Caring For One Another
Dr Edward T. Welch is no stranger to the world of Biblical counselling. He has written many helpful articles and books for the benefit of the church at large. Caring for one Another is a short and yet power-packed book about how we can be equipped to reach out in love towards other people in the local church. This book is based upon that wonderful passage in Ephesians 4 where Paul says that the risen and exalted Christ “gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:11–13).
The wonderful thing about this book is that it is not aimed at big “Theologians or Counsellors” who have hundreds of sessions under their belt. It is aimed at ordinary, believing church members who are humbled by their own struggles with sin and yet run and rest in Jesus their all-sufficient Saviour. The author argues that such people are the ones who have a humble frame of mind and can reach out to other people with care that is helpful. The author does however caution the readers that there will be situations that are overwhelming and will need the oversight and help of Pastors and leaders.
Dr Ed T. Welch does a great job at giving the readers 8 short chapters that logically progress towards building effective, long-term and strong relationships of Biblical love. Each chapter is followed by practical questions that make it obvious that the book is meant to be read in small groups and discussed together. The book is Gospel-centred because it reminds us that we can help others best when we ourselves run and rest in Christ and serve others out of such enjoyment. This book is a training manual too because each chapter explains what it takes to reach out in care but also gives scenarios and examples of questions one can use.
There is a chapter on reaching to the heart which explains very well how the human heart is covered with various layers. If we want to really care in the Biblical way then we need to really understand what we can learn about the other person’s heart. The book trains us about how various factors outside us do exert an influence upon us like people and circumstances. But this book not only helps us to learn about issues that are troubling others but also equips us to pray and communicate effectively. The author does a good job in grounding all the practical training in the truth that God has reached out to us in saving love first and hence we move out towards others in love. The chapter on “talking about suffering” is also very helpful. Suffering tests us whether we will trust in the promises of God. We, like Israel in the wilderness often fail to do so but Christ trusted God and His word in the wilderness and has become our sympathetic High Priest who can supply us with His power to trust and stay steadfast in trials.
This book is going to be very helpful in equipping the saints to not just be passive members but reach out in love even during these difficult days of Covid-19. Pastors and leaders are not able to reach out in care to everyone and it really will strengthen the church in the long run if all the members could be refreshed and equipped by this book.