The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) was founded in 1976. In the previous decade Jay Adams had created the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) as a center for the training of biblical counselors. As his model of biblical counseling developed it became clear that a legitimate biblical counseling movement needed more than mere training. It needed certification.
Certification is necessary for biblical counseling because the work of counseling happens behind closed doors. Certification is a process that uses people with counseling expertise to evaluate those who would be counselors and certify their faithfulness. This practice is essential in order to have confidence that a counselor is equipped to connect the truths of Scripture and the grace of Christ to the problems you or your loved ones have. Life is too precious, and problems are too serious to entrust them to someone who has not been evaluated.
Recognizing that crucial need, Jay Adams and the board of CCEF created an independent certifying organization to do this work. Originally named the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC), our association began using a three-part process of evaluation including training in the basics of biblical counseling, testing in counseling and theology, and supervision to demonstrate counseling skill. This three-part certification process is still in use today.
Since 1976 we have grown from a handful of certified counselors to membership in the thousands. Now in our fourth decade of pursuing excellence in biblical counseling, we have had five executive directors, Dr. Bob Smith, Dr. Howard Eyrich, Rev. Bill Goode, and Rev. Randy Patten. Dr. Heath Lambert became the fifth executive director in 2013.
In October of 2013 NANC’s membership voted overwhelmingly to change our name to ACBC in order to communicate more clearly that we are an organization certifying competency in biblical counseling.