Tag Archives: anti-intellectualism

Loving God With Your Mind

In setting forth the purpose of my blog, I have written that I want to be about loving Jesus with all of my heart, soul, strength, and mind.

This blog is dedicated to all those who desire to do that—making Jesus Christ central and supreme in every way.

Here is what I have made clear about myself and the blog:

As a young academic and an aspiring Christian mystic, this blog is unashamedly a reflection of my pursuit of Christ in spirit, soul, and body—the realm of the intellect as well as spiritual imagination. It is my desire that this blog would contribute to biblical academic dialogue, encourage humble Christ-followers, and challenge honest skeptics.

Those who follow my blog regularly know that I’m not afraid to press our collective evangelical buttons. I don’t do this because it’s in vogue, or because it’s the new hip (even “progressive”) thing to do these days.

No, I write about where I’ve been and where I am currently in my walk. I seek to remain teachable for the future. But I’m not afraid to be passionate about those things I’ve been convinced of in the present.

I wanted to share that with you. I suspect there are others that can relate to my own journey. I pray that you find this blog a place to think out-loud with me, even come to some much-needed conclusions.

I want to be flexible as I grow up into Christ. I truly want to be “semper reformanda” (always reforming). I hope you will commit to this principle of Christian growth with me.

I do recognize that it’s no easy thing to question long-held beliefs, or to challenge deeply rooted traditions. It’s a hard and often uncomfortable road. Many folks are just not willing to wrestle with new thoughts and ideas that seem to threaten their basic theological framework.

But I’m convinced it’s part of discipleship.

“Disciple” means we are learners on a journey. Learners change and grow.

While we may not be willing to embrace a new teaching today (or an old one that’s new to us), we might be in a better position later on to see the wisdom of it and experience its life-giving freedom. We must be careful. Overreacting to new ideas can actually make it harder to accept them later on when/if we begin to sense a change in the wind of conviction.

Of course, it may be a teaching we never accept because we feel it’s not compatible with our interpretation(s) of Scripture. Regardless, we must remain humble and teachable, allowing others to follow the Lord as best they know how, even if we decide we just flat out disagree.

This requires an attitude of humility and a willing spirit of forbearance with others. If we’re going to love the Lord with all or our mind, as we seek to hold together faith and reason, we must be intentional about these things.

In humility we must all recognize that there is inspired Scripture, and then there are our interpretation(s) of Scripture. We must remember this when we’re in dialogue with others. And we should always think the best of those who disagree with our interpretations.

Finally, we need not be fearful of intellectual challenges to our faith when we are getting all of our life from Christ, and entrusting others to him also.

When we’re doing this, we can allow each other freedom and space to grow.

The following video is a Greg Boyd sermon excerpt from a 2009 message on eternal punishment. He is prefacing his message by talking about the need for intellectual inquiry in our pursuit of Christ.

Are you encouraged to think and question in your church? What rewards have you experienced from loving God with all of your mind? What can the church do to be a safe place for intellectual inquiry?

D.D. Flowers, 2013.

Theology Matters

I actually had an elderly fundamentalist man once say to me, “All I need is my King James Bible and the Holy Spirit.”

When was the last time you ran into an evangelical who demeaned the study of theology? Maybe you have encountered a cynic-saint who believes that a large part of the problem with Christianity is with those who have studied formally in a bible college or seminary?

This sort of anti-intellectualism disregards the rich history of Christian thinkers, and it overlooks the deep spiritual benefits of loving Jesus with all of your mind—baptizing apathy and laziness in the name of faith.

We can’t afford to drive a wedge between the mind and the spirit. As believers in the Source of all wisdom and knowledge, we must do better.

“If we are going to be wise, spiritual people prepared to meet the crises of our age, we must be a studying, learning community that values the life of the mind.” J.P. Moreland

Knowledge doesn’t have to be dry and lifeless. The following video calls us to think about why doing theology really matters.

Have you noticed how some evangelicals have disconnected Christian belief from Spirit-filled living?  Consider what you can do today to love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind.

D.D. Flowers, 2012.

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