–May of 2004
Have Christians Lost their Mind?
We live in mindless times. Millions of people drift along through life, manipulated by the talking heads of the mass media, never thinking through anything for themselves, and never realizing why they think the way they think. They are completely unaware that there is any other way of thinking or living than that of the secular culture that surrounds them. Unfortunately, this is also true for many Christians.
Harry Blamires makes this startling observation is his book titled The Christian Mind when he says, “There is no longer a Christian mind.” Blamires means that in our time we have been so affected by secularism there is no longer a distinctly Christian way of thinking. Blamires acknowledges that there is still a Christian ethic, a Christian practice, and a Christian spirituality. Most Christians do subscribe to a moral code higher than that of most non-Christians. The Christian that is a member of a church commits to obligations and observations ignored by the non-Christian. He strives to cultivate a dimension of spiritual life that is left unexplored by the non-Christian. But as it relates to thinking, the vast majority of modern Christians has succumbed to the secular culture and no longer has a distinctly Christian frame of reference. They have lost the mind they were meant to develop.
Is a Christian Mind Important?
To serve God well, we must think straight. Distorted thinking, unintentional or not, always favors evil. The Bible emphasizes repeatedly the importance of how a Christian thinks. Dallas Willard observes, “We first turned away from God in our thoughts, so it is in our thoughts that our first movements toward the renovation of the heart will occur”. It is in the secret chamber of our thoughts that the light of God first begins to move upon us through His word. In redemption our mind acquires a new way to think and a new capacity to clean up old ways of thinking. The Bible refers to our minds being, “renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Rom. 12:2, Eph. 4:23, Col. 3:10, II Cor. 10:5). As we grow in grace our minds are illuminated by the Spirit of God so that we can comprehend spiritual truth (I Cor. 2:12-13). The goal of all of these processes is that we might have a total exchange of our way of thinking for the way Christ thought. Paul referred to this as having the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:16, Phil. 2:5). Is it important for us to have the mind of Christ? It is imperative! The only way we can escape being conformed to fallen humanity is by being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:1-2, Prov. 23:7a).
What does it mean to have a Christian mind?
A Christian mind is one that has a supernatural orientation. It believes that God has acted in history and spoken through scripture. It sees God as the first cause, the fixed center and the final conclusion to all things. It possesses and cultivates the eternal perspective. It sees human life and human history held in the hands of God. It sees the whole universe sustained by His power and His love. It sees the natural order as dependent upon the supernatural order. It sees time contained within eternity. It sees this world as a temporary place and not our final home. The revelation of God and the reality of eternity become its point of reference. In contrast, the secular mind puts its trust in this life and makes earthly happiness and well being its primary concern. Too often, today’s Christian mind has allowed itself to be subtly secularized in one of two ways. First, many Christians attempt to compartmentalize their thinking. The practice of their faith doesn’t pervade every area of their job or business dealings. They tend to use secular thinking at work and a more Christian way of thinking in the practice of their faith. Secondly, they strike a compromise with the secular mind by relegating the significance of the eternal to the life that is to come while living their present life in much the same way a secular person would. In other words, faith is for future security and not present practice. They have blurred the lines between living in the here and now and living for the here and now.
The Christian mind has an acute awareness and understanding of sin. For the Christian, Genesis 3 is one of the most vitally important chapters in the Bible. It is the foundation of everything that comes after it, and without it very little else would make sense. It provides an explanation for the fall of man, the curse of sin and the need of Savior. It explains what God is doing in history. Without this understanding, there can be no accurate, coherent sensible worldview. Humanism, and its theory of evolution, offers no explanation to our dilemma and no hope for a way out.
The Christian mind sees truth as objective, authoritative, and God-given. The Christian mind sees truth grounded in God’s revelation to man through His word. It is not manufactured within a culture or developed by a consensus. It is given by God and becomes the standard for all other truth-claims. It governs how we behave. It frames our perspective of all of life. It is the foundation and final authority for all we hold true. To think christianly is to think in terms of scripture. The Christian mind understands that we do not make truth, but that we must reside in the truth. The Christian mind understands the nature of biblical authority. When it comes to biblical truth, obedience is not a negotiable option. We either bow our head in submission or turn our back in rebellion.
The Christian mind holds a special view of the human person. The Christian mind understands not only that God created man in His image, but also became a man, taking upon Himself our nature, and thereby exalting that nature for all time and for eternity. Thus the Christian’s conception of the human person is a high one. Human life is sacred. Every person has value and dignity and should be treated in a way that preserves and honors both. The Christian mind understands the immortality of man and his need for redemption. Hence he sees his part in redemptive activity.
How does one gain and maintain a Christian mind? The Bible is the mind of God (not all His mind, but all that He has chosen to share with us). To think like God, one must think like the Bible. We must let the Word of God fill our minds and dwell within us (Col.3:16). Then the Holy Spirit can illuminate and transform our minds to think Christianly. A daily exposure to God’s way of thinking can keep our minds renewed in His image.
We can never let anyone tell us that the training and development of our mind is not an important part of our Christian life. What we think shapes who we are, how we behave and what we become. A mind is a terrible thing for anyone to waste. But for the Christian it could ultimately be spiritually fatal!