Christian: Our Need to Renew Our MINDS
In a previous post, I mentioned a book by J P Moreland titled, Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul. The more I read through it, the more convinced I am that Moreland has hit at least one nail on the head that has to do with Christians and their anti-intellectualism of today.
The problem with many Christians today (and therefore, Christendom), is that too many of us simply fail to use our God-given brains. We have become complete strangers where reason is concerned, as if God wants us to put our critical thinking skills on the shelf and go through life blindly using what we think is faith to determine truth. Even if things don’t make sense, we tell each other to continue on the path that will eventually lead us to understanding. Faith doesn’t determine truth. Faith accepts truth in spite of how it may seem at first (but it needs to be actual truth). The only way to know truth is to study His Word. This is an act of worship.
Many quote Job 13:15, which says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will defend my own ways before him.”
Let’s be clear here on several fronts. First, most who refer to that verse usually only refer to the first part of it, completely ignoring the second part, where Job states he will give a defense of himself before God. Second, Job did not have the entire Bible as we have today. In fact, he had little to none of it. In spite of that, Job somehow knew to trust God in spite of how things looked yet, as we read through the book of Job, it quickly becomes clear that Job has notions that were simply wrong. He didn’t know any better until things were adequately explained to him.
Moreover, in Job 1, we see an entire conversation that took place between Satan and God regarding Job and notice that it was God who introduced Job into that conversation. When bad things started happening to Job, he had no knowledge of the conversation that took place in God’s throne room. But throughout all the conversations in the book of Job, Job never set aside his ability to reason and even though he got a number of things wrong, his continued trust in God brought him to a greater understanding of the truth.
In a previous article – Christians Who Don’t Believe in the Great Commission – I introduced Moreland’s book and his belief that the sorry state of Christians today has largely to do with the way we have taken our ability to reason and see it as antithetical. We don’t need reason to deal with God, we think. Christianity is built on faith, therefore, we have concluded that reason works against faith. Actually, the exact opposite is true.
How many Christians do you know who cannot adequately explain the Gospel? Can they go to various sections of Scripture to rationally and logically discuss what gaining salvation actually means? Do they understand that as we place our faith in Jesus (Romans 9:9-10), we embrace salvation, which does many things for us, none of which we might actually feel? Do they understand that Jesus was the perfect atonement for us and even though He Himself never sinned, God the Father saw Jesus as sin (literally becoming sin for us), so that the wrath of God could be poured out on Jesus as He hung on Calvary’s cross? Do they understand that our faith in Jesus’ work allows us to embrace/receive salvation and part of that means that we become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)?
Are Christians today capable of explaining that when we receive salvation, we undergo a spiritual transaction that causes us to be born again or born from above (John 3)? This transaction brings about the sealing inwardly of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), and also effectively seats us with Christ in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:4-7).
There are many things that occur when we become Christians but this is lost on most Christians today because they first, never really ever crack open a Bible, and second, if they do, they don’t take the time to “rightly divide” it or honestly get to know what the Bible says in a deeper way. Because today’s Christian lacks this ability, they cannot adequately explain what becoming or being a Christian means. Is it any wonder we don’t do well in the Great Commission area?
The example I used in the previous article about the Christian who was simply “open” to conversation but wasn’t interested in winning souls is a case in point. I believe he is not interested in “winning souls” because he doesn’t know how to do that. His “beliefs” are merely that to him; beliefs. He cannot prove them from the Bible but he wraps himself in them because he thinks that’s what Christians are supposed to do today.
Instead of focusing on improving or at least understanding our faith in Christ that has led us to salvation, too often Christians today are way to focused on aspects of secular society. They wrongly believe that if we just work harder to change society, we will gain more of a foothold and ultimately, Jesus will be honored. This is backwards thinking.
Paul himself didn’t give much thought to what the world (society) did (1 Corinthians 5:12-13) and certainly did not believe he could correct them. Note what he says.
12 For what do I have to do with judging those outside [the church]? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 But God will judge those outside.
Too much emphasis by too many Christians today is on changing society. Paul’s emphasis was on giving people information that would change their lives. Once their lives were changed, it was extremely important for them to be discipled by getting them into a church that could do that. Most churches do not do this today because it’s all about getting numbers into the door and keeping them there. People do not understand that Christians must apply themselves to learning and knowing God’s Word in order that their minds will be renewed. Romans 12:2 speaks to this as do numerous other passages in Scripture. This is one of the most important and often neglected aspects of being a Christian!
We ignore our minds because we have been taught to focus on how we feel. This is what secular society does and aspects of the secular have most certainly found their way into the church setting. It’s been a long, slow process but in many ways, many churches have been taken over by society’s plunge into emotional virtue. We need to move away from that. The more Christians fail to move away from this, the more we will continue to emulate the way society lives life.
Here is a link that highlights many verses or sections of Scripture that emphasize using our minds: Bible Verses About Renewing Our Minds. The Bible does not say that we are to renew our emotions. No, we are to renew our minds because God wants us to think and consider the truth that He shares with us. Our minds must lead but all too often, our emotions do the leading. When we renew our minds, our emotions will follow and we will no longer be tossed to and fro by every wave of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14).
If you talk to many Christians (who also might happen to be conservative and consider themselves to be patriotic as well), I think you’ll find that they have concluded that America is in the position it is in because of the fact that “good people” have done little to nothing to change things in society. They fail to see that things have been tried repeatedly and for many decades but to no avail. Things will not change.
I’m convinced that if Christians began focusing on the reality of their faith and stop looking at secular culture as something that needs to be overcome and changed, these same Christians would see things differently. Because of how Christians look at life today, they’ve become extremely complacent. Oh sure, they may be working very hard to change society, but they’re missing the larger picture and the most important thing. They don’t know what they believe, they cannot prove their beliefs from Scripture, and they might even be ashamed (some of them), for believing in Creationism for instance, because to many, it certainly seems like there is a certain amount of science supporting evolution.
The focus for Christians today needs to be the Bible and the truth found therein. Once Christians do this, they will begin to understand why they believe what they believe and will then be able to intelligently and adequately express those truths to unbelievers. The boldness that results from knowledge of these truths will have the same effect that Peter’s words (due to his boldness), to the crowds in Acts 2 had. It may not always turn out that way (as numerous examples in both Jesus’ and Paul’s life attest), but the boldness will be there.
Christians need to get back to basics. We need to learn and understand why we believe what we believe and have faith in those truths. Once we learn to anchor ourselves in the truth from God’s Word we will then approach society with a new-found boldness. As it is, too many Christians are complacent, unsure, and often don’t even have a modicum of knowledge when it comes to discussing salvation. That ought not to be.
Instead of Christians trying to change society, I believe we need to allow God’s Word to change us. That only happens when we study it to show ourselves approved, people who need not be ashamed (cf. 2 Timothy 2:15). Are you willing to do that?
Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, emergent church, Emotional virtue, eternity, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: faith, great commission, j p moreland, job 13:15, love god with all your mind, reason, salvation.