Intellectual Faith?

I got into a discussion with a friend this week, which led to another friend asking if I’m not over-intellectualizing my Faith too much.

This reminds me of the dire warnings that I received from my former church when I decided to go to college, age 27, in 1985. I was told that getting a college education from somewhere other than a “Bible college” would jeopardize my faith and lead me astray.

I admit – it’s a possibility, as is anything that has the potential to distract us from God. But I don’t think that’s what’s going on here, so much as that too many evangelical and fundamentalist churches want to demonize the intellect as the enemy of faith.

We have an intellect because we are created in God’s image. God is rational; He is Reason. And nothing that we get from Him is evil or disordered.

Yes, intellect without faith is imbalanced, disordered – prideful. But faith without intellect is… imbalanced, disordered – prideful. Faith and reason must be united in order for either one of them to possess integrity.

The year I started college, I attended a women’s missions conference, where I heard a missionary on leave from Africa (Burkina Faso) say something that has stuck with me more than twenty years: if we have the Holy Spirit, we can hear things, read things, see things – and remain detached from them, as if the Holy Spirit was serving as a sieve through which harm cannot reach us. It’s a reasonable explanation. We can study things and know what other people think without adopting those ideas for ourselves.

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