Friday, November 8, 2013

Does the Bible teach Christians to be anti-intellectual?

Anti-intellectualism prevails in modern evangelical Christianity. Books and sermons advocate a mystical and irrational faith, and many who claim to be God's people "love to have it so" (Jeremiah 5:31). The trend is so pervasive that some people closely associate anti-intellectualism with Christianity, affirming a self-imposed disjunction between faith and reason, so that it requires an irrational "leap of faith" for one to embrace the Christian worldview.

However, this "faith" is not the Christian faith. Far from favoring irrational thinking, the biblical worldview rescues, preserves, and exalts the intellect, more so than any other worldview. Made in the image of God, the mind of man is the part of him that has fallen in sin, and it is the part of him that is renewed and reconstructed at conversion. The subsequent process of sanctification likewise involves the development of the intellect in conformity to the content of biblical teaching, which is "the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). Paul writes that one who has undergone regeneration "is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator" (Colossians 3:10). Through the prophet Jeremiah, God says that the "shepherds after my own heart" are those who will lead his people "with knowledge and understanding" (Jeremiah 3:15).