Integration Course: The Christian Psychology Model

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The New Christian Counselor: A Fresh Biblical and Transformational Approach

The Christian Psychology Model

(Compiled by Dr. Brian Campbell, 2017)

Below, I have provided an outline of the “Christian Psychology Model,” which is the 5th theoretical model illustrated in the PowerPoint presentation entitled:  Comparing the 5 Views Christians Take to Psychology.  This is the model that I feel is the most comprehensive and overarching model that reflects Hawkins’ and Clinton’s (2015) textbook.  I provide an outline of this model (Table 1) which is taken from the PowerPoint presentation.

Next, I provide direct quotations relevant to some general perspectives (Table 2) drawn from the your textbook.  This is followed by a more comprehensive consideration of the “Christian Psychology Model” (Table 3). 

Under each topical heading, I have provided some direct quotations relevant to the different components of this model.  These direct quotations do not cover the entire textbook; they were drawn from the first 120 or so pages of the textbook.  I have provided this information so that students could see how Hawkins’ and Clinton’s textbook contains information that directly reflects the Christian Psychology Model.  As you read your textbook, I suggest you stop after each chapter and go over the various concepts that are reflected in the model.  Add additional direct quotations (under the relevant headings) as you read past page 115 of your textbook (the point where I stopped collecting the direct quotations).


Table 1


Christian Psychology Model

The Agenda of a Christian Psychology Model (Slide 25) 

            The overarching agenda is “the ongoing development of a distinctly Christian psychological theory, research programs, and soul care practice.”  (Slide 25)

            Shaped by Scriptures.  (Slide 26)
            Informed by other relevant sources of psychological truth.  (Slide 26)
            Similar to secular psychology.  (Slide 26)
            Based on other relevant sources of psychological truth.  (Slide 26)                     

Major Features That Distinguish a Christian Psychology Model (Slide 31)
            God is the center of human life.  (Slide 31)
            God reveals himself in creation, fall, redemption, and consummation.  (Slide 31)
            Humans are made in God’s image.  (Slide 32)
            Humans are sinners and are alienated from God.  (Slide 32)
            Redemption is necessary for proper human maturity.  (Slide 32)
            Human life is oriented toward an eternal future with God.  (Slide 33)
            Human life is multi-dimensional: spiritual; ethical; psychosocial; biological (Slide 33)
            Spiritual.  (Slide 36 & 37)
  (Slide 36 & 37
 (Slide 36 & 37
  (Slide 36 & 37)

            Involves a broad spectrum of modalities and is holistic.  (Slide 35)


Comparing the Five Views Christians Take to Psychology

Johnson, E. (n.d.).  Comparing the Five Views Christians Take to Psychology [PowerPoint             Slides].  Retrieved from



Table 2

Some General Perspectives

·         Purpose of book: “The purpose of this book is to embolden and equip those who have a spiritual awareness but lack the knowledge and confidence to declare their position on the role of faith in emotional and psychological healing” (p. 7).


--“The Holy Spirit (HS) regenerates the human heart so the person can respond in faith to the gospel of grace and become a child of God” (p. 83).


--“Real, supernatural power for lasting change comes from the Holy Spirit” (p. 83).


-- “… Christian counselors are anchored in the importance of the spiritual dimension for the development of full humanity” (p. 84).


-- “The real power for lasting change comes from the Holy Spirit, who is at the foundation of biblical spirituality, is joined to truth-based thinking, a commitment to obeying the truth revealed in the Scripture, and life in a community of encouragement and accountability” (p. 86).


--“Godly change is transformational change – change that lasts and has a deeper impact – and people of faith are now demanding nothing less” (p. 15)




Table 3

Christian Psychology Model

·         Agenda: “… the ongoing development of a distinctly Christian psychological theory, research programs, and soul care practice.”  (Slide 25).

o   “As we seek to build ‘the house’ of Christian counseling and soul-care ministry in the 21st century, we need to continually remind ourselves that without the foundation of Jesus Christ, the Word of God and the Spirit of God, our efforts will be based on human wisdom and strength instead of God’s eternal truth and divine power” (p. 20).

o   “Christian counseling, in its purest form, is a covenant between a caregiver and a care seeker to labor collaboratively for the possession of the soul – through the power of the Holy Spirit, under the authority of the word of God, and within a context of accountability and encouragement – for the purpose of the imitation of Christ” (p. 13).

o   “The condition of our souls determines how we relate to God, our connections with other people, our goals and purposes, and our reactions to the difficulties and joys of life.  Christian counselors need to grasp the complex and profound nature of the soul” (p. 70).

o   “To understand human nature, we must carefully explore the components of the soul” (p. 77).

o   “As we commit to possess our souls and pursue the imitation of Christ, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit” (p. 81).


