11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Philosophy of the Intellect in Service of God
Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste. One result of this is an immature, superficial faith. People who simply ride the roller coaster of emotional experience are cheating themselves out of a deeper and richer Christian faith by neglecting the intellectual side of that faith. They know...
Published 11 months ago by Douglas Groothuis
3.0 out of 5 stars Belief Involves the Head and the Heart
Although the subject is crucial, I had a hard time staying with it. Moreland makes an important case for the neeed for Christians to utilize their heads as well as their herats in faith. It's no wonder that many intellectuals don't want any part of Christianity. We often sell it short.
Published 4 months ago by PastorJR
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Philosophy of the Intellect in Service of God,
This review is from: Love Your God with All Your Mind [15th anniversary repack]: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul (Paperback)Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste. One result of this is an immature, superficial faith. People who simply ride the roller coaster of emotional experience are cheating themselves out of a deeper and richer Christian faith by neglecting the intellectual side of that faith. They know little of the riches of deep understanding of Christian truth, of the confidence inspired by the discovery that one's faith is logical and fits the facts of experience, of the stability brought to one's life by the conviction that one's faith is objectively true. - William Lane Craig in Passionate Conviction.
J.P. Moreland's masterful book is an apt antidote to what his distinguished colleague, William Lane Craig laments in the quote above. After reading Love Your God With All Your Mind attentively (with all electronic devices turned off), one will begin to know, by the grace of the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13), the "riches of [a] deep understanding of Christian truth."
As a long-time Christian philosopher and apologist, when I read the first edition of this book, I was thrilled because the author, one of the most important and astute Christian philosophers of our day, developed a thorough, readable, deeply challenging spirituality of the sanctified intellect. More than that, I have used this modern classic as a textbook in many classes for many years, and I often recommend it as a tonic to the anti-intellectualism and fideism that sadly plagues much of Evangelicalism in the United States.
The spirit of the second edition does not differ from the first (published in 1997), and much of the material is repeated. However, Moreland, who is distinguished professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, has added two new chapters that give an apologetic for Christianity from natural theology and the evidence for the deity and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Although seasoned readers of Moreland (as I have been, since Scaling the Secular City ), will find much that is familiar here; chapters seven through nine set forth a muscular and articulate defense of essential biblical truths. Despite having read many of the arguments before, I discovered some profound new arguments to add to my apologetic quiver. Especially fascinating was the edition of a three-page argument from natural beauty to the existence of a divine Artist (175-177). This species of natural theology has not been adequately addressed in recent literature, to my knowledge.
The book is divided into four parts: (1) Why the Mind Matters in Christianity, (2) How to Develop a Mature Christian Mind, (3) What a Mature Christian Mind Looks Like, (4) Guaranteeing a Future for the Christian Mind. It also includes a long Appendix by Joe Gorra "on recommended resources" and another on "recommended organizations." Rather than summarizing each section, I will highlight some of the many strengths of this volume.
First, like the apologist, philosopher, evangelist, and social critic and activist, Francis Schaeffer (1912-84), Moreland has a passion for the living God, for truth, for pertinent communication to our generation, for people, and for the objective truth of the Bible. (On this, see James Sire's noteworthy introduction to the 30th anniversary edition of Schaeffer's landmark book, The God Who is There .) While Moreland, like Schaeffer, has the spiritual gift of evangelism, he is, unlike Schaeffer, a professional philosopher of the highest caliber, having written a voluminous corpus of work in the philosophy of religion, ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of science, and more. And unlike some prolific evangelical authors (who shall remain nameless), these works are all impressive and worthwhile. But unlike most philosophers, Moreland has also written articles and books for the popular audience. For example, his book, The God Question: An Invitation to a Life of Meaning (Harvest House, 2009), is a marvelous apologetic aimed at the common thinking person. I could go on by citing The Virtue of Happiness and many more.
Second, Love Your God With All Your Mind is peppered with real-life examples from Moreland's impressive ministry experience of over forty years. (In this, it resembles Schaeffer's The God Who is There.) Before becoming a full-time academic, Moreland planted two churches and worked with Campus Crusade. Even after entering the scholarly world full-time, he continues to reach out to the world around him in many creative ways. This challenges the reader to not only develop a Christian mind, but to faithfully apply it to all of culture under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Third, while intellectually fertile on a theoretical level, the book is replete with specific examples and exhortations on how to cultivate the life of the mind for the cause of Christ. Moreland spends some time on the concept of intellectual virtue, appealing (without addressing the scholarly details) to what is called "virtue epistemology"--a practice Jesus himself defends (see chapter five of my book, On Jesus [Wadsworth, 2003]). I find this practical emphasis (rooted in intellectual wealth) to be rare in books on the Christian mind and cultural engagement. For example, Moreland urges us to pay scrupulous attention to our grammar when we speak, and to hold others linguistically accountable for this as well. This is no curmudgeonly pet peeve for the good professor. As Moreland says to those who resist his advice, "Isn't a developed intellectual love for God worth the price of an initial embarrassment at such correction. After all, the alternative is to continue to allow one another to speak incorrectly and fail to realize the intellectual benefits that come from the correct use of language" (129). Moreland also offers sagacious advice concerning adult education in the church, preaching, and outreach. For example, he rightly advises that Christian education be made intellectually rich by requiring texts, assignments, and a fee for attending. This adds weight to what otherwise is often no more than a Christian coffee and donuts clutch.
