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This paper was written by W.Simpson.

Mr. Simpson runs the LogosWord Website. He reminds his readers that he is not a theologian, 'just a layman with a laptop and a growing bookshelf'.

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Articles > Charismatic Theology > Maker of the Mind

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Footnotes

Maker of the Mind

 

"I am not raving mad, most excellent Festus, but

I boldly declare words of truth and of soundness of mind."

 

(The Apostle Paul, Acts 26:25, Analytical-Literal Translation)

 

* * *

 

Over the last two centuries, the confidence of Christians in the reasonableness and credibility of their faith has met significant challenges from the sciences. With the almost wholesale acceptance of Darwinian evolution as a rational account of the origin of species, ridicule of a global flood and a host of similar assaults on the historicity of the Bible, disciples of Christ have found themselves forced to choose between two different positions in dealing with both established and emerging controversies. Of the two, the most comfortable is the ‘liberal’ choice: compromise. ‘We have placed too much stock on the plain reading and inerrancy of scripture - better go along with popular wisdom on matters of history, geology, biology, and reinterpret the Bible to fit.’ The other alternative is not so snug - the so-called ‘fundamentalist’ position: stand out and disagree! ‘Conventional wisdom is not God’s wisdom. It is in error.’[1]

 

  With both groups of Christians there have been two rationales offered for taking these different approaches to faith and the Bible. Among the compromisers are those who would argue that it is ‘anti-intellectual’ to go against the majority opinion. They are prepared to adjust their faith accordingly to accommodate the changes that popular ‘scientific’ opinion requires. Of course, that means re-adjusting their faith when the popular opinions change suddenly, even drastically![2] On the fundamentalist side, there are also those who appeal to reason to justify their stand. ‘The arguments of the evolutionists are flawed and irrational. This can be demonstrated. God’s Word has always suffered attacks on its reliability and has invariably arisen triumphant’[3].

 

  But perhaps the greater majority of Christians are those who have given up thinking about these issues at all. Whether or not they believe amoebas turned into men over millions of years[4], they are basically in agreement about one thing: reason and spiritual truth occupy two separate zones.[5] ‘Just believe in Jesus’ sums up their apologetic, whether or not they add, even under their breath, ‘that other stuff is just a lie.’ It is easier to deny logic or our ability to use it in matters of faith than to contend with those who do make some use of it (however poorly) in their assaults on the Church.

 

  The denigration of the mind and the ensuing slide into subjectivism is a sad loss for adherents to a belief system that actually validates our powers of reasoning, unlike its worst enemies in the academic world today, which have used naturalism as a construct and inherited what C.S. Lewis called its ‘cardinal difficulty’ in the process[6]. Although there are few Christians who would ask us to check our brains out at the Church door in so many words, one cannot help noticing something similar to this sentiment at work among various contemporary expressions of Christianity, including movements within the Charismatic Renewal[7].

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Footnotes

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