Editorial: Taking Every Thought Captive to Christ -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 07:4 (Winter 2003)
Article: Editorial: Taking Every Thought Captive to Christ
Author: Stephen J. Wellum


Editorial: Taking Every Thought Captive to Christ

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Associate Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Wellum received his Ph.D. degree in theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has also taught theology at the Associated Canadian Theological Schools and Northwest Baptist Theological College and Seminary in Canada. He has contributed to several publications and a collection of essays on theology and worldview issues.

The apostle Paul summarizes the heart of the theological task—indeed the heart of the Christian ministry—in the memorable words: “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor 10:4–5 ESV). Crucial to developing a Christian worldview is to conform all of our thinking, attitudes, and behavior to the authority and teaching of God’s Word. Thus, in order to learn how to think and live biblically, godly, and faithfully in today’s world, it is imperative that we learn how to evaluate all ideas, thoughts, and viewpoints in light of Scripture.

Sadly though, we have to admit that too many times the Christian community has not carried out Paul’s example and exhortation consistently. Instead, more times than not, we have followed what liberal theologian Paul Tillich dubbed “the method of correlation.” This method attempts to correlate “equally” the teaching of Scripture with contemporary thought (whether that is the latest from science, philosophy, or history) with the admirable goal of taking every thought captive to Christ. However, as employed by most of its practitioners, it normally leaves the authority of Scripture far behind and instead places center-stage whatever is current in contemporary secular thought. In the end, rather than teaching Christians to bring all thought under the Lordship of Christ, it encourages us to re-interpret Scripture in the categories, structures, and values of whatever is deemed acceptable in our present-day world. This observation, unhappily, can be verified in a number of areas in which Christians have sought to correlate their Christian faith with perceived “non-theological” disciplines. Thus, for example, methodological naturalism is viewed as a given in much of contemporary philosophy, science, and historical research, including even biblical and theological studies, thus guaranteeing and biasing the discussion from the outset.

But it is not only in the above areas that Christians have let secular thought drive the agenda; it has also been in the area of psychology. In fact, over the last century we have seen massive shifts in the outlook of our culture t...

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