As I read through Mark Noll’s, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, I was left with one thought… just one thought. The problem is not necessarily the lack of great Christian thinkers but the lack of everyday thinking Christians.
I’m not sure when the church began to be divided between the clergy and the lay, but at some point, the distinction was made and the gap between the two grew wider and wider. As the distinction between the lay and the clergy became more prominent, the thinking gap became much deeper. Here’s what I mean… I find that many church members are not interested in thinking through not only social issues, but also God’s word. Many are satisfied with what the “expert” has to say on certain issues, but don’t take the time to challenge or think through the things that are being presented. I don’t know if it’s because people are tired and weary, but I do know that our churches and Christian communities are weak because of our lack of knowledge.
It’s not only the truth that sets us free, but it’s the knowledge of the truth that makes a difference in our lives. It’s knowledge that allows you to be transformed from the inside out. Church members have encountered the Truth… but they have very little knowledge of the Truth because they don’t want to be bothered in thinking things through. True knowledge causes you to move into practice. True knowledge changes the way you interact with the world around you because of the insight and wisdom you gain through learning. I want to say that knowledge leads to personal transformation, which leads to community involvement that leads into making an impact in this world.
I believe that many times leaders get away with hurting people because those under their leadership don’t take the time to think through the things that are being said or the things leaders do. Our lack of thinking gives others the power to make decisions or act in ways that would have been quickly blocked if we had taken the time to think things through.
The number one question that comes in working with youth is “can you just tell me what the right answer is?” Unfortunately, many people don’t grow out of this so they spend their entire lives waiting for others to tell them what to do and how to think.
I’m sorry if I’m being too harsh on this issue, but lately this has been my frustration. This thinking issue might even be a bigger issue in the immigrant communities. I find that because they don’t know the language well, and because they struggle in this culture, they come to a point where they just shut down and allow their leaders to make decisions for them. This is such an unfortunate thing because it gives away your God given power… and even right to make decisions and think through them.