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This was a very important work for me because I've witnessed the pride that can easily encroach upon the minds and hearts of the more intellectual of Christians. They become self-absorbed and self-aggrandizing, and God and His Kingdom are lost in their idolotry to their own minds. I have also witnessed the folly the accompanies emotional idolotry. People shun intelligence, itself, and are thus blinded to the deeper things of God and His Word in their belief that it is enough to feel holy and revel in emotional, religious experiences. It's enough to make a Christian wonder whether it is better to be more like a child in one's approach to study (childlikeness and God's Word on the topic are dealt with by the author) or to be a voracious reader of the Word and tackle the Greek and Hebrew translations of the text.
This book explains why it IS important to use our minds to our best ability for God and His purposes, but it also explains how to avoid the pitfalls of becoming wise in our own conceit. John Piper is one of my favorite authors. In other works I have read by this author, love and encouragement are at the center of the discussion. This is not necessarily true of this work because it is a much more intellectual discussion of how we approach God with our minds and hearts. That said, great pains were taken to assure the reader that they are uniquely valuable to the Kingdom of God irrespective of their own intellectual ability.
A great deal of emphasis was placed on the dangers of relativism - the idea that there are no absolute truths and therefore, no definite moral standard. This idea is pervasive in our society today, and it is imperative that as believers we are aware of it and of how to respond to those who are deceived by it.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not typically a fan of apologetics, and I'm certainly not a fan of learning to be more argumenative with people. The point is, neither is the author. He looks to Jesus' example of how he dealt with people who believed such things so that we may learn how to show them love and mercy as He did without sacrificing our integrity with unncessary argumentation.
If you struggle, as I have with the two-edged swords of knowledge and childlikeness, this book is for you. If you are looking for ideas on how to witness to people who have an "anything goes" mindset about morality and spiritual matters, you will find this to be a worthy guide. I hope you will find the encouragement that I did to pursue God with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my strength.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Piper begins by writing an anti-anti-intellectual manifesto and then spends the second half of the book wanting not to offend the evangelical Christians that are his target audience.
I did enjoy this book, especially the discussion about the meaning of the passage in 1 Corinthians 1:18-29 ("Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?") His main argument is that the problem is not the intellect (that which God gave us) but man's arrogance, and that God intended us to use both our hearts and our heads to understand him.
Piper's book is theologically sound, well-rounded, fair, and does a decent job of saying what we were all thinking, but I do wish he would have gone deeper into addressing the hurt and harm that anti-intellectualism has caused people in the church.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful