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What Is Soul Care?

What is Biblical Soul Care? It is a spiritual lifestyle commanded and modeled throughout both the Old and New Testaments. In addition to being actively pursued in several periods throughout church history, it was epitomized by the 17th century English clergyman, Richard Baxter (1615-1691) who serves as an effective practical model for biblical soul care to individual believers, families, and the local church. Baxter’s passion for God’s Word and for the souls (i.e. the spiritual hearts) of God’s people is reflected in his own words, “I preached as never sure to preach again and as a dying man to dying men.” These words were motivated by the medical diagnosis that he was dying of an incurable disease. In light of this sobering news, Baxter was determined all the more to invest in the souls of men, caring for them with an urgency and passion of a “[physically] dying man” whose days were numbered, ministering the Word of God to “[spiritually] dying men” in need of a Savior and the transforming words of God!

Soul care can be defined as, discipleship, accountability, mentoring, and biblical counseling, which utilizes the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7) and the authority and sufficiency of Scripture (Ps 19:7-11; Rom 12:1; Gal 3:10; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 1 Thes 2:13; Heb 4:12; Rev 22:18-19) to provide help and hope, resulting in permanent spiritual heart change in the lives of believers as they grow in the image of Christ’s moral character and will.

The apostle Peter describes it this way, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Pet 1:3-4). In light of these truths, soul care should be the daily passion and purpose of every genuine disciple of Christ!