Science in Christian Perspective


The Psychologist-Christian
Graduate School of Psychology 

Fuller Theological Seminary Pasadena, California

From: JASA 24 (December 1972): 135-144.

Very few writers have concerned themselves with the relationships between the profession of psychology and the Christian faith. After preliminary discussions on the nature of psychology and of Christianity, the relevance of being a Psychologist-Christian is considered. Five areas of integration between profession and faith are presented. The psychologist can express his faith intra-personally, professionally or scientifically, experimentally, theoretically or inter-professionally. Illustrations of these various types of integration are reported. A final critique evaluates the validity of this model and suggests that in the last analysis, Psychologist-Christians are those who claim the designation. Behavioral indices of faith may inevitably fail to identify such persons.

What relevance does being Christian have for one's daily work? This question has been considered for a number of jobs and professions. Among them are medicine (Stephens and Long, 1960), business (Johnson, 1964), education (LeFevre, 1958 and Palikan, 1965), science (Barbour, 1963), farming (Wentz, 1967), real estate (Wentz, 1967) and architecture (Wentz, 1967). Others have considered the relationship of faith to the practice of counseling (e.g., Roberts, 1950; Hoffman, 1960; and Mowrer, 1961) and psychiatry (Knight, 1964). Little has been written about psychology. This essay intends to remedy this situation by considering the relevance that being Christian has for the daily work of the psychologist.

Who are the Psychologists?

Psychology is comparatively new. Although Melanchthnn coined the term "psychology" in the early 1S00's (La Pninte, 1970), it was not recognized as a discipline separate from philosophy until the late 1800's. Wilhelm Wundt established the first psychological laboratory in 1879 at the University of Leipzig. By the end of the next decade James MeKeen Cattell had been appointed the first Professor of Psychology in America and Joseph Jastrow had been awarded this country's first Ph.D. degree in Psychology. Before the turn of the century William James had written his popular Principles of Psychology (1890), the American Psychological Association (APA) had been organized, and the first psychological clinic had been opened.

Psychology has grown rapidly. The APA began with 31 persons. It now includes over 25,000 members. The National Science Foundation reported in 1968 that approximately one in twelve scientists was a psychologist. Many students aspire to careers in psychology as is evident by the more than 2000 doctoral and 5000 masters degrees in psychology awarded each year (APA, 1970).

There have been numerous attempts to define psychology. One widely agreed upon definition is that psychology is that " . ...scholarly discipline, scientific field, and . . . professional activity which studies animal and human behavior" (APA, 1970, p. 3). Behavior is defined as the physiological reactions, the feelings, the thoughts, the words and the actions of people and animals. Normal, abnormal, individual and interpersonal behaviors are of interest to psychologists. Psychology has become a scholary discipline in that the principles of behavior are a major field of study in colleges and universities. Psychology has become a science in that it utilizes research methods to investigate behavior and draws conclusions on the basis of empirical results. Psychology has become a profession in that it applies its knowledge of behavior in efforts to resolve individual and social problems.

Clark (1957) notes some of the procedures psychologists have used to study behavior since the turn of the century.

These years have seen both complete reliance on introspection and the complete abandonment of it; a rejection of thinking as a proper part of psychology, and the claim that it is critical to understanding behavior; a complete faith in tests and other objective measures, and a swing away from all measurement; a bandwagon for the conditioned reflex and a strong plea for putting purpose back into the animal; a stress on the use of large Ns (numbers), and a strong swing to studies of small group behavior; a strong antipathy to the idea of the unconscious, and development of projective tests, hypnosis, and other depth analytic methods; a one-time preference for laboratory work has shifted as psychologists now predict presidential elections and run daily columns on child development, obtain information on racial and religious differences, and conduct action research (p. 20).

The diversity has been and still is tremendous.
However, modern psychology is unified in that it possesses a vast literature on individual and social behaviors, a broad understanding of human development from infancy to old age; many techniques for working with individuals and groups; much new knowledge about physiological functioning; refined mathematical and statistical techniques and numerous methods for applying its knowledge to industry, society and education (Clark, 1957).

While all psychologists obtain the MA or PhD degree, they have varied interests and skills and they work in many different types of locations. They can be found in schools, colleges and universities, clinics and hospitals, governmental and welfare agencies, industry and business and in the public health service. Some are even self employed.

