One year ago, in the spring of 2017, The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors made a decision to have our 2018 annual conference on biblical counseling address the theme of abuse. We wanted to help the church of Jesus Christ grow in their understanding of how to respond to the crisis in this area. We called the conference Light in the Darkness: Biblical Counseling and Abuse. The response to this conference has been incredible, and we are currently experiencing a record-breaking number of registrations for this important event.
When we selected the conference theme we also chose the location of this conference to be at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. In making that decision, we obviously had no way to know that the seminary and its president would be embroiled in controversy about the very subject matter of our conference.
As the executive director of ACBC, as a victim of childhood abuse myself, as a pastor charged with protecting the weak, and as a husband and father it is important for me to express how horrified I am by the comments that led to this controversy. The comments are at odds with Scripture, and are in violation of the ACBC Standards of Doctrine and Conduct, which require the protection of the weak and the reporting of abuse to the proper authorities. I am, likewise, thankful for Dr. Paige Patterson’s expression of regret over these comments, and for the response of the Southwestern trustees in addressing the situation.
In early 2017, we had no idea just how significant it would be for us to have a conference on the subject of abuse. We also had no idea about the significance of our choice of location to have this conversation.
This entire situation should remind all Christians of the urgency required in protecting the victims of abuse. At ACBC our resolve to help Christians grow in their conviction about these issues has grown. We are praying for the days of our conference in October that Christ will be honored, that Christians will grow in wisdom and care, and that the victims of abuse will grow in the confidence they have in the ability of biblical counselors to respond to their pain. We invite you to join us in Fort Worth to learn about this crucial topic in October.