Biblical Counseling Through Song – Col 3:16

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  • Tom Murphy
    Hutchmate
    @tommurphy28

    I would love to start a Forum of those interested in Biblical Counseling Through Song.  Anyone is welcome, but specific members that may be interested are:
    1) Lay Biblical Counselors
    2) Licensed Counselors
    3) Musicians
    4) Artists
    5) Pastors
    6) Seminarians
    7) Christians interested in counseling
    8) Parents (Pre-Teens and older)
    9) Other Rabbity Types that want to learn…


    Ben
    Hutchmate
    @benjikunz

    Tom, I love this! I’m finishing up my undergrad in biblical counseling and working on getting certified through ACBC starting this fall while I work on an album. Counseling and music are my two greatest interests and I’ve been trying to think of the best way to meld the two.


    Tom Murphy
    Hutchmate
    @tommurphy28

    Ben, where do you live bro?  Would love to meet up and chat.


    Ben
    Hutchmate
    @benjikunz

    Atlanta area.

    Hey, I’m not tooting my own horn here, but really as an appreciation for all the hard work of Christian Counselors and the two I personally saw and still see now and again, I’ve written a song, per request, about what I’ve learned, since they heard that I was a musician.

    If you want to hear it I’ve got it posted in the songwriters corner or forum. I think it’s got a link to SoundCloud.

    But the entire song is written from things I was told and things I was taught. The name of the song is “Purely by His Design”.

    Thanks, Adam


    Eli C
    Hutchmate
    @carpigiana

    Hi! I am a graduate student in the field of biblical counseling, with an undergrad degree in music performance. I am doing thesis work on music in biblical counseling and would love to hear from others who have interest in this area. If you would be willing to help me out, please answer one or more of the following questions:

    1) What foundational Scripture do you have in your own theology of music? What Scripture do you know of that is often misused?

    2) What is your philosophy of music in biblical counseling?

    3) What sources have been helpful in thinking through the issues? What sources have you found to be very unhelpful? Articles? Books? Sites? Authors/musicians?

    4) How have you heard of music being used in biblical counseling?

    5) What hot topics or controversial issues should I consider?

    Thank you for any and all answers on this topic. Biblical counseling and music is a pretty unique topic and I was excited to find this forum. I live in the Kansas City, Missouri area. The title of my thesis is “The Importance of Music in Biblical Counseling: Its Theological Foundation, Biblical Usage, and Practical Implications.”


    Ben
    Hutchmate
    @benjikunz

    Eli, really good questions. I can’t say I can give any insight into any of them, as I haven’t necessarily asked myself those exact questions, but for my own benefit and personal meditation I’d like to at least attempt to answer them. 🙂

    1) I’d say the most foundational verse I use when considering my own music is Ephesians 4:29 which says “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” This is referring to speech, but it applies to every form of communication. I need to address my audience through my songs in a way that will encourage and give grace. That may mean writing a hymn, that may mean writing a sad song, but it’s all for the purpose of edification. And it might look slightly different depending on the occasion or the person.

    Directly concerning music, Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 both tell us to address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. I’m thankful for these verses because I can feel like a black sheep in the Church when it comes to songwriting and this not only gives me the green light to express myself through music, it actually commands me to.

    I refer to Psalm 150 to folks in the Church who have a limited view of what music is supposed to look like (aka only classical music or only CCM). The Bible doesn’t give a lot of indication as to the style we should use as Christians, but Psalm 150 implies that the more diverse the better. Psalm 96 and 98 also tell us to sing to the Lord a “new song” which, unless I’m taking too many liberties with the verse, seems to imply a level of originality within the songs we sing.

    Also, so many of the Psalms set a template for lament in the Christian life. There’s a turning to joy in almost all of them, but there’s enough sorrow throughout the Psalms (and the Gospel and Scripture as a whole) that we shouldn’t be afraid of being honest about our brokenness in music. Expressing anguish isn’t wrong. It’s biblical.

    2) My philosophy on biblical counseling is something I’ve heard from a lot of folks at ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) and that is that all of us as Christians are called to counsel and disciple each other in all walks of life. So if I’m a musician, that means I’m called to counsel through my music. I also think it should just be a natural thing for us as Christians. I know artists like Andrew Peterson and My Epic and Beautiful Eulogy have done that for me and I’m not even sure they specifically thought, “I really hope this song counsels someone!”

    3) As far as sources go, Michael Card’s A Sacred Sorrow isn’t specifically about counseling, but it’s about how the language of sorrow and lament are found throughout the Bible. And sorrow is an integral part of counseling, whether it be in music, a pastoral position, or an official counseling firm. I’ve found that book to be helpful in many areas of my life, but surprisingly so in the area of counseling. As far as direct counseling resources, I suggest anything by Wayne Mack.

    4) I guess I already answered this above when I listed artists who have counseled me personally. I also use music regularly to encourage friends who are struggling by suggesting an artist I think would be edifying. A close pastor friend who does biblical counseling also does this when we talk and he doesn’t even know much music. In fact, he usually pulls up the same Rend Collective song every time when it best fits our conversation. And wouldn’t you know, it’s encouraging every single time.

    5) I really don’t have much of an answer to this question. I think, unfortunately, music can be such a controversial thing in and of itself that there’s always a lot to consider. But I think the key is not getting too bogged down in petty controversies (particularly in regards to what musical styles we should use) and just making sure we’re doing everything from a pure heart, if that makes sense.

    Sorry for my long-windedness. I don’t know if that was satisfying at all, but I live for this stuff so it’s encouraging just to think on these things.

    Interesting, and important, topic. I am a professional psychologist (technically neuropsychologist) and pastor, though I also fancy myself a poet and artist (albeit amateur). I just completed a book of poetry that I hope is in final print soon. I’ve recently had the thought rolling around in my head that I wanted to explore the connection between Christian poets and Christian psychology. Poetry and music are evocative; and frankly, many of us need to be “evoked” 🙂

    Perhaps an exploration of “Christian creatives” and soul care would be a good topic to consider. I know that I have been deeply moved by certain writings in ways that I have never been touched by those things that are coldly clinical.

    If @rebeccareynolds sees this thread, I want her to know that she should be celebrated in this regard.  I have recommended a few of her essays to folks I am working with and have been deeply touched myself.

    Love Up
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