Toward a Christian Perspective on Psychology
By William Kuntz
The highest tenant of Christian psychology must be that loving God is more important than any other human endeavor.
For a Christian, psychology -- or any other science or philosophy -- must never be allowed to take the place of religion or devotion to Christ. No principle, theory, or guideline should ever be idealized or elevated to the extent that it de-emphasizes God's sovereignty.
Making psychology or any theory of human behavior overly important would be idolatry. All theories should be subjected to close scrutiny and prayerfully evaluated to discern if they are compatible with Christianity. Even "proven facts" must be spiritually discerned and relegated to their appropriate place. God alone knows the ultimate truths, and the Holy Spirit must be our primary teacher.
As long as we keep all this in mind, there is a great deal we can learn from modern theories of psychology. Some of them are consistent with the Bible, and many others can be accepted in part or modified so that they fit within Christian perimeters for living. There are also a number of Christian psychologists and writers who have developed distinctively Christian theories of behavior and Christ-centered approaches to psychotherapy.
The Bible emphasizes the importance of right thinking and believing the truth about God and ourselves. Many of the new cognitive therapy approaches also emphasize right thinking and dispelling irrational or incorrect beliefs. I believe that a positive self-image is also Biblical as long as it is founded on our relationship with God and His perspective of who we are. Scripture states that we were created by God in His image and that He made us a little lower than the angels. We are also told that believers are children of God and that it is not yet seen what we shall become. Clearly a Christian has no reason to lack self-esteem or feel inadequate when he knows that the Creator of the universe loves him as His own child and has placed His own Spirit within him!
I strongly believe that a Christian Psychology must also be relational in its basic philosophy. Christ taught that if we truly love God we will show it in our love for all people -- especially fellow believers. As brothers and sisters in Christ we need to spend time together and live out our lives in community -- not as isolated individuals. One of our greatest forms of evangelism is through modeling the love of Christ in the way we love and care for one another. "They shall know we are Christians by our love."