One of the most bothersome things to hear as a Pentecostal (AG) Minister is the resounding anti-intellectualism that reverberates in our camp. There is a constant clamor from our pastors that we should by pass the intellect all together. While there are certainly elements of our faith that bypass our intellect (ie., praying in the spirit, etc) there is a biblical imperative to love God with all our mind. So why is there so much anti-intellectual noise?
Well, bias for one- we have seen recently that there are forces in the intellectual arena that are driven by bias. One need only read Indoctrination U or some such book to see that there are blatant slants in our univerisities that sque information to the left (usually). These are usually driven by some political, social, or economic agenda. I mean, come on, how many times do we have to be condescended to by some liberal politician who tells us that our faith shouldn't affect our politics (all the while campaigning in some church!). Or how many times do we have to have some ivory tower intellectual look over his glasses at us "pitifully ignorant evangelicals" and repeat the often quoted but unsubstantiated studies that reveal that there is some genetic link for homosexuality (there is, in fact, none proven yet).
Then there is liberal scholarship that exhibits a set of assumptions that undermine the scriptures they are pretending to study. For instance, the anti supernaturalism of some or the late date for the gospels; or the extremism of higher criticism...etc. It is easy to rail against the intellectuals that seem to poison the pool of our theology.
And what are we to make of the hundreds of graduates from our higher learning institutions who, after spending tens of thousands on seminary educations, are still il-equipped to do ministry? Obviously their massive intellects aren't helping us reach the lost and dying world around us.
But what we need in Pentecostal circles is not a lack of intellectualism but inflamed intellect. Inflamed with passion, creativity and surrendered to the service of the King. There are a few scholars who have begun to show us how to passionately follow God with our intellect. Can this passionate intellect drive the pastoral ministry? Can we return to "Thinking with the scholars and talking with the people" as Luther demanded? Will it translate into church growth? Or does ministry die on the altar of pragmatism?