monk, would say, “Here’s the thing.” Let’s be good biblical Christian counselors and listen to one another—really listen—without preconceived notions, false caricatures, and unhelpful, inaccurate stereotypes. I’d like to think that is exactly what was modeled by “the four doctors” and President Jeremy Lelek.

Putting It into Practice

So how could we put this “cross-cultural listening” into practice? Here are a few practical suggestions, in no particular order.

1. Learn from those “outside your group.” Buy books and attend seminars of folks from the AACC, BCSFN, CCEF, SCP, NANC, FBCM, etc.

2. As we read and hear folks from outside our “circles,” allow them to define their own terms. Too often people think, “He used the word _____. Other people use it to mean ______. And I think it means _____. So he obviously thinks it means ______ and that is bad!” Instead, we need to listen with interculturally-sensitive ears so we really hear one another. Only once we’ve accurately heard and understood can we adequately assess.

3. As we read and hear folks from other agencies, we need to be good Bereans, not bad Corinthians. That about sums it up. Bereans rightly divide the Word of God. Corinthians wrongly divide the people of God. Bereans have a critical mind minus the critical spirit. Corinthians have a critical spirit minus with a shallow mindset. No one is saying “buy everything every person from every group says.” Instead, I am saying, “Let’s all practical good biblical counseling listening where we accurately hear one another without bias, where we rightly divide the Word of God, and when we disagree, we do so without a critical spirit, but with a sharp mind and a loving heart.

What Do You Think?

And thus ends my three-part blog mini-series on the ABC Symposium on the State of Biblical Christian Counseling. For those of you who attended and for those of you purchase the DVD, what do you think about the ABC Symposium?

What is the state of modern biblical Christian counseling?

How can we build bridges of understanding where we rightly divide God’s Word with sharp minds and loving hearts?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Connect through the VineLine

Connect through The VineLine

Are you ready to be equipped? Then receive RPM Ministries’ free monthly e-Newsletter, The VineLine. For your personal subscription, email us at with the subject line: “Please Add.”

What do you get in each issue of The VineLine? Every issue you receive:

*Links to free ministry equipping resources that empower you to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth.

*A timely, engaging article that relates Christ’s Word to your daily life and ministry.

*Updates about RPM Ministries’ speaking, writing, and consulting.

*News of note about what’s happening in biblical counseling and spiritual formation in the church and para-church.

*An opportunity to share your praise and prayer requests with a community of people who care.

*Special offers with major discounts on RPM Ministries’ equipping products.

What’s Up with The VineLine?

Many people have asked how I decided on The VineLine as the name for our e-newsletter. One hypothesis is that the Chicago Cubs used to have a magazine called The VineLine, named because of Wrigley Field's famous ivy-covered walls. Truth be told, that was part of my inspiration, being the diehard Cubs' fan that I am!

One novel idea was that it came from the song I Heard It Through the Grapevine! Well, the idea of keeping connected and communicating that is association with that imagery is intriguing, however the overall meaning of the song doesn’t quite fit the RPM image.

Abide in the Vine

No, the true source of the name The VineLine comes from John 15:5. “I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Okay, “Great verse,” you say, “but how exactly does that connect to RPM Ministries?”

Ah, that leads to another little debate. People often want to know if RPM stands for “Revolutions Per Minute,” like “How many RPMs does your car have?”

Well, there is something of a play on words there with the concept of power. But . . . there’s more to it . . . much more.

What some people don’t realize is that RPM Ministries stands for:


The Power of His Resurrection

And resurrection power multipliers comes from the theme verse for RPM Ministries: Philippians 3:10, where Paul says, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection . . .”

Keep following the logic here. Think about another key aspect of RPM Ministries: "Equipping you to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth.”

Paul knows that it is Christ’s power that changes our lives. In fact, he prays in Ephesians 1:18-23, that we could be enlightened to know the incomparably great power at work in us who believe, that power is like the working of God’s mighty strength which he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead!

As new creations in Christ, we have the same power residing in us that raised Christ from the dead!

“But, but, but . . .,” we mutter and sputter, “then why in the world do we so frequently live such defeated lives!?”


The Creation of Adam

Here’s the final piece to the puzzle.

We live defeated lives because we are not tapping into Christ’s resurrection power. We must commune with Christ and connect with the Body of Christ if we are ever to experience Christ’s resurrection power and thus live victorious lives.

That’s why RPM Ministries is all about comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed biblical counseling and spiritual formation. Being formed into the image of Christ is the ultimate goal of all biblical counseling, of all biblical ministry. We want our inner lives increasingly to reflect the inner life of Christ.

We do that only as we connect to Christ’s resurrection power.

The RPM logo of The Creation of Adam (the picture of God’s hand reaching out to touch Adam’s hand) represents this concept. I bet you never realized that!

