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Tribute to George Scipione by Jim Newheiser

From the series:

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 at IBCD, formerly CCEF West, beginning 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 thoroughly 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. His commitment is shared by his wife, 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 founding 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 with George in which he 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 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).

George could also be persuasive. Four years ago, I sought George’s counsel when I was offered the position as Director of the counseling program at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. I was struggling with the prospect of leaving a church and friends we had loved for over twenty-five years. George’s response (which expressed his passion for biblical counseling) was, “If you were to teach counseling at RTS I could die a happy man.” His counsel is a major reason that I am in Charlotte today.

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 still 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.