So I was really interested and encouraged to see the following pastoral caution; "What cautions do you have for the New Reformed Movement?" - from John Piper on my Twitter feed today. Piper was asked whether he had any warnings or cautions for the New Reformed Movement and he replied;
"I will give you one that is from a prophetic word given to me yesterday—take it or leave it".
That makes me sit up and take notice for starters - I love the fact that an intellect like John Piper doesn't have a problem hearing and accepting prophetic words - the prophetic and the mind are NOT enemies! Piper goes on;
"My caution concerns making theology God instead of God God. Loving doing theology rather than loving God ... We should be intellectually and emotionally more engaged with the person of Christ, the person of God—the Trinity—than we are with thinking about him. Thinking about God and engaging with him are inextricably woven together".
And then he goes on to make it explicit - emotions/intellect - they're all part of us and all belong together in our worship of God Himself;
"Intellectualism is a species of pride, because we begin to prize our abilities to interpret the Bible over the God of the Bible or the Bible itself" ... BUT ... "The danger on the other side is to say, "All that intellectual stuff, no, no, no. Doctrine, no. Intellect, no. Study, no. Experience, yes!" People who do this wind up worshipping a God of their own imagination".
I seize onto this warning because I've been in danger of this intellectual pride constantly myself since I began reading theology at university. I've sneered and looked down on church pastors who don't have as big a library as myself. I've judged sermons for their lack of quotes. And it is an UGLY, vile pride. Because why on earth does the God-given ability to read make me a better person than the humble, saintly dyslexic cleaner down the road?
By the way - that doesn't mean I'm giving up my books! But it is an apt reminder not to become so focused on theology that we miss WHO the theology is about - the Person - Jesus Christ.