People have often wondered why Michelangelo painted Adam’s hand so limp and lifeless. Because he was lifeless! Michelangelo was depicting Adam just before God breathed into him the breath of life.

Without the breath of God, without the touch of God, without the resurrection power of God, we are lifeless. Defeated. Dead.

We must abide in the Vine. We must tap into the power already resident within us. We must connect to and commune with Christ.

The VineLine

The name of our monthly newsletter captures the mission, vision, passion, and commission of RPM Ministries. Through The VineLine we want to connect you to Christ’s resurrection power so your life can change and so you can change lives with Christ’s changeless.

The DNA of Biblical Counseling

The State of Biblical Counseling Today: Discussing the ABC Symposium, Part II—The DNA of Biblical Counseling

Note: This is Part Two of a several-part blog about the Symposium on Biblical Counseling that took place on May 14, 2009 at the Association of Biblical Counselors’ National Conference. For Part One, in which I highlighted the bios of the speakers, visit:

The Plan

My plan, Lord willing, is to blog ( several days this week about this significant event. Today, I summarize the unique biblical counseling DNA of each speaker.

“But You Didn’t Disagree Enough!”

It was interesting during the Intermission, directly afterwards, and the day after the Symposium, how many times the four speakers plus President Lelek heard comments like, “There wasn’t enough disagreement!” Perhaps some people were expecting a “Biblical Counseling Four Views Debate.”

More likely, most people simply wanted to hear how four leaders from four different counseling organizations distinctively nuanced what makes biblical counseling truly biblical. I’d challenged readers to purchase a copy of the DVD (the ABC will have them for sale on their website soon: Then…do what good biblical counselors do—listen well. I guarantee that you will hear the distinctive vision and passion of each speaker.

Tertiary, Not Primary Differences

What may surprise many is that the differences you will hear are, as David Powlison noted, tertiary (third level) and not primary. Primary differences would be foundational differences in our beliefs about the sufficiency of Scripture.

We don’t have those! David Powlison (Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation—CCEF), Steve Viars (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors—NANC, Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries—FBCM), Eric Johnson (Society of Christian Psychologists—SCP for the American Association of Christian Counselors—AACC), and Bob Kellemen (Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Network—BCSFN for the AACC, and RPM Ministries) really are “on the same page about primary issues like the sufficiency of Scripture.”

The Unique DNA of Each Speaker

That said, the four speakers were not clones of one another. Again, listen carefully to the DVD and you’ll hear clearly the different perspectives, the unique passions, and the individual emphases of each speaker.

My goal today is to highlight something of the unique thumb print of each speaker. Obviously, I can do a better job remembering my own words and conveying my own passion, than I can those of my three fellow speakers. I’d love to hear each of them summarize what they shared during the Symposium.

Eric Johnson’s Unique DNA

Listen to Dr. Eric Johnson’s (see for his bio) interactions throughout the Symposium and you’ll hear several messages.

1. A Humble, Gentle Heart and a Brilliant Mind

First, Eric uniquely balances a gentle heart and a brilliant mind. Eric is a theologian/philosopher of biblical Christian counseling. Yet, he is no mere “academic.” His passion for people, his humble heart, and his desire for people to grow in grace all came across loud and clear throughout the Symposium.

2. Reclaiming “Psychology” for the Church

Second, listen to Eric on the DVD and you will pick up his passion for “psychology”—Christian psychology, biblical psychology. Eric, like myself, is a student of Church history. He knows that psychology is native to our faith—not secular psychology, but biblical psychology. Eric wants to build a foundation for soul care from a biblical and historical (Church history) basis. He wants the biblical counseling movement to reclaim what is rightfully theirs—understanding people, diagnosing problems, and prescribing solutions—biblically. Eric spoke consistently about how biblical counseling must mine the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God’s Word to develop a theological grid out of which we then build our counseling approaches.

Steve Viars’ Unique DNA

Listen to Pastor Steve Viars (see for his bio) interactions throughout the Symposium and you’ll hear several messages.

1. A Passionate Heart and a Love for the Church

Steve got people fired up about biblical counseling in the church—because Steve is fired up about it! And his words are not mere theory. Faith Baptist Church practices what Steve preaches. They are on the cutting edge of equipping people to be biblical counselors. They are not a church with biblical counseling, they are a church of biblical counseling. Principles of progressive sanctification flow through everything they do. How they preach, teach, do small groups, do evangelism, etc.—all flows from their model of biblical counseling.

2. Reclaiming Biblical Counseling for the Community

What may surprise some, because it blows away the false stereotypes about Nouthetic counseling, is Steve’s passionate commitment to community outreach through biblical counseling. Every Monday nearly 50 people from their community receive biblical counseling through Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries. These are not church members (they receive counseling from one another and from the staff throughout the week). Unbelievers are coming to Christ, having their sins forgiven, and their lives healed every week through biblical counseling.

