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George Scipione

A Tribute

"I remember Skip as the ‘Gatekeeper’ of ACBC."

“I thank God for the life of George Scipione. He was my professor of counseling in seminary in 1987 and then my mentor as we worked together in IBCD (formerly CCEF) starting in 1994 (2 Tim. 2:2).  George asked me to take over as Director of IBCD in 2006.

George was completely committed to the supremacy of God’s Word in all things, especially in counseling (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

George was completely committed to the church as the focal point of Christ’s work on earth as demonstrated both by his own participation in his church and the instruction he gave his students (1 Tim. 3:15).

George was totally and radically sold out to Christ as a disciple. This commitment is shared by Eileen. They generously opened their home to those in need – especially the hard cases. They spent their own resources to bring God’s Word to other nations such as the Czech Republic and Uganda through biblical counseling training. They held nothing back (Matt. 16:24).

George was humble. He never sought attention or accolades for himself as one of the fathers of the biblical counseling movement. He gladly received correction and quickly sought forgiveness when he was wrong (Prov. 9:8). He was glad to see the accomplishments of those whom he trained. His only desire was to see God’s kingdom advance.

George was irenic. As a committed Presbyterian he worked well with committed believers from a wide variety of other denominations (even a Baptist like me) in a spirit of love and acceptance (Rom. 15:7).

George was a man of prayer. I can’t remember a conversation in person or over the phone in which George didn’t ask, “How can I pray for you?” And then he prayed with passion and love (1 Thess. 5:17).

George and Eileen together were a couple who reflected God’s grace and love in marriage. It is obvious that they deeply cared for one another and delighted in serving Christ and His church together (Eccl. 9:9).

It is hard to imagine ACBC and IBCD meetings without George there to stand for the truth – and to add his unique sense of humor to our gatherings. It is harder to imagine that I will not be able to call him for counsel and prayer when I have a need or a question. Yet I thank God for the legacy he left, of which I am a part.”

— Jim Newheiser, ACBC Board Member

“Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
O Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

This song expresses how I remember my friend and co-laborer for Christ George (Skip) Scipione. I first met Skip in the mid 70s as he was my instructor in the CCEF Introduction to Biblical Counseling Course. He immediately encouraged my heart and won my respect as a thorough exegete and practical teacher of God’s word. He immediately became a trusted confidant always pointing me to an answer from God’s Word and encouraging me to trust in Christ alone. It was my privilege to become a co-laborer for the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ with Skip for almost 30 years on the NANC/ACBC Board.

I remember Skip as the ‘Gatekeeper’ of ACBC, always pointing us to the Scriptures in every decision. I remember how forcefully and persuasively he would uphold the truth of the Scriptures. I remember how humbly he would ask forgiveness if he believed he had offended in any way. I remember his understanding that “a merry heart does good like a medicine” as he would bring in a pun to lighten the mood when we needed it. I remember how completely he would serve us on the Board even when you could see he was suffering physically. I remember how sacrificially he would give of himself to serve the cause of biblical counseling overseas in difficult places even when he was dealing with physical limitations. I remember his prayers for me personally and how tenderly he would lift me up before Jesus. I remember, and this is one of my sweetest memories from our ACBC Board meetings, his prayers for us as leaders to be compassionate counselors and to be faithful to the word. I remember his desire to see Jesus glorified in his life and to just be faithful to Him.

These are some of my remembrances of Skip! I know that Skip’s prayer was this “Oh father, use my ransomed life in any way you choose and let my song forever be my only boast is you.” And now he stands before the throne of God the Father, boasting in the Lamb who was slain and is Risen. “Abba, Father, enable each of us to follow your faithful servant Skip’s example as he followed you. In the precious and powerful name of Jesus, we pray, Amen!”

Remembering Skip, Bob Somerville

“In a sermon preached on Psalm 88, Charles Spurgeon once remarked, “I’ve learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages!” My wonderful friend George Scipione was well acquainted with powerful waves and currents of opposition during his life of ministry for Christ. As an avid student of His Word, “Skip,” a fond nickname his friends so affectionately called him, fervently studied theology with a keen focus riveted on its practical application to life. In God’s perfect sovereignty, while at Westminster Theological Seminary, he became a student of pastoral counseling under the wise tutelage of Dr. Jay E. Adams. There was strong life-long friendship formed between these two men that would end up impacting churches all around the world.

In the 1970s Jay E. Adams became the father of the church’s resurgent commitment to the sufficiency of Scripture in pastoral counseling and in biblical counseling in general. George Scipione was an eyewitness and critical early soldier of this ecclesiastical phenomena. At best, the idea of using the Bible alone for counseling was received with skepticism and open hostility from many Christians because of their loyalty to “Christian psychology.” As the battlefront formed Skip became a part of the first wave of attack on the unbiblical assumptions of psychology among Christians. He became a seasoned soldier defending biblical counseling and a crack troop in attacking the opposition with a carefully reasoned biblical apologetic. God used him to win many into the biblical counseling camp.

I was one of those he helped to win! Skip became a dear friend and life-long colleague when he welcomed me to the Board of Trustees of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors in 1990 (NANC), which later changed the name to the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). Everyone on our Board loved him, his wise insight and quick humor was legendary. In fact, his faithfulness from the beginning of the establishment of NANC can be seen in the fact that he was still serving on the Board when the Lord called him home. George was our first, active board member to pass away while still actively serving. He will be greatly missed as a beloved brother, friend and professor with the pastoral heart of Christ. It is my hope that you will pray for his sweet wife, Eileen and their children, as they grieve his home-going. Until we meet again in Glory, dear beloved friend!”

— John Street, ACBC Board Member

Below is a sampling of resources from George over the years at our Annual Conferences. We hope they are a blessing to you!

The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Counseling

God-Centered Counseling

The Doctrine of God in Daily Living

Counseling from 1 Peter