About IABC

Our Approach


IABC Statement of Faith


Because of the specialized calling of the International Association of Biblical Counselors, we desire to allow for freedom of convictions on other doctrinal matters, provided that any interpretation is based on the Bible alone and that no such interpretation shall become an issue which hinders the ministry of biblical counseling to which God has called us.

IABC Members and Certified Biblical Counselors are Asked to Affirm the Following:

1. 

We believe that the Bible was uniquely, verbally, and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit and that it was written without error in the original manuscripts. We accept the Bible in its entirety, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, as the sufficient and final authority for guiding man to faith in God then to walk in victory (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Corinthians 2:13, 10:11; John 19:35).

2. 

We believe that there is one true God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each of these Persons possesses equally all the attributes of Deity and thus the characteristics of personality (Matthew 18:19; John 10:30; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 13:14).

3. 

We believe that God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth, is the functional head of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) (Genesis 1:1, 26; Matthew 6:9; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 1 John 3:1).

4. 

We believe that Jesus Christ is God, the living Word, who became fully man without ceasing to be fully God, through His miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived a sinless life and voluntarily atoned for the sins of men by dying on the cross as their substitute. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He had lived and died. He ascended bodily into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Father, as the Advocate of those who trust Him for salvation (Matthew 1:16, 20, 23; Luke 1:34; Hebrews 4:15; 2 Corinthians 15; 1 Peter 2:5-9; 1 John 2:1). We believe that Jesus Christ will come again to the earth, personally, visibly, and bodily to consummate history and the eternal plan of God.(Acts 1:10-11; John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 22:20).

5. 

We believe that God the Holy Spirit has come into the world to reveal and glorify Christ and to apply the saving work of Christ to mankind. He convicts and draws sinners to Christ. From the moment of spiritual birth, He imparts new life to them, and seals them until the day of redemption. He is the source and power for all acceptable worship and imparts a diversity of enabling gifts for service. He enlightens us to understand the infallible Word and seeks to occupy us with Christ alone (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:18; Titus 3:5).

6. 

We believe that man was originally created in the image of God and that man sinned by disobeying God and thus was alienated from his Father/Creator. Fallen man’s nature is corrupted and he is thus totally unable to please God. He is in need of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Man cannot see nor enter the Kingdom of God until He is born again (Genesis 1:26-27; John 3:3, 6-7; Romans 1:18, 3:20, 5:12, 7:21-25; Ephesians 2:1; Titus 3:5-6).

7. 

We believe that the salvation of man is wholly a work of God’s grace and is not the work, in whole or in part, of human works, effort, or religious ceremony. We believe that God imputes them in His sight. Nothing can be added to the finished work of Christ (John 3:16; Romans 3:24, 6:23; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).

8. 

We believe that the Church, the Body of Christ, is composed of all persons living and dead who have been joined to Christ through faith in His atonement. Every true believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:13) This relates believers to one another spiritually, regardless of church or denominational distinction. We believe the Scriptures affirm that the local church is a God-ordained instrument for worship, discipline, spiritual edification, and encouragement and the assembling together for these purposes should not be forsaken by Christians (Romans 12:4-5; Ephesians 2:15-16, 19-22, 4:1-3; Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 10:25).

9. 

We believe that the believer, upon physical death, enters immediately into conscious fellowship with the Lord, and awaits the resurrection of his body to everlasting glory and blessing. (John 12:26; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Philippians 1:23) We believe that the unbeliever, upon physical death, enters immediately into eternal, conscious separation from God and awaits the resurrection of his body to everlasting judgment and condemnation (Matthew 25:31-46; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:12; Revelation 20:11-15).

10. 

We believe that all believers are commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ to proclaim the gospel throughout the world and to disciple people from every nation (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47-48)

11. 

We believe that the highest of the created angels, Lucifer, aspiring to displace God, fell from heaven, became Satan, and caused man’s fall into sin, thus introducing sin into the entire human race. His objective today is to thwart the plan of God, deceive, if possible, the whole world, and create confusion among believers. We believe that through the sacrifice of Christ, Satan is a defeated enemy who will be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire (Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 25:41; Ephesians 6:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:9-10, Revelation 12:19-20, 20:10, 21:8)

Statement of Purpose

 

 

IABC is Committed to staying out of the Ditch of Legalism

At IABC, we begin with Scripture. Therefore, we are committing to staying away from any kind of teaching that would lead our counselees into a “performance trap” of trying to earn the favor of God’s deliverance, joy, or peace through a merit system or some form of biblical discipline. Our counselees are desperate for hope. Galatians 2:16 makes it clear that there is nothing anyone can do or not do to change justification, apart from which we are all hopeless. IABC counselors (or pastors, church leaders, biblical caregivers, helpers or servants) point counselees (fellow believers) to the one and only relationship they extremely and essentially need – Jesus Christ.

In that relationship, with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we help counselees grow to be more like Christ. You may think that sounds like a vague and unattainable goal, but it has a starting point. There’s a concise description of Jesus recorded in John 1:14 – “full of grace and truth.” Grace and truth are the necessary guardrails that protect and guide every biblical counseling conversation.

IABC counselors agree that to ignore grace leads to inaccurate understanding of God and the deceptive counseling of perfectionism or behavior management – performance based counseling. We equally agree that to ignore truth also leads to inaccurate understanding of God and the deceptive counseling of humanism or liberalism – emotions based counseling.

Grace is not only for new birth (justification), but it is available for growth (sanctification). Grace is not forgiveness alone, but also provides God’s resources to grow in godliness.

As biblical counselors, we take time to be still before God. We soak in His grace as we confess our sin and walk in mercy towards others. We bask in His truth as we learn and grow in the study of His Word. The only standard we choose is God’s Word, as we seek to avoid performance standards for ourselves and our counselees. We check criticism and judgmentalism in our spirits. We counsel the grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing that only therein is found the joyful freedom of forgiveness which our counselees lack and long for.

We at IABC stress the living relationship with Jesus Christ. We teach the spiritual disciplines of 1 Timothy 4:7 within the guardrails of grace and truth. We teach that the truths of Scripture can and do minister to every aspect of the human condition, but only under God’s grace. In this grace, our counselees are enabled and empowered to persevere in applying their lives to truth.

We endeavor to remember, and encourage our counselees to remember, that the saving grace of God is also the changing power of biblical counseling.

IABC is Determined to Point People to Christ


With awareness of the danger of counseling apart from relationship with Christ, our constant aim is saving relationship with Jesus Christ. In that context, we seek to move counselees from infancy to a deep knowledge of God, while maintaining that true maturity is possible only through Scripture (Hebrews 4:12, 5:12-6:3).

We resist counseling from a pragmatic, practically minded social gospel that slowly meanders off the narrow path of the Christ-followers. At the same time, we seek to incarnate the love of Jesus Christ in ministering biblical truths to the heart of the counselee. We remain mindful that radical adjustments or accountability measures necessary for our counselees’ success will only be an academic exercise apart from relationship with Jesus Christ. It is our goal never to offer a message of hope from any other position than clinging personally to the Cross of the Savior, and from any other promotion than relationship with the powerful Redeemer, who is the King of Grace and Truth.

IABC is Purposeful in Beginning with Truth

From within the guardrails of grace and truth, we understand that truth gives grace context. We are convinced and desire to convince our counselees, that the Word of God is the authoritative absolute truth that provides super-sufficient and relevant counsel for our lives.

Jesus Christ lined Himself up perfectly with truth (John 17:17-19).
Jesus came for the purpose of truth (John 18:37).
Jesus Christ is the embodiment of truth (John 14:6).
To see counselees walking in truth provides the greatest joy (3 John 1:4).
Because the Word of God is God revealing Himself to us; as we know the Word of God, so we know God. We are counselors whose highest priority is daily reorientation of ourselves to see the Savior, adore the Savior, and rejoice in the Savior through His Word.

It is in the personal soaking in of Truth Himself by which biblical counselors can and do follow through, graciously counseling the truth of the Savior.

IABC is Motive-Driven, not Mode-Driven


With serious intent to avoid blindly following after other gods, we reject modes driven by motives that reject the One True God. We carefully stand firm on God’s Word as the only protection to shield us from adopting Godless theories or motives.

We embrace Scripture’s proclamations of lavished grace that introduce functional obligations. We reveal the glorious, loving, sacrificial power of God before counseling towards adoring obedience. We keep at the forefront of our minds the fact that biblical counseling works because God transforms. Our goal is not that counselees become better at coping, functioning, or handling life – we want them to overcome; to live out Christ’s imputed righteousness; to shine abundant life.

IABC Recognizes the Role that Cognition Plays in Biblical Counseling


We know that lack of biblical understanding hinders spiritual growth, that unbiblical mindsets and worldviews arrest faith. Our counselees’ greatest need, contrary to cultural definitions, is not remembering a painful past, opening old wounds, nor venting feelings in the safety of an empathic relationship. Our counselees’ greatest need is to fear God and thus seek His wisdom.

Biblical counselors trained through IABC learn what God says about the human condition, and how the Bible shows them to think about life situations. We maintain that the overriding responsibility of a biblical counseling session is to make people aware of how God’s authoritative and super-sufficient Word makes His love real to them. We seek to help our counselees to become wise, we help them understand how relevant passages bear connectedness to their problems.

IABC Counsels Victory


We are not ashamed to declare that the great, ultimate, final victory of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection that defeated sin and conquered death is the crucial need of our counselees. It is the reality of this gospel that our counselees need in order for their lives to be characterized by the joy and peace they seek. Romans 8:6 teaches that only in the power of the Spirit of God can their lives exhibit the life and peace of God.

We are aware of the reality that in this sin-cursed fallen world, our counselees often innocently suffer horrific travesties. Equally, we recognize that in Christ there can and are responses that reflect the joy and peace possible only in God. Biblical counselors are sold out to the fact that by the Holy Spirit, every counselee can be delivered from sinful responses and from expectations that there will be no sin against them (Romans 8:1-4). As we walk together with our counselees through the dregs of conviction of sin; our goal is that they revel in the joy of being forgiven, and radiate the grace of Christ’s mercy. We appreciate that victory over sin is not just a potential battle; it is of absolute necessity a feverish all-out war; a war in which the enemy has been defeated.

