Education Program in Christian Counseling: The Incarnation as the Cornerstone of Christianity.
The central theme of Christianity is Christ and the historical event known as the Incarnation. Without this event, Christianity would be merely a social philosophy without any theological and spiritual meaning. Christian Counselors must emphasize the centrality of the Incarnation as the cornerstone of our faith.
Christ Became Man
Emmanuel, means “God with us”. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became fully human to redeem us. If the Logos did not become fully human, then the Redemption could not happen because man required a fellow man to offer to God an atonement for our sins. Only a God-man could accomplish this and hence Jesus Christ.
Heretical Ideals Against the Humanity of Christ
The Church and the Apostles understood the natures of Christ. The apostles realized he was both God and man. The early Church would face heretical propositions that would attack Christ’s humanity and divinity. The earliest confusion regarding the Christology of Christ and his human nature occurred in the first centuries. The Gnostics contended that the Logos did not take upon a true human form but was merely a phantasm or a spiritual form. Other groups later would deny this but reduce Christ’s human nature to a shell without a human soul. The Monophisites contended that Christ had one nature and his body was an incomplete shell. This was fiercely condemned by the Church at the Council of Chalcedon and Constantinople in the Fifth Century. Later, a compromise attempted to dilute the true human nature of Christ by accepting a human nature but making it still incomplete by denying a independent human soul that existed side by side with the Logos. This was also condemned. The most convincing statement came from Pope Leo at Chalcedon when he boldly stated, one person, two natures. In that, the Church accepted the idea that the Logos became flesh and while retaining his divine nature, fused the human nature with it in perfect harmony. This confirmed a true representation of the Incarnation. One person, two natures, two wills, but one God. Hence, when we worship the human nature of Christ, we worship the Logos. When we worship the Logos, we worship the human nature of Christ as well. This is why at the Council of Ephesus, Mary was proclaimed ‘Theotokos” and not “Christokos” because Mary while not the origin of the Divine element of Christ, was nevertheless the mother of the person of Christ and in that was the Mother of God.
From this, we clearly understand that the Church has ardently defended the full human nature of Christ. Why? Because if Christ is not fully human and born as any man, then he cannot represent mankind as it’s High Priest.
Christ Lived As Any Man
Through this gift of Christmas, the Incarnation, Christ lived fully as a man (except as Paul says, in sin). In this, he not only redeemed us, but taught us how to live. He endured every temptation, suffered and dealt with everyday things we all encounter. He served as a perfect paradigm for humanity and instead of judging us from a far away throne, he instead lived and walked in our shoes as a compassionate and loving God. Only Christianity and its truth gives its people a God who suffers with us! This suffering was not inherent or deserving of the Trinity, but an open gift, where the Trinity, allowed the Second Person to open himself to us in such a special way; a special way that allowed him to become vulnerable to our rejection but also open to our love. This is an amazing miracle from God and it is accomplished through his gift of Jesus Christ. Christ is Born, Glorify Him!
If you are interested in learning more, please review our Chrisitan Counseling Courses and see if they can help you bring Christ to others. Also please review our education program in Christian Counseling that leads to certification
Christian Counseling Must Counter Secular Society’s View of Sunday
Secularism has distorted the true meaning of Sunday. Sunday has become another day of the week for sales, overtime hours, secular entertainment, and odd jobs around the house. Certified Christian Counselors, pastors, priests and religious need to overcome this alarming trend with a strong condemnation in private and public discussions.
In the time of Our Lord, the Sabbath was Saturday and not Sunday. Yet the same sacredness within the Jewish religion was applied to the original Sabbath. Overtime though, the Sabbath entered into a completely opposite orbit of extremism than we see today. The Pharisees and their many man made regulations corrupted the essence of the Sabbath and reduced it to a book of rituals and rules. Some rules were completely and totally humorous in what was deemed necessary and unnecessary work. The Sabbath became a burden instead of a blessing.
Christ understood the corruption and over bureaucratic manipulation of the Sabbath and challenged it. On multiple times, Christ healed on the Sabbath and allowed his disciples to perform necessary servile deeds. In essence, Our Lord understood three things. First, our duty to God and our neighbor is never in contradiction to the Sabbath. Second, he understood the corruption of the Pharisees and how they had distorted His Father’s day and finally, he understood the true nature of the Sabbath and hoped to restore it to the people.
With these things in mind what are we required of regarding the Sabbath? The Commandment itself seems vague, “Thou Shalt Keep Holy The Sabbath”. What falls under “keeping Holy”? Christianity has little disagreement in the first element–worship of God. Most mainstream Christian denominations find it essential to attend Service, Mass, or Liturgy. Only due to sickness or some unforeseen issue, can one miss Sunday services. This is not always a common consensus among all denominations, however, and some consider it not a prerequisite. I would contend personally it is since Sunday remembers the Holy Resurrection and also the necessity of Christ’s Mystical Body to worship Christ together.
Another objective element of “keeping Holy the Sabbath” involves physical labor. Obviously labor is forbidden on Sunday, but there is some debate as to what constitutes labor and whether the labor is necessary or unnecessary. As we know, this question has been around for a long time. As noted, the Pharisees were quite critical of any labor, even the healing of another person. So obviously, Christ would expect, if our ministry presented it, to perform corporal works of mercy that involve labor for the least of our brethren. The problem becomes more when Christian Counselors are presented with unnecessary labor that may become necessary due to weekly schedules. One example. Shoveling snow on Sunday so your driveway is clear in the morning for work. Should we do it during Sunday or wake 2 hours earlier on Monday? These are hard things to decipher. Obviously, unnecessary servile work should be condemned as well as any unneeded shopping but as one can see there are many gray areas. I feel, if gray, to allow the person to make the decision because as our Lord said, the Sabbath is not to burden us but to bless us!
The final element of “keeping Holy the Sabbath” involves the very definition, keeping it holy! Sunday should be a day of rest and worship but also of continued worship. Christian Counselors can encourage their spiritual children to set aside extra time after Services to pray, read the Bible or perform other charitable acts. Sunday should become a day where Christians worship God beyond the Church but also into the marketplace and home. We do not simply show up for one hour a week and then return to the world, but we take it with us. Our worship of God should be a Monday through Saturday prayer that reaches its culmination and exclamation on Sunday.
Does this mean we cannot on Sunday have secular fun? Not in the least. God expects us to rest from our labors and enjoy life. Is this not why he rested on the Seventh Day of creation? So, as long as we have put spirituality first and the needs of the church first, then by all means, enjoy a few secular activities with family and friends. I definitely enjoy my football games even though my Browns usually make me cry!
With that, let us all attempt to worship God more perfectly on Sunday and understand the gift of Sunday and to utilize this gift properly for God’s glory and our own sanity.
If you are interested in Christian Counseling Certifications, please review the program. The Education Program in Christian Counseling includes taking core courses by qualified professionals for certification.
If you wish to recertify in the Education Program in Christian Counseling, then one after three years must accumulate over five hundred hours of academic and professionals hours.