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Helpful Truth in Past Places: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Counselling (Deckard)

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Christian Focus Publications
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Helpful Truth in Past Places examines the teachings of leading Puritan writers-theologians who were masters at understanding the nature of human beings and applying Scripture in practical ways to help people with their struggles and problems. Looking to Scripture as the final authority, the Puritans grounded their own counselling practices in a proper view of the sovereignty of God and the underlying heart issues of people. By understanding why people struggle and the provision God makes for our struggles, counsellors today will be better equipped to guide those they counsel toward God-appointed solutions.

"Despite our modern prejudices," Deckard explains, the problems of the Puritans' time "were not all that different than our own." These men and women, like us, fought issues of fear, depression and sense of purpose. Their world was, like ours, clouded by poverty, loss of children, abuse and alcoholism. Guided by a biblical view of God and self, they found their answers in unchanging doctrinal truth. Each chapter in Helpful Truth in Past Places guides readers through a particular issue and points to the applicable teachings of a Puritan writer on that topic. Jonathan Edwards explores our emotional frailties. Jeremiah Burroughs deals with anxiety and dissatisfaction. And John Flavel takes on the age-old question of "why?" A welcome infusion of sound biblical understanding.

Table of Contents:

  1. New is Not Necessarily better
  2. Why is This Happening to me?: The Mystery of Providence – John Flavel
  3. Anxious and Dissatisfied: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment – Jeremiah Burroughs
  4. What Does Sin Have to Do with My Problem: Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers – John Owen
  5. No One Understands My Problems: Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
  6. I Just Need to Stop Feeling, Correct?: The Religious Affections – Jonathan Edwards
  7. How can I find Joy Again?: A Lifting Up for the Downcast – William Bridge
  8. The Devil Made Me do It?: Previous Remedies Against Satan’s Devices – Thomas Brooks
  9. Conclusion   



Dr. Mark Deckard serves as Director of Biblical Counseling Training, a ministry of Christian Counseling Associates. He has been involved in leadership and administrative roles with CCA and with the Prison Ministry in York.



"Before there was a discipline called psychology, many Puritan authors were outstanding biblical psychologists possessed of clear insight to the human frame. Mark Deckard ably distills the essence of 17th century wisdom for 21st century counselors in areas such as God's providence, personal contentment, repentance and depression. I already wonder about a sequel volume, lending this kind of accessibility to more of the existing Puritan treasure trove of practical guidance for Christian living." - Michael A. Rogers, Sr. Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

"It was J I Packer who likened the Puritans to the Giant Redwoods, now Mark Deckard shows us why. With the skillful hands of a gifted counselor and the inquisitive mind of a pilgrim, Deckard brings us into conversation with these Puritan greats and artfully displays for us their insights into life and relationships. Every Christian counselor, professional or otherwise, ought to pull up a chair and listen in and learn from this conversation." - Stephen J. Nichols, President, Reformation Bible College, CAO Ligonier Ministries, Sanford, Florida