Another example is Faith Baptist’s Vision of Hope Ministries. Vision of Hope Ministries recognizes the worth and sanctity of human life by ministering to young women, children, and families in a Christ-centered environment. They offer a faith-based residential treatment program for girls age 14 to 28 struggling with: unplanned pregnancy, alcohol or drug abuse, eating disorders, and/or self-harm. Steve Viars is convinced that God’s Word has real answers for real people with real problems.

David Powlison’s Unique DNA

Listen to Dr. David Powlison’s (see for his bio) interactions throughout the Symposium and you’ll hear several messages.

1. A Love for People and a Love for God’s Word

Clearly, David Powlison loves people and loves God’s Word. He uniquely united these twin loves in every interaction during the Symposium. He is a biblical scholar with a pastor’s heart.

2. Reclaiming the Sufficiency of Scripture for Theory and Practice

Repeatedly I heard David highlight the sufficiency of Scripture in theory-building and for counseling practice. David does not believe in a one-verse-one-problem-one-solution simplistic approach to biblical counseling. Rather, he wisely builds his model on a thorough, theological-biblical understanding. Every life issue, when considered conceptually, is addressed with wisdom in the Bible. Our role is to trace conceptual categories of living throughout the Bible and relate those to modern categories people face today.

No mere theoretician, listen to the DVD and you will hear great practical wisdom from David about how the counselor/pastor can interact in love, insight, creativity, and engagement with a counselee/parishioner. You can tell quickly that David has remained active in the field—as a practitioner. His use of images, humor, stories, biblical vignettes with people bring his counseling to life.

Bob Kellemen’s Unique DNA

Listen to Dr. Bob Kellemen’s (see for his bio) interactions throughout the Symposium and you’ll hear several messages.

As I noted, obviously I know my own passion for counseling better than the passion of Eric, Steve, or David. And, I remember better what I said—because it is what I would say in any setting. Anyone who knows me will listen to the DVD and say, “That’s Kellemen! I’ve heard him highlight that a million times!”

Since it would seem arrogant for me to attempt to categorize my own “heart” and “mind,” I’ll let others attempt that. Instead, I’ll share two summary areas of theory that I recall highlighting during the Symposium.

1. Reclaiming the Profundity and Relevancy of Scripture for Theory and Practice

If I said it once, I said it half-a-dozen times, “true biblical counseling must be comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed.” The “comprehensiveness” of biblical counseling comes out, in part, when we think of the profound nature of Scripture. I believe 100% in the sufficiency and supremacy of the Word of God. I also happen to believe that if we talk about the Scripture’s sufficiency but ignore how it deeply relates to life, then we’ve missed the point entirely. Our calling is to relate Christ’s changeless truth to our changing times. Our calling is to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth. God’s Word, rightly interpreted and aptly applied, has real answers to real problems of real people. During the Symposium, I shared the example of 2 Samuel 13 and the rape of Tamar by her half-brother Amnon. Carefully exegete that passage in context, and you begin to see the profound wisdom of the Word for the horrors of sexual abuse and sexual sin. You begin to see the amazing timeliness and relevance of God’s Word for life as we live it today.

2. Reclaiming the Necessity of Compassion for Theory and Practice

I also highlighted passages like Romans 12:15; Philippians 1:9-11; Romans 15:14; Ephesians 4:15; and 1 Thessalonians 2:8; all of which insist upon speaking the truth in love. I called upon us as biblical counselors to be like the Apostle Paul who said that he loved the saints so much that he gave them not only the Scripture, but his own soul, because they were dear to him. Do a DNA analysis of Kellemen’s biblical counseling approach, and you will find truth and love. I believe that in modern biblical counseling we have not emphasized enough the relationship of the counselor to the counselee. We have at times been too focus on “information in” (listen to data) and “information out” (read a verse/apply a principle). Instead, when listening—we should be engaging, feeling (that’s not a bad word!), empathizing (another good, biblical word), and climbing in the casket (see 2 Corinthians 1:3-11) as we weep with those who weep. And, when sharing truth, we should be doing it soul-to-soul, in a three-way trialogue relationship—counselor, counselees, and the Divine Counselor—it is a collaborative, relational, even intimate interaction.

Part of that truth-compassion connection that I highlighted at the Symposium also means that we must deal both with the evils people have suffered and with the sins people have committed. Modern biblical counseling has done good work dealing with sin. But it has, at times, not done as much work developing a biblical “Sufferology”—a theology of how to apply God’s Word to suffering parishioners and spiritual friends. It should never be either/or: suffering or sin. Biblical and historically, the Church has always dealt with both. We need to develop biblical approaches to soul care for the suffering through sustaining and healing. And we need to develop biblical approaches to spiritual direction for sin through reconciling and guiding.

The Distinct DNA Was There!

I could go on and on about each of us. The differences were there. God fearfully and wonderfully and uniquely created each of us with individual passion, calling, life experiences, personality. It all came out in numerous ways during the Symposium.

