Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Importance of Being Intellectually Earnest

Hello and welcome to The Christian Intellect,

There are many reasons why I think a blog like this is necessary. The first is that while there are many blogs that specialize in certain foci (i.e. philosophy, theology, history, random pastoral thoughts, or even Biblical studies) I am looking to create place in which all these topics are fair game, but more importantly I am looking to create a place where we can all learn how to think--no matter what the topic is. 

Secondly, there are many Christians out there (perhaps you are one) who suffer from the lowered standards of most of our evangelical churches. Here, I hope to promote thinking in many areas where the average church attender may be anemic and provide resources to boost the intellect. I do not claim to be an expert by any means, but I am a Christian who is hungry to know more about God, His Word, and the world He created. Our Western culture is saturated with under-achievement and anti-intellectualism. We have become more concerned with celebrity gossip than with world affairs...let alone reading the Bible.

What does it mean to be a Christian intellectual? Does it imply someone who sits quietly in an arm chair studying while the world goes slowly to hell in a hand-basket? I have recently heard some voices from mainstream Christianity that implied that study and thinking is over-rated and that what the church really needs to be about is service. "Just get out there and serve others and people will be drawn to Jesus." This sounds good. It sounds right. It appeals to our sense of American initiative: "Don't just stand there--do something!"

Unfortunately, many people do not see the danger in this polarized focus on service. Here is the danger as I see it:
Many of our churches today are "seeker-sensitive" in nature. They are doctrine and Scripture light and heavy on the emotional/aestetic qualities, such as lighting, music, trendy graphics, etc. In some of the churches I have attended over the years, people would come forward to be baptized, they would be asked to repeat a brief confessional ("I believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and I except Him as my Savior.")--then they were a "Christian" that the church was ready to send off to serve in the community. What is worse is that I saw many of the people disappear from the church soon after, only to hear that they were living immoral lives, into drugs and alcohol, or any number of sinful behaviors. Here is not the place for a discussion on conversion, but it is my introduction into the importance of learning and study in the course of discipleship. If we, as Christians, do not stay connected to the vine in all aspects of our life, we will wither.

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he answered that it was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength (Lk 10:27). But what does it mean to love God with our mind? What we learn and know about God matters! God wants the whole package. God uses learning, especially through His Word, to transform us (Romans 12:2).

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed,
knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted
with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through
faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable
for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:14-16
It is my hope and prayer that we may build a community that will spur each other on to growing as Christian thinkers.


  1. Hi Pastor Nick! I can't tell you how much I appreciate what you're trying to do with your blog! I completely agree with you, and I have to tell you that I am a lover of God's Word. Reading it has changed my life! I don't understand how Christians can disassociate their faith from their minds. To me they go hand in hand. I mean, how can you think about witnessing to a non-believer, especially someone who is a professing atheist, unless you've thought through and thoroughly considered why you believe what you believe, and are well-versed in the Scriptural basis for those beliefs? It just doesn't make any sense to me to be any other kind of a Christian than a thinking Christian (my Twitter handle - if that's what you call it - is @ThinkinCristian) I just "joined" Twitter. I'd love it if you looked me up!

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Sarah! Those are my thoughts exactly. Consider yourself "followed" on Twitter. Blessings.