You are here‘COUNSEL FROM THE CROSS: Connecting Broken People To The Love Of Christ' … a must-have book for all of us!

‘COUNSEL FROM THE CROSS: Connecting Broken People To The Love Of Christ' … a must-have book for all of us!

By stephen - Posted on 03 July 2013

“Discover the power to defeat sin and sadness, conflict and bitterness, self-pity and self-contempt, not by walking beyond the gospel that first brought us into the favor and family of God but rather by moving more deeply into that same gospel.”

This provocative quote from ‘Counsel From the Cross’ neatly sums up what this book is about and where its main focus lay – God’s ‘immeasurable’ on-going love in the gospel and how this MUST impact authentic ‘Christian’ counselling.

In what must be a compulsory addition to anyone’s library (not just ‘counsellors’; please take note here - we are all consellors) this book is a real gem – a timely and critical book on effective counselling.

Why is it so good?

Please read on …


Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis E Johnson have co-authored an extremely helpful and practical book for all Christians on counselling in relation to the sufficiency of Christ’s work on behalf of His people.

However, the default process for most of us is to only look back to the Cross and not its ongoing application which is profound to say the very least.

The authors rightly regard the gospel as non-negotiable in the present lives of every Christian; beyond their individual (personal) historical conversion ‘dates’ of the past which is a mistake we all make far too often.

Essentially this book is a every-persons-counsellor’s book that is about true gospel liberation. Therefore, as stated previously, it is a book for everyone for in its pages one is forced to re-look at the amazing implications of Christ’s work in the now and how this impacts the practical out-workings of our lives as fallen people but much loved people (a constant theme of this excellent book).

I personally found it very, very helpful.

Let me explain. For some years now I have been very concerned at the inexcusible surrendering of counselling to the so-called 'professionals' who, it must be said, are mostly grounded in a false view of the human person. Surely Christians can counsel Christians – surely the broken can be offered hope from everyday people like you and I who are not only grounded in the Gospel with a high view of Scripture but as persons who are in Christ. Why have we surrendered so easily to the humanistic psychotherapies of the world with their materialist view of the human person?

It’s just so bewildering!

Counsel From The Cross: Connecting Broken People To The Love Of Christ is a very readable and easy book to connect with. There are very few technical discussions but many poignant scenarios of everyday people and it’s not difficult at all to identify with the various practical vignettes posed by the authors.

The story of Madeleine, a hardworking mother of 5 who discovers her eldest daughter is living a double life; the story of Doug whose deep dark secret is pornography and the story of Sally and Chad who are drifting perilously apart from each other in their once joyous marriage.

How can the Gospel help these people? How can a loving brother or sister intervene in the lives of these ordinary people using the scriptures as their trusted reference point?

The book not only proposes that indeed these people can be assisted in their present sins and burdens but, in fact, they can only be effectively counselled in accord with the gospel.

One huge strength of this book is how it Biblically, and cleverly, it constantly emphasises the ‘immeasurable’ love of God for the redeemed sinner.

Many of us can become so weighed down by our sins and failings that we wonder if God still loves us now at all. The authors deal with this with a precision surgical knife that leaves no doubt at all about God’s ‘immeasurable’ love for His elect – despite our constant failings and sins.

“What will ignite a white-hot passion in our hearts? Only trusting in God’s love or us. Only the gospel annihilates self-condemnation. Only love stimulates love.” (p.57)

We are taken to the Cross where God so effectively dealt with all of our sins – past, present and future (not just past sins). We are reminded time and time again that we are extremely loved by God who has dealt with our sin in the very Person of His beloved Son.

As we walk this earth we encounter difficulties of all kinds and as Christians we constantly drift into sin. We either become despondent or we become blasé. What should be our attitude? How can we live a victorious life on planet Earth as sinners? By our own efforts? Or is there more? Is their hope in our darkest moments?

Counsel From The Cross: Connecting Broken People To The Love Of Christ shouts from the highest rooftop in your town or city that there is immense hope. Not just for us but for the Christian brothers and sisters who we come into daily contact with. How can we help them? By counselling from the Gospel – that’s how! We don't always need to be 'professionals'.

Some of my favourite quotes from the book:

“It’s axiomatic [goes without saying] that we begin our Christianity by faith in the righteousness that he supplies through Jesus Christ. What most of us miss is that we progress in our sanctification the same way.” (p.122)

“How are we to fight against the accusations of our conscience? How can we silence conscience’s condemning voice? We take refuge from God in God.” (p.120)

“We have chosen to call the model we are presenting in this book gospel-centered counselling rather than just Christian or even biblical counselling. Because many Christians are still trying to integrate the failed methods of humanistic psychology with the Bible…” (p.98)

I not only highly recommend this book to you but warmly as well. Please get a copy!

SR Cracknell



Elyse M. Fitzpatrick is not only a retreat and conference speaker but also a staff counselor at Grace Church in San Diego, which is part of the Sovereign Grace family of churches. She holds a Masters in biblical counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary, has nearly twenty years in biblical counseling experience, and has authored nearly a dozen books including Comforts from the Cross: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Time and Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life. She is also the head of Women Helping Women Ministries.

Dennis E. Johnson (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary) is professor of practical theology at Westminster Seminary California and associate pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church, Escondido. He is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and the author of Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation; Lets Study Acts; The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption; Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures and Counsel from the Cross.


This book was kindly donated to us by KOORONG BOOKS and is available for purchase at a very reasonable cost; details HERE.

•    Catalogue Code: 353355
•    Product Code:9781433534133
•    ISBN: 1433534134
•    Publication Date: April 2012



(CHRISTIAN FAITH is a non-commercial site. Koorong very kindly donate books to us to be reviewed - at our invitation. Our reviews are our own opinions; written in terms of how useful a book may be to you.)

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