Your Mind Matters: The Place Of The Mind In The Christian Life, by John Stott
Although I am somewhat familiar with the author’s work , I was made familiar with this book by the recommendation of a friend of mine. The appeal of this very short book, which is the text of a lecture with a couple of forewords, is pretty obvious to me and probably to most of the readers of my reviews. Stott defends rationality and intellect from what he sees as a variety of threats of anti-intellectualism including the sentimentalism of contemporary culture, the appeals to spiritual experience of Pentecostals, and the ritualism of Catholicism. I’m an intellectual Christian, something I don’t think I could hide if I tried, and so obviously this book’s central idea about the legitimacy of appeals to the mind and the acquisition of knowledge that can be lived and practiced is something that appeals to me greatly. It is no wonder to me why this book is considered an IVP classic and it’s something I can support without any difficulty whatsoever, not least because the author manages to put his obvious pro-intellectual appeal in a balanced worldview that clearly counteracts the defective views of the mind that he criticizes.
In a bit less than 90 pages this short book consists of four chapters. The author opens with a discussion of mindless Christianity, where he criticizes the lack of active intellect and the shallowness of faith that much of what passes for Christianity demonstrates (1). This is the place where the reader is going to know whether they place themselves among those who have a great deal of respect and regard for the mind or whether they are among those the author is criticizing. After this brief discussion the author spends more time looking at why it is necessary for believers to use their minds (2) in a demonstration of the importance of the intellect and appeals to the mind in the Bible’s approach to evangelism and apologetics. Then the author turns to examine the mind in Christian life (3), in part by contrasting the biblical view with various false views about positive thinking and a faith that is blind that can be common among certain circles within our culture. The author then concludes with a discussion of knowledge leading to action by pointing out (4) that the believer is not to acquire knowledge for its own sake but rather knowledge that is lived out in obedience to God.
It is ultimately in that balanced discussion of the author’s high view of intellect as being the fuel for zeal according to knowledge that God wants in our lives that makes this book ultimately worthwhile. The sort of knowledge that God wants from us  is not mere intellectual knowledge but rather the knowledge of experience of God’s ways, a knowledge that is combined with a commitment to obedience. Of course, this obedience requires knowledge but also more than knowledge alone. There are some people who have a great longing to obey God and only need accurate knowledge of what God expects of us to obey. There are others who have a great deal of knowledge about what the Bible says and therefore what God wants from us but lack the will and commitment to follow up on that knowledge in action. Most people lack both the interest in knowing what God wants and the commitment to following up on that knowledge with obedience. Yet this author has clearly laid to believers a challenge that deserves to be taken up in our times of shallow belief and rampant disobedience to the clearly expressed general will of God in scripture.
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