Tension between Psychology and Christianity

In his book, Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity, Dr. David N. Entwistle (2010) provides his readers with a great tool and look into Christian Counseling. He opens the book by challenging the reader by introducing the tension between psychology and Christianity. Entwistle then mentions the idea that the two, psychology and Christianity, may be unable to exist together in the same profession. To support this idea Entwistle (2010) mentions that it may be impossible for the two to be integrated because psychology is based on truth as opposed to Christianity being based on faith.

Despite the tension, Enwistle (2010) then introduces the idea of integrating psychology and Christianity. Building his case for the integration of psychology and Christianity, Entwistle (2010) states, "The interaction of psychology and theology is virtually inevitable due to their mutual interest in understanding the ambiguities and mysteries of human behavior, and healing human brokenness” (p. 51). In this sentence Entwistle (2010) was able to set the mood for his readers for the rest of his book.

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With this statement, Entwistle (2010) expressed the idea that there exist no tension between psychology and Christianity and they are fully capable of being able to be integrated together. To further build his case Entiwistle (2010) explains that before the existence of the practice of psychology, issues such as mental illness and behavioral problems were managed by the church community.

Entwistle (2010) then takes his readers through the history of psychology, illustrating how psychology and Christian community have worked together throughout time. By doing this Entwistle (2010) enlightens his readers with an a in-depth knowledge of the process of today’s psychological thought in relation to Christianity.

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While explaining the history of Christianity and psychology Entwistle (2010) also explains how the two have clashed because of the belief that science and theology are opposites. In the text Entwistle (2010) hints that he somewhat agrees with this idea, but makes sure to make the point that he only agrees with an individual who has no prior knowledge about the subject. Entwistle (2010) then goes on to explain the five different disciplinary relationships; spies, enemies, neutral parties, colonialists and allies. According to Entwistle (2010) spies any member of the Christian community who has knowledge or a extensive background in psychology but are only concerned with “their own religious system” (p. 182). An enemy can be anyone who opposes the idea that Christianity can be integrated into the psychology field (Entwistle, 2010). Neutral parties have no particular interest in either the secular or theological sides and their arguments for or against the integration of psychology and Christianity (Entwistle, 2010). A colonialist is an individual who takes what they consider the useful aspects of psychology and and integrates them according to their own beliefs.

Allies have no faith in a “vehicle to express psychological truths and to foster psychological benefits” and also have do not believe in the idea that theology submits to psychology without question (Entwistle, 2010, p. 206). To conclude his book Entwistle (2010) utilizes the last chapter to discuss scenarios in which the previous material of the book can occur in a practical setting. Entwistle (2010) ends his book by expressing his believe that a great understanding of the differences and similarities of psychology and theology will allow individuals to have a better knowledge of the human mind and human behaviors, ultimately benefiting the generations of the future. Concrete Response

My father, a Baptist minister, raised me in and around the church community. I attended church three times a week, I was a member of the youth usher board, youth choir and the church’s Boy Scout troop. Because of the relationship I had within the church, as I grew older into my early adulthood life, I struggled with my identity as a young maturing boy. I vividly remember struggling with upholding the expectations of my father. Although I was heavily involved in the church, I was never particularly interested in some of the beliefs that I was being taught. As I prepared for college my father lightly pressured me into finding a church home in community I was moving into. I can remember my father telling me, “do not forget where you came from, you have a responsibility to remain faithful to those who have been faithful to you.” I do, and have always had faith and a belief of a higher power, but because church was forced on me I rebelled against the actual church community. At the time I would have rather taken the biblical knowledge I had learned throughout my life and applied it to my life without any further spiritual education. I completely identified with Entwistle (2010) when he mentioned the colonialist. Before reading about this, I had never heard of the colonialist. After reading about this and taking some time to think about my life, I began to realize that I have disappointed my father by distancing myself from the church community. Reflection

Entwistle (2012) did a fantastic job addressing concerns and answering questions about the integration of psychology and Christianity. Entwistle (2012) also addresses the study of psychology in-depth. For a college professor or college student this book is a great resource in attempting to integrate psychology and Christianity, but what about the average Christian with no background in psychology? Entwistle succeeds so much at targeting the majority of his book at a student of psychology that he could have spared a few sections of the text on an individual who does not have as much knowledge about psychology. He could easily achieve this without taking away from the integrity and function that exist in the text. If Entwistle (2010) were able to achieve this, this book could be utilized very effectively by an amateur pastor and his church members. Action

From this book I have gained insight that will allow me to be an effective and efficient counselor. In the counseling profession it is important to be able to recognize and understand multiple disciplinary models. An in-depth knowledge of these models will allow me to evaluate myself and determine where I stand within each disciplinary model allowing me to provide the best counseling services as I possibly can. I will then integrate the useful parts of psychology to ensure that I am providing my clients with the best service and the service that will benefit them the most. By effectively integrating psychology and Christianity I will also be able to influence my fellow colleagues and peers. By being a visible example that the integration of psychology and Christianity can be achieved, I will have the the ability to turn non-believers into believers. By me being able to understand the options available and the techniques that can be used I will allow God to show through the psychology. This, in turn, will interest individuals in the teachings of the bible encourage individuals to follow God.


Entwistle, D. N. (2010). Integrative approaches to psychology and Christianity (2nd ed.). Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock.

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Tension between Psychology and Christianity. (2016, May 16). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/tension-between-psychology-and-christianity-essay

Tension between Psychology and Christianity
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