Southwestern Seminary was named a certified training center of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) during the ACBC annual conference in Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 2-4. ACBC provides certification for counselors who affirm the sufficiency and superiority of the Bible for counseling, thus providing confidence in their counselees that they are equipped to connect the truths of Scripture and the grace of Christ to the problems counselees experience. As a certified training center, Southwestern can now provide counseling certification for its students.

Heath Lambert, executive director of ACBC, said during the conference that, in order to become a training center, institutions must undergo “very thorough vetting of not only what courses get taught at your institution but who teaches them, and I am thrilled to be able to say that Southwestern passed the ACBC exam with flying colors.” He continued, “If you are interested in continuing your counseling education, you should continue at Southwestern Seminary. The faculty there are men who are committed to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture; there are master’s programs and doctoral programs; and I am happy, as the executive director of ACBC, to be able to commend that institution to you.”

T. Dale Johnson Jr., assistant professor of biblical counseling at Southwestern, told conference attendees that, as a training center, Southwestern will train people “who are prepared biblically to be faithful and full of knowledge, full of the Spirit of the Lord, so that we can, through our local churches, begin to propagate true, biblical soul care.” He added that, as part of ACBC, Southwestern has “become part of an organization that believes in the true sufficiency and also the authority of Scripture so that we can see more and more of our folks become complete in Christ and then share the love of Christ so that others may become complete in Him as well.”

Beyond the institution being named a certified training center, Southwestern professors were also recognized during the conference. Johnson became an ACBC-certified biblical counselor, and Professor of Counseling John Babler, in addition to leading a breakout session, was named a certified fellow. This means he is qualified to supervise the certification process, which he will do for those in Southwestern’s biblical counseling programs at both the master’s and doctoral levels.

Furthermore, Southwestern President Paige Patterson served as one the conference’s plenary speakers. Encouraging conference attendees to uphold the sufficiency and superiority of Scripture, Patterson said, “Read Freud, read Skinner and all their followers as philosophy, but not as science—interesting, but hardly determinative. Attempt to find all the answers to human problems in God’s Word, for Christ is the Word. Teach the attitudes of the heart that change a man. Honor God in all things. This is our contribution to the beginning of revival in the churches.”

At the conclusion of Patterson’s presentation, Lambert presented him with the 2017 Award for Biblical Counseling Achievement. Noting Patterson’s role in the Conservative Resurgence and his role as president of Southwestern Seminary, Southeastern Seminary, and Criswell College, Lambert said, “We have a history of giving this award to people who have been in the place of using their leadership to transition an institution from a counseling model opposed to biblical counseling to creating a biblical counseling model in that institution. … I’ve never heard of someone who has used his leadership to bring the sufficiency and authority of Scripture into three different institutions.”

ACBC’s 2018 conference will be held on the Southwestern campus, Oct. 1-3. Johnson will serve as one of the plenary speakers. To learn more, see here