·         Primacy of Scriptures: “a Christian psychology will be shaped primarily by the Christian scriptures…”  (Slide 26).

o   We view all the resources available to us as God-given, and we rely on the Word of God and the Spirit of God to produce genuine, lasting change in us and in our clients” (p. 6).

o   “This is our hope and prayer for you as you increasingly love God, study his Word, and apply the God-given insights gleaned from Scripture and study in your practice” (p. 26).

o   “A proper understanding of psychology doesn’t add anything to the Bible’s teaching on human nature, but it can give insights into the complexities of human behavior, learning, and human physiology so people can apply the truth of Scriptures more powerfully and specifically in their lives” (p. 36).

o   “The new Christian counselor believes in God who has revealed himself and his truth in the Scriptures” (p. 43).

o   “The Scriptures themselves are the key resource for knowing God and pursuing his plan for our lives” (p. 44).

o   “The goals and the processes of counseling – trusting God to change thoughts, behaviors, and emotions – are thoroughly grounded in the Bible” (p. 46).

o   “Mind change – putting off the lies the world and putting on the truths of God revealed in the Scriptures – is a central pattern of sanctification for all believers, including those who benefit from Christian counseling” (p. 46).

o   “…Christian counseling is…committed to a process of moving forward under the authority of the Word of God” (p. 52).

o   “All other ideas advanced by persons, regardless of those people’s credentials or impressive intelligence, must be filtered through the authoritative revelation of the mind and will of God found in the Bible” (p. 55).

o   The new Christian counselor…“He first devours the Scriptures.  In them he finds the definition of personhood, the truth regarding God and humans, the record of the fall, and the promise of the renewed heaven and earth.  In them he finds the path and the means to emotional, psychological, and spiritual health” (p. 58).


·         Other Relevant Sources of Psychological Truth: Christian research; secular psychology; philosophy; and other human services (Slide 26).

o   “Increasingly, outcome studies document the positive role of faith in mental health” (Scalise & Clinton, 2015; Koenig, 2004; Wade, Worthington & Vogel, 2007).

o    “Furthermore, empirical studies have supported the assertion that religious faith positively impacts physical and mental health” (Koenig, 2004).


·         Similarity to Secular Psychology: Christian psychology will resemble secular psychology except where the psychological component is worldview dependent (Slide 27).

o   “The power of this positive relationship between faith and mental health is so great that many have begun calling it the fifth force – after the first four forces in psychotherapy: psychodynamic, behavioral, humanistic, and multicultural influences (Garzon, 2011).

o   “A growing cadre of researchers (see Worthington, Jennings, & DiBlasio, 2010; Garzon, Garver Kleinschuster, Tan & Hill, 2001; Koenig, 2011) are advancing Christian counseling on empirical frontiers” (p. 23).

o   “Additionally, the study of neuroscience fits well within the Christian worldview, especially in terms of the direct influence on cognition, affect, and behavior (Crabb, 2007)” (p. 23).

o   “However, many areas of commonality exist between secular and Christian approaches to therapy, and these areas of agreement provide fertile ground for dialogue” (p. 107).


Christian Psychology: Major Features

1.      God is the center of human life.

·         “We view all the resources available to us as God-given, and rely on the Word of God and the Spirit of God to produce genuine, lasting change in us and in our clients” (p. 6).

·         “As Christian counselors, our responsibility is to pursue God and his wisdom with all our hearts” (p. 25).

·         “Christian counseling… Sees all of life through the scriptural lens of God the Father’s passion for an intimate connection with the people he created in his image” (p. 40).

·         “As God’s partners, we become conduits of his power, his purpose, and his passion for hurting, doubting, struggling people” (p. 43).

·         “Or worldview for Christian counseling begins with the proposition that the triune God of the Bible is alive and is the Creator of all things… is the source of all wisdom and truth… and seeks a love relationship with every person on earth…” (p. 44).

·         “At the core, or human spirit… we are spiritual and eternal beings created in the image of God” (p. 79).


2.      The triune God is gradually and increasingly manifesting himself in creation, fall, redemption, and consummation (Slide 31).

·         “Sin has disconnected us from God and made a strangers in the land he gave us” (p. 8).

