Anti-intellectualism in the Church

There has been a long line of Christians throughout the ages who have seen the use of the mind and how it has been abused by so many scientists and philosophers. They have observed the horrible things that have been created by man’s mind. Things that distract or even destroy one’s focus upon God. One such man is evangelist Billy Sunday, who said once:

“If I had a million dollars I’d give $999,999 to the church and $1 to education.”

There are many people who dislike the thought of thinking being used in the pursuit of God. This hostility towards the use of the mind creates two main problems. John Piper states them well:

“[Sunday’s] hostility to the life of the mind diminished the ability of the church to stand against destructive uses of the mind – like pragmatism and subjectivism. These two views have triumphed for many people in our culture – and in our churches. Subjectivism says that thinking is useful as a means of justifying subjective desires. Pragmatism says that thinking is useful as a means of making things work.”

These two views certainly can achieve great things in the secular world. However, they completely miss the truth that thinking is a gift from God. The greatest commandment is to love God, not only with your heart and souls but with your mind as well.

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.

Matthew 22:35-40

Thus our minds are to be used to love God. And we can do this by thinking. I think a quote from Piper sums up this point:

“…our thinking should be wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fulness of treasuring God above all things.”

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2 responses to “Anti-intellectualism in the Church

  • Dad

    Very good Chase. You sum it up very well. God gave us a mind to love Him with and we should use it. We should dive into His Word and be able to intellectually defend our faith and beliefs.

  • Renny

    That’s good, Chase…and “thought” provoking. 🙂 God gave us our mind, will and emotions to be used in pursuit of Him and for His glory. In the process He is lifted up and we become more well rounded people. ~Grandma

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