Below is an exchange with a chap I’ve known for quite some time who lives in the Mid-Michigan area. He is pentecostal and ana-baptist. There are a great number of these kinds of people in Mid-Michigan. The two of us, for a few weeks, tried to do a Bible study together along with other men from Mid-Michigan but they didn’t like the Reformed faith while others of us, though trying, weren’t to hip on their pentecostal, ana-baptist explanations of texts. I have kicked myself and prayed often about my failure to get through to this group. The Lord Christ caused our paths to cross again so perhaps the Lord Christ intends to keep the conversation going, though it still doesn’t look like it is going to go anywhere.
Thanks for the link to your web-site, unfortunately it’s far too intellectual for a simple man like me.
Well, the simple can at least aspire to be more intellectual and work to that end. As a simple man myself that is what I have always tried to practice and it is what I’ve tried to teach my simple children to practice.
I don’t aspire to be more intellectual, but rather less. I aspire to have the Lord impart Godly wisdom which is easily entreated. Knowledge and intellectualism are dangerously seductive, and lead many astray, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
My Lord and Master was criticized for not being learned and yet exemplified Love, Truth and Wisdom such that no “learned” man could answer anything. My pursuit is the Love of Truth, and Jesus said that He is the Truth. So if I pick up knowledge and understanding along the way to the knowledge of the Truth, so be it, but they will never be the things I seek after nor love.
* The god you make is the god you must defend;
* the God that made you needs no defense.
Let’s see… we agree that each of us consider ourselves simple men.
We each agree that we need to pursue truth.
Now, mind telling me how we simple men pursue truth apart from the intellect? Does truth come in through our pores? Does the Holy Spirit give us knowledge, understanding, and wisdom apart from the faculty of the mind that God created to absorb those things? Does the Holy Spirit just kind of pour knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in us the way I pour gravy over my mashed potatoes?
The Holy Scriptures teach, ‘above all, get understanding.’ Now I freely concede that is not the exact same thing as ‘be intellectual’ but one can not get understanding, or gain wisdom apart from the intellect. Also, I fully agree that intellectual men can be worthless pagans but it is not their intelligence, nor the amount of what they know that render them pagan but rather because they seek to keep their knowledge in defiance of the God of the Bible and His Christ. This is where their intelligence really reveals its ignorance since nothing can be truly known without presupposing the God of the Bible.
Also, Pete, you might want to be careful about drawing to many parallels between you and ‘your master.’ He had the advantage of being Divine. You don’t.
Scripture teaches we are to ‘be transformed according to the renewing of our minds.’ We are to have ‘this mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus.’ We are to ‘take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.’ That is every thought Pete, not excluding the intellectual thoughts. We are to Love God with all our MIND.
Frankly you are inhibiting your sanctification by seeking to place a false dichotomy between love of Jesus and love of knowledge. Jesus is King over all knowledge. If and when I learn anything it is because it comes from Him and it is His knowledge because He is Lord over it. It is precisely because of my Love for Jesus and my conviction that He is Lord over all knowledge that I seek to KNOW Him and make him known.
Quit with your pursuit of experience and come to know Jesus and love God with all your mind. God gives no extra brownie points of holiness to anyone for purposely being stupid just as he gives no extra brownie points for holiness to anyone for thinking that God will love them more if they are smarter.
Pete, the church is in desperate need for people who will once again love God with all their minds. That doesn’t mean that everyone needs to be a Rocket scientist but it does mean that from the pew to the pulpit all must seek to know what they believe and why they believe it and what they don’t believe and why they don’t believe it, as it applies to every area of life that they traverse. The church needs, perhaps more then any other time, intellects that approach the intellect of the Apostle Paul. Instead to many of our churches play to the lowest common denominator of base experience and reasonless emotion.
Finally, I fully agree that the intellect can become an idol. Perhaps this is what you mean by ‘intellectualism.’ Do you fully admit that the emotions or experience can become an idol so we end up with ‘experientialism’?
Well, I’m sure I’ve just confirmed, in your mind, my alleged arrogance. So be it. I am content to be considered a fool because I insist that people should be smart for Jesus.
I pray God that neither of us will fall to idols.