Posted by: gcarkner | May 14, 2015

Take Every Thought Captive John Lennox Is Anything Worth Believing?

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Take Every Thought Captive

Take every thought captive poses an inspiring challenge by Paul the Apostle in II Corinthians 10; this is part of our ongoing GCU study group. It entails a challenging statement on intellectual and spiritual discipline, one of the mind and heart. The UBC graduate students wrestle with the quest to think and negotiate the university landscape differently, to access and apply the graces of God in their context. Paul uses the dramatic, attention-grabbing metaphor of war in order to build Christian resolve in the young church, while at the same time deconstructing the very culture of war.

What kind of warfare is Paul addressing? What kind of weapons is he offering? What sort of strategy? How does it relate to the academic enterprise of graduate school? What are the ideologies of our colleagues that set up a wall to the gospel, the negative apologetic? What worldview has taken our friend captive and hampers their spiritual insight? How do we get at the whole truth with the aid of the Logos? These are critical questions.

Paul’s weapons are rooted in the capital virtues, the gentleness and authority of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit: truthfulness and integrity, righteousness, patience, the gospel of peace and blessing (shalom), faithfulness, hope, knowledge of God and his calling, a constructive stance or attitude (Ephesians 6: 13-17), discernment and discipleship, respect and dialogue, leveraging agape love, refusal of despair. We must build our consciousness and use multivalent angles and approaches to build bridges to faith as the diagram below suggests. We also need to tap in to those Christian roots of higher learning and preparation for leadership.

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It is not people themselves, but faulty or immoral reason, that we are called to take captive on campus. This comes complete with arguments and assumptions that set themselves against the knowledge of God: scientism, consumerism, materialistic naturalism, exclusive secularism, reductionism, market fundamentalism, toxic politics of hate, and various types of imperialism. These can be somewhat formidable at times. Alister McGrath, a British theologian, represents for many of us someone that believes the mind really matters to spiritual health, that sharp theology and clear thinking is important to all believers. He articulates Paul’s intent and strategy in his books: Intellectuals Don’t Need God? and A Fine-Tuned Universe. See also Blog Post Can We Make Peace Between Faith and Reason?

Christ-centeredness must reign supreme in our minds and not just in our hearts. Grace and love must be combined with philosophical and theological sharpness. Circumspect thinking and positive action also comes through strongly in the prophetic work by Jim Wallis, The (Un)Common Good: How the gospel brings hope to a world divided. Our strategy on campus and beyond must be active in initiating and hosting conversation about the big questions. It is a public challenge and a confidence-builder for Christians that Jesus the Christ is the wisdom of God and the power of God, the very nexus of faith and reason, truth and love personified. This is the background radiation of the universe.

~Dr. Gordon Carkner

Does the Universe Need God? Dr. Hans Halvorson, Princeton University

Paul K. Moser The Christ-shaped Philosophy Project Ravi Zaccharias Response to New Atheism

See also Alister McGrath, A Fine-Tuned Universe: the Search for God in Science and Theology.

Questions and Answers with Professor John Lennox

Philosopher Dallas Willard on Understanding Naturalism

Duelling Oxford Professors on the Existence of God: Peter Atkins and John Lennox

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