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Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul Paperback – August 21, 2012
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From the Back Cover
Love Your God with All Your Mind explains the importance of using your mind not only to win others to Christ but also to experience personal spiritual growth. Author J. P. Moreland challenges you to use logic to further God’s kingdom through evangelism, apologetics, worship, and vocation.
This revised edition includes expanded appendices and three new chapters that outline how to argue for the reality of God and the historicity of Jesus’ life teachings, death, and resurrection.
About the Author
Biola University in La Mirada, California, and director of The
Eidos Christian Center. He holds a BS from the University of
Missouri, a ThM from Dallas Seminary, an MA from the
University of California-Riverside, and a PhD from the
University of Southern California. He has authored, edited,
or contributed papers to thirty-five books and has published more
than two hundred magazine and journal articles.
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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.
Throughout this book, Moreland inspires the church attender who feels nudged by the Spirit to pursue the depths of truth for the glory of God to consider taking the intellectual side of their faith to a new level. Doing so will enrich one’s understanding of God and will increasingly influence culture. Moreland encourages his reader, “Trust and hope in God help build confidence that truth is a valuable thing to have because it is ultimately good. A confident mind is a mind free to follow the truth wherever it leads, without the distracting fear and anxiety that come from the attitude that maybe we’re better off not knowing the truth.”
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.