The wide variety of psychologists can be seen in the thirty-one divisions of APA. Among them are the divisions of clinical, counseling, experimental, educational, school, industrial, social, engineering, and physiological psychology.

The largest single group of psychologists are known as clinical psychologists. They comprise 29% of the total membership of the APA. The term "clinical" was coined in the early 1930's by Ligntner Witmer to designate a type of psychologist who works with persons in the assessment and resolution of their emotional and adjustment problems. Thus most clinical psychologists are professsionals in the sense that they apply principles of behavior. They are not psychiatrists as some have presumed them to he, however. They use non-medical means, such as counseling and behavior modification, to change behavior and to solve people's problems. Clinical psychologists often function also as academicians and scientists. They teach and conduct research. Many have several part time jobs in which they relate their professional, scientific and scholarly interests. They are most often found in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, colleges and in private practice.

Another significant group of psychologists are known as experimental psychologists. They function most often as scientists and academicians. While it is true that all psychologists are experimental because they have been trained as scientists, the term is frequently reserved for those who conduct basic research in behavioral processes. Most often, this is done in the laboratories connected with academic institutions. Nevertheless, many experimentalists are becoming somewhat professional in that they are consulting to businesses and to industries. For example, the design of industrial machines to best fit the capabilities of the men who run them is known as the field of engineering psychology. Most engineering psychologists are experimental psychologists functioning in a professional role.

Numerous other types of psychologists could he discussed. However, there is a growing opinion among psychologists that there is in reality only one type of psychologist, not many. While their interest in various areas of behavior may differ, they are all in agreement that the empirical study of basic behavioral processes provides the foundation for applied efforts to change behavior. Further, while a given psychologist may spend more or less time its consultation or basic research, they all retain primary interest in persons and their problems.

In summary, psychologists are academicians, scientists, and professionals who attempt to understand and
influence behavior in all its manifestations. While men have always studied each other's actions, psychology has only recently been recognized as a separate discipline and thus persons known as psychologists have been in existence only a little more than 75 years.

Who are the Christians?

Just as there have been numerous attempts to define psychology, so have there been many definitions of Christianity. Perhaps the simple assertion that a Christian is one who has faith in Jesus Christ would receive common approval even if there was disagreement over its implications. The early Christian word for "fish", let/ins, sums up this definition. The letters stand for a simple statement of faith that He is "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour."

Psychologists are academicians, scientists, and professionals who attempt to understand and influence behavior in all its manifestations.

There would probably also be wide agreement with the statement that a person's Christian faith should have an effect on what he does. Being a Christian involves, therefore, action as well as belief. The belief or faith in Jesus Christ supposedly influences the actions and daily work of the Christian. This is as it should be in spite of the fact that Wentz (1963) and others have reported over half their samples indicate no felt relationship between their faith and their business life. The Christian life involves an important emphasis on behavior as well as faith. The Christian is one who has faith and does work. The rhythm of the Christian life moves hack and forth between worship which renews faith and work which expresses faith. ".... the Christian finds himself moving between his sources in Christ and his services in the world." (Wentx, 1963, p. 66)

The emphasis is subsumed under the Christian doctrine of "Vocation" or "Calling". In times past, Calling has been a term applied only to those who became ministers or pastors. This is a misunderstanding of the issue. It is the Christian conviction that all men are called to live by their faith in God through Christ which gives them the understanding that they are children of God. This is the Christian calling. All men are called to the Christian life. As LeFevre (1958) suggests:

Christians are "called". They are called to the Christian life, to a Christian vocation in a larger sense, at the same time that they may feel themselves to be called to some specialized vocation such as law, medicine, preaching or teaching. A particular profession can he a calling from God only because it is possible to exercise the more general calling, that of living the Christian life, within it. (p. 14)

Thus the Christian Vocation is the same for every man. It is a Vocation of living life as a child of God in whatever occupation that may be.

Four Biblical metaphors which have been used to describe the vocation of the Christian are: Servant, Light, Salt and Soldier. They are offered here as a possible model of our later discussion of the Psychologist-Christian.

Jesus pictured himself as a servant and often encouraged his followers to follow him in serving their
fellow men (Mark 10:43-44). Thus, the first way of working out one's calling is to he a servant. Matthew 25:40 explicitly suggests that to meet the needs of a neighbor is to serve God. To be a servant includes several facets. Philippians implies it should include a love for people, require sacrifice of oneself, he based on identifying with the needs of others and result in direct help (Wentz, 1963).

