Southern Seminary beefs up biblical counseling faculty

Communications Staff — August 10, 2007

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary continues to bolster its biblical counseling program with the addition of several renowned authors and scholars as visiting faculty.

Paul David Tripp, president of Paul Tripp Ministries and a counselor for 25 years, and David Powlison, faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF), have both been added to Southern’s faculty as visiting professors.

Tripp, who also serves as an adjunct professor at CCEF, said being able to impact the next generation of leaders attracted him to Southern Seminary. He said he looks forward to helping students integrate God’s Word, sound theology and wise counseling into a unified whole.

“I view successful ministry as building a bridge from the shore of God’s Word to the shore of every-day life,” he said.

“It seems that theologians are often able to build a bridge from the shore of God’s Word and theology, but they struggle with connecting it to every-day life. Counselors seem to struggle with the reverse problem. I love having the opportunity to help people build a completed bridge so that they can look at life in a fallen world from a biblical perspective.”

Tripp is the author of “Lost in the Middle,” “Age of Opportunity,” “War of Words” and “Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands.” He also serves as an adjunct professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he earned his D.Min.

Powlison edits The Journal of Biblical Counseling, is a visiting professor at Westminster and is the author of several books, including “Seeing with New Eyes” and “Speaking Truth in Love.” He earned his master of divinity from Westminster and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Powlison said he looks forward to teaching at Southern and is pleased with the Seminary’s decision to center its counseling on pastoral ministry and not secular professionalism.

“I pray that Christian colleges, universities and seminaries would get a vision toward orienting counseling around the Gospel,” he said. “One expects pastoral training, missionary training and evangelistic training to be centered on the Gospel, but counseling has been the odd sister out. To play a role in [changing] that is a terrific opportunity and a great honor.”

In addition to Tripp and Powlison, Southern has added as visiting faculty Robert Jones, assistant professor of biblical counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Robert Burrelli, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Bridgewater, Mass.

Jones is the author of “Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem” and Burrelli is a certified counselor with the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors.
Stuart Scott, director of the Center for Biblical Counseling at Southern, said the addition of all four men will help the seminary continue its mission of training biblical counselors.

“I am very pleased that several outstanding men in the biblical counseling arena have agreed to come and teach a course or two each year here at Southern Seminary,” said Scott, who also serves as associate professor of biblical counseling at Southern. “Drs. Powlison, Tripp, Burrelli and Jones are fully committed to the sufficiency of God’s Word for counseling and will be invaluable assets to Southern’s growing biblical counseling program.”

Tripp said applying the biblical counseling model to counseling, instead of taking a secular or integrated approach, best complements the faithful proclamation of Scripture that should take place in local churches.

“If you have a person who is faithful in their attendance to church, and they are hearing good preaching that is giving them a good model of thinking about life – and they then go to a counseling office on Tuesdays that presents a different way of thinking about life, then that is very confusing,” he said. “It is helpful if people are hearing the same thing from counselors that they are hearing from the pulpit.”

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