I’ve been invited to speak at Emmaus Bible College’s “Christian Ministry Seminars” this next month. Past speakers have challenged the college students to give themselves to camping ministries, justice organizations, etc. Perhaps because I’ve been in academia for over thirty years, I’ve been encouraged to give a series on a teaching/educational ministry. The theme that immediately came to my mind was “Anti-Intellectualism Isn’t Spirituality.” Here’s what I hope to accomplish in my four messages to the Emmaus student body:
Message #1- Message Thesis: “Our own history & the mood of the moment mitigate against the Christian’s use of the mind to love the Lord.” I want to define anti-intellectualism and spirituality, as well as reflect a bit on both our Brethren history which discourages theological training and our present culture which assumes the Bible and Jesus-followers are opposed to the life of the mind.
Message #2- Message Thesis: “The Lord Jesus Christ, as our divine/human model, extolled and modeled the use of one’s mind in loving God in this world.” I will survey how Jesus challenged us to love God with our minds and examine some of His use of both offensive and defensive logic in His earthly life.
Message #3- Message Thesis: “The Apostle Paul in Acts 17 models for us an engagement with his culture which uses his mind, connects him with his audience, and advances the gospel.” I look forward to going through Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill and seeing how God uses his intellect in reaching a diverse group of thinkers. Not only was Paul not wrong in his approach, but he provides principles for us in reaching our post-Christian and anti-Christian world.
Message #4- Message Thesis: “There are specific, practical implications of a mind devoted to loving God in our world.”
Here I want to challenge all of us to take steps to connect with our lost world, to develop relationships with our lost friends, and to advance in our commitment to the godly use of our minds. Some of the practical steps will include: getting serious about friendships, surrendering our academic aspirations to the Lord, courageously critiquing our culture’s rejection of God (including reading what I call “Boiling Books” and doing good research), and some of us pursuing positions of influence in higher educational institutions.
Would a few of you commit to praying for me as I prepare these messages? Let me know in the comment section below if you will lift me up before the Lord for this opportunity to influence these young people.