Six Key Principles This Book Teaches
The first key principle is taken from creation and that man was made for worship. In order to understand people we must understand that they are all active worshipers and everyone is always worshipping someone or something. From the beginning man was made to depend and worship God. This is part of our humanity and not a result of the fall.
The second key principle is that all of God’s people are called to counseling and being used as instruments for change. This truth will not make sense unless we also understand that God expects us to simply minister to the people he has placed around us. We need to begin with those who are closest to us and allow God’s grace to flow out of us toward them to accomplish His redemptive work.
The third key principle is that all our behavior is rooted in the thoughts and motives of our hearts. The heart is center of man and our behaviors are merely outward expressions of the realities that are in our hearts. Therefore, the target of all ministry must always be heart change and not simply changing behavior.
The fourth key principle is that God has called us to be his ambassadors. We are to share his message, with his methods, and displaying his character. We are to represent Christ and incarnate the love of Christ to others by extending the grace we have received.
The fifth key principle is that in order to lead people to the love and grace of Christ we must help them see them as God sees them by holding up the mirror of God’s word. This should be done by asking good questions and revealing the truth of God’s word as it applies to the data we have gathered from their life story and circumstances.
The sixth key principle is that we need to speak the truth in love once sin has been identified in the counselee’s life. The goal is to lead people to repent of their sin and trust in Christ. It is inadequate to simply gather data and listen to people’s problems. Loving confrontation is necessary because sin has blinded and deceived counselee’s from seeing their sin and need for Christ. The seventh key principle is to remind people of their responsibility to obey God in their life situation. We should offer loving accountability and remind them of their identity in Christ so they will actually be able to obey.
Overall, I thought the book was excellent and I could not agree more with the above key principles. However, on page 117 I am not sure I understood what Tripp meant when he said “I am deeply persuaded that the foundation for people-transforming ministry is not sound theology; it is love…The hope of every sinner does not rest in theological answers but in the love of Christ for his own.” These sentences do not make any sense to me because the love of Christ is a doctrine. Rightly understanding Christ’s love is what sound theology is. Additionally, I was very confused at why Tripp then showed from scripture why the doctrine of Christ’s love was so foundational for transformation in our lives. If doctrine and sound theology were not needed, then why did he proceed with expositions of God’s word and teach us sound doctrine? I could not agree more that the love of Christ is the foundation for transformation, but the only reason that we know that this is true is because of sound biblical theology.
The section on confronting people with the truth in love was very helpful for me. I thought Tripp did an excellent job at explaining how grace of God in the gospel is the only transforming power to change people. Therefore, we must help people see their sin so that they can confess, repent, and be healed by the grace of God in the gospel. This was very helpful.