Heart AND Brain Religion

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I recently came upon these words by Nancy Pearcey. I think she points to what might be a weakness in many of our youth ministries and home discipleship plans:

As Christian parents, pastors, teachers, and youth group leaders, we constantly see young people pulled down by the undertow of powerful cultural trends. If all we give them is a “heart” religion, it will not be strong enough to counter the lure of attractive but dangerous ideas. Young believers also need a “brain” religion—training in worldview and apologetics—to equip them to analyze and critique the competing worldviews they will encounter when they leave home. If forewarned and forearmed, young people at least have a fighting chance when they find themselves a minority of one among their classmates or work colleagues. Training young people to develop a Christian mind is no longer an option; it is part of their necessary survival equipment.

The first step in forming a Christian worldview is to overcome this sharp divide between “heart” and “brain.” We have to reject the division of life into a sacred realm, limited to things like worship and personal morality, over against a secular realm that includes science, politics, economics, and the rest of the public arena. This dichotomy in our own minds is the greatest barrier to liberating the power of the gospel across the whole of culture today.

 (From the essay titled “Total Truth,” found at www.summit.org)

I believe that every parent, teacher, and youth minister would greatly benefit from exploring this topic further. One way to do this would be to consider coming to our National Conference in April and taking advantage of one or both of these seminars:

Teaching Children and Youth to Stand Firm in a Hostile Culture
(Pastor Ron Rudd)

In this seminar we will look at our responsibility as parents and as the church in training our kids to be strong in faith and mighty in Spirit. What are the problems we face in the culture we live in? What do we do when we are accused of being over-protective and narrow-minded? When and how do we expose our kids to the evil in our society, or do we? We will also discuss why we cannot do this alone and where we must turn for help.

Deep and Wide: Youth Ministry with Theological Depth that Reaches the Breadth of Maturity (Joe Wittmer)
By taking a systematic look at the ministry of Christ and the role of the church, we can discover how to theoretically and practically reach students with “the whole counsel of God.” Whether an unbeliever, new to the faith, or spiritually mature, part of the shepherding responsibility of a pastor is to help navigate the next steps in growing closer to Jesus. In this seminar, we will look at how we can invite more people to hear and grow in the Gospel by meeting students where they are in their spiritual development and presenting deep truths of Scripture to them there.

(Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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