American Association of Christian Counselors: Biblical Charlatans
We have written several articles in the past about the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), which are available on our web site.
AACC: Ecumenism and Insufficiency of Scripture
The AACC reports: "Nearly 50,000 members and growing stronger each day." Imagine the influence these "nearly 50,000 members" are having throughout the church. One thing the AACC does not report is the fact that they are highly ecumenical. There is no statement of faith to which one must subscribe to be a member. Anyone can join the AACC, including unbelievers, occultists, and even satanists, if they so desire.
No matter how much Bible is included in their teachings, the AACC has an insufficiency-of-Scripture position, i.e., the AACC does not believe that the Bible is sufficient to minister to the personal, marital, and family problems of living normally taken to a psychotherapist. The AACC is integrationist and therefore believes in and prolifically promotes counseling psychology, in spite of the fact that no one has ever proven that psychological counseling can trump the Bible when it comes to the kinds of problems of living generally taken to a psychotherapist. Think about it: For almost 2000 years the Word of God, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the fellowship of the saints have been sufficient for such problems, whereas counseling psychology has existed as a licensed profession for only about fifty years and has yet to justify its existence in the scientific literature. As we have documented elsewhere, the influx and inflation of counseling psychology in society and the church was a political victory, not supported by scientific research.1
AACC: Light University
This current article is the result of receiving a recent mailing from the AACC. The AACC brochure displays the logo of their Light University and offers to have one "Become a Board Certified Biblical Counselor" (BCBC). The advertising invites one to "Earn your Diploma in Biblical Counseling!" Then the clincher is "Study at Home at Your Own Pace." The enclosed letter states that "Light University Announces New Diploma Program in Biblical Counseling Leading to the Board Certified Biblical Counselor Credential." As with their past offerings, this package comes with a price tag, which is $750 per course. However, if you enroll by the deadline you save "$400 on your first course." The letter announces that you can "Earn your Diploma in Biblical Counseling" by completing only "three of the current programs offered." As for popularity, the AACC says, "Over 100,000 individuals and churches have enrolled in what is now known as Light University."
Multiplying 100,000 by $400 per course for the first course and $750 for future courses, one can see that this is a huge financial corporation. We say "corporation" rather than "university," as they call themselves, because Light University is not an accredited educational institution. For example, Bob Jones University is accredited and they tell by whom they are accredited: "Bob Jones University is a member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)."
The fact that one becomes a "Board Certified Biblical Counselor" (BCBC) from Light University, which is a non-accredited institution, would be useless for recognition purposes at accredited universities, such as BJU. Simply said, the credits earned, money spent, courses taken, and diploma earned at Light University would be of no transfer value at BJU and other accredited universities. Anyone familiar with accreditation standards would know after reading the AACC description of their BCBC program that it could not be accredited by any organization authorized by the United States Department of Education (USDE). The USDE educational accreditation system, set up in America with its authorized regional accrediting agencies, establishes standards to protect both those who wish to be educated and those trusting graduates, such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. Numerous Bible colleges and seminaries throughout America are accredited in this way, just as are medical schools, law schools, etc.
The AACC web site lists their 35 Advisory Board members from Dan Allender to H. Norman Wright. All are committed to an integrationist view of Scripture plus secular psychological counseling systems; all have an insufficiency-of-Scripture view when it comes to problems of living normally taken to a psychotherapist. Those who are putting in their time and money to earn the BCBC diploma will be counselors, but not biblical counselors. They will be integrationists, because they are being trained by integrationists. Many of the individuals who enroll in the AACC programs are integrationist-minded, but others are duped into believing the programs are biblical throughout, when, as a matter of fact, they are not. Reading the names of the courses offered and the names and degrees of the teachers will lead one to conclude that this is psychoheresy.
The individuals who have the diploma will additionally not be able to be licensed counselors, because the BCBC diploma is useless for such a purpose. As a matter of fact, having such a diploma with the word "counselor" in the title may make such persons vulnerable to a lawsuit, especially if they charge a fee for counseling. The churches, schools, and mission agencies that employ such individuals need to be aware of the possibility of a lawsuit, as well, knowing that these individuals are trained in and wedded to a psychological integrationist approach, meaning that there will be an absence of a truly biblical approach, which would be protected by the First Amendment.
