American Association of Christian Counselors: A Sham and a Shame
We explain in Part One that the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) is a sham and how they havedenied the sufficiency of Scripture by turning to the very wisdom of men about which God warns those who truly belong to Him. The AACC 2011 World Conference brochure provides much material to reveal the real roots and intents of the organization. We mentioned that the AACC has almost 50,000 members. In comparing the AACC membership with that of the three best-known professional organizations that provide therapy, the American Psychological Association (APA) is larger than the AACC, but the American Psychiatric Association with 38,000 members and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) with 25,000 members are both smaller.
We assume that a number of the conference speakers are members of the APA or the AAMFT. Both organizations are heavily loaded with anti-biblical positions, which their members are required to follow. One example is a "Non-Discrimination" clause from the "Code of Ethics for Marriage and Family Therapists": "Marriage and family therapists do not condone or engage in discrimination or refuse professional service to anyone on the basis of race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic, or marital status." All of the national associations, such as the ones for psychologists, psychiatrists, and marriage and family therapists have equivalent requirements, which the AACC state-licensed therapists must follow or risk losing their licenses. Consider the reference to "sexual orientation." Every state has its own licensing requirements for clinical psychologists and marriage and family therapists (MFTs) as well as other therapists such as psychiatric social workers. We decided to ask our two state licensing offices here in California questions with regard to a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person coming to a licensed counselor. Could the psychologist or MFT refuse service to such a person? Could the psychologist or MFT attempt to talk the person out of his/her orientation? If the LGBT person desires to live more peacefully as an LGBT person, would the psychologist or MFT be obligated to assist with this objective? Of course the answers to these questions apply equally well to a Christian licensed psychologist and MFT. In each case the answer from our California State offices was that if an LGBT person filed a complaint because of the refusal to serve, or an attempt to talk the person out of his/her sexual orientation, or failure to assist, an investigation would surely follow. Now we were not told what the outcome would be, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see that at minimum there would be a reprimand and a need on the part the licensed Christian psychologist or MFT to follow the "Non-Discrimination" section of the "Code of Ethics" or lose his/her license!
Other requirements for licensed Christian psychologists and MFTs about which we will not elaborate have to do with abortion and same-gender marriage. In addition, Christian psychologists and MFTs would be required to assist occultists, Satanists, Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and individuals of all faiths without being able to proselytize, persuade, or dissuade in matters of faith and practice. In summary, Christian licensed counselors are by license and profession to operate within the bounds of using their psychological training, techniques, theories, and methodologies within the framework of a professional code of ethics, absent their Christian beliefs, no matter how contrary their counselees’ beliefs and practices are to the Bible. That is one of a number of reasons why we recommend against Christians becoming licensed as psychological counselors of any kind.
Guilty of Psychoheresy!
The following are the Plenary Speakers for the AACC 2011 World Conference who thereby support the worldwide efforts of an organization thatdoes not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture for the trials, tribulations, and sufferings of life: Luis Palau, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, Wess Stafford, Mike Huckabee, John Ortberg, John Townsend, Diane Langberg, Ed Young, Jr., Henry Cloud, Michael Lyles, Larry Crabb, Gary Smalley, H.B. London, Jr., and Tim Clinton. Over 100 additional speakers join them as prime promoters of psychoheresy, who do not believe in the sufficiency-of-Scripture doctrine that was believed and practiced from the Day of Pentecost onward until the recent psychological craze. We list only 14 of these many popular speakers and authors who do not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture for the issues of life: H. Norman Wright, Gary Oliver, John Trent, Les Parrot, Leslie Parrot, Greg Smalley, Cliff Penner, Joyce Penner, Everett Worthington, Frank Minirth, Paul Meier, Steve Arterburn, Eric Johnson, and Leslie Vernick.
