Coming to Peace With Psychology
Subtitle: "What Christians Can Learn From Psychological Science"
Everett L Worthington Jr
There are some in the church who think that only a specific focus on Jesus can help us with anything and that things that do not contain the word 'Jesus' should be ignored. However, I suspect many of them drive cars to go to work and also appreciate the 'general revelation' of a beautiful landscape of peace of music. There is much in the natural world that will tell us things about, God and Everett Worthington believes that psychology should be no exception.
In the introduction, he covers some of the reasons why there is an issue here at all - taking things right back to St Augustine and his book 'City of God'. He then helpfully charts the development of the 'Integrationist' debate, looking at how various people like James Dobson, Gary Collins, Jay Adams and Larry Crabb have done their bit to bring things together. There is much to learn from the Bible about the human condition, but also from scientific observation.
He then goes on to look at the various sub topics that often come up - what information is trustworthy, what is the impact of the behind-the-scenes worldview of the scientist, what questions can each discipline NOT answer and so on. But the second half of the book is where the really excellent material is. He looks at how psychology can actually strengthen theological claims, how it can add new ideas to theology and even how it can help us live more virtuously.
These might sounds like bold claims, but the personal life of Everett Worthington is one support for this idea. He is one of the most respected Christians working in the psychological sciences and his own standing and personal walk with God are an illustration of what his thesis can accomplish. A tough and scientific, but also well worth read.
Everett Worthington, 27/05/2011
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