Skip to content

South Central Pennsylvania Chapter

Blog

Photo: Pexels

Your Mind Matters To God #2: Defeating Mindless Christianity

By: Carl Shank, M.Div., Th.M.

October 24, 2019

“…‘The Lord our God is one…” (Mark 12:29, NASB). John R.W. Stott, former rector of All Souls Church in Langham Place, England, wrote a little book, Your Mind Matters, in which he lamented the anti-intellectualism along with the radical socialism and political activism among many Christians. He writes, “Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service. If we do not use the mind which God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality.”

 

“Mindless” Christianity is a Christianity of fideism, not true faith, where belief in God is defined as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable. Or, it is a Christianity of ritualism, where the important thing about faith and belief are the traditional rituals I perform, mostly perfunctorily. Or, it is a Christianity of social and political activism, where I give my attention to solving world hunger or what the next new need or project calls me to do. Or, it is a Christianity of existentialism, where what I feel is more important than what I think.

 

Christianity tragically then becomes cheapened, as Jesus is added as another life-interest. As long as I don’t have to think through my faith, think about my faith or think carefully with my faith, I get along quite well with the “line” between the “real” world and the “spiritual” world. As Patrick Morley points out in Pastoring Men: What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why It Matters Now More Than Ever, “There is a God we want, and there is a God who is. They are not the same God. Cultural Christianity means to seek the God we want instead of the God who is. By default, people become cultural Christians when they do not proactively choose to become biblical Christians.”

 

Jesus sees no line between reality and faith. God is a God not of our own making: “The Lord our God is one,” (Mark 12:29, NASB), meaning that God is God of the secular as well as the sacred. He is the God of the mundane as well as the important. He is the God of heaven and earth. Your mind, your mental perceptivity and acuity and processing powers, is part of who you are, linked integrally with your emotions, your heart and your strength. Loving God with our mind means giving every thought, every perception and presupposition, every objectifiable premise, deduction and conclusion to Him for His use and honor and glory. Anything less is loving God less. We are, as the older writers point out, to “think God’s thoughts after him.”

 

Can you say you think God’s thoughts after Him? How so? In your medical work and practice, how does your faith impinge upon your medical practice?

Carl Shank, M.Div., Th.M.

About Carl Shank, M.Div., Th.M.

In addition to his M.Div. and Th.M. (systematic theology) work, H. Carl Shank has been a youth, associate, solo, staff, executive and lead pastor in over forty years of church ministry, pastoring beginning and established congregations in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and New York state. His passion for leadership development has resulted in mentoring numerous pastors, teaching in a number of local Bible institutes as well as serving as an adjunct faculty member of The King’s College, and training InterVarsity leaders on the East Coast. Carl has been regularly sought out for his acknowledged gifts of discernment and wisdom in dealing with church issues. He had been serving as the Executive Pastor of a church in Lancaster, PA, as well as a church health consultant through NCDAmerica. He is recently retired. Besides numerous seminars and church related articles, his twenty-three published leadership and Bible study contributions include studies on the Psalms, Esther, Jonah, Nehemiah, The Ten Commandments for Today, The Beatitudes of Jesus, the Pastoral Letters, Thessalonians, the Seven Churches of Revelation, all available from his website www.carlshankconsulting.com and Lulu Press, Amazon and other booksellers.

Leave a Comment