An integrative approaches to Psychology and Christianity by David Entwistle explains the fundamental question whether Christians can take a place in psychology. By marrying both scientific and theological disciplines, the author takes a stand to argue that psychology and Christianity can help an individual to serve the Lord within the parameters of duty to love.
In this book, Entwistle gives a concise understanding for the interplay between theology and science by taking us through the historical analysis of psychology and how it explains how individuals have their characteristics, qualities and talents which help them serve God and society (p 35-37). Arguably, a person cannot be an effective psychologist without the basis of what is right with is captured in Christianity as a moral concept. With regard to these, our society is shaped by history as well as environment.
The knowledge we acquire throughout our existence is inspired by our past experiences. Significantly, Christianity has facilitated how we structure our mindsets over various moral issues in the society. To bridge the gap between Christianity and psychology, Entwistle argues that there are five important paradigms that show the interplay between theology and psychology. This includes spies, enemies, neutral parties, colonialists as well as allies as elements serving ones master called sovereign (p39).
The argument presented by Entwistle articulates the concept that psychology resembles theology in line with goals and serve fundamental human purposes of improving as well as giving meaning to the life of a human being. The two disciplines revolves around human functioning and nature hereby, an integrative approach to psychology and Christianity underscores that when it comes to dealing with human life and truth, there should be a unified approach that uses both secular and sacred elements of thinking.
With regard to these, both psychology and Christianity need to be integrated because life at large revolves around helping others with issues that promote quality lives and harmony in the society. Critical and Concrete Responses After reading an integrated Approach to Psychology and Christianity, I was led to thinking that the understanding of God and psychology relates coherently to the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I agree with the argument because my experiences in the past have acquired as a result of my environment and needs as a human being which moves closer to the relevance of psychology in the life of human beings.
Similarly, the feeling of self-actualization is realized through a Christian’s association with God through divine moment of prayer, fellowship and engagement in charitable works because the Bible stipulates that such gestures will grant one an eternal life. On the same note, psychology understands that self actualization is a need that must be met after all the other seven basics ones have been met. Entwistle asserts that both eternal life and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs portend single ideas of achieving in life and feeling the sense of achievement.
The truth revealed in the word of God and the various works of Jesus Christ as well as the Christian ministry is something that is characterized in my life. Arguably, life revolves around all these and it is somehow impossible to separate it from life in a Christian perspective. Equally, my life experiences have led me to conclude that certain things in life should be done in my own way. Accordingly, there are many times I have learnt from my experience and have faced many consequences as a result of my choices.
In view of this, Entwistle asserts that doing things the way we want articulate the psychological belief of emotions, socialization, intelligence and human needs. However, this argument raises the question of conflicting forces between our beliefs and human desires. As Christianity stipulates how we should behave in line with morality, psychology justifies why we must attend to our human desires. As such, an integration approach to life should cover both Christian teachings and the sentiments echoed by psychologists (pg 59-63).
I was a temperamental person who for years reprimanded people for wronging me. Although I justified my case by arguing that I respect my feelings and that is me, God called upon me to change my temperament by managing anger so that I can accommodate others. God’s intervention in this case harmonized how I lead my life because; I was able to strike a balance between my religious beliefs and human desires. Most significantly, managing a balance, or rather moving my hot tempers to reasonable levels necessitated the intervention of counseling services.
Accordingly, I embarked on regular counseling with gave me an insight on how to understand other and tune my emotions to the levels that accommodate others feelings. This way, the book an integrated approach to psychology and Christianity, underscores the importance o integrate theology and psychology. Somehow, psychology helps Christians to understand their human face and through services such as psychotherapy, counseling, a Christian will be able to moderate the psyche of the soul as well as the soul of psychology. Personal Reflection
Although Entwistle advocates for s linkage in the two disciplines and goes ahead to propose that Christians should integrate science theology in viewing issues of life, it becomes critical to the Christians because one question that is raised is how can Christians be motivated to use psychotherapy and counseling services as a way of integrating psychology and Christianity. Entwistle asserts that moral concepts of live are well explained in Christian doctrines and through psychology, such moral doctrines can be well explained and a Christian will consciously understand the essence of being a Christian.
However, the book fails to recommend how counseling can be promoted and how psychotherapy and other psychological services can be enshrined in the Christian education. Accordingly, the question of how we as Christians should accomplish the goal of promoting the integration of science to theology takes the center stage of the entire debate that Entwistle engages in concerning reaping the full benefits of integrating psychology and Christianity. Arguably, Entwistle uses words that further complicate the message of integrative approach to psychology and Christianity.
In essence, this makes it difficult for an average reader to appreciate the information being conveyed let alone retention. In addition, it plausible to note that as a reader I found it hard to grasp the interests as well as concept of integrating psychology and Christianity because of the fact that the book is written broad view hence it seems to argue in circles around the importance of using both psychology and Christians teaching. Recommended Action
Owing to this weakness of language and jumping around ideas, there are measures that can be taken to help us benefit from the Christian psychological integration. Advising others on how to benefit from counseling will form the fundamental action that spearhead the campaign for integrating Christianity and psychology. In this view, sharing some of my experiences with regard to how I have benefited from counseling to succeed in my Christian faith and life at large will work in helping in the whole initiative of promoting such kind of integration.
If possible, all counselors who happen to be Christians should uses their positions to root the belief of integrating Christianity and psychology into other Christians and equally work with other counselors to devise methods of overcoming challenges that may come with their initiatives. At the same time, the basis of my intervention will revolve around moral maturity. As such, it is recommended that encourage Christians to search for the truth and thus understand for themselves how best they can use psychology to succeed in their lives and Christian works.
In a nutshell, Entwistle espouses that it is only through a concise integration of both science and theology that Christians will embrace the concept of togetherness. In other words, they will understand how humans functions and thus structure their spiritual beliefs in a realist way to avoid the self conflict that is always inherent among many believers. Psychology signifies the many teachings that are typical to Christianity such as values. Reference Entwistle, D. (2004). Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christian. New York: Wipf & Stock Publishers