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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Want to Love God More Fully? Then Engage Your Mind!

I believe that learning to defend your faith is like a grand adventure; it truly is treasure hunting for nuggets that will make God more real to you. I demonstrated this a couple of days ago when we discovered that reason and faith are not opposites. You can take the idea of God's truth seriously and apply it to a very common objection. If someone were to offer you this same objection that faith stands opposed to reason, you could answer them with the truth that faith is built on reasons and exploring faith claims is a very reasonable thing to do. Not only does this answer their objection, but it opens the door to more discussion on the truth-claims of Christianity! Do you see how exciting such an approach is?

I do want to caution you, however, that just because you may have an answer to an objection that is sound, thoughtful, and well-articulated, it doesn't mean people will always listen to you. In fact, you may get a lot of resistance. But it does let you feel more confident that the critic wasn't shutting you down. In fact, as I mentioned, it is the critic who's now being irrational since they don't want to support their claim nor listen to a thoughtful appeal to reason together. Which brings us to another point in why we need to pursue God intellectually: because it helps us love God more fully.

Part of Loving God Means Loving Him with Our Minds

In the Proverbs passage I discussed yesterday, it states that we are to apply our minds to God's knowledge "so that your trust may be in the LORD." This coincides with what Jesus taught when he was asked by an expert in the Jewish Bible about which commandment was the greatest. He replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment" (Matt 22:37-38). You can see how Jesus elevates the idea of loving God intellectually by including the phrase "with all your mind." That's absolutely right. In order to fully love God, we need to love Him with all we have — including our intellect.
Just prior to Jesus' statement to the lawyer, He was confronted with a question on the validity of the resurrection by the religious liberals of His day, the Sadducees. Christian apologist J.P. Moreland notes that by intelligently defending the faith, Jesus was practicing the concept of loving God with His mind. J.P writes:
It's interesting that Jesus did something His followers should emulate; He intelligently answered the Sadducees' question! … First, Jesus reveals His intellectual skills in debate by (1) showing His familiarity with His opponents' point of view; (2) appealing to common ground (a text all disputants accepted) instead of expressing a biblical text He accepted but they rejected (Daniel 12:2); and (3) deftly using the laws of logic to dissect His opponents' argument and refute it powerfully. Second, because it forms the immediately preceding context for Matthew 22:37-39, this incident may inform at least part of what it means to love God intellectually: be prepared to stand up to truth and honor when they are challenged, and do so with careful, thought-out answers. 1


1. Moreland, J.P. Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1997. 50-51

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