Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Critical Thinking

Written by: on September 6, 2013

Everyone’s thoughts can be biased based on their experiences, cultural exposure, and education. Because of this, our world outlook can be skewed unless we train and exercise ourselves to think in a critical manner.   I always thought that critical thinking was a natural, ingrained trait, as it seems that some people “just get it”.  They naturally grasp new ideas and concepts, and always seem to jump to the right conclusion or to come up with the best solutions.  Success appears to come easily.  Elder and Paul’s Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools provides steps and a plan that allow one to develop their critical thinking skills.   Using the tools provided, I am able to advance and develop my critical thinking skills.

There are three levels of thought.  The lowest level of thought is very basic, relying more on feeling than on facts.  The highest level uses both intellectual trait and learned skills.  Elder and Paul outline standards that one can use to gauge whether we are engaging in the highest quality of thinking: clarity, accuracy, precise, relevant, depth, breadth, logic, and fairness.  Using these standards will allow us to be unbiased and to ensure we have fully reviewed and expanded upon a concept.   Applying the standards of critical thinking to the elements of reasoning, one’s intellectual traits are developed.


Today, too many people today don’t know what they believe or why they believe it.  Even within Christian churches, people blindly accept what they are told by teachers and pastors.  Some haven’t even read a Bible.  This, in turn, has allowed false doctrine and teaching to become pervasive.   I believe this is exacerbated by the lack of critical thinking.  People don’t evaluate information or ask questions.  They base their faith on what is many times false assumptions or information.   I have had long time church members approach me and reveal that they really don’t understand why they believe or how they believe.  For some, they were raised in church and have followed the traditions passed down through generations, but they have never analyzed or thought about what they believe and why.  They don’t evaluate the truthfulness of biblical concepts or teaching, and they rely on someone else to understand and translate the meaning to them.  When people have low levels of thinking, it is generally self-serving and biased.  They are easily deceived.  I have people at my church to question and think about the concepts they are presented with.  God wants us to evaluate the Scripture and to question or ponder the meaning.  Asking questions and seeking clarity is important for one to progress in their understanding and relationship with Christ.

As a missionary, one of my jobs is to work with a team who translates materials that are used to train indigenous co-workers to disciple and plant churches.  When translating, the meaning of words within a specific language one must understand both the technical meaning and cultural meaning.  You must think critically as you work to ensure you are adequately translating in a manner that will be clear, accurate, and relevant and will make sense in both the language and culture where the materials will be used.  I intend to use the tools provided in this critical thinking guide to go back and assess some of the processes we utilize when translating materials.

About the Author

Richard Volzke

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