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In Counseling Under the Cross, biblical counselor and noted author Bob Kellemen mines the riches of Luther’s letters of spiritual counsel to give readers a new understanding of how Luther engaged in the personal ministry of the gospel. He guides pastors, counselors, lay leaders, and friends toward a deeper understanding of the gospel that will directly impact their personal ministry to others. Through lively vignettes, real-life stories, and direct quotes from Luther, readers will be equipped to apply the gospel to themselves and others, and learn that pastoral care is what every believer does in one-another ministry.
Number of Pages: 246
Vendor: New Growth Press
Publication Date: 2017
|Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)|
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ElizabethEastern USAAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Edifying and Useful ReadOctober 6, 2017ElizabethEastern USAAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4What does a man do when he encounters the grace of God and finds peace with God? In Counseling Under the Cross, Bob Kellemen introduces us to Martin Luther and shows us how he learned to apply the Gospel to daily life. Initially, "Luther had attempted to care for his soul through his own wisdom and it earned him nothing but despair. Only as Luther clung to the sufficiency of Christ and Scripture did he find peace for his troubled soul" (pg. 25). Kellemen relates how God used His people and His Word to open Luther's eyes to the Christ of the cross, transforming him into a man whom God would use to minister His Word to others.
If you have read any of Bob Kellemen's works, then you likely know of the significant influence that Luther has had on him and will recognize the lens through which he views Luther's counseling. Through Luther's writings, Kellemen illustrates his four biblical compass points to speak gospel truth in love, what Kellemen refers to as "gospel conversations," compass points which Kellemen would contend were derived directly from Luther's works. In a fresh way, Counseling Under the Cross demonstrates that:
Changed lives occur as we apply Christs changeless truth to help suffering people know that its normal to hurt (sustaining) and possible to hope (healing), and as we help sinning people to know that its horrible to sin but wonderful to be forgiven (reconciling), and supernatural to mature (guiding) (Robert Kellemen, Equipping Counselors for Your Church, pg. 65).
According to Kellemen, "...Luther's counseling followed the historic focus of pastoral soul care and spiritual direction...[that] dealt with the evils we have suffered in a fallen world and with the sins we have committed" (pg. 40). This pastoral concern of Luther's became the spark that ignited the Reformation making this work a timely gift in light of the upcoming 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Kellemen demonstrates how the: "'Sufficiency of Scripture' is the heartbeat of the Reformation. God's Word is sufficient, authoritative, and profoundly relevant for all of life and all of ministry" (pg. 221).
Counseling Under the Cross is well-documented and includes many quotes from Luther's letters, sermons, table talks, and other writings. While at times, Kellemen's terminology may seem cumbersome, his message is faithful to God's Word, centered on the Gospel, and provides useful categories for ministering the Word to others. Each chapter concludes with a "tweet-sized" summary for review, and the entire book wraps up with a call to make application from what we've learned. Kellemen shows how he has spent that last two decades of his ministry standing on the shoulders of a faithful brother who has gone before us. The thoughtfully selected quotes in Counseling Under the Cross are like flowers plucked out of books that will likely lead many readers to the garden of Luther's works in the future.** May we all continue to minister the Word to our brothers and sisters who are suffering, fighting sin, and seeking to grow in holiness, standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us just as Dr. Kellemen has done with Luther.
If you'd like a taste of the content that you can expect to find in the book, Dr. Kellemen has put together an edifying PowerPoint presentation which is available on his website.
*Many thanks to New Growth Press and Litfuse Publicity Group for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
**(Many thanks to Aimee Byrd for introducing me to Hannah More's excellent analogy through her book, "No Little Women". In it, Aimee Byrd writes: "One of the best treasure troves is the footnotes of the book you are reading. Authors pluck flowers out of books that will hopefully lead you to the garden they came from!" -- pg. 212.)
Stacey5 Stars Out Of 5Must Read on Biblical CounselingOctober 6, 2017StaceyQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5First, I would like to extend a heartfelt Thank you to Bob Kellemen and his publisher for sending me a copy of "Counseling Under the Cross" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.
Counseling Under the Cross by Bob Kellemen is a fascinating read that chronicles the path of Martin Luther from desperate seeker to reformer to minister. Luther passionately sought to fill his own God-shaped hole with spiritual things. Recognizing the absence of what God intended to be relationship with his people, Luther thought becoming a monk would satisfy his soul. Eventually, he recognized, while reading the book of Romans, what was missing: the personal relationship with God that does not come through ritualistic practice or misappropriated sacrifice.
Once Martin Luther came to this realization, his newfound relationship with Christ shaped his beliefs, filled him with the fire necessary to protest what the church had become and gave him the wisdom to help others find their way to their own relationship with the Savior.
