I found this article from a talented Christian blogger named Eric Chabot while perusing Brian Auten’s latest weekly apologetics bonus links. You might want to bookmark his blog if you haven’t already. His topic this time is how to remedy the anti-intellectual climate that exists in the church.
Over the years I have had the opportunity to teach apologetics. Apologetics is the branch of Christian theology that offers reasons for the truthfulness of the Christian position/worldview. Most of the classes I have taught are about 8 weeks long. After the first class I can guarantee that the hands will go up. Several students lament that their local congregation has zero interest in apologetics. When we start to discuss the reasons for problem, one issue that always surfaces is that there is little emphasis on the discipleship of the mind. It is apparant that many in the Church have been taught to that it is more spiritual to be simple- minded. In other words, don’t think so hard. God is only pleased by simple faith.
That’s tough talk.
And here’s an excerpt I really liked:
It could not be more evident to me that one of the reasons that Christians are discipled into anti-intellectualism is because of poor exegesis.
Let’s look at some of the Scriptures that can be misunderstood as speaking against anti-intellectualism:
[…]2. Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Some have concluded from this passage that Paul is commanding people to avoid secular studies or philosophy. If we look at this passage in context, Paul was dealing with a proto-Gnostic philosophy that was threatening the Colossian church. If Paul had not had a vast understanding of philosophy, he could not have addressed the problem in the Colossian church. It is important to note that Paul quoted pagan philosophers in Acts 17:28.
Some people in the church make a big fuss over this passage, insisting that all thinking is to be discouraged. I find that sort of evasiveness very self-serving since the passage is clearly a warning against bad philosophy. One wonders if the people who take this passage as a justification for lazy emotionalism would pass on all food if I told them not to eat the spoiled food. One of the best ways to distinguished good philosophy from bad philosophy is to study philosophy.
4. Matthew 18:3-5: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”
In interpreting this passage, it is important to note that Jesus challenged his followers to be like children morally, not intellectually. Christians are called to exhibit childlikeness in being sensitive to evil and sin, in being humble and contrite in spirit. Jesus contrasts the need for humility with tough-mindness in Matt. 10:16, when He says, ” Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (3)
Read the whole thing, send it to your pastor.
By the way, if you would like to read my post on this topic, which I think is really worth reading as well, then just click here. Send that to your pastor, too.