Knowledge transformed by love
by Ken Myers
The penultimate chapter of David K. Naugle’s Reordered Love, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness (Eerdmans, 2008) is titled “Reordered Lives: All Things New.” Under the heading, “Reordered Lives of Intellectual Virtue,” Naugle writes:
“A reordered love for God reorders how we think and prompts us to cultivate intellectual virtues, or holy habits of mind, in Christ. A fundamental blessing of redemption is the gift of the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), and it comes with a commission to develop it. Jesus demands in the greatest commandment that we are to love God intellectually, not only with heart, soul, and strength, but also with our minds (Matt. 22:37). In Philippians 2:5, Paul admonishes believers to ‘Have this attitude [or mind] in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus,’ especially when it comes to a way of thinking about service and sacrifice on behalf of others. Paul also asserts in 1 Corinthians 14:20 that naiveté in wickedness but sophistication in thought are essential components of Christian discipleship. ‘Brethren,’ he says, ‘do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.' As a part of this rising chorus, Peter also challenges us with the succinct admonition to ‘prepare your minds for action’ (1 Peter 1:13). If we ignore these injunctions, we could fall prey to what John Stott has called ‘the misery and menace of mindless Christianity.’ Rather, we are after, to use Stott’s words again, ‘a warm devotion [to Christ] set on fire by truth.’
“Our minds and imaginations were subject to futility, darkness, and ignorance when unredeemed. Salvation shifts our mental paradigm and changes our intellectual status considerably. As theologian Bernard Lonergan has pointed out, redemption ‘dismantles and abolishes the horizon in which our knowing and choosing went on and it sets up a new horizon in which the love of God will transvaluate our values and the eyes of that love will transform our knowing.’ Or as Paul puts it rather simply in 1 Corinthians 1:5, believers in Christ are ‘enriched in him, in all speech and all knowledge.’ For where there is love for God, there is also love for his truth and wisdom, and where there is love for his truth and wisdom, there is also love for God. In short, we now have a longing to know.”
David K. Naugle talked about this book on Volume 96 of the Journal.