Counseling Under the Cross

Counseling Under the Cross

Counseling Under the Cross: How Martin Luther Applied the Gospel to Daily Life (New Growth Press, September 2017)

Martin Luther not only reformed theology, but his understanding of the gospel revolutionized soul care.

In Counseling Under the Cross, biblical counselor and noted author Bob Kellemen explains how Martin Luther’s gospel-centered and cross-focused pastoral care transformed his own approach to soul care.

As Kellemen mines Luther’s own writings and other first hand accounts, readers will gain a new understanding of how Luther richly, relevantly, robustly, and relationally applied the gospel to suffering, sin, sanctification, and our search for peace with God. Counseling Under the Cross will guide pastors, counselors, lay leaders, and friends toward a rich understanding of the gospel that will directly impact their personal ministry to others.

Through lively vignettes, real-life stories, and direct quotes from Luther, readers will be equipped to apply the gospel to themselves and others so together they find their hope and help in Christ alone.

Learn more and purchase a copy.


  • We need to think about others and less about self. When you lend a helping hand to others you reap so much more for yourself. People today need to go back to the basic principles of the scripture. Everyone’s soul needs tending and to do so, we need to stand one with the cross. Mr. Kellemen wrote this book, with extensive research to help us understand the Reformer’s basic message. IT will warm your heart and strengthen your soul. I encourage all to read this book and take to heart the message.

  • Counseling Under the Cross is a practically helpful resource for pastors, as well as lay and professional Christian counselors. This resource would also make a great supplemental reading for course work in a Christian counseling degree program. I would reccomend this resource with one disclaimer by reminding the reader that the scope of Dr. Kelleman’s book is pastoral counseling. In some cases parishioners may need more extensive counseling or psychological help requiring professional/clinical resources. However, the book adds great value to the field of pastoral counseling and its implementation into the life of the local church. Dr. Kelleman stands firmly on the biblical precedent as recovered by Martin Luther during the sixteenth century.

  • Bob Kellemen’s Counseling Under the Cross: How Martin Luther Applied the Gospel to Daily Life highlights an often underappreciated element of Martin Luther’s writing and work as a theologian: That Luther was, first and foremost, a priest who offered in word and counsel a message that pointed constantly and consistently to Jesus Christ.

  • We might be familiar with Luther’s conversion experience but not as familiar with how he used that new insight and faith to counsel others. Kellemen uses letters and table talks to show how Luther counseled. There is a good emphasis on the gospel, on the reality of sin and spiritual warfare. This is a good book for pastors and counselors but it may be a bit too scholarly for the average Christian.

  • I have been following Kellemen through his leadership at RPM Ministries and through some of his other books, he’s written. His ministry through both is gospel-centered and biblically sound. Counseling Under The Cross was no different.

  • Counseling Under the Cross by Bob Kellemen is a timely resource for any biblical counselor who desires to let Scripture reform their life, ministry, and counseling. The one who reads and heeds what is found in Counseling Under the Cross will be competent to robustly counsel in Christ alone and know deeper the love of God in Christ.

  • Are you struggling with spiritual trials? This is a helpful book for you if you answered yes.

    Learn how to counsel folks in different walks of life with different problems. In a Christ like way.

    Learn how Martin Luther counseled with a pastors heart to those in need.

    It’s a different read for me but it has so much information to learn and take in.

  • My Full Cup says:

    This book should be on the Must-Read list of every Christian counselor and/or pastor, as well anyone who has a heart to bring health and healing to the hurting in Jesus. 

  • I strongly urge pastors, counselors, and church leaders to prayerfully study Counseling Under the Cross.

  • Kcreatives says:

    At first I thought this was going to be over my head, or too technical for the average person. But, upon further reading, this book was helpful and very understandable. I appreciate how the book didn’t try to tackle every topic in the world of counseling but really stuck to 4 topics and how Luther saw fit to define those by the Word of God.

  • Being a lifelong Lutheran, it has been a very pleasant experience for me to read this book. Now that I have finished this book I feel a great deal of happiness knowing that there are other people in different educations, that have read the writings and history of Martin Luther, and apply them so well to their own lives.

  • And I absolutely love this book! Bob Kellemen has taken the time and energy, the blood, sweat and tears necessary, to make Martin Luther not only readable, but enjoyable. And liveable. Not an easy task in the contemporary historical / cultural context.