The second metaphor for Christian action is "Light". "You are the light of the world", Jesus told his followers (Matthew 5:14). The implication is that the Christian by his goodness is to lead others to faith in Christ. It implies that the Christian will behave in such a manner that others will admire him and/or inquire as to his motives. In all things and experiences he will relate himself to his faith. He will attempt to live out or incarnate the implications of his faith. As Wentz (1963) suggests "the layman ministers by relating secular things to God . . , His actions try to show that Christ's death has somehow made these things look different." (p. 98)
"Salt" is the third term for Christian behavior. Jesus told his followers they were the "salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13). Salt suggests seasoning. Seasoning makes food taste better by permeation. The emphasis here is on active participation in the world. Thus, the Christian is not ascetic but secular in the fullest sense of the word. He is involved and enthusiastic in nonreligious affairs outside the Church. Like salt scattered over meat, so Christians are dispersed over the activities of the modern world. In the daily events of home, work and play the Christian will he found actively involved in witnessing to his faith. In these events the Christian will be working toward making things become as they should be.

The last metaphor for the Christian life is that of "Soldier". (II Timothy 2:3-4) Soldiering involves active efforts to make Christ Lord of activities and situations. It also involves a willingness to suffer when success does not come easily. This aspect of the work of the Christian implies that one is in tension with his environment and is engaged in a struggle to change things. The old hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers" speaks of many of these issues. The soldier of Christ encounters the world and joins his fellows within the Church in changing the world in the name of Christ.

Both the first and second presidents of the American Psychological Association studied for the ministry before becoming psychologists.

These four, therefore, are qualities of the Christian's behavior. They are metaphors rather than concrete prescriptions because the precise acts of Christians are impossible to predict. This difficulty is similar to the question of whether Christians can he found in this or that occupation. It is now agreed that all Christians are called to live the Christian life and that any occupation which allows a person to exercise his calling as a child of God is acceptable. This was certainly Martin Luther's intent in his doctrines of "vocation" and the "priesthood of all believers." Work is what Christians do to fulfill their calling.

This suggests the specific concern of this essay, namely, what relevance does being Christian have for the daily work of the psychologist? What does it mean to be a Psychologist-Christian?

Who are the Psychologist Christians?

Whether or not one is Christian might be expected to influence his choice of and his work within his chosen occupation. Clement (1969) has proposed five ways in which the Christian faith could be expressed in the life of a psychologist. He suggested that the psychologist could integrate his faith (1) intra-personally (2) professionally or scientifically; (3) experimentally; (4)theoretically; and (5) inter-professionally. These provide a convenient model for considering the ways in which being Christian might influence the vocation of being a psychologist.

(1) intra-personal integration refers to the influence of faith on vocational choice and on beliefs. As Christians, it is important for persons to feel that by becoming psychologists they can obey God's call to be His children. As LeFevre (1958) notes:

Should we feel that we could no longer be Christians within our particular profession or that we could better exercise our responsibility as Christians within another calling, other things being equal, we would feel a strong inward pressure to relinquish our present work and to seek some other. (p. 14)

Thus, we expect to find persons who in part chose to become psychologists because it was a means by which they could fulfill their Christian calling.

Another aspect of intra-personal integration would be in the area of personal belief. One would expect to find among Psychologist-Christians persons for whom faith continues to be a live option and persons whose faith is well integrated with their learnings in psychology. While their faith is not free from doubt, they nevertheless have come to some basic resolution of the science-religion issues. Their faith is "mature" in the sense that Allport (1960) indicated. He suggested mature faith included a "unifying philosophy of life" which consciously integrated all of one's experience. Such is the character of the faith of the Psychologist-Christian who attempts intra-personal integration.
One gross indication of this concern might he previous theological training prior to the study of psychology. Both the first and second presidents of APA, C. Stanley Hall and C. T. Ladd, studied for the ministry before becoming psychologists. Contemporary psychologists such as Adrian Van Kamm, Carl Rogers and Rollo May have also had theological training. In a soon to be published survey, Vayhioger and Cox (1970) found 392 members in the 1963-1966 Directories of APA who had received theological degrees. This was just under two percent of the total membership. The present author assessed the degree to which these psychologists with theological training were represented in the various Divisions of APA. Table 1 reports these results for a five percent random sample of seventeen of the Divisions.
It is to he noted that psychologists normally belong to more than one Division and that the above data are not controlled for this confounding. Also, the Divisions were grouped into thirds depending on the relative number of psychologists having had previous theological training. The respective percentages of psychologists having had such training in the highest, middle and lowest groups of Divisions were 5.00%, 2.78% and 0.04%.

