But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:22-24).
I love the intellectual life. I love the reading, the studying, the debating, the discussions, the ideas. I love all of it. But looming in the shadows are the various threats it poses to the fruit of God’s Spirit in my life:
In regard to love, it threatens my ability to love others whom I have intellectual disagreements with and whose ideas I find dangerous.
In regard to joy, it threatens to subtly remove joy from my life as it often requires a critical and skeptical eye toward ideas, which can lead to negativity.
In regard to peace, it threatens the peace I ought to live in with other believers even when I disagree. Indeed, I’ve had heated discussions that broke fellowship with my brothers in Christ for some period of time.
In regard to patience, it threatens my ability to be gracious and understanding as I interact with those who have difficulty seeing and affirming the truth. Specifically, I have to be very attentive to this with my own family.
In regard to kindness, it threatens my ability to be charitable to the ideas of others.
In regard to goodness, it threatens the priority I place on practicing spiritual disciplines and cultivating virtue, as I feel the continual pull to bury my head in books.
In regard to faithfulness, it threatens my faithfulness to God himself, as I give more attention to man’s written word than God’s written Word.
In regard to gentleness, it threatens the way I interact with non-Christians as I strive against the urge to persuade using only the “resistless force of logic.”
In regard to self-control, it threatens the priorities I must have in place as I battle for balance between the intellectual life and God, family, church, and other priorities.
As we continue to cultivate an intellectual love for God, let us be on constant watch for these potential pitfalls, and let us attend to our own virtue and life in the Spirit with as much emphasis and passion as our intellectual life.
What kinds of questions are students asking? What kinds of doubts are they struggling with, and what kinds of objections bother them? Well, we just spent an entire weekend with about 1,000 students at the reTHINK conference, so we have some ideas. Plus, we're going to give students an opportunity to ask more of their questions. So if you're a student or you teach or parent students, join us tonight, 6:30–7:30 p.m. (PT). You can watch it all live right here, on YouTube, or on Google+.
We're hosting our third annual reTHINK Student Apologetics Conference this coming Friday and Saturday. Not only do we hope to provide some solid answers to students' most pressing questions, we also hope to carve out some safe space for students to even ask those questions. Because we have the truth, Christians don't have to be afraid of any question or objection. Indeed, every objection to the truth will be flawed by its very nature. So we will welcome students' questions at reTHINK. However, in a short day-and-a-half conference we just won't have time to answer them all. That's why we've extended the Q & A beyond reTHINK.
On Thursday, October 2nd, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. (PT), we will continue to answer students' questions at our "What Students Are Asking" live online event. We'll take the most-asked questions from the reTHINK Conference and explore them a bit more. And we'll give those students who attended the conference a chance to interact with us and even ask more of their questions. You're invited as well (you can watch the event from the blog, YouTube, or Google+—see here for all the details), so grab your students and join us next Thursday.
[Update: Watch a recording of the live event here.]
There are just 9 days left until the third annual reTHINK Student Apologetics Conference in Orange County, California on the 26th and 27th. At this conference we raise the bar of expectations for students and, at the same time, make the training accessible to their young minds. It's a challenging line to walk, but if the response from the first two years (over 1,000 people have attended) is any indication, we've found a way to be effective. reTHINK is a big undertaking, so why do we put all that energy and work into it? Because the church needs to recapture young minds with the truth: