Starting with differentiating that which is wholly a biblical worldview and vigilantly avoiding the “roadblocks” that the readers might mistake as something else other than the essentials of Christian beliefs, the author, Dr. Entwistle (2004) nudges in graduated measures to a clearer understanding of where he intends his reader to reach: which is the integration of these two distinct paradigms. For the author, looking at psychology and/or human behavior and its complexities as a faithful Christian, human individuals are understood as well as coined by different terminologies other than their biblical counterparts (Entwistle, 2004).
To arrive to a common understanding of the fundamentals of Christianity and to relate that to social science is not an impossible task at all despite the “wide chasm” that had been erected by certain schools of thoughts coming from either side. Presuppositions or philosophical conceptualizations are the pillars of any worldview, and to successfully establish a new one requires that changes or reinforcements be made at this plane. The integrative approaches were framed at this level so as to remove mental oppositions as they arise every time in one’s thoughts.
When this is not adequately laid down, no audience can align their thoughts or understanding with what the author (i. e. , David Entwistle) tries to convey (Entwistle, 2004). According to the author, social science and the basic principles of the Bible do not antagonize scientific findings, in most occasions. They do not come in conflict with each other in most of the ideals. For instance, the psyche or soul and its make up; rather science in a way confirms (as if it needs confirmation) what the Bible long declares (Entwistle, 2004).
The issue then is not accepting a secular psychology nor accepting a liberal theology; rather it is the accepting of psychology as a discipline science. Narrowing it down, psychology simply tries to study the human mind and how it functions. The Christian mind is the focus of most of the New Testament doctrine and principles. Its sanctification and renewal is one of Christianity’s lifelong primary objectives; and it is definitely God’s objectives as well as declared clearly in the Scriptures.
It is His will for the people’s lives to have their minds changed or renewed. In this standpoint, science very well is able to relate its findings with how the mind works and how man relates these workings in his milieu and/or community (Entwistle, 2004). Dr. Entwistle puts aside every seemingly combatant view against psychology in general, and against seemingly narrow Christianity as well; so as to remove doubts to the a feasible and possible integration of psychology and Christianity (Entwistle, 2004).
Declaring pitfalls of immature faith and pop psychology which respectively, easily captivate enthusiasts and followers alike, the approaches that the author actually took was to set aside what competing worldviews were there and faithfully move to abide to the demands of the Scriptures at the same time embracing the plausible scientific evidences that are emerging in psychology and examining these in the light of a complete revelation of the message of the Scriptures (Entwistle, 2004). Much appreciation goes to the scholarly work of Dr. Entwistle.
His wide grasp of Scriptures and doctrines of the Christian faith is very impressive. It is with the impression that the author has a deep thirst of the things of God and of the beauty of His plan of salvation. Equally, his search for the basic functioning of the mind and behavioral activities of individuals are evident throughout the accounts in the book (Entwistle, 2004). What bothers me about this book is that Dr. Entwistle must have kept his philosophical discussions to a minimum so that his audience or readership will be able to digest at that level.
There are theological questions that are not satisfied just by going through the presuppositions (Entwistle, 2004). Though this is essentially a requisite, still, major doctrines in the Christian faith cannot be sufficiently addressed within the pages of his book. Just like when he mentioned about “Athens and Jerusalem” right from the beginning of his treatise. The author should be careful about discussing the two kinds of wisdom that he proposed through the “locations” he mentioned.
The Jerusalem that he talked about in his book as referred to by Tertullian is not representative of a thorough grasp of the Christian faith that is balanced and sound (Entwistle, 2004). Another thing is that no matter how important the contribution of Psychology is to the understanding of human behavior, to say that it can help our Biblical understanding is an affront to the admonition and declaration in 2 Timothy 3:16 that the Scriptures is complete and enough for it is able to deal with the entire man.
Though I do admire the work and breakthrough of psychology and its scientific procedures providing an honest and realistic proof to many of the realities of human activities, the important integrative approach is still to present both as important in their own right and yet the Biblical picture elevated to its rightful place. I guess that is what Dr. Entwistle actually really wanted (Entwistle, 2004). Another thing that bothers me is that, how many Christian counselors are prepared to help their clients sort the distinctions and similarities between psychology and the Christian faith?
This is important because basic to therapy success is that when therapist and client share similar worldviews, the therapy may then advance (Entwistle, 2004). To come up with the balanced worldview (an integration in other words), the balance between the realms mentioned, including the true frame of human individuals and the true nature of God (or theology) are properly considered (Entwistle, 2004). Thoroughly accepting the fact that there is no contest between the natural and the spiritual; only that troubles arise when one realm is overemphasized at the expense of another.
This thin line or slight tension between the two levels is best expressed in the personhood of Jesus Christ, who was a perfect man as well as God. If we start to equate ourselves with that notion (which is usually happening) and we start to think that we are balanced, then we surely lack understanding or real self-awareness of the fact that we are deeply and seriously out of balance and this is one reason why we need help.
Courtney from Study Moose
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