The AACC 2011 World Conference also includes Exhibitors and Sponsors. These include Christian universities, seminaries, ministries, publishers, psychological and psychiatric clinics, psychiatric retreat houses, and others. The list is an ecumenical, theological, and psychological mishmash of profit seekers for their products and services, and the theological diversity among them is mind-boggling. Although the AACC has a statement of faith, it is not necessary to subscribe to it. In fact, anyone, regardless of faith or no faith, can become a member, whether or not they are atheists, New Agers, Christian cult or sect members, or Satanists who may join for business reasons. In addition, non-member clinics, retreats, and businesses can be exhibitors or sponsors at conferences and even buy ads on the AACC web site.
As far as being psychologically ecumenical, we know that AACC includes many counselors who counsel from a variety of theories, techniques, and methodologies. Some years back we conducted a survey with the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS), a national Christian organization composed of numerous practicing therapists. In our survey we used a simple questionnaire in which we asked the psychotherapists to list in order the psychotherapeutic approaches that most influenced their private practices. We listed only ten approaches, but provided blank spaces at the bottom of the sheet for adding others before final ranking. We found in the CAPS survey how eclectic and, at the same time, contradictory to one another many of these CAPS members were. Psychoanalytic, behavioristic, humanistic, and transpersonal psychologies were all possibilities for CAPS members. This same diversity exists among those practicing counselors who may not be CAPS members but are AACC members. One can read the books by various authors speaking at the conference and see that diversity. The one thing these counselors have in common is that they will not be biblically critical of one another. If this exists, we have not seen it.
With all this theological and psychological ecumenism in the AACC and so many well-known and popular Christians promoting it, one wonders if any one of them ever studied the biblical doctrine of separation. We don’t think it would be much of a stretch to say that there is no biblical separation being exercised at the AACC.
The following is from the AACC "Statement of Faith": "The Scriptures, both Old and New testaments, are the inspired, inerrant and trustworthy Word of God, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of human beings, and the final authority for all matters about which it speaks." Note that the AACC agrees that the Bible is "the final authority for all matters about which it speaks." There are numerous verses in the Bible that would trump the possibility of Christians becoming psychological therapists and would dissuade Christians from seeking their help. Also, these verses should prevent any discerning pastors from referring their congregants to such individuals trained in this psychological miasma. Just two of the numerous available verses follow:
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, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that
It is understandable when emergent church advocate Rod Bell, who admittedly does not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture itself, would not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture for problems of living as revealed on his web site.1 However, it is puzzling and perplexing that the AACC’s statement of faith would proclaim the sufficiency of Scripture while in practice the AACCdenies the sufficiency of Scripture for problems of living as it does.
We do not accuse the AACC of directly making merchandise of God’s Word, but we do accuse them of indirectly making merchandise of God’s Word. The AACC is no doubt not purposely using a bait-and-switch approach. However, meaning to or not, they are providing thebait (Christian statement of faith with Christian speakers), which attracts many believers to the AACC conference, web site, and all of their offerings, and then making the switch to an integration, Bible-plus approach, which denies the sufficiency of Scripture alone to deal with the issues of life that are beyond the organic. A discerning person on our mailing list referred to these psychological practitioners as the "I doctors." Here we see "in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves" being fulfilled in this psychological mindset (2 Tim. 3:1-5).
Commercialism runs rampant at the AACC 2011 World Conference. From the exhibitors to the sponsors, they are all there for income based on future students for educational institutions to book promotions to future clients for psych clinics and sales for other organizations. The prospectus for the conference gives the cost for the Sponsors and the Exhibitors:
"AACC Platinum Sponsorship - $30,000 (4 available)"
"AACC Gold Sponsorship - $15,000 (4 available)"
"Silver Sponsor - $10,000"
"Official Tote Bag Sponsorship – $10,000 (2 available)"
"Lanyard Sponsorship - $10,000 (1 available)"
"Bronze Sponsorship " $5,000"
"Educational Sponsor - $2,500"
"General Exhibit - $1,300 or $1,500 for Prime Booth"
Psychotherapy Is Religion
It is readily transparent to the discerning reader that psychological counseling is not science and it is doubtful that many of the over 100 speakers at the AACC 2011 World Conference would defend it as such. However, what these speakers are probably not aware of is that fact that there are many academic experts who say that psychotherapy (talk therapy) is religion.
