The Misery and Menace of Mindless Christianity

From the human side of things, one major reason why I’m a Christian is because it makes sense to me intellectually.  Many false religions often meet emotional needs to some extent (i.e. the Mormon burning in the bosom or the Buddhist’s inner tranquility), but none of them are as intellectually coherent and logical as the Christian faith.  This is one of many reasons why I’m frustrated by modern Christian praise songs, Christian radio, Christian fiction, and the shelves of many Christian bookstores: the Christian subculture is, for the most part, not an intellectual subculture and it makes Christianity look quite silly.  (I’m guessing Screwtape and Wormwood have a hearty chuckle every time they hear the words Veggie Tales.)

Therefore, when I read John Stott’s little booklet, Your Mind Matters, it instantly became one of my favorites on this topic.  After I read the following phrase, I couldn’t set it down: “Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service.  If we do not use the mind which God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality.”  Listen to these other great quotes.

“Perhaps the current mood (cultivated in some Christian groups) of anti-intellectualism begins now to be seen as the serious evil it is.  It is not true piety at all but part of the fashion of the world and therefore a form of worldliness.  To denigrate the mind is to undermine foundational Christian doctrines.  Has God created us rational beings, and shall we deny our humanity which he has given us?  Has God spoken to us, and shall we not listen to his words?  Has God renewed our mind through Christ, and shall we not think with it?  Is God going to judge us by his Word, and shall we not be wise and build our house upon this rock?”

Later Stott quotes a parishioner who complained:

“Whenever I go to church…I feel like unscrewing my head and placing it under the seat, because in a religious meeting I never have any use for anything above my collar button.”

Stott goes on, positively.

“Faith is a reasoning trust, a trust which reckons thoughtfully and confidently upon the trustworthiness of God.”

He also quotes H. Moule:

“We should beware equally of an undevotional theology and an untheological devotion.”

I’ll end with these words.

“[God-given knowledge is] to be used, to lead us to higher worship, greater faith, deeper holiness, better service.  What we need is not less knowledge but more knowledge, so long as we act upon it.”

This book, Your Mind Matters, is a great one for newer Christians to read, but also one that mature Christians will appreciate.  It is only around 90 pages and is clear, biblical, and edifying.  It is also inexpensive, so it is worth getting two and giving one away.

shane lems

2 thoughts on “The Misery and Menace of Mindless Christianity”

  1. You hit a nerve here! I walked into the corporate Christian Bookstore in my town last week. It is a HUGE place. I was amazed at all the Jesus trinkets that were being sold. But what stunned me the most was the theology section. It was 6′ wide and only 5′ high. There were no serious works at all!

    I try not to be to hard on the business itself. They only stock what people will buy. Most pastors buy their books online at CBD, Abebooks or Amazon, because they are a lot cheaper! I know that’s where I get my books.

    Still, pastors are the minority in any city. You would think people would want serious books. If you want to get an idea about what is wrong with the american church, a good place to start is in our Christian Bookstores. If who we are in 5 years is largely detrmined by what we read and who we associate with, we just may be headed further in the wrong direction.

    Sorry for the rant- Jim

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