Attention All Counselors and Psychologists

Eric Johnson’s magnum opus has just been published by IVP Academic. It is titled Foundations for Soul Care: A Christian Psychology Proposal. Knowing Eric and his love for God, and his allegiance to Scripture, and his deep appreciation for the worldview of Jonathan Edwards, and his own walk with Christ through dark valleys, I am encouraged by the conclusion of this book. Don’t stumble over the academic terms (modalities, analogical, theocentric). Penetrate to the amazing claims made here. Then consider pondering the 600 pages that go before.

In concluding the chapter (and the book), it would be good to summarize its major underlying assumption: the different modalities of Christian soul care are unified by a radically theocentric agenda. The use of these modalities is Christian to the extent that it aims at the glory of God as its highest end, by fostering the counselee’s analogical performance of Christ’s life, death and resurrection through a deepening and manifesting faith in Christ . . . We concede one may use all of these modalities without any reference to God or Christ—as secular therapists do (and some Christians). But God’s glory is at stake in the therapy of our day, and his truth, goodness, beauty and power are best displayed when his role in our soul healing is consciously acknowledged, made explicit and relied on, and when his Scriptures are given the primary role in guiding the development of distinctly Christian psychological research, theory building and soul-care practice. To the extent our faith is explicit and authentic in our work, we manifest our own conformity to Christ. As we, and those with whom we work, more and more come to flourish in communion with the triune God and with the rest of the church, we together become better signs of the Divine Life. Such is our common calling, so that Christian soul care, properly conceived, has a significant role to play in the end for which God created the world. (p. 604).

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.