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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Evangelical Casualties II - Entrenched Intellectualists

The Entrenched Intellectualists are a familiar breed within evangelicalism, though not quite as common as the restless experientialists. Some of them seem to be victims of an insecure temperament and inferiority feelings, others seem to be reacting out of pride or pain against the zaniness of experientialism as they have perceived it, but whatever the source of their syndrome the behavior-pattern in which they express it is distinctive and characteristic. Constantly they present themselves as rigid, argumentative, critical Christians, champions of God's truth for whom orthodoxy is all.

Their leading interest is upholding and defending their own view of that truth, whether Calvinist or Arminian, dispensational or Pentecostal, national church reformist or Free Church separatist, or whatever it might be, and they invest themselves unstintingly in this task. There is little warmth about them; relationally they are remote; experiences do not mean much to them; winning the battle for mental correctness is their one great purpose. They see, truly enough, that in our anti-rational, feeling-oriented, instant gratification culture conceptual knowledge of divine things is undervalued, and they seek with passion to right the balance at this point. They understand the priority of the intellect well; the trouble is that intellectualism, expressing itself in endless campaigns for their own brand of right thinking, is almost if not quite all that they can offer, for it is almost if not quite all that they have.

These brethren need the same ministry that their restless experientialist counterparts do - though it may be difficult to see what it may be. Be patient - I don't intend twelve days between posts to get to that answer!

Next - the last group: disaffected deviationists.


  • You probably have seen my comments around blogdom and have read them in regards to a "Head, Heart, Hands" approach to scripture study. This includes the intellect and rational study. It includes how I hear the scripture as it applies to my life situation. Finally, it includes how I hear the Lord prompting me in terms of His missional agenda in the world around me (the "mission field"/neighborhood/church/job he has placed me in, for example). I think it stems from a point of view that sees the problem of entrenched intellectualism and the problem of "only feelings are valid" and the problem of "no feelings allowed". It also is over and against being a "hearing" but not "doing" Christian. I think it stems also from seeing us as body, mind, and spirit.

    By Blogger Inheritor of Heaven, at 2/19/2006 06:05:00 PM  

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