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Why Christians Can and Should Enrich Other Thought

In our first piece, we introduced LACE (Listen, Affirm, Critique, Enrich) as an atittude that Christian academics might have toward mainstream thought.

This piece jumps directly to enriching, and discusses briefly: Why Christians can and should enrich other thought? Enriching is instead of opposing or acquiescing to other thought. It gives several brief suggestions why, then briefly looks at why not oppose or acquiesce.

We can and should enrich other thought ...

Because we are called to be like Christ in both behaviour and attitude, who came to serve rather than dominate (Philippians 2).

Because we are called to be winsome and attractive for Christ (Verse needed).

Because we are called to "Do good to all people ..." (Galatians 6:10, Ephesians 2:10, II Timothy 3:16-17).

Because humanity is called to 'rule' Creation in such as way that it images God and God's character to the rest of Creation - which includes opening up its potential for the good of all, not just for our own good. (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:19-20) (I take Gen 2:19-20 as affirming the scientific enterprise as well as other things.)

Because Creation is eagerly awaiting the 'revealing' of the mature 'sons' of God, who will treat it aright and bring blessing to it (Romans 8:19)

Because Jesus asked that here on earth as in heaven, the Father's Name would be honoured, Kingdom and rule come, and will be done (Matthew 6:9-10).

Because, even while we are being persecuted we are still called to bless and not curse the others, to forgive and pray for our persecutors, and to bring good (I Peter 3:8-16; Matthew 5:43-48). Apparently the early Christians did so. Persecution is no excuse not to.

We should not oppose or acquiesce to other thought, because ...

Why should we not be governed by attitudes of opposing, ignoring or acquiescing to non-Christian thought? I hold that each might be appropriate in very specific circumstances but not as a general approach.

Opposing: Because we are called to bless and be a blessing to the rest of Creation, including all the world - and thus enrich. However when people oppose us we can be ready to argue against them. But that should be the exception not the rule.

Ignoring: Jesus advises "Do not cast your pearls before swine nor what is holy to dogs", suggesting a disengagement. However, that seems not to be a primary command but a secondary qualification of the more primary rule "do not judge" (Matthew 7:1-6). Though occasionally it might prove to be a waste of time trying to enrich other thought, in most situations it is very fruitful to offer enrichment.

Acquiescing: We are always to maintain criticality towards all thought: Romans 12:1-2. Once, Jesus acquiesced, when he advised Peter to pay the tax - but I take that to be an exception in that particular circumstance.

Instead of opposing, ignoring or acquiescing, we should prophetically challenge and stimulate.

End

In the next two pieces, we will look at (a) how we might enrich (one possible way I have found useful), (b) enrichment in the opposite direction: how the world's thought might enrich Christian thought.


Here are the elements of LACE:


Author: Andrew Basden.

First created 26 September 2020. Last updated. 20 December 2020 prophetically challenge. 16 January 2021 links. 18 January 2021 links.