Send out your light and your truth! Let them guide me. Psalm 43:3
Volume 7 | Issue 1
Noetic Sanctification: Using Critical Thinking to
Facilitate Sanctification of the Mind
Bryce F. Hantla
The College of Biblical Studies-Houston, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hantla, Bryce F. (2014) "Noetic Sanctification: Using Critical Thinking to Facilitate Sanctification of the Mind," Christian Perspectives in Education, 7(1).
Available at: http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cpe/vol7/iss1/3
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Hantla: Critical Thinking and Sanctification
There has been a longstanding battle between faith and reason in theological discourse. This battle vacillated for the last several centuries in the history of the church between Thomistic and Augustinian thinking, and the balance has never satisfactorily been struck. This paper proposes that the academic discipline of critical thinking (CT) can be adapted into other Christian disciplines to help facilitate a process that the theological literature has come to regard as noetic sanctification (Peels, 2011), namely, the sanctification of human cognitive processing. The method of this argument is to utilize CT as a faithbased diagnostic tool to help the believer combat the pervasive noetic effects of sin. Despite a number of authors having previously called for a kind of noetic sanctification to combat these noetic effects (Frame, 1987; Hantla, 2014;
Hoitenga, 2003; Moroney, 2000, 2001), to the best of this author’s knowledge, no specific model for noetic sanctification has yet been developed. This paper thus proposes four pillars of CT that can be applied in the Christian discipline of noetic sanctification (or “renewal of the mind”): 1) CT is a broad term involving multiple aspects of an individual’s approach to the issue and life in general, 2) the education of individuals brings them out of the intellectual development of the classroom to the development of CT dispositions, 3) CT necessitates being conversant with multiple perspectives throughout the process of thinking and learning, and 4) CT involves an intimate awareness of self with respect to assumptions, biases, and motivation.
This paper is constructed as follows: Section 2 offers a brief definition of
CT and then draws four applicable syntheses for use in Christian educational contexts. Section 3 outlines a biblical exposition for the noetic effects of sin and then identifies key biblical passages to derive a rationale for noetic sanctification through CT as it is defined in Section 2. Finally, Section 4 applies CT concepts to noetic sanctification as a Christian discipline.
A Brief Review of the CT Literature
The discipline of CT is a much-debated topic in a number of academic disciplines, but three main areas have devoted a large amount of literature to the topic. Philosophy, psychology, and education have extensive amounts of literature devoted to CT and have interpreted years of empirical findings to arrive at some generally agreed-upon definitions of CT within each field. These definitions generally differ within themselves in terms of emphasis, and they differ among these three disciplines in specific terminologies used. This section briefly looks at each of these three disciplines’ definitions for CT. Next, some syntheses are proffered to parsimoniously transfer CT into a usable noetic sanctification model for Christian discipleship in Christian education.
Although various discourses differ in terms of their goals for defining CT
(See Lai, 2011; and Lewis and Smith, 1993, for definitions from cognitive
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