Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Response of Aaron New, Ph.D., to the Proposed Removal of the Counseling Licensure Program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

I continue to become acquainted with many wonderful men and women in the Southern Baptist Convention. Some of these individuals are not well known by the vast number of Southern Baptists, but their leadership skills, spiritual acumen, and cogent thinking is needed by us all. One such individual is Aaron A. New, Ph.D., the Associate Professor of Psychology and Counseling Chair of Behavioral Sciences Department at Central Baptist College in Conway, Arkansas. Dr. New has written a letter to friends throughout the SBC, articulating in as fine a fashion as I have read the problems associated with the proposed removal of the licensed counseling program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. All Southern Baptists should pay careful attention to New's views regarding the ideological reasons behind administration's decision to remove the licensure program from SWBTS. In addition, Southern Baptists should follow New's recommendations as to what one can do to prevent the proposal from being implemented at SWBTS. If we Southern Baptists don't do something soon to stop the attempts to make a specific ideology the sole ideology of the Southern Baptist Convention, we will soon see the particular brand of ideology promoted by SWBTS leadership suffocate SBC cooperation like kudzu stifles Atlanta's trees. Read on ...

Dear friends,

You all know me, so please take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to consider a matter that is important to me. I think you’ll find it is important to many of you, too.

As president at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Paige Patterson has recently made a decision to radically change the counseling programs there. You may want to visit the press release related to this matter.

A very brief summary of Christian counseling approaches may be helpful here. There is one camp of folks who believe that the only way to do Christian counseling is through using Scripture and addressing sin directly. These types of counselors do not believe that any resource is appropriate for studying or conducting counseling other than the Bible. Counselors should only be trained in learning God’s word. There is no need for learning other counseling theories or techniques and there is no need for being licensed. There is another camp of folks who wholeheartedly agree that it is critical for counselors to study and apply God’s word in counseling but also see the benefit of studying and using other resources that do not contradict God’s word. In the language of my field, the first camp is often referred to as “Biblical Counseling” (or “Nouthetic Counseling”) while the second camp is often referred to as “Christian Counseling.”

For years, SWBTS has maintained courses and programs representing both camps. They have often been at odds with each other, but they have coexisted. Patterson has always been sympathetic to the Biblical Counseling perspective, but he seemed to make room for the Christian Counseling perspective and program. Until recently.

Patterson has decided now is the time to eliminate the counseling program at Southwestern that equips students for licensure. As a SWBTS alum, I cannot express my disappointment in this decision enough. Licensure is a critical part of ministering to people outside of a church setting and is of growing importance within a church setting. Removing a program that equips students for licensure is a retreat from the seminary’s mission, not an advancement. Christian counselors will be less prepared, not better.

In his press release dated January 20, 2010, Patterson offered “financial realities” as a rationale for eliminating the support for two approaches to counseling. You might be interested to know, however, that the Biblical Counseling approach is supported by two professors and about a dozen students. The Christian Counseling approach is supported by five professors and over two hundred students. If the decision were solely a financial one, it would seem prudent to eliminate a program that is not thriving rather than one that is highly successful and drawing students from all over the world.

In this press release, the president also suggested it was appropriate to eliminate the licensure program because SWBTS is “church-related” and was “created by and for the local churches that support it.” The implication is that students pursuing licensure in the Christian Counseling program are not engaged in ministry within local churches. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is quite a large number of graduates that are working and serving in churches and in missions. And it certainly seems to me that when churches seek candidates to minister as a counselor, they are increasingly looking for counselors with a license. This reduces the church’s liability in an age of litigation and demonstrates to their congregation and potential members that they have a qualified minister/counselor. Licensed counselors also often carry their own insurance – a significant advantage over non-licensed counselors.

When the president states, “We want to develop a program of counseling that is distinctively for the churches,” he is implying that current students and alumni of the licensure program are not equipped for working in churches. In reality, SWBTS alumni are already ministering and serving in churches all over the world and are more successful in their ministries than those without licensure.

Of the modified counseling program, the president states it should “introduce the student to all of the findings, history and theories of psychology and counseling.” The current licensure program already does that. The president states it should also “emphasize biblical principles set in the context of developing a biblical worldview and perspective on life.” Again, the program already does this AND it equips students for licensure at the same time. The Christian Counseling program at SWBTS is already distinctively Christian, preparing students to counseling from a thoroughly Biblical perspective. His statements mislead others to believe otherwise. Apparently, Patterson believes that a program designed to equip students for state (“secular”) licensure can’t be biblical enough. But this is also untrue. This program has been built on a solid biblical worldview for years while simultaneously preparing students for licensure.

The president needs to reconsider his decision to eliminate the counseling program that prepares students for state licensure. It is a thriving program built on a solid Biblical perspective. Eliminating it is a step backward, not forward, in assisting our churches and furthering the gospel.

You might find it interesting to know that Patterson did not consult any counseling faculty members or board members before making this change. It was a sudden and shocking development to the faculty at SWBTS. They were only given a few days notice before the press release. Several of them have invested many years of their lives in building the counseling program there and I’m certain they feel betrayed by these recent actions.

Here is my appeal to you. Please make your voice known. A small but vocal handful of pastors in the “Biblical Counseling” camp have expressed to Patterson that they do not see the need for nor do they want Christian counselors who are licensed. But it seems he has not heard from many pastors and ministers who believe otherwise. Patterson’s focus for the seminary is to train, equip, and support pastors and local churches, so I believe that if he heard a different perspective from a number of pastors and ministers, he may be more inclined to reconsider his position.

If you believe there is value in churches having access to and utilizing counselors that are both biblically trained and licensed, please make your opinion known to him. He needs to hear from you.

The changes that Patterson has announced are not official yet. The board of trustees must approve any degree and curriculum changes. There is nothing they can take action on right now, but they will be meeting this spring to consider these changes and they also need to know what pastors and ministers want in their counselors.

If I may be specific, please write Dr. Paige Patterson to express your concerns in this area. Please copy your letter to Dr. Waylon Owens, the chair of the new committee mentioned in the press release and to Dr. Ian Jones, professor and director of the counseling center. In addition, please copy your letter to any and all trustees. Finally, please consider passing word along to other pastors and ministers that may be interested and willing to make their opinions known.

Dr. Patterson, Dr. Owens, and Dr. Jones can be reached at this address:

P.O. Box 22000
Fort Worth, TX 76122

I can provide you with a list of trustees with their addresses if you’d like.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. As you can tell, this is a matter that hits close to home for me. But I think the outcome of this situation could impact you and other churches in very significant ways, too.



Anonymous said...

Interesting thing we have going on here. CBC Conway is a college of the Baptist Missionary Association (BMA) of Arkansas. I grew up in a BMA church here in Missouri. They are what many would call fundamentalist to say the least. Landmarkism is their primary M.O. Closed communions and no alien baptisms drive off many from this small denomination and empower their devout. Many of their churches are KJV only, and don't even think of wearing pants if you are a lady. Of course as with any denomination there are exceptions, but if your church is the exception you will likely be shunned by others in your Association. To their credit however, they have a top notch missions endeavor both foreign and at home. Their mission’s publication, "The Gleaner" (BMAA) is a great read.

As to CBC, here is what you can expect by graduating from Dr. New’s programs:

"...students who graduate will be able to demonstrate the following:

•An ability to integrate sound psychology with sound theology.
•A working knowledge of major psychological, emotional, and relational problems.
•An ability to assist people with various psychological, emotional, and relational problems.
•An ability to assist people in times of crisis.
•An understanding of how people interact in marriages, families, and small-groups."

I can see why Dr. New is upset over the cancellation of SWBTS's graduate licensure program. You see CBC's program is an undergrad program (BA and BS) which makes it a perfect match to the near Landmark SWBTS Graduate Program. Now where will Dr. New send his students? Not to Southern--no licensure program, and they are Calvinistic. No longer to SWBTS, no licensure program.

Here is my suggestion:

Write a letter to the head of the BMA-Arkansas:

Baptist Missionary Assoc. of Arkansas
Bro. I.V. Height, Director of Missions
P.O. Box 195514
Little Rock, AR 72219

or email the head of the BMAA (America):

Bro. Grady Higgs, Executive Director

Tell them both that the program at CBC is syncretistic, including secular psychology which denies the fundamental root problem of sin.

Why contact both the State and National bodies? BMA folks do NOT have a cooperative program. Each church supports agencies and entities as "the Lord leads" by setting monthly missionary contributions as well as the BMA Theological Seminary, Texarkana (why don’t they appease Dr. New?), and CBC , Lifeword Media, and other agencies. So, once the churches, pastors, and people of the BMA REALLY know what is being taught at THEIR college, "sound theology" might just prevail.


PS: I find this quit “hilarious” (to borrow Linda’s word) that Wade would enlist the Landmarkists to help make SWBTS less biblical and conservative. Dr. John R. Rice is laughing his butt off in heaven right now. :)

Jack Maddox said...

Kevin just slapped us with some knowledge and busted us up with the truth! Keep it up my brutha!

Jack - the soon to be president of the KMC Fan Club! said...

Kevin and Jack,

One of these days you two may actually figure out that the problem which I am addressing in the SBC is not Landmarkism or any other specific ideology--it is the arrogant attitude of some that ONE ideology is RIGHT and all others who disagree must get out. I would say the same thing about anti-Landarkers who possessed an exclusionary,non-cooperative, unloving spirit. I have consistently said that both Landmarkers and non-Landmarkers should be WELCOME in the SBC. In fact, I am proud to have any Landmark school or Landmark person in the SBC with an attitude like Dr. New's But ironically, the attitude which I have sought to point out as dangerous is illustrated beautifully in your comments. I trust that one of these days you will be able to see the real problem and eschew obfuscation. (Look it up).



Rex Ray said...

Kevin and Jack,

I’ll bet you two thought you had a good thing going until Wade flattened your thoughts with a bulldozer.

Patterson’s decision is just one more example of those who make the Bible an idol.

Lydia said...

Kevin, one of these days you will figure out that none of it has to do with doctrine.

Anonymous said...


Having been a regular personality (I say that with delusions of grandeur for sure) on G&T2U for some time I must say that it rather obvious that when you attempt to be funny, your goat has been gotten!

It is also interesting to see how clever you can be at attacking those with whom you disagree without the "dronus populus" (a portion of the readership of G&T2U) ever realizing you are doing anything but be good ol' Pastor Wade.


It is ALL about doctrine. If it were not, then there would not be a clear distinction in the way Bro. Wade treats me when I speak against a teaching with which he disagrees.

"...doctrine is too important"
~ R.C. Sproul

Tom Parker said...


Wasn't it nice of KMC and Jack M. to show up and make the point of this post. Thanks, guys.

Aaron New said...


