Review: Everett L. Worthington Jr.’s Coming to Peace with Psychology

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8 out of 10 Stars
Author: Everett L. Worthington Jr.
Publisher: IVP Academic
Reading Level: Moderate

The intersection of theology and psychology is a heated topic today. You have a spectrum of opinions on the helpfulness of one to the other and also the crossover benefits. Worthington speaks into that conversations. Right up front I’ll say I lean towards the biblical counseling side of the spectrum and appreciate very much the ministry of those like Jay Adams, David Powlison, and Heath Lambert to name a few. I do think psychology can contribute something to our lives, but it seems that benefit is over emphasized in our day and part of that may be due to the sway of the big drug companies.

I say all that to say Worthington and I have disagreements in some fundamentals ways, but regardless I thoroughly enjoyed Coming to Peace. He has some very important things to say and says them well. You won’t get bogged down with technical writing. Worthington does a stand up job of conveying humility and forthrightness in what the purpose, short comings, and goals of psychology are. For instance, he regularly points out that scientific studies aren’t fully objective and are colored by the scientists subjective experiences and expectation. That’s why, he says, a disciplinary matrix which includes peer review and dialogue is important for the discipline. Just one example, where he’s honest about the short coming while also pointing out what he considers safe guards.

He also provides some interesting anecdotes and data that help to bolster the claim of Scripture. Such as the importance of marriage, fidelity, and not cohabiting. I guess my only question is what happens when science seems to suggest the opposite. So for example, the hot topic of today which was left of the book was homosexuality. Not only that, but what about when there’s a variety of studies that contradict each other. Or flip flop. Not related to psychology, but I can’t count how many times since I was kid I’ve been told “Butter is good for you,” “No butter is bad,” “Nope it’s good for you.” I did appreciate, as noted, Worthington’s humility and noting of the lack of objective in all studies, but I wonder if that doesn’t play a larger role in science especially as humanism is so rampant.

Overall a helpful and informative book. If you’re interested in counseling or psychology, it’s a book you should pick up and read. He lays out the facts and stakes quite nicely and the book reads smoothly for an academic quality book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”