Scientific Disciplines that should inform Christian ministry

(Christy Hemphill) #1

Continuing the discussion from Behavioral Science and Pastoral Care: Finding Wholeness at the Intersection:

The article today on how Christians should be more open to insight from behavioral science and partnership with mental health professionals when it comes to pastoral ministry made me think of some other areas of ministry where Christians are incorporating insights from “secular” academics or practitioners in order to minister more effectively. Unfortunately, I think a misunderstanding of sola scriptura and a general antagonism toward academia and science keeps many Christians from benefiting from expertise they could really use. But it isn’t always the case. I think openness will become more important as our churches grapple with things like gender dysphoria, refugees, veterans of modern war with PTSD, people with new kinds of addictions, #MeToo survivors and other messy stuff that is more and more prevalent in our societies and church ministries.

Some areas/ministries I thought of are:

Trauma healing ministries around the world depend a lot on psychology.

Addiction recovery and support groups like Celebrate Recovery, Grief Share, and Divorce Care rely on insights from psychology and sociology.

The CRCs Office of Race Relations is informed by current thinking about systemic racism from sociology, cultural anthropology, organizational psychology, and political science.

Organizations like GRACE that help Christian groups respond with justice to allegations of sexual abuse employ best practices from psychology.

Flourish helps churches become involved in conservation and creation care, informed by ecology and climatology.

I’m sure you all could help me think of many more. I think it is easy to bash Christians for insular thinking and believing all the answers for every problem are in the Bible, but in reality, lots of Christian organizations/ministries are trying to bring best practices and expert knowledge from academic disciplines into the church. We should be supportive when we see it happening, and maybe someday, biology, geology, and cosmology will get in the door too.

(Laura) #2

Good idea – social sciences seem to get left out of the science/faith discussion, but they affect us all.

(Mitchell W McKain) #3

The problem for me is that if these are out then I am out too. But I think don’t think they are. Christianity is a lot bigger than a few groups which look for excuses to contradict science whenever they can.

(Christy Hemphill) #4

I was referring to getting in the door of individual churches. Yes, of course Christianity as a whole is not refusing to engage science.

(Christy Hemphill) #5

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