You
can have a developed intellect, but not a renewed mind. The opposite is also
true.

I
have talked with kind and wonderful people in the Church who have never allowed
their intellect to be developed. They parked on the first step of revelation
thinking it was a destination. Some rally around this misunderstanding thinking
it is somehow spiritual and that anyone outside their limited understanding is
suspect. 

I
have met highly developed intellects possessed by notable academics who think
their accumulated and shared data is the final destination of developed thinking.  This narrow understanding limits them from
receiving instruction from those they see as living on a lower rung of
intellectual development.

We
actually need both ends of the spectrum. This is not an either-or scenario.
This is why Paul used the phrase, “the renewing of your mind” when he wrote to
the Romans. Paul linked the renewing of our minds to our ability to be
transformed while living in a world that demands conformity in thought and
lifestyle. No matter where one falls on the intellectual graph, we need our
minds renewed and our intellects developed.

This
is why I think God chose Paul to write so much of the New Testament. In Paul,
God gave us the extreme bookends in the issue. Paul was highly educated – the
equivalent of a modern day Ph.D. On the road to Damascus, he was taken past the
limits of his intellect when he experienced a supernatural encounter with
Jesus. In that encounter, Paul’s intellect was temporarily blinded so he could
see Jesus. He would later write about things not available to the limited line
of sight of his advanced education. These were the experiences where he
described the Third Heaven, strange manifestations of the miraculous like
placing handkerchiefs on sick and demon possessed people who were suddenly
healed and set free or when he shook a poisonous snake from his hand on the
island of Malta and lived to tell about it.

While
all of this was going on with Paul a band of early disciples stood before the
well-educated class of their day. When the elites interrogated the band of
rag-tag disciples they commented, “ Now as they observed the confidence of
Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they
were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” Both Paul
and the disciples had an encounter with Jesus. That was a mutually shared
starting point for the renewal of their minds and the process of personal
transformation.

The
coming revival, reformation or visitation – no matter how you chose to define
it – will begin like it did throughout Scripture and history. An encounter with
Jesus will take place that will cause us to think differently about our
assumptions.  Our assumptions are created
by either our misunderstanding of what it means to have a renewed mind or by an
over-estimated value of education without the renewing presence of God’s
Spirit. We need both if we are going to move forward as the Church.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.