If you would like to make more informed comments here about my own theology, about Central Baptist College, or about our Behavioral Sciences Department here, I'd love to talk to you. Your portrayals of the BMAA, CBC, and our psychology program are narrow at best, if not just outright false in some places. Feel free to contact me. I'd be happy to share with you how we are trying out best to fulfill God's call for us to serve hurting and broken people.


Aaron New said...

And, just in case anyone would like the clarification, I am a committed Southern Baptist who has found a wonderful working relationship with my brothers and sisters in the Baptist Missionary Association here in Arkansas.

absonjourney said...

Dr. New has been a friend of mine since 1997 when we both attended Oklahoma Baptist University. I do not believe that Aaron has sent this letter because he is concerned about where he will send "his students" but because he is deeply concerned that his alma mater is headed further down a dark and destructive path to ruin on the strength of the agendas of a select few.

Kevin and Jack, I would urge you to take Aaron up on his invitation to talk with him directly. Not only would you both be surprised at what you would discover, you might actually wake up to what is occurring in Forth Worth before it is too late.

Aaron, thanks for making your opinions public and for taking a stand. Stay the course! And Wade, thanks for putting this letter up for others to see. As a SWBTS alum I too am sickened by the destruction of my once proud seminary. Please keep speaking up.

Ron said...

When I was a missionary in Taiwan we had great fellowship and in some cases cooperation with the BMA missionaries there. In Kevin’s zeal to defend and excuse Paige Patterson’s actions he tends to blur or change the facts. This situation has nothing to do with BMA or Landmarkism. It is about the destruction of a program and a seminary.
Kevin have you ever met Paige Patterson? Have you ever been a student at SWBTS? What is you motivation for being as you say a personality with delusions of grandeur on this site. It does not seem to be adding constructive discussion to the issue being considered.

RumorsOfGlory said...

I don't know anything about the politics of what is happening at your seminary, but I appreciate Dr. New's response.

Before I became a therapist,I spent a dozen years trying to pray and have faith that my shame, anxiety, and low-level depression would go away. I would sit in my room, pray, read my Bible, and journal. I attended and led dozens of Bible studies as well. Finally, I resolved myself to the fact that my struggles were here to stay.

Eventually, I enrolled in a counseling program so that I could help people. I knew nothing of the infighting between those who believe in counseling and those who don't. I also didn't know there was a difference between Nouthetic/Biblical Counseling and Christian Counseling (which uses clinical/psychological pieces).

Thank God,the program where I studied focused on Christian counseling -- what happened was nothing short of a miracle:

Through the interventions of clinical/psychological learning within the setting of a Christian university, I found healing quite unexpectedly. I live a life filled with joy! Shame-free and with very little anxiety.

At the same time, I had random several interactions with Nouthetic counselors who beat me up with what they thought were helpful statements ("When are you going to get tired of that contempt?"). It simply was not helpful to me, and only shamed me further.

Now I am writing a book encouraging emotionally wounded Christians to consider Christian (clinical/psycholigical) counseling, in addition to faith and prayer, for their healing. If you dropped a rock on your foot, you would go to a doctor, and pray for healing. Why is it different in the field of counseling?

The benefits of a Christian counseling program are too great to dismiss. People shouldn't have to suffer for a lifetime just because some Christians fear integration. Emotional healing frees people up to worship and glorify God.

Paul Burleson said...


Mom and I are getting ready to co-facilitate a group meeting for twelve weeks at our church building around the title "The Thrills, Chills and Skills of building Relationships."

We've long been of the opinion that as Southern Baptists we've had good theology for building good relationships with people as friends, family, co-workers etc. but lacked a lot of skills in doing so.

Interestingly, those skills we'll share in that group we've learned from many people who have a knowledge of the working of the human psyche but have integrated it with the work of many other people in several fields of study.
[Some I read/studied were unbelievers.]

We have the knowledge of Christ who is our life and a foundation of biblical theology dealing with sin, forgiveness, and all that goes into the Christian life it is true. But what a joy to find those trained in both scripture AND our human makeup like Dr. Larry Crabb and others to assist us in the journey.

I've found that Christians sometimes lack pratical ways of understanding our fallen human makeup that enables us to examine our motives, why they are what they are, and our on-going behavior patterns in relationships often resulting even from our families of orgin or difficult experiences of pain. As I said, many people from many disciplines aided us here.

This is much the same as using other sources than the bible in studying why I have cardiovascular issues.

I have been able to experience a lot of "thrills" in relationships because of learning some "skills in relationships using both the bible AND other sourcees and I STILL have problems with the "chills" of bad relationships but am growing in it all. :)

There is always the possibility Dr. Patterson and others in your comment section are more capable than am I however. Who knows!!

Inkling said...


CBC also offers courses in microbiology, business statistics, calculus, music theory, and C++ programming. Are they "syncretistic" too, since they are not based solely on Scripture? After all, if Scripture is all-sufficient to answer medical questions (as you claim it is), isn't it all-sufficient to teach us these other subjects?

And what is your basis for claiming that CBC and its professors deny the reality of sin? Or is this just a slanderous, off-handed lie to cover your ideological bias?

The great conservative (and Christian) philosopher Russell Kirk once described ideology as "political fanaticism". It is, he said, "the substitution of slogans for real political thought." Ideology animates, in George Orwell's phrase, 'the streamlined men who think in slogans and talk in bullets.'"

Perhaps you should dwell on this concept, Kevin, for you are afflicted with a religious ideology -- you have substituted sloganeering for thought and reason and fact. You oppose medical treatment for mental or emotional illness not because you have studied the science, nor because you have any actual experience with such illness, but instead because some nut wrote an article that inflamed your inner biases and gave you another "truth" with which to bash others.

Rejecting the chemical and biological basis of mental illness in favor of Scripture is equivalent to rejecting cardiology in favor of Scripture. Your ideology has more in common with Mary Baker Eddy than with orthodox Christian faith, yet you claim to be the one who is "biblical".

Please, Kevin, stop speaking out of ignorance. As a (future?) pastor, lives are in the balance. Don't be responsible for condemning one of your sheep to years of misery -- or worse, suicide -- by your foolishness.

And by the way, your description of the BMA is largely unmoored from reality. As an active member of an Arkansas missionary baptist church, I think I can say with some authority that you are rather clueless on the topic of the BMA.

Mark said...

Mark and Paul,

Well done. Both of you.

Wade said...


A powerful, gripping testimony.

Thanks for sharing.

believer333 said...

It is doubtful that Patterson will listen to disagreements with his decisions, but I do believe brethren who disagree should speak up. What is Biblical or not is not his concern. We know this because he does not discuss debatable beliefs with others. Patterson is also not concerned with serving hurting and broken people. We know this because he hurts people with his 'doctrines' and decisions and show no remorse. He is just building his empire his way with a select few who enjoy riding his bandwagon. said...


I always try to see the best in people so I'm not sure I agree with your empire building assessment of Dr. Patterson.

There is the possibility that he and his administration is so confidently assured that Biblical, Nouthestic counseling is the only God approved way to counsel, and those who use pyschology or look to the state for licensure are sinful, "syncretistic," and secular--and this ideology is driving his decision to remove the program from SWBTS.

Frankly, the possibility of the ideological motive ("God's on my side, I know it, and you aren't on my team so get out") is scarier to me than the thought there is personal empire building taking place. I think he actually believes he is doing God's will, not his own.


ccsoaper said...

While the earlier comments are academic in nature, I'd like to illustrate how this debate plays out within the lives of lay people trying to help family members with mental illness.

As a strong believer in an innerant Bible, I try to help my brother, a fellow believer, who is on federal disability due to "organic brain disorder." At the same time I try to protect my elderly parents who are subject to his violent tirades and physical attacks.

According to clinical testing used for disability status, my brother was found to have severe disfunction in decision making, comprehention and perceptions. The recommendation was for prompt clinical/medical intervention to prevent violence-related issues (past and on-going).

Part of the requirements for receiving federal disability was that my brother would receive regular psychological counseling. The church we attend opposed Christian counseling and persuaded him that anything other than "biblical counseling" would be "of the world" or "of the devil."

No matter how much scripture is shared with my brother, he has not grown in his understanding of how to deal with his anger and false perceptions. We know that our brother has sustained several blows to his head in accidents and falls, which in addition to fequent seizures every day, have changed our once loving brother into someone we must protect from himself.

A one-size-fits-all approach, based on idealism, apart from reality doesn't serve the Church well. We live in a fallen world and our brain is just one more organ that misfunctions in some believers as well as unbelievers. It's time we allow Christian physicians including psychiatrists and christian counselors, to heal the broken among us.

Scripture doesn't mention bipolar or schizophrenia just as it doesn't mention heart disease, diabetes, or the seasonal flu. It's time for the church to understand the importance of all truth, not just that specifically mentioned in the Bible.

Byroniac said...

For all my disagreements with the SBC, I agree with Wade Burleson. I do not like Paige Patterson's theology, but I do not doubt the sincerity of his motives, or of others one bit. They are fellow Christians, and we may not be able to live in the same house under the same roof, but we live in the same Kingdom.

Unknown said...


At the risk of piling on, let me add an observation to the conversational mix. Namely: Your protestations concerning the sufficiency of Scripture and the dangers of syncretistic approaches to dealing with life's problems notwithstanding, I seem to recall that not long ago you were gushing over insights you gleaned from the book "Wild at Heart," by John Eldredge. A thorough reading of Eldredge's book reveals that many of his ideas are anchored more firmly in secular theories of personality development (to say nothing of secular motion pictures such as "Braveheart" and "Legends Of the Fall") than in biblical revelation. Are those ideas helpful? Yes, without a doubt, to some (including yourself). Are they syncretistic? Once again: Yes, without a doubt.

Contrary to Emerson, consistency is not in fact the hobgoblin of small minds; it is necessary in order for one's ideas to be taken seriously.

GoEagles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GoEagles said...

I have been a member of the BMAA all of my life. I am currently a member of a church that is dually affiliated with the BMAA and SBC. I can tell you that Mr. Crowder's comments are misleading in some places and blatantly false in others. It is true that some churches of the BMAA are KJV-only and socially conservative, but this is not the norm for the association as a whole.

When you must obfuscate the truth, it suggests the truth lies elsewhere. Thank you for lending credibility to those who oppose you and your views. And, by the way, Grady Higgs has no authority over this matter. He is over the Missions Department, not the BMAA.

Christiane said...

A counselor is on the bottom rung of the mental health professional ladder. (The top being a psychiatrist.)

Mental health is a medical concern.

Counselors are trained first and foremost to recognize those afflictions for which they themselves ARE NOT QUALIFIED to handle, and which need to be referred to a mental health professional with the proper credentials.