A short review cannot do justice to a book long on knowledge, reason, wisdom, and passion for the Kingdom of God. Therefore, read it--and reread it. Then apply it for the glory of God.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep thinking,
This review is from: Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul (Kindle Edition)The subtitle of this book hits it straight, "The role of reason in the life of the soul." Any Christian who wants to do a detailed analysis of their faith needs to read this book. JP Moreland does an excellent job exploring the mind of Christianity. He challenges fellow Christians to really understand what they believe - and be able to defend that faith with solid reasoning and logic. This book is no leap of faith. It is similar in some ways to Lee Strobel's works and compliments them but dives much deeper. This book is not for the faint of heart (or mind in this case) - I had to re-read some sections to make sure I really followed where JP was going but the journey is well worth it. The well read Christian will want to have this book in their library - top shelf stuff.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and essential,
This review is from: Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul (Kindle Edition)Pretty much a primer version of Dr. Moreland's textbook (which we use at my seminary), it is "light" enough to serve as a casual read, but quite deep and broad enough in its scope to well serve a non-seminerian reader.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is it worth it to get the new edition?,
This review is from: Love Your God with All Your Mind [15th anniversary repack]: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul (Paperback)Whenever there's a new edition to a book I've already read, I always want to know if it's worth it. I mean, if all they do is correct some typos, it doesn't seem worth paying for the book all over again and spending the time to read it. I did in this case, though, not knowing what I was going to get. I figured it might be helpful for others who have read the original to know what's different.
The biggest difference is that three chapters from the original are removed, and they are replaced by three new chapters. Here are the three chapters from the original that were removed:
Chapter 7; Apologetic Reasoning and the Christian Mind
Chapter 8: Worship, Fellowship, and the Christian Mind
Chapter 9: Vocation and an Integrated Christian Worldview
I think it's a real shame that chapter 7 was omitted. I read the original 11 years ago, and chapter 7 probably stayed with me more than any other chapter. It has some very practical information on epistemology in there that I have found very useful. It deals with scientism, skepticism, methodism, particularism, and moral relativism. More than any other chapter, this one really helped me to think, and to understand why people arrive at diverse opinions, and how to get at the root of those differences when dialoguing with people. I just think it's a travesty that this chapter was omitted.
Here are the new chapters:
Chapter 7: The Question of God (Part 1)
Chapter 8: The Question of God (Part 2)
Chapter 9: The Evidence for Jesus
These chapters basically just give an over all defense of the basic claims of Christianity. He gives a defense of God in chapters 7 and 8, and in chapter 9, he defends the general reliability of the gospels, the claim that Jesus existed, that the early church had a high christology, and that he was raised from the dead. I think this chapter could've been improved by demonstrating that Jesus claimed to be the messiah (I suppose Moreland meant to imply as much in his defense of the early Church's high christology). Without that claim, the resurrection is just an anomaly without significance. These chapters are really good. Moreland explains these arguments in a simple way that should be easy for beginners to understand (and this book appears to be aimed at beginners).
The new edition has 234 pages, whereas the original has 200 pages. But the font and spacing are smaller in the original, so I'm estimating that the content is about equal.
There are large appendixes in both books, including a long Bibliography grouped by subject. The new edition has a lot of more current books in it than the original.
That's about it for the differences, except the minor ones I didn't really notice. It is still an excellent book, and I highly recommend it. It's one of those rare books that I think all Christians should read. I'm giving it five stars in spite of my disappointment that the original seventh chapter is missing. It's just that good, even without that chapter.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read,
This review is from: Love Your God with All Your Mind [15th anniversary repack]: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul (Paperback)The import of this text cannot be underestimated.Every pastor, every leader, every believer should make this required reading. Necessarily Christianity is as much a knowledge tradition as it is a religious one and the use of our minds is quintessential to a stalwart worship and steady walk. This would be a great book for discipleship, Sunday School or small group discussion. It's uber relevant! Tolle lege!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enough of "brainless" Christianity!,
This review is from: Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul (Kindle Edition)JP Moreland explains why embracing Christianity does not mean disengaging the mind. If 1% of believers in the world involved their minds in their Christian faith, the world would undergo a drastic change for the good.
