Home > Uncategorized > Religion of the Mind or the Heart

Religion of the Mind or the Heart

I often think back to a comment that I heard some years ago in Boston, as we were beginning our ministry there. One of our team members (from a mid-western state) innocently mentioned that “going to church in Boston is like going to school.”

What I hear in this statement (which, BTW, could probably be made in Brisbane or Bonn) is that the mind leads in our relationship to God not the heart. I hear a type of “Christian Darwinism” that puts down the “primitive” aspects of Christianity and exalts the more highly evolved, “civilized” aspects.

Yet when I read my Bible I see a religion full of “primitive miracles”, most of the time involving “ignorant and uneducated men” (Acts 4:12).

Miracles that involve spitting into someone’s eyes, rebuking trees and wind, speaking in tongues, conversing with donkeys, throwing hankies on sick people, becoming instantly blind or mute as a judgment (or worse, falling down dead!), dipping seven times in a dirty river to become clean, etc.

The list is endless!

Of course the Apostle Paul had a brilliant mind and used it often for God’s glory as he argued with and persuaded the Gentiles. But he would be the first to speak out to our generation and say: “Oh, for a faith that is not resting on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God and the demonstration of the Spirit”! (I Cor. 2:4-5)

In the book “The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church “ (R. Allen) echoes Acts 4 as it presents the case that groups in China:

“[those] that have learned the gospel from the relatively ignorant and untrained are often found to have learned it both truly and deeply and to be anxious for more.”

Following Jesus must be the simplest thing one could ever do!

Watch out! I didn’t say easiest. He is “more than enough” for every man, woman, and child on earth. Let us not let our minds get in the way and prevent others from falling madly in love with a Beautiful Savior.

Yours for the Least in the Kingdom,

Jeff Gilbertson

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 6, 2008 at 2:07 AM

    Jeff

    This is an issue I have grappled with all my life. I became a christian in my teens in a fairly reformed church, which emphasised trusting the Bible more than reason or experience. But I found myself drawn, initially, to wanting to have a satisfactory justification for my belief, and using reason to do this. I read CS Lewis and the like.

    Later, in the 1970s when charismatic renewal was in full swing, I recognised that my approach to christian faith was very one-dimensional, and sought out opportunities to mix with “Spirit-filled” people who might assist me obtain balance. But it never happened. I learnt a lot, including appreciation of people different to me, but I remained a very mind oriented christian.

    I don’t think that is the best type of christian to be (I don’t think there is any “best” type, except an obedient christian!), but I have come to accept that happens to be the way God made me. And as such I have a use in the kingdom – in teaching, strategic thinking, and in discussion with atheists.

    So when I approach miracles and the things you mention, my “problem” is not in believing that they can’t happen, but in wondering why they don’t seem to happen as much as one might expect, and in trying to be honest to whatever it is that God is doing, or not doing. I too have noticed that less educated and developed cultures seem to experience more miracles, but whether that is because we are faithless, or they are gullible, or God is working differently over there, or what. My inclination is to think God is working differently, but I don’t know.

    Thanks for your continual challenge and ideas.

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