Casting Out Demons

Does God expect you to cast out demons? Have you wondered whether or not that ought to be an adjunct to your counseling? Some have; others have assured them that it is necessary to do so.

In counseling for 10 hours a day two days a week for many years, I have yet to encounter anyone demon-possessed. Oh, sure, I’ve had people claim that a counselee is; I’ve had counselees say so too. But in every instance, the problem turned out to be something else.

But, enough for my experience. What does God say about the matter? The answer? Nothing.

“Nothing?”

Precisely. He says nothing about it. And because nowhere in the entire New Testament does He command you or me to cast out demons there is no reason to expect that He wants us to do so. We ought never to do in His Name that which He doesn’t command. To do so is to misrepresent Him.

“Are you sure He doesn’t tell us to do it?”

Absolutely. Read your New Testament from beginning to the end and you’ll find no such command. That is an important fact because in Jesus’ parting words to the apostles (Matthew 28) He told them to teach their disciples to “observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you.” Obviously, since they left no such command for s to observe, there is no reason to think that we should do so. Don’t let anyone add to the commandments of Jesus and tell you that he has the right to do what He never gave Him the right to do. To do that is a serious matter. The issue is as simple as that!

For whatever reason, today we are to preach the Gospel to the lost, and nothing more. We’re not apostles armed with signs and wonders as they were (Cf. II Corinthians 12: 12). They faithfully did as they were commanded. Let us do so too.

Pastors for Nouthetic Ministry, Part 2

As I said previously, I had a wonderful time when 16 brothers (Baptist preachers and deacons) and I had a luncheon discussion together for several hours yesterday. We talked about counseling, and theology in general (not about Baptism, however) and preaching. It was great! In my declining years it is a joy for me to know that though I can no longer travel to speak, God has brought such people to me to fellowship with.

And, He has provided a fine Greek restaurant in our country area where they serve good food and don’t throw us out even though we might get a bit loud at times. What a blessing!

One of the topics that came up might be worthwhile mentioning and adding a few remarks about. The doctrine of the active obedience of Christ is one that is mentioned too infrequently. Yet, J. Gresham Machen—that stalwart of the faith—on his death bed said, “Thank God for the active obedience of Christ!” This truth had a tremendous impact upon the thinking of this great saint of God! It ought to do the same for us. Continue reading

Pastors for Nouthetic Ministry, Part 1

Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting with seventeen Baptist pastors and deacons around a lunch table to discuss whatever was on their minds. We roamed over all sorts of counseling, preaching, and other theological issues (avoiding baptism, of course). These men from North Carolina call themselves “Pastors for Nouthetic Ministry.”

Now, it interested me that, on their own, they came up with this name for their informal group. They said that their training in Nouthetic Counseling had not stopped at counseling, but that it bled over into all other aspects of their lives and ministries as well. Hence, the title of the group. Continue reading

Meet Greg Dawson

Perhaps you’ve met him; probably, you haven’t. In either case I want you to learn about him. My acquaintance with Greg goes back to a time when I thought that just for fun—which turned out not to be so much fun after all—I’d do a Google search on the word “Nouthetic.” After reading over 101 pages I quit. At 10 or so entries per page, that means—well, you can figure it out for yourself.Why wasn’t it much fun? Well, as a perused pages I became strikingly aware that there was all sorts of stuff out there going under the label “Nouthetic!” There was even one woman “practitioner” who claimed to do nouthetic miracles. Horrors! Since I never thought of trade-marking the name, I have no recourse in the matter except to beg people not to call what they are doing by that name unless they really are nouthetic. Continue reading

Church Discipline

I received the following question today:

Would you comment on the practical ramifications of church discipline when it concerns a family member? Let’s say a woman is divorcing her husband for unbiblical reasons.  She has been urged to repent by the elders, her family, and the church.  But she refuses to repent.  What would you say to the parents, or other family members concerning their relationship to her?  Are they to not associate with her as well?  For example, if your son or daughter would not repent, would you still have her over for holidays, etc.? Continue reading

The Death of Youth

Obviously, some young people bring early death upon themselves by their lifestyles–overdosing, drinking and driving, and so forth. But what of those who live an exemplary life–who love Christ and seek to serve him? Why would God take them out of the world when they possibly could do so much good? Their deaths aren’t always so easy to understand. I want to mention only one reason that might apply at times to such cases. Continue reading