Nearly two years ago, I took a 12-week on-line distance course from Christian Counseling and Education Foundation called “Dynamics of Biblical Change.” It was the start of a new way of looking at/dealing with life and its inevitable heat and thorns. I was impressed with how Biblical and sound the teaching is, and how it meets people in the real world. (CCEF is part of Westminster Theological Seminary, whose bookstore I have posted as a link in the right sidebar.)
The Dynamics course is the prerequisite for 2 other courses: ‘Helping Relationships’ and ‘Counseling in the Local Church.’ I’m a month into ‘Helping Relationships’ now, and am so very grateful for the opportunity. Dr. Paul Tripp is the lecturer, and his book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands is our main textbook. Dr. Tripp is dynamic and so excitable that he frequently gets his words fumbled up in his hurry and enthusiasm to get them out. Often he’ll say “Now fasten your seatbelts for this one.” Or today it was “Now take that and smoke it in your theology pipe!”
I am learning that the Bible is not an encyclopedia for resources or topics. If it were, it would have come topically indexed in Greek and Hebrew. It is the epic story of God’s glory, and we needy, fallible humans get to witness, experience, and spread that glory as His ambassadors. I want to learn methods to help myself and others to change more into God’s likeness and glory, and this course is a good way of helping that happen.
If you love people, and feel called to any kind of Christian ministry, and have about one spare day per week for 3 months, I highly recommend these courses. Every week there is a down-loaded lecture to listen to, chapters and articles to read, response paper to write, reading quiz to study for and community forum to respond to–all due every Thurs. midnight. Dr. Tripp emphasizes that change happens in community, and the only way to do that long-distance as a class is to have a community board. At first it felt clunky and stiff, but the group spirit is coming slowly, and I have been amazingly ministered to already. I feel incredibly blest to have the time/energy/money to take in this privilege.