August 6, 2014

ACBC: The gospel and mental illness

by Bill Shannon

At the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC) annual meeting last October the membership voted to change the name to Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). While a name change is not that significant, the attitude and approach of the organization has been refreshing. People’s problems are solvable only through the truth of God’s word and this ministry is poised to help those in need.

Under the new leadership of Heath Lambert, ACBC will launch a conference at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. Scheduled for October 6-8, this conference will speak to the critical issue of our day: “The Gospel & Mental Illness.”  

Heath Lambert has said, “We live in a broken world, beset with overwhelming problems: disease, pain, death, sorrow, sin and mental illness.” While we all know that these are the result of the fall, the Christian no longer needs to be incarcerated in the hopelessness of the world. Through Jesus Christ, God has brought the solution to people’s foremost problem: separation from God.

This conference will be helpful for pastors, counselors and anyone who disciples others–even those who are only just being introduced into the counseling world. Nearly every believer counsels at one level or another, and this conference will help all of us in reaching our dying world. It will equip believers in the battle against temptation, and strengthen our ability to help others. The brokenhearted have found little help in what this culture has to offer and we have everything necessary for the heart of man (2 Peter 1:3).

Our culture labels those suffering with “mental illness” as hopeless and irretrievable. The gospel is the answer and this conference is uniquely designed to find suitable solutions that truly help. There will be 60 break-out sessions and various key-note speakers such as John MacArthur, Heath Lambert, and David Powlison.

For more information, go to the ACBC website. You can register there, and prices go up after July 24, and August 28.

ACBC 2014 Annual Conference: The Gospel and Mental Illness from ACBC on Vimeo.

Bill Shannon


Bill is the counseling and care pastor at Grace Community Church, in Los Angeles. He teaches biblical counseling at The Master's College and Seminary.
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  • Jeff Schlottmann

    Thanks for the heads up on the conference. This is great. I hope these sessions will be available for download. My wife’s brother has schizophrenia. Her biggest fear is that he’ll never have the chance to be saved. But we don’t know if its a natural illness or self induced. He was diagnosed with it after spending some time at Teen Challenge. While with them he managed to get his hands on crystal meth and hasn’t been the same since. We know God saves who he chooses, but its difficult watching the situation.

    I really hope the conference address these kinds of mental illnesses.

  • tovlogos

    “People’s problems are solvable only through the truth of God’s word.” I firmly believe this fact. I also believe if people have a adversarial relationship with the Holy Spirit — his/her influence, by default, is of this world, and appropriately of the devil. Obviously technique is required in counseling; but the spiritual fundamentals are the same as they were 6000 years ago. Nevertheless, “Mental Illness” is a good designation, euphemistically.

    So, clearly, people who have been apart from God, are subject to all sorts of “mental illnesses,” which requires careful steps to undo the damage that’s done; which requires a case history, and a desire for the inflicted to be willing to receive help. Constant prayer, in the meantime, by the spiritually healthy is a must. I remember reading MacArthur’s book, Our Sufficiency In Christ; and Adams’ book, (both were required reading); and was even more certain that A sincere relationship with Jesus, and serious intimacy with the Word, is vital for proper counseling — many ailments that the APA is lost to discover.

    • Bill

      You have the correct understanding of the problem, Mark 7:21-23

      • tovlogos

        Amen Bill — perfect proof text.


  • MMJ

    ….and Dr. Robert Somerville [as keynote speaker].
    A man with a wealth of experience and biblical wisdom.

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