Conference to Explore Interaction of Psychology and Spiritual Formation

Jan. 27, 2014 By Jenna Bartlo

LA MIRADA, CALIF. — On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, Biola University’s Center for Christian Thought [CCT] will offer The Table Conference as a means for Christian wisdom to become ever more accessible to diverse audiences in the church, and engage both the mind and the heart reflecting the deep impact of big ideas on practical life.

“The church is in great need of sources of deep Christian wisdom to guide them through the challenges of contemporary life,” said Evan Rosa, communications coordinator of CCT.

Exploring Christian spirituality, mental health and human flourishing from a psychological perspective, the conference is an outpouring of this year’s CCT theme — psychology and spiritual formation. Through 17-minute talks, speakers including philosopher Steve Evans, psychologist Everett Worthington, Jr., psychologist Alexis Abernethy, Frederica Mathewes-Green and many others, will present on how new research in the psychological sciences on relationships, depression, addiction and positivity is relevant to Christian spirituality. They will also explore how ancient practices of prayer, contemplation, forgiveness and worship can contribute to an appreciation for the depths of human psychological health.

Evans, author and professor of philosophy and humanities at Baylor University, will be speaking on accountability.  

“Our culture talks a lot about the importance of ‘accountability’ but at the same time most people don't like being held accountable,” said Evans. “This attitude affects the church as well, because we don't like feeling accountable. The church has little to say about God's law and submission to divine authority.”  

“The church must clearly understand and proclaim that genuine freedom requires accountability to God, and that God's law is a gracious gift," he said. "We need to recover the perspective of the Psalmist who gave thanks for God's law, a law that makes possible genuine freedom and meaningful choice."

The conference is deeply relevant to a culture that pays attention to brain science and the benefits of psychology, is resisting the stigma against mental illness, and is looking for happiness in a spiritual life.

“We think these distinctively Christian perspectives on psychology and spiritual formation will contribute a great deal to individual, family, and community life,” said Rosa.

The following speakers will be giving presentations and overseeing small group discussions at the conference:

Psychologist Alexis Abernethy on SELF-CARE

Theologian John Coe on DESIRE

Philosopher C. Stephen Evans on ACCOUNTABILITY

Psychologist Todd Hall on RELATIONSHIPS

Psychoanalyst Marie Hoffman on LISTENING

Theologian Kelly Kapic on WORSHIP

Psychiatrist Aaron Kheriaty on DEPRESSION

Theologian Frederica Mathewes-Green on PRAYER

Psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz on MINDFULNESS

Neuropsychologist William Struthers on ADDICTION

Theologian James Wilhoit on CONTEMPLATION

Psychologist Everett Worthington, Jr. on FORGIVENESS

View the event page and full details here:

Press passes are available. Please contact Jenna Bartlo at for further information.


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