Statement of Practice

 

Biblical counseling is based on the inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency of the Word of God. To safeguard against misguided and imbalanced practices of counseling which may be labeled “biblical,” some standards of practice need to be established. The following criteria are chosen as stimulants for excellence and, at the time, to be a means of providing some measure of trustworthiness for general referral.

Accordingly, IABC members and counselors are asked to affirm the following:


1. I agree that the Scripture is sufficient, through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, to address all of man’s needs (2 Peter 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, my counseling methods, practices, and techniques will be based upon the clear biblical principles and not upon theories of personality, model of man, psychotherapies, or philosophies derived from secular sources (1 Corinthians 3:19).

2. I agree that all mankind is in need of personal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. If those I counsel do not possess this salvation, a primary objective of my counseling must be clear, Spirit-led communication of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Romans 3:23, 6:23; Matthew 28:19-20).

3. I agree to counsel and teach the lordship of Jesus Christ in order to lead counselees away from a humanistic focus on self to a proper focus on Him (Luke 9:23; Romans 12:1-2).

4. I agree to honor the scriptural sanctity of life, marriage, and family and to do my utmost in counseling to reinforce these beliefs (Psalm 139:13-14; Genesis 2:24; Malachi 2:16; Proverbs 23:25; Colossians 3:20).

5. I agree that, as God empowers me, I will live my life and conduct my relationships in godliness and holiness before Him, with the goal of living out the truths that I am teaching (Philippians 2:12-13).

6. I agree with the spiritual authority of the Church. I will evidence this by my involvement in a local church and by instructing those whom I counsel to involve themselves in a church also, thus working in concert with it rather than in competition against it (Hebrews 10:25).

Counseling God's Way

“Counseling God’s way is more than a catchy phrase. It’s a commitment to take the Scriptures seriously and to help God’s people apply His truth to their personal lives in practical ways.”

 

One of the distinctives of IABC is our International Ministries. To date, IABC has had the privilege of ministering in Romania, Uganda, Brazil, Albania, Ireland, and other countries throughout the world. In addition to the training conferences we’ve offered, IABC has Certified Biblical Counselors and/or IABC Members in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Uganda, and Nambia.

IABC is also reaching into the Amish communities through Biblical Counseling training.

Light from darkness.


Counseling God’s Way is as different from psychological counseling as light is from darkness. You see, genuine Biblical counseling doesn’t merely sprinkle a few Bible verses here and there to make the counseling appear Bible-centered. In contrast to psychologically-integrated systems, Biblical counseling seeks to carefully discover those areas in which a Christian may be disobedient to the principles and commands of Scripture and to help him learn how to lovingly submit to God’s will.

Counseling God’s Way.


That is what psychological counseling produces: spiritual nearsightedness and blindness and a return to slavery to the very sins God has freed us from. As a result, “they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning,” (2 Peter 2:20).

Counseling God's Way

is totally different, because it relies on the wisdom of God, not on the false precepts of humanistic philosophies and theories.

Would you like to know more about counseling God's way? Then we invite you to order a copy of the book, How to Counsel God's Way, by Bob Hoekstra. It could be the turning point in your ministry of counseling as we encourage one another.

Order Bob's Book Online

God has Given Us


Biblical counselors take Colossians 1:28 seriously, presenting Christ without shame, lovingly confronting sin, and teaching Biblical principles in order to produce maturity in the life of the counselee.

 Psychological counseling, on the other hand, is based on “hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ,” (Colossians 2:8). That’s why Paul warns, “See to it that no one takes you captive” through such empty concepts.

Biblical counselors truly believe that God “has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness,” (2 Peter 1:5). If we apply God’s principles to our lives and grow in our character qualities, Peter promises “they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive,” (vs.8), but if we fail to do so, Peter says we are “nearsighted and blind” forgetting that we have “been cleansed from [our] past sins” (vs.9).

 

Biblical Counseling.


In contrast to the false stereotypes of Biblical counseling, effective Biblical counselors do not automatically diagnose a counselee’s problems as flagrant and willful rebellion and prescribe a couple of verses with the promise of instant healing. On the other hand, a genuine Biblical counselor does not assume that every problem is biologically caused, requiring years of intensive psychotherapy and psychotropic drugs.
While recognizing that many problems of thinking and behavior are physically caused, Biblical counselors recognize that many physical symptoms are generated by wrong patterns of thinking and action.

International Ministries

One of the distinctive of IABC is our International Ministries. To date, IABC has had the privilege of ministering in Romania, Uganda, Brazil, Albania, Ireland, and other countries throughout the world. In addition to the training conferences we’ve offered, IABC has Certified Biblical Counselors and/or IABC Members in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Uganda, and Nambia.

IABC is also reaching into the Amish communities through Biblical Counseling training.