Science in Christian Perspective



Philip Marquart, M.D.

From: JASA 6 (December 1954): 18.

May the Christian find benefit in the methods of the world in various intellectual pursuits? Yes, indeed, we cannot all launch out, as Augustine did, into new realms of Christian thinking. If we could not use the work of unbelieving specialists, we would have no textbooks for Christian colleges.

One of the new projective tests in psychology is the Sentence Completion Test. It is not designed to be used for finding spiritual problems, but it seems to do so nonetheless. One is given a portion of a sentence and is asked to supply words enough to complete the sentence, as quickly as possible. Most people tested in this way, realize after a few sentences, that their completions are very revealing of their personality, yet they seem unable to make their completions otherwise.

It became apparent, after testing a number of believing Christians, that the Sentence Completion Test may show individual differences in their spiritual lives. The content of some of their completions show an interest in spiritual things or the lack of it. It was found that patients having many neurotic preoccupations tended to show no spiritual content. There were

others who showed the same lack, yet they denied neglecting Bible readings or private devotions, nor were they backslidden in their life. Some of them were merely lacking a moment-by-moment awareness of the presence of Christ.

Here are some of the incomplete sentences which were most apt to bring out spiritual responses.

"I admire . . .
A person's life
The main driving force of my life
My standards are
I always wanted to be . .
My philosophy of life is .
The main thing in my life
My greatest ambition is
My goals . - . . . . . . ."

There are many Christians who take this test who do not show any spiritual or Biblical completions. One very deeply spiritual Christian leader had such spiritual content in 94% of the incomplete sentences. This seems to be a very sensitive test of whether and how much a believer is looking unto Jesus as he should.
Wheaton, Illinois
November 3, 1954