Christianity is more than a black-bag technique.

When I finished my doctoral program in clinical psychology, I assumed that the techniques of psychology were well suited for helping people deal with personal problems. But because I was a Christian, I tacked on two disclaimers. First, although I believed the methods of psychology were useful to a Christian counselor, I insisted that the theories behind the methods were often opposed to Scripture and therefore had to be rejected. Second, I regarded the resources of Christianity as welcome additions to the Christian therapist’s little black bag of techniques. However, I clearly distinguished between psychological problems and spiritual problems. For solving psychological problems, I believed that Christianity was often helpful but rarely essential; for handling spiritual problems, however, I knew that only Christianity would suffice.

This line of thinking received a gradual jolt as I began to encounter something unexpected in my counseling. People came to me complaining of surface problems that I had to dig through to find the root difficulty. As I reached in to deal with this underlying disorder, I found myself touching something that I couldn’t classify as a diseased psyche curable by my professional methods. What I discovered beneath the complaints was simply a person—an uptight, insecure, confused person who felt lonely and empty. Probing more deeply, I noticed that this person had a lot of foolish ideas about life that took no real account of God, and that he or she had a stubborn inclination to do wrong and an equally stubborn unwillingness to admit being wrong.

It became clear to me that bringing about a transformation in this person (who beneath the surface differences ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: