Friday, May 16, 2014

Your Mind Matters

John Stott, Your Mind Matters. Foreword by Mark A. Noll. IVP Books, 2006. Originally published in 1972. 91 pages. ISBN 978-0-8308-3408-2.

Publisher's Information:

'Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service,' writes John Stott. 'If we do not use the mind which God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality.' "While Christians have had a long heritage of rigorous scholarship and careful thinking, some circles still view the intellect with suspicion or even contrary to Christian faith."

Your Mind Matters is a lecture that Stott gave in 1972. The purpose of the lecture was to correct anti-intellectualism among Evangelical Christians. It is interesting that Mark Noll wrote the foreword of the book since he wrote a book several years ago addressing the same topic: The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Why would these two authors need to address the theme of anti-intellectualism among Evangelical Christians? Is this still a problem today?

I had an interesting experience several years ago. I was the Technical Services Librarian at the University of Mobile. A professor from the English department was bringing Peter Kreeft, professor of Philosophy, to campus. She knew I had read most of his books. She asked me to be his guide while he was on campus. I was very excited about this request. It would allow me a lot of time to privately engage in conversation with one of my favorite authors.

I had some exciting conversations with Kreeft during his visit. On the way of driving him to the airport, I brought up the subject on the relationship between faith and reason. Kreeft is Roman Catholic. I have been an Evangelical Christian for over thirty years and I knew that some Evangelicals thought faith and reason were incompatible. I asked Kreeft what Catholics thought about the relationship of faith and reason. Were they compatible? Kreeft told me that it was an issue that Catholics had settled over a thousand years ago. It no longer was an issue for them. His response was quite surprising. It made sense. I have always thought that evangelicals can learn a lot from Medieval Christianity.

As a young Christian I struggled with the relationship of faith and reason. I learned about faith at my church. I learned about reason at the university. For many years I saw to reconcile these two different worlds. Several years ago I read this little book by Stott and found it to be helpful. I am glad it has been republished with a foreword by Mark Noll. I hope other Christians who struggle with this issue will be helped by it.

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