An untrained person attempting 'counseling' of a mentally or emotionally ill person can do a great deal of harm.

If this 'untrained person' is also a minister, then the tragedy is compounded.

Patterson should be 'building up' the Seminary. What exactly is he trying to do?

I hope that the result of his decisions is NOT that the wider Christian community loses respect for the Seminary as a training ground for religious professionals.
The SBC does not need this kind of 'deconstruction' of an institution that has, in the past, produced sound, licensed professionally-trained Christian counselors to the Church.

believer333 said...

"Frankly, the possibility of the ideological motive ("God's on my side, I know it, and you aren't on my team so get out") is scarier to me than the thought there is personal empire building taking place. I think he actually believes he is doing God's will, not his own."

There is that possibility. It really is impossible to tell for certain. I am a bit more pessimistic with this type of thing because I have seen the results of Patterson's ways of thinking up close.

So many women get hurt and have been hurt deeply with these things. Women who need and desire real help and not just told to submit better need the type of counseling that Patterson is tossing out. Men need it also, but fewer are willing to seek counseling because they are more often the active abusers and the women the sufferers. So in the end all, women are the primary sufferers.

While you are quite correct that we cannot know if Patterson is 'building his empire'. I stand corrected. However, my reasoning is tied in with the facts that all of these big decisions seem to effect the Christian women negatively. The side effect is that men who believe in male authority over women have nothing to challenge their thinking: no women professors, no counselers that might just question men's right to control their wives, etc.

ccsoaper said...

Thank you, Christiane

I have never heard those who teach biblical counseling to present their limitations or address mental illness or head injuries as being beyond the scope of their expertise. Please correct me if my experience is in the minority.

Kevin. I pray you do not find yourself fearing for your parents' safety from a sibling suffering from a brain disorder.

I pray you don't suffer from a daughter or son raped by a sunday school teacher suffering from pediphelia.

I believe those on this post have given you way too much grace in allowing your postings of self-aggrandizement and professions of knowing with certainly the mind of Christ. Of this, the scriptures are more than clear.

ccsoaper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Cleveland said...

Someone may have mentioned it already .. I didn't catch it if they did .. but it seems to me that every argument against the counseling licensure and Christian counseling thing, could be made by Christian Scientists about going to a state-licensed Christian physician. Or even against education and licensing process of becoming one. And similarly against Christian medical schools and certainly against the Baptist hospital system.


Scott said...

Any belief that just bible thumping will solve any and all psychological disorders is just plain wrong, ignorant, and short-sighted.

Who's to say that God wasn't guiding the hands of the people who were at the forefront of many (not all) of these treatment or therapy techniques?

An unlicensed Pastor counseling is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

A pastor counseling ignorant of patient rights and record keeping is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

A pastor who misses something that a trained professional would pick up on is a failed ministry waiting to happen.

I think any church who actively pursues counseling should be required to have state licenses.

I would have no problem if it were federally mandated as well.

By the way Kevin, how are you doing today? Did you take my earlier advice? I still stand by it.

Ramesh said...

I wonder how biblical counseling works with Spiritual Abuse Victims. I guess you have to find the "proper" exit biblical counselors to help in deprogramming your wiring.

Cindy Kunsman has an excellent blog Under Much Grace for Spiritual Abuse Victims for their recovery.

Lydia said...

"It is ALL about doctrine. If it were not, then there would not be a clear distinction in the way Bro. Wade treats me when I speak against a teaching with which he disagrees."

It is not about doctrine when it comes to Patterson. Doctrine is a means to an end: Authoritarian control of many by a few.

Counseling would help him with these issues. :o)

Quoting RC Sproul does not impress me. He filed suit against a blogger for asking questions about Ligoneir finances.

Jack Maddox said...

Sorry Kev - I am shutting down the fan club...people who disagree with you are just downright mean to those who understand your vast knowledge of the issue and your comprehension of truth. My feelings have been so hurt that I have an appointment ot go see my counselor.


'the former president of the now defunct KMC fan club'

believer333 said...

"Quoting RC Sproul does not impress me. He filed suit against a blogger for asking questions about Ligoneir finances."

Really!! Did it get him anywhere. Did it go as far as court?

Rebecca Emerson said...

I've earned both degrees--MACCM, 2001 & MAMFC 2004. I've attended trainings and conferences related to both "camps"--National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC) conferences and American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC). So, I believe I can make the following statement with authority because I've taken part in both programs and truly love all those involved. Here's the bottom line for anyone who may not have experienced both sets of training:

My training in Nouthetic counseling and in the Church and Community Ministries program prepared me to run a community center or a benevolence ministry; it did not prepare me to counsel. My training in the MAMFC program equipped me to counsel using both God's Word and the wisdom He's granted us over the ages; it did not prepare me to run a benevolence ministry.

Yes, they are different, and they should be because they we have different roles and fulfill different needs in the Body of Christ.

The MACCM program acts as His hands, delivering cold water to the thirsty and offering a blanket to the cold; the MAMFC program trains white blood cells that rush to the point of injury and aid in healing. The Body needs both, and seeing the hands try to get rid of the white blood cells is just a demonstration of the Body turning on itself.

I love and respect all seven professors involved, and see the unique call God has on each of their lives. We can support our alma mater by seeking God and not seeking discussion board slander. We are called to be peacemakers. Let us quick bickering and throwing sand at each other and instead let us band together as the Body--hands, white blood cells and all.

Rebecca Emerson, MACCM, MAMFC, LPCA
SWBTS 2001, 2004 said...