An analysis of these differences indicated that the lowest group differed significantly from the middle and highest but that these latter two did not differ significantly from each other.

The Division groupings are of interest, There is a tendency for more service-oriented psychologists to have had theological training.

  However, this inference is not entirely appropriate in light of such Divisions as Teaching, Personality-Social and Evaluation Measurement among those with higher incidence of theological training. Again, such Divisions as that of the Psychological Study of Social Issues and Psychologists in Public Service are among those with the least incidence of such training.

The overall average of 2.4% is similar to the 2% figure of Vayhinger and Cox (1970).
Concerning personal faith, Vayhinger and Cox (1970) found that the majority of the 246 who returned questionnaires considered themselves to be psychologists with theological training rather than vice versa. Thus, their primary role identification was with psychology. Yet their religious concern was shown by over 80% of. them indicating interest in the relationship of psychology and theology. 62% had retained membership in their denominations and 90% were active members of local churches. While the data are not conclusive, they do suggest that among these psychologists there is a continuing concern with faith and an interest in relating their faith to their new learning in psychology.

No doubt we would make a serious correlation-causation error if we assumed that we had selected all the Psychologist-Christians merely by relying on previous theological training. There are many Christians who enter psychology without studying theology first. By examining academic background we can at most say that at one time the issues of faith were important enough to a given person for him to spend time in serious study of them. That there are others to whom faith was of equal importance and who did not pursue such study cannot he denied, At best, it could be assumed that for many Christians, psychology becomes that culturally prescribed channel through which they dynamically resolve the conflicts of their development and express the tenets of their faith. This is Erikson's (1958) view of vocational choice and personal integration wherein a person finds himself and his Cod through socially acceptable work. Our method of relying on academic background is obviously weak in detecting such persons. Ideally, the autobiographical method would be best since the resolution and expression of these issues is so unique.

Very little of a confessional nature has been written by psychologists. Meehl, et. al. (1958) probably comes closest to being an affirmation of the faith of a psychologist, although, even here, the authors who are psychologists are not clearly distinguished from those who are theologians. In regard to the possibility of relating Christianity to psychology, both Havens (1964) and Pruyser (1968) note the necessity of taking the participant's frame of reference and of at least admitting the possibility of there being a Cod for valid research in the psychology of religion. Thus, the psychologist who is a believing Christian should have a distinct advantage over non-believing psychologists who also seek to understand religion. His efforts will be "faith seeking understanding" as Augustine says, and will have a greater possibility of being valid. In the 80% of the psychologists in the Vayhinger and Cox (1970) survey who expressed continuing interest in relating psychology and theology, we would probably find sincere ongoing efforts at this type of intrapersonal integration.

The metaphor that comes closest to expressing this type of integration is that of Light. His personal faith remains vital to him as he chooses psychology as an avenue for expressing his calling to be a child of Cod. He, thus, has motivations which bring new insight or light into his life. Possibly others see this and inquire of him regarding it.

(2) The second type of integration of faith and vocation suggested by Clement (1969) is in the practice of one's vocation. Since psychology has been designated a profession, a science and an academic discipline, this means integration of the Christian faith with professional tasks, scientific endeavors, and scholarly activities. This pertains to the influence of faith on activities within a vocation.

No doubt the classic metaphor for day to day activity within the Christian life is that of Servant. Other people and their needs are important. The Christian is to respond to others by being good to his neighbor, i.e., by loving mercy and doing justly (Micab 6:8). This is Christian service. The actual meaning of this on the job becomes the problem, for as Barbour (1960) said, "Being a Christian geologist does not mean finding oil on church property. It means serving God and man in the daily work of geology." (p. 11) Certainly the same is true for psychology.

