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When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man (Resources for Changing Lives) Paperback – June 1, 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 178 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ed Welch is a good physician of the soul. This book is enlightening, convicting, and encouraging. I highly recommend it." --Jerry Bridges

"Need people less. Love people more. That's the author's challenge. . . . He's talking about a tendency to hold other people in awe, to be controlled and mastered by them, to depend on them for what God alone can give. . . . [Welch] proposes an antidote: the fear of God . . . the believer's response to God's power, majesty and not least his mercy." --Dallas Morning News

"Refreshingly biblical. . . . brimming with helpful, readable, practical insight." --John F. MacArthur Jr.

About the Author

Edward T. Welch (PhD, University of Utah) serves both the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) and Westminster Theological Seminary. At CCEF, he is director of counseling and academic dean, as well as a counselor and faculty member. At Westminster, he is professor of practical theology. He is author of Blame It on the Brain and When People Are Big and God Is Small and has contributed to several other books and journals, including the Journal of Psychology and Christianity.
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Product Details

  • Series: Resources for Changing Lives
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: P & R Publishing; 5.2.1997 edition (June 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875526004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875526003
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Taylor TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Welch has written a gem on the need for us to realize how great God really is and how we need to stop fearing other people so much!
The focus of Welch's book is to have a greater healthy fear of God to the point that other people have less power and control over our lives.
The points Welch describes in his book include:
1. The fear of God is the best treatment for the fear of man.
2. Jesus was not a people-pleaser.
3. Having more fear of man than God is idolatry.
4. When we fear God we think of ourselves less.
5. When we spend more time with God, opinions of ourselves and what others think of us matter less.
6. We should love people more and need them less (only God can truly provide for our needs).
7. We love others because God first loved us.
8. When God is reduced to our feelings, He becomes less awesome to us while people become larger.
The "fear of God" may be defined as having a healthy reverence for God - He loves us and does not want us to be so afraid of Him that we are scared of having a personal relationship with Him.
Read the book and be encouraged to be more concerned about what God thinks and less concerned about what other people think!
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I'll have to admit, I was a little leery of this book from the title - peer pressure, codependency - come on, another Christian psycho-babble book? But I read it since a friend was reading it and I'll admit - I was wrong. When People Are Big is an outstanding book that has something to say about the self-centered psychology of Freud and Maslow - it's all focused on the wrong thing: man. Welch, himself a Ph.D. recipient in counseling psychology chooses to focus on God's Word as the source of truth and understanding regarding the nature of man. His basic concept is that man is created to bring glory to God and in saying this notes that God has designed us with certain "needs" or "desires" that are to be fulfilled by God Himself. The problem arises, according to Welch, when we replace the proverbial God-shaped vacuum in our lives with temporal things of this world that are not only unable to satisfy our longings, but in fact prohibit God from being able to! As man turns to self for "actualitization," he finds that his highest purpose doesn't really supply meaning or significance. Only in a proper relationship with God through the sanctifying work of Christ on the cross can man truly understand his true nature and true self.

Ultimately, Welch argues, the problem with man is low esteem for his Creator. If we truly lived before an Audience of One, Welch believes that many of our daily "problems" would be solved with a proper perspective - we would see ourselves in a proper light and we would see that we are not the source of that light, but created to be the reflectors of it to others.
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Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to my husband and I during marriage counseling with a very prestigious, well known doctor.
I wish we had read it a long time ago. I have never had the biblical concept of *love* in its truest sense explained so clearly.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone that has struggled with dysfunctional family relationships, codependency issues, or even just loving your enemies.
I want to buy a case of these and pass them out to everyone we know!! That's how great this book is.
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I read a lot of books but this book is one of the few that i would re-read again and make notes so that i can really get a good grasp of its wonderful and convicting teaching. It is also one of the few books that i can say really challenges my thinking and living.
This book also got me more interested in counselling and "Christian" psychology. Some of the views written challenges many common Christian Psychology/counselling teachings - he challenges some of Larry Crabb's views.
But besides these "differences" (which i need to look more into), i think this book is an excellent read - especially for Christians who are in leadership positions. There is always a tendency to be controlled by the opinions of man, and thus in Welch's terms, succumb to a fear of man, rather than to be controlled by what God teaches, therefore be a God fearing Christian.
This book calls us to deny ourselves, to crucify our ungodly desires for popularity, fame and good opinions of man. It calls us to see God as bigger than man and once we do that, we will start to fear God and not man. Wonderful thought-provoking, life- and attitude-challenging stuff.
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Do you fear people? Do you control your actions based on what others have done or may do to you, or may think of you? Do you respond either in terror (major or minor) or great affection? If you answered yes, you're an idolater. "Our problem is that we need [others] (for ourselves) more than we love them (for the glory of God)." (p. 19)

In this book about the consequences of big people and a small God, there are answers. Because the fear of man doesn't manifest itself in the same way for everyone, Welch writes about the different symptoms we may experience. Among them, a push for self-esteem, shame, compromise, neediness, worldliness, and a feelings-oriented worldview.

But, as promised, there are answers. Or, rather, there is an Answer. The point of counseling philosophy - secular or sacred - is to offer a diagnostic system of redemption. "Here's your problem...here's how the problem can be resolved/fixed/cured/healed...Please go and live in happiness now." What Welch offer is not a system of redemption, but rather our Redeemer.

"If you have ever walked about giant redwoods, you will never be overwhelmed by the size of a dogwood tree. Or if you have been through a hurricane, a spring rain is nothing to fear. If you have been in the presence of the almighty God, everything that once controlled you suddenly has less power." (119)

The answer? Know God, and grow in the fear of Him. As we see God for who He really is, we will see ourselves (and other people) for who we all are: "someone completely dependent on Him." "Self-serving needs are not meant to be satisfied; they are meant to be put to death...We love not because people have psychological deficits; we love because God first loved us. The image of God in us is not about psychological need...
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