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In this book Entwistle explores the integration of psychology and Christianity with the main discussion falling on God's two books. The two books that Entwistle refers to are the book of the works of God which reflects God's deeds encrypted through God's creation and the Bible which in this case is entitled "the book of God's Word (Entwistle, 2004).'' Entwistle's book unfolds through the following five integration models; the spies, the enemies, the neutral parties, the allies and the colonialists' models. The spies' model focuses on the two disciplines merging into each other but selectively picking out what works for each. Hence Psychology will only accommodate Christianity values that augers well with its domains. The enemies' model treats each discipline as an enemy to the other hence each discipline sets to stand out independently on its own without any of them tolerating the other whatsoever. The model of the colonialists insists that the two disciplines can only go along if one seeks dominance over the other. Hence religion seeks to colonize psychology and then assume full superiority or prominence over it. The model of the neutral parties on the other hand emphasizes over the possibility of the coexistence of the two disciplines with each recognizing and respecting the others values and beliefs but the boundaries cannot be assumed. Psychology hence can only works in recognition of the religious concepts that it considers good but can not encroach the religious domain. The allies' model takes a more flexible stand as it treats the two disciplines as subjects of the same sovereign. It argues that the two can work together with the intention of helping the people at heart. Here theological and psychological concepts can be linked together in order to strive to achieve a better understanding in regard to truth.
The author argues that we can not draw a line however thin between God's divine art of creating human beings to the birth of psychology as a subject. To the same effect God granted human beings the theological foundations when he gave out his word. As identified earlier the book works in recognition of God's two books; The book on The Word of God or the Bible which is used by theologians and the book on The Works of God which is used by psychologists (Entwistle, 2004). The author hence points out that the role of Christian counselors is to make interpretations of both books and use their contents to help their clients. The presence of discrepancies between the books is a conflict that should be resolved for them to rely on the books. This hence calls for intensive studies for better interpretations. He writes that God gave books to humans and left interpretation to them and this is where the problem starts since their understanding is not based on divine but worldly views (Entwistle, 2004). For proper integration of both disciplines a good understanding of both is imminent. Gaining knowledge on either one of them does not guarantee the ability to understand them. A working knowledge on theological constructs as well as psychological concept and theories is very important. Human is to error and hence making wrong interpretations is part of the equation.
2. Concrete Responses
As I read this text I could not help but recall a very controversial discussion that we had one day with my college mates after attending a psychology class. The lecture that day focused on the theories of creation where we majorly focused on the theological creation theory and the evolution theory. One of my friends a very strong protestant believer argued that we should strictly stick theological creation theory that emphasizes that God created the universe and control the cycle of life hence trying to discredit the evolution theory. On the other hand the rest of us in the group were not discrediting any of the theories but tried to look critically into the two. I remember telling my fiends that have been brought up as a Christian and I strongly hold to the beliefs that have been echoed again and again since I was a child. But this does not mean that I should blind my self to the other side of the coin. I have a critical mind which calls for inquiry over the mysteries that surround life. So on this day I can not recall clearly which side I supported the most but am sure that I had something to say in support of the two theories. I remember trying to get my friend to explain a bizarre case where we had witnessed a goat that had six legs if science does not have a place in explaining the mysteries of life. The debate ended up in a disagreement. But one thing that we all agreed to was that the evolution creation controversy has been a major hindrance to the formulation of a solid opinion about human, animal, nature and the existence of the universe in general.
What I do not seem to understand about this books is the kind of inclination that the author wants us to adopt. He confronts us with five models all exploring the possible options of the merge between theology and psychology. He then later argues that there is no way that we can draw a line however thin between theology and psychology since by God creating human beings he also gave birth to psychology. With the two books now in our hands how do we merge them in order to gain the most accurate results? Entwistle puts it that the biggest problem tat we face is on how to interpret the two books that act as guides for the two disciplines. He says that many of the human interpretations are colored by the sin and fall. What paths should we follow in order to be able to make the most precise interpretations? The biggest dilemma here as a counselor is since no one seems to have a clear understanding that is devoid of faults, what kind harm are we exposing our clients to, will we ever come to a point where we achieve full integration of the two without any discrepancies occurring. These are just some of the questions that one can not help but ask.
My fist plan of action in response to the above is to do more research in pursuit of understanding of the two books; The book on the Word of God and the book on the works of God. But most importantly we should consider both disciplines with a lot of respect as each has it own very strongly grounded. In regard to what I would advise or mail a fellow counselee I would comment that though we should follow our faiths we should not be hoodwinked into ignoring that both disciplines have a role to play in sustaining each other. Religion needs psychology and vise versa, There is no way that we can rely on any one of them explain all the mysteries of life. Both should nourish each other rather that discrediting each other. If we integrate the two disciplines then we create more options to choose from in addressing some of the mysteries that we encounter in life. Both are books of God and hence they should be creatively used in pursuit of the truth. Controversies will always be there and we can not work with the fear that we will make wrong interpretation since man is to error. Both disciplines serve to provide truths of human existence and hence each needs to be inquired into to uncover underlying truths behind them.