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Sometimes you can be too smart for your own good.

Sometimes you can be too smart for your own good.

OCTOBER 19, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / Sometimes you can be too smart for your own good.

Steve Brown:
Hey, sometimes you can be too smart for your own good. Let’s talk, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
If you’re sick of guilt and manipulation and if you’re looking for an honest and thoughtful presentation of Biblical truth, you’ve come to the right place. This is Key Life with the founder of Key Life Network, Steve Brown. Keep listening for teaching that will make you free.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. We’re studying the book of Acts and we’ve just finished the 17th chapter in the first 15 verses, where Paul gets into trouble for preaching the cross. And we tried to find some answers for the question, why did he get into trouble? Now, we’re going to switch. And we’re going to talk about Paul’s encounter with intellectuals. I’ve been there, done that, and I’m not proud of it. I thought I was an intellectual once. One time Albert Schweitzer, the missionary to Africa and the famous Bach scholar, was building a hospital in the village where he was serving in Africa. And one of the young men walked by and Schweitzer said, could you come and help me? And he refused and Schweitzer asked why. And he said, because I’m an intellectual. And I love Albert Schweitzer’s response. He said to him, I thought I was an intellectual once. Well, we’re going to see what Paul does when he encounters intellectuals at Athens. And St. Luke writes follows.

Now while Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was provoked within him and he saw that the city was full of idols. So he argued in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who chance to be there. Some also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers met him. And some said, “What would this babbler say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of a foreign divinity”– because he preached Jesus and the resurrection. And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is, which you present? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. So Paul, standing in the middle of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship is unknown, this I proclaim to you isn’t the God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of harvest and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and health and everything. And he made from one every nation of men to live on the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; and even some of your poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold or silver or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he is fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead.” Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” so Paul went out from among them. But some men joined him and believed.

And so, there you have it, Paul dealing with intellectuals, and that’s a hard place to go sometimes because intellectual pride can be the most dangerous thing that can happen in your life. When you come to the point where you say, I’m confused, I don’t get it, I don’t understand, I am lost, whoa is me, then God can begin to use you. What Jesus said through a mouth of a child is true and it still is. There’s a child likeness to faith that contradicts the gigantic theological tones and the study and the hours and hours of being in a classroom. All of that’s good. All of that is positive and I’m sometimes teaching in a seminary. And I know that, but sometimes you have to say, I don’t understand. I don’t get it. I am in trouble here. The ocean is very big and my boat is very little. And when you get to that point, what happens is something that is quite different than happened in Athens. The intellectuals turned away, the children came running and believe me, that’s still true. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, guiding us into the second half of Acts 17 versus 16 through 34. Of course, we only had time to read through it today. So, please join us tomorrow, when we start digging further into the word. Have you heard about someone deconstructing their faith? Are you wondering what that means, exactly? If so, you’re not alone. Well, recently on Steve Brown Etc we spoke with author Trevin Wax about this subject and about how to show God’s love to those who are experiencing a crisis of faith. Take a listen to part of that conversation, then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer.

Trevin Wax: My goal with this book would be to say, you’ve put in your old Christian convictions under a lot of scrutiny, intense scrutiny. And you’ve doubted a lot of the things you’ve been taught, but what you need to do now to be fair, is you need to put your newfound faith under the same kind of scrutiny. You need to doubt some of the doubts that you’ve come to believe to be true. And so, a lot of times people will say, well, what do you mean newfound faith? I’m the one walking away from the faith, not exactly what’s happening. When you walk away from the faith, you still have beliefs, you still have assumptions, you still have things you think are true about the world, or about religion, or about the way things are, or the way things should be. The question now is to actually put yourself under the microscope and then to be able to put that newfound identity as the one who has deconstructed, to put that deconstruction process itself under deconstruction as well. I think that’s one of the ways it seems counterintuitive, but I think instead of just telling someone, just believe again, you know, just work your way back the other way. I want to say no, actually work farther towards the bottom of what it is that deconstruction process that you’re doing. And then begin to ask yourself questions that are going to lead to that kind of intense scrutiny of your new belief.

Steve Brown:
What would be just kind of quickly some of the areas that would be questioned in the new found faith?

Trevin Wax: Well, one would be, you know, just the entire way the narrative that you present your life and the way that you tell your Christian story, because the reality is all of us see ourselves as part of a story. All of us see our life in terms of a journey, to some extent, we just can’t help it. We are narrative creatures. And so, for many people, those who have gone through this process of deconstruction, basically tell their story this way. They tell their story as, I once was this unenlightened person who believed all of these things that were just hoisted on me by my religious community, but I became independent as a thinker, I thought through all of these things myself, I moved away from these silly superstitions of the past that actually weren’t that good for me. And actually weren’t that good for the world. And now I’m standing on my own two feet and I have this new identity as having walked away from that, that’s sort of this, I’ve freed myself from the church and from those behind me. And now I am moving forward as this, as this new individual. And what I would want to say is that’s a story that you may tell about yourself, but that story should also come under scrutiny. It lines up actually pretty well with the enlightenment understanding of humanity, you know, that the light came on in the 1700’s with the age of reason. And we’ve moved away from religion all these years. And now we’re on this upward trajectory toward more science and technology and things like that. And now you’re sort of joining the enlightened over against those who have come before you. That’s a faith in itself as well. And so, the purpose of this chapter is to say, don’t just interrogate Christianity. Interrogate the newfound faith that you are now subscribing to after having left Christianity, put that under the microscope as well. And you may find that some of the questions you ask, don’t find easy answers with that newfound faith.

Steve Brown:
So good.

Matthew Porter:
That was just a short clip, but as you heard, it was an encouraging and very practical discussion. If anyone in your life is going through this process, I know it’s going to help you a lot. Can we send you that conversation on a CD, for free? If so, just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794

in Canada, mail

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Just ask for your free copy of the CD about deconstructing faith, featuring Trevin Wax. And before you go, would you prayerfully consider partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? You could charge a gift on your credit card. You can include a gift in your envelope. Or join the growing number of folks who simply pick up their phone and text Key Life to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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