Volume. XXXI, No. 34
Sunday, 19 February 2017


From the Pastors Heart: Cultivate your mind


More than a year ago, we studied the history of thoughts.  Such a subject may be deemed unimportant by some people, while others may decide to replace their philosophy and reason for faith.  The Christian history could be viewed as a series of conflicts between intellectualism and anti-intellectualism.  However, it should not be so.  Mind is an important part of our faculty God created for His glory and our benefits.  Nowhere in the Bible, is the biblical faith described as mindless or thoughtless.  The fact that God revealed His Words in the Bible and requires His people to meditate upon it and to teach it from generation to generation, indicates that the mind is an important part of our Christian faith and experience.  Because there were so many people who missed out on such important lessons, I thought I would give them a taste by letting them read the  introductory notes I used during the classes.  This article is a part of my teaching notes for the history of thoughts classes.  Hope that it will be an encouragement and challenge to cultivate your minds for Biblical and spiritual faith. 

Anti-intellectualism attracts two extreme ends of the Christian camps, from Bible-believing fundamentalists to charismatic preachers waiting for new revelations and signs and wonders.  Joyce Meyer said, “I once asked the Lord why so many people are confused and He said to me, ‘Tell them to stop trying to figure everything out, and they will stop being confused.’  I have found this to be true.  Reasoning and confusion go together, (Battlefield of the Mind for Teens).  Bertrand Russell said, “So far as I can remember, there is no one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.”  They have argued that Christian faith is not and cannot be intellectual.  The most remarkable challenge is that Christian faith is bypassing the Christian mind.

Mark E. Moore says, “This idea of emptying the mind is foreign to Christian thought. It has much more in common with pagan practices such as transcendental meditation, mystical rituals, hypnosis, and other mind-emptying procedures that often open the door to demonic influences. A person who is eager to have a spiritual experience that bypasses the mind may be opening herself up to spiritual entities she wants no part of. . . . When one looks for a short road to spirituality, bathed in mystical or miraculous experiences, he can become vulnerable to Satanic deception” (“Eyeing the tongue,” in Fanning the Flame, Joplin, MO: College Press, 2003, 218). 

Os Guinness said, “Anti-intellectualism is a disposition to discount the importance of truth and the life of the mind.”  Anti-intellectualism has contributed to the problems of Christian churches today.  R. C. Sproul said, “We live in what may be the most anti-intellectual period in the history of Western civilization.”  Neil Postman said, “. . . Americans are the best entertained and quite likely the least well-informed people in the Western world.”  Charles Malik said, “I must be frank with you: the greatest danger confronting American evangelical Christianity is the danger of anti-intellectualism. The mind in its greatest and deepest reaches is not cared for enough.” 

In this regard, Mark Noll said, “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”  Harry Blamires said, “. . . the Christian Mind has succumbed to the secular drift with a degree of weakness unmatched in Christian History.”  J. P. Moreland said, “The contemporary Christian mind is starved, and as a result we have small, impoverished souls.”  William Lane Craig said, “Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste. One result of this is an immature, superficial faith. People who simply ride the roller coaster of emotional experience are cheating themselves out of a deeper and richer Christian faith by neglecting the intellectual side of that faith.”

 J. Gresham Machen, who is one of our forefathers of faith, said, “Intellectual slothfulness is but a quack remedy for unbelief. . . .”  He continued to say, “The Christian religion flourishes not in the darkness but in the light. . . .  [T]he true remedy [of unbelief] is consecration of intellectual power to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. . . . What is today a matter of academic speculation begins tomorrow to move armies and pull down empires. In that second stage, it has gone too far to be combated; the time to stop it was when it was still a matter of impassioned debate. So as Christians we should try to mold the thought of the world in such a way as to make the acceptance of Christianity something more than a logical absurdity. . . . What more pressing duty than for those who have received the mighty experience of regeneration, who, therefore, do not, like the world, neglect that whole series of vitally relevant facts which is embraced in Christian experience - what more pressing duty than for these men to make themselves masters of the thought of the world in order to make it an instrument of truth instead of error?” 

