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Psychology & Christianity: Five Views (Spectrum) Paperback – August 7, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eric L. Johnson (Ph.D., Michigan State University) is trained as an academic psychologist and is Lawrence and Charlotte Hoover Professor of Pastoral Care at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is coeditor of God Under Fire and the author of Foundations for Soul Care. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Psychology and Theology, the Journal of Psychology and Christianity, and the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, and he is the director of the Society for Christian Psychology.

Myers is professor of psychology at Hope College. He is best known for his widely adopted texts on introductory psychology and social psychology. He had published widely in professional journals and is the recipient of the Gordon Allport Prize for research studies of group influence. His latest book is The Pursuit of Happiness: Who Is Happy and Why (William Morrow).

Stanton L. Jones is provost and professor of psychology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. During his tenure as chair of the psychology department (1984-1996), he led the development of Wheaton's Doctor of Psychology program in clinical psychology. He received his B.S. in psychology from Texas A & M University in 1976, and his M.A. (1978) and Ph.D. (1981) degrees in clinical psychology from Arizona State University. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and served on the Council of Representatives, the central governing body of the APA, representing the Psychology of Religion division from 1999 to 2001. In 1994 he was named a Research Fellow of the Evangelical Scholars Program of the Pew Foundation. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Divinity School of the University of Cambridge and a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, for the 1995-1996 academic year. Jones authored the lead article, "Religion and Psychology," for the Encyclopedia of Psychology, jointly published in 2000 by the American Psychological Association and Oxford University Press. His article in the March 1994 American Psychologist, titled "A Constructive Relationship for Religion with the Science and Profession of Psychology: Perhaps the Best Model Yet," was a call for greater respect for and cooperation with religion by secular psychologists. Jones has also written, with his wife, Brenna, a five-book series on sex education in the Christian family called God's Design for Sex. He is also the coauthor of Modern Psychotherapies (with Richard E. Butman) and Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church's Moral Debate (with Mark A. Yarhouse) and editor of Psychology and Christianity: Four Views. He has published many other professional and popular articles and chapters.

Roberts, Ph.D., is distinguished professor of ethics at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He was formerly professor of philosophy and psychological studies at Wheaton College, where he worked on integration aspects of clinical psychology. Author of numerous books and articles, he is currently completing a volume on the moral psychology of emotions.

P. J. Watson (Ph.D. University of Texas at Arlington) is professor of pyschology and head of the pyschology department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He has written numerous articles relating to psychology and physiology that have been published in psychology books and scholarly journals. Over the years Watson has been the recipient of several grants for research, the most current being a grant from the University of Chattanooga Foundation to support "personality research in Iran."

John H. Coe (PhD, University of California, Irvine) is director of the Institute for Spiritual Formation at Biola University in La Mirada, California. He is also professor of spiritual theology and philosophy at the Talbot School of Theology and Rosemead School of Psychology. He is the coauthor of Wildlife in the Kingdom Come and Psychology in the Spirit, and contributor to Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics and Psychology & Christianity. His research and speaking is in spiritual formation and the interface between psychology, spirituality and philosophy. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care and has contributed articles to the Journal of Psychology and Theology and the Journal of Psychology and Christianity. He is married to Greta and they have two daughters.

Todd W. Hall (Ph.D., Biola University, Doctoral specialization, University of California--Los Angeles) is director of the Institute for Research on Psychology and Spirituality, associate professor of psychology, and editor of theJournal of Psychology and Theology at Biola University. He is also the president of Alidade Research (alidaderesearch.com), a research and organizational development consulting firm. Hall developed the Furnishing the Soul Inventory, one of the most widely used measures of Christian spirituality among Christian colleges, Bible institutes and secondary schools in North America. He speaks and consults regularly on spiritual transformation, leadership and organizational development to Christian schools, nonprofits, businesses and churches around the country. Having conducted research on spiritual transformation for over fifteen years, Hall has published extensively on the topic in journals such as the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, Journal of Psychology and Theology, Journal of Psychology and Christianity and Mental Health, Culture and Religion. He is also the author of Spiritual Formation, Counseling and Psychotherapy (Nova Science, 2004).

