How to Encourage Intellectual Christians in the Evangelical Church

Reflections

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“The church is always more than a school. . . . But the church cannot be less than a school.”

— Jaroslav Pelikan, Yale historical theologian1

Being an idea-oriented, bookish, and cerebral-type of Christian can have its challenges. Often times, intellectually inclined believers find it hard to fit into their local evangelical church.2 This difficulty usually arises because the life of the mind is not often identified as a high church priority. So, unfortunately too many churches within the broad sweep of evangelicalism are, to use Pelikan’s words, “less than a school.”

Parts of the evangelical theological tradition have struggled with the idea that the intense pursuit of the life of the mind is somehow at odds with Christian spirituality.3 Worse still, some congregations even exhibit anti-intellectualism, especially in their understanding of the critical relationship between faith and reason.

Welcoming Intellectuals

Thinkers often feel out of place…

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