Welcome to the Society for Christian Psychology!

Learn about about our mission to work out a distinctly Christian psychology. Inside the website you’ll find:

  • We have a growing list of resources, including information about Christian psychology, ancient and contemporary Christian psychologists, sample articles, recommended books, sister organizations and institutions, and .pdf copies of our journal, Christian Psychology, and copies of our newsletter, Soul & Spirit
  • Conferences of the SCP and other related organizations
  • Information on how to become a member of the Society. Consider partnering with us in the project of a radically Christian vision and practice of psychology.


News & Announcements:


The SCP held a preconference at the 2017 AACC World Conference, in which our former director, Eric L. Johnson, presented a summary of his recent book, God and Soul Care: The Therapeutic Resources of the Christian Faith. You can find the powerpoints here, here, and here. In addition, there was a Christian psychology track throughout the conference, where we heard from our director, Shannon Wolf on Treating Survivors of Human Trafficking; renowned positive psychologist Robert Emmons; Joshua Knabb, professor at California Baptist University on Contemplative Prayer for Anxiety; Fernando Garzon and Kristy Ford on A Christian Approach to Mindfulness;Richard Winter, professor at Covenant Theological Seminary; Jonathan Badgett, a Ph.D. candidate and pastor of music and counseling on Long Island, on A Christian Approach to Shame; and Eric L. Johnson, on The Therapeutic Benefits of Christ’s Incarnation. The SCP also held a mixer Friday evening and we had the largest turnout ever and heard from Jason Kanz, a practicing neuropsychologist, who shared with us about the special issue of our journal, Christian Psychology, that he is guest editing that celebrates the career of Larry Crabb; as well as from Rick Marrs, a professor of pastoral care at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, who recently wrote a focus article with theologian Robert Kolb, for another special issue of Christian Psychology on Lutheran psychotherapy and counseling.

The Society for Christian Psychology will hold another mini-conference on April 12, 2018 with the wonderful folks at the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) (http://caps.net/), as part of their larger 2018 conference in Norfolk, VA. Fernando Garzon will do a preconference workshop on his research on Christian models of soul care, and in the afternoon we will we hear from Father Gregory Jensen on Adrian Van Kaam’s personality theory.

Interested in participating in a research study on prayer? Follow this link.

Check out the Christian psychology journals from the European Movement of Christian Anthropology, Psychology, and Psychotherapy at the website Christian Psychology Around the World

Leanne Payne, who died on February 18, 2015, was a leader in the healing prayer movement for over thirty years and was the founder and president of Pastoral Care Ministries (now called Ministries of Pastoral Care). Her books include: Real Presence, The Broken Image, Healing the Homosexual, Crisis in Masculinity, Healing Presence, Restoring the Christian Soul Listening Prayer, and Heaven’s Calling, her autobiography. Though not a psychologist, she was a C. S. Lewis expert and had considerable spiritual gifts. Her work is exemplary of Christian psychology written for thoughtful laypeople. We pray that her influence will continue to grow through the Ministries of Pastoral Care, being led now by Sarah Colyn.

Highly recommended books: Transformative Encounters: The Intervention of God in Christian Counseling and Pastoral Care, edited by  Appleby and Ohlschlager. Most of the articles are descriptions of Christian psychology approaches.

Evidence-Based Practices for Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy, edited by Worthington, Johnson, Hook, & Aten, which gives an overview of the state-of-the-art of research on Christian forms of counseling and psychotherapy.

Diane Langberg has recently written Suffering and the Heart of God, an experienced therapist’s reflections on suffering, evil, and trauma, and God’s role in our healing. She has also written In Our Lives First: Meditations for Counselors. It’s a new e-book, so you can get it at: In Our Lives First


Rick and Kay Warren of Saddleback Church co-sponsored “The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church,” on March 28, 2014, along with Bishop Kevin Vann of the Orange County diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Orange County. Some of our members presented, including our director Eric Johnson, as well as Matthew Stanford and Chuck Hannaford. The keynote addresses and some other presentations can be accessed at Mental Health and the Church



Call for Papers

Acknowledging Powerlessness: Philosophical Perspectives on Twelve Step

Over the last fifty years, Twelve-Step programs have had a profound
impact on culture world-wide. But these programs have not received much
attention from philosophers. We propose to begin filling this gap by
publishing an anthology of philosophical essays about various aspects of
Twelve-Step spirituality.

We invite all who are interested in contributing to this volume to submit
an abstract of 300 to 700 words. Please include a resume with your
abstract. After selecting the authors and essays to be included in the
volume, we’ll be submitting the project to publishers who have expressed
interest in it. We expect to include about 15 papers in the anthology,
each between 12 and 18 pages. We hope to receive proposals that employ a
variety of philosophical perspectives and methodologies. Essays should
be both philosophically substantive and accessible to the thoughtful
non-professional. Articles that involve reflection on personal experience
are welcome. Contributors need not be philosophers but their essays are
expected to be philosophical in nature.

Writers are encouraged to explore any aspect of Twelve Step spirituality
that they consider philosophically provocative. The following are only
some of the many issues that might be addressed:

What is addiction and does it render one morally impotent?

Is addiction a disease and, if so, of what sort?

Is a recognition of powerlessness compatible with accepting
moral responsibility?

Are the “Twelve Steps” compatible with the moral life as understood by
philosophers such as Aristotle and Kant?

Does living virtuously require depending on others as the Twelve Steps

Is it irrational to believe that one’s sanity depends on a power greater
than oneself?

Is Twelve-Step spirituality compatible with atheism?

Is Twelve-Step spirituality distinguishable from religion?

Is a spirituality that emphasizes imperfection compatible with virtue

Is there an intelligible order to the twelve steps that can be
philosophical articulated?

Are the “Twelve Steps” rationally defensible?

Does humor play any role in the practice of twelve-step spirituality and,
if so, what?

Abstracts should be received by June 1, 2011. We intend to inform
authors by August 1 as to whether their proposed essay is to be included
in the volume. The due date for completed essays will depend on the
publisher’s timetable for publication. We hope it will be no later than
December 1, 2011. Abstracts and resumes, as well as queries, should be
sent to either Jerome Miller at jamiller@salisbury.edu, or Nicholas
Plants at plantsnr@pgcc.edu.


James K.A. Smith, PhD

Professor of Philosophy

Executive Director, Society of Christian Philosophers

Research Fellow, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

Calvin College

Grand Rapids, MI 49546