Counsel from the Cross

Counsel from the Cross

Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ

by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, Dennis E. Johnson
Publisher: Crossway Books
1st Edition, ©2009, ISBN: 9781433503177
Trade Paperback, 240 pages
Price: $15.99

In an age when increasing numbers of people (including Christians) are looking everywhere for rescue from their problems except the one place they can be sure of salvation, Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis Johnson have written a book calling counselors of all kinds back to the ultimate power of the Cross. This isn't a book about getting whatever you want from Jesus, it's simply a firm reminder that our sin and brokenness have been forever defeated by Jesus Christ in His atoning sacrifice.

Far too often we let the familiar elements of Christianity fade to white noise, forgetting the centrality of the Cross and focusing on what we see as simple commands to obedience and holiness. While the authors of Counsel from the Cross wouldn't deny that Christians are called to holy living, they would remind us that the only reason such holiness is possible is Christ's death and resurrection, not our own efforts. This book is a call to turn back to the fundamental truths of our faith.

Sin has made us dead, but in Christ we find reconciliation, forgiveness, and the hope of eternity with Him. Instead of offering psychology or therapeutic answers to those struggling with addiction, hatred, sorrow, loss, or any of the other issues for which people seek counseling, Fitzpatrick and Johnson point counselors back to the Gospel, showing how the best counsel comes from the promises God has made us through Jesus Christ.

The first four chapters of Counsel from the Cross are largely theological, laying the foundation of the Gospel in its essence. The next five chapters are more or less practical, demonstrating how the Gospel ought to shape Christian counseling, and how it relates to our sanctification, our emotions, and our relationships. The book ends with a defense of biblical counseling over against secular psychologizing, arguing that only counsel rooted in God's Word can change our hearts, where the problem lies.

At the end of each chapter are ideas for reflection or discussion, helping readers apply what they've learned. But this isn't primarily a "practical" book in the usual sense of the word, and it isn't for those actually struggling with issues. Counsel from the Cross is a manual for both clerical and lay counselors to redirect their guidance away from man-centered counseling approaches to one that places Jesus Christ and His atoning work squarely at the center, poised as He always has been to heal.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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Summary: Guide for counselors to focus on the healing power of the Cross for any situation.

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