Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Dangers of Intellectualism

A.W. Tozer says in the book, The Pursuit of God, "God will not hold us responsible to understand the mysteries of election, predestination and divine sovereignty. The best and safest way to deal with these truths is to raise our eyes to God and in deepest reverence say, 'O Lord, Thou knowest.' Those things belong to the deep and mysterious Profound of God's omniscience. Prying into them may make theologians, but it will never make saints."

I am all for theology, for good doctrine, for the solid meat of Biblical truth, for these things keep us on the narrow road that leads to salvation and ultimately to God. But I can understand what Tozer is getting at here.

He's not saying to never study these things. Rather, I think he is warning us against two very real dangers.

First, it is very, very easy to get lost in the intellectual deepness of the Bible and miss out on actually having it work in our lives. We feel spiritual because we are studying Bible, but in reality, we are far from God.

A second danger is that intellectualism can allow us to keep God and His commands for us at a safe distance. We can pick them up, mull them over, discuss and bicker about them...and then put them down again, never allowing them to actually impact our lives and change us.

How do I know this? Am I just that smart? No. I know it because I've done it...and it is a lie, and it is sin.

Tozer is crying out for us to know God, to seek Him while He may be found, to be spiritually receptive to God's stirring in our heart. This is what I want! Yes, I want to stir around in the deep, wonderful doctrines of God and to understand Him more by understanding them more. But I want to be careful that it isn't intellectualism, but instead leads me to actually know God and to be more like His Son. That requires that I not "put the commands back down again," but rather own them and keep them through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I want to be as Tozer says at the end of his quote: A saint.

May all of us understand and fight the dangers of intellectualism, and instead keep the study of the Bible in its rightful a path to knowing God and being like His Son!

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