Anti-intellectualism in the American Church is Not a Spiritual Gift

by Rob Lundberg

Over the past few months, even years, I have been wrestling with a gnawing issue on why the church is not amenable to apologetics. This is evidenced by the overwhelming anti-intellectualism that has been plaguing the church ever since 1859 when Darwin wrote his On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life as well as other influences.

This post is by no means going to be exhaustive, and I will be referring to others who have cogently written on this same subject. We share in this burden and are seeking ways to show that “ignorance” about why we believe is not a spiritual gift, nor is it found in Scripture.[1]

What I am going to share in this post is share a few cases where I myself have been engaging this phenomenon, and then post some concerns. Finally I will show how this mindset is going to be what one calls the “American Church’s Jailor“[2] by showing what harm this anti-intellectualism mindset brings to the church in America.  The approach will be found in answering four questions, with some answers being longer than others.

In the end, I will provide other postings on this subject so that you can research this further.

What is Anti-intellectualism?

When speaking of this subject, it is important to clarify terms.  Merriam Webster defines anti-intellectualism as “the state of opposing or [being] hostile to intellectuals or to an intellectual view or approach” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).  So in general, anti-intellectualism appears to be the suspicion or opposition toward any intentional cultivation of the intellect. This can refer to American culture and not just the church.  In speaking to the matters where anti-intellectualism has infiltrated the church, we see it in an opposition toward cultivating the mind, which has resulted in placing a stranglehold on the church.

In the practical sense, this anti-intellectualism has become a scandal and a sin that reflects a disobedience to the Great Commandment of Jesus in Matthew 22:37 in congruency with Romans 12:2. It is unbiblical and it is what J. P. Moreland considers to be the “Trojan horse”[3] within the walls of the church…

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