Volume. XXXV, No. 19
Sunday, 08 November 2020

From the Pastor’s Heart: Educate Your Mind (6)

In the previous article (5), I mentioned two considerations in order to educate our mind.  One of them was to be aware of the danger of educating the mind with endless circular reasoning coming from within our own thoughts – self-educating with self-materials.  We must know that uninformed opinions are easy to come by.  Thus, we may show reactions to anything, though we really do not know much about it.  What we need to do is to formulate our opinions on intelligent analysis, gained by using specific and well-articulated reasons. 

Let us once again be reminded of the dangers caused by an uneducated mind.  Josif Ton, a Romanian Christian, analyses the Marxist conception of man.  He says that the Marxist “new man” has two major characteristics: “First, [he] should not be alienated from the means of production.  All means of production will be the property of everyone.  Therefore, man will yield all his energies, freely, to the process of producing material goods for society as a whole, and by this he will discover fulfilment in the creative process.  Secondly, this man, freed from corruption by the strength of the socialist system, will handle the goods honestly and will distribute them freely, taking only as much as he needs so that enough will remain for all his kinsmen.  He will be a man who will yield all his forces freely for others, a totally committed altruist.”  Obviously, the Marxist view of man does not reflect the reality.  It is no wonder that the Soviet Union was dissolved, and many eastern European countries abandoned communism.  Marxism argues that “the old man is the product of environment, and the new man will be brought into being by a change in that environment.  The ‘right’ system will produce the right kind of man.” (CT, May 23, 1975)  Listen to Ton to know how “ideology” can formulate ideas and influence the mind: “atheistic ideology would inevitably produce a desperate, unscrupulous man, capable of carrying through a bloody revolution.”

Ton asked this question of a school teacher who was supposed to educate his pupils to produce the new man: “In a purely materialistic world where life is the product of a game of chance and where man’s single chance is here and now …, what motive can we offer to live lives of usefulness to others, or even self-sacrifice?”  The teacher’s reply was: “I do not know why I should be good and honest.  I know that if I don’t pull strings, or stab someone in the back, I will not advance or succeed in life.  And this is everything for me.”  Given the presuppositions that underlie it who can fault this answer? According to this view, there is no hereafter, no judgment; get all you can in this life, for it is the only life you have (Ibid). It is a worldview, or mindset.

The second consideration is to receive proper teaching from either teachers or good books.  Over the years, I have met Christian parents who told me that they did not want to influence their children’s choice of religion, morality, or anything.  They wanted to leave all the decisions  to their young ones.  Some Christian parents even told me that they should not be overly dogmatic about their Christian faith concerning their children.  The children should be able to make their own informed choices.  I feel sorry for them for at least two reasons: (1) parents are responsible for teaching their children the truth about God.  They are failing by not actively teaching their children from the Bible, and (2) parents are ignorant that their negligence in leaving religious education out, other studies will come in and impose their system of values.  If their children do not learn from the Bible, they will learn from something else.  Obviously, schools are full of anti-God ideas. 

We should be able to understand, evaluate, and react to ideas.  In order to do so, we must have proper tools to understand ideas.  Correct understanding must come from correct information (facts) and correct analysis.  I keep saying understanding as well as teaching and learning.  Understanding is an integral part of educating our mind.  Think about a Leon Morris article, “Why Educate?” for Christianity Today magazine (April 12, 1974), which offers us some food for thought on the topic of “educating our mind.”  He says, “Our educational institutions … are usually good about the production of tools and skills.  They can tell us how to make airplanes and how to fly them.  But they say nothing about whether we should use them to drop bombs on our enemies or to run a flying doctor service for people in remote places.  As S. Barton Babbage puts it, ‘If you want a bomb, the chemistry department will teach you how to make it; if you want a cathedral the department of architecture will teach you how to build it; if you want a healthy body the department of physiology and medicine will teach you how to tend it.  But when you ask whether and why you should want bombs or cathedrals or healthy bodies, the university is dumb and impotent.  It can give help and guidance in all things subsidiary but not in the attainment of the one thing needful.’” 

If we apply it to the patterns of writings by the biblical writers, in particular, Paul, it could be well received and understood.  Pauline epistles always open with doctrines or teachings, and then they move to applications.  We may learn doctrines from systematic theology books, but indoctrination alone will not nourish our mind to be sound and healthy in Christian beliefs and living.

C. S. Lewis was an interesting character. I wonder if there was any writer who could use a language to express his ideas better than he. He was an expert at making distinctions between scientia (knowledge, the makeup of things) and sapientia (wisdom, the significance of things) especially in his fictions.  In order to read his books, we need to learn how to read them.  He said, “I want God, not my idea of God; I want my neighbour, not my idea of my neighbour; I want myself, not my idea of myself.”  How true that statement is!  His book, The Abolition of Man, was actually a part of the Riddell Lectures.  In this address, he explains that in literature and the other arts, the child must be guided to feel pleasure in works that are delightful and well made and to “hate the ugly” with “a just distaste.”  He must learn to “give delighted praise to beauty, receiving it into his soul and being nourished by it, so that he becomes a man of gentle heart.” 

Unfortunately, we have become like machines following only the manuals.  We study the subjects that will find us jobs or work.  Then, for career development, we read and get re-educated for continuing work or for promotions.  In the meanwhile, we have lost opportunities to educate our mind and to expand our thought-horizons.  As a result, we are inclined to focus on facts and miss the significance.  Or, we are self-centred and miss the real beauty we should be enjoying.  Paul warns us in 2 Corinthians 3:6, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”  We are skilful at reading letters but, alas, we miss the spirit!  We, in our pride and arrogance, think that we can know everything about God by reading a few lines of Scripture verses in the same way we read other literature.  We grammatically read the Bible and know all the definitions, but, woe unto us, we miss the significance!  We have gained information by hearing the messages preached, but we have failed to educate our mind with the truths of God.  Thus, though saved, our worldview is secular.  Alas. 

With love,

Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



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Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily guidance, protection & providence.
  • God’s mercy & protection from COVID-19 in SA & easing of restrictions in Australia.
  • Journey mercies: those who have travelled.



  • Comfort in grief - Bros Joseph & Christopher Selvanayagam & their families; Rev Johnson & Sis Susan George on the homegoing of her father.
  • Year 12 & university students having exams.
  • Healing: Pastor Ki; Rev Mathews Abraham, Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore) & others who are sick.
  • COVID-19 pandemic – God’s continued guidance & protection for Australia & all who are affected.
  • Journey mercies: those who are travelling.
  • Missions: Rev Sun Sokha & family; Faith Krang Angkrang Church (Phnom Penh).



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