And Tomorrow . . .

Tomorrow I take a risk. I’m going to address some stereotypes and the dangers thereof. See you then.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The State of Biblical Counseling Today, Part I

The State of Biblical Counseling Today:
Discussing the ABC Symposium, Part I

The Association of Biblical Counselors (ABC) ( made history on May 14, 2009, at Christ Chapel Bible Church in Fort Worth, TX ( ABC President, Jeremy Lelek, convened leaders from four major biblical Christian counseling organizations to converse about the state of biblical counseling today.

The Plan

My plan, Lord willing, is to blog ( several days this week about this significant event. Today, I want to give a “shout out” to Jeremy Lelek, and then I will share a brief biography of each participant (along with links for further information).

In the coming days, I will share a summary of what occurred, along with my own perspective as one of the participants. My hope is to continue the conversation as readers leave their comments and responses.

A “Shout Out” to Jeremy Lelek and the ABC

The Association of Biblical Counselors is a new organization—the “new kid on the block.” Like any newer organization, they are carving out their niche and creating their own identity. Thus, in my opinion, it was an amazingly bold move for them to invite speakers from four different biblical Christian counseling groups to join together at their first annual conference.

The risks, potentially, were great. Attempts in years past to convene diverse speakers to discuss the state of biblical counseling have, shall we say, not necessarily ended well.

Additionally, our modern tendency to stereotype people based simply on affiliation, could have left the ABC open to criticism such as, “By inviting _______, you’re not endorsing the _______ are you!?”

For these and many more reasons, I applaud Jeremy Lelek and the ABC for great courage. In order to equip the nearly 500 attendees, the ABC rejected the fear of man. They built bridges. They extended the conversation. They have my utmost respect.

The Symposium Participants

Joining Dr. Lelek and Dr. John Henderson were the following leaders in the field of biblical Christian counseling (in alphabetical order):

Dr. Eric Johnson

Eric is Professor of Pastoral Care at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY ( Dr. Johnson is the author of numerous books and articles, including co-editor of Christianity and Psychology: Four Views, and author of Foundations for Soul Care. He also is the Director of the Society of Christian Psychologists (, a Division of the American Association of Christian Counselors (

Dr. Robert Kellemen

Bob is the Founder and CEO of RPM Ministries ( where he equips God’s people to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth. He is the Chairman of the MA in Christian Counseling and Discipleship Department at Capital Bible Seminary in Lanham, MD ( Dr. Kellemen has authored over 75 articles. He is also the author of the books: Soul Physicians, Spiritual Friend, and Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction. He is the Director of the Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Network ( for the American Association of Christian Counselors ( Bob has pastored three churches.

Dr. David Powlison

David is a counselor and professor at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) ( For almost two decades Dr. Powlison has served as the Editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling. He has authored scores of articles and many books, including Seeing with New Eyes, and Speaking Truth in Love. David is also adjunct professor at Westminster Theological Seminary ( in Philadelphia, PA. David is an internationally-known and gifted speaker, equipping believers around the world.

Dr. Steve Viars

Dr. Viars is the Sr. Pastor of Faith Baptist Church ( in Lafayette, IN. Pastor Viars also oversees Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries ( which trains 1000s of biblical counselors around the globe. Under Steve’s direction, Faith Baptist recently launched their own church-based seminary, Faith Bible Seminary ( Steve is a past President of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors ( In his many roles, he is a nationally-known speaker who is passionate about equipping churches for biblical counseling.

The Next Step

I invite you to return tomorrow as I will attempt the impossible: summarizing the symposium.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Most Interesting Man in the World

The Most Interesting Man in the World—Jesus!

For those of you who have been asleep the past few months, or don’t own a TV, or TIVO everything and never see commercials, or simply are out of the “in” loop, the hottest commercial in the world right now is about the most interesting man in the world. Like lots of the most creative commercial, this one, unfortunately, is also a beer commercial. But before you’re offended, take a deep breath, keep reading. There really is a biblical point to be made…

The Mythological Most Interesting Man in the World

In the commercial, they mythologize the most interesting man in the world with such outrageous, hilarious assertions as:

You can see his charisma from space.

The police often question him, just because they find him . . . interesting.

If a monument was built in his honor, Mt. Rushmore would close, due to poor attendance.

His blood smells like cologne.

On every continent in the world, there is a sandwich named after him.

He doesn’t believe in using oven mitts, nor potholders.

His cereal never gets soggy. It sits there, staying crispy, just for him.

Respected archaeologists fight over his discarded apple cores.

He has been known to cure narcolepsy, just by walking into the room.

His organ donation card, also lists his beard.

When it is raining, it is because he is sad.

His shirts never wrinkle.

He is left-handed. And right-handed.

Even if he forgets to put postage on his mail, it gets there.

He is The Most Interesting Man In The World.

