A stupid Christian is someone who does not really know what they believe or why and cannot explain their beliefs to non-believers. An ignorant Christian is a contradiction in terms, according to the Bible. Below, I offer three observations about this issue.
First, saving faith in Jesus Christ requires knowledge of certain facts, such as, who he is and why we should trust in him. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” This simple proclamation of the gospel assumes that we understand at least these concepts: what confession means, who Jesus is, what being the Lord is all about, what belief is, what “in your heart” signifies, the importance of resurrection, what salvation is, and why we need it.
Second, human beings are created in the image of God, meaning we are thinkers. We can learn. We possess intellectual curiosity. But consider this dichotomy. Typically, many of us invest many years, and sometimes a lot of money, to get a university degree. Why do we invest such time and money? So that we can qualify for a job that earns a higher salary, which buys a better lifestyle. That’s fine, as far as it goes, but it is more than a little ironic. Why is it wise to obtain a university degree to succeed in this world, but it is acceptable for Christians to be ignorant? To put it another way, we seek university education to prosper in this life, but we do not often seek even a primary school education for biblical-theological knowledge that is profitable in both this world and the next.
Third, the Bible teaches that part of worship involves the development of our minds. Jesus said in Mark 12:30, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Clearly, a primary use of our intellectual ability is knowing God’s revelation. We should know in whom we believe and why. We should understand our key doctrines. We should discern good and evil, and wisdom and folly. In fact, a key part of spiritual maturity is growing in the knowledge and wisdom of God (2 Tim 2:15; Titus 1:9; Heb 5:11–6:2; 1 Pet 3:15).
Consider these diagnostic questions:
Are you growing mentally as a believer or are you still a toddler?
Where do you get information and is it reliable?
Who tells you how to spend money and invest your time?
Who tells you how to flourish as a human being?
What ideas and worldviews define your identity and purpose in life?
Who are your role models? Why?
What, in your opinion, is worth living and dying for?
Are you susceptible to conspiracy theories?
Do you read thoughtful material, or do you mostly watch TV, look at your phone or You Tube?
Finally, the lesson here for you and me is simple. We are stewards of our intellect, and we must learn to love God with our mind. God will use whatever intellectual ability and knowledge we have. He is not asking us to become intellectual giants or earn advanced degrees. But he demands that we develop our individual potential―and use it. The only real qualification is our availability and self-discipline to learn.