·         “However, all is not lost.  Our Redeemer lives, and he offers us forgiveness, purpose, and ultimate hope” (p. 8).

·         “God is working at every turn to call our names and invite us to turn our hearts back from the destruction of sin” (p. 9).

·         “He not only sees but also understands and offers hope and healing” (p. 10).

·         “Christian counselors see all people – believers as well as unbelievers – through the lens of God’s creation” (p. 86).


3.      Creation: Humans are made in God’s image (Slide 32)

·         Imago Dei is at the center of Hawkins' concentric circles (Illustration, page. 78).

·         “Human beings at their core are fashioned in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27)” (p. 59).

·         His [the new Christian counselor] heartfelt desire for all clients is that they might experience life in the core self, embrace the process of being restored to the image of God, and experience shalom in every area of life” (p. 59).

·         “At the center of human personality is the human spirit (hs), originally created in the image of God” (p. 83).

·         “Created in the image of God, humans share his capacity for decision, engagement, and communication” (p. 94).


4.      Fall: Humans are sinners and primordially alienated from God and neighbor (Slide 32)

·         “The fall of man affected us on every level.  It distorted our thinking, warped our desires, wrecked our relationships, and infused our world with sin and death” (p. 8).

·         “Sin has disconnected us from God and made a strangers in the land he gave us” (p. 8).

·         “Sin is not about a moralistic code of behavior, but brokenness in our relationship with God” (p. 36).

·         “The core heart, however, is fallen, ‘desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9 NKJV) and in need of a Savior” (p. 83).


5.      Redemption: The appropriation by faith of Christ’s work of redemption is necessary for proper human maturity, coping, healing, and strengthening – of great importance for counseling (Slide 32).

·         “The ultimate task of a Christian counselor is to be Christ’s partner in the process of redemption and restoration” (p. 21).

·         “In essence, Christian counseling is a form of discipleship designed to help free people to experience God’s pardon, purpose, and power so they become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ” (p. 31)

·         “Our second proposition is that God’s main purpose for people is redemption in Christ” (p. 44).

·         “By his sacrifice on the cross, we are enabled by grace to experience redemption from slavery, sin, and death… And from the evil that pervades the world…”  (p. 44).

·         “Christian counseling serves, in part, to advance God’s redeeming work so that believers may one day be resurrected from the dead and live eternally with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…”  (p. 44)

·         “More than just behavioral change, Christian counseling is concerned with transformation of the self, redemption in relationships, and freedom from bondage to sin” (p. 45).

·         “Humanity is helpless to eradicate that damage [of sin], but God has made provision in Christ for the redemption of the person in the restoration over time of the image of God in the core of the human personality (Rom. 5:8)” (p. 59).

·         “Christian counseling often serves as a gateway into the family of God”

·         “The overarching goal isn’t temporary relief – it’s transformational change.  The dynamic resources of the Spirit, the Word, and the family of God bring power in order in our lives and in the lives of those who seek our help” (p. 67).

·         “A transformed heart inevitably produces a transformed life” (p. 72)

·         “The long process of sanctification, or spiritual growth, is the work of the Spirit to inspire awe at God’s majesty and obedience out of love for him” (p. 73).

·         “Transformed from the inside out, we love others because Christ loves us…, We forgive out of the deep well of our experience of God’s forgiveness of our sins… And we accept people with warmth and humility because God has accepted us as his own” (p. 82).

·         “This redemption begins by receiving the gospel message of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It includes the indwelling and regenerating work of the Holy Spirit” (p. 85).

·         “… God was motivated by love to provide a path to reconciliation through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ” (p. 98).

·         “…the path to healing starts when a person is reconciled to God who is unveiled in the story of the prodigal son” (p. 135)


6.      Consummation: human life is eschatological – oriented to an eternal future with God (Slide 33).

·         “Living souls will live for eternity.  All humans are unique, valuable (Psalm 139:13-18), and eternal” (p. 87).

·         Solomon commented that God has put a sense of eternity in people’s hearts (Eccl. 3:11).  This, however, can be good news or bad news. Every individual live for eternity – either in the presence of God are separated from him and all that’s good” (p. 87).

·         “The importance and eternality of the human spirit has filled the literature of humanity across all times and cultures.  Counselors are obligated to identify how this dimension of the human soul has affected the client’s past” (p. 87).

