>As believers we have a tendency to depend solely on the emotional benefits of our belief and fail to draw in the necessity of sound thinking in light of God’s enabling us to do it. Thinking critically about scripture, the benefits, why we trust it, how we learn, etc. is just as important as when we trust God because He took care of…when…and I didn’t know how I was going to get out of it. We tend to depend on our own stories in this postmodern age for the sole assurance of our faith and what we tend to find in scripture and for the first few hundred years is that who Christ is was the reason for the persecution. Not so much about what I have gotten from Him. If you had to explain to someone why the bible is true and could not use your personal experience to support it what would you be able to say?
It is the critical thinking: the careful considerate evaluative observant Christian who yielded to the Spirit of God. And she is able to take what is given around her and process through what is known in light of the truth of scripture and walk by faith according to all things considered.
Critical Thinking should not be taken as we tend to define critical as being negative. But rather critical thinking involves rationality, honesty, open minded, time, patience, and discipline. Paul’s critical thinking is what made him admonish us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. It is the reason that Jesus repeatedly asks the disciples ‘don’t you understand.’ Critical thinking involves accurately interpreting, seeing the flaws in an argument, drawing the right conclusions, being led by the spirit and common grace sense, you hold to truth, looking for connections, and overcoming conclusions.
The following steps have been adapted from G. Ivan Hannel and Lee Hannel from National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: Raising the Bar 1998 article.
1. Get a good grasp of the information available. “What do you see?”
2. Compare the information looking for similarities and differences.
3. Congregate the themes. I have noticed I am a.., I tend to….when….happens, This is a place of ….
4. What needs to be done now? The truth is…and this is what I need to do now….even if it hurts.
5. Answer according to the truth. Be intentional.
6. Apply the principle to other circumstances. I see that this happens here…this is why scripture says….
7. What did we learn? About God, yourself, others. I can trust God….I need to love….I am a….
Critical thinking may seem a bit rigid but it is certainly better than falling, or struggling, or missing out and then asking yourself “how did I get here….?” And at the least you can find that dwelling on the things of God in light of all the moments in your life is certainly a better way to pass through a long life than merely just living out the day.