Do you really think psychology can have any practical value for the Christian?” The man who asked this question recently is a well-known writer, teacher, and speaker. Convinced that psychology is a “godless, secular science,” he refuses to read the psychological literature, is critical of professional counseling, and staunchly maintains that the social sciences, including psychology, have nothing to offer those in the local church or parachurch organizations.
As a Christian trained in psychology, I must disagree. Just as truth about God’s created universe may come through natural sciences like medicine, or physics, or philosophical logic, or the insights of students in the humanities, so can truth come by way of psychology, psychiatry, and other social sciences. There is, of course, much within psychology that the Christian cannot accept. Some psychological conclusions about man’s nature, for example, some techniques used by professional counselors, and some proposals for altering our future are clearly contrary to Christian ethics and the teaching of Scripture. If we test our psychological conclusions empirically, logically, and against the inspired Word of God, however, we will discover that the psychological sciences contain much of practical value to the Christian seeking to serve Christ both inside and outside the church.
In at least six major areas Christian psychologists and their psychological conclusions can help the body of Christ. These areas are represented in the illustration shown, a wheel revolving around a central axis.
At the center is the Word of God, around which we must build our psychology. Without the stabilizing influence of God’s verbal revelation the wheel could spin off uncontrolled in a variety of ...1
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