Amen. And, Amen.

Now, the question remains:

How do we get "the Body" to see, as you so well write, that "the Body" needs both?

Lydia said...

"Quoting RC Sproul does not impress me. He filed suit against a blogger for asking questions about Ligoneir finances."

Really!! Did it get him anywhere. Did it go as far as court?

Thu Feb 04, 05:44:00 PM 2010

Could not find the blogger but left the case open. Their telemarketers were coached to say they did not sue. It was an 'injunction' they were very clintonesque in their explanations. They ended up laying off a bunch of folks because donations dropped.

This was long before Mac used the civil authorities to subpeona Google. If only they had known.

(BTW: His son was also 'defrocked' by the Presbyterians for tax number fraud and was on daddy;s stage teaching right after that)

Such ethics!

Rebecca Emerson said...

I'm tempted to quote the Beatles ("All you need is love..."), but I doubt that love alone will suffice here.

Or will it?

I believe the way we approach the Body to show the Body it needs both is the same way Christ approached the woman at the well (who was also turning against her own body): with grace, tenderness, love and respect--all wrapped in Truth. I am not delusional enough to believe the seminary president or trustees will have their world shaken by my opinions, but I DO know that their ears will quickly turn deaf should I present enraged, biased rantings.

Like Christ, we should approach this painful, hurting moment in the Body with grace, love, truth and respect, depending on the Father to guide us with each breath we take. Not only will that be more fruitful, but it will honor Christ and those professors and programs we so dearly love through the same process.

Rebecca Emerson, MACCM, MAMFC, LPCA
SWBTS 2001, 2004

Scott said...

Oh, I thought invoking the name of a largely irrelevant preacher was the automatic "I Win" button.

believer333 said...

"I am not delusional enough to believe the seminary president or trustees will have their world shaken by my opinions, but I DO know that their ears will quickly turn deaf should I present enraged, biased rantings."

It isn't likely that a university president is going to seek out opinions of those not involved in university business. However, should they really consider themselves so far above the average fellow Christian that they aren't concerned with what other Christians think?

Also, should strong disagreement and even ungracious disagreement be turned a deaf ear to by those who are to be examples of the maturity of Christ. I do think there is a difference between just slashing out and the responding from the remembrance of wounds to self and beloved others. Both are negative but from different bases. And isn't it the job of those who are leaders in the body of Christ to note the differences and be open to hear.

Anonymous said...

Dr. New,

I am not concerned with your seeing me as narrow. I am concerned with your accusing me of making false statements. You are more than welcome to post here or email me a list of false statements I have made and I will be happy to give you a reason for the statements I have made or recant if truly in error, but I will post such reasons and recantations here.
A friend of the BMAA,

Kevin M. Crowder

Kevin said...

Unless things have radically changed (and I don't believe they have), NOBTS is still committed to their MDiv in counseling program. It was going strong a few years back when I was studying there. I guess that's where students will go.

Scott said...


Dr. New challenged you to call him, which puts the onus on you to contact Dr. New, at his convenience (not yours), and speak privately about this one on one.

Of course, it's not like I'd expect you to allow yourself to be challenged in anyway.

Humbly submitted,


Yeah, the guy with the Walmart comment.

Aaron New said...


My admittedly limited exposure to you on this blog has led me to the opinion that any correspondence between us in this comment thread would likely result in foolish and ignorant disputes - breeding an even more quarrelsome attitude between us both. I'm not interested in that.

I am much more interested in a personal one-on-one conversation between two men who love Jesus. So my invitation to you still stands. If you would like to be better informed about the BMAA, CBC, and our program, please contact me and we can have such a conversation.

Anonymous said...

Dr. New,

You have publically accused me of making false statements. You may specify those statements publically and I will respond but once in kind. Anything you would deem foolish or ignorant would be your subjective view of my personally held beliefs.

I have not attacked you personally. Nor have I attacked "Christian Counseling." I have given my view of psychotropic medications which yours and SWBTS's graduates are unable to prescribe anyway, so for the basic discussion this is a moot point. I believe and have stated that both biblical and Christian counseling are good things and provide benefits to those who suffer with mental and emotional abnormalities. But I hold the very widely held view also that biblical, or neuthetic counseling is far more biblical and effective.

If it is your opinion that a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ ought not hold those opinions then it will not be hard to point to the foolish and ignorant side of the debate.

Again, I would be happy to privately discuss any topic you feel led to discuss, but only after you state for the record on this blog the lies you feel I have reported.


“We don't care what society thinks ... we only care what God thinks” -PP

Rex Ray said...

Sorry folks,
Kevin has been shaken by the short life of his fan club. He’s no longer responsible for what he says.

Kevin, don’t be surprised if you get the bill from Jack’s counselor.

You may need to see a counselor yourself if Jack breaks up with you with his “No more talky – talky”.

Anonymous said...


Being me is a lot to endure. But I do it well for the glory of God. :)

Rebecca Emerson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gregory said...

In my comment on Wade's earlier post about the demise of the licensure program at SWBTS, I addressed the situation as a SWBTS alumnus who had participated in the counseling program there. I didn't pursue licensure because that wasn't my ultimate calling, but I did spend two years and gain much experience and knowledge on how to help people face life's difficulties from a Christian/biblical (not nouthetic) standpoint.

