The life of the mind in conjunction with cultivating the mind is an integral part of the believer’s life. Just as a believer is a member of the body of Christ and the mind a member of the believer’s body, the body will function properly if each member is doing its part accordingly. If a part of the body, such as the mind, is not functioning properly then there is a deficiency in the body. This is idea manifests today in the state of the church. There are many culprits that has affected the functions of the members of the body; however, we will look at anti-intellectualism and its role in negatively impacting the body individually and collectively. Specifically, looking at two arguments J.P. Morgan presents in weakened world missions and the spawning of an irrelevant gospel.[i] Each of these arguments are direct consequences of anti-intellectualism.
Commonly we will see modern churches in America highlight an emotional or feel good service. Absent or barely present is the intellectual part of discipleship. In J.P. Morgan’s argument of weakened world missions, he presents an encounter where the mission agencies were asked to stop sending evangelists to a specific country. ibid This was based on a form of theology that supported anti-intellectualism and on one that rests on the foundation that the Holy Spirit will teach him or her directly. Thus it is so that the same idea is present in American churches; therefore, it should not be a surprise that the same theology is taken overseas. Whereas some missionaries may be counterproductive as Morgan pointed out that the new converts that were taught on faulty theology were easily persuaded to join in a movement that had nothing to do with Christianity. Looking stateside, anti-intellectualism has infiltrated the American Church and has gained a lot of momentum. This is largely due to the humanistic nature of people liking to hear things that are pleasant or what can make one feel good about themselves. On the other hand, I would not discount the spiritual forces that are work to continue to promote the confusion and handicap within the church.
Following this same vein, is the reality of an existing irrelevant gospel. A gospel that “primarily purpose is to address felt needs.”[i] Rather pointing out the good news that there is Savior that has reconciled one back to God if he or she believes. In essence the irrelevant gospel tries to appeal to a persons need or want at the moment; hence, treating Jesus as if He is a genie in a bottle. The good news was never intended to appeal to a person’s emotions or feelings in a way that there is a void of reasoning or foundation. Contrawise, the gospel can appeal or cause one to use his or her intellect or reasoning capacities. Sadly, a large number of church members do not even know why or how they are saved. This goes back to anti-intellectualism where it is a reality of the current time and season or state of today’s church. Teachers, ministers, and lay persons that are aware this problem need to actively pursue teaching and correct approaches that emphasizes the life of the mind, sound doctrine, and the relevant gospel.
The proper renewing, cultivation, and training of the mind is essential to combating the well accepted doctrine of anti-intellectualism. That will have to come from teachers, preachers, and lay-persons who are gifted and trained in the area to enact a type antidote to the infection. Although it may not wholly eradicate the problem, it would produce Biblically sound individuals that exercise the use of the mind. As pointed out by Morgan, once the proper prospective of the soul, body, and mind in is harmony, maturity begins. What is interesting is that the life of the mind is a component in spiritual growth in maturity. “The ancient Greeks and the Fathers of the church were right to believe that a virtuous, mature person is an individual with a well ordered soul.”[i] Interestingly, is the view that the ancient Greeks were the thinkers in the philosophical sense and the Fathers of the church had a firm understanding in spiritual matters that the two concluded the same thing when it came down to the soul. Whereas the mind, (intellect) has a direct connection to the soul. Ibid It is people in their respectful capacities that are addressing the matter of intellectualism and rightfully dividing the word of truth such as Morgan. More persons are needed to make a movement in the church to produce mature Christians that can effectively share the gospel with others and let God give the increase. There is an order as things are in place in order by our Creator and a part of that order in our understanding things and things of the spirit is the mind or the life of the mind. By properly interpreting Scripture and rejecting anti-intellectualism concepts, the body of Christ can recover to a degree from the damage that has been inflected by a harmful doctrine. This doctrine has permeated in such a way that all types of new revelations are so called spring forth in today’s church. Thus, leaders, ministers, teachers, and lay-person should actively feel compelled in carrying forth the gospel and the life of the mind in a manner that is worthy of their calling.
[i] J.P Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind (Navpress: Tyndale, 2012), 86
[i] J.P Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind (Navpress: Tyndale, 2012), 74
[i] . J.P Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind (Navpress: Tyndale, 2012), 23-25