Perhaps I just love this because it provides me some justification for my love of books. But then again maybe — just maybe — there is something to this. John Piper writes in the Introductory chapter to the book “Thinking. Loving. Doing.: A Call to Glorify God with Heart and Mind“:
Healthy Christianity clearly appreciates the life of the mind. Love God “with all your mind,” says Jesus (Matt. 22:37). “Think over what I say,” Paul tells Timothy, and us with him (2 Tim. 2:7). When Proverbs instructs us to “seek it like silver,” the referent is insight, understanding, and the knowledge of God (Prov. 2:3–5). It is a tragedy that in many Christian circles, the life of the mind is not prized, and it is even diminished. Anti-intellectualism in the church (of all places!) is a calamity given that Christians this side of heaven are people of a Book, and thus irreducibly thinkers in some sense.
Jewish author and talk-show host Dennis Prager observes:
One thing I noticed about evangelicals is that they do not read. They do not read the Bible, they do not read the great Christian thinkers, they have never heard of Aquinas. If they are Presbyterian, they’ve never read the founders of Presbyterianism. I do not understand that. As a Jew, that’s confusing to me. The commandment of study is so deep in Judaism that we immerse ourselves in study. God gave us a brain; aren’t we to use it in His service? When I walk into an Evangelical Christian’s home and see a total of 30 books, most of them best sellers, I do not understand. I have bookcases of Christian books, and I am a Jew. Why do I have more Christian books than 98 percent of the Christians in America? That is so bizarre to me.
This hits close to home. Honestly, such an evangelical allergy to books, and its accompanying subtle form of anti-intellectualism, characterized what I would have called “my Christian walk” in high school. I hated reading. Today at my parents’ home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in my old room (now the guestroom) lies a thick stack of CliffsNotes that reminds me how I cut corners to make it through high school reading assignments. At the time, I would not have verbalized any formal anti-intellectual opinions, but my disdain for reading was eroding the foundation of my present and future thinking. Though many tremendous gospel seeds were sewn in those years, it now seems that it was my freshman year in college when God really turned on the lights of new birth, and with it came a voracious appetite for reading—and in its wake, a more engaged life of the mind.
To read the entire chapter online, click HERE.
You can also order the audio book from ChristianAudio for less than $5 through the rest of the month. While you are at it, pick up John Piper’s “Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God” for FREE!