The Greatest Psychologist Who Ever Lived: Jesus and the Wisdom of the Soul

Mark W. Baker, Author
Mark W. Baker, Author HarperOne $23 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-067088-7
Reviewed on: 03/01/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
Hardcover - 285 pages - 978-0-06-067087-0
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""Some psychologists view religion as a cult that limits human potential,"" says Christian psychologist and therapist Baker, ""and some religious people view psychology as a cult for the very same reason."" This book is based upon the premise that, instead, the fields of theology and psychology intersect through the teachings of Jesus, who ""understood people."" Baker utilizes brief, one- to three-page vignettes from his clinical practice to illustrate a particular Bible verse and an accompanying spiritual principle. For example, to interpret the verse, ""Repent and believe the good news!"" (Mark 1:15), Baker tells the story of a surgeon who realizes that he's spent his life trying to avoid criticism, which has worked well in his career, but is not helping his marriage. When, through therapy, the surgeon starts trying to change his feelings about avoiding criticism, his marriage improves. Baker closes this vignette with the spiritual principle that ""The wise are always prepared to change their minds; fools, never."" Vignettes are organized into chapters such as ""Understanding Sin and Psychopathology,"" which are in turn organized into the two larger sections of ""Understanding People"" and ""Knowing Yourself."" While the vignettes are intriguing, their connections to particular Bible verses and spiritual principles often seem tenuous, and the spiritual import therefore becomes superficial. Because chapters contain ten or so vignettes and no concluding section to tie them all together, the overall effect is disjointed. (Mar.)
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