With Heart and Mind


Reformed folk have not earned a reputation for hearts overflowing with love. We tend to be the cerebral ones, very careful to dot our theological I’s and cross our philosophical T’s. Given our peculiar gift, it is no small wonder that we react to the charge of having cold hearts with carefully reasoned arguments. Sometimes we stack syllogism upon syllogism to prove our warmth; other times we stack syllogism upon syllogism to prove that warm hearts are a bad thing to begin with. But all too often, the charges against us are true. Instead of constructing another argument, the proper thing is to repent and beseech God to inflame our hearts.

Our brothers in the charismatic movement have different problems and strengths, but they are not often accused of being cold. Perhaps, then, we Reformed might learn something from them.

As we compare our strengths, we need to see that they are but strengths. Charismatics are not ignoramuses with hearts bursting with love. Reformed folk are not eggheads with hearts made of ice. But such doesn’t mean that these tendencies don’t exist. And that they exist is not an excuse for a happy relativism. The answer to having half an equation cannot be found by affirming that both answers are half right. In short, all Christians need to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strengths.

Sound theology doesn’t deaden the heart. Neither does great zeal fuzzy up the mind. This is not a zero-sum game we are playing. We study carefully the things of God so that we might better love Him with reckless abandon. And our love for Him should drive us to precision in our study of Him. The mind ought not to say to the heart, “What need have I of thee?” and the heart should not speak such to the mind.

It is our contention that when it comes to the sign gifts, our charismatic brothers have not been sufficiently careful in their thinking. But we want also to give credit where it is due. We do have much to learn from our friends. Together we live coram Deo, before the face of God. Such a truth ought to melt our hearts of ice. Such a truth ought to drive us to praise. But it also ought to drive us to care in handling His Word. May we all be whole Christians, giving Him all that we are, in grateful adoration.

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