"The problem is not only to win souls but to save minds. If you win the whole world and lose the mind of the world, you will soon discover you have not won the world." - Charles Malik
"5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins." 2 Peter 1: 5-9
I do not find much thinking going on in conversations with many of my fellow believers. Social media would lead me to believe that Christians have completely lost their minds. The discussions center around emotional reactions about particulars, but there is no reference to universals, to the Bible, nature, or the person of Jesus Christ to support the emotional reactions to the particulars. Quick snips provide little context and there is a complete void of content.
Chances are if you are a Christian you sat in a one-hour service this morning. That is good. There was an opportunity to worship the God of the Universe. Maybe there was a chance to see those you hold dear. Then a man got up in front of you for 35 of those minutes to deliver a message. Chances are, you go to that church because you "like the pastor" anyway.
Most pastors in the US this morning may have a used a couple of Bible verses. Chances are, unless you are Catholic, you did not receive more than 5 verses from the lead source of Christian revelation. These pastors dealt with particulars. These particulars may have included: giving, sex, work, ministry, and motivation. He may have a cool theme and video to pull at your emotions. But chances are, he has never dealt in great depth with the universals like the Trinity and God's relationship with the Son or the Holy Spirit. Chances are you connected to the person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, but chances are your pastor has not offered a great deal of content as to the purpose of the Holy Spirit, His main objective in the universe or how to discern whether or not it is the Holy Spirit that is communicating with you in all the different voices on the wind.
Chances are you left "feeling" better, but you left with no new Knowledge. When people talk about how great their preacher is I ask, "What was his sermon last week?" Few ever have the answer.
A friend of mine shares the words of Alan Youngblood, "I would not give two cents for a God I could not feel." I agree with Alan. But I would not give two cents for a God that had not provided and was not the answer to the foundation of the universe, the explanation for the paradox of mankind, and the hope of mankind. I would have no belief if God could not be found in physics, philosophy, and mathematics. I would flee from faith if He were not the answer to the metaphysical questions or if He were not the deep explanation in epistemology.
Christian gave birth to modern science. Christians set the foundations of our great educational institutions, yet somewhere along the way, "just believe" replaced thought.
Nancy Pearcey offers a wealth of explanations as to how we got here, and rightfully puts the blame on the "dumbed down Gospel" of the 19th century. I cannot stress how important it is that a Christian read her book "Total Truth".
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." Mark 12:30
We've lost the mind to the experiential. Emotions are not trustworthy. I have to tell mine to go to the back of the bus on many occasions and let reason and truth drive.
The latest movement to gain traction in Christendom over the past twenty years is the "Spirit Filled Movement". This movement is the foundational ground on which many of our mega-churches are built upon. The problem with this movement is it elevates the experiential.
I am Christian that has received the gift of tongues, so I share in the understanding of God's personal interaction. "I would not give two cents for a God I couldn't feel". But conversations with those in this movement are always, "God has given me a big vision. He is going to include me in a huge movement of the Spirit. The candle was blown out and I knew that was the sign." I don't dismiss the personal interaction of God, but so many are wrapped up in the experience that they don't go back to scripture and build a base for their experience.
For many the "experience" is their church and the pastor where they attend. The pastor is elevated to the title of "Man of God". All their directives are set by this one man. All of their affirmations must come from this man. I find this scary and I generally find those that hold everything on the words of one man, unstable. This celebrity style has lead to, "...the rise of personality cults that have becomes so entrenched in evangelicalism.", writes Nancy Pearcey. Paul does a great job in Romans of putting the experiential in context and in order. There is little content offered in the experiential world.
Sundays are motivational speeches by eloquent men. Ou cell groups and Sunday Schools are consumed by "emotional drainers" and "takers" making it hard to get to the content.
Non-believers and new Christians deserve all the grace in the world for an experiential explanation, however, if we are not building upon this with scripture, thought and direction, we will lose them to the world.
Experience has replaced discipleship. This is arguably one of our greatest disconnects from Truth.
Offering context and content is not happening from all pulpits. We must as growing and maturing Christians dig deep. Here I do not speak just of Sola Scriptura. We must plow through the Word of God, the books of man, the realities of nature and interacting in a relationship with the God of the Universe through the God/Man Jesus Christ.
The way we formulate our beliefs, opinions, positions and conversations on the particulars must ensure we have brought to bare the universal truths. As Francis Schaeffer calls it the "true truth". If we are going to speak to a digital sound bite society we must offer something more than a snip, we must offer time and the willingness to sit and discuss the context of the issues and offer a strong content for our position as follower of Christ.
Seven billion people on planet Earth are having experiences right now so I am unwilling to lay my faith and life on the experience of just one person today. But, I am willing to discuss their experience in the light of Scripture, universals, the person of Jesus, the great thoughts of man, and out of a desire to find truth and its application and interaction with our personal lives.
Is faith without content faith in anything at all? The lack of content has lead me away from numerous ministries and has strained relationships, but we must insist content be given as loss of the mind may be the loss of the world.
Let us consider the application of the words from the man who coined the term, "black hole".
"When I first started studying, I saw the world composed of particles. Looking more deeply I discovered waves. Now after a lifetime of study, it appears that all existence is the expression of information." - John Wheeler