Guest Author - Dountonia S. Slack
The bottom line, in a Christian worldview, is that humans are sinful, we need a savior, and our salvation is in Jesus Christ, not human reason or anything else. On the other hand, logical reasoning is useful, it should be highly valued, and “critical thinking must be a part of every Christian classroom if we are to maintain our integrity” (“Critical Thinking and the Christian Perspective” by Wendy Dutton, Thomas Hart and Rebecca Patten). For living by faith as a Christian, one useful approach is to combine critical thinking — “the art of taking charge of your own mind [which is valuable because]... if we can take charge of our own minds, we can take charge of our lives” with Christian thinking: “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God — what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect” (Romans 12:2-3).
Christian thinking requires that we take on the mind of Christ. This is done by learning and understanding the Bible, having a Holy Spirit empowered prayer life, longing for community with other Believers, and ministry that is modeled after Christ’s example which was motivated by love. If our theology and Christian lifestyle is based solely on the aspiration of spiritual truths inaccessible through intellectual means, then we miss an important part of our createdness as image-bearers of God. In the New American Standard Bible, the word “think” is found 39 times in 37 verses which is an indication that thinking is a part of our existence that God did not intend for us to ignore. Not to mention, we are exhorted if not commanded to study (Ezra 7:10), teach (2 Timothy 2:2), learn (Ephesians 5:10), and examine (Acts 17:11) the scriptures which requires the process of critical thinking in order to train the mind to see the world through the lens of the Bible.
Perhaps the most important reason for Christians to think is this: it is the way we think that influences our actions and develops our character. Our thought processes defines who we really are; therefore it is imperative that we think the way our mouths profess us to be. Paul's instruction in Romans 12:2 to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” is not a one time occurrence it is a daily renewal through the study and meditation of the Word of God. That is the way it happens. That is how we learn not only to think but to think as God does. My dad says, “If you're not feeding yourself with the Bible all the time, you will be thinking like the world.” In our age of experiential churches and postmodern culture, I would like to amend this quote this way: “If you are not feeding yourself with the Bible, you won’t be thinking at all.”