Reading Reflection:

Brian Lee, “Is Reformation Christianity Just for Eggheads?,” Modern Reformation 21, No.5 (September-October 2012): 17-20. Rev. Dr. Brian Lee is the pastor of Christ United Reformed Church in Washington, DC. I had the opportunity to have a short conversation with him at a conference I attended last October. He certainly didn’t come off as an egghead. But he’s asks and answers a good question in this article for Modern Reformation:
At lunch with a prospective church member, I described the process of joining our church: a six to ten-week membership class that introduces our church’s teaching in its confessions, its worship and life together, and an extensive interview to examine a candidate’s profession of faith and knowledge of the catechism. He shook his head and said, “Man, this is a lot of stuff. Do you ever worry that the Reformed church is just for smart people?”
I’ve heard comments like this before--especially when it comes to theology. Sometimes people want to pit faith against knowledge.  But our faith involves a confession—it has content. When someone tells me that they “don’t need to get into all that theological stuff” because they have faith, I ask them who their faith is in. Of course, they tell me Jesus Christ. Well, who is Jesus Christ? These are theological questions. We are all theologians, as John Gerstner put it in his book Theology for Every Man, the question is whether we are good ones or bad ones. So how did our non-egghead pastor answer the question? He acknowledges that this is a concern for him: “I don’t want to preach a white-collar Christ in merely an intellectually stimulating way.” And yet, Lee admits that “in one sense it is undeniable that confessional Christianity demands a greater engagement with one’s brain.” That makes sense to me. After all, God did give us a brain. But Lee put it in much more impressive words:
The justification for a robustly confessional Christianity must be grounded first in the character of our covenant-making God, a God who speaks truth into a world under the sway of the deceiver.”
Lee points out that the Bible itself is a defense for this. It is a pretty substantial covenant-treaty document. However, I never really thought about something that Lee elucidated--It was the finger of God that wrote the very first words of Scripture, the ten commandments. He also providentially raised up Moses, “a royal-bred messenger (probably one of the few people who could actually read them).” The common recipients of this covenant were expected to learn these words and teach them as well. “God’s revelation demands literacy of his people.” And the five books that Moses wrote teaching about our Creator and his covenant relationship with his people are impressive literary works indeed. Think about how amazing this feat was in the ancient world! The rest of the article goes through the different writers of Scripture, the early church with its extensive catechesis, and people God has used for reform. It’s a great article that I recommend to you. It also got me thinking about literacy in early America. The public schools were formed so that everyone could read their own Bible. When you think of all the trouble the reformers went through to bring God’s Word back to the laity, it really does make you wonder why we would complain about actually learning what it says.