Sunday, June 23, 2013

Love your God with all your mind

loveyourgodJ.P. Moreland has written a book that should be read by all Christians. The book I am talking about here is:

Title: Love Your God With All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul.
Publish Date: 1997
Publisher: NavPress
Pages: 249
ISBN: 1-57683-016-0 ISBN13: 978-1-57683-016-1

Just to be clear, the link in the title above and in the image is to the 2012 revised and updated edition of the book, while I am reviewing the original 1997 edition here.

The main point of the book is that the “mind plays an important role in Christianity.” (Back page) Accompanying this main point is the lament that “[u]nfortunately, many of us leave our minds behind when it comes to our faith.”

In this book, Moreland lay down a challenge for the church to once again become a thinking church. For too long the modern evangelical church has been satisfied with being spiritual and falling into the trap of anti-intellectualism.

The book has 4 parts:

Part One: Why the Mind Matters in Christianity
Chapter One: How We Lost the Christian Mind and Why We Must Recover It
Chapter Two: Sketching a Biblical Portrait of the Life of the Mind
Chapter Three: The Mind’s Role in Spiritual Transformation
Part Two: How to Develop a Mature Christian Mind
Chapter Four: Harassing the Hobgoblins of the Christian Mind
Chapter Five: Clearing the Cobwebs from My Mental Attic
Part Three: What a Mature Christian Mind Looks Like
Chapter Six: Evangelism and the Christian Mind
Chapter Seven: Apologetic Reasoning and the Christian Mind
Chapter Eight: Worship, Fellowship, and the Christian Mind
Chapter Nine: Vocation and an Integrated Christian Worldview
Part Four: Guaranteeing a Future for the Christian Mind
Chapter Ten: Recapturing the Intellectual Life in the Church
Appendix 1: Intellectual Resources
Appendix 2: Sources for Integration

While the book is catalogued as having 249 pages, only 192 pages are pages with content. I have found the book easy to read, and I am convinced that the book will be understood by even most teenagers.

Here is one quote that sets the book up for its major premise:

“Judged by the Scriptures, church history, and common sense, it is clear that something has gone desperately wrong with our modern understanding of the value of reason and intellectual development for individual discipleship and corporate church life.... Our society has replaced heroes with celebrities, the quest for a well-informed character with the search for a flat stomach, substance and depth with image and personality. In the political process, the makeup man is more important than the speech writer, and we approach the voting booth, not on the basis of a well-developed philosophy of what the state should be, but with a heart full of images, emotions, slogans all packed into thirty-second sound bites. The mind-numbing, irrational tripe that fills TV talk shows is digested by millions of bored, lonely Americans hungry for that sort of stuff. What is going on here? What has happened to us.” p20-21

Jesus said that we should love the Lord our God with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength. The whole man! Yet, evangelicalism has been satisfied with the heart and soul, and has largely neglected the mind. It has been very “spiritual” as opposed to being “rational.” However, Moreland shows how the starting place for Christian growth is with the mind. It starts with thinking. Thinking is not opposed to spiritual growth. It is part of spiritual, mature Christians.

It is in the best interest for every church to nurture thinkers, something that the church has not done.

I would recommend every church to encourage their people to read this book and to start a plan of action to nurture more thinkers in their midst.

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