Religion and science have often been at odds. In particular, Christianity and psychology have not always gotten along. Some Christians are still suspicious of psychological findings. But researcher Everett Worthington argues that Christians can know people better—and even know God better—through psychological science.
Worthington suggests that the relationship between psychological science and Christianity is less like a war or mere dialogue and more like an emerging marriage. In this relational model of psychology and Christianity, there may be marital spats at times but also great potential for an intimate, mutually fulfilling relationship.
Worthington demonstrates how the tools of experimental psychology shed light on human nature and the nature of God. Because people bear the image of God, the findings of psychological science help us understand both people and God more clearly. Psychological science provides new perspectives on theology and can help us address theological controversies and hot topics. Worthington gives recent examples of illuminating psychological findings, examines the distortions of the image of God through the effects of sin and points to ways that psychology assists Christians in living more virtuously.
Psychology can contribute to the Christian life, because all of us, psychologists and non-psychologists alike, are human and can benefit from better understanding our fellow humankind. Beyond integrating Christian and psychological truths, this book uncovers new relationships between science and religion, demonstrates psychology’s benefits to theology, and helps Christians live a redeemed life that is pleasing to God.
Few evangelicals have impacted contemporary psychology more than Everett Worthington. That alone makes the publication of his understanding of the relation between psychological science and Christian theology an important event. Suggesting that the relation is analogous to a marriage relationship and a dance, he argues for both their relative independence and the necessity that they be deeply engaged with and committed to each other. There is much to debate in this book, but the author’s love of God, people and psychological science is evident throughout.
—Eric L. Johnson, Ph.D., director, Society for Christian Psychology, and Lawrence and Charlotte Hoover Professor of Pastoral Care, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
This book will make you think! Everett Worthington is one of the most intelligent and influential Christians involved in scientific psychology. Coming to Peace with Psychology may not put you at peace with every dimension of psychology and theology, but it will definitely deepen your perspective and provoke you to consider ways that the science of psychology can enrich our understanding of God.
—Mark R. McMinn, professor of psychology, George Fox University, and coauthor of Integrative Psychotherapy: Toward a Comprehensive Christian Approach
Everett Worthington is a significant scholar and researcher in the field of psychology who presents in this book a thoughtful and personal view of the relationship between psychology and Christian faith. In a winsome and irenic style, he argues for a relational partnership between theology and psychology that neither simplistically pits the fields in a struggle for authority, nor inappropriately intermingles their concepts and ideas. Most importantly, Worthington argues for the value of psychological research in this very important conversation about theological and psychological views of the nature of persons.
—Warren S. Brown, Ph.D., professor, Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, and director, Travis Research Institute
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