A Biblical Foundation for Critical Thinking

"Does not the ear test words, as the palate tastes its food?" (Job 12:11)

Ideological Instability

There are countless people in our world that will embrace almost anything without questioning it as long as the presenter seems believable or they have a vested interest in accepting it. Their response to the assertion that the sky is purple would be one of astonishment and embarrassment for not having noticed it sooner. They will continue to believe this until someone more persuasive comes along and posits that the sky is actually green at which point they will blush at their naivety for having believed it was purple and they will join the green sky club with militant resolve. Sadly, this has led to very tragic consequences both individually and corporately; and Christians are not exempt. Every time science claims to have found the "missing link" many believers jump on board the macro-evolution ship, only to find themselves in a sinking ship months later when it is confirmed that it wasn’t in fact the "missing link." Every time a false teacher comes around with a different gospel, many believers embrace it without giving it due thought. Christians often appear to be a most ideologically unstable bunch. But why is it that so many people are so easily moved from one position to another?

A Problem of Spiritual Immaturity

What makes people so ideologically unstable? From a biblical perspective, ideological instability is often a sign of spiritual immaturity. As Paul explained to the Ephesians in the fourth chapter of his letter to them — the spiritual gifts and diverse ministries were given to the church to accomplish numerous important objectives. They were meant to equip Christians for the work of the ministry, for the edification of the body of Christ, to bring about unity of faith and knowledge, to help us become more Christ like, and to keep us from being vulnerable to all types of false ideas that come our way. But notice how Paul associates that ideological instability to immaturity. In verse 14 Paul explains that the gifts and ministries have been given to the Church, "that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting," When we consider the words of this particular verse, what stands out is the fact that many Christians appeared to be vulnerable to any and all teachings. The expressions "tossed to and fro" and "carried about" speak of a total lack of critical thinking skills among these early Christians. As Paul wrote this to the Ephesians, he may have been motivated by what had happened to the Galatians. They had heard the Gospel and embraced it under the ministry of Paul, but thoughtlessly abandoned it as soon as someone else arrived with a different gospel.

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