Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Excellence in Knowledge

There is a God given responsibility for all of us with an ounce of sense. We are required to invest in the development of our mind. Mark Noll, Harvard Professor, wrote several years back that "the scandal of the evangelical mind is that there isn't much of an evangelical mind." By this he means that there is an undercurrent within the church that is prejudiced against the intellect. Certainly, we in charismatic/pentecostal circles see the evidence of the subjective over the objective; the spiritual over the intellectual; and the preference to take things by faith rather than trust science. But God calls us to develp our minds. If we are to be excellent in knowledge then shouldn't there be some ways to insure our grwoth toward excellence. Here are some suggestions.

Find out why. Too many of us shrug our shoulders content to let some other guy tell us what to do. Even if that guy (or gal) is a spiritually lead pastor- there should be an innate hunger to understand better. Frankly, in my days in the past I sued to love to discuss (not argue) the whys about certain questions. People use to ask me about things much more than they do now. I think it is an intellectual laziness.

Read a minimum of one good book that stimulates your mind every 8 weeks. This may mean that you have to read secular books that come highly recommended; or Christian books outside your normal scope of reference. In my early years of ministry I read on psychology (a topic that I was largely ignorant of) every thursday to insure that I would grow in my knowledge of the subject.

Discuss what you are learning with others. This will stimulate them and forces you to have enough complete knowledge of the subject to explain it to another. Watch out for the tendency to show off that you are now an intellectual! Better to always be a student than to presume yoruself ready to teach prematurely.

Develop a steady routine of studying the Word. Nothing compares to the scripture. I have over 4000 titles in my library and the ancient text is the greatest and best stimulation to my mind (and soul!).

Take a class. It puts you in contact with fellow learners and people with whom you can share your insights (incase they bore your spouse!)

There is something powerful in having a ready answer for those questions stimulated by your lifestyle of faith. As we develop ourselves, we become more and more effective in making a forceful case for Christ in the lives of others. And winning the hearts of men often starts in the mind.

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