At one level, working in a religious setting such as a church college or hospital or seminary could be considered an example of this type of integration. In order to assess the incidence of such vocational placement among psychologists, a 5% random sample of the membership of seventeen of the Divisions of APA was surveyed. Table 2 is a report of this survey.

Again, the above results are confounded by the multiple appearance of psychologists on the various membership lists. Nevertheless it does appear that about one in twenty-five psychologists does work in a setting which could be considered religious. These vary from veteran's social service organizations under the auspices of a religious body to church related colleges and universities. As would be expected there were no such placements among Engineering, Industrial, Military, or Public psychologists. However, it is puzzling why there were none among Counseling and School psychologists. There is a vast network of parochial elementary and secondary schools in the United States and there are numerous church sponsored counseling centers. It could be that many with these interests are pursuing membership in other professional groups such as the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.

In the Vayhinger and Cox (1970) survey over 27% of those with previous theological training were counselors or professors in religious settings. Thus there is a much greater tendency to work in a religious setting if one has had theological training than if one has not. In the present survey, it is of interest to note the variety of types of psychologists working in religious settings. They range from Physiological-Comparative to Personality-Social to Developmental Psychologists. A cursory survey indicated that many of them were instructors in church related colleges and universities.

Of course, the content of a man's work is probably more important than the context. What the Psychologist-Christian does is more crucial than where he does it. Further the integration of faith and profession should refer to the teaching, consulting, and researching activities of psychologists as well as to the more obviously service related tasks of counseling.

Clark (1957) reports that while many students enter graduate study in psychology with the thought of helping people, they often become interested in other roles such as research and teaching. Many psychologists combine clinical, research and academic tasks. Within their persons they exemplify the tripartite nature of psychology as a profession, a science and an academic discipline. The integration of faith with practice should apply to these teaching, researching and consulting activities as well as the more obviously service tasks of counseling.

The day of valueless counseling is over. London (1964) points out that all psychotherapy has its "morals". The Psychologist-Christian will certainly he interested in helping people but will also be concerned with what types of persons they become in the process. This has implications for many of the critical incidents of psychotherapy such as tendencies toward suicide, confidentiality, and decisions which affect others. How the Psychologist-Christian behaves with reference to these cannot be explicitly stated, but that he will relate his faith to his decisions is a foregone conclusion. This is true in spite of London's (1964) assertion that "psycho-therapists must finally appeal to science to justify these activities, just as ministers appeal to revelation." (p. 130).

A further issue in this regard is the relationship of the search for self-understanding in counseling to the
Christian view of life. Roberts (1950) and Tillieh (1952) are theologians who have considered these issues. Tweedie (1961, 1963) is illustrative of psychologists who have written on these matters. He has explicitly related the thinking of Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy to the Christian faith and has indicated how he attempts to integrate persons' search for meaning with the communication of the gospel. Relating faith to clinical procedures is, thus, a concern to numerous Psychologist-Christians.

The teaching of psychology is usually done at the undergraduate level. While there is a great need for psychologists in church-related institutions of higher learning and while we have noted that many theologically trained psychologists work in such settings, most Psychologis-Christians do not work in these situations. They teach instead in state-supported or nonreligious private schools. How personal faith influences teaching practice is a critical question. LeFevre (1958) suggests faith should affect the method and the assumptions with which the professor works. He notes Allport's concern for the "total person" and suggests the Christian teacher will not reduce man to less than he is or imply that a full understanding of man can be had with stimulus response, cause-effect principles. While LcFevre may over-simplify the issue, he is probably correct in suggesting that the Psychologist-Christian teacher will present his material in light of a view of man which sees man as self conscious, free, goal directed, value determined and capable of response to Cod. Many of the humanistic psychologists make these assumptions even though they may not state them in theological terms (cf. Rogers, 1961; Jourard, 1963).

Concerning research, several points can be made. First, the traditional distinction between pure and applied science is no longer seen as a dichotomy but as a continum. Basic research is much more easily perceived as providing the foundation for later applications of psychological principles to human problems. Thus the Servant motivation of the Psychologist-Christian can he implicit in expermentation that has no obvious connection with social or individual problems if that research can be conceived as providing knowledge for later use in solving these problems. A concern for

The integration of faith and profession should refer to the teaching, consulting, and researching activities of psychologists as well as the more obviously related tasks of counseling.

service to persons would be implicit or explicit.

