Cloud and Townsend, How People Grow, Bible On Personal Growth


Henry Cloud and John Townsend, How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals About Personal Growth. Zondervan, 2004.

Referenced in: Summary

Cloud and Townsend are best known for their best-selling Boundaries series. This book forms the theological basis for that series. Here, the authors distinguish between four popular ways of thinking about personal growth:

  1. The sin model - All problems are a result of one’s sin, and one must confess, repent, and sin no more.
  2. The truth model - Problems result from a lack of “truth,” and one must Scripture and doctrine to be “set free.”
  3. The experiential model - Problems result from unresolved pain, and one must do spiritual archaeology to “dig up” and heal the pain.
  4. The supernatural model - Problems are solved by direct action from the Holy Spirit, or through opening oneself up to Christ reproducing his life in us.

Each of these has value. But as the authors point out, none of these really cures problems. They may help people cope better, but still do not bring the kind of transformation people desire and seek. This can and does lead many to disillusionment.

Through their experience and research regarding people who have actually grown, i.e. depressed people becoming undepressed, people with eating disorders getting over them altogether, they gained insight into three questions:

  1. What helps people grow?
  2. How do these processes fit into our orthodox understanding of spiritual growth and theology?
  3. What are the responsibilities of the one helping others grow (pastor, counselor, group leader) and what are the responsibilities of the one growing?

The architecture they used for their exploration was the classic theological doctrines, disciplines and themes (e.g. Bible, God, Christ, Holy Spirit, truth, grace, sin, church, confession, discipline, suffering), with a special focus on how each doctrine applies to personal growth.

This is an excellent book, reaching far beyond pop psychology and simplistic spirituality, into a substantive and comprehensive guide to how people grow.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, click herek.

Publisher’s Description

All growth is spiritual growth. Authors Drs. Cloud and Townsend unlock age-old keys to growth from Scripture to help people resolve issues of relationships, maturity, emotional problems, and overall spiritual growth. They shatter popular misconceptions about how God operates and show that growth is not about self-actualization, but about God’s sanctification. In this theological foundation to their best-selling book Boundaries, they discuss:

  • What the essential processes are that make people grow
  • How those processes fit into a biblical understanding of spiritual growth and theology
  • How spiritual growth and real-life issues are one and the same
  • What the responsibilities are of pastors, counselors, and others who assist people in growing—-and what your own responsibilities are in your personal growth

About the Author

Dr. Cloud is a leadership consultant, best-selling author, and speaker whose books have sold well over 5 million copies. He consults and speaks for companies and organizations in the area of leadership and performance, and is highly regarded for his ability to connect personal and interpersonal development with the needs of business.

He is a clinical psychologist and leadership consultant with a unique ability to connect with audiences. Drawing upon his broad range of experiences in private practice, leadership consulting, and media, he simplifies life’s issues and gives easy to understand, practical advice. It’s Dr. Cloud’s humor, compassion and “in the moment” confrontation that make his approach to psychology, business and spirituality such a success.

Dr. Cloud has written, or co-written, more than twenty books, including the two-million-seller Boundaries and his most recent books, Necessary Endings, Integrity, The One Life Solution, The Law of Happiness and 9 Things You Simply Must Do. His books have sold over five million copies. His works have been reviewed and featured by such publications as The New York Times, The Wall St. Journal, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times and many others. Dr. Cloud co-hosts the nationally syndicated radio program New Life Live, which is heard in over 180 markets.

As a speaker, he is a favorite at corporate events, conventions, and public arena events on a variety of topics, speaking regularly through the U.S. and internationally.

In his consulting practice, he works with leaders in a wide range of organizations and corporations, from family help firms to Fortune 25 and Fortune 500 companies. He has an extensive executive coaching background and experience as an organizational and leadership consultant, spending the majority of his hands-on time with CEOs and executive teams. Dr. Cloud founded and built a health care company which operated treatment centers in forty markets in the Western U.S. for which he served as Clinical Director for ten years. In that context of hands-on clinical experience, he developed and researched many of the treatment principles and methods that he communicates to audiences now. After selling the company, he devoted his time to consulting and coaching, spreading principles of hope and life-change through speaking, writing and media.

He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, earning a B.S. in psychology with honors. He completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Biola University, and his clinical internship at Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. His philanthropic interests lie in the area of homelessness and the inner city, as well as missions in the developing world. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Tori, and their two daughters, Olivia and Lucy.

Buy this book at US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain

***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***


Related Areas

See Other Resources on Leadership:

See Other Resources on Leadership Development:

See Related Ministry Resources:

See Resources on Over 100 Ministry Topics:

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend