We have written about the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) a number of times and demonstrated how the organization is immersed in psychoheresy. These articles are available on our web site.1 What prompted this current article is a recent receipt of the AACC 2011 World Conference brochure announcing the when, where, and what of the conference. When: September 28 to October 1, 2011. Where: Opreyland Hotel, Nashville, TN. What: “Celebrate Your Faith” is their central theme. They have a huge potential audience with almost 50,000 members. Even as early as March, they said they were “over 70% sold out.”
AACC a Sham
We say bluntly that the AACC is a sham. The dictionary defines sham as “something that is not what it purports to be; a spurious imitation…a cover or the like for giving a thing a different outward appearance.”2 The AACC is “not what it purports to be” and it is a “spurious imitation.” The AACC has a Christian façade with a conservative statement of faith which serves as “a cover…for giving a thing [integrationism] a different outward appearance.” Even the title of the conference with 1 Cor. 15:58 quoted beneath it on the conference brochure is a sham. At first glance the “Celebrate Your Faith” sounds like celebrating the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3), but the faith that is really being celebrated and promoted is faith in psychology with a bit of Christianity mixed in. The AACC sham attracts and deceives naïve Christians, including those who are the promoters, as well as the ones who buy into the Bible-plus psychology, psychoheresy mentality. And, by the way, there appears to be far more psychology involved than the Bible in the conference agenda.
The enticingly attractive brochure lists the speakers and workshop leaders with their bright colorful photos. Most of the titles are man-centered. In fact, in the 46 preconference workshops offered, God is mentioned in only one talk title, but Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and sin are not mentioned or referred to at all. Space will not allow us to list all the workshops, but here are ten of them:
- “Emotionally and Relationally Intelligent (ERQ) Leadership”
- “Successful Life Coaching: Building the Fee-for Service Practice of Your Dreams”
- “Sliding vs. Deciding: What You Need to Know About Commitment, Cohabitation and the Emerging Hookup Culture”
- “After the Fight: Helping Couples Process and Repair Arguments”
- “Helping People Forgive Themselves and Others”
- “Building a Biblical Counseling Practice”
- “Whistle-Blowing Women, Love-Frozen Men: A Liberating Look at Gender”
- “Cyberporn, The Male Brain and Sex Addiction”
- “New Advances in Treating Complex Trauma”
- “Transitional Coaching: Guiding Your Client into Coaching after Grief, Divorce, Abuse, Recovery or Crisis”
In the 20 Counseling Tracks that are listed, the words God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and sin are totally absent. The two new tracks being offered are:
- “Neuroscience, Primary Care & Mental Health”
- “Technology, Social Networking & the Future”
Five of the others are:
- “Grief, Crisis & Disaster”
- “Abuse, Violence & Trauma”
- “Marital Therapy & Enrichment”
- “Addictions & Recovery”
- “Life Coaching, eCounseling, Financial & Career Planning”
The title of one of the topics to be covered is: “‘Selling’ is Not a Dirty Word—Embrace It.” All in all, these 46 Pre-conference Workshops and 20 Tracks sound like those offered at the American Psychological Association (APA) and marriage and family therapy (MFT) conferences. With God mentioned only once and the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and sin not at all in the titles of the pre-conference talks and the 20 conference tracks, we wonder how often God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and, yes, even sin will be mentioned in the presentations. Our guess is barely at all, or just enough to sound Christian.
The brochure lists over 100 speakers (plenary, workshop, and track participants). Those that are counselors are guilty of psychoheresy; the others are at least indirectly guilty of psychoheresy by supporting the AACC by speaking at this world conference.
Let us take a simple and important biblical doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. Does the Bible teach that Scripture is sufficient for the personal and relational issues of life to which mankind is subject? Let us look at this sufficiency doctrine from an historical perspective. None of these preconference and conference talks could have existed 50 years ago. In fact, a little over 50 years ago there were no such degrees earned by most of the speakers, no such counseling licenses in existence, and no insurance reimbursements for such fee-driven counseling!
Some of the speakers have degrees from Christian higher education institutions that offer degrees supportive of counseling psychology and especially those that have programs accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), such as Baylor University, Biola University, Fuller Theological Seminary, George Fox University, Regent University, and Wheaton College. As we have said in the past, we are not opposed to accreditation that sets standards for medical and other professions which are affiliated with Christian organizations. However, for good biblical reasons, we are opposed to those Christian institutions requesting, receiving, and being accredited by the APA. Those who complete such programs at APA-accredited Christian higher education institutions and become licensed psychotherapists are depending on the very wisdom of men about which God warns His people and thereby demonstrate their unbelief in the sufficiency of Scripture.
(Part Two will include such topics as AACC’s involvement in psychoheresy and ecumenism.)
2 Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. New York: Gramercy Books, 1996, p. 1758.
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, May-June 2011, Vol. 19, No. 3)