However, it could be that knowledge for knowledge's sake is itself a worthy goal for the Psychologist-Christian. As Barbour (1960) asserts, "The Christian is called not only to serve human need but to seek truth." (p. 39). This is based on the faith that nature is Cod's creation and that man is to have dominion over all things on earth. The search for truth, regardless of whether it has practical meaning, is thus part of having dominion through understanding. Knowing how Cod made man is one way of knowing the will of Cod for man. In this regard, it is interesting to consider the possibility that some psychologists may elect to work in a secular rather than a religious setting because of their Christian conviction that in the secular setting they have more resources and equipment for finding truth than in a religious setting. This often is true because of the church's limited facilities and resources. LeFevre (1958) writes about the responsibility of the Christian intellectual to be more than adequate in his chosen field of study. Therefore, the strenuous search for troth with the best tools available can easily be considered a Christian task.

The metaphor of Soldier probably best fits this activity of the Psychologist-Christian in that he is actively pursuing through research and study the Godgiven task of transcending the world through knowledge which makes man less subject to finitude and makes him more able to relate to the divine.

Finally, psychology has been concerned with the rights of persons who served as subjects in research projects (APA, 1967). The issues of manipulation, harmful results, secrecy, and deception have been of concern. While ethics and values are by no means solely Christian virtues, the Psychologist-Christian conceives of others as valuable children of Cod and thus no doubt takes seriously the dignity of persons in his investigations.

Overall, the integration of faith in professional, scientific and academic practice can be understood through the metaphor of Salt. In a wide variety of tasks the Psychologist-Christians attempting this type of integration are, indeed, seasoning their situations with their faith.
(3) Integration through research in the psychology of religious behavior is a third means by which the influence of faith might be expressed in the work of the psychologist. There is a long tradition of such interest beginning with C. Stanley Hall's extensive surveys of religious conversions in adolescence (1891, 1904). William James provoked enough interest in the field with his 1902 Cifford lectures for a Journal of Religious Psychology and Education (Hall 1905) to he published. Dittes (1969h) reports that almost one fourth of APA's presidents have evidenced concern with the study of religion at some point in their careers. Interest in this area underwent a demise, however, in the twenties and thirties according to Strunk (1971) who wrote a historical survey of the field. Religion became a taboo topic (cf. Douglass, 1966). The survey reported in Table 3 below seems to indicate that interest in the psychological study of religion is still at a low ebb. The seventeen APA Divisions referred to before are sampled for the listing of religion as an interest area in 5%-random samples of their memberships.

Overall about 1.3 psychologists in 100 express interest in the psychology of religion. There do appear to be significantly greater percentages of psychologists in such divisions as Teaching, Personality-Social, Physiological-Comparative, and Public Service. These are combinations which do not seem to have logical relationships. Even here expressed interest is rare and appears in less than one in twenty psychologists.

A possible explanation for this dirth of listed interests among psychologists is that these interests might he subsumed under other areas. Hiltner (1959) and Gregory (1959) noted that interest in the psychology of religion in the early part of the century became, in part, divided into the religious education and pastoral counseling movements. Thus, we might find concern for the psychological study of religion subsumed under educational psychology, counseling or developmental psychology. Further, it might he subsumed under personality or social psychology. This division evidenced one of the higher incidences of such interest in the above survey. Finally, philosophical psychology or cognitive processes might he the listed area under which an interest in psychology and religion might be subsumed. Pruyser (1968) illustrates the latter point in his discussion of basic processes (e.g., cognition and emotion) in the religious experience.


Yet, there is evidence for a renewed concern in the l96O's. There are several organizations which are stimulating research and writing within this area. They are.. The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, The Catholic Psychological Association, The Lumen Vitae International Commission of Religious Psychology, The Christian Association for Psychological Studies, and the Internationale Gesellschaft Für Religionspsychologie. A symposium on religious psychology was reintroduced into the program of the Fifteenth International Congress of Psychology in Brussels (1957) after an absence of 30 years. In 1961 the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion began publication. A new group, Psychologists Interested in Religious Issues, has recently been formed.

