Prior to Dr. Woodward’s joining G.F.I. in 2001 and while yet a pastor in Canada, I believe our Lord prompted me to suggest that he do his research paper for his doctorate on biblical anthropology, with his emphasis being trichotomy. In recent church history, those espousing this position have done little published research on this vital topic, though the Scriptures are not silent in this regard.
This has resulted in defaulting this crucial area to those holding to dichotomy, monism or those who are so generous as to be multichotomous! Our consuming interest is to show how the model of man may be used to teach the doctrine of sanctification since this is our focus in ministry. The trichotomous position, as delineated in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12, is intrinsic to our model of counseling/discipleship. That being the case, it is a great blessing to have a scholarly, as well as scriptural, apologetic for the model we have been using since the inception of our ministry in 1970.
Since my graduate studies were in counseling and education instead of theology, I am more than a little thankful that God sent and burdened Dr. Woodward to address this need. Though I did not need a theological credential for God to honor my use of the tripartite model of man in my writing and ministry, this book provides support to those who are seeking valid research on which to base their understanding of biblical psychology.
Having said all of this, I am not unaware that the dichotomous position is accorded the ranking of primacy by most evangelical Christian theologians. However, the sanctification message clarified by trichotomy was used by the Lord to revolutionize my life in 1965. Therefore, I have staked my professional reputation–as well as my temporal subsistence in ministry–on this model of man. God has honored this sanctification/counseling message with transformed lives around the world and has used this foundation to unlock the way to victory for many believers.
A person’s having a spirit as a distinct functioning part is absolutely essential to a scriptural explanation of what was crucified, as well as what was regenerated. Since it is our intent to define our terms and the inner functioning of man from Scripture, rather than psychology, our model must also be anchored in Scripture. This makes it possible for a believer intelligently to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He transforms the life to the glory of the Lord Jesus.
Thus, I heartily endorse this treatise on trichotomy without concern for a unanimous endorsement from academia. I am convinced that this volume is a major contribution to the cause of Christ as a foundation for Spirit-empowered living and ministry.
Charles R. Solomon, Ed. D.
Author of Handbook to Happiness (Tyndale House)