The Role Of Reason In The Life Of The Soul

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The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul

The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul


Moreland is a prolific Christian author, lecturer, and debater on a wide range of philosophical, religious, and social issues. He is best known for his contributions to contemporary philosophical apologetics, his critiques of materialism and naturalism, and his defense of Christian theism. He has published works in the fields of philosophy of mind, action theory, philosophy of science, ethics, theology, metaphysics and philosophy of religion. Moreland also serves as fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture which is considered the hub of the intelligent design movement. Moreland has also done interviews and assistance with several books by journalist Lee Strobel, including The Case for a Creator.


The mind plays an important role in Christianity. Unfortunately, many of us leave our minds behind when it comes to our faith. Moreland presents a logical case for the role of the mind in spiritual transformation. He challenges us to develop a Christian mind and to use our intellect to further Gods kingdom through evangelism, apologetics, worship, and vocation.

Content Summary

“Love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt 22:37). With this, the first and greatest commandment, Jesus emphasizes, among other things, the use of the intellect in loving God. In a work reminiscent of Mark Noll's 'The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind', J. P. Moreland scolds evangelicals for the growing anti-intellectualism he sees in the contemporary church. In his estimation, anti-intellectualism within the church is partially responsible for the rise of a post-Christian society in the West (p. 21ff). If Moreland's judgment is accurate, his accusation is cause for concern and alarm! He properly calls upon evangelicals to fulfill their responsibility to cultivate Christlike minds. To enable us to achieve that goal, he identifies the main “hobgoblins” that contribute to the current problem, discusses appropriate countermeasures, and explores several implications of successfully re-establishing obedience to the first and greatest commandment.

In the first of ten chapters, Moreland traces the emergence and effects of anti-intellectualism within American evangelicalism. Its origins, he claims, are located in the Great Awakenings of the mid-eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Moreland characterizes these movements as generally good, but observes that they were marked by “emotional, simple, popular preaching instead of intellectually careful and doctrinally precise sermons” (p. 23). This characterization is probably less accurate of the First Awakening than it is of the subsequent New England theology and the Second Awakening, though Moreland's point remains. As Nathan Hatch demonstrated in 'The Democratization of American Christianity', the Second Great Awakening produced a “populist” Christianity that was unprepared for the intellectual challenges of the nineteenth century. This shrinking of the “evangelical mind” has contributed largely to its subsequent marginalization.

Like a seasoned trial lawyer, he defends the idea that intellectual rigor was a high value of the early church which has now been lost. He slowly and systematically builds his case, interspersing ...
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