Truth and the Mind Matter
I'm honored to be one of the Friday seminar speakers for this year's Desiring God National Conference, which has the theme "Think: The Life of the Mind & the Love of God." After I speak on Friday, October 1 about "Difficult Truths & Deep Love: Pondering Sovereignty, Suffering, and the Promise of Heaven," Nanci and I will be staying to attend the featured weekend conference, October 2-3. (You can check out the schedule and register at the Desiring God website.)
I spoke at and we attended the 2007 conference (the other speakers that year, pictured here, were John MacArthur, Jerry Bridges, Helen Roseveare, and John Piper), and wow, Desiring God Ministries knows how to put on a conference! (You can watch the video or listen to the audio of my 2007 message.) This year features great speakers, including R. Albert Mohler, Jr., R. C. Sproul, Thabiti Anyabwile, Francis Chan, Rick Warren, and John Piper. Watch the promo video for the conference below:
In light of this year's conference theme, I'd like to address the question "Does truth and the mind matter?"
Though I wrote from the heart about suffering and evil in my book If God Is Good, and told stories of great courage and perspective, I also presented a case from Scripture and appealed to logic. Remember this: you are a whole person, and the path to your heart travels through your mind. Truth matters. To touch us at the heart level—and to keep touching us over days, months, years, and decades—truth must work its way into our minds.
I encourage those who are suffering to speak with a friend and perhaps a pastor or counselor. But in the process, don’t seek comfort by ignoring truth. When you try to soothe your feelings without bothering to think deeply about ideas, you are asking to be manipulated. Quick-fix feelings won’t sustain you over the long haul. On the other hand, deeply rooted beliefs—specifically a worldview grounded in Scripture—will allow you to persevere and hold on to a faith built on the solid rock of God’s truth.
What ends up in the heart comes in through the head. The current tendency to minimize Bible study and sound theology in the interests of focusing on the heart is badly misguided. The anti-intellect, popular-culture-driven "all that matters is my heart" is wrong, but even if it were right, we would need to be cultivating our minds in order to cultivate our hearts. God help us to renew our minds, set our minds on things above, and love God with all our hearts and minds, never supposing we can do one without the other.
You might also check out a great blog post on this subject by Jonathan Parnell, "The Miracle of Thinking."