Christian Books

Friday, February 11, 2011

Healing Emotional Wounds by David G. Benner

Healing Emotional Wounds
David G. Benner
Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1990
137 pages

Rating: 7 out of 10

Quick Summary: Because of my personal interest in a Christian approach to counseling and psychology, this prompted me to read and revue a third book by Dr. David Benner.  He is a Christian clinical psychologist and has written on many topics relating to the Christian faith, spirituality, and psychology.  In this work, he integrates psychology with Scripture to address the healing of emotional wounds.  We all experience emotional wounds that we do not deserve.  What can we do about them?
  Benner believes that we can experience healing of these emotional wounds by a holistic process that includes: re-experiencing the pain (emotional), reinterpreting the hurt (intellectual), and releasing the anger (volitional).  He incorporates a psychological understanding of the process and resistance to it as well as develops a biblical understanding of various concepts such as: suffering, anger, and forgiveness.  He believes that true healing of emotional wounds is possible.

Evangelical Assessment: This is a difficult book for me to evaluate.  It is clearly based upon Benner’s work in clinical psychology as well as his attempt to incorporate a scriptural understanding of various aspects of healing.  First, I do not believe that there is any major contradiction of this work with evangelical theology.  We do accept the use of some psychological principles.  Second, he does attempt to scripturally develop several themes.  Central to his understanding of healing is grieving the hurt and forgiving the offender.  Also, he recognizes that, while it takes effort on our part, true healing is a gift from God.  He does a good job developing these in a biblical way. Since I have recently been reading about Luther’s theology of the cross, it is hard for me not to think that Benner’s work may have been enriched by Luther.  

My primary concern is this: Benner’s understanding of emotional hurts, psychological defenses, and the process of healing is primarily psychology with Scripture laid upon it.  Generally, he does keep his feet grounded in Scripture, specifically the Gospel, but I do have minor reservations about his work because of the strong psychological basis.

Who might this book interest? This book would interest Christians who are struggling with emotional hurts, but I wonder if they would need a pastor or counselor to share in their journey through this book.  I think that this book would be of interest to pastors and Christian counselors.

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