Kellemen, Bob. Counseling under the Cross: How Martin Luther Applied the Gospel to Daily Life. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2017. Paper. 246 Pages. $19.99. http://stores.newgrowthpress.com/counseling-under-the-cross/
Selderhuis, Herman. Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography. Wheaton: Crossway, 2017. ADVANCE READER COPY received. Final Cloth edition received. 320 Pages, $35.00. https://www.crossway.org/books/martin-luther-hcj/
Six months after 31 October 2017, the Reformation of Martin Luther lives on!
We previous read counseling advice from Bob Kellemen in the brief book on anxiety.
Now he turns his attention to mining Luther for help in pastoral counseling.
Martin Luther was not only a theologian, a writer, and a preacher, he was a pastoral counselor who longed for peace with God. Now, 500 years after he posted his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church, his teachings on gospel-centered and cross-focused pastoral care can transform our approach to soul care, and teach us that daring faith in Christ alone can change our life today and give us peace forever.
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.
As one of the most influential figures in Christian history, Luther was not only the father of the Reformation, he was also the father of “gospel-centered counseling.” As sons and daughters in the faith, we have much to learn from him. Counseling Under the Cross equips us to apply the gospel richly, relevantly, and robustly to suffering and sin so that we find our hope and help in Christ alone.
Bob Kellemen, PhD, is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Chair of the Biblical Counseling Department at Crossroads Bible College and the founder and CEO of RPM Ministries. He is the author of many books, including Counseling Under the Cross: How Martin Luther Applied the Gospel to Daily Life, Gospel-Centered Counseling and Gospel Conversations. Bob and his wife Shirley have two children and two grandchildren.
Luther ended like he began—with Christ’s gospel of grace. He sandwiched gospel indicatives around gospel imperatives. When Satan tempts us to despair, we do not look ultimately to our self, but ultimately and always to Christ: “When the devil casts up to us our sin, and declares us worthy of death and hell, we must say: ‘I confess that I am worthy of death and hell. What more do you have to say?’ ‘Then you will be lost forever!’ ‘Not in the least: for I know One who suffered for me and made satisfaction for my sins, and his name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. So long as he shall live, I shall live also’ (194).
We now turn from Luther quoted and applied to today to Luther explained for today in an English translation of a major Danish biography.
Famous for setting in motion the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther is often lifted high as a hero or condemned as a rebel. But underneath it all, he was a man of flesh and blood, with a deep longing to live for God.
This biography by respected Reformation scholar Herman Selderhuis captures Luther in his original context and follows him on his spiritual journey, from childhood through the Reformation to his influential later years. Combining Luther’s own words with engaging narrative designed to draw the reader into Luther’s world, this spiritual biography brings to life the complex and dynamic personality that forever changed the history of the church.
Rev. Paul J Cain is Senior Pastor of Immanuel, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School and Immanuel Academy, a member of the Board of Directors of the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education, Secretary of the Wyoming District of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and a member of its Board of Directors, Wyoming District Education Chairman/NLSA Commissioner, and Editor of Lutheran Book Review. He has served as an LCMS Circuit Visitor, District Worship Chairman and District Evangelism Chairman. A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Rev. Cain is a contributor to Lutheran Service Book, Lutheranism 101, the forthcoming LSB Hymnal Companion volumes, and is the author of 5 Things You Can Do to Make Our Congregation a Caring Church. He is an occasional guest on KFUO radio. He has previously served Emmanuel, Green River, WY and Trinity, Morrill, NE. Rev. Cain is married to Ann and loves reading and listening to, composing, and making music.