Welcome to the inaugural blog post of the Anascholastic Institute! In the coming months we hope to bring you content on a variety of topics that might include: Bible studies, publication reviews, commentary on current events, and doctrinal discussions. The purpose of this blog is to encourage our readers to think about things, to excite their curiosity, and to inspire them to seek better understanding. We seek these things for our readers because we at the Anascholastic Institute believe that all Christians should be serving God with their minds, and we want to share and act on that message. We would like to lay the groundwork for this endeavor by taking some time to explore the reason why the service of the mind is so important both spiritually and practically.
To begin, let us consider what the Bible has to say about the use of the mind. There are many verses from many books that deal with the topic of wisdom and thinking, but one which seems particularly instructive can be found in the gospel of Matthew (though the phrase also appears in Luke and Mark). Here we find an account of a Pharisee who asks Jesus which commandment in the law is the most important. Jesus responds by saying: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38, KJV). According to the words of Jesus, the mind plays a crucial role in the life of a believer, one that cannot be separated from the rest of his or her response. The mind should be involved in all of the aspects of loving God; through service, worship, living, and interacting with those around us. In short, the Bible clearly shows that God wants our minds to play an active role in our Christian lives. So now that we are clear on the importance of serving God with the mind, we can reasonably ask ourselves what that service looks like.
A great place to start is in the recognition that serving God requires a level of knowledge about God and His attributes, and His plan. Acquiring knowledge about God comes through studying the Bible, listening to other believers, and contemplating the truths of God. But it doesn’t end there. A Christian should also be concerned with preparing their mind for the task of gaining knowledge. In order to know what the Bible says about God, one must learn to read. To search out truth one must be able to think critically. To share with other believers one must be able to communicate both in writing and in the spoken word. Gaining and maintaining the tools of the mind is a necessary part of seeking the knowledge of God that is needed to serve and love God.
But serving God with the mind means more than just acquiring knowledge of God, it also requires the use of that knowledge. It has to be applied to the way in which a Christian lives, otherwise that knowledge is nothing more than the result of an intellectual exercise that is devoid of meaning. One common way that a Christian might use their mind to serve God is through discipling other believers. While it comes in many different forms, the process of encouraging and guiding others to become more like Jesus is one that requires wisdom and judgement, both qualities of the mind. Evangelism is another way in which a Christian can use their mind in the service of God. Bringing people to Christ is not a purely mental process, but there is still a great deal of value in being knowledgeable about the arguments in favor of Christianity. Finally, a Christian can use their mind in support of the local church, assisting with the ministry efforts of the church or by protecting the doctrine of the church from being corrupted or lost.
We at the Anascholastic Institute believe that there is a need for Christians who are willing to commit to serving God with the mind, a need that might be more pressing today than many times in our recorded history. We live in the age of incredible knowledge, with access to an unfathomable amount of information, surrounded by a population that is mostly literate and educated. The setting in which we live provides amazing opportunities, but it also presents challenges. When small handheld device can access hundreds of thousands of opinions and theories and beliefs, the modern Christian is likely to be challenged far more than the Christians of the past two millennia. The local church is more likely to be exposed to outside influences, to be swayed by popular opinions, or to be seduced by false teaching. It is likely that the unbelievers we come into contact with are not ignorant of Christianity, but are simply unconvinced. In any case, we need Christians to know what they believe, who are willing to defend and communicate that belief, and who are willing to let that belief dictate the direction of their life. We are in need of Christians everywhere to place their minds in the service of God.
And so we invite you to join us in spreading the message. Keep an eye out for our regular blog posts, read them, share them, and comment on them. We would also like to hear your feedback. We welcome your agreements and disagreements, your suggestions and your questions. Become a part of the Anascolastic community! Together we can support and encourage each other in the crucial task of serving God with our hearts, souls, and minds.