The Wisdom of God in His Word
The AACC courses are not truly biblical counseling courses. They are comprised of a number of clumsy attempts to amalgamate the truth of God with the very wisdom of men that God has warned His people about (1 Cor. 2:5). The wisdom of God needs no assistance when it comes to psychological problems of living. Let’s first look at the wisdom of God, which is found in His Word. The following are some brief Scriptures revealing the wisdom of God:
2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
The people of God are made "perfect" (mature) through the Word and are "thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
2 Peter 1:3:
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.
Christians have "all things that pertain unto life and godliness" and are "partakers of the divine nature," and thus have "escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4).
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Word activated by the Holy Spirit is so powerful that it is "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." No psychological wisdom can claim what this verse declares. Many Bible verses speak about the heart. The one we probably all know best is Jeremiah 17:9-10: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart."
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Eph. 4: 11,12).
God has provided in the fellowship of believers those who minister "for the perfecting of the saints." They encourage maturity, that is, walking more and more according to the Spirit rather than the very flesh that Christians are to war against.
We could go on for hundreds of verses, but it really is not necessary. These verses make foolishness out of the AACC-endorsed psychological wisdom of men. With all of these provisions and promises of God plus hundreds of others, we do not need the psychological wisdom of men. As a matter of fact, adding the imperfect psychological wisdom of man to the perfect wisdom of God actually subtracts from pure wisdom by diminishing, displacing, diluting, and distorting it. The resulting "wisdom" is then no longer perfect. Those, like AACC, who offer psychological substitutes for what God has already said are doing the work of the world, the flesh, or the devil. The Apostle Paul’s reference to certain individuals in his day is an apt description of AACC: "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." Paul concludes the verse with advice that we would give to others regarding the AACC: "from such turn away" (2 Tim. 3:5).
AACC’s Hopeless Bible
The AACC publishes a Bible laced with psychology, titled The Bible for Hope: Caring for People God’s Way. The AACC "Contributors" listed for their Bible contain many of the Who’s Who of psychological integrationists. Some of the contributors on the list would claim they are not integrationists. However, all on the list must subscribe to or support the integrationist position or why would they participate, knowing the intent and content of the AACC Bible? Their involvement in a blatantly integrationist Bible project says it all.
The introduction of the AACC Bible gives an overview as to its content and intent. The intent is obviously to promote the integrationist position and therefore the content follows. The intent and content of the AACC Bible are revealed in the following:
We can view the helping ministry of the church as a three-legged stool. The first leg is the pastor (or pastoral counselor)…. The second leg is the lay helpers working in volunteer ministry under pastoral and church supervision. The third leg is the professional Christian counselor, to whom the more severe and difficult cases are referred. All three legs must be strong and working in unison to fulfill their ministry to hurting souls (bold added).2
The three-legged stool image dramatically communicates that, if one of the legs, such as the "professional Christian counselor" leg, is missing, the stool will fall. All three legs are needed for the stool to stand and they must be equal for it to stand straight and properly support someone. The conclusion is that the "professional Christian counselor" is as important and necessary as the pastor and lay helpers. However, even though the AACC presents the three legs as equal, the AACC only refers individuals to licensed Christian counselors and not to a "pastor (or pastoral counselor)."
At the AACC web site there is a page for the "Christian Care Network" (CCN). On this page one can click on "CCN Counselors in Your Area." The AACC recommends only licensed counselors and does not recommend unlicensed individuals, regardless of educational background or whether they are pastors. Neither are any individuals with the AACC BCBC diploma recommended, unless they have also been licensed as counselors through their State licensing board. It is interesting that they would want churches, mission agencies, and other Christian groups to trust and use these individuals who have earned the AACC BCBC diploma when the AACC does not even recommend them for counseling through their CCN.
