Brett Vaden, who holds a PhD and MDiv from the seminary, characterized Johnson, his former professor, as exemplifying Abraham Kuyper’s “sphere sovereignty,” believing that those called to ministry should seek out God’s truth wherever it may be:
While that vision may sound all well and good, practically it has put Dr. Johnson at odds with others teachers, pastors, and scholars whose understanding of the doctrine of "sufficiency of Scripture" forces them to limit their study to the Bible….
He has also attempted to read, understand, critique, ‘translate,’ and utilize (when appropriate) resources outside of the Christian tradition. Of course, as he clearly explains in Foundations for Soul Care, for the Christian seeking truth, all knowledge must be subordinated and ruled by the Christian worldview [or] meta-narrative given us in Scripture.
Johnson describes how his approach differs from others in Christian counseling in God and Soul Care. He wrote:
Biblical counseling and integration, in very different ways, often (though not necessarily!) have tended to assume the modern separation of theology from psychology (and psychotherapy and counseling). The aim of this book is a synthesis of all relevant biblical, theological, psychological, and philosophical forms of knowledge about human beings with the goal of understanding human beings as comprehensively as possible, that is, as much like God as we can.
“I respect and have learned from many in the biblical counseling camp. Their perspective is laudable and needed,” wrote Boyce alum Dustin Messer in response to Johnson’s news. “But even if one thinks Dr. Johnson’s approach to counseling is anemic or flawed, he’s no enemy of the faith…. My goodness, Dr. Johnson’s theology is about as orthodox and mainstream as it gets in evangelicalism.”
The seminary, the second-largest in the country and the first to offer a PhD program, boasts record enrollment decades after Mohler became president in 1993, securing Southern’s conservative bona fides with a new wave of staff—including Johnson.
“I have not spent my adult lifetime building this faculty in order to dismiss it,” said Mohler.
Johnson’s new book, released September 5 through InterVarsity Press’s academic line, was endorsed by Trinity Evangelical Divinity School professor Kevin Vanhoozer, Regent University professor Mark Yarhouse, and Association of Biblical Counselors president Jeremy Lelek.
Johnson thanks Lambert among his dialogue partners in the acknowledgements.