It was instilled into their consciousness that the life of the mind and the study of Scripture were central to their worship.
So again, why such anti-intellectualism in the Church today when Scripture summons us to continue in such a rich intellectual heritage?
So why is there so much suspicion toward Christian scholars today who, like the 12-year old Jesus, have a penchant for hanging out in centers of learning and engaging in lively theological discourse? When Jesus unfurled the Isaiah scroll that day in Nazareth, it was likely with the rough, calloused hands of a laborer. Yes.) And we love the scenes when Jesus confounds the religious scholars as we enjoy when Hunting gets in a fight at a Harvard bar. But Jesus’ lack of academic pedigree did not make Him anti-intellectual. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark -39).
His was all blue-collar erudition, a rags-to-academic-riches kind of education like Matt Damon’s character in . He did not tolerate sloppy study—“have you not read … The greatest commandment, the most binding demand on our lives, is to love God with everything, including our minds.
Part of the problem is that in the name of keeping the first commandment, we often break the second.
Jesus attached to the greatest commandment of loving God with everything the inseparable companion commandment of loving our neighbors as ourselves (Mark ; cf. Anti-intellectualism is embedded in America’s national consciousness for a number of historical factors, but it is fueled in the Church today when our (so-called) love of God is divorced from love of neighbor in our intellectual endeavors.
Some of us assume we will lose Jesus if we are serious about study.
The context of loving God with everything in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is the expectation that we will devote ourselves to the rigorous study and discussion of God’s words. “and these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
There is a great deal of unloving, doctrinal warmongering going on out there in the name of treasuring God and His truth.Another part of the problem lies with those of us who look askance at academic learning. It took three days to find Him, but there He was, “in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions” (Luke ). Our Bibles give us only one glimpse into Jesus’ boyhood, and that scene depicts Him as an avid learner and a diligent student, actively engaged in lively theological discussion. Marveling over His brilliant teaching, some folks once asked, “How is it that this man has learning, when He has never studied? He lacked advanced, formal training (unlike Saul of Tarsus, of course). He did not put up with slowness of understanding—“do you not yet perceive or understand? When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus answered by quoting from a passage in Deuteronomy called the which promoted hard, theological work: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. “And all who heard him were amazed at His understanding and his answers” (Luke ).
Most of us know about this highest of commandments.But we may be less familiar with its Old Testament context.