Some contemporary researchers in this area are Strunk (1958), Clark (1969), Allport and Ross (1967) Gorsuch (1968), King (1967) and Spilka, Armates, and Nusshaum (1965). Strunk (1958) investigated motivations in the choice of a religious vocation. Clark (1969) studied the relationship of drug experiences to religious experience. Allport and Ross (1967) compared prejudice with the type of value religion had for a person. Gorsuch (1968) analyzed adjective descriptions of God. King (1967) attempted to measure the religious dimension. Spilka, Armatas and Nussbaum (1965) factor analyzed the concept of God. Godin (1965) gathered together several studies on religious development and Argyle (1958) summarized the research on the differences among the people who participate in religious activities. These efforts could be conceived as "faith seeking understanding" in the words of Augustine. The behavior of these Psychologist-Christians could be understood under the metaphor of Light in that they illuminate religious experience through their efforts.

(4) A closely related type of integration to research in the psychology of religion is conceptual theoretical in
tegration. Theologians such as Tillich (1952) and Outler (1954) addressed themselves to this, but few psychologists have done so. Among those who did were early writers such as William James (The Varieties of Religious Experience, 1902) and G. Stanley Flail (Jesus the Christ in the Light of Psychology, 1917). Through the years others have written on these. issues (e.g., Leuba, 1912; Thouless, 1923; MaeDougall, 1934; and Clark, 1958). More recently Finch (1967) has attempted an explication of psychological theory for the Christian view of man and Mowrer (1961) has analyzed the distortion of theology by psychological theory. Further, other writers have considered religious myths' and guilt (Pruyser, 1964, 1965), religion and existentialism (Royce, 1962), mental health and salvation (Rogers, 1968), and the relations between psychological and theological methods (Havens, 1968). Oakland (1969) and Van Kaam (1964) have related personality development to religion. These are indices of how a psychologist might express his faith through conceptual or theoretical efforts to integrate his faith and his science. Theorizing, like research, requires interest as a motivating factor. As has also been said in regard to research, the metaphor of Light is appropriate here, too, as indicative of the type of Christian action involved. This is also faith seeking understanding.

(5) The last mode of integration is that of inter-pro fessional relationships. This refers to relationships psychologists have with religious institutions and religious professionals. For example, this is exemplified by

Ideally, the vocation of psychology should be an expression of faith for the Christian person who chooses this vocation.

a willingness to consult with churches and to confer with pastors. Many ministers refer persons to psychologists for counsehng. There are numerous instances where the psychotherapy of the psychologist complements the pastoral counseling of the minister. Cooperative endeavors in church-counseling centers are also quite typical. The Church Federation of Greater Chicago Counseling Center is illustrative. Psychologists are frequently asked to consult with the boards and agencies of denominations.

I have described several ways in which psychologists might consult with and be of service to pastors and churches (1970a). In a subsequent article, I have proposed a model for inter-professional relationships between the psychologist and the church (Malony, 197Db). In brief, psychologists can either consult or collaborate with the church on problems in thoughts, feelings, words or actions of persons in the life of the church in efforts of amelioration or education. No doubt, many of the problems of church life are amenable to interprofessional cooperation between a sympathetic psychologist and an open minded pastor or religious leader.

Some psychologists have tried to analyze church behavior through psychological categories. Dittes (1967) has written a psychodynamic understanding of the ebb and flow of administering the program of the church while Hites (1965) has summarized the principles of behaviorism as they apply to the tasks of church workers. Barkman (1969) analyzed motivations for missionary service among college students. These are forms of indirect inter-professional integration of psychology and religion.

Further, numerous psychologists have been involved in direct vocational counseling for the ministry (e.g., Hunt, 1966). Webb (1968) has constructed an inventory designed to guide students into areas of interest within the ministry. Many studies have been done on ministerial effectiveness and the personality dynamics of ministerial leadership (cf. Menges and Dittes, 1965; Malony, 1964). Dittes (1964) and others have expended much research effort in the construction of The Theological School Inventory (1962) which is widely used as a guidance tool in theological seminaries.

The metaphor that best fits this type of integration is that of Servant because here the psychologist uses his skills in service to his faith.

In summary, there are many ways in which the faith of the psychologist can influence his behavior. Five possible modes of relating faith and the profession, science and scholarly discipline of psychology have been discussed. Intrapersonal professional, experimental, conceptual and interprofessional modes of integration have been mentioned.


