The Ridiculous, Foolish Power of Christ Crucified

1 Corinthians 1:20-24 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Not By Logic Alone

“The goal of bringing ourselves or others to a true and sin-conquering knowledge of God will never be reached by instrument of logic alone. Jesus sent Paul on an impossible mission. He said to Paul, ‘I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins’ (Acts 26:17-18). This is what happens when strongholds are destroyed, and arguments against the truth of God are overcome and thoughts are taken captive for Christ.

This is supernatural work. The eyes of the mind and heart do not open automatically. Logic alone cannot bring it about. That’s why Paul said, ‘No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit‘ (1 Cor 12:3). No logical argument for the lordship of Christ will bring about submission, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. This is also why Jesus responded to Peter’s recognition of him with the words, ‘Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven’ (Matt 16:17).”

John Piper. Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God. Crossway, 2010. 125-126.

The Opposite of Barren Intellectualism is not Anti-Intellectualism

Ephesians 3:1-6 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Miss Auras by John Lavery
It is therefore futile counsel to tell the church that thinking is worthless. There is no reading without thinking. And there is no reading carefully and faithfully and coherently without thinking carefully and faithfully and coherently. The remedy for barren intellectualism is not anti-intellectualism, but humble, faithful, prayerful, Spirit-dependent, rigorous thinking.

John Piper. Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God. Crossway, 2010. 123.

To Have No Interest in Truth Effectively Ends the Conversation

Matthew 21:23-27 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Thoughts and Affections Cause Each Other

“Indeed, thoughts and affections are sibi mutuo causae—the mutual causes of each other: ‘Whilst I mused, the fire burned‘ (Psalm 39:3); so that thoughts are the bellows that kindle and inflame affections; and then if they are inflamed, they cause thoughts to boil; therefore men newly converted to God, having new and strong affections, can with more pleasure think of God than any.””

Thomas Goodwin, as quoted in, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper. Crossway, 2010. 24.

Thinking versus Postmodern Jell-O Juggling

“Yes, I have concerns. For example, I hope this book will help rescue the victims of evangelical pragmatism, Pentecostal shortcuts, pietistic anti-intellectualism, pluralistic conviction aversion, academic gamesmanship, therapeutic Bible evasion, journalistic bite-sizing, musical mesmerizing, YouTube craving, and postmodern Jell-O juggling. In other words, I believe thinking is good for the church in every way.”

John Piper. Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God. Crossway, 2010. 17.

Fuel of Knowledge on the Fires of Worship

“This book is a plea to embrace serious thinking as a means of loving God and people. It is a plea to reject either-or thinking when it comes to head and heart, thinking and feeling, reason and faith, theology and doxology, mental labor and the ministry of love. It is a plea to see thinking as a necessary, God-ordained means of knowing God. Thinking is one of the most important ways that we put the fuel of knowledge on the fires of worship and service to the world.”

John Piper. Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God. Crossway, 2010. 15.