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Your Mind Matters: The Place of the Mind in the Christian Life

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"Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service," writes John Stott. "If we do not use the mind which God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality." While Christians have had a long heritage of rigorous scholarship and careful thinking, some circles still view the intellect with suspicion or even as contradictory to Christian faith. And many "Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service," writes John Stott. "If we do not use the mind which God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality." While Christians have had a long heritage of rigorous scholarship and careful thinking, some circles still view the intellect with suspicion or even as contradictory to Christian faith. And many non-Christians are quick to label Christians as anti-intellectual and obscurantist. But this need not be so. In this classic introduction to Christian thinking, John Stott makes a forceful appeal for Christian discipleship that engages the mind as well as the heart.


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"Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service," writes John Stott. "If we do not use the mind which God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality." While Christians have had a long heritage of rigorous scholarship and careful thinking, some circles still view the intellect with suspicion or even as contradictory to Christian faith. And many "Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service," writes John Stott. "If we do not use the mind which God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality." While Christians have had a long heritage of rigorous scholarship and careful thinking, some circles still view the intellect with suspicion or even as contradictory to Christian faith. And many non-Christians are quick to label Christians as anti-intellectual and obscurantist. But this need not be so. In this classic introduction to Christian thinking, John Stott makes a forceful appeal for Christian discipleship that engages the mind as well as the heart.

30 review for Your Mind Matters: The Place of the Mind in the Christian Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Wilson

    Really good. I think I read it many years ago, but listened to it again on audio. Really good.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Short

    This is an excellent little book on the place of the mind in the Christian life. Far too many professing Christians have followed a charismatic, mystical emphasis on experience and focused on head/heart distinctions to the point we have lost our minds (no pun at all intended). Stott does an excellent job considering scriptural teaching and practical application. Sure, you will find some points of disagreement here and there, but I highly recommend it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Kassing

    Your mind matters. Anti-intellectualism isn’t helpful and neither is dry arid hyper-intellectualism. Knowledge should lead us to love. This is the heart of this little book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Halloran

    Stott presents what you’d expect him to in this lecture-turned-booklet: a biblical and insightful look at the mind presented in a clear and compelling way. More needed today than ever.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    Although I am somewhat familiar with the author's work [1], I was made familiar with this book by the recommendation of a friend of mine.  The appeal of this very short book, which is the text of a lecture with a couple of forewords, is pretty obvious to me and probably to most of the readers of my reviews.  Stott defends rationality and intellect from what he sees as a variety of threats of anti-intellectualism including the sentimentalism of contemporary culture, the appeals to spiritual exper Although I am somewhat familiar with the author's work [1], I was made familiar with this book by the recommendation of a friend of mine.  The appeal of this very short book, which is the text of a lecture with a couple of forewords, is pretty obvious to me and probably to most of the readers of my reviews.  Stott defends rationality and intellect from what he sees as a variety of threats of anti-intellectualism including the sentimentalism of contemporary culture, the appeals to spiritual experience of Pentecostals, and the ritualism of Catholicism.  I'm an intellectual Christian, something I don't think I could hide if I tried, and so obviously this book's central idea about the legitimacy of appeals to the mind and the acquisition of knowledge that can be lived and practiced is something that appeals to me greatly.  It is no wonder to me why this book is considered an IVP classic and it's something I can support without any difficulty whatsoever, not least because the author manages to put his obvious pro-intellectual appeal in a balanced worldview that clearly counteracts the defective views of the mind that he criticizes. In a bit less than 90 pages this short book consists of four chapters.  The author opens with a discussion of mindless Christianity, where he criticizes the lack of active intellect and the shallowness of faith that much of what passes for Christianity demonstrates (1).  This is the place where the reader is going to know whether they place themselves among those who have a great deal of respect and regard for the mind or whether they are among those the author is criticizing.  After this brief discussion the author spends more time looking at why it is necessary for believers to use their minds (2) in a demonstration of the importance of the intellect and appeals to the mind in the Bible's approach to evangelism and apologetics.  Then the author turns to examine the mind in Christian life (3), in part by contrasting the biblical view with various false views about positive thinking and a faith that is blind that can be common among certain circles within our culture.  The author then concludes with a discussion of knowledge leading to action by pointing out (4) that the believer is not to acquire knowledge for its own sake but rather knowledge that is lived out in obedience to God. It is ultimately in that balanced discussion of the author's high view of intellect as being the fuel for zeal according to knowledge that God wants in our lives that makes this book ultimately worthwhile.  The sort of knowledge that God wants from us [2] is not mere intellectual knowledge but rather the knowledge of experience of God's ways, a knowledge that is combined with a commitment to obedience.  Of course, this obedience requires knowledge but also more than knowledge alone.  There are some people who have a great longing to obey God and only need accurate knowledge of what God expects of us to obey.  There are others who have a great deal of knowledge about what the Bible says and therefore what God wants from us but lack the will and commitment to follow up on that knowledge in action.  Most people lack both the interest in knowing what God wants and the commitment to following up on that knowledge with obedience.  Yet this author has clearly laid to believers a challenge that deserves to be taken up in our times of shallow belief and rampant disobedience to the clearly expressed general will of God in scripture. [1] See, for example: https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018... [2] See, for example: https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lucas