Not Myth, But Fact

I’ve never met this mythological man.

However, I do have a personal relationship with the One Who truly is THE most interesting Man in the world. Perhaps you know Him. May I introduce you?

He is before all things.

He is eternal.

He created . . . everything.

By the Word of His power He upholds the universe.

He was born of a virgin.

He walked on water and it wasn’t even ice.

He cured the sick.

He forgave the sinful.

He never sinned, not once.

He is the most fascinating teacher who ever lived.

He died for those who hated Him.

He is Savior, Redeemer, Lord.

Whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

He rose from the dead.

God exalted Him to the highest place.

At His name every knee shall bow.

His love surpasses knowledge.

He sympathizes with our weaknesses.

He gives rest.

He offers abundant life.

In everything He has the supremacy.

In Him are hidden all the treasure of wisdom and knowledge.

He is Alpha and Omega.

He is the radiance of God’s glory.

He is God.

He is THE Most Interesting Man in the World—Jesus!

And You Would Add?

You who know Him personally . . . what would you add? Feel free to share additional testimony that you would you give about The Most Interesting Man in the World—Jesus!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Change Lives with Christ's Changeless Truth

More Praise for Soul Physicians

To Order Your Copy at 40% Off, Please Visit:

Soul Physicians is no naїve verse-to-issue, sin-to-solution, mix-and-match biblical counseling reference. This is rich theology relayed in readable terms for grace-based care as shared by a stellar scholar-teacher. Soul care worthy of the title ‘Christian’ must address the core of shalom, the cancer of shame, and the destiny of the sacred. Soul Physicians passionately brings that holistic biblical redemptive story line to bear on the everyday life stories common in the practice of discipleship, Christian counseling, and spiritual formation.”
—Stephen P. Greggo, PhD., Professor of Counseling, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Dr. Kellemen’s book came as a great refreshment to me. It was both clear and comprehensive, elucidating a theological foundation for counseling ministry based on a solid biblical hermeneutic. This book is beneficial for a multitude of audiences: from the lay counselor, to the pastor, to the licensed clinician. Its impact is to clarify the need, mandate, and roots of personal ministry taken from the Word of the One who created all. Soul Physicians addresses all the imperative issues of our fallen and redeemed state without trying to simplify the complexities of sanctification. It should not be considered merely a textbook contribution to the literature on biblical counseling, but instead a foundation for a curriculum. I require it for all my biblical counseling students.”
—Lynelle Buchanan, Professor of Counseling, Baptist Bible College

Soul Physicians swaps shop-worn theology for biblically sound, compassionate soul care. Dr. Bob Kellemen skillfully invites readers into the huddle where academic theology is spelled out and onto the field where practical theology is lived out. It’s a privilege to endorse such a fine work.”
—Tammy Schultz, Ph.D., LMHC; Department Chair, Graduate School in Counseling, Grace College

Soul Physicians is an excellent resource for counselors, pastors and students who believe that knowing and loving people in our world begins with knowing and loving God and His Word. The confluence of Dr. Kellemen’s comprehensive grasp of the story of redemption in Scripture and his practical wisdom about people with problems makes this book a unique and important contribution for those that want to counsel from a distinctively Christian perspective.”
—Sam R. Williams, Ph.D., Professor of Counseling, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“The tremendous issues that people face today call for a work that skillfully guides those who labor in helping Christians reach maturity in Christ. Soul Physicians meets that need and will be of great value to pastors, professional Christian counselors, students, and lay people. Dr. Kellemen’s credentials both in the theological world and the world of counseling make him uniquely qualified to produce a work like Soul Physicians. His work will prove to be invaluable in the field of Christian counseling.”
—Dr. Homer Heater, Jr., President Emeritus, Washington Bible College

Soul Physicians is a ‘theological breath of fresh air.’ This comprehensive guide offers a wealth of knowledge that translates theology into everyday human relationships. It catapults the reader into confidently connecting with people soul-to-soul. My life and ministry will never be the same after reading Soul Physicians.”
—Pastor Dwayne Bond, Senior Pastor, Wellsprings Church

Soul Physicians captures the essence of Christian soul care and spiritual direction. A unique balance of biblical theology and compassionate spiritual friendship makes Soul Physicians vital for the pastor, Christian counselor, or student of counseling. Soul Physicians will revolutionize the study of counseling at higher learning institutions that embrace the Christian worldview in their counseling programs.”
—Douglas McCracken, Professional Christian Counselor, Safe Harbor Counseling

“Personally, I can attest to the challenge of facing deep hurts and overcoming them through the use and application of Soul Physicians’ principles. Professionally, as a biblical counselor, pastor’s wife, and teacher, God has allowed me to use Soul Physicians as an equipping tool to mentor women. My classes using these concepts have now included over 500 women who testify that Soul Physicians deepened their personal maturity and equipped them to more powerfully minister to others.”
—Sister Ellen Barney, Women’s Ministry Director, New Antioch Baptist Church

