In these days of cultural, spiritual and political chaos, it is relevant that sometimes we Christians fail to use the brains God gave us in order to understand truths as deeply as possible.  No less than the incisive apologist Dr. John Patrick, also a physician, has made the same point; that the evangelical world abandoned the life of the mind two centuries ago. (I paraphrase, so apologies if I misrepresent. It was from a lecture by Dr. Patrick, not a text, that I borrowed this.  You can find Dr. Patrick at
Recently, this article was forwarded by a longtime mentor and friend.
The author is concerned that Christians have abandoned intellectual pursuits regarding the faith.
You can read the article and draw your own conclusions, but I think the author makes some good points.  However, my response to my friend regarding the article is in part below, with some additions for the purpose of this post.
So I think that there are two issues at work.  One is that without question, some Christians are not ‘intellectual’ whatever that means.  If it means academically inclined, and given to deep reading and understanding of the faith, that’s probably true although perhaps more are than secular individuals might believe. If it means (by default) tending to be secular, upper class, skeptical and culturally progressive, then it’s even more true that Christians often are not.  Sometimes the word ‘intellectual’ is simply a thing used to draw distinctions between the right kind of modern people and the wrong kind. In that sense, it is a poor word indeed.
However, given the wide appeal of the faith, it was never going to be an intellectual sort of religion.  St. Paul said of the Gospel, in 1st Corinthians 1:23, ‘but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles’ (which meant, in a real sense, non-Jewish Greeks).  So the Gospel would defy the old law of works and would also be confusing to those trying to figure things out with philosophy alone.
The church was never meant to be an intellectual salon, but a place for redemption of sinners along with comfort and hope for the brokenhearted.
However, we are enjoined by St. Paul in Romans 12:2 ‘Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind (not your emotions, by the way), that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.’

Incidentally, speaking of our minds, the Greek word for repent is Metanoia, which means ‘to change one’s mind.’

(metanoia: change of mind, repentance

Original Word: μετάνοια, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: metanoia
Phonetic Spelling: (met-an’-oy-ah)
Definition: change of mind, repentance
Usage: repentance, a change of mind, change in the inner man.Clearly we are meant to study and learn and too often we do not.  And many Christians falsely reject science.  Just as many non-believers make of science a deity when it is only a tool.)

From Bible Hub, an excellent resource.
Furthermore, not everyone is really capable of intellectual understanding of difficult concepts.  The fact is that lots of people have an IQ that is limited by genetics or upbringing, illness or drugs or whatever.  This isn’t judgment, it’s reality. And yet, they can understand the simple facts of the message of Christ.  ‘Come unto me all ye who labor and I will give you rest.’  What a beautiful passage!  What a hope!
People need something. It’s fine for those of us with educations and money to find solace in our intellects, our degrees, our things, and to pursue higher thoughts and contemplation.  But for the addict, the abused child, the poverty stricken single mom, the lonely, the demented senior, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life,’ (Jesus in John 3:16.)..’ is often more powerful than all the wonderful erudite discourses we can fathom.  The message of the Gospel is for all intellects and all races and all people in all ages.
In Revelations 21 there is this passage:
’21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

One may or may not believe in the way Revelations predictions or teachings may unfold, but everyone wants that thing in verse 4.  To wipe away every tear.  No more death.  A new order.
Jan and I have encouraged out children to go deep, to seek truth, to embrace both science and faith and we try to encourage others to do that.   And we owe it to the world as much as we can to use our capacity for that purpose. But for those believers who can’t, I get it. For those believers who won’t? They simply miss out on greater depth and more beautiful truth.
However, one more thing concerns me. And that is that when men wish for the church to be more ‘educated’ and ‘intellectual,’ what they often mean is for the church to accept that it is preaching a nice moral story about a nice moral man named Jesus, who never did miracles and certainly didn’t die and come back from the grave.
Here again, St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:19  16For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If our hope in Christ is for this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all men.
If we submit to this and say ‘well, I’m educated and all of that blather about death and resurrection and sin is nice but quite pointless. I simply try to live a good life,’ then we miss the point entirely.  Jesus was not crucified for being nice, but for condemning sin and calling himself co-equal with God the Father.
Easter is upon us this week.  Even now, there is no disconnect between faith and intellectual pursuits.  Obviously, libraries have been written on this topic.  But while I absolutely encourage Christians to grow in knowledge and seek deeper truths in the faith, it is not required and it will never be the thing that defines us as believers.  We are defined by Jesus. The one whose death and resurrection we remember this coming week.
PS I also attached these links for those wanting to get a taste of the more intellectual side of Christianity.  This merely scratches the faintest bit of the surface.
FYI to see a more intellectual side of Christianity, I recommend First Things:   Largely but not exclusively Catholic.
Also Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC.
Unbelievable, out of the UK, is a great site full of fascinating interviews and discussions.
For the interface of science and religion, it’s hard to beat Prof John Lennox, Oxford Mathematician.
Just some folks who really do take the intellectual side of faith very seriously indeed.  There are far more than most people realize.

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