    This book was short, but better than several lengthier versions I have read on the topic. John Stott always does an incredible job of covering a ton of ground in his books/sermons. I have a hard time getting into his books, but they always increase in interest towards the end. It is worth sticking with it for his last few pages alone (or just skip and read the last "chapter"). My only issue was John addresses arguments against faith and belief. He titles one section as "Faith: Illogical Belief i This book was short, but better than several lengthier versions I have read on the topic. John Stott always does an incredible job of covering a ton of ground in his books/sermons. I have a hard time getting into his books, but they always increase in interest towards the end. It is worth sticking with it for his last few pages alone (or just skip and read the last "chapter"). My only issue was John addresses arguments against faith and belief. He titles one section as "Faith: Illogical Belief in the Improbable" (based on a quote by H.L. Mencken) and addresses several mainstream arguments for a feel good superficial attitude of positive thinking or positive mental attitudes. He goes on to argue against these definitions of faith because they are thoughtless and without object - there is no object to the faith. p. 51 "[Dr. Peale] recommends as part of his 'worry breaking formula' that first thing every morning before we get up we should say 'I believe' three times, but does not tell us in what we are so confidently and repeatedly to affirm our belief...believe what? believe whom?" In my reading, Stott rejects objectless faith and then argues for a seemingly objectless thought. To be fair, Stott certainly argues it implicitly with several bible quotes [see pages 56-58], but he fails to define the object of our thought - The Word, The Truth, The Christ - explicitly. This oversight is no different than W. Clement Stone's "I feel happy, I feel healthy, I feel terrific!" self-confidence faith. Without a sure and explicit focus on Christ as the object of our thoughts we may as well chant self-assuredly and arrogantly "I know I am happy, I know I am healthy, I know I am terrific!" Stott is spot on with the how and the why - the middle and end results of Christian thinking and using our God-given minds, but he skips past the what or who - the beginning. To skip past the beginning is to miss the one who was in the beginning, The Word, The Christ, and by doing so Stott misses the mark, if only slightly.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mitch Hamilton

    Stott argues that "Knowledge is essential for faith" and that we should invest in our understanding of God, so that we can love God deeper. Knowledge is a means to an end, the end of a greater relationship with the Creator. He helpfully warns against the dangers of Anti-intellectualism, but also reflects on how hyper-intellectualism is just as problematic. One should let their knowledge of God drive their love of him and others :) Not letting it puff them up, void of action. I would give this book Stott argues that "Knowledge is essential for faith" and that we should invest in our understanding of God, so that we can love God deeper. Knowledge is a means to an end, the end of a greater relationship with the Creator. He helpfully warns against the dangers of Anti-intellectualism, but also reflects on how hyper-intellectualism is just as problematic. One should let their knowledge of God drive their love of him and others :) Not letting it puff them up, void of action. I would give this book a 4.5/5, but I think it is more 5 than 4, thus I give it a 5. I am still wrestling with the accuracy of the the idea that Stott writes, that more time should be spent of learning than on ministering, he expresses this in the second last chapter. However, when we focus so much on ministering to others without growing our on personal relationship with God, we are really doing a disservice to those that we are ministering to. I think that Bonhoeffer add's helpful things about "Time alone and Time together" in his book 'Life Together'. I also think of the insight from Brother Yun in his testimony titled 'The Heavenly Man', where he describes his times in prison as the way God gave him times to restore his personal relationship (through Prayer and meditation of scripture) which he failed to upkeep during his ministering.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Martinus