However, lost on me for some reason through all of these discussions is the fact that I have a 9 year old son with Asperger's Syndrome. AS is on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. If you were to pass him on the street, you would suspect nothing. If you spend even a brief amount of time with him, however, you would recognize he's quite different from other kids his age. There's nothing in "biblical counseling" that I am aware of that would help him understand why he's so much clumsier than his peers. There's nothing in "biblical counseling" that can help him understand why social interactions seem to elude him and why he has such trouble making friends. There's nothing in "biblical counseling" that can explain to him why other students make fun of him for his ticks and for his seeming inability to adjust to surprises.

We can explain to him that God has wired his brain a little bit differently from other people. The same thing that causes him not to be able to make friends is the same thing that causes him to be intellectually brilliant. The same thing that causes him to be overtly literal is the same thing that causes him not to be able to understand humor.

My son requires regular visits to an Asperger's specialist, a licensed counselor who understands how to help my son understand, and a pediatric developmental specialist. Nothing in "biblical counseling" would help my son. I wish we could find a Christian who is a licensed counselor, because he/she would be able to bring in some of the biblical aspects of understanding when the time is appropriate for my son's development.

Don't get me wrong. I think nouthetic counseling has its place. But its place and its effectiveness are so limited, I'm evermore convinced that cutting the licensure program at SWBTS is a bad idea. said...


Well written.

I understand more clearly because of your comment.


Chris Riley said...

If your trying to fill a lake with water, is it easier to use a firehose or a river? The premise is the greater the volume, the greater the opportunity for filling. If believers can take tenants of a "secular" study can open the door wider for more people to come into the kingdom, why would we limit it? It is my understanding that to come into the kingdom is to declare that Christ is Lord. Do the means to leading someone to that declaration have to be narrow and simplistic?
The person I'm thinking of in this situation was the apostle Paul, who used the secular religions of the Athenians to show them that God was supreme. I don't know, is Paul not a good example of why a licensed Christian counselor is a good idea?

The Denise Smith said...

Wade, I'm a fairly recent graduate of SWBTS, from the licensure program. I am in agreement that eliminating the program would be mistake. I would like to try to briefly to explain my point of view as to why.
I am a committed Southern Baptist. I even went to a Southern Baptist college for my undergraduate studies. I had many options for what I could do when getting my master's in counseling. I chose SWBTS because I knew that I would get a solid licensure program from a biblical perspective. I knew that I could get a biblical perspective from any number of schools but I knew that SWBTS was the only place that I could get that biblical perspective from a Southern Baptist standpoint.
I've heard the arguments saying that psychology is the devil's invention which, in my opinion is bunk. God is a scientist. But I'm not going to get into that debate here. I'm simply going to recall one of the best classes I had during my tenure at SWBTS, Counseling Theory and Personality. In the class we studied the major psychological theories throughout history and the persons that developed them. After we finished with every theory, Dr. Jones would turn to the class and asked this question, "Knowing what you know about this person, their history, and their personality, who would you share Jesus with them?" To this day, because I have a deeper understanding of the personalities that God has created, and because of those conversations in that class, I am able to have more profitable conversations about my Lord and Savior with those that do not know Him.
It is my belief that I would not have been able to get that kind of education anywhere else.
It makes me extremely sad that this is happening to my beloved program. It truly is a one-of-a-kind program.
Sorry, I wasn't really that brief.

<>< Denise Deaton said...


Well written.

It is a voice like yours that must be heard.


Amy said...


I am late to this conversation; however, and as a member of a BMA church, I want to correct you on something.

Writing Grady Higgs and E. V. Hight is not the appropriate steps to take if someone agrees with you (which I don't). Since there is no cooperative program in the BMA, Grady Higgs has no say in the functioning of Central Baptist College. That would be an overstep of his boundaries. Therefore, you gave bad advice because you don't understand protocol in this manner.

Gene S said...


Another proof that "the higher the monkey climbs the tree---the more you see his tail!!!"

I am a Psychology major with extra study in Pastoral counseling.

The first thing to realize is the difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist:

The Psychiatrist has an MD degree. He tends to minimize listening and maximize medication.

The Psychologist has a PhD degree and will tend to maximize listening and minimize medication.

The wise Psychologist knows when there is a chemical problem with mental disease and usually has an MD with prescriptive powers to refer and work in partnership.

People in this day and time tend to think a pill is the solution to all problems. However, a pill tends to cover up the real problem and put someone on a more even emotional keel. This does not solve the underlying mental and personality issues.

My greatest disappointment as a Minister of Youth and then Senior Minister was the reluctance of the typical church member to seek my help and counsel. In the small southern town, especially, the last place a person wants to be seen was at the Pastor's office or his home! We are such pretenders.

By the time most church members sought my counsel for, say, divorce, there was so much water under the bridge that I was usually saying grace over a divorce which had already been decided upon.

Harry Emerson Fosdick, one of the 20th Century's best preachers said he looked on a sermon as "group counseling." This is a good observation, in my opinion. People come to church looking for comfort, encouragement, and something to guide them through another week of angst in a pressure cooker world.

For Paige Patterson to want to eliminate counseling training as a part of good Seminary educaton is, in my opinion, one of his most brasen works of political stupidity. Yet, I'm not really surprised. I have come to the point of thinking the the very compliment to the process of real education is the criticism or dismissal of the CR group!

We have a problem in not seeing how Jesus used the techniques of modern psychology in so many ways. For example, his telling or parables was nothing but a verbal Rorchach test. For those who don't know, the Rorchach Test presents a number of pictures and symbols which mean different things to different people. There is no "right" or "wrong" answer. All it does is to put in front of a client's eyes something physical onto which to project his/her real feelings/thoughts.

