Why Master's? Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling

Why Should I Study Graduate Level Biblical Counseling at The Master’s University and Seminary?

The Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling (MABC) at The Master’s University is a fully accredited professional graduate degree designed to equip dedicated, post-baccalaureate Christian men and women in counseling proficiency, addressing the most difficult soul-turmoil problems using God’s all-sufficient Word.

Our goal is for the graduate student to return to their local church, Christian organization, chaplaincy, or mission field with a high degree of skill in counseling, as well as in training others to counsel biblically. There are five significant areas where our graduate program stands out as distinctive from other biblical counseling academic programs, and there are five highlights that stem from our spiritual and academic rigor. Each of these blend together masterfully in our curriculum to deeply impact the graduate student for lifelong sanctification and scholarly maturation.

Distinctives of Our Graduate Program

1. Authentic Belief in Biblical Sufficiency

Our graduate program is fully committed to the sufficiency and superiority of God’s Word, as given to us in the sixty-six canonical books of the Protestant Christian Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3). The sufficiency of God’s Holy Word is directly tied to the character and attributes of its Author (Psalm 119:89). God’s Word is sufficient for the soul problems of man because God never does anything insufficiently (Numbers 23:19). There are too many who nuance biblical sufficiency, while still claiming to do biblical counseling, allowing human philosophy and psychology a significant role in their counseling theory and practice.

This graduate program is opposed to such diluted views of biblical sufficiency. Man’s observations and conclusions do not carry authoritative weight in counseling; God’s Word does! This is why every aspect of our curriculum is built on Scripture. It alone has the power to dramatically change both the inner and outer man for God’s honor and glory! “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1–2, NASB95).

2. Dedication to the Authority of the Local Church

One significant proof of whether a biblical counseling program is committed to biblical sufficiency is how seriously it teaches the authority of the local church in counseling theory and practice. Both the narrative and instructive passages of the New Testament always point the Christian to the authority of the church when dealing with the suffering and sins of the soul (Romans 15:4, 13-14; Galatians 6:1). This authority was not given to the government, or state licensing organization, or counseling clinic.

The credibility of counseling for the Christian is directly dependent upon counsel being given from God’s Word (biblical) and in God’s way (ecclesiastical). The authority of the church in counseling matters can be clearly seen in the admonition of Jesus Christ concerning the practice of church restoration (Matthew 18:15-20). Counseling has ultimate credibility when it is done biblically and under the authority of qualified pastors (1 Peter 5:1-4).

Properly recognizing ecclesiastical authority in counseling will also involve a willingness in both men and women to submit themselves to the authority of biblically qualified pastors in counseling practice (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). This involves a complementarian view of a woman’s role in both the church and the family (1 Timothy 2:9-15; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16; Ephesians 5:22-24). There are many Christian counselors who call themselves “biblical counselors” but advocate egalitarianism. Genuine biblical counseling teaches a gracious complementarian view, which best honors a woman’s and man’s unique abilities and roles.

3. Academic Excellence in Hermeneutics

Serious biblical counselors know how to interpret their Bible well (2 Timothy 2:15). Counselors who claim biblical authority for their counsel but misrepresent the original intent of the Word will horribly mislead the counselee. Unfortunately, biblical counseling training is too often given with few or no requirements for hermeneutical study. Our graduate program, however, is dedicated to equipping the counselor with excellent interpretive skills. Our students are required to take both an introductory course and an advanced course in hermeneutics, which helps them gain mastery over their ability to properly understand Scripture in ways critical for counseling.

4. Fundamental Emphasis on Christlikeness

Throughout our curriculum, our graduate program is dedicated to helping the counselor be more like Christ (Philippians 2:1-11). In fact, this is a deliberate and very intentional aspect of our entire curriculum. A counselor who cannot model the very truths they are teaching is not a true biblical counselor. Because of this, one of the most important characteristics of a good counselor is humility. A truly wise counselor will be teachable and will be on a constant quest to learn more from Christ (Proverbs 1:5).

5. Commitment to Life-on-Life Graduate Training

Technology has been a blessing in many ways for our culture. However, it will never take the place of genuine life-on-life interpersonal interaction—especially in the discipline of biblical counseling, which is directly dependent upon personal communication (Acts 4:13). Our graduate program seeks to uniquely bridge that gap by offering courses in a convenient format, while also providing personal and immediate exchanges between students and faculty in a “live” classroom setting. Our careful blending of these two delivery modes is designed to provide the graduate student with an optimal educational experience.

Spiritual and Academic Rigor

1. Proficient in Handling Scripture: Biblical and Practical Theology

A good biblical counselor is a student of theology. Systematic theology, with a view toward biblical and practical theology, is an important part of our graduate experience. The courses in our curriculum are not designed to explore remote and esoteric aspects of theology, but rather to point the student toward a practical implementation of theology for the purpose of Christ-honoring changes in people’s lives. This helps our students fulfill the Great Commission’s call to discipleship as they guide God’s people in knowing and applying His Word to their lives. The study of theology provides the biblical ground for all of the graduate student’s counseling.

2. Proficient in Understanding and Loving People: Applied Theology

Theology itself, however, is merely an academic exercise unless it answers the question, “How can people change and grow?” To be a good biblical counselor, a student must understand two things well. First, they must understand the Bible well. Second, they must understand, love, and care for people well. For biblical counseling to be life-changing, there must be a focus on the person’s heart. If the heart changes through the enabling work of the Holy Spirit, then the counselee’s actions will change and be driven by the right motivations. Consequently, learning how a counselor can faithfully apply theology, by studying people from a biblical perspective, is a vital part of our graduate education.

3. Proficient in Communicating Truth: Expositional Counseling

How a counselor communicates the meaning of a text of Scripture to the counselee is essential; treating the Bible like its verses are stand-alone truths, divorced from their context, leads to terrible and sloppy reasoning. Often, people will call themselves “biblical counselors” but use the Bible like it is a series of endless fortune cookies. Jumping all over the Bible, stringing disjointed verses together, does not result in effective counseling. In contrast, teaching a counselee to accurately think through a passage not only teaches them God’s Word, but it teaches them how to approach all of Scripture. Our graduate program is committed to helping our students counsel this way.

4. Proficient in Antithetical Reasoning: Theology and the Psychologies

A good biblical counselor is also an apologist (2 Corinthians 10:5; Colossians 2:8). He knows how to defend the claims of Scripture against pagan theories and practices. The soul of man is God’s jurisdiction; He created it and understands it exhaustively. Our curriculum helps counselors defend the truths of God’s Word against all the theories of man. It also helps them develop a mindset formed around the superiority of God and His Word, rather than human philosophies.

5. Proficient in Credibility and Authenticity: ACBC Certification

The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) is an international certification organization dedicated to the sufficiency of Scripture in counseling. Our graduate program is a highly recognized training program certified by ACBC. Upon completion of this program, our students can become ACBC certified as biblical counselors. In this way, they can join with thousands of other biblical counselors all over the world dedicated to honoring Christ through their counseling.

For more information on the Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling (MABC), click here.

Faculty Focus: Dr. Shelbi Cullen

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