A note about the title of this blog

by Brian Watson

I write as a Christian who is also a pastor and a student of the Word (the Bible) and the world.  One of things that I am most passionate about, in my ministry and in my very being, is arriving at truth.  I would be glad to argue that Christianity is the truth (and, furthermore, that Jesus is the Truth), but I would only do that by providing evidence and using sound logic.  It is necessary that we think through any issue that stands before us, particularly the big questions of life, the ones that philosophers have tried to address down through the ages.  Sadly, it seems that most people (Christian or not) do not use sound reasoning.  I am sure that technology has shaped the way we think, and in our age of tweets and hyperlinks (if we get bored, the next thing is just a click away), we don’t give ourselves enough time to think.  Modern media (in a very broad sense) do not teach us how to think, and this is our great loss.

So, my purpose in writing is to help us think.  But, as a Christian, I cannot remain unbiased.  I want us to think Christianly.  This very phrase comes from John Stott, the late Anglican pastor and author who died recently after a long life and ministerial career.  In his book on preaching, Between Two Worlds, he wrote about how pastors should help their congregations develop Christian minds.  After discussing the need to preach on controversial topics, he asks, “Is there a way to handle controversial topics in the pulpit which is brave not cowardly, humble not dogmatic, and prudent not foolish?  I think there is.  It is to help Christians to develop a Christian mind” (p. 170).  He then describes such a mind:

It is not a mind stuffed full with pat answers to every question, all neatly filed as in the memory bank of a computer; it is rather a mind which has so absorbed biblical truths and Christian presuppositions so thoroughly that it is able to view every issue from a Christian perspective and so reach a Christian judgment about it (p. 170).

My writing comes from what (I hope) is a Christian and biblical worldview, one shaped by the truths taught in the Bible.  I will pick up the idea of worldviews later on.  My point now is simply to describe my philosophical and religious position.  Christianity is the lens through which I see the world and it is from this orientation that I write.

Stott used the phrase “think Christianly” on page 171 of Between Two Worlds, and I have adapted this phrase for the title of this blog.  Christianly may be a new adverb, but the idea behind the phrase “thinking Christianly” is not new.  It may strike some as a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron, something that brings about cognitive dissonance, but nothing could be further from the truth.  In history, some of the greatest thinkers have been Christians, and there remain great Christian thinkers today.  You may have to peer through the mists of anti-intellectualism to find them, but they are there, reading, thinking, and writing.  My hope is to be one of them, though I don’t assume to be a great Christian or a great thinker.