Powlison, Ph.D., edits the Journal of Biblical Counseling, teaches at Westminster Theological Seminary, and counsels at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. He has written numerous articles about Christian counseling, and about how Christian faith and practice relate to the faiths and practices of the modern psychologies.
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Product Details

  • Series: Spectrum
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic; 02 edition (August 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830828486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830828487
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am currently a Master of Divinity student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Those familiar with the seminary know that just over ten years ago a significant debate took place concerning the relationship of Psychology and Christianity. The school emerged with an adjusted position. They now advocate a practice of counseling known as "Biblical Counseling". This approach - championed by Jay Adams beginning in the 70's - is defined by its commitment to Scripture and the conviction that psychology is unhelpful for understanding or healing.

A rash conclusion would be to see the Biblical Counseling position as the only viable option for Christians. In fact, committed Christians do maintain divergent opinions on the subject of counseling, psychology and Christian confession. I have long enjoyed multi-view titles that many Christian publishers have been making available. InterVarsity Press has Psychology and Christianity: Five Views as part of their immensely helpful Spectrum series.

This book serves as an introductory text to the various approaches to psychology and counseling from a Christian perspective. This updated version has chapters devoted to "Level-of-Explanation", "Integrated", "Christian Psychology", "Transformative" and "Biblical Counseling" approaches. The defining characteristic of the multi-view books are the short chapters following the presentations of each view. Those short response chapters allow the authors of different views to discuss areas of agreement and disagreement. This makes short work for readers who wish to discover the crux of debate.

Despite the historical vitriol this subject has known, each contributor is calm and gracious towards their dissenters.
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Format: Paperback
I must start by saying that Psychology & Christianity: Five Views is easily one of the most helpful books I have ever read on the topic of psychology. This book begins with a history of the Christian influences in the field of psychology. At times this part was dry but it was still cool to see how Christianity has actually had a big influence on the field. The rest of the book contains chapters written by different authors. Each author in the book is writing from their viewpoint on how we as Christians should practice psychology. One author will write about their viewpoint and then the other four authors respond to that chapter. They talk about the things they agree or disagree with. This is extremely helpful because every single argument is dissected. You see the flaws (if there are any) in the argument made.

It was really great to see what the five main viewpoints are that Christians take on Psychology. The men who contributed to this book are strong Christians who are trying to understand God's creation. While they have all taken different stances, (from Biblical Counseling to a more liberal approach in psychology) they are all in search of the same things: Wisdom & Understanding. I have been in many "debates" where people took up positions on either extremes (psychology is ungodly or biblical counseling is too harsh). I encourage everyone who reads this book to read it with an open mind and with an open bible. As editor Eric Johnson put it, "It would be a serious mistake to assume that there is only one correct position among the five such that the others are wholly in error" (Johnson, 292). I highly recommend this book to Christians who a) are studying psychology in school, b) are considering entering the field of psychology, or c) want to know more about psychology and how Christians tackle this controversial topic.
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The scope of "Psychology and Christianity Five Views" is to show the five primary views of Psychology in relation to Christianity, or as the editor (Eric L. Johnson) says, "Our goal in a book like this is ultimately to discern God's view of psychology and Christianity (5 Views, 295)." The book's aim, on the other hand comes in the form of application, it hopes to educate and help counselors understand and develop a Christian Philosophy for counseling, "it does this by exploring five major positions evangelicals have taken regarding the relationship of psychology and the Christian faith (5 Views, 38)." As can be surmised, this book deals with the field of psychology, and in particular it deals with how five different Christian experts try to understand this broad field of study.
A logical question that most modern readers may have is the relevancy of Christian psychology. The answer to that question can be shown briefly through history, claims the editor. The fact is that Christianity brought psychology to the West through great thinkers such as Roger Bacon, Descartes, Copernicus and many others (5 Views, 10). The editor goes on to say, "...if we define psychology broadly as a rigorous inquiry into human nature and how to treat its problems and advance its will-being, Christians have been thinking and practicing psychology for centuries (5 Views, 14)." The editor also notes that late modernism was a reaction against history, thus Christianity. The "moderns" in the West kept trying to exclude biblical study as well as philosophical reflection, while at the same time trying to turn psychology into a natural science (5 Views, 19). This in turn created tension between the tradition of the "aged" church (which had been around for centuries) and the "modern" science of psychology.
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