William Day holds a Master of Theology (Marquette), a Master of Social Work (San Diego State), and a PhD. in clinical psychology (Union Institute and University). The back cover of his book states that he has abandoned "careers as a theologian, humanistic social worker, and transpersonal psychologist."
The author's thesis is stated at the end of his book: "In summary, perhaps a succinct way to express Inner Healing is to say that it is the practice of walking in the Presence of the Holy Spirit at all times." (199)
The book is divided into three sections. The first section is largely autobiographical. In passing, Day mentions that he uses "autobiography as a primary way to dig below the surface into the deeper issues of one's life." (34) This he does as he traces his personal and professional history to relate the healing of troubled hearts - including his own.
The second section is a short piece (16 pages) divided into two chapters that present the foundations for Day's thesis. The first of these chapters (ch. 9) is intended to demonstrate the need for the healing and transforming of which he writes. It is a brief consideration of the impact of the biblical events of Genesis 1-2 in which humans are created to have relationship with God and others, and Genesis 3 in which humanity's ability to have wholesome relationship is destroyed, or at least diminished. Day claims chapter 10 to be "the heart of the book" (xii). In that chapter he introduces his understanding of the "Ministry of Reconciliation."
The third section (12 chapters) is a presentation of elements of this "Inner Healing" ministry. In the first chapter (ch. 11), Day goes to some length in distinguishing "Inner Healing" from other concepts claiming "inner healing" (e.g., New Age-type spiritualities, hypnotherapy, Freudian and Jungian approaches, and the like).
Although I find that I sympathize with much of Day's approach, I also find that I have some reservations.
In many ways, Day's work is a needed corrective to a current uncritical adoption of therapeutic approaches - especially among North American Christian communities. However, like many corrective, it probably goes too far `the other way'. The over-correction appears to dismiss the possibility of utilizing features of "secular" or "humanistic" treatments that can be used in a beneficial and biblically acceptable manner. For instance, I sense (although I may be wrong) that Day would not approve of the use of appropriate medication for the treatment of certain kinds of depression caused or aggravated by chemical imbalances in the body.
For the most part, the book is engaging and easy to read. However, in certain places, he presumes a level of familiarity with the concepts and language of his `tribe' (i.e., American Pentecostal/Charismatic). Overall this should not be a major obstacle for most North American readers.
Although Day stated at the beginning that he didn't reference sources "from whom [he] adapted ideas" (xi) in the interest of narrative flow, for me it would have been helpful if he had provided end/footnotes for these sources. Among other things, known and credible voices saying similar things could have made his thesis more authoritative.
Day states that "Inner Healing is about listening, seeing, perceiving, feeling, and sensing the living Word of God" (117). Arguably, this is what is called `spiritual discernment'. In this regard, I suggest that his position would have been enriched by including other Christian traditions and authors in these areas of discernment. I acknowledge that any armchair critic could aim this comment at any author. However, in the area of spiritual discernment, there are many long-standing sources for worthy consideration. More recently, these sources could have included works by (in no particular order, and limited to my own reading), Eugene Peterson (Presbyterian), Henri Nouwen (Roman Catholic), Gordon T. Smith (Alliance), James M. Houston, Larry Crabb, and others.
Where does that leave me with my assessment of this book?
Although I have been somewhat critical, I found this book to be helpful and insightful. I am thankful for its added voice to the often unchallenged claims of secular therapeutic remedies that have, in many ways, displaced both Christ and Scripture in the thought and life of North American Christians and others.
All-in-all, I give Day's book 3.0-3.5 of a possible 5.0 stars. With some reservations, this book is a worthwhile read.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
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