Pristine Grace

Response to Questions About Article Regarding Head / Heart Dichotomy
by Brandan Kraft
Response to Questions About Article Regarding Head / Heart Dichotomy

The following were questions I received regarding my article Is There A Head and Heart Dichotomy?

Question #1:  What do you mean by academic exercise?  

Brandan's Answer: An academic exercise means being able to parrot back Gospel propositions but not believing them.  I'm reminded of old friends Anthony Lawson and Michael Hughes who could argue for Gospel propositions better than most I've seen.  But they both left the Gospel and are now avowed atheists.  The Gospel was just a temporary intellectual fascination for them.  A "play thing" if you will.  They didn't really believe it despite their claims and all other appearances they gave me.  They just studied for the test, passed the test, and when they no longer desired to be seen as believers, they revealed their true belief to us.

Question #2: How can orthodoxy, which includes propositional truth as well as its logical implications, be cold and dead?

Brandan's Answer: Technically, doctrine is neither alive or dead.  "Orthodoxy" is just a collection of doctrinal propositions which are indeed true.  But what I mean is orthodoxy is DEAD OR MEANINGLESS TO THE INDIVIDUAL if it's not believed because the person who does not believe is indeed spiritually dead and cannot discern the truth.  Anyone can answer questions for an exam.  But are those answers truly believed and subsequently loved?  If not, those answers are really dead and meaningless to the person taking the exam.  Maybe the person just wants to "pass" so they can fit in with their peers.  That's how tares grow up around the wheat.

Question #3:  Aren't you dichotomizing head and heart by asserting our hearts reveal how well we understand a truth in our mind? 

Brandan's Answer: No.  I simply am saying if your heart (a product of the understanding) is not changed, maybe you don't understand and believe the Gospel and your speech is simply a product of studying to pass the test that I mentioned above.  It's not about "how well" you understand.  I don't believe in "head knowledge vs. heart knowledge."  Although I usually don't get all that upset when I hear it.  But I do believe that The Holy Spirit produces fruit in ALL OF HIS REGENERATE PEOPLE.  FAITH is part of this fruit.  This FRUIT also includes LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GOODNESS, and GENTLENESS (Gal 5:22).  ALL of this fruit is present in varying degrees in every believer.  The HEART IS CHANGED by NECESSARY CONSEQUENCE of BELIEVING the truth through Holy Spirit regeneration (which I believe is epistemological).  

Question #4:  If there is no difference between head and heart, then how can our hearts reveal something inconsistent about our minds? 

Brandan's Answer: The heart is the product of the mind.  We preach to the WHOLE being of the man - his AFFECTIONS (the heart which is part of the mind) as well as his UNDERSTANDING (mind).  There is NO DICHOTOMY when it comes to saving faith.  If one's affections are NOT CHANGED, it makes me think maybe one doesn't TRULY UNDERSTAND AND BELIEVE.  I long for God's people to be truly changed and to show forth fruit by UNDERSTANDING AND BELIEVING the Gospel - and not just given the ability to pass the exam so to speak.  And so when I say I believe in preaching to the heart it means I am encouraging folks to examine their affections and desire to have them changed by God as well.  Let's examine our love, our joy, our peace, our longsuffering, our goodness, and our gentleness in addition to our faith.  Let's examine our thoughts, our desires, and affections (all of these are thoughts which are product of the mind.  The heart is technically thoughts).  We are thankful for the faith that God gives us, but God's people will desire to have the Spirit produce ALL FRUIT in them as well.  And I am in no way saying that I believe love and gentleness should be misconstrued as assurance.  Faith is assurance.  But still, there is a measure of love that will be produced in all of God's people.  God's people will walk in good works, but they don't look to them for assurance.