Highly recommended for all Christians.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Defense of Intellectualism,
I thought the chapter that introduces logic was very useful, and more understandable than most texts on the subject, including Moreland's work with William Craig Lane, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview. The chapter on logic is not comprehensive, but very good for identifying what makes for logical arguments and what makes for fallacies.
The chapter on possible changes for the contemporary Church will be considered controversial for some, especially his suggestion that a church be led by elders, (as in the early Church), and not one senior pastor. The prescriptions are important because they emphasize the need for the Church to equip its members for ministry. These can be summed up by one of his statements: the Church should consider herself an educational institution.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource!,
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking Book,
2.0 out of 5 stars Mormons (and Jehovah's Witnesses and Christian Scientists) Need Not Apply,
Over the last several years I've gradually developed an interest in Christian apologetics, and I had already read, among other things, a couple of really good books on the subject: the classic Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, and the excellent What's So Great about Christianity? by Dinesh D'Souza, both of which are very much ecumenical. As I was surfing amazon looking for another book in that vein, I came across Love Your God with All Your Mind. After seeing how highly it was rated, reading a few of the reviews, and reading the first couple of pages online, I enthusiastically ordered it. My enthusiasm, however, was short lived. Just five pages into the first chapter, Dr. Moreland is lamenting what he calls the loss of the Christian mind and the disastrous results of the general dumbing-down of Christians that, according to him, occurred in the 1800s. He writes, "one tragic result" of this "intellectually shallow, theologically illiterate form of Christianity" is that it spawned the "cults" (his word) of Mormonism, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and Christian Science (pg. 17).
After reading those harsh words, I put the book down for two or three days while ruminating over whether or not to pick it back up. I talked it over with a good friend who's a Baptist, and she encouraged me to overlook Dr. Moreland's comments and go ahead and finish the book because I'd probably get a lot of good out of it. So that's what I decided to do. Then, when I got to page 50, he did it again; Dr. Moreland wrote, in what is almost certainly a reference to Mormon missionaries, "When cultists come to my door . . . ." That's when I tossed the book aside for good.
Perhaps instead of The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul, a more fitting subtitle for the book would be Making the Case for Conservative Evangelicalism--and ONLY Conservative Evangelicalism.
First of all, as Dr. Stephen Robinson does a great job explaining in his book Are Mormons Christians?, "cult" is simply a code word for "a religion I [the speaker or writer] don't like." Words have both connotations and denotations. The connotation of "cult" is something along the lines of a witchdoctor pitching virgins into a volcano or a bunch of poor brainwashed souls drinking Kool-Aid laced with cyanide just because some Svengali told them to. The denotation, however, is much more mundane. From dictionary.com: "CULT: 1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies. 2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult. 3. the object of such devotion. 4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc. 5. Sociology: a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols." By that definition, Dr. Moreland is himself a cultist, though I seriously doubt he would ever describe himself that way. As Dr. Robinson points out, the person branding another religion as a cult is usually well aware that his listeners or readers are thinking of the connotation of the word while the speaker or writer knows he's using the denotation.
In other words, it's an intellectually dishonest move, and someone who is as educated as Dr. Moreland is, and who does what he does for a living, and who has been doing it for as long as he has, would have a hard time making the case that he did it unintentionally. The only other halfway-reasonable explanation is that what I laid out in my last paragraph really and truly is all new information to Dr. Moreland, and that possibility isn't a heck of a lot more flattering than the one in which he deliberately used rhetorical sleight of hand.
Secondly, there's the whole other issue of just plain common courtesy and common sense. For the sake of argument, let's say that Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Christian Scientists are all going to hell on a greased pole because of what they believe. Trying to win one of them to Christ by calling him a cultist whose whole religion exists only because Christians got stupid in the nineteenth century is about as charitable and makes about as much sense as trying to win him to Christ by telling him that his wife and kids are ugly.
That approach only alienates potential allies and at the same time helps to foster un-Christ-like holier-than-thou attitudes that in turn lead to Christian infighting. And Dr. Moreland claims that one of his spiritual gifts is evangelism!
In the preface to Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis compares Christianity to a long hallway with many doors. The hallway represents Christianity in general ("Mere Christianity"), and the different doors represent the different churches within Christianity. Lewis ends the preface by writing, "When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house."
Instead of following that wise, compassionate counsel, Dr. Moreland chooses to tar literally millions of his fellow Christians as "cultists."
Sorry, Doc; you lost me . . . and I'm sure a lot of other people, too.
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