III. Assessing Progress and Steadfastness of Resolution
1. The assumption that the sheep are being honest.
2. The recognition that these directives are not air-tight boxes.
A. Assessing progress while engaged in ongoing intensive counseling.
1. Is the patient taking the medicine? If not, why not?
2 Cor. 7:1
Js. 4:4; 4:17
2. Is the medicine working?
a. Check the frequency of falls.
b. Check the intensity of the fall.
c. Check the length of the rebound time.
3. If the medicine is not working, why not?
a. Is it the right medicine?
2 Tim. 2:24-26
b. Is it a carnal confidence in the medicine?
c. Is the Spirit applying the medicine?
Jay Adams, Christian Counselors’ Manual, pg. 459-461 for a list of 50 reasons why our counsel may not be producing evident fruit.
B. Assessing steadfastness in the apparent resolution of the problem(s).
1. It is a wonderful thing to see the kind of progress which leads to dismissal from intensive counseling to ordinary pastoral interaction.
2. However, we do not believe in any form of perfectionism.
1 Cor. 10:12
1 Thes. 4:9-10
3. In the course of regular pastoral interaction it is natural to assess ongoing resolution.
4. Urge the church member to take the initiative in letting you know how he is doing with the previous problem.
5. Use the occasion of praying for this individual to trigger fresh inquiry on your part.
IV. Guidelines for Dismissal
A. Introductory perspectives
1. Here we see the great privilege and blessing of carrying on this work within the framework of the church.
2. In this case it is dismissal into an ordinary pastor-sheep relationship with all the additional dimensions of increased mutual knowledge, love, intimacy and concern.
1 Thes. 5:11-12
B. Categories of dismissal
1. Dismissal in triumph
a. In this case the behavior has been altered and reinforced.
2 Cor. 7:5-16
2 Jn. 4
b. Express your joy at their obedience
2 Jn. 4
3 Jn. 3 & 4
c. Whenever possible let the person know that you may send someone else to him who is struggling with similar problems.
2 Cor. 1:3-6
2. Dismissal due to an impasse
a. You may have no more clear counsel to give.
b. You must terminate the sessions with the assurance of your prayers for them.
c. Some of the factors that may produce the impasse are:
(1) They may be hiding sin.
(2) It may be that God has not yet revealed the root issue.
(3) There may dimensions of the mysteries of God’s sovereign will.
1 Cor. 3:7
David Murray, Christians Get Depressed Too, (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), pp. 66-67.
(4) There may be factors resulting from God’s chastening.
2 Sam. 12:11-14
Jay Adams, Competent to Counsel, pp. 56-59.
3. Dismissal by referral
a. You may come to the conclusion that you are in over your head. If so don’t try to bluff it but look for help.
b. You may come to the conclusion that ongoing involvement will consume too much of your time.
c. You may become convinced that the problem is primarily physical and not spiritual.
1 Tim. 5:23
4. Dismissal to a framework of corrective church discipline.
a. Consult 2 Thes. 3:6-15 for a clear example.
1 Thes. 4:11-12; 5:14
b. Consult Mt. 18:15-20
c. When dealing with certain chronic sinful patterns we may have to threaten public exposure.
1 Cor. 5:9-13
Jay Adams, More Than Redemption, pp. 286-293.