Soul Physicians revives the timeless tradition of soul care in the Christian community. If you are longing for a deeper relationship with the Lord and others, read on. If you desire to see others as God sees them, keep reading. If you want to relate God’s Word to suffering and sinning as you interact with image bearers, Soul Physicians is for you. If you’re willing to allow God to pierce your heart with His holiness and grace, then Soul Physicians will transform you and those you encounter.”
—Susan Ellis, Author of Sacred Friendships

Soul Physicians offers theological depth leading to personal maturity. It unlocks a systematic, exhilarating understanding of how God created us to relate, think, choose, and feel in an imperfect world as redeemed Christians. Providing a myriad of scriptural tools, Soul Physicians equipped me to understand suffering and sin, enabling me to connect with people who are impacted by the evils of suffering and with those who are dealing with personal sin issues. In Soul Physicians, Dr. Kellemen shares his years of experience, diligent research, and dependence on the Spirit to endow counselors, pastors, students, and lay people with a scriptural blueprint to become more soul aware and, in turn, empower others with God’s profound grace.”
—Robin Shell, Graduate Counseling Student

“As a pastor and a church planter, I resonate with the major theme found in Soul Physicians—how to change lives with God’s changeless truth. The principles found in Soul Physicians are so practical and life-giving that I am using them in the foundation of our church plant. Solidly biblical and refreshingly relational, Bob combines his wealth of experience as a pastor, shepherd, coach, and counselor with his strong exegetical skills to outline an easily understandable theology of counseling that masterfully addresses the human soul’s need for healing from both suffering and sin.”
—Pastor Tom Gill, Church Planter, Life in the Balance Ministries

“Not only is Soul Physicians based upon solid exegesis and deep theological convictions, it is also presented creatively and insightfully. God will use these truths to transform readers into greater lovers of God and better lovers of God’s people. Personally, I ‘understood’ truth before I was introduced to these concepts, but now God is giving me His heart through Soul Physicians. Undoubtedly, I am more like Jesus and better equipped to minister for Jesus because of Soul Physicians.”
—Chris Boucher, Counseling Professor, Capital Bible Seminary

To Order Your Copy at 40% Off, Please Visit:

Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction

Understand People, Diagnose Problems, and Prescribe Solutions—Biblically!

Join the growing number of lay people, pastors, professional counselors, and students who are using Soul Physicians as the twenty-first-century theology manual for Christian counseling. Learn our Great Physician’s authoritative truth about:

Nourishing the Hunger of the Soul: Preventative Medicine—God’s Word

Knowing the Creator of the Soul: The Great Physician—The Trinity

Examining the Spiritual Anatomy of the Soul: People—Creation

Diagnosing the Fallen Condition of the Soul: Problems—Fall

Prescribing God’s Cure for the Soul: Solutions—Redemption

Envisioning the Final Healing of the Soul: Home—Glorification

Dispensing God’s Care for the Soul: Spiritual Friends—Sanctification

Robert W. Kellemen, Ph.D. LCPC, is Chairman of the Master of Arts in Christian Counseling and Discipleship Department at Capital Bible Seminary where he has field-tested Soul Physicians for a decade. In his three pastoral ministries, Bob has trained hundreds of lay people as soul physicians. As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, he brings a practitioner’s sensitivity to his writing. Bob is also the author of Spiritual Friends, Beyond the Suffering, and Sacred Friendships.

Soul Physicians, Part I

Praise for Soul Physicians

To Order Your Copy at 40% Off, Please Visit:

Soul Physicians is a great and unique book: deeply shaped by Scripture; promoting of a personal engagement with biblical teaching and with Christ; challenging and focused against sin; but practical, gentle in spirit, and discerning in method and counseling skill. The book itself exemplifies what a biblical counselor should be like. Its use of a redemptive-historical structure (creation-fall-redemption-consummation) alone is worth the price of the book, since the value of this framework has not yet been fully realized in Christian counseling. It should be widely used in counseling programs and local churches that value the Bible.”
—Eric Johnson, Ph.D., Professor of Pastoral Theology and Biblical Psychology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“The Puritan writers were excellent counselors because they were also excellent theologians. Dr. Kellemen follows in that rich tradition; his quality leadership in counselor education flows from the depth of his theological underpinnings. Few books on counseling today are true to biblical hermeneutics; Soul Physicians is one significant exception, which is why I am using it as a required text for our course exploring Methods of Biblical Change.”
—Dr. Dow Pursley, Director of Counseling Programs, Baptist Bible College Graduate School

Soul Physicians is an outstanding contribution to the fields of counseling and pastoral theology. It has succeeded remarkably in uniting counseling theory and the authority of Scripture. I know of no other work that is so insightful and equally practical. I strongly recommend Soul Physicians to pastors, educators, and everyone who is interested in intensifying practical sanctification.”
—Dr. Don Fowler, Professor of Biblical Studies, Liberty University

