Friday, March 31, 2006

Knowledge and the Christian walk

Articles (in contrast?):
Salvation by what [knowledge]?
Use your head

What is the relation between knowledge and the Christian walk? Is Christianity anti-intellectual? In the two articles linked above, we can see the 'contrast', as the first article seems to denigrate knowledge, whereas the second one commands us to use our minds.

Or is it?



Answer: This is of course a false thesis/antithesis pair. With regards to the two articles above, we can see the fine line in the relationship which Christianity has with knowledge or intellectual thought. Christianity is not compatible with 'intellectual knowledge alone', better known as rationalism, as shown in the first article, but neither is it compatible with 'no head knowledge needed', better known as anti-intellectualism, as shown in the second article.

The first article stresses the inability of sole pure intellectual knowedge of any sort to save anyone, let alone the person who promotes it. It is aimed at the philosophy of secular humanism and rationalism in society as a whole, which has helped give rise to the rank liberal 'theo'-logy and rationalism in the churches.

As Christians, we are to repudiate the heresy of rationalism which makes God out to be a liar when He said that the things given to us by God are imparted in 'words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual' , also informing us that 'the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is NOT ABLE to understand them because they are spiritually discerned'. (1 Cor. 1:13-14), and also when Jesus said that 'unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he CANNOT enter into the Kingdom of God.' (Jn. 3:5b)

The second article stresses the importance of having Scriptural knowledge, knowledge of the revealed truth of God as expressed in His Word. Rev. Ken Silva has done a masterful job of deconstructing the Emerging 'church' movement at his ministry website and in this article of his, he shows us the necessity of using our minds to battle the emerging church heresy and the anti-intellectualism prevailing in modern-day (pseudo)-Evangelicalism. The Scriptures tells us to use our minds to love and glorify God (Mk. 12:30) and also tells us to take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Cor. 10:5b). Furthermore, we are commanded to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).

From the two articles, we can construct a Christian view of knowledge. Pure intellectual knowledge itself is useless and by itself cannot save anyone, as it is NOT spiritual knowledge which can and will lead anyone to Christ, which only God can give by drawing the person to Him (Jn 6:44). Therefore, we do not chase after knowledge for knowledge's sake. Nevertheless, we are to persue knowledge, as in only the knowledge of God as revealed in the Word of God, in order to lead us to an intimate, holistic knowledge of God in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord.

In conclusion, Christianity is rational, neither rationalistic nor irrational. Knowledge is thus important for us Christians, as long as it based on the revealed truth in the Word of God.

No comments: