WHAT IS BIBLICAL SOUL CARE?
It is a spiritual lifestyle commanded and modeled throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Throughout several periods of church history, clergymen and women actively provided Soul Care. The 17th century English minister, Richard Baxter (1615-1691), serves as an effective practical model for biblical soul care to individual believers, families, and the local church. Baxter’s passion for God’s Word and for the souls (i.e. the spiritual hearts) of God’s people is reflected in his own words, “I preached as never sure to preach again and as a dying man to dying men.” These words were motivated by the medical diagnosis that he was dying of an incurable disease. In light of this sobering news, Baxter had determined all the more to invest in the souls of men, caring for them with an urgency and passion of a “(physically) dying man” whose days were numbered, and ministered the Word of God to “(spiritually) dying men” in need of a Savior and the transforming words of God!
Biblical Soul care can be defined as, discipleship (growing stronger), accountability, mentoring, and biblical counseling (critical care), of which all utilize the inerrant Word of God as sufficient for all the spiritual needs of the individual in matters of godliness (2 Pet 1:3). We believe that the Word of God (Ps 19:7-11; Rom 12:1; Gal 3:10; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 1 Thess 2:13; Heb 4:12; Rev 22:18-19) and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7) are able to cause lasting change in the lives of God’s people. We believe that as Christians we are called to holiness and loving obedience (1 Pet 1:15-16; 1 John 2:3). However, due to the fall of man, as revealed in Genesis 3, everyone is in need of the Word and the work of God (Col 3:16, John 3:3). We believe our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the example of how we are to live. He freely gives us his Word and Spirit to provide help and hope that results in permanent spiritual heart change in the lives of believers as they grow in the image of Christ’s moral character and will.
Biblical Soul Care takes place in the loving, gracious, and supportive care of a local church ministry and it’s leadership (2 Cor 7:3; Eph 5:25; Col 4:5-6). The Bible teaches us that a disciple/follower of Christ is held accountable for his beliefs, attitudes, and actions, within the body of Christ. Ultimately, local church shepherds are commanded to “keep watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account” (Heb 13:17).
In light of these wondrous truths, biblical soul care should be the daily passion and purpose of every genuine disciple of Christ!