Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christianity vs Psychology: 5 Models of Integration

David Entwistle lists 5 types of integrationists: enemies, spies, colonialists, neutral parties, and allies. Enemies are either psychologists or theologists who believe there is only one truth, and the other is a threat to real truth. Spies are psychologists who dabble with Christianity to learn some of its methods, such as forgiveness, but do not believe Christianity is a path of truth. Colonialists are Christians who see merit in some of the psychological methods for healing, but are wary of the practice. Neutral parties believe there is no overlap between the two disciplines. Both are parallel methods for seeking the truth. Lastly allies believe both are necessary fields which are best when working together. Neither has authority over the other.

I am a colonialist because I view psychology, as Entwistle (2004) states, through the filter of the Bible. I see the Bible as the closest representation of God’s truth. I see the world as progressing away from our Creator. I do not agree with Entwistle (2004) that to be a colonialist means that I am incompetent in psychology. Instead, I believe much of the methods prescribed by psychology can be misused if not taken in context with Biblical truths. We as Christian counselors must trust God’s Word and allow for His mystery when psychological or common sense explanations appear to discredit a Biblical interpretation. When there is disagreement between the two books, I believe it behooves us to give the Bible the benefit of the doubt. Certainly the Bible can be interpreted in multiple ways. Rather than assume a Biblical interpretation is wrong, I feel we as Christians should consider how that interpretation could have meaning in our lives. By allowing that we do not know what we do not know, we create an opening for God to work in our lives and the lives of others.

Entwistle, D.N. (2004). 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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