Think of one of your favorite preachers/teachers either in the Birmingham area or around the country. Quite likely, this pastor would be a godly man, full of integrity and passion for Christ and the lost, and very knowledgeable. So would this pastor be a good counselor? Would you want to meet with this pastor for biblical counseling? Probably so.
Yet in the state of Alabama, a pastor is not qualified as a licensed professional counselor unless he has taken certain courses in school, had a supervised internship, and passed the licensing exams. He would have to know a lot about psychology to pass the exams but biblical knowledge isn’t necessary to pass those exams. So, technically, the state would not allow this pastor who may be a wonderful pastor/teacher of the Word of God to “counsel” others. He’s not qualified by state standards but is he qualified by God’s standards?
Consider this question: What is this pastor NOT qualified to use in counseling? He’s not qualified to counsel using psychological theories! He cannot (nor would he) claim to be a licensed professional counselor because that type of counsel is not what he is offering. He is not offering the ideas of a man but the truths of God.
To the above, I say: “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord that your pastor cannot use psychology to counsel others. Praise the Lord that he is ‘limited’ to using the Holy Scriptures ONLY for the counsel he gives to others as a pastor/teacher! Praise His Name!”
That’s what I say! I see it as a blessing not a curse that your pastor must only use the Scriptures to help others! I am “limited” in that way, too, but it’s no limitation because Hebrews 4:12 states:
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”*
What else do we need to discern the heart of mankind other than God’s Word and the Holy Spirit? Nothing!
Your pastor IS a competent biblical counselor who is equipping others to do the work of discipleship through biblical counseling!
I would take your pastor any day to counsel me regardless of what the state of Alabama says qualifies someone to counsel.
-Mark (grateful to the Lord for your pastor and hoping he understands that he is a counselor to others from the Word of God)
*The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Heb 4:12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.