Todd Hall: A Psychological-Theological Paradigm for Spiritual Transformation

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We are living in the midst of a connection crisis... Many mental health issues we see today stem from social disconnection.

It’s no secret that we live in an increasingly isolated world. The pandemic has only exacerbated what was already a startling trend: loneliness and disconnection have been on the rise for a long time in our society. Many Christians feel disconnected, leading to emotional pain, unhealthy relational patterns, spiritual struggles, a lack of meaning, and ineffective ministry. What’s more, common models of spiritual transformation are overly rationalistic and under-developed, proving inadequate to address “the sanctification gap.” In recent decades, however, a new relational spirituality paradigm has emerged from multiple fields. There is now a critical mass of evidence that human beings are fundamentally relational—that we develop, heal, and grow to become more loving and Christ-like through relationships.

This talk covers the core elements of a relational spirituality paradigm, with a particular focus on the roles of 1) implicit relational knowledge, and 2) attachment to God and others in shaping our implicit self and capacity to love. Dr. Todd Hall (Biola University) delivers this lecture titled, “Relational Spirituality: A Psychological-Theological Paradigm for Spiritual Transformation.”

This talk was delivered on Friday, February 3 at Exploring Personhood: Human Formation. The conference began with the authority of the Scriptures and Christian theology. We then invited perspectives from the sciences (counseling and psychology), humanities (ethics, biblical studies, philosophy, and theology), and pastoral ministry. Our aim was to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue on the Imago Dei and embodiment — all for the glory of God and the good of the world.


All opinions and views expressed by guest speakers are solely their own. They do not speak for nor represent SEBTS. Read our expressed views and confessions.

This project was made possible through the support of grant #61985 from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s)and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.

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Todd Hall

Dr. Hall is Professor of Psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University and serves as a Faculty Affiliate in the Harvard Human Flourishing Program within the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. Dr. Hall’s writing and research focus on relational approaches to spiritual development, leadership development and flourishing. He is the author of the award-winning book 'Relational Spirituality: A Psychological-Theological Paradigm for Spiritual Transformation' (IVP Academic, 2021), and 'The Connected Life: The Art and Science of Relational Spirituality' (IVP Press, 2022).

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