Some final comments are in order. This essay has dealt with the problem of relating faith to vocation among psychologists. Ideally, the vocation of psychology should be an expression of faith for the Christian person11. who chooses this vocation. Thus, the title of this paper, The Psychologist-Christian, was selected to emphasize the primacy of faith. The four metaphors of Salt, Soldier, Servant and Light were offered as types of faith expression. A number of possible behavioral indices of these metaphors were suggested. The critical question is, "Has this essay fully enumerated these behaviors or even determined the necessity of one of the listed behaviors for the life of the Psychologist-Christian?" While I feel that this esay has some logical and face validity, in the final analysis I think the answer to the above question must be "No" for three reasons.

First, the ideas of Bonhoeffer (1955) among others regarding "religionless Christianity" have influenced many persons. Many intellectuals, psychologists among them, have become impatient with organized religion. Thus, they may have intentionally chosen to be overtly non-religious out of Christian conviction. This is paradoxical. Dittes (1969a) wrote about these "religious Nones" and indicated they would assume increasing importance in the decade to come. These persons who express their faith in non-religious ways would not evidence integration of the type referred to in this essay but might at the same time be Psychologist-Christians. They might not be churchmen, work in religious settings or show interest in the psychology of religion, etc. They might be functioning in positions far removed from organized religion but be believing persons nevertheless.

Second, there always remains the problem between behavior and motivation. Jesus himself spoke of foolish generations which seek after or look for signs. Smith (1966) represents some modern theologians who suggest that ". . . the manifestation of faith is not simple, but dialectical" (p. 55). By dialectical they mean that the inference from behavior to motive is not simple and may in fact he absolutely false. For example human intentions always fall prey to the capriciousness of human life. Therefore, it may be impossible for a man to express his faith in many ways this essay has mentioned. More importantly, the Christian faith is itself an affirmation of hope in the face of meaninglessness. Therefore faith may he present more in weakness than in strength and more in the absence of a manifestation than its presence. Christian theology has noted that the forgiveness of sin is a greater reality than the power to express one's faith. This does not mean believing men should resign themselves to antinomianism or libertarianism. Nevertheless it is a recognition that the absence of an overt sign of relationship between the Christian faith and the life of the psychologist may not indicate a lack of faith at all. Thus, our overt indices would be insensitive to these dialectical distinctions. We might find Psychologist-Christians witnessing to their faith in the way they handled failure or suffering; in their persistence at humdrum tasks and meaningless duties; and in their humane solutions for administrative and research problems.

Finally, Allport (1942), among others, insisted on the importance of "personal documents" in understanding the vital issues of personality. These methods included a heavy reliance on autobiographical self-reports as opposed to inferences based on objective behaviors. Instead of judging overt indices of faith one would need to inquire of a given psychologist as to his own unique expression. The implication is that ultimately a mans behavior makes sense to him irrespective of its
consistency in the eyes of others. As Allport insisted, true laws are idiosyncratic, i, e., personal. Comparison of a man to others or to standards is far less important than assessing the degree to which he sees himself as integrated around his values. The Psychologist-Christian, therefore, may best be understood from within or by listening to him reflect on the relationship of faith and vocation in his own terms. This is not to reject observable criteria for the relationship. It is simply to confess our methodological inadequacies and to allow ample room for unique interpretations. No doubt autobiographies' are the best method for accomplishing this goal and such gross measures as have been discussed herein most pale in importance in comparison to such data.

In conclusion, there is a need to reaffirm confidence in the effect of faith on daily work. As has been suggested earlier, in the Christian faith:

"Calling" or vacation means primarily the call to acknowledge a relationship to God, and to live in responsible obedience to him wherever one is. Hence it also means a call to a particular task, and response to God in one's daily work. (Barbour, 1960, p. 13)

The Christian lives his life as a response. If, by chance, he is a psychologist, that part of his life will be no different. It, too, will be a response arid, thus, the activities he engages in will be influenced by his faith. Argyle (1958) states:

The beliefs of the psychologist cannot affect his findings unless he actually cheats, so that there is no special kind of psychologist known as a "Christian Psychologist" -that Would simply be a psychologist who happens to hold certain beliefs. (p. 1)

While by no means suggesting that cheating could characterize the Psychologist- Christian, this essay takes issue with Argyle and asserts that the "simple holding of certain beliefs" about Jesus Christ will have distinguishable influences on his behavior.


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