Apologetics: A love story
God has given us the answer and it is Himself.
In Matthew 22:36-38 Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment, and He replies by saying “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” In this is found a much-missed secret to a deeper Christian life and more fruitful Christian witness. Do we truly delight in God with all of our minds?
Galileo once said that “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use.”
Similar sentiments are found from one of the greatest missionaries of all time – Doctor David Livingstone, who is buried at Westminster Abbey as a national hero. Young Livingstone knew that Christianity was true, yet wrestled with the fact his father taught him that science was anti-Christian. He longed to be a doctor when he grew up and serve God in this capacity, and he found his faith alive in the outdoors amongst nature. He was relieved when his father changed his mind, and Livingstone became perhaps the greatest missionary doctor.
For many of us, we came alive to a deeper love of Christ when we learned to love Him with all our minds, rather than the emotions, or other experiences. Indeed, to love Christ with all your mind is both emotional and an experience. Think of CS Lewis and the thousands of people who have come to faith in Christ through reading his books.
That a man can know God is the greatest truth in all of reality. He has not left us groping in the dark, He has set Himself to be found wherever we may turn. The Bible is not merely a book to be read but to be studied. A W Tozer wrote that God loves to be pursued; that it is the joy of the Christian to wake up each morning, chase God with all your heart, find Him, cling to Him with all your might until the evening, and then when you wake the next day to repeat the process. God wants the whole of you – mind, will, emotions, body, soul and spirit.
Often the word spirit is interchangeable with mind in Greek. As a teenage convert I was surrounded by the idea that to be a Christian I didn’t need a brain, I just needed to have as many emotional experiences as possible. In my late twenties it was as if another half of me suddenly awoke when I encountered the amazing work of God in brilliant Christian missionaries, preachers and theologians. Men like Charles Spurgeon, William Wilberforce, Watchman Nee, CS Lewis, GK Chesterton, Francis Schaeffer – they all had the answer to the huge questions of their time and nation in the person and work of God. They answered the tide of doubt and skepticism of their generation and communicated their faith brilliantly. In doing so they made a huge influence, withstood the rising tide of atheism in their day and turned the eyes of thousands and millions to Christ instead of humanism. From government to student they were used by God to wrench hearts, minds and eyes back to the light. I long to see that today, when right here and now it is needed more than ever, especially among young people.
God has given us the answer and it is Himself. This is found at every turn, Christianity is perhaps the only worldview that can be seen in the filter of science, philosophy, mathematics, logic, theology and history. All of these will take you to Him.
Both in and out of the church the young are in need of answers. Many have questions, the rest have assumptions. The tide of self-destruction is heavier than ever, and a church just built on charismatic experiences with no depth of content is seen as having no answers by those outside. Cultural Relevance has been a massive term of use in my 14 years of full time youth evangelism, but when we talk about it we cannot simply mean communicating the language of the young people, we must speak to the worldview of the young people and address their underlying beliefs, assumptions, definitions and prejudices. Paul and the Apostles wrestled with the stoics, the philosophers, the Greeks of Athens and the Jews of Jerusalem. They reasoned, persuaded, debated, dialogued, discussed and proved. They were all things to all men. They won in prayer and preaching. We cannot offer a confused world a Christianity without a brain. And we must not offer ourselves to Christ without our brains.
Christ came to rescue and redeem the whole man, not just his soul, and may Christ have the whole of us. This is worship.