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Sample Book Review Paper on Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling

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Sample Book Review Paper on Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling

The book ‘Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling’ was published in 1996 by Tyndale House. This was in attempt to ensure that it brought evangelical spirituality, psychology and theology into the counseling house. At first, Mark McMinn starts by introducing various issues that relate with integration and offers readers a proposed healing pattern. He further articulates by citing and explores six aspects of Christianity that he integrates in counseling (McMinn, 1996).


McMinn starts by explaining various issues that are encountered in interdisciplinary integration. The challenges he mentions in his book ranges from differences in world perceptions, and the difficulties that are experienced in training. Additionally, the author also reveals about the complications of spiritual formation, professional life, blurred personality, and lack of scientific support to be among the issues. He further adds that in religious counseling, challenges such as unique ethical considerations also face interdisciplinary integration. In response to these problems, McMinn attempts to formulate a healing pattern that assumes an accurate sense of self which relates on orthodox theology. As a result, this contributes to an accurate awareness that is essential to enhance ultimate progress towards relationship development. Analyzing the subsequent chapters, it is clear that they explore six concepts of Christianity in attribute to McMinn’s healing pattern.

In these chapters, McMinn’s begins by addressing prayer and instills it in counseling. The writer recognizes the absence of empirical research that relates to praying in loud voices based on a psychological perception. To support his facts, he references many studies that concern the positive impact of a prayer. Furthermore, McMinn’s also identifies numerous risks that are attached to prayers by incorporating different factors that explain the situation. These include ritualism, ethical consideration, potential dependency, and cites various forms of prayers given in the order of the risk.

The next step in the book is when the author focuses to utilize the scripture in counseling. At this point, he incorporates views from other authors such as Stanton Jones when he emphasizes that scripture is a device that can be used to access the risks of counseling approaches or their validity (McMinn, 1996).  In addition, McMinn terms a scriptural content to entail benefits which are vital to individuals who are receiving consolation. This is evident via truth discovery, meditation and intervention. However, the writer gives a warning concerning the dangers of power and shame that are related with integration.

The writer focuses on the aspect of sin by discussing various styles of attribution. For instance, he stresses the point by addressing whether problems occur due to sickness or sins. McMinn embraces a theological approach to resolve tension when he suggests challenges that revolve around sickness of initial sins and personal sins. This implies that existence of personal responsibility can only be with lack of harmful consequences of guilt. The author confronts confession when he identifies its beneficial powers within a surrounding that is shame free. In his book, McMinn appreciates the significance of voluntary acts of repentance for individual sins. Furthermore, the author argues that the public confession which happens in Roman Catholic Church and penance are very important in relieving the burden of guilt. In his article, McMinn also highlights that in counseling, the perfect understanding of confession and sin always contributes to hope and humility.

Concrete Response

I believe that this article relates to my personal life when the ministry relates with sin in therapy sessions. My counseling work entails solving issues that affect teenagers and I have learnt that strategic silence is one of the biggest tools I require. McMinn has really assisted me to understand the significance of avoiding sins and embracing positive values in life.  

Another concept that is discussed in this book entails the perspectives of a psychological community. In this case, McMinn speaks about the subject of forgiveness as a duty, adversarial and technique. According to McMinn, integrating these three basics is essential for a healthy strategy to analyze the aspect of forgiveness in counseling. He further terms forgiveness to be risky when it elicits fear and shame and argues that at some point it is a powerful duty and technique.  Finally, the summary defines redemption in which the author terms it as a humanity state that incorporates value and sense that is reinstated in their lives. In this chapter, the author perceives redemption as a onetime duty and a proceeding procedure that is authorized by God. In counseling, the author reflects redemption as a value that is found in Christ which give people confidence to be redemptive agents by reflecting the grace of God. 


Analyzing this book, there are questions of concern which the author requires to respond. After a deep analysis, I found out that God redeemed people through the sacrificial work of Christ. I would like to understand whether redemption can really transform human beings from sinful acts (McMinn, 1996).

Additionally, McMinn’s greatest strength may be evident via his objective perspective of risks that are associated with religion and various psychological creations. It is also clear that the insights of the writer concerning prayer, forgiveness, potential risks that relate with the scripture and confession are constructive. This is because the author maintains evangelical perceptions while discussing such factors. Furthermore, the needs of the author commended for achieving the impossible. This is through aligning a number of psychological and extremely diverse theological views.

In his book, one of McMinn’s weaknesses is associated with theoretical clarity.   This is when the writer gives a suggestion that the sacrament of penance is valuable in paying for the price of sin. At some point, readers can appreciate integrationist efforts of the author but it is hard to reconcile the affirmation with his stand against Pelagianism. In addition, the author creates confusion in his work when he examines redemption to be an instant and simultaneous happening. This is evident when McMinn argues in an instant manner that God redeemed us via the sacrificial work of Christ. However, the author also gives a suggestion that sin separates people from God and that the Creator continues to restore humanity from sin. In this part, confusion arises when the reader begins to wonder about the real nature of human beings and their efforts. Additionally, audiences of this book also get confused about the participation in perpetual buying procedures.  This is especially in regard to the writer’s presumed transformed outlook.

A second weakness that is evident in McMinn’s book pertains to transparency in relation to restorative connection.  According to his article (McMinn, 1996) the author clearly indicates that redemption comes straight from the Creator. However, he leaves readers in suspense when they keep wondering concerning the danger of exaggerating powers that is incorporated in remedial relationship. Furthermore, the author still leaves readers with numerous questions as to whether these references that attribute to human connection ultimately transforms individuals.


This book depicts a recommendable job by revealing ways that Christians can integrate spirituality, psychology and theology into counseling sessions. The article also shows reasons why it is essential for them to do so. I recommend all individuals with interest in counseling to make use of this good book. After reading this article, I would also inform people the truth concerning its benefits in growing up spiritually. As followers of Christ, we are called to be set apart, be the light, salt in this world which we live in. This implies that for a Christian counselor to guide others well, it is a mandatory for him to integrate Christ in everything he performs and says.  This further applies to a dual duty that involves both a Christian and a counselor.

 In his book, McMinn believes that when an individual serves as a counselor, he depicts a calling from the Lord which is similar to other upright careers (McMinn, 1996). This incorporates the call to ministry whereby God has invited people to partner with Him in healing a broken world and taking care of souls. Furthermore, every session of Christian counselors should incorporate the teaching of scriptures and be about Christ to lay foundation in transformation of the hearts. It is evident that the healing power of Christ and guiding of Holy Spirit, integrates with modern technology, psychology and medicine. As a result, this aid Christian counselors to partner with followers to heal them and assist them to have a fuller and healthier life. McMinn also terms prayer as a way of communicating with God in which the Holy Spirit heals.

Based on this book, it is clear that Christians have the power of Christ which is a value that no one else has. He adds that this power can make things happen to Christians which they cannot handle by themselves. McMinn cites how Jesus saved us via his mercy and not the righteous things that we had done. His salvation was through renewal of Holy Spirit and washing of rebirth that he gave us generously via the savior Jesus Christ.   


















McMinn, M. R. (1996). Psychology, theology, and spirituality in Christian counseling. Carol          Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

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