Finally after over a week at the Chaplains' Course (all Protestant Christians, remember), Jesus showed up! After a very frustrating first week at BCC, where Christ was all but absent and any mention of his name brought strange silence, by his grace he broke into our class in a very unexpected way...in counseling classes! Call me a skeptic, but I fully expected our counseling training here at CSI to be little more than secular psychology 'baptized' with a few Scripture verses here and there if we were lucky. Based on what I had seen in the Air Force and heard from others who had attended this course in the past, I admit that I held out little hope for this training.
This week we had training in suicide prevention, pre-marital counseling, and basic pastoral counseling. While some of this training had a secular background, our chaplain-instructor was clear to make his case that sin is at the core of all human problems and our ultimate point in counseling is to point folks to the cross of Christ. Hallelujah! It surely shouldn't be novel that Christian pastoral counseling focus on the cross...but it was a breath of fresh air to hear him teach and lead us to explore the implication of the cross for particular counseling scenarios. All in all, it ended up being a very valuable week of pastoral instruction and training!
Here's the real irony (maybe?), as a class made up primarily of those within the pale of Evangelical Christianity, it was NOT at the hands of an Evangelical that we were rescued from last week's insanity. No, in fact, our sufferings last week were at the hands of cross-less and Christ-less Evangelicals...grace shined through into our class courtesy of a conservative Lutheran chaplain (Missouri Synod). In other words, we weren't turned back to Christ by any of the glitzy, glamorous, trendy, exciting, relevance of contemporary Evangelical chri$tian thought but by a humble, Christ-centered attitude passed down by a German monk nearly 500 years ago:
"I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death...This is most certainly true."
(Martin Luther, Small Catechism)
Thank you, Doctor Luther, for again rescuing Christ's Church from her Babylonian captivity...