Monday, January 24, 2005

Back to the Bookshelf-Love Your God With All Your Mind

JP-Love God
Originally uploaded by Phil Steiger.

From time to time I want to make some form of a book review or a set of reflections from a book a regular part of this blog. The underwhelmingly clever name for these posts I have come up with is Back to the Bookshelf. In any event, the first book I want to bring to people's attention is J.P. Moreland's Love Your God With All Your Mind. Besides being an accessible read, this book raises some crucially important issues which face evangelicalism today. Much has been made of the crisis of the evangelical mind, and there are many books which address and attempt to rectify the issue. I am discussing this one because of its succinct and poignant organization and because J.P. Moreland is a name evangelicals should know.

The burden of the book is to help the reader expand the life of their mind when it comes to spiritual matters. The three major sections of the book are: "Why The Mind Matters In Christianity," "How To Develop A Mature Christian Mind," and "What A Mature Christian Mind Looks Like." Within each section Moreland does a wonderful job of describing and encouraging a sharper use of the believer's mind as well as offering plenty of useful aids in accomplishing the task.

Personally, this is a book I buy as a graduation present for almost every high school grad I know. Because of the typically sorry state of youth groups when it comes to equipping graduates for college, I have tried to stick this volume in as many hands as possible.

From time to time I become sorely disappointed in the state of the Christian mind in the evangelical culture. Catholicism and Orthodoxy have long and powerful traditions of applying reason and worldview thinking to contemporary issue, and the evangelical church is still struggling to find a lasting and weighty voice. In my opinion, the lack is due to the distinction between describing contemporary culture and prescribing a culture of relevance for the church.

Lately, the lack of thoughtfulness in the evangelical church arises when the topic of the shape of postmodern culture comes to the surface. What needs to be done with postmodernism is the same thing that needs to be done with each and every cultural trend-it needs to be judged against a Christian worldview. But instead, too many church leaders are collapsing under the weight of postmodern pressure and suggesting that what we need is a new kind of Christianity. As I have said before, there is an important difference in agreeing that there are a significant number of people in our culture who are postmodern and then arguing that what must therefore happen is the church must become more postmodern.

Overall, this is a book worth picking up, reading (more than once), and passing onto some friends and young people who need to learn how to better worship and love God with all their minds.


jimmmaaa said...

Hi Phil,

I have enjoyed your blog immensely. I have especially liked your series on apologetics, which in the past I have not really know much about. I am passionate, but not a very accomplished in logical thinking or arguements. I have been following with concern emegence and the direction they are going and have tried to debate some on their blogs. I know that many of the things proposed by the movement are going the wrong direction and I get fired about about it, but at times find it difficult to argue very well. Thank you for providing solid Biblical tools and posts that are an encouragement to me. Keep up the great work.

Phil Steiger said...

Thanks for the comment-greatly appreciated!