Psychology for Missionaries

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Ron taught psychology in Christian colleges for 35 years. In this book he places psychology in a Christian perspective and considers practical implications for Christian missionaries.

The table of contents includes chapters on most of the topics found in introductory psychology text but implications are drawn for those working cross-culturally. Of course, some of the psychological content is drawn from the brochures on


Resource Description

Chapter 1 – Psychology from a Christian Perspective

A  Christian Perspective

  • God
  • Nature
  • Humans

Psychology from a Christian Perspective

  • Definition
  • Goals
  • Systems
  • Methods

Descriptive Methods

  • Naturalistic Observation
  • Survey
  • Correlation

Experimental Methods

  • An Ancient Experiment
  • Variables
  • Conditions
  • Designs

Ethical Questions

  • Experiment on People?
  • Experiment on Animals?
  • Deceive Participants?
  • Experiment on God?


Parts Three and Four of Chapter 1 in Dewey’s introductory text are relevant.

(Chapter 1: Thinking Critically with Psychological Science in Myers 8th edition is also relevant)

As mentioned in the Prologue, psychology today is the science of behavior and mental processes.  Psychologists study what people do and what they experience subjectively.  Behavior may be anything from as complex as driving a car to as “simple” as a change in blood pressure.  Mental processes may be anything from solving a calculus problem to as “simple” as deciding what to order at a restaurant.  Mental processes include not only what people think, but also what people perceive, feel, and what they want.  Of course, psychologists also study the behavior of other organisms, but most missionaries are primarily interested in human beings.

Also as mentioned in the Prologue, any field of study begins with a set of assumptions.  The major systems of psychology began with the assumptions held by their founders.  Missionaries also have assumptions which come with their Christian world-views, so we first need to be clear on a Christian perspective.

A Christian Perspective

At this point, a particular Christian perspective is used as a framework to organize a Christian psychology. Christians also make assumptions about the nature of human beings, and we should be aware of the assumptions we make.


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