    Is faith irrational? Intellectualism something to be avoided? Should we look at theology with distaste and distrust? NO! argues John Stott in this 60 odd page booklet. Our minds play a vital role in Christian faith. Opinions, indeed, are stronger than armies. Knowledge, wisdom, discernment and understanding are foundational to Christian living in worship, faith, holiness and in our service and love to the other. A great answer to ritualism, radical ecumenicalism and the emphasis on individual ex Is faith irrational? Intellectualism something to be avoided? Should we look at theology with distaste and distrust? NO! argues John Stott in this 60 odd page booklet. Our minds play a vital role in Christian faith. Opinions, indeed, are stronger than armies. Knowledge, wisdom, discernment and understanding are foundational to Christian living in worship, faith, holiness and in our service and love to the other. A great answer to ritualism, radical ecumenicalism and the emphasis on individual experience as substitutes for the vital role of teaching, hearing and preaching in knowing God.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jake Busch

    Great short little read on Christian intellectualism. Offers a pushback we see today against a passive anti-intellectualism of “let go and let God”. Christians KNOW the Lord Jesus.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nderitu Pius

    Straight to the point. We have seen a shift in the way Christianity is delivered and understood by many. I can see why we need doctrine in our lives as Christians... I won't tell you, go and read this beautiful book 📚 Straight to the point. We have seen a shift in the way Christianity is delivered and understood by many. I can see why we need doctrine in our lives as Christians... I won't tell you, go and read this beautiful book 📚

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eddie Bryant

    A short read but an important one. This is billed as an 'IVP Classic' and the book truly deserves that designation. As Stott notes at the end of the book, he seeks to "sketch six spheres of Christian living in which the mind plays an essential part." Those six areas are: Christian worship, faith, holiness, guidance, evangelism, and ministry. Each section is given a concise treatment that leaves the reader with food for thought and enough references to guide one into further study. There's little f A short read but an important one. This is billed as an 'IVP Classic' and the book truly deserves that designation. As Stott notes at the end of the book, he seeks to "sketch six spheres of Christian living in which the mind plays an essential part." Those six areas are: Christian worship, faith, holiness, guidance, evangelism, and ministry. Each section is given a concise treatment that leaves the reader with food for thought and enough references to guide one into further study. There's little fluff here and that is most appreciated as Stott gets to his points quickly and succinctly. Though small in volume this book would still be a great choice for small group study.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    A great summary that emphasizes the mixture of the intellect and emotion in the Christian life. My complaint is that it could have been longer, deeper, more fleshed out, and thorough. I didn't really learn anything new, it just reiterated good points everyone should already know. A great summary that emphasizes the mixture of the intellect and emotion in the Christian life. My complaint is that it could have been longer, deeper, more fleshed out, and thorough. I didn't really learn anything new, it just reiterated good points everyone should already know.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Solomonjh

    Good book. just find it a little skewed towards the intellectual, which is hard to account for episodes in the bible that requires stepping out prior to total understanding.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brianna M

    A must read for every Christian! This brief little book is filled with big truths on why “Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service”. Though a quick read, take your time reading it as it’s dense with knowledge and not just fluff; but don’t worry, you don’t have to be an academic to enjoy. Originally presented as a lecture in the 1972, John Stott targets biblical principles on the integral places intellect has in the Christian Faith that are just as relevant and compelling today as A must read for every Christian! This brief little book is filled with big truths on why “Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service”. Though a quick read, take your time reading it as it’s dense with knowledge and not just fluff; but don’t worry, you don’t have to be an academic to enjoy. Originally presented as a lecture in the 1972, John Stott targets biblical principles on the integral places intellect has in the Christian Faith that are just as relevant and compelling today as it would have had back then. Stott calls for balance and understanding when engaging with our mind and spirit in all facets of our lives, particularly in worship to God, as we conform to how God designed us and commands us to live. As well as how knowledge and wisdom should be acted on with love and not cold. Stott also draws from a range of resources, along with scripture, to address these 4 elements in this topic: 1. Mindless Christianity 2. Why use our minds? 3. The mind in the Christian life 4. Acting on our knowledge It’s a great introductory book for any with questions in this area or need help to articulate the key points.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel

    This book is the transcribed edition of a talk Rev. Stott gave to an InterVarsity conference in the early 70s. At that time (as is still true today unfortunately), Christianity was considered by many to either be a leap of blind faith or so wrapped up in emotional experiences that the use of the mind was assumed to be inconsequential. Of course, this is wholly untrue and Rev. Stott puts forth the Biblical evidence for the centrality of the intellect in all phases of Christian life. In fact, he c This book is the transcribed edition of a talk Rev. Stott gave to an InterVarsity conference in the early 70s. At that time (as is still true today unfortunately), Christianity was considered by many to either be a leap of blind faith or so wrapped up in emotional experiences that the use of the mind was assumed to be inconsequential. Of course, this is wholly untrue and Rev. Stott puts forth the Biblical evidence for the centrality of the intellect in all phases of Christian life. In fact, he covers the necessity of intellectual pursuits in six majors areas of the faith: the discipline of worship, the study of theology, the pursuit of holiness, the search for guidance, the practice of evangelism and the vocation of ministry. Dr. Stott remains a favorite author of mine (and many, many others) because his writings are eminently instructive and practical. This short treatise is no exception.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Crouch

    I haven’t read this book in probably 40 years. I encountered it in High School back in the 70’s as it was promoted by my school’s Christian Fellowship group - and being an academic it did appeal to me. It is a good, short book that basically says that being a Christian is NOT turning your brain off, rather as Christians we are challenged to use the minds that God has given us. I also think Stott does a good job of avoiding an “intellectualism” approach. However, I know many of my Pentecostal frie I haven’t read this book in probably 40 years. I encountered it in High School back in the 70’s as it was promoted by my school’s Christian Fellowship group - and being an academic it did appeal to me. It is a good, short book that basically says that being a Christian is NOT turning your brain off, rather as Christians we are challenged to use the minds that God has given us. I also think Stott does a good job of avoiding an “intellectualism” approach. However, I know many of my Pentecostal friends were hurt when reading this back in the 70s - and I must admit I still find the Authors words harsh when it comes to our Pentecostal friends. It is not that he is incorrect in the dangers he is highlighting, but that he tends to see the problems as universal to the movement. So perhaps this hasn’t aged as well as many of his other books, but is was nostalgic to read it again :)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    I have a lot of respect for John Stott and really really benefited from and enjoyed his book "Balanced Christianity"! However, this book was just okay for me. I enjoyed his structure (dealing with the mind's relation to creation, revelation, redemption and judgement and how the mind relates to the Christian life) and resonated with his frustration with Christians who are anti-intellectual.....but the book was just okay. Perhaps I am too mystical and charismatic, but I just thought he took things I have a lot of respect for John Stott and really really benefited from and enjoyed his book "Balanced Christianity"! However, this book was just okay for me. I enjoyed his structure (dealing with the mind's relation to creation, revelation, redemption and judgement and how the mind relates to the Christian life) and resonated with his frustration with Christians who are anti-intellectual.....but the book was just okay. Perhaps I am too mystical and charismatic, but I just thought he took things a bit too far. And the writing wasn't that enjoyable to engage with.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jeremiah Whiteman

