CFP: The Psychological Science of Emotions for Spiritual Formation and Soul Care

In recent years, social scientists have increasingly directed their attention to investigating topics at the intersection of religion, psychology, and human well-being. Among these topics are character traits, virtues, and processes closely associated with growth in Christlikeness, such as gratitude, grace, humility, forgiveness, hope, faith, and suffering. Many of these traits and virtues have characteristic affective states that attend them. Frequently though, emotions are thought to be outside of the range of our will or choice. They are something that happens to us. If true, then the many injunctions of Scripture to cultivate certain emotions and virtues and to avoid others become more perplexing. For this special issue we seek articles that engage empirical
findings from the social sciences to aid spiritual growth by answering questions such as the following:

  • What are the social scientific findings regarding the factors that shape our emotions and by extension impact our virtues (or vices)?
  • What implications do these findings have for what should shape our emotions?
  • What are the implications of these scientific findings for spiritual formation and soul care? How can we apply these insights to growth in Christlikeness?

Answering these questions requires 1) consideration of how to move from descriptive social scientific findings to prescriptive recommendations for growth and 2) integration of social scientific findings with the traditional sources of Christian formation: Scripture and the spiritual experiences of God’s people through the centuries. For this special issue, we seek two kinds of contributions: 1) shorter data-driven descriptions of empirical findings with applicability to Christian formation and 2) theoretical integration and application of scientific findings with spiritual theology.

Submissions Due May 1, 2023
General submission information:
Guest editors: Jason McMartin, Ryan Peterson, Timothy Pickavance, and Kyle Strobel
Questions: jason.mcmartin AT


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