Paul Dean Dr. Paul J. Dean's Weblog
- 2020 Apr 14
Too often Christians eschew what they perceive to be doctrine or deep thinking when it comes to one’s relationship with God or Christianity in general. Some wear it as a badge of honor: “Don’t give me all that doctrine, just give me Jesus,” as if such self-proclaimed piety is actually biblical or really helpful. A variety of factors has led to such a notion, not the least of which is the influence of the fundamentalist backlash against the liberalism of the early twentieth century. Certainly, that liberalism was and is a deadly counterfeit, and all true believers affirm the fundamentals of the faith. But the backlash was an anti-intellectual brand of Christianity that was less than biblical and destructive in its own right. “Just give me Jesus” begs the question of which Jesus, as there are abundant false versions even within the pale of evangelicalism.
Renewing the Mind
The authority of Scripture is foundational, and the supreme question is, “What saith the Scriptures?” Even with a cursory look at the landscape of evangelical preaching, it’s not hard to understand why so many have a superficial faith. Too much of so-called bible-believing teaching and Christian worship is given to seeking the next emotional high. The mantra of the average church-goer is to know and follow hard after yet another mountain-top experience. Of course, such feelings are easy to come by whether in church or at a football game, and are no indicator of whether one has had a genuine encounter with God. At the very least, one cannot experience God as he should without progressive sanctification which comes through renewing the mind. Yes, the Spirit must work, but He doesn’t work apart from the word. Without a commitment to the whole counsel of God, believers are robbing themselves of a deeper and richer walk with God.
The Whole Counsel of God
We also need the whole counsel of God to navigate the onslaught of ideas in our ever-changing cultural, ideological milieu. Evidence for God’s existence and the biblical account of creation bolsters confidence. An understanding of how ideas and conclusions are driven by presuppositions gives one a leg-up in general conversation. There is but one true worldview; all others are false. If one thinks at a worldview level, at the very least he’ll not be blown away by false claims – the elementary principles of the world.
For the Children
Without a commitment to teaching our children sound doctrine and training them how to defend their faith, we relegate them to the statistical nightmare that is reality: 70% to 90% of young people raised in church walk away from the faith when they hit college. That’s owing, among other things, to an entertainment model of Christian discipleship and a shallow understanding of the gospel. When young people raised in that environment get to college, they have neither the heart nor the mind to stand in the maelstrom of professors, peers, and propaganda that bears down on them each and every day.
All the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge
Further, we need serious-minded Christians to engage our culture. We need to be trained to give good answers to the questions unbelievers ask and the objections they raise. We need to be taken seriously, not so that we enjoy the personal benefits of a good reputation, but so that scoffers may be willing to give us a hearing. Too many Christian leaders have compromised the truth to be well-liked by the world. Such a practice is wholly ineffective as well as consequentially destructive. We’re not talking the prideful seeking of the world’s respect. We’re talking about engaging with the world intellectually in a winsome way. We’re talking about pointing out the inconsistency and incoherency of faulty worldviews: their philosophical untenableness and their folly. We’re talking about giving the only worldview that makes sense out of our experience: the true worldview, the biblical worldview. We’re talking about the unvarnished reality that “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ” (Col. 2:3).
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