And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (ESV)
Before you shut me off, read on a bit. If you are a believer, take a minute, and consider what I have written here.
In Luke 10, Jesus is questioned by an attorney. The lawyer asks a fair question: How do I inherit eternal life? Jesus responds with a question. What does the law say? The lawyer answers that we must love God with all our heart, soul. strength, and mind. The one word I want to focus on here is “mind”.
Current church culture emphasizes the heart, soul and strength. Emotional, passionate worship that we put real effort into is emphasized quite well, as it should be. The only worship that is acceptable to God is passionate, emotional and requires effort on our part. I do not want to dwell on what that looks like in this post, but suffice to say, if we are created in His image, then every aspect of that image should be engaged in worship.
The one part that the church seems to miss is the mind. An engaged mind (intellect is a good synonym) is not spoken of much in the context of worship. But Jesus commands that we worship Him with our minds as well as our emotion, passion and ability. While we seek emotional worship experiences, we miss the joy of the mind being fed as well.
Perhaps the reason that theology is out of vogue with most of the discussions about worship is that it is difficult. Much of that difficulty comes from lack of practice.
How often do we really think about Scripture. Meditation is one thing, thinking is a little different. How often do we read Scripture, and critically analyze what the text is telling us, beyond what is on the surface? How often do we miss all that Scripture has to tell us, because we check our brains at the door, and just accept what we heard from “reliable sources” or even sources that are actually authoritative? I am not mocking those who’s vocation it is to study and communicate Biblical theology to the rest of us, theirs is a high calling that should be taken seriously, but we should never subscribe to their interpretation simply because of their position. They can be wrong too. Scripture commands us to test everything. Their vocation is for our benefit, and we should make use of their efforts, as we study Scripture.
Take, for example, the often misunderstood book of Revelation. What is Revelation about? Some would say the tribulation, the mark of the beast, and the rapture. However, if we read Rev 1:1-2, we see something a little different:
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him (Jesus) to show to His servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Rev 1:1-2 (ESV)
Instead of marks on foreheads, secret raptures, and tribulations, we read that this book is about Jesus revealing Himself to His people through the apostle John. Jesus was giving comfort to His people about things that must soon come to pass (not a couple thousand years later). See the difference? Read what the Scripture actually says, and it may be very different than what you have been told it said.
This is part of worship. Our minds were never meant to be checked at the door of the church, but we are to engage our minds as we worship. Informed minds create inflamed hearts, and inflamed hearts drive minds to know more.
If we say that all we want to know more about God, then we must study theology, for theology is the study of the Nature and Person of God. It is not enough to say “I just want to know Jesus” and then refuse to study Him.
Having said that, hopefully, my next post I will start looking at the Westminster Larger Catechism.
Paul C. Quillman