The Church as a Thinking Community

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18 NIV)

I have been enjoying going through Klyne Snodgrass’ commentary on Ephesians in the NIV Application Commentary series. I will be using this as a text for the course on Ephesians I will be teaching at Tyndale University College this summer. I particularly enjoyed this reflection on Ephesians 1:18.

“The focus on the enlightenment of the mind in verse 18 introduces an important, but too frequently ignored, part of Paul’s thinking. Too many Christians are passive in their thinking and learning or have an anti-intellectual bias. Part of this is understandable, for ‘intellectualism’ has often been destructive and arrogant, but Christians have recoiled with an anti-intellectualism that leads to ignorance. We do not ward off intellectual attack by being less thoughtful!

Unfortunately, much of modern Christianity is guilty of a drippy sentimentality, or worse, of sensationalism. With the latter, preachers sound more like religious professional wrestlers hyping an audience. We seem more interested in trying to create emotional feeling than in providing an understanding of God and wisdom for living. As a result, many of the world say to Christians, ‘Your thinking is too superficial for the complexity of the world in which we live.’ Christians have reacted against the extremes of this world without thinking through the implications of their choices. This needs to change. A church should be a place of analysis, reflection, and reasoned discussion about the significance of the gospel. Christians should have a reputation as people who think.” (pp. 88-89)

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