Unexpected Counsel from Martin Luther

Aaron Armstrong | October 30, 2017


For the average person, “pastoral care” and “Martin Luther” are probably strange bedfellows. If your Luther knowledge is limited to tales of bold opposition to the papacy or the painfully entertaining Luther Insult Generator, I wouldn’t blame you. After all, it’s his one-man-against-an-empire mystique that captures the imagination. But if we’re not careful, spending too much time looking at Luther as the great reformer can make you miss out on Luther the pastoral counselor.

Bob Kellemen brings this side of Luther to light in Counseling Under the Cross: How Martin Luther Applied The Gospel to Daily Life. Kellemen—vice president for institutional advancement and chair of the biblical counseling department at Crossroads Bible College—explores the theology and methodology of Luther’s pastoral care ministry, demonstrating why we can, and should, look to Luther as a valuable source of wisdom as we help one another grow in Christ.

Hopeful Words for Comfort and Correction

Theologically and methodologically, the gospel was everything in Luther’s counseling ministry. According to Kellemen:

Luther turned the counseling of his day back to the Christ of the cross. Satan insists that we cannot trust God’s heart. The Christ of the cross is the one image, the one reality, the one truth…


To read the rest of this article, visit https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/book-review-counseling-under-the-cross.