Study, Thinking, and Honoring God

I mentioned this helpful resource on Christian education before: Piety and Philosophy by Richard Riesen.  It’s a level-headed and brief discussion of the nuts and bolts of Christian schooling, including the biblical basis, liberal arts, the academic aspect, and the spiritual side of education (among other topics).  I was happy to see Riesen strike a helpful note on intellect and learning.  For example, read these two paragraphs:

“…You cannot pretend to love Truth and not care about truths; you cannot pretend to love the Creator and not care about His creation; you cannot be grateful for His blessed gifts of intellect and curiosity and not use them diligently and enthusiastically.  We are created in the image of God; in gratitude – in worship – we are obliged to live in the image of God. Often we have been told that because our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit we should not abuse them with alcohol or drugs or overeating – or neglect.  In the same way, because God has made us in His likeness by His gifts of volition and intellect and creativity, we should not abuse them by neglecting to use them.  That is, we should not despise them.

A Christian honors God – I cannot help but think, pleases God – by his careful study and clear thinking.  By them he is diligent and responsible.  He is interested, and that is a lovely thing.  On the other hand, deliberate ignorance, a refusal to think, not caring about ideas, all dressed up to look like piety – intellectual indifference coupled with self-righteousness – this dishonors God and advances his kingdom not at all.  Christians, made alive in Christ, awakened to God and the wonders of His creation, ought to be the most joyful and enthusiastic astronomers and artists and physicists and philosophers of all.  Ignorance, like its parent indifference, is not a Christian virtue….”

Immediately following these statements, Riesen does temper his focus on intellect with a reminder to avoid pride in our Christian education and intellect.  You’ll have to get the book for the full – and in my opinion, excellent – discussion!

Richard Riesen, Philosophy and Piety, p. 145.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI

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