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Dale Johnson’s Legal Issues in Biblical Counseling Released Today

Posted September 20, 2022 by Brett Fredenberg

KANSAS CITY, Mo – Midwestern Seminary announced today the release of Legal Issues in Biblical Counseling: Direction and Help for Churches and Counselors by Dale Johnson, associate professor of biblical counseling at Midwestern Seminary and executive director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.

In this book, Johnson focuses on the many legal issues facing pastors, ministry leaders, and counselors today. From governmental regulations regarding moral issues in counseling to responsibilities toward God and governing authorities, Johnson partners with a team of legal experts to provide a source of help for those engaging in ministry.

Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen commented on the recent release, “Dale Johnson is one of the most trusted voices in the biblical counseling movement, and his Legal Issues in Biblical Counseling is another helpful resource for ministers and churches alike. I highly recommend it.”

Previously serving as a pastor himself, Johnson’s heart is for the local church. He wrote this book as one who understands the complexities facing pastors and counselors.

Reflecting on the inspiration for the book, Johnson said, “I consistently hear of the fear pastors have regarding legal issues and biblical counseling. There are times pastors are hindered from engaging in counseling ministry because they fear making legal missteps.”

As legal concerns for non-licensed biblical counselors continue to grow within the United States, Johnson shared, “It was clear that the church was in need of a resource to encourage and equip pastors and church leaders to establish biblical counseling ministries.”

“To my knowledge, no resource like the one we’ve produced exists. I, along with a group of seasoned legal professionals, wrote this book so that the church may minister the Scriptures without the fear of litigation.”

Recognizing the desire many pastors have to care for people well, Johnson addressed this growing issue to help pastors live out their ministry calling without hindrance.

“It’s important for pastors and counselors to understand the current legal landscape as it relates to non-licensed religious counselors,” he said, “so that they may counsel and minister without fear of legal issues, should they arise.”

“This book will help pastors and counselors examine their current practices and provide them with helpful guidance and templates as they seek to solidify their processes and forms.”

Through equipping ministers with proper documentation, Legal Issues in Biblical Counseling seeks to provide protection for ministers from the cultural landscape in which they exist.

“One goal of this book,” Johnson said, “is to avoid unnecessary litigation by making sure church and ministry documents are consistent with the church’s beliefs and practices.”

“Careful and clear expression of church and ministry practices is one of the best ways to avoid frivolous or unnecessary legal issues,” he continued. “This book will equip pastors and biblical counselors as they prepare to navigate litigation and other legal issues, should they arise. It also provides helpful insight into the rights religious organizations have in the United States.”

Ultimately, Johnson hopes this book will allow pastors and counselors to minister the Word of God with boldness and confidence.

As he said, “So much of the fear of ministry today comes from things that are unknown. We help you prepare specific documents, such as your membership covenant, as you think about practical ministry of the Word.”

“We want to help you think through so many of the elements pressuring us today,” he continued. “We want you to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves as you prepare and practice the ministry of God’s Word without fearing legal issues that may arise.”

As Johnson writes in the book’s summary, “In Legal Issues in Biblical Counseling, pastors and biblical counselors who are seeking to faithfully lead, mentor, and guide their flocks in a rapidly changing cultural landscape will find clear direction and guidance from a team of Christian lawyers.”

Legal Issues in Biblical Counseling has received several noteworthy reviews.

Alasdair Groves, executive director of CCEF, said, “This book raises questions your church needs to engage. The authors help churches understand both the biblical necessity and the current legal context of doing problem-centered discipleship, aka. biblical counseling.”

John D. Street, chair of the graduate department of biblical counseling at The Master’s University and Seminary, also noted, “As society changes, so does its laws. Legal Issues in Biblical Counseling will provide insightful and practical recommendations to help your church maintain a wise and low legal profile while actively pursuing its counseling ministry. I highlight recommend it!”

Legal Issues in Biblical Counseling is now available for purchase.


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