When Shakespeare said, "To thine own self be true." he was saying the same thing as Jesus: "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free!"

In other words, today's great need is for authenticity and honesty. A person well-trained in Psychology and Religion can bring people to see how mental health and religious health coincide.

Most of what Patterson, seem to advocate is a system of personality hierarchy based on honoring one another, and some (poorly conceived) theology than in telling and knowing the truth in order to be made free.

A person who is personally mature and sane can do a great deal to offset the psychosis and schizophrenia of the world today. It is my opinion that the smarter and more sophisticated we are, the dumber we become. An old country codger with little formal education will see through Paige Patterson and his like quicker than a person with a Doctor's degree from one of our current Seminaries!

believer333 said...

"In other words, today's great need is for authenticity and honesty. A person well-trained in Psychology and Religion can bring people to see how mental health and religious health coincide."

I so agree. Even non believers are looking for this.

I also can tack this onto the lengthy list of why so many are forsaking church. If only they could understand that because they are the ones who see the problems, they are the perfect ones to become part of the solutions instead of leaving.

Anonymous said...


Sorry, you are quite simply wrong. I am very well aware of how the BMAA functions. There is no central governance so to speak and the largest functioning body outside the Annual Meetings is the Missions Department. So if one desired to get a message to the churches in a relatively quick way, these gentlemen would be the front line.

If you disagree provide another option. I suppose one could hijack LifeWord Media but I was thinking of a more appropriate and effective way.

Amy said...


Sorry to disappoint you again. BMAAM and the missions of Arkansas have no input into getting information out to the churches except as it regards missions. In addition, college presidents and professors are not hired/fired by the association as this creates a conflict that is not allowed by the state.

LifeWord is too busy for your trivial complaints and I would like to see what George might have to say to you if you came to him with this silliness.

From someone who read a "Girl with the Missionary Heart" and can still tell you the 5 aims of GMAs, I know what I am talking about in this situation.

Amy said...


And besides everything else, if you have a complaint go to Terry Kimbrow or the board of trustees. Hight and Higgs have no say in the running of the college and neither should they. Go through proper channels and any supposed validity you might have could be truly heard.

G. Casey said...

I will agree with many of your insights but Fosdick also embraced ideas of Darwin and Dewey and marginalized those out of Princeton that they did not agree with him...neo-conservative have the same problem they will marginalize those who don't agree with them.

G. Casey said...

Do they not know...if they are rightly fundamental...that they are to restore one in a spirit of gentleness. I personally think that calling someone who is empassioned with emotions concerning seriously traumatic issue an "evil doer" or dismissing someone over a theological position who is trying to take of her husband who can't work has a problem with his orthodoxy.

Anonymous said...


I'll do no such thing. I just think it is fun to argue with a "GMA" girl. And, I am still right. :) The fact is there is NOT a proper proceedure as there would be in the SBC. But if the 2 gentlemen I mentioned were so inclinded they could infact make a difference.

But, I have yet to loose sleep over a denomination I left 17 years ago.

On a brighter note, have you ever met, or heard, or read books by Jurl Mitchell?


Rex Ray said...

I enjoyed your comment. I learned quit a bit.
I have a favor to ask, but first I want to agree with you about the importance of listening over medicine.

A couple was scheduled to see a lawyer to start divorce proceedings the next day. My uncle knew nothing of their plans, but as they were leaving church he said from his heart; “I’m so glad you’ve taken such an interest in our church. We need young people like you.” The couple got to thinking and they’re still married over 50 years later.

In our own case though, medicine and prayer is our only hope as yesterday my wife made several statements about her father being in our house when he’s been dead nearly 30 years. She cries when she realizes her mistake.

Now then the favor: as you being a Psychologist, would you read:


Gene S said...


First, I am not a degreed Psychologist. I have my MA plus much Seminary training in counseling as well as a lifetime of keeping up. Even my insurance career was guided by the "counselor sales" concept where you listen carefully to the client and offer what he wants and needs based on that understanding.

My approach is much like my Father who was the Baptist Chaplain at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. It is the equivalent of any publicly supported medical center taking in all cases regardless of ability to pay.

He visited a lady one day who was distraut over her husband's untimely death. Her question was, "How could God do this to me?"

My father shared with her the concepts of Leslie D. Weatherhead in his little book, "The Will of God." In it he speaks of God's will as if he were a grand puppetmaster controlling everything. Next, he cites God's premissive will as he participates with man in the give-and-take of life and gives man a choice. Finally, there is God's ultimate will as he works out his purposes in the long run to the glory of God.

She responded, "Thank you for being honest with me and helping me to see God didn't just do this to me. Every other Chaplain I have asked has just said, 'What do you think?' I'm tired of people playing games with me when they should know something about God."

The typical guidance of counseling is answer a question with another question / OR take what the person lastly said and repeat it with a question inflection in your voice. Although this might be helpful in some circumstances, there are others when the person deserves some sort of answer.

Now, I could not find the basis of the discussion to which you referred me. I could give a more insightful answer if I knew the original article.

It sounds like you wife is suffering from the most awful disease of old age, dementia. It is awful to have your wife in body by your side and see her mind not in the present reality. I will pray for you and hope medication might give help to her.

Irregardless, the best help is always someone who loves you and can gently try to keep you in the present world.

Spinney said...

Could you post the list of trustees and addresses?