From the Day of Pentecost onward no third-leg professional Christian counselor was needed. This third leg was established by the last-days say-so of professional counselors without any scientific justification for what they do. As we have said, no one has ever proven that psychological counseling can trump the Bible when it comes to the kinds of problems of living generally taken to a psychotherapist. We have challenged those Johnny-come-lately psychotherapists with their recently-arrived-on-the-scene psychotherapies to scientifically demonstrate that their Dead Sea wisdom of men is better than the Living Water of the Word of God to minister to suffering saints or that there is any biblical or scientific reason to supplement what God has already given, which has been effectively used by believers since the beginning of the church. The burden of proof is on the AACC, a proof they have never provided.
The claim by the AACC that the third-leg professional counselor "to whom the more severe and difficult cases are referred" is needed is, scientifically speaking, totally in error. The weight of the academic evidence is contrary to this AACC claim. We have provided a lot of research to debunk this claim of the AACC regarding "the more severe and difficult cases." Here is one of many proofs contradicting the AACC claim: Dr. Hans Strupp, a distinguished professor and researcher at Vanderbilt University, has stated the following based upon many years of research: "Psychotherapy is most helpful to those who need it least." When you add to this the fact that no one has yet scientifically proven that professional therapists do any better than amateurs, as well as other research conclusions, it is clear that the AACC’s three-legged stool needs to be replaced with confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture so that the three-legged stool is rightly constructed with the Word of God, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the fellowship of the saints. After over thirty years of ministering to individuals, couples and families and having written numerous books on the subject, we would paraphrase Strupp by saying: "The Word of God is most helpful to those who need it most," as well as to others. It is sad that those in the AACC do not believe that, or why the need for integration and their sham three-legged stool? As long as the large mega-multi-million-dollar income occurs whenever AACC offers a new program or certificate, they will continue to proceed, regardless of any scientific proof provided and regardless of the evidence contrary to their claims, because that’s what they have done right along.
AACC’s "Christian Crisis Response Training"
We have read past mailings of the AACC for years. In fact, we exposed the AACC’s "Christian Crisis Response Training" program as a secular, psychological program that is not supported in the scientific research. Yet, the AACC revealed that "more than 7,000 individuals" were trained in it. Think of the massive income they received for a program that is without empirical support! As we have said before:
Caveat Emptor (Let the buyer beware.) and Caveat Venditor (Let the seller beware.) are two warnings that have not and apparently will not be heeded by the profit-driven AACC and its eager certificate-hungry, problem-centered counseling customers. The AACC is just one piece and admittedly a large piece of the unholy mixture of psychology and the Bible that they call integration and we call psychoheresy. As we have said elsewhere, there is nothing unusual about this integration approach. It can be found in practically every Bible College, seminary, Christian school and church in America. The ones that are not integrated are the exceptions. This plethora of psychoheresy in the church is an abomination! As we have continually asked: Where are the pastors, theologians, and church leaders who are willing to speak out against such heresy? 3
Because the scientific evidence revealed that the AACC program called "Christian Crisis Response Training" had "no reliable studies demonstrating the efficacy of group debriefing" (the subject of the AACC training program) and that there are reasons to suspect that the briefing may be harmful in some instances, a tuition refund should be given to the more than 7000 individuals trained. Honesty would dictate that such a refund occur, but don’t hold your breath.
A Question and Comments
Is your church, denomination, Bible college, seminary, school, or mission agency involved by cooperating with or by being a member of AACC? Involvement in any way indicates support for the insufficiency-of-Scripture position of the AACC. Any medical claim or cure requires scientific evidence to support it; why not ask for the same from these AACC biblical charlatans? The AACC has never provided scientific support for their psychological integration; all they can say is that everyone is doing it.
AACC, like the Israelites in 2 Samuel 8, have raised up the professional counselor as king rather than fully relying on the Word of God. They have bowed their knees to the modern-day Baal of psychological counseling and offered their souls at its altar.
1 "The Dirty Dozen," www. psychoheresy-aware.org.
2 The Bible for Hope, p. x.
3 "AACC Caveat Emptor, Caveat Venditor," www. psychoheresy-aware.org.
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, March-April 2008, Vol. 16, No. 2)
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