Saturday, May 21, 2005


The recent postings and comments of bloggers such as Scotwise, Callmeteem, and Jesusworld have got me thinking about a practice I’m calling intellectual Christianity. It’s a form of Christianity that is practiced in the head. Intellectual Christians consider what Christianity could or should be like, expouse Christian values and ethics and even, on occasion, offer strategies for growing the Kingdom – but that’s it – that’s as far as their output seems to travel – the head. It is Christianity as an intellectual exercise – nothing more.

My interest in exploring this activity stems from the fact that I recognize this practice in myself. I love Christ. I reflect constantly on how I measure up to his standard and example in dealing with my family, the workplace and with the everyday stuff of life. But sometimes there’s a yawning chasm between my considerations and my actions. I’m aware of a tendency to gently edit my responses to certain promptings of the Holy Spirit – particularly in regard to evangelism.

Don’t get me wrong – I do testify to the workings of the Holy Spirit in my life, to the incredible changes I have undergone since giving my heart to Christ, but I tend to choose when and how I do it. Opportunities will sometimes be ignored because they don’t fit with my agenda or they threaten a level of discomfort. I rationalise such inactivity by reminding my self of past achievements and promising to act in the future – but that’s not scriptural.

Scripture calls us to obey God’s word. That means to “hear it” and act accordingly. Failure to act is disobedience, and disobedience is a reflection of the true nature of our faith. Is it a faith driven by an overwhelming love for Christ or is it a faith of convenience?

I recently took on the responsibility of teaching religious education to ten year olds at a local school. I didn’t want to but I knew I could and felt I should. On this occasion I obeyed the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the results have been phenomenal. Children who did not know Christ and were not doing the subject are turning up to the classes and participating with gusto. I am truly seeing God’s hand at work, but I needed to obey him to see it.

I am guilty of intellectual Christianity, but evidence suggests that I am not the only one. Last week Tim Plett (Callmeteem) challenged bloggers to take their internet enthusiams on to the street and talk to somebody. I agree, but let’s not just do it because Tim has suggested it, lets do it because we know it is God’s calling on our life. Let’s not do it because we feel guilty, but because of our deep felt love for Christ, and let’s not just do it when it’s convenient but every time that still, small voice prompts us to obey him.

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."…….
If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
(John14: 21-24).


At 1:47 PM, Blogger Jean said...

Well Mav in all my 25 years as a christian, I have never thought intelectualy about the word of God or how to witness in a way where i will get any Glory.

I read it, I believe it, I do it.

I have never backslidden in these 25 years and do not intend to my love for Jesus is very simple and I try to live every day as if it were my last.

You do not have to hear Gods voice to witness or to talk about him just do it.

At 3:48 PM, Blogger John said...

Great post Mav, keep it up! If you want to reference the people you spoke about, place their URL in the Hyperlink provided, as you post.


At 5:51 PM, Blogger maverick mindset said...

Thanks for the response Jean. I hope you weren't thinking that I was suggesting that you or John or Tim were "intellectual christians". Quite the contrary. Your comments on practical, active Christianity are what got me thinking about the Christians that aren't. You guys are the models we all should follow.

At 5:52 PM, Blogger maverick mindset said...

Thanks for the ongoing encouragement Scotwise.

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Scott said...

I have though about Christian philosophy a lot.

And I can see no better way to describe it than libertarian.

It suits the loving and non-aggressive attitude of Christ.

I have thought of having a Christian Libertarian online group/site, but have yet to make iy happen.

Google that sometime down the road.

In Liberty,

At 10:10 AM, Blogger pete porter said...

You hit on something very important. The church of the dark ages was of mind without action. The whole of christian experience has to be fleshed out, or it is in danger of regression.
Be Blessed,

At 1:15 AM, Blogger Callmeteem said...

Good post. We need to both understand and act on what we understand. Jesus is Lord.
Let all our lives give Him glory.
May God bless and encourage you and all of us.

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Manual trackback: I wrote about your post today on my blog. Peace.

At 5:05 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I am an intellectual Christian: I love God with my mind, as well as my heart, soul, and strength. I make no apologies for it and believe (to paraphrase John Wesley) that God doesn't need and isn't glorified through my empty-headed faith.

It is not either/or; it's both/and.

At 5:07 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Oops. My profile doesn't have a link to my site:

At 3:36 PM, Blogger John said...

I don't think Mav was saying that you don't intellect, I think that he was saying, if its only your intellect and not heart, soul and strength, its futile.


At 9:10 PM, Blogger maverick mindset said...

Thanks for all the feedback and support guys. I hope I haven't offended anybody with this post. "Intellectual" probably isn't the right word to use in this context. Of course I'm referring to people who ponder and consider the scriptures and the promptings of the Holy Spirit without ever acting on them AND those of us who edit the same to fit into our comfort zone. You are on the money with your take on it John.


Post a Comment

<< Home