    A short book that I think John Stott succinctly shows the necessity of the mind in the Christian life. Without the use of the mind, we fail in a part of our humanity that is supposed to reflect the truth and rationale of God since we are made in His image. Using the mind correctly, in humble submission and prayer to the Lord, we experience the Christian life in a better way that draws us deeper into it. I would primarily recommend this book to those who want to give material to their anti-intelle A short book that I think John Stott succinctly shows the necessity of the mind in the Christian life. Without the use of the mind, we fail in a part of our humanity that is supposed to reflect the truth and rationale of God since we are made in His image. Using the mind correctly, in humble submission and prayer to the Lord, we experience the Christian life in a better way that draws us deeper into it. I would primarily recommend this book to those who want to give material to their anti-intellectual friends and/or family.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elijah Abanto

    "Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service. If we do not use the mind which God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality and cut ourselves off from many of the riches of God’s grace. At the same time, knowledge is given us to be used to lead us to higher worship, greater faith, deeper holiness, better service." A very good book by John Stott. Highly recommended! "Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service. If we do not use the mind which God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality and cut ourselves off from many of the riches of God’s grace. At the same time, knowledge is given us to be used to lead us to higher worship, greater faith, deeper holiness, better service." A very good book by John Stott. Highly recommended!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paul Lewis

    Very good and timeless call to challenge the church to the active use of the mind in all areas: our worship to God, our lives being lived as Christians, in our evangelism and mission to the world. I particularly like the case Stott makes for the link between faith and reason, where as the antithesis is placed between faith and sight. There is the missing art of persuasion in our evangelism and preaching and he makes a good case that serves as a timely reminder.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lyndon

    A no muss no fuss summary of the role of the mind in the life of the Christian. This treatise is a bit dry, almost devoid of illustrations, stories, and fluff, so for most readers of pop culture Christian living publications this would not be a '5 Star' book. But for content and character formation, it's required reading. A no muss no fuss summary of the role of the mind in the life of the Christian. This treatise is a bit dry, almost devoid of illustrations, stories, and fluff, so for most readers of pop culture Christian living publications this would not be a '5 Star' book. But for content and character formation, it's required reading.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    The book was written for a different time but has come full circle to be relevant for us today. In an age where our "truths" are determined by feelings and tribalism, Stott's appeal for intellect is much needed. Stott appeals to both intellectual reason and to be reasonable when it comes to what we believe and think. The book was written for a different time but has come full circle to be relevant for us today. In an age where our "truths" are determined by feelings and tribalism, Stott's appeal for intellect is much needed. Stott appeals to both intellectual reason and to be reasonable when it comes to what we believe and think.

  23. 5 out of 5

    From What I’ve Read...

    ✔️3.5 stars! This was a booklet I had to read while I was in my freshman year in college and I decided to read it again. I like how it talks about the importance of knowledge to Christians. Being a Christian doesn’t mean being someone who doesn’t use their mind. And this booklet talks a little bit about it. But I believe this book had potential to be better! 🤓📖✝️

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    A classic, by one of the foremost thinkers and preachers of the Gospel. Short and quick read, arguing very poignantly the vital importance of the thinking mind to the Christian -- not about secular things or "things of this world" but matters of the Christian doctrine. A classic, by one of the foremost thinkers and preachers of the Gospel. Short and quick read, arguing very poignantly the vital importance of the thinking mind to the Christian -- not about secular things or "things of this world" but matters of the Christian doctrine.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cody

    In a Christian world led by feelings, this is an excellent study on what it means to have faith AND utilize what is between our ears. This should be required reading for anyone who claims the Christian faith.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Conor

    A little book with great points. Especially loved the point of thinking and logic as an act of faith, and the Holy Spirit’s operation in tandem with logical thinking rather than simply emotional experience.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robert Heckner

    This is a good little book defending the place of the mind in Christian life. It is as need today as it was when first written. Many fall into the danger of zeal without knowledge and many fall into the opposite danger; this book is a good warning against both.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Luke Welchel

    A little dated and opens with some thoughts about social movements that I don’t fully adhere to but the times were different. The book is short though and the middle on has a lot of really good content that I legitimately find challenging and wholesome

  29. 5 out of 5

    Erin Dean

    It’s good and short. A solid argument of why intellect is important to someone who believes that the mind has no place in our Christian life. It was a good reminder that we are integrated beings of body, mind, and soul.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jared

    Well delivered arguments. Stott never disappoints even with a small booklet such as this. This is a timeless reminder.

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