Larry Crabb at the Society for Christian Psychology

6 years ago today…remember what you were doing?

Today, the Society for Christian Psychology is meeting for its third annual meeting. Larry Crabb spoke this morning on the topic of Christian psychology. He acknowledged the value of empirical research but talked about being somewhere between Christian psychology and Biblical counseling because empirical work is not his work. His work is to hang out in the Scriptures to understand how God is at work in human healing. He’d like to see our group develop a core dogma that grounds us without being dogmatic. He wants to see a body of thinking that arouses the passions, that transforms, that refines, and isn’t merely intellectually coherent. So what should be the framework for a Christian psychology? Here are his non-negotiable core truths:

1. Final reality is relational not propositional. Truth is not the center of reality unless you define truth as a person. Christian psychology must be rooted in trinitarian theology. The central nature of God is not a substance but a passion.

2. We are wired with the capacity to enjoy God more than any other source of joy. Everything else should pale.

3. Our capacity for enjoying God has been lost in the fall. However, the space designed for enjoying God has remained. It is now perverted into a demanding emptiness searching for fullness anywhere but from God. Our deep longing for love from God has become a demand for pleasure, power, meaning.

4. Our capacity to want God has now been restored in God’s children. But, our natural enmity against him remains and therefore the battle ensues. There is a fundamental battle in our souls going on right now–beneath whatever organic problems and abuse. We have the hope of fulfillment in God but not the actuality.

In many respects I hear Larry not talking so much about Christian psychology but the struggle he has in his own life to understand what God is up to. He is very much, as he suggested, a tortured soul.


Filed under christian psychology

3 responses to “Larry Crabb at the Society for Christian Psychology

  1. Phil,

    How do people at the conference receive someone like Crabb who has shifted away from empirical research?


  2. ryan82

    Jeremiah 2:13 comes to mind. The problem isn’t that we have longings just that we search for the answer in the wrong places.

  3. Jeff, this conference receives him pretty well as most of us are more philosophical and theological in nature than empirical. I think the integration oriented group disdained his move away from psychology to spiritual direction. But not this group.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.