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Rick Nanez: Full Gospel, Fractured Minds?

 

Rick M. Nañez, Full Gospel, Fractured Minds?: A Call to Use God’s Gift of the Intellect (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2005), 235 pages.

This book is a first of its kind. While others have tackled the issue of intellectual laxity among evangelicals as a whole, Nañez, an Assemblies of God missionary, is the first to devote an entire volume to the issue as it relates to Pentecostals and charismatics.

The first four chapters are devoted to giving a biblical theology of the mind. He makes an admirable case that God gave us a brain with the intent that we would use it for his glory. He gives particular detail to the original Hebrew and Greek meanings for the words heart, mind, etc. In the second four chapters he very ably articulates the anti-intellectual bias of early Pentecostals and is careful to set this in the historical backdrop of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He demonstrates very clearly that this phenomenon not only included evangelicals but points to the de-emphasis on the mind in American pop culture as well, implying at least that Pentecostals are, at least to some extent, people of their times.

But in my opinion, he overstates the case, occasionally comes across like he has an axe to grind, and seems to be totally unaware of the great strides that have been made in Pentecostal scholarship in recent decades. To be specific, he justly commends Don Gee for his excellent scholarship, but unfortunately does not seem to be aware of Stanley Horton, William Menzies, Gordon Fee, Vinson Synan, Gary McGee and Edith Blumhofer, to a name a few, who have made substantial contributions to Pentecostalism over the last few decades, particularly in the area of theology and history. The list continues to grow as more and more Pentecostals have found their pens! Nañez’s failure to at least mention these is egregious.

Nañez invests the second half of the book pointing the way out of our mental malaise. He calls for a retuning of our educational values so that people are taught how to think, not simply what to think. He calls for the sanctified use of reason and logic, using these mental tools in doing theology and especially in the art of apologetics. He calls for a return to studying philosophy and the sciences, pointing out that many fathers of modern science were devoted Christians. In all of these subjects he articulates very well how one can love God with their mind.

But there are two problems with this part of the book. First, although the content is quite good, a senior colleague pointed out to me that Nañez is rather late. There are any number of colleges and universities sponsored by Pentecostals that provide a Bible based, Christ centered liberal arts education. Evangel University, an Assemblies of God school in Springfield, MO, has been doing this for over 60 years.

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Category: In Depth, Winter 2008

About the Author: Dave Johnson, M.Div., D.Miss. (Asia Graduate School of Theology, Philippines), is an Assemblies of God missionary to the Philippines. Dave and his wife Debbie have been involved in evangelism, church planting, and Bible school and mission leadership. Dave is the Managing Editor of Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies, the director of APTS Press in Baguio City, Philippines and coordinator for the Asian Pentecostal Theological Seminary's Master of Theology Program. http://apts.academia.edu/DaveJohnson Facebook Twitter

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