  • I am happy to recommend this book! It is a powerful teaching tool that will make a difference in many lives.

  • If you are a pastor or Christian counselor, your ministry will benefit from the advice Kellemen has gathered from the work and ministry of Martin Luther. Luther’s application of the Gospel to his daily life and ministry is an example of how it can be used today to benefit those who need hope in their suffering.

  • WORD Up! says:

    “Counseling Under the Cross” by Bob Kellemen is a fascinating read that chronicles the path of Martin Luther from desperate seeker to reformer to minister. Luther passionately sought to fill his own God-shaped hole with spiritual things. Recognizing the absence of what God intended to be relationship with his people, Luther thought becoming a monk would satisfy his soul. Eventually, he recognized, while reading the book of Romans, what was missing: the personal relationship with God that that does not come through ritualistic practice or misappropriated sacrifice.

  • The thoughtfully selected quotes in Counseling Under the Cross are like flowers plucked out of books that will likely lead many readers to the garden of Luther’s works in the future. May we all continue to minister the Word to our brothers and sisters who are suffering, fighting sin, and seeking to grow in holiness, standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us just as Dr. Kellemen has done with Luther.

  • With the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his theses coming up the end of this month, this is a very appropriate time to read Counseling Under the Cross. I found the bits and pieces from the life of Luther, interesting. It helps you become a bit better acquainted with this great reformer/protester.

    I think anyone involved with counseling will benefit from this book.

  • Fruitbearers says:

    There are so many valuable lessons and practical applications we can glean from Luther’s loving, insightful, hope-giving words of wisdom and ways of counseling. Counseling Under the Cross is a great resource for pastors, Christian counselors, and anyone who wants to offer Christ-centered, gospel-saturated, grace-based counseling to those who need to hear (including ourselves).

  • This book was beautiful writen and compelling to read

  • More of Him says:

    This is a very deep book but such an enjoyable book! It is definitely going to be something I refer to again and again as I share with others what the Gospel means in their lives. There is so many wonderful things to be gleaned from this book and I highly recommend it to everyone but especially to those in pastoral care. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

  • This author does a great job of sharing how Luther loved and cared for his flock. He demonstrates how Luther was able to put many souls at rest when he taught his followers of God’s grace. 

  • I think that unless you have a need to find God in Martin Luther King’s words, this book might not be for you.

  • Counseling Under the Cross is a fascinating read; I felt like I was right back in my church’s Reformation History class! As a European Studies major and perennial student, I loved revisiting church history and learned so much about Luther, both the man and the pastor.

  • Before reading Counseling Under the Cross, I was unaware of Luther’s pastoral heart. Reading about his compassion and care deepened my understanding of who he was. In this book, I was presented with a counseling approach that is all about Christ. Luther’s approach was not a system, nor built on human works; it was deeper and richer. It was all about helping people to live in Christ and to understand who he is.

  • If you are a pastor, or any part of the church board this book is perfect for you. It’s definitely filled with all kinds of interesting facts on how to apply the gospel to your every day living and help those around you. The real life experiences lend a unique approach to the book and those helped keep me interested in the book.

  • Counseling Under the Cross: How Martin Luther Applied the Gospel to Daily Life is a great resource for true Biblical Counseling. The book itself is a blend of the life of Luther & provides a historical account of the man himself. It then looks at him in a more personal way, showing the what/how/why he utilized the Bible and its truths to make the Bible the key resource in counseling others. I enjoyed both the history as well as the applicable insight that is still quite relevant today.

  • For anyone who thinks that Martin Luther was just a man who caused Reformation in his own day and age and is not relevant to this day and age, this book will set you straight! Author Bob Kellemen brings Martin Luther’s back to life and breathes life into them showing just how relevant and important they are today especially when counseling. I love how the insights and information are great not only for Pastors and counselors but for the average person who deals with giving advice to friends and loved one. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • Inspiration says:

    Kellemen’s work is strong in presentation, unique in perspective, thorough in research, and careful in documentation. The extensive Bibliography is an excellent resource tool for pastoral counseling and recovery. The book is a rich resource tool for Christian historical research on the reformation, and theological study on grace, salvation, and the cross.

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