In Os Guinness’ book Fit Bodies Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think And What To Do About It, he lays out an scathing critique of Western Evangelicals and our apathy toward developing the “Christian mind.” I agree with his analysis in general, and note as symptomatic, a Christian world either driven by outright obese arrogance relative to “thinking Christianly,” or unbridled fear and stasis entrenched in sectarian reactionism which functions like a “Christian ostrich” with her head buried in the sand; “afraid” of thinking, indeed fearful of critical engagement of the “truth.” Both of these trends, I just highlighted, arrogant hedonistic Christianity, or naive sectarian confessionalism, both flow from the same stream–Christian Anti-intellectualism. Note Guinness on this point:
At root, evangelical anti-intellectualism is both a scandal and a sin. It is a scandal in the sense of being an offense and a stumbling block that needlessly hinders serious people from considering the Christian faith and coming to Christ. It is a sin because it is a refusal, contrary to the first of Jesus’ two great commandments, to love the Lord our God with our minds. As Ambassador Charles Malik warned in his incisive address at the dedication of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in 1980, speaking as an Orthodox believer to evangelicals, “I must be frank with you: the greatest danger besetting American Evangelical Christianity is the danger of anti-intellectualism. The mind as to its greatest and deepest reaches is not cared for enough.” (italics mine: Os Guinness, Fit Bodies Fat Minds, 10-11)
You may think in reading this that Os is advocating a cold Stoic like dispassionate calculated brute view of the Christian mind, that says, “. . . just the facts ma’m . . .”, in order to dispel any such notion I’ll let Guinness clarify further on what he is getting at relative to defining Christian anti-intellectualism; he says:
Our passion is not for academic respectability, but for faithfulness to the commands of Jesus. Our lament is not for the destruction of the elite culture of Western civilization but for the defincies in our everyday discipleship as Christians. Our mission is not the recovery of some lost golden age of purportedly better Christian thinking but the renewal of a church today that has integrity, faithfulness, and effectiveness in its thinking. Once again thinking Christianly is first and foremost a matter of love—of minds in love with God and the truth of his world. (Os Guinness, Fit Bodies Fat Minds, 19)
I hope you, as I, find Guinness’ admonition challenging and convicting, to the point of taking action to be Christians who think critically about our relationship with Jesus Christ and consequently others. To not develop the mind, is sin, and the consequences are stifling—one of which turns “thoughtful” Christians out of the Church, and into the jaws of the City of this World which just might “out-think” the Evangelical Church and turn converts into perverts who worship themselves, instead of loving truth (God) with their hearts, minds, souls, and strength. I would encourage all who read hear to take Guinness’ challenge to heart, and begin to develop the mind as a Christian should!