SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Dr. Jeff Newman, Safe Haven administrator at Baptist Mid-Missions, spoke at the 2021 Spring Conference of the Illinois / Eastern Missouri Association of Regular Baptist Churches. In three sessions, Newman addressed “Hope in Christ in Marriage Counseling,” “Advancing God’s Glory in Human Sexuality,” and “Fostering God’s Definition of Guilt, Shame, and Forgiveness.”
IL-MO Representative Bernie Augsburger reported on the conference in the association’s newsletter, Trumpet Notes.
In the session on marriage counseling, Newman pointed out that most of the popular books on marriage/family are theologically weak and not fully adequate in the application of Biblical principles. Dr. Newman says that most difficulties in marriages can be solved by counsel that focuses on sanctification.
Then, in addressing the need for God’s glory in human sexuality, Dr. Newman explained the Bible’s teaching on men and women, their roles in marriage, and the Biblical principles that set the boundaries for sexual expression. Augsburger recapped Newman’s message, saying,
It is possible to tarnish God’s glory in human sexuality by sinful actions. The sinful heart alone is the sufficient cause of all sinful responses. All sin happens in a context, but context is not the source of our sin. All sin begins with inward desires, which usually [focus] on relational connections. This pattern creates a world view of what the person wants from life; i.e., what he thinks he must have in order to be happy and fulfilled in life.
In the third session, Dr. Newman spoke on the need for God’s definition of guilt, shame, and forgiveness, pointing out that Christians can choose to submit to the standard of God’s Word or submit to sources outside God’s Word. He concluded that Christians should measure guilt and shame based on God’s standards of morality, not on personal or cultural context. Newman concluded that ultimately, a pastor’s goal in counseling is Christlikeness and that Christians’ hope is in Christ.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Newman has written on subjects having to do with sanctification / growth in Christlikeness, conflict, hope, and other related topics. Regular Baptist Press* offers several:
- Conflict under Control (a study of Philippians, available in English and Spanish)
- Dependence in the Wilderness
- Facing Life’s Challenges
Dr. Newman also contributed to The Pastor: A Guide for God’s Faithful Servant in the chapter “Biblical Counseling: Discipleship in the Details.”
Dave Fox, senior pastor of Grace Church, which hosted the event, says Newman’s messages were “timely, indeed, for the days in which we live!”