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St. Paul, MN
4 Stars Out Of 5
I wish every Christian HS grad could read this
May 28, 2011
St. Paul, MN
Today's Church is facing a growing epidemic. Our young people are leaving Christianity by the droves. They survive through high school, but often hit the eject button at some point during their college years. What's wrong?
J.P. Moreland and Mark Matlock think they have an answer to this crisis. In their recent book "Smart Faith: Loving Your God with All Your Mind" published by NavPress, they expose part of the problem: "We now live in a Christian culture so deeply committed to a nonintellectual way of understanding the Christian faith that this perspective is now embedded within us at a subconscious level." They continue: "Faith is now understood as a blind act of the will -- a decision to believe something independent of reason..." The gospel we share has been reduced to "primarily... a means of addressing felt needs." "We give testimonies of our changed life and tell people that Christ is the answer to troubles." But this lacks true transforming power. "Religion has... become personal, private, and too often simply a matter of how we feel about things." (pg. 24-26). In sharp contrast stands the rest of life which demands the use of our intellect in today's ever-secular world.
The 58 percent of church-attending teenagers which Barna researchers tell us "won't be attending church by their thirtieth birthday", were likely "missing the intellectual aspects of faith." (pg. 25). Moreland and Matlock aim to cultivate a robust, Christian intellect through their book. Along the way, they hope to fortify their readers against the siren call of our world's increasingly anti-Christian culture.
The book describes the problem and how we got here. It explores faith and knowledge, and aims to elevate the importance of the mind. It then goes on to apply Christian intellect to evangelism and apologetical persuasion, personal devotion and study, worship, and more. The book provides case studies of complex real world scenarios that young people face that could present a problem. In the end, these case studies are fleshed out with an intellectually honest and faithful approach to integrating our Christianity with all of life.
The authors are irenic and patient, not to mention painfully honest. Slowly and surely the attentive reader is prodded and nudged in the right direction. The book is not a heady read. It's written in a light and straight-forward manner, and at 175 pages, it isn't too long. Still, it covers some important ground. More important, the authors achieve their goal: they offer a book which will ground the faith of young people and encourage a deep-rooted faith in Christ.
This book would make a great gift for a high school graduate. Youth ministers will want a copy of this book both for their own benefit and to recommend to others. "Smart Faith" earns a high recommendation.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by NavPress. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
The book Smart Faith, by J.P. Moreland and Mark Matlock focuses on the deintellectualization of Christianity, especially in recent years, and how to correct this deficiency. Moreland and Matlock fully recognize that God intended for Christians to love Him with every part of themselves: body, spirit, and mind. They make their point convincingly, reasonably, and safely. The reader does not feel threatened for their potential lack of intellectual elasticity. The book not only focuses on the why of loving God, but also the how, giving readers the tools they need to expand their minds, to jumpstart their mental agility in regards to the faith, and showing them some of the most common objections to the Christian Faith. The refutations given are concise, thorough, and highly explanatory. J.P. Morelands section on logic delves into the basic levels of Philosophy, the arguments, the terms and the fallacies, but not in an overwhelming fashion. The Smart Thinking sections offer the reader ways to start integrating the mind, logic and faithquite useful for the novice Christian. I recommend this book for small group reading and I found it to be a useful tool, entertaining read, and a much-needed resource for virtually every Christian.
Smart Faith by J.P. Moreland and Mark Matlock focuses on the aspect of faith which is lacking in todays society and that is the mind. Most Christians live their faith out of an emotional reason or they grew up that way. Moreland and Matlock present their discussion in a non-condemning way in order to encourage believers to dive deeper into the intellectual aspect of their faith and throughout the book scripture is used to support why Christians should focus on the intellectual aspect.The layout out was simple, and it is very easy to read, but none-the-less a good read. There ten chapters and at the end of each Smart Thinking section at the conclusion on ways in which the reader can apply this to his or her life, or encouragement to meditate upon the chapter.Overall, I find the book much needed, well-written, and a good read. Id suggest that it be read in small-groups and used as a tool to grow deeper in the faith.Having read it straight through I am intent on going back and focusing closely on each chapter, and letting it sink in more than what was possible by just reading it straight through as I did.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Navpress as part of their Blogger Review Program book review bloggers program.