Knowing the source of all wisdom isn’t the same as knowing it all. Christians find themselves in the unique position of spiritual enlightenment, which has supernatural implications (1 Corinthians 2:6-14). Nonetheless, this knowledge should lead to maturity, not arrogance. There are three areas that can help evangelicals evaluate their perspective and wield their worldview with graciousness.
On the one hand, evangelicals seek to engage the world with a worldview informed by sound doctrine. Armed with catechisms, creeds, theology texts, and exegetical prowess, we may actually place more faith in our intellects than in the the one we claim to know. Do we really think that we have arrived at all the correct theological conclusions when scholars have disagreed for centuries? Are we more inclined to boast in what we know of Christ or in knowing Him?
Followers of Christ must consider well the implications of being puffed up with knowledge. After all, if we understand all mysteries and knowledge and have not love, we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2). The apostle reminds us if we imagine to know something, we don’t yet know as we ought and that being known by God is more significant and rooted in love (1 Corinthians 8:2-3). Boasting in our knowledge is nothing more than evangelical hubris.
On the other hand, evangelicals seek to engage the world in a manner that captivates. Armed with technology, spectacle, marketing strategies, and emotional appeal, we may actually place more faith in our feelings than in the one we claim to feel. Do we really think that our experiences carry more weight than objective truth? Are we more inclined to boast in how we personally know Christ or in knowing Him?
Followers of Christ must not solely rely upon their experiences, but seek to know God as He has chiefly revealed himself: in scripture. Otherwise, any knowledge of God would be subject to the whims of our roller coaster existence. There is a risk of creating an experience hierarchy where the broken, battered and weak are relegated to a lower spiritual status. But a bruised reed He will not break and a smoldering wick He will not quench. Matthew recalled these words of Isaiah as a reminder that Christ had fulfilled the prophet’s words in healing many and ordering them not to speak of it (Matthew 12:15-21). Boasting in our experience is nothing more than evangelical hubris.
Sometimes evangelicals come across like the first year college student who took introduction to Psychology and goes around psychoanalyzing everyone, except we’re not limited to psychology. We delve into areas like politics, science, sociology, and education as if we were experts in each field. While we should seek to be light and salt in a world of darkness and decay, that does not mean we are omnicompetent. Are we more concerned with knowing it all or in knowing the one who actually does?
Followers of Christ must carry out their vocation and find their voice in the culture, but with a posture of grace. Whether around the water cooler or on social media, an attitude of pride actually makes impact diminish the more we speak. God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise and sent Christ to become wisdom for us; therefore, “let the one boasts boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). Anything less is evangelical hubris.
Christians are tempted to think of themselves more highly than they ought to think whether in knowledge or experience. But knowledge and experience should lead to wisdom not brash radio talk show versions of the Christian faith. Let all who seek wisdom and spiritual power endeavor with the apostle to know nothing except Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). This should lead to evangelical humility, not evangelical hubris.