Article Critique of Faith’s Psychology and the Psychological Faiths

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Paulison is the Executive Director of CCEF and the senior editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling. He earned a Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a M.Div. degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. He has been counseling for over thirty years. He has written several articles on biblical counseling and the relationship between faith and psychology. He is a professor and he has taught across the United States and in Korea, India, Brazil, Europe, and Sri Lanka.

INTRODUCTION/THE AUTHOR’S THESIS

We live in a societal environment, wherein human behavioral problems have been classified as genetically predisposed disease, social biologically related, chemical dependency syndrome is considered, medically social history is accounted for, and human responsibilities are ignored by the psychologized sophisticated world of industries. In this regard, Christians are to be radical reformers called into the institutional structures and cultural attitudes of a psychologized society in which everything is explainable by secular psychological philosophy; consequently, they are called to be well-informed and instrumental of Christ’s grace to the uncontrollable, the disadvantaged, and the perplexed. As they develop and sharpen to distinguish messages, methods, and institutional structures, faith’s psychology will emerge and be seen as a fundamental, pleasing, and accurate, and it will bear the day against its sophisticated competitors.

SUMMARY OF THE AUTHOR’S ARGUMENT

            The mannerism adapted and executed by the secular sophisticated psychologized society with respect to how the secular world understands human predicaments is quite differentiated from the biblical and the Christian view points. In this regard, the human plights should be viewed through the lenses of scripture to make the difference in the lives of the suffering world. Understanding the human plights takes into account the understanding of faith’s psychology to enable the radical Christian counselors to make impact to the disadvantaged world full of human predicaments that require God’s intervention. To effect this change and to put the sophisticated secular psychologized world out of business, various psychological principles and terms associated with real human problems must be taking into consideration by Christian counselors. Such terms include the psychology per se which has to deal with the functioning of the human soul. It talks about what we are which can not be divorced from the Biblical standpoint of the human soul relative to the spiritual existence of man. Psychology as knowledge: This delineates and refers to many observations and descriptions of human functioning. Psychology as the competing philosophies of life: This talks about different ideas of human thinking. Psychology as psychotherapy: This talks and facilitates the change in human beliefs, behaviors, feelings, attitudes, values, and relationships. Psychology as a system of institutional arrangement: This talks about the ideas and practices that happen everywhere. Finally, the psychology as a mass ethos: This talks about the mindset of the therapeutic society. Understanding these psychological principles serves as supplemented tool to help the Christian counselors use the Bible to deal with human conditions.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

            We live in a society where knowledge has increased to the degree that the people of this world believe that they have solution to everything including human conditions. This is indicative of, for example the recovery industry regarding addiction, institution of counseling centers divorced from God, and the institution of psychiatric clinics to deal with trauma and mental illness. The author’s thesis establishes and calls the Christian counselors to be involved in the process of resolving human predicaments while using the Bible, faith’s psychology, and depending on God for the resolution of human conditions. The author did establish a strong thesis for this article. In the author’s argument, he established that since the world has become sophisticated to divert people’s attention from the real problem of life, it is necessary for Christian counselors to know and to understand psychological principles established by the secular psychological world. He mentioned that humans are fundamentally depraved morally; however, humans must not be controlled by drives to do anything because responsibility comes with accountability. Humans are not free to do anything; however, the absence of Christ in someone’s life, leads to willful sinful lifestyles. Paul in the book of Romans states that the thing he hates to do is what he sees doing all the time. It is something living inside him that makes him do the wrong things. This shows depravity of the human condition. Addicts are controlled by substances and these substances tend to destroy their lives. How can a counselor deal with these addicts? A counselor needs to know and to understand some behavioral sciences that are associated with the person behavior; however, the bible should be the yardstick and the finality of the matter in solving the person’s problem. It is sometimes true that some behavioral influences are chemical related; however, some are also demonically spiritual motivated. Such intervention must incorporate prayer to deal with the issue. The author did not mention anything in this article regarding spiritual influence that affects people’s behavior. This is a weakness; however, he comes from a different camp of theology.

THE STUDENT’S THOUGH

            The author indeed established the thesis opening the stage and the platform to inform the Christian counselors what is happening in the world regarding manipulation of human conditions. He calls the Christian counselors to be well-tuned and informed regarding what the psychologized world does to divert the real problem of human condition negating responsibility of the perpetrator. The author however established the thesis, but the sub-headings discussed on various psychological principles were not introduced into the thesis statement; however, it could be due to the style of writing an article of such publication.

            In conclusion, to help influence positively to affect the psychologized sophisticated world in dealing with human conditions that they cannot solve, Christian counselors are to be well-turned and informed regarding the human conditions on biblical and psychological issues that affect the human race in general.

Bibliography

Powlison, David. Faith’s Psychology and the Psychological Faiths, Christian Research Journal, Volume 28, no 3, 2005

http://biblicalcounselingcoalition.org/resources/authors/david-powlison