“Unlike many other books currently available, Soul Physicians can easily serve as a primary and comprehensive resource for those studying the theology of soul care. Dr. Kellemen’s innovative approach places the theology of soul care in the appropriate context of the Christian’s spiritual formation and discipleship. The text provides the vital addition of significant questions for the reader’s study and reflection, thus providing further options for classroom use in plenary or small group discussion.”
—Dr. Mara Crabtree, Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation and Christian Spirituality, Regent University School of Divinity

Soul Physicians is a truly meaningful and valuable treatment of the theological, spiritual, and psychological dimensions of counseling, soul care, spiritual formation, and the relationships between them. It can serve as a textbook, a personal study guide, or a resource handbook for those desiring to approach people-helping from a thoroughly Christian and biblical viewpoint.”
—Dr. Richard Averbeck, Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Director of the Spiritual Formation Forum

“In Soul Physicians, Robert W. Kellemen explores seven key biblical categories for developing a theology of soul care and spiritual direction. The result is a thoroughly biblical systematic theology written with the insights and illustrations of a mental health professional—appropriately constructed against the backdrop of a relational emphasis. I highly recommend this book as an important reference for evangelical pastors, counselors (both professional and lay), and other soul care providers.”
—Gary W. Moon, M.Div., Ph.D., Vice President and Chair of Integration, Psychological Studies Institute, Author of Falling for God

“In Soul Physicians, Dr. Kellemen captures the essence of delivering practical ministry in the real world. His teachings are applicable to the ‘every member a minister’ approach to caring for others, as well as being foundational for the professional Christian counselor. This material has enabled me to incorporate solid biblical principles into my counseling practice.”
—Melvin Pride, Director of Strategic Planning, Southern Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware

“The information in Soul Physicians, the perspective it gives on life, and the passion with which it is written has been the catalyst for my walk with Christ soaring to an entirely new level. The framework for life it presents has deepened my understanding of who Jesus is and provided me a clearer picture of God’s plan for my personal life and pastoral ministry. It has greatly enhanced my understanding of people and equipped me to powerfully minister to them.”
—Pastor John Heater, Youth Pastor, Forcey Memorial Church

“I read Soul Physicians expecting to learn many facts that I would need to become an excellent Christian counselor. God’s plans were that and so much more. He used Soul Physicians to speak truth into the deepest regions of my heart. It is naїve of us to plan to make an impact on those who are hurting, and hurting others, without first dealing with those parts of ourselves. Soul Physicians gave me a thorough knowledge of the subject, an increased self-awareness, and a realization of the many sensitive areas I face as I minister to God’s people. Soul Physicians is an apt title for a work that so eloquently presents the application of the Word of God to human suffering and sin.”
—Terri Polm, Lay Counselor

To Order Your Copy at 40% Off, Please Visit:

Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction

Understand People, Diagnose Problems, and Prescribe Solutions—Biblically!

Join the growing number of lay people, pastors, professional counselors, and students who are using Soul Physicians as the twenty-first-century theology manual for Christian counseling. Learn our Great Physician’s authoritative truth about:

Nourishing the Hunger of the Soul: Preventative Medicine—God’s Word

Knowing the Creator of the Soul: The Great Physician—The Trinity

Examining the Spiritual Anatomy of the Soul: People—Creation

Diagnosing the Fallen Condition of the Soul: Problems—Fall

Prescribing God’s Cure for the Soul: Solutions—Redemption

Envisioning the Final Healing of the Soul: Home—Glorification

Dispensing God’s Care for the Soul: Spiritual Friends—Sanctification

Robert W. Kellemen, Ph.D. LCPC, is Chairman of the Master of Arts in Christian Counseling and Discipleship Department at Capital Bible Seminary where he has field-tested Soul Physicians for a decade. In his three pastoral ministries, Bob has trained hundreds of lay people as soul physicians. As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, he brings a practitioner’s sensitivity to his writing. Bob is also the author of Spiritual Friends, Beyond the Suffering, and Sacred Friendships.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Mother’s Day: Kindergarten Cookbook

My wife, Shirley, who is an amazing women, mother, and teacher, cares deeply about others. She demonstrated her care for the mothers of her kindergarten students by having these precious five-year-olds create a Mother’s Day Kindergarten Cookbook for their Moms. They shared their favorite meals that their Moms make and their idea of the recipe. Here are a few samplers. Enjoy!

Turkey Bacon

Ingredients: Turkey.

Instructions: Bake on a new stove in a pan to make fluffy bacon. Cook for 40 hours. Give to children.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Ingredients: Chocolate, sugar, and powder.

Instructions: Use a pan. Flip with a spatula. Cook for ten hours.


Ingredients: Sausage

Instructions: Cook it by turning with a special thing in a pan. Cook for a long, little time—like 9 minutes.


