• Glenn Packiam

Why Thinking is a Vital Part of Christian Growth

"Part of the problem in contemporary Christianity, I believe, is that talk about freedom of the Spirit, about the grace which sweeps us off our feet and heals and transforms our lives, has been taken over surreptitiously by a kind of low-grade romanticism, colluding with an anti-intellectual streak in our culture, generating the assumption that the more spiritual you are, the less you need to think.

"I cannot stress too strongly that this is a mistake. The more genuinely spiritual you are, according to Romans 12 and Philippians 1, the more clearly and accurately and carefully you will think, particularly about what the completed goal of your Christian journey will be and hence what steps you should be taking, what habits you should be acquiring, as part of the journey toward that goals, right now. Thinking clearly and Christianly is thus both a key element within the total rehumanizing process (you won't be fully human if you leave your thinking and reasoning behind) and a vital part of the motor which drives the rest of that process." N.T. Wright in After You Believe

When Wright refers to "low-grade romanticism", he means the sort of magical idea that we will effortlessly and spontaneously do the right thing…or the notion that if we simply are "true to ourselves" we will be on the right path. The truth that Paul stresses repeatedly is that to grow in Christ, we must change our thinking.

I must also add, that for Wright, Paul's goal (the telos) is not a ticket to heaven; it is the we become complete (teleios), a thing Christ says ("Be complete as the Father is complete"), and Paul repeats frequently. God's goal for us in the end is like it was in the beginning: to have us be in His image, reigning with Him over His new creation.

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