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Exploring Psychology and Christian Faith

An Introductory Guide

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Introductory psychology courses can raise significant questions about the nature of being human. Christianity, with its emphasis on humans made in the image of God, has a clear perspective. Psychology offers answers too, but they are often subtly implied.

Drawn from more than fifty years of classroom experience, this introductory guide provides students with a coherent framework for considering psychology from a Christian perspective. The authors explore biblical themes of human nature in relation to all major areas of psychology, showing how a Christian understanding of humans can inform the study of psychology. Brief, accessible chapters correspond to standard introductory psychology textbooks, making this an excellent supplemental text. End-of-chapter questions are included.

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Five Themes of a Biblical View of Human Nature
Introduction: Why Did I Do That?
1. Who Am I? Themes of Human Nature
2. Test Time! Research Methodology
3. "Bodies Revealed": Brain and Behavior 1
4. The Ghost in the Machine: Brain and Behavior 2
5. Who Is in Control: Consciousness
6. Making Sense of Your Surroundings: Sensation, Perception, and Attention
7. Change from the Heart: Learning
8. Remember Me? Memory
9. Think about It! Thinking--Decision Making and Reasoning
10. Moving toward a Goal: Developmental Psychology
11. Trust Your Feelings! Emotion
12. We're in This Together! Social Psychology 1
13. Faithful Attitude and Action: Social Psychology 2
14. The Real You! Personality
15. In Search of Normality: Psychological Disorders
16. "Meaningful" Healing: Therapy


"Two accomplished teacher-scholars--neuropsychologist Paul Moes and experimental psychologist Donald Tellinghuisen--take us on a fascinating tour of intersecting big ideas from psychological science and biblical faith. By drawing on both perspectives they deepen our understanding of the 'fearfully and wonderfully made' human creature."

David G. Myers, author of Psychology and coauthor (with Malcolm Jeeves) of Psychology through the Eyes of Faith

"Aimed primarily at Christian students taking college courses in psychology, this book is written in such a way that general readers will also benefit from its insights into Christian discipleship. It is well informed, up to date, and wide ranging, and the authors make a sustained effort not to sweep difficult issues under the carpet or to attain premature closure on topics still under debate. The excellent use of cameos enables the reader to grasp the relevance of developments in psychology in real life situations and to better understand how these developments relate to Christian perspectives on the same situations."

Malcolm Jeeves, emeritus professor of psychology, St. Andrews University; former editor in chief, Neuropsychologia

"This solid overview of psychology from a Christian perspective uses five themes to explore a biblical view of human nature: relational persons; broken, in need of redemption; embodied; responsible limited agents; and meaning seekers. It will be a helpful supplementary text to use in introductory courses."

Siang-Yang Tan, professor of psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary; author of Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective

"At long last, a fresh new voice on psychology from a Christian perspective. Moes and Tellinghuisen clearly write from a wealth of experience guiding undergraduates in their initial encounter with psychological studies. They connect concepts with lived experience and questions of identity and purpose in a manner that is relational and accessible. I am eager to use this book with my own students. While I do not necessarily share all of the authors' conclusions and claims, the book is an invitation to a conversation and as such models the sort of thoughtful, challenging, respectful dialogue with which we hope students will become skilled."

Heather Looy, professor of psychology, The King's University College

"Paul Moes and Donald J. Tellinghuisen have created a really good read for those interested in exploring the ways that Christian faith and psychology go together. Exploring Psychology and Christian Faith works as both a supplementary text in the classroom and a good general read for anyone interested in a Christian view of human nature through the lens of psychology. This is an integrated, organic approach that helps readers understand their Christianity and their psychology better. Well done!"

Everett L. Worthington Jr., author of Moving Forward: Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself and Breaking Free from the Past

The Authors

  1. Paul Moes

    Paul Moes

    Paul Moes (PhD, Texas Christian University) is professor of psychology at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously taught at Dordt College for eighteen years. He writes about Christian approaches to understanding brain function,...

    Continue reading about Paul Moes

  2. Donald J. Tellinghuisen

    Donald J. Tellinghuisen

    Donald J. Tellinghuisen (PhD, University of Iowa) is professor of psychology at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously taught at Augustana College. He has published research on attention and distractibility as well as human decision making.

    Continue reading about Donald J. Tellinghuisen


"[This book] allows a student or reader new to the field of psychology to grasp a number of the psychological essentials from key subject areas, while considering these concepts through an orthodox Christian lens. . . . Encouraging Christian scholars and students to think critically about what they learn and read about psychology and other disciplines is the clear purpose of this text. Moes and Tellinghuisen accomplish their goal of providing a companion text for introductory psychology courses. In addition, this text would be of value for faculty in the field of psychology exploring a broader understanding of the integration of psychology and Christian faith. . . . [It] has the ability to encourage readers to greater understanding, compassion, and intentional action. For Christian colleges and universities ready to include a quality discussion of Christian faith and psychology, this book is an essential read."

Kristina M. Kays,

Christian Scholar's Review

"A thoughtful introduction to psychology written from a Christian perspective. . . . The book is well researched and highly readable because it relegates scholarly debates to footnotes. Each chapter concludes with a list of discussion questions, making it practical to use in teaching. . . . This volume is recommended for use in liberal arts colleges with an affiliation with a Christian denomination."

Nathan Carlin,

Religious Studies Review

"An introductory guide for students and laypeople alike."

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