Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:36-38). Unfortunately, many Christians have given their hearts and souls to God, but have given their minds to the world. Harry Blamires, believing the Christian mind has become thoroughly secularized, writes, “There is no longer a Christian mind.” Modernism and post-modernism have several things in common. Both hold to the sovereignty of the individual (man is the measure of all things) and both vehemently reject divine revelation as a starting point for human thought. Descartes is usually credited with kicking off the whole modern project when the foundation of his thinking became his own existence (cogito ergo sum) rather than the existence of God and divine revelation.
Today, the Christian mind is steeped in modernism. Many Christians attend church and attempt to live moral lives, but because their minds are thoroughly modern, the sovereignty of the individual takes precedent over the sovereignty of God. This can be illustrated by observing the lives of many Christians and their attitudes toward church. Individual Christians rarely see themselves as a vital part of a divinely established community; they view church as an extracurricular activity in which they will participate unless there are better alternatives (i.e. Golf, a weekend at the lake, or mowing the lawn). The individual desire trumps the divine command to, “not forsake the assembling of yourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25). This sovereign individualism also shows itself in church business meetings and when Christians, like the modern consumer, shop for a church to meet their needs.
The modern mindset of Christians is in full view when they refuse to see the world through the lens of divine revelation. This is observed when Christians reject a certain doctrines because it offends their sensibilities. It is also seen in the way many Christians divide their sacred life (Sunday morning) from their secular life (Sunday afternoon through Saturday). The Christian professor may attend church, but does not allow the biblical worldview to inform her thinking on the subjects she teaches. The Christian lawyer may teach Sunday School, but he does not allow the Scripture to shape the way he practices law. Christians who elevate themselves as the arbiter of all knowledge and suppress or reject divine revelation are not thinking christianly; they do not love God with all of their minds.
In the past, Christians have been some of the greatest thinkers, and their thoughts have changed the world. While they were not flawless, they were unashamedly Christian. They believed in the sovereignty of God and divine revelation. They loved God not only with their hearts and souls, but with their minds as well. To love God with our minds is to allow the authority and the grid of Scripture (creation, fall, redemption, and consummation) to shape all of our thinking and actions. This is what it means to be a Christian (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Dr. Billy Elkins is the pastor of Trinity Church of Chickasha, OK. He is a graduate of Chickasha High School, has a B.A. in Fine Art from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, a Master of Divinity with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, FT. Worth, TX, and a Ph.D. in Apologetics and Philosophy from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. He and his wife Crystal have three sons, two daughters-in-law, and one Granddaughter. Billy enjoys time with his family, gardening, and reading alongside his dog, Luther.