Throughout this series RTB editor Maureen Moser and I have been discussing the importance of loving God with our mind (see part 1 and part 2). Scripture is clear that believers are obligated to love God with their entire being (Luke 10:27). Unfortunately, some circles within Christianity give loving God with the intellect the short shrift. Believers are almost always aware of the need to be sincere in their faith—but what about the need to be careful and correct in their thinking?
Maureen: Are you saying that the life of the mind is the most important aspect of the Christian life?
Ken: No. The most important aspect of Christianity is the truth of knowing the Triune God through the redemption that is initiated by the Father, accomplished by the Son on the cross, and applied by the work of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is the “good news” that we can be forgiven of our sins and be reconciled to God through faith.
But the life of the mind is an indispensable aspect of the overall Christian life and worldview. In fact, when the life of the mind is ignored or devalued, the fullness of the Christian worldview cannot be fully appreciated.
I’m concerned that too many believers think they must choose between being spiritual (or moral) on one hand or intellectual on the other. Yet instead of an either-or situation, it can definitely be both-and. The life of the mind is a critical part of one’s overall devotion to God.
Also sometimes Christians think that if they’re not gifted cerebrally, then they can’t participate in loving God with their mind. This is false. Generally speaking, all believers, regardless of intellectual level, can grow in using their mind as part of their service to God.
Maureen: You have a huge library and you seem to always be reading and reflecting about ideas. Would every Christian have the obligation to pursue the life of the mind to the extent that you do?
Ken: No, I’m likely an exception. I’m probably even obsessive-compulsive when it comes to the life of the mind. I sense that God has called me personally to pursue tenaciously the life of the mind to his glory. For me, it’s a burning passion. It grows naturally out of the way God designed me to reflect his image and the degree to which I understand the Christian world-and-life view.
But I do sense that God has also called me to be a type of evangelist for the life of the mind in a culture and church age that generally not only neglects the intellect but too often promotes anti-intellectualism. I’m convinced that anti-intellectualism is one of the evangelical church’s greatest problems today. Again I wonder how nonbelievers would view Christianity if church members were known as thinkers, not just feelers.
So, I do think all Christians should seek to attempt to love God with their intellectual faculties.
In part four of this series will include a quiz for people to take.