Think about how mind is related to our whole being as following:
1. Mind is related to our emotions (Genesis 26:35; Deuteronomy 28:65; 18:6).
2. Mind is related to our will (1 Chronicles 28:9; Nehemiah 4:6).
3. Mind is related to our intelligence or thoughts (Proverbs 29:11; Mark 5:15).
4. Mind is related to our morality:
a. Mind can be wicked (Proverbs 21:27); 
b. Mind can be reprobate (Romans 1:28);
c. A natural state of our mind is corrupt and sinful (Ephesians 2:3);
d. A natural mind is full of futilities (Ephesians 4:17);
e. Mind can be fleshly and sensuous (Colossians 2:18);
f. Mind can be defiled (Titus 1:15).
5. Mind is related to our faith in and relationship with God (Isaiah 26:3).
6. Mind is related to our spiritual capacity, ability and strength (Matthew 22:37):
       a. Mind has a room to improve;
       b. Mind here refers to the faculty of
         understanding and desiring;
       c. Mind can be divided (cf. Romans 15:6;          1 Corinthians 1:10; Philippians 1:27,           2:2; 1 Peter 3:8; 4:1)
7. Mind is related to our thoughts and understanding:
a. This mind can be sanctified (Romans 7:23, 25)
b. Mind should be properly educated (Romans 15:15; Hebrews 8:10; Revelation 17:9; Isaiah 46:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:2).
8. Mind is related to our growth and renewal (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23):
a. Our mind must not be passive or left alone without being properly disciplined;
b. Mind requires disciplines (1 Peter 1:13):
Matthew Henry says of girding up the loins of mind and being sober as following: “gather them in, let them not hang loose and neglected about you; restrain their extravagances, and let the loins or strength and vigour of your minds be exerted in your duty; disengage yourselves from all that would hinder you, and go on resolutely in your obedience. Be sober, be vigilant against all your spiritual dangers and enemies, and be temperate and modest in eating, drinking, apparel, recreation, business, and in the whole of your behaviour. Be sober-minded also in opinion, as well as in practice, and humble in your judgment of yourselves.”
9. Mind is related to our uniqueness (Romans 14:5).
10. Mind is related to our works (Colossians 1:21).

The Bible talks about the importance of a teachable spirit.  Why is it so?  It is because if a man does not learn, he cannot understand whatever is beyond his own thoughts and eventually he will become a servant of his own thoughts, and he is his own master.  Cultivate your mind by learning and meditating the Word of God.

Lovingly,
Your Pastor

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements


*Kitchen Roster - Helpers this week: Sisters Ashley Chia, Amy Ma & Bernadette Ng.  Helpers next week: Bros Daniel Ki, Daniel Volvricht & Sis Clara Ki.
*Those who have ordered new hymnals for personal use, please see & pay at the bookstore.
*Volunteers still welcome to join Easter Family Bible Camp Committee meeting. Lunch provided.
*New Basic Bible Knowledge classes will start soon for those interested in Baptism, Re-Affirmation of faith or Transfer of membership, please see Elder Michael D Lee.
*Reminder: please turn off or put on silent your mobile phones during worship. Please do not bring food & beverages to the sanctuary unless for chronic health reasons & for babies/toddlers. Water excepted.
*Volunteers needed for the kitchen cleaning roster. If available, please see Dn Sung Hyun Ma or Sis Megan Lim.
*Adult Sunday School - all are encouraged to attend.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki (Cambodia); & others arriving safely at their destinations.
Recovery - Sis Yvone Kam; Discharge from hospital - Sis Kristy Low.
New external Church signboards completed.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Church activities in past week.


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); & others in affliction.
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.
Cambodia Missions: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki (Life University, Sihanoukville).
New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for Task Force & congregation.
God’s guidance for our theological students - Dn Sung Hyun Ma & Bro Kevin Low.
Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
Journey mercies: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki (S’pore/Indonesia); Rev George van Buuren (Bris); & others who are travelling.
Final weeks of pregnancy: Sis Tabitha Tan.
Those working away: Bro Houston & Sis Jen Xin Li (Riverland); Bro Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo).
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
God’s wisdom & guidance for the Building Committee in making decisions for the use of new premises.
God’s help with preparation for 31st Anniversary & Dedication Service.
God’s guidance for Covenant, Ebenezer, Hope & Providence BPCs to form an Australian B-P Presbytery.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063