Dr. William Epstein, a university professor, concludes in his bookPsychotherapy as Religion, that "psychotherapy is not a science" but rather is the "civil religion of America."2 Dr. Thomas Szasz, one of the world’s best known university professors of psychiatry, in his book The Myth of Psychotherapy, supports our efforts to expose this myth of psychotherapy. In endorsing our work, Szasz says, "Although I do not share the Bobgans’ particular religious views, I do share their conviction that the human relations we now call ‘psychotherapy’ are, in fact, matters of religion—and that we mislabel them as ‘therapeutic’ at great risk to our spiritual well-being."3 In speaking of what psychotherapy has done to religion, Szasz contends:
. . . contrition, confession, prayer, faith, inner resolution, and countless other elements are expropriated and renamed as psychotherapy; whereas certain observances, rituals, taboos, and other elements of religion are demeaned and destroyed as the symptoms of neurotic or psychotic illnesses.4
Referring to the replacement of the biblical with the psychological, Szasz says:
Educated in the classics, Freud and the early Freudians remolded these images into, and renamed them as, medical diseases and treatments. This metamorphosis has been widely acclaimed in the modern world as an epoch-making scientific discovery. Alas, it is, in fact, only the clever and cynical destruction of the spirituality of man, and its replacement by a positivistic "science of the mind."5
It is not only a matter of the "destruction of the spirituality of man," but a destruction of religion itself. Szasz further contends that psychotherapy:
. . . is not merely indifferent to religion, it is implacably hostile to it. Herein lies one of the supreme ironies of modern psychotherapy: it is not merely a religion that pretends to be a science, it is actually a fake religion that seeks to destroy true religion.6
Szasz warns about the "implacable resolve of psychotherapy to rob religion of as much as it can, and to destroy what it cannot."7 An interesting but significant side note is the fact that Szasz, an Austrian Jew by birth, is an atheist. Yet he sees through the mythic craze of psychotherapy. Is not this a case of the stones crying out? (Luke 19:40)!
God’s view of man according to the Bible is not compatible with any psychotherapeutic view of man. Nor is the biblical condition of man accepted or promoted by any of the many brands of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy has attempted to destroy religion where it can and to compromise where it cannot. A supernatural void has resulted, and the need to believe in something has been filled by making a religion out of the ritual of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy has debased and virtually replaced the church’s ministry to troubled individuals. During this time pastors have been devalued and have been intimidated into referring their sheep to professional psychotherapeutic priests. Many people no longer look to pastors and fellow believers for such help; nor do they look to the Bible for spiritual solutions to mental-emotional-behavioral problems. The AACC and the many Christian schools, colleges, universities, seminaries, organizations, and individuals at their 2011 World Conference have naively led the way into this perverted faith in psychology.
Psychotherapists have attained the level of adoration, mystery, and divine regard once accorded to the clergy. They have even become idols, because they supposedly hold the keys to mental health and understand all the mental mysteries of life. The cycle of deception is complete. The psychotherapist offers humanity a less demanding, less disciplined, more self-centered substitute for religion, for that is what psychotherapy is; a false solution to mental-emotional-behavioral problems, for that is what the psychological way is; and another god figure, for that is what the psychotherapist has become. Now deceived people flock to this surrogate religion with its unproved ideas and solutions. They flock to the counterfeit high priest and worship at strange altars. People have fallen for the false image of the psychotherapist priest and for the theology of therapy.
2 William M. Epstein.Psychotherapy as Religion: the Civil Divine in America. Reno, NV: University of Nevada press, 2006, front cover flap.
3 Thomas S. Szasz endorsement of Martin and Deidre Bobgan. PsychoHeresy: The Psychological Seduction of Christianity. Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1987, back cover.
4 Thomas Szasz, The Myth of Psychotherapy (Garden City: Doubleday/Anchor Press, 1978), p. 188.
5 Ibid., pp. 104-105.
6 Ibid., pp. 27-28.
7 Ibid., p. 188.
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, July-August 2011, Vol. 19, No. 4)
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