·         “One day, when he renews all things, he will bring us home, and we will plant our feet on the solid ground of the safe haven for this prepared for artists children (Matt. 18).  This is the hope that secures us now and brings courage to counselors and clients to endure and enjoy life in the present as his gift to us (Heb. 6)” (p. 136).

7.      A four-dimensional relational model of human life: spiritual; ethical; psychosocial; biological.

Spiritual (Slide 36)

·         “Christian counseling includes a distinctive emphasis on the spiritual modality at the core of human personality” (p. 83).

·         “Real, supernatural power for lasting change comes from the Holy Spirit” (p. 83).

·         “Christian counselors recognize a spiritual core at the heart of what it means to be human, and they give attention to that core and a comprehensive approach to holistic health” (p. 83).

·         “All counselors who value the power of faith for producing holistic health want the freedom, where appropriate, to engage the power of spirituality to recover hope and healing in the lives of wounded people” (p. 83-84).

·         “The Holy Spirit enters the core self to regenerate and to animate the life of the human spirit” (p. 85).

Ethical (Slide 36)

·         “For new Christian counselors, high standards of integrity are extensions of our commitment to be disciples of Jesus Christ” (p. 61).

·         “God calls all believers to a high standard of integrity” (p. 61).

·         “Ethical excellence in counseling marries working knowledge, competent skills, and ethical awareness” (p. 62).

·         The five Cs of ethical practice that every therapist must embrace include competence, consent, consultation, confidentiality, and contracting for services (American Association of Christian Counselors, 2014)” (p. 64).


Psychosocial (Slide 36)

·         Counselors appreciate the powerful role relational systems play in the formation of human personality” (p. 100).

·         “The conceptual basis for the primacy of relationships begins with the Trinity” (p. 112).

·         Relationships are central to everything in human existence” (p. 114).

·         “Loving and healing relationships are the ultimate salve to trauma, loss, psychopathology, and the deepest grief we can know” (p. 114).

·         “Counseling without a strong focus on relationship feeling – the vertical relationship with God and the horizontal with significant others – is seriously flawed in perspective in practice” (p. 115).

·         “Part of what we want clients to understand is that in the context of relationships – especially core relationships with the person’s mother and father early in life – clients begin to develop core relational beliefs about others, about themselves, and about God.  Those core beliefs affect intimacy with God and others.  Working through these beliefs is a very important part of the counseling process, and coming to terms with them is an essential part of our clients’ spiritual, relational, and emotional journey toward health” (p. 115).


Biological (Slide 36)


·         The human body is a special gift from God, designed to play a prominent role in his purpose for humanity” (p. 99).

·         “”The body, like the soul, has been used as an instrument of sin and rebellion against God” (p. 99).

·         “The counselor must assess whether the client’s view of their [sic] body is healthy or unhealthy” (p. 100).

8.      A multi-level hierarchical, holistic model of human nature (Slide 35)

·          “The new Christian counselor approaches the broad spectrum of modalities that may be contributing to the care seeker’s pain and need for a comprehensive multimodal approach to sourcing the pain” (p. 79).

·         “The new Christian counselor embraces the conviction that client challenges are rooted in multiple modalities that define and shape the human soul.  No one modality causes the complex issues clients face.  The complex interplay of elements that define and shape the soul must be carefully considered” (p. 57).


The reference for the PowerPoint presentation:

Johnson, E. (n.d.).  Comparing the Five Views Christians Take to Psychology [PowerPoint        Slides].  Retrieved from

Examples for in-text citations:
            Johnson (n.d.)
            Johnson (n.d., Slide 26)






Scripture Topics

Adolescent Guidance
Adolescent Rebellion
Born Again
Child Abuse
Christ, Death of
Christ, Divinity of
Christ, Humanity of
Christ, Identity of
Christ, Mission of
Christ, Personality of
Christ, Resurrection
Christ, Sacrifice of
Death & Dying

Drug Abuse
End Times
Eternal Life
Evil, Resisting
Gifts, Spiritual
God, All Knowing
God, All Loving
God, All Powerful
God, Awesome
God, Eternal
God, Creator

Lord's Prayer
Love, By God
Love , for Christ
Love, for God
Marriage Guidance
Mortal Man
Praising God
Psalm 23
Riches, Beware
Riches, True
Second Coming
Seeking God
Self-Esteem, Low
Sing Praises
Sex, Normal
Sex, Perverted
Sin, Consequences
Sinful Nature
Sing Praises
Sleep Problems
Ten Commandments
Thinking, Healthy
Thinking, Unhealthy
True Riches
Will of God