This book is a must-read for anyone in ministry. Personally, as a Sunday school teacher, I deal with people who seek counseling often. This book pointed me back to the Source of all our needs and gave me confidence to sit with people over Scripture a bit longer before I point them to our Pastor. I have also come to recognize the quieter cries for help from the person sitting next to me in choir and the one whose face looks a bit downcast when we have our greeting time in Sunday services.
Counseling Under the Cross will not turn you into a counselor, but it will help you give better counsel to spiritually wounded people.
It is very fitting to read such a book right now since we are celebrating the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and Martin Luther's posting of the 95 theses on the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517.
Doc HiltonHorseshoe Bend, ARAge: 45-54Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5COUNSELING UNDER THE CROSS: HOW MARTIN LUTHER APPLIED THE GOSPEL TO DAILY LIFEOctober 4, 2017Doc HiltonHorseshoe Bend, ARAge: 45-54Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I have a confession to make. I'm not German. I'm not Lutheran. I'm not even Reformed in my theology.
I'm a Baptist pastor, have been since 1991. I'm fundamental in my theological perspective . . . but not mad about it.
And I absolutely love this book! Bob Kellemen has taken the time and energy, the blood, sweat and tears necessary, to make Martin Luther not only readable, but enjoyable. And liveable. Not an easy task in the contemporary historical / cultural context.
Exploring rich theological terms which Martin Luther himself found crucial for his salvation and, later, for his ministry, author Bob Kellemen writes as only one who comprehends the subject matter is able. He has taken difficult theological concepts and dumbed it down for the rest of us, without sacrificing any of the significance.
Drawing on letters, conversations, sermons and anecdotes in Martin Luther's life, COUNSELING UNDER THE CROSS shares the heart and soul of this Father of the Reformation as he ministers the gospel in a cross-shaped approach to pastoral care - sustaining, healing, reconciling, and guiding. These four counseling concepts serve as compass points as one discovers how Martin Luther took this historic approach and infused it with the gospel - demonstrating the rich relevance of the gospel for daily life.
5 stars for a foundational primer for Biblical counseling
nicole BTHMWashington Parish, LAAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5after 500 years, the Teachings still hold trueOctober 2, 2017nicole BTHMWashington Parish, LAAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Being a lifelong Lutheran, it has been a very pleasant experience for me to read this book. Now that I have finished this book I feel a great deal of happiness knowing that there are other people in different educations that have read the writings and history of Martin Luther. About 429 years before I was even born Luther nailed his 95 thesis on the Church door in Wittenberg, Germany stating what he believed to be wrong with the Church of his time. Those things he wrote down 500 years ago are still used in the modern day Lutheran Church as well in many others. It gives me great pleasure that Dr. Kellemen has chosen to inform the world of Dr. Luthers long standing beliefs on what the Holy Bible tells its readers of the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Luther wrote about the love of the Father for all his creations by sending his Beloved Son Jesus Christ to live and die and be resurrected that we may all be able to go to Heaven. I highly recommend that this wonderful book be read by all who have any desire to know what is necessary for each and every one of us for eternal life with God in Heaven.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5Good for pastors and Christian counselorsSeptember 27, 2017bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Many of us are familiar with the change in Martin Luther when he realized the truth of forgiving grace from God. He went from trying to earn God's approval through works to believing in the saving work of Christ. We may not be as familiar with how Luther then shared his insight with those who needed pastoral care and counseling.
Kellemen has studied the works of Luther to understand how Luther counseled others. He uses quotes from letters and table talks to show how Luther applied the heart of the gospel to his flock. Kellemen also adds how we can then apply Luther's knowledge and method to our own lives.
Here are a few of Luther's insights I really appreciated. Scripture is the only true comfort in distress and is sufficient for fighting temptations. Through Christ, we find redemption for deep internal problems. There is comfort in Christ alone.
Luther had much to say about suffering. "For Luther, suffering is God's medicine of choice to awake us from our slumbering self-sufficiency and turn us to heightened Christ-sufficiency." (Loc 1278/5729) "...God sends suffering to cure our deepest sickness of estrangement from God caused by our independence of him." (Loc 2060/5729)
This book is a good reminder for pastors and counselors today to return to the gospel as essential in pastoral care and counseling. Sin must be taken seriously. Spiritual warfare must be practiced against the devil. We must be reunited with Christ in relationship and then shown how to reinterpret life through the lens of the cross. We must be continually reminded of the gospel in the face of our gospel amnesia.
This book may be a little too scholarly for the average Christian. While Kellemen does frequently tell us what the previous information means to applying it to our lives, that previous information includes lots of material more suited to professionals than laypeople. It was no surprise that this book began as his PhD dissertation. While recently rewritten, the book still has an academic flavor to it.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Litfuse. My comments are an independent and honest review.