There's a problem in the Evangelical Church.
A few years ago I was participating in a large megachurch in the St. Louis area. During a Sunday small group discussion, the person in charge wrote two categories on the board: GENUINE FAITH and INTELLECTUAL FAITH. He proceeded from there to challenge us what kind of faith we wanted to have.
I've encountered this before. Once as a student my father interceded with my pastor on my behalf to convince me not to pursue a master's education, fearing that additional learning would corrupt my faith (as well as make me "liberal"), and so you might understand why I got a bit worked up. I raised my hand: "why are those two categories oppositional? Why can't an intellectual faith be genuine?" That question unintentionally blindsided the leader, and he let me speak for a while more about some of the great intellectual faith leaders of the church: Augustine, Luther, Bonhoeffer, Lewis. Why is the American evangelical church so fearful of intelligence?
That's been a problem I've been looking into for years, and the scholar Mark Noll has been instrumental in helping me find an answer. But it has also made me aware of the problem in the Christian church: the problem of ministering to academics and intellectuals who have been told that they must choose between thinking and believing. This is a false dilemma, but despite that it has set the Church apart from the life of the mind, and had an effect on our congregations, and seeped into our Christian universities and schools, who fear to push students too hard in case the tough questions might yield doubts or answers they don't want to hear.
This blog project is intended to push back. It is about looking closely and skeptically at issues of the church, of the life of faith, and of being an academic. It is the product of various scholars of faith, from various denominations and perspectives, and it is intended to help anyone who is interested in knowing and thinking more thoroughly into this beautiful creation that surrounds us. Most of all, it is intended to promote a better worship, one that follows Christ's commandment that we love God with all our mind.