Monday, August 27, 2012
Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., Fall, 2008, TM 500
Professor of Philosophy,
THE SPIRITUALITY OF THE INTELLECT:
OR OUTTHINKING THE WORLD FOR CHRIST
The spirit-empowered intellect is a wonder to behold.
A. Postmodern spirituality: sacred subjectivity devoid of truth (John 10:10)
1. Relativistic: truth decay
2. Subjective: selfish
3. Pragmatic: not principled
4. Hedonistic: no cross of suffering for God and his Kingdom and his people
5. Eclectic: not unified
B. Biblical spirituality: being transformed through the Holy Spirit to love God and serve your neighbor in God’s power (Zech. 4:6: John 13-15)
1. Justification: positional restoration through the Cross of Christ (Romans 5:1-8; 1 Corinthians 5:17)
2. Sanctification: existential Christ-likeness through the Cross of Christ (Luke 9:23-36; Phil. 2:11-12)
3. Glorification: consummation of Christ-likeness and restoration of the divine image in humans (Romans 8)
A. Creation Mandate requires critical thinking (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8)
B. Christ’s Great Commission requires critical thinking (Matthew 28:18-20)
C. Christ’s Great Commandment requires critical thinking (Matthew 22:37-39)
D. Culture development and Christian proclamation require critical thinking for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17)
II. CRITICAL THINKING AND HOLY SCRIPTURE
A. Critical thinking: the practice of carefully evaluating ideas in a way that highly values rationality as a tool for finding, defending, and applying truth in every area of life.
B. Critical thinking in Scripture (see Isa. 1:18; 1 Peter 3:15-16)
1. Jesus’ use of careful argumentation in theological and ethical disputes
(Matthew 22:23-33); see D. Groothuis, On Jesus (
, 2003) Wadsworth
2. God was “well pleased” with Jesus in all things (Matthew 3:17)
III. THE PRACTICE OF CRITICAL THINKING FOR CHRISTIANS
A. Intellectual virtues: Loving God with all your mind (Matthew 22:37-39)
1. Reason as a divine gift. Be thankful for it (James 1:18)
2. Fruit of the Holy Spirit: Intellectual patience required for godliness
3. Put truth first in everything (Matthew 6:33; John 14:1-6)
B. Intellectual vices to avoid
1. Sloth: intellectual impatience, unwillingness to work, think, grow,
struggle (“the fool” as described in Proverbs)
2. Dangers of television: wasting time, dumbing down, image over reality,
intellectual impatience, and so on. See Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death.
IV. GODLY HABITS OF THE MIND
A. Do not fear hard intellectual questions; ask them; pursue good answers
(Matthew 7:7-12). Nietzsche quote: have the courage to challenge your own
B. Have solid and sufficient reasons for your deepest beliefs (apologetics): 1 Peter
3:15-16; Jude 3.
C. Be transformed through the renewing your mind to know God’s
will (Romans 12:1-2)
D. Take time for silence and solitude before God. Think well for God and
for others. Time “in the woodshed” (jazz phrase for practicing)
E. The Cross of Christ and intellectual sanctification
1. Deny all that keeps you from submitting your intellect to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit
2. Repent of intellectual sloth and distractions (Matthew 4:17)
1. Harry Frankfurt, On Bullshit. 2005. A serious treatment of why so much discourse today is lacking in logic and truth.
2. Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism. InterVarsity Press, 2000.
3. Douglas Groothuis, On Jesus.
, 2003. Looks at Jesus as a
philosopher and critical thinker with a well-developed and pertinent worldview. Wadsworth
4. Douglas Groothuis, The Soul in Cyberspace. Wipf and Stock, 1999. Addresses how cyberspace affects our view of truth, community, religion, etc.
5. Douglas Groothuis, Rebecca Merrill Groothuis web page: www.DougGroothuis.com. Much material on apologetics, ethics, philosophy, evangelical egalitarianism, and culture.
6. Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, Women Caught in he Conflict: The Culture War Between Traditionalism and Feminism (Wipf and Stock, 1997). Award-winning book that examines the logic of the gender debate.
7. Os Guinness, Fit Bodies, Fat Minds. Baker Books, 1994. Addresses the problem of anti-intellectualism and what to do about it.
8. J.P. Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind, NavPress, 1997. Cogent apologetic for an active and world-changing Christian mind by a leading Christian philosopher.
9. Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth (Crossway, 2004). Contemporary classic on thinking biblically according to a Christian worldview across the whole of life.
10. Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death. Penguin, 1985. Best assessment of the nature and power of television to dumb-down public discourse. Truly a “must-read” book.
11. Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality. Tyndale. The secret of Schaeffer’s great ministry: trust Christ moment by moment; do not rely on the flesh. God’s work in God’s way is paramount.
12. Brother Yun, The Heavenly
Monarch Books, 2003. A man totally sold out for God
sees God work in every situation. His spirit-led zeal should be applied to the
life of study and critical thinking, although this was not his main calling
(unlike Schaeffer, for example). Man.