17 February 2015
Engaging the Mind

A Devotional from the 40 Days Initiative


The apostle Paul famously engaged the citizens of Athens in his pursuit of proclaiming the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire. 

Acts 17 records:

So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.  Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.  - Acts 17:17, 18 (ESV)

Notice the versatility the apostle displayed as he engaged with Jewish citizens, business leaders in the marketplace, and with leading philosophers. The supernatural dimension of the faith should never be denied, but neither should the need to intellectually engage with those desiring to know more about God.  For a few hundred years since the Enlightenment, reason has often been pitched as the adversary of faith and the supernatural. Though secular-minded people may believe this, it's important that Christians not adopt an understanding of the universe contrary to its true nature. Supernatural work of God and careful reasoning go hand-in-hand in the complex universe created by our extraordinary God.  

It makes sense that a supernatural God would manifest Himself in supernatural work, but what place is there for reason?  There is nothing more reasonable than believing that only a God of infinite power could create our universe with its bewildering scale and complexity. Highlighting how science often points to God, Eric Metaxas recently wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal titled, "Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God," which has become the most popular article in the newspaper's history.  Some Christians have unfortunately thought that less reason can sometimes be good, because it leaves more room for faith. This is unfortunate, because faith shouldn't be defined as a lack of reason, rather, faith is the courage to believe the truth even when there is temptation to avoid it.  God is the creator of the mind, the One who has given us understanding, and even famously commended Solomon when he asked for wisdom and understanding instead of wealth (1 Kings 3:9, 10).  The Christian faith is a rational, reasonable faith, and nothing is more worthy of our full intellectual focus than God Himself and His wonderful purposes in the world.

Matt Bennett
Founder and President of Christian Union
 
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By God's Grace, Christian Union develops Christian leaders to transform culture. We resource student organizations at nine of the most strategic university campuses in America, and work in key cities to build networks of Christian leaders.

240 Nassau Street Princeton, NJ 08542
t. 609 688-1700 f. 609 688-1795