Why Change to Association of Certified Biblical Counselors?

What’s in a name or a name change? The answer—“Lots of things!”

Let’s consider the example of a woman who has proudly represented her father by bearing his name as she grew up. But as her life changes she gets married and she takes on her husband’s name. She does not reject her father but rather takes on a new name and a different role. In a sense that is what we are doing with our organization.

The name National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC) has served us very well. The term Nouthetic was coined by our key founder, Dr. Jay Adams, in his ground-breaking books Competent to Counsel and The Christian Counselor’s Manual. Those books changed my perspective on ministry and pointed me to a truly Biblical pattern of counseling and shepherding. They emphasized the sufficiency of Scripture for every aspect of life and godliness. They emphasized counseling, as the Greek word noutheteo indicates, to place the Word of God into the mind of the counselee in a loving and compassionate way, the way Paul does with tears as recorded in Acts 20:31.

At that time none of us saw the great work of God that would take place through those books and the ones to follow by Dr. Adams and those who learned from him and others–books and teaching that have been used of God to spawn a truly Biblical Counseling Movement across many denominations and the church internationally.  We praise our Lord for all that He has done!

With the growth of our ministry spanning so many denominations and 18 countries we have come to the place of needing a name change that specifically addresses our place in the entire Biblical Counseling Movement. Because of God’s marvelous grace we are no longer merely a national organization. We have emphasized and worked in the battle to turn the church toward genuine Biblical counseling worldwide.

Now is the time to put our emphasis on certification and a continued standard of excellence in equipping the saints for the work of the ministry in counseling and I believe the name change emphasizes this.  We will continue to emphasize all of the aspects of genuine Biblical counseling in applying the sufficiency of the Word of God to every situation which we have been doing and will continue our stand against integrationist approaches. But we will do it under a name that allows us to be international in scope, which emphasizes our excellent certification standards and shows our participation in the genuinely Biblical Counseling Movement that we started.

I had the privilege of speaking at my first NANC Conference in 1978 and have had the privilege of serving on the Board of Trustees since 1986.  It has been a great privilege to supervise over 50 people through their NANC certification since becoming a Fellow in 1989.  I think that this name change is part of NANC’s opportunity for an ever-widening influence in the Biblical Counseling Movement and I believe we as members of this worthy organization should support this.

All because of God’s amazing grace,

Bob Somerville

NANC Board Member

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