Ingredients: Green things and brown meatloaf.

Instructions: Put it in the oven. It cooks and cooks, and cooks. Then it is done. It takes like 5 hours.

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients: Eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla.

Instructions: Mix together. Pour into a pan. Sit in the oven for a second.


Ingredients: Cheese.

Instructions: Order it. Or make it in the oven for 35 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients: Chocolate, cookie dough, butter, and flour.

Instructions: Make it into circles. Put in the oven for 64 hours. Give it to children.

Grilled Cheese

Ingredients: Eggs, bread, and butter.

Instructions: Take bread and make it into toast. Take an egg, crack it, and put on a plate. Mix it up. Cook for 5 minutes.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Is the Emergent Church Theologically Healthy?

Theological Insight into the Emergent Church Movement

Book Review: By Robert W. Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC,

Classic Book Review Date: 2005

Book Author: D. A. Carson

Book Publisher: Zondervan, 2005

Because the Emergent Church Movement is new and so disparate, a brief primer is necessary to intelligently review D. A. Carson’s groundbreaking work, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications.

The Emergent Church began to emerge in the early 90s (to the extent that a date can be affixed) through the writings of authors such as the late Stanley Grenz, Brian McLaren, L. Newbigin, N. T. Wright, and Don Miller (to name a few). In his first chapter, Carson provides a summary of his understanding of the Emergent Church.
“At the heart of the ‘movement’—or as some of its leaders prefer to call it, the ‘conversation’—lies the conviction that changes in the culture (post-modernism) signal that a new church is ‘emerging.’ Christian leaders must therefore adapt to this emerging church. Those who fail to do so are blind to the cultural accretions that hide the gospel behind forms of thought and modes of expression that no longer communicate with the new generation, the emerging generation.”

D. A. Carson (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. In February 2004 he presented the substance of this book as three Staley Lectures at Cedarville University. (Readers interested in a review of Carson’s original lecture series, can visit the home page of David M. Mills, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy, Honors Program Director, Cedarville University.)

Carson’s core premise is that we must not only be aware of and interact with post-modernity, but also have our assessments of it and responses to it shaped by biblical theology. Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church assists readers to understand and evaluate the Emerging Church and its response to post-modern culture.

In his Preface, Carson explains how he plans to accomplish his purpose.
“Whenever a Christian movement comes along that presents itself as reformist, it should not be summarily dismissed. Even if one ultimately decides that the movement embraces a number of worrying weaknesses, it may also have some important things to say that the rest of the Christian world needs to hear. So I have tried to listen respectfully and carefully; I hope and pray that the leaders of this 'movement' will similarly listen to what I have to say.”

Carson begins by defining the Emergent Church as a protest movement against modernist churches and pragmatic mega-churches. In this section, Carson offers a perceptive introduction to the movement and its leaders and begins his critique of what he sees as troubling weaknesses of the movement. He style is frank, thoughtful, and fair throughout. He constructs for readers a list of Emergent Church core principles in the form of contrasts, such as narrative over against propositional truth, and experience over against rational insight. While Emergent Church writers would say that they highlight a both/and approach (such as narrative and propositional truth, the emotions and affections and rational truth), Carson adeptly reveals extremes in these contrast areas.

After providing his list of emphases, Carson offers observations on several praiseworthy aspects of the Emergent Church. These include areas such as valuing authenticity, understanding the need to read the times, reaching out to those who are left out, and exploring the degree to which traditions now followed may or may not be biblical. This section is an example of Carson's desire to present a fair and balanced portrayal of the Emergent Church Movement.

In the next section, Dr. Carson focuses on whether or not the Emergent Church is seeking to reform the Modernist Church through the Word of God (as Luther and Calvin sought to reform the Medieval Church with the Word of God). Noting the complexity of the movement, Carson offers specific critiques including: the Emergent Church does not truly understand post-modernity, it does not assess modernism and the Modern Church accurately or fairly, it tends to cater to post-modernity rather than confront it, and it fails to capture a balanced fully-orbed biblical theology instead choosing proof-texting (a very modern method). Carson provides logical argument and biblical theology to support his assessments throughout each of these areas of critique.

Finally, Carson presents his own positive view on a biblical theology of integrating truth and experience. This section is vital since many authors critique opposing views without ever presenting a biblically thought-through, real-world-relevant alternative. Here he also emphasizes the role of historical theology in developing current models of biblical theology and church methodology. This, too, is an often missed aspect in the Emergent Church Movement and in those critiquing it.

It’s difficult to overstate how important this discussion is. The Emergent Church Movement is a watershed issue at an epic time in Church history. D. A. Carson’s Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church truly is a “must-read” for those who want to biblically ponder how to do ministry in today’s culture and how to develop a theology of how to do ministry in any culture.

Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC, is the author of Soul Physicians, Spiritual Friends, Beyond the Suffering, and Sacred Friendships.