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Integrating Psychology and Christianity Essay (Book Review)

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Abstract

The book analyzes the integration of psychology and Christianity. David Entwistle, the author, has a Masters degree in Theological Studies from Anderson University and he is pursuing another Masters degree in Divinity. The book is divided into four sections. The first section begins by highlighting the historical integration of psychology and Christianity. The book gives philosophical underpinnings with respect to own knowledge coupled with providing different models of integration. The author wraps up the book by giving suggestions based on personal view.

Book Summary

The book is divided into four sections. The first section begins by Tertullian’s quote, “What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem” (Entwistle, 2010, p. 8.) The author immediately responds by saying that “all truth is God’s truth” (Entwistle, 2010, p. 8). The author elaborates by proposing that “wherever and however the truth is discovered, its author is God” (Entwistle, 2010, p. 13). The author defines the transition of theology into psychological view of life situations.

In the second section, Entwistle (2010) sets up a philosophical background for integration, which acts as the main reference for the perspective of consolidation. The worldview topics, metaphysics, anthropology, and epistemology are integrated into the philosophical context perspective. The author introduces the topics of the worldview and outlines the four elements of the Christian worldview beliefs, viz. creation, fall, redemption, and the consummation. Entwistle (2010) discusses the Christian elements in both the perspectives of philosophical and theological views. The third section majors on epistemology and its deeper historical analyses, different perspectives on certainty, and their relevant methodologies. In this section, the author gives own four epistemological methodologies that back up the integration process, viz. “empiricism, logic, hermeneutics, and logic” (Entwistle, 2010, p.24). Moreover, the author handles metaphysics by looking into the origin of the world and the supernaturalism therein. He then incorporates the analysis of the beauty and reality.

The discussion on the five models of the integration of psychology and Christianity are outlined in the third section According to Entwistle (2010), the models of integration include “spies, enemies, colonialists, neutral parties, and allies” (p. 27). The enemies’ model works under the premise that the two areas of study are naturally antagonistic. Similarly, the spies’ model relies on either psychology or theology, which specifically borrows some elements from each other. This positioning of the spies’ model risks the concept of orthodox. The neutral model explores psychology and theology as completely independent subjects with some differences. Lastly, the allies’ model is solely based on the “unity of truth”, which acknowledges that every truth comes from the Almighty God (Entwistle, 2010, p. 29).

Finally, in the fourth section, Entwistle (2010) proposes the Allies model as the most appropriate tool for integration. He further acknowledges that God’s truth exists in both his word (the scripture) and work (creation). Entwistle (2010) goes further to state that since God is the creator of all subjects, the disciplines (theology and psychology) can cooperate harmoniously. Finally, the author sets a framework towards resolving the inherent conflict between the two disciplines by noting that the differences are products of diverging understanding of facts and their interpretations.

Concrete Responses

The book is an extraordinary turning point for interdisciplinary conflict resolution. Every reader who goes through the book will remember an incidence of conflict in his/her personal life. Personally, the book triggers an incidence that a certain pastor conned people money through wrong interpretation of the scripture. It is very important to note that every person can read the Bible and interpret it to bring out the correct hidden meaning. The pastor used to specify the amount of offering that every church member must give by quoting 2 Cor. 9:7, viz. “God loves a cheerful giver.” Moreover each church member was supposed to “sow a seed of faith”, which was specified on the offering envelopes. According to Entwistle (2010), many ‘Christians’ misinterpret the scriptures for their own gains. Reasonably, the scriptures do not specify the amount that one is supposed to give to God. In addition, the scriptures emphasize on secrecy when giving offerings. Evidently, the scriptures are used by modern church leaders for their gains either indirect or directly. Due to the lack of interdisciplinary knowledge like psychology and theology by many individuals, leaders tend to misinterpret the scriptures in a way that favors them.

Reflection

The greatest strength portrayed the by the author is the ability to harmonize and resolve objectively the existing conflict between the two disciplines. Entwistle (2010) also scores highly on the Allies model of integration and he logically solves the international conflict by this ‘quest for faithful reading’ with respect to disciplinary integration. However, some weaknesses stand out as the desire for friendly integration overemphasizes the fact that there exists a risk in the gospel minimization. Specifically, Entwistle (2010) argues that due to worldview influenced by theology, there should be a balance of the two disciplines. He further suggests that neither of the two is the core conflict resolution tool since God is the source of all truth. This assertion contradicts his conflict resolution between the two disciplines. In addition, it increases the risk of misinterpreting the Bible as Christian must understand humanity as God’s creation in entire Christ or the whole system will fail. In contrast, failing to understand the truth according to God’s provision cannot warrant the disintegration of the system. The author quotes Millard Erickson’s view that Christians normally get revelation after being born again, which is critical in their walk of faith.

Action

According to Entwistle (2010), the conflict in the integration of psychology and Christianity evidently depicts a misinterpretation. Therefore, an action should be taken to save the conflict resolution in the two disciplines. The involved steps according to Entwistle’s book would be knowledge accommodation between the disciplines, correct interpretation and finally having a common knowledge reference tool (Entwistle, 2010, p. 47). The need for knowledge accommodation between the two disciplines would save the differences therein. Understanding the knowledge about Christianity and incorporating it into psychology and vice versa would help to solve the interdisciplinary conflicts. Moreover, the understanding of the scriptures requires both the philosophical and theological knowledge in order to bring out the correct interpretation. Therefore, with the right knowledge on the interpretation between the disciplines, borrowing of ideas would dominate and harmonize the conflicts. Similarly, in order to have similar ideas and understanding of each discipline, common knowledge would be required. Ideally, the conflict between the two disciplines requires a good combination that helps counselors, pastors, and peacemakers come up with decisions based on the combination of theology and psychology at large.

Conclusions

Christianity and psychology differ significantly, but if combined perfectly, the outcome could be outstandingly influential. The conflict between the two disciplines exists due to the different beliefs and perspectives on disparate issues abiding in them. The author highlights his views based on the gospel perspectives with respect to theology. However, the author acknowledges that all the truth originates from the Almighty God and that should act as the reference point for Christians.

Reference

Entwistle, D. (2010). Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity: An Introduction to Worldview Issues, Philosophical foundations, and models of Integration. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers.

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IvyPanda. (2021, January 16). Integrating Psychology and Christianity. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/integrating-psychology-and-christianity/

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"Integrating Psychology and Christianity." IvyPanda, 16 Jan. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/integrating-psychology-and-christianity/.

1. IvyPanda. "Integrating Psychology and Christianity." January 16, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/integrating-psychology-and-christianity/.


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IvyPanda. "Integrating Psychology and Christianity." January 16, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/integrating-psychology-and-christianity/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Integrating Psychology and Christianity." January 16, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/integrating-psychology-and-christianity/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Integrating Psychology and Christianity'. 16 January.

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