Are you thinking?

Most Christians would rather die than think; in fact, they do.
–Bertrand Russell

I am afraid that Mr. Russell was right. Of course, we could substitute just about any class of people for Christians in this sentence, and it would still be true. And, it should be pointed out, all of Bertrand’s thinking didn’t keep him from dying. One has to wonder what is the point of thinking if it doesn’t keep you from dying. Woody Allen said it well: “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.” Unfortunately for him, though, his work will certainly outlive him.

I digress. The point is that Bertrand Russell’s criticism of “most Christians” is true. And while all of his thinking turned out to be pointless, the thinking of Christian thoughts is not. The thinking of Christian thoughts is an essential element of eternal life. So it is a great tragedy if Christians are just not thinking much.

The proof that Christians are not thinking much can be found in any “Christian Store.” Christian Stores used to be called Bible Bookstores. Now they are filled with an amazing array of pablum. Even the books they sell are weak-minded and often not really Christian. Your Best Life Now? You’ve got to be kidding. If Christianity says anything, it says, “Your best life later.”

mind for godPlease. I beg you. Swim against this tide of non-thinking. You could make a good start by reading A Mind for God by James Emery White. In this great little book (about 100 easy-to-read pages), Dr. White will encourage you to obey Christ by loving God with all your mind–to think Christianly. “Thinking Christianly,” Os Guinness wrote, “is thinking by Christians about anything and everything in a consistently Christian way–in a manner that is shaped, directed, and restrained by the truth of God’s Word and God’s Spirit.” According to the apostle Paul, the “renewing of the mind” is a critical aspect of a life that follows Jesus. Thinking Christianly is essential to living as His disciple.

A Mind for God will not only motivate you to repent of your mindlessness; it will also give you solid practical guidance. Some of the guidance is kind of obvious, like “turn off your TV and read.” Some of it is less obvious, like “morning is better than evening.” One of the great features of the book is its appendices, which contain a list of books that will turn anyone who reads them into a good Christian thinker.

There is one chapter that I wish Dr. White had thought to include. That chapter would say something about the life of the mind as it relates to the life of the Church. How should the Church foster deep, careful, Christian thinking? In what ways–and to what extent–should our fellowship and service be an intellectual exercise? How does or should our fellowship include a sharing of the mind of Christ? How should a thinking Church interact with the world? How could the Church have a truly prophetic voice in the greater culture, a voice that offers real thought rather than simplistic platitudes or moralistic presumptions?

Even though these questions are not addressed, a smart reader of A Mind for God should be able to begin on them, and that is the best way to take this book. It is a motivational guide–a beginning point–for those who would like to develop their minds for God. Read this book. Or at least read a book.


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