What is the role of the intellect in the life of faith?
Jesus commanded us to love God with our minds—but why? Isn’t simply believing enough? Confused on this point, many Christians choose to focus only on the role of their hearts in shaping their faith and consider that adequate. Some Christians go even further, arguing that knowledge exists in opposition to faith—that one must choose either the truth of science or the truth of the Bible.
The reality is that our formation into Christlikeness relies heavily on our minds and that Christian belief is about thinking more, not less. Far from being a threat, the intellect is central to faith—so long as it is treated as an instrument of worship rather than as the object of worship.
Knowledge for the Love of God is for followers of Jesus needing to better understand the crucial connection between faith and rationality. Timothy Pickavance shows how learning about who God is and what he has done, is doing, and will do draws us closer to him—just as in any relationship. With stories from his own experiences wrestling with this aspect of faith, Pickavance relates a compelling vision of how cultivating the intellect strengthens our Christian worldview, helps us gain freedom in Christ, and enables us to love God with our whole being. Discussion questions at the end of each chapter make this a book to be fruitfully shared among fellow believers desiring a deeper faith—one of heart, soul, strength, and mind.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Lee Strobel Prologue 1. Spring 2006: Why Write This Book? Part One: Knowledge 2. Does Jesus Really Care about Knowledge? 3. Is Truth Objective? 4. Can Our Religious Beliefs Be Reasonable? Part Two: Knowledge and Life with Jesus 5. Is Faith Compatible with Knowledge? 6. Knowledge for the Love of God Part Three: Complications 7. Can We Know Anything Apart from Science? 8. Can We Know Something Simply Because the Bible Says It’s So? 9. Can We Maintain Christian Belief in a Pluralistic World? Epilogue 10. The Way Forward Notes Index
Timothy Pickavance is associate professor and chair of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, and scholar in residence at Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Newport Beach, California, where he is also a ruling elder. He is the coauthor, with Robert C. Koons, of both Metaphysics: The Fundamentals and The Atlas of Reality: A Comprehensive Guide to Metaphysics.
“This new book by Timothy Pickavance is like a great conversation with someone who cares about truth and faith in equal measure. It builds a convincing case for the vital importance of knowledge in the Christian life and intersperses great personal stories with needed philosophical points. Highly recommended!” — Tom Morris author of The Oasis Within and Plato’s Lemonade Stand
“In this beautiful book, Timothy Pickavance shows that the free and abundant life that Jesus offers is facilitated by the life of the mind and especially by knowledge. We know many things, but what’s the purpose of knowledge? This question sounds abstract, but as Pickavance shares his own journey and struggles as a Christian, the question becomes concretely alive and relevant. Using stories from his own life, Pickavance guides you through critical issues such as how knowledge can set you free, how we can know things apart from science, and how we can acquire knowledge from the Bible. He shows how all knowledge is for the love of God: both to love God and to be loved by God. For anyone seeking to go deeper in the abundant life offered by Jesus, this heartfelt book is essential reading.” — Robert K. Garcia coeditor of Is Goodness without God Good Enough? A Debate on Faith, Secularism, and Ethics
“Timothy Pickavance wonderfully avoids the traps of naïve gullibility or blind faith on the one hand and depersonalized and arrogant rationalism on the other. He ably situates the Christian faith reasonably within scientific methodology and the place of stories or testimonies, helping us rightly value knowledge in a way that both resonates with our experience and appropriately leans upon God’s self-revelation. Don’t apologize for the mind God gave you, but do recognize the strengths and limits of our reason.” — Kelly M. Kapic author of You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News
“This is the book I searched for in vain when my daughters were in high school and college. But now it’s available, and I am so, so pleased about how good it is. Professor Pickavance has managed to put a lot of life-changing philosophical content into a conversational, easy-to-read style. It feels like Pickavance is a wise old friend sitting down to have a chat with the reader. Chock full of interesting and clarifying illustrations, Knowledge for the Love of God manages to drill down on one of the deepest topics facing humankind: What, exactly, is knowledge, why is it important that we gain it, and how does it relate to the love of Jesus and our pilgrimage—our real, practical, pilgrimage with him in his kingdom? Pickavance combines wisdom, knowledge, and insightful application to being a Jesus follower with an integrative approach and a warm, even funny, tone. This is now the go-to book for churches, parachurch groups, and philosophical, theological, worldview, and spiritual-formation courses in high school and college. I couldn’t put it down and read it straight through! What a joy!” — J. P. Moreland author of Scientism and Secularism: Learning to Respond to a Dangerous Ideology
“In our age of deconstruction, this timely book will benefit seekers and believers alike in reconstructing a faith that is situated on a strong foundation of grace and truth.” — Derwin L. Gray author of How to Heal Our Racial Divide: What the Bible Says, and the First Christians Knew, about Racial Reconciliation
“I highly recommend Timothy Pickavance’s Knowledge for the Love of God! It is an important go-to book that explores the Christian faith as a knowledge tradition, and it is a wise guide for a wide audience on an array of crucial issues related to truth, reason, faith, morality, and knowledge—including personal knowledge of God. The challenges of scientism, postmodernism, moral relativism, and religious pluralism are only apparent and do not at all undermine the stability, integrity, truth, and reasonableness of the Christian faith.” — Paul Copan author of Loving Wisdom: A Guide to Philosophy and Christian Faith
“You have no doubt heard various messages about whom or what you should follow: follow your heart, follow the news, follow your nose, follow the money, follow the crowd, follow the rules, follow the ancient paths, and more. How do we know whom or what to follow? Jesus said, ‘Follow me.’ What does it look like to follow the evidence and follow Christ? We cannot think of a more trustworthy and sincere guide into this subject than our friend Timothy. This book will show you how the knowledge of God changes everything and how it will lead you to worship.” — Dave and Gloria Furman author of Being There and Kiss the Wave (Dave) author of Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full and Labor with Hope (Gloria)
“Too many people today profess love for a God of their own making rather than the one true God who revealed himself in Scripture. The fundamental problem is precisely what Timothy Pickavance points to in this book: the disconnect between knowledge about and knowledge of God. If we want to be sure we love the God who is actually there, we need to first engage the mind in knowing about him. Knowledge for the Love of God is a succinct and wonderfully helpful guide for helping Christians make that crucial—and life-changing—connection. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to better understand the role of the mind in one’s spiritual life.” — Natasha Crain author of Faithfully Different: Regaining Biblical Clarity in a Secular Culture
“This book is a wonderful guide for young Christians who want to know how to live the Christian life thoughtfully and intentionally today. Since Dr. Pickavance works with students, he has his finger on the pulse of the unique challenges they face living out their faith today. Knowledge for the Love of God is a biblical, insightful, and practical book every young Christian should read.” — Sean McDowell author of A Rebel’s Manifesto: Choosing Truth, Real Justice, and Love amid the Noise of Today’s World
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