Who is the cleverest Christian on the planet? Some answers below.


18/03/2014 by Chris Green


I was at a large church for a book launch, and the author was introduced as ‘One of the brightest theologians around. A Professor at the University of [prestigious name deleted].’

The problem was, he wasn’t. A bright guy, yes, but a junior lecturer. A bright guy, but this was his first book – and it was a popular paperback.

And I was at a large conference where several speakers were collectively lauded as ‘among the most intelligent people on the planet.’

Well, again they were bright. But none of them was a Don Carson or Jim Packer.

And I’m uneasy. I’m uneasy that the people introducing the speakers felt that this was a remotely appropriate way to introduce someone who is nothing but a steward of the King. And I’m uneasy that none of those introduced felt that they ought to demur. And I’m uneasy that both those events occurred in a British context; we used not to speak like that about each other.

Have we fallen into the Corinthian error of writing each other’s publicity, believing it, and then puffing the great ones on the conference circuit?

Have we made the rookie error of confusing intelligence (raw brain power) with wisdom?

Being in the Christian spotlight is a spiritually dangerous place to be, because the Evil One tempts us in twisted ways. Any musician on Sunday knows that, as does any preacher – give us a microphone and we think we’re someone special.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, ‘For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (1 Cor. 4:7). And, ‘For it is written: ‘”I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”‘ (1 Cor 1:19). And so on.

I’ve no idea who the most intelligent Christian on the planet is – and that’s an illuminating question, because it reveals we think that such a person would be well known. Yet she might be a recently converted Dalit road-sweeper for all we know.

But even the most intelligent of the well-known Christians has not a scrap of intelligence that is his or her own. And anyway, what counts is wisdom, which is the wisdom of the cross.

Let’s start behaving towards each other like we believe it.


7 thoughts on “Who is the cleverest Christian on the planet? Some answers below.

  1. Windy_London says:

    Possibly the greatest blog post ever by Amazon’s #1 ranked BST author

  2. David Ruddick says:

    Thanks for this, Chris. In similar vein, I’ve seen speakers lauded and hyped for being super-passionate / crystal-clear / top-quality – is the focus on the speaker, or on the king of whom they are speaking? It’s an easy trap to fall into, and I agree that it’s one that seems to be around more and more in UK publicity.

  3. Richard Weston says:

    Thank you Chris for this helpful and healthy reminder of our total dependence on the One alone who is good and wise. I always remember Dick Lucas commenting on his introduction to a church in Australia: “We welcome Dick Lucas to our church this morning. He’s going to teach us the Bible.” That’s all it needs!

  4. Hugh says:

    Firstly, the answer to your question is my tutor: The Revd. Dr. Dr. Matthew Sleeman.

    Secondly, this issue was discussed at the recent OH quiet day as Chris Ansberry (American) interviewed our speaker Julian Hardyman (Brit). The interview as often does was full of “banter” and some questions of a humorous nature. They noted that had he been speaking in the States it would have merely been a list of his qualifications and achievements.

    Perhaps our British humour does help us from puffing one another up too much!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Shortlisted for “Most Inspiring Leadership Blog, 2018”

New resource

Pastors are busy, and leading a church is a demanding task.  That’s why I wrote this e-bookchecklist: The Pastor’s Checkup – The Top 10 Questions every pastor needs to answer (and helpful stuff if you can’t)

There’s only way to get it is by subscribing to my  (occasional) email newsletter here.


God, Suffering and Joy

A conversation between me (with cancer) and Michael (with Multiple Sclerosis)

Legal stuff

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyse and optimise your content and reading experience. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

I welcome your participation on the Ministrynutsandbolts site, and invite you to share ideas elsewhere on what you learn and read here. At the same time, I ask that you respect my intellectual property rights in the process.

You are welcome to link to my site or any specific post on my site, extract and re-post less than 200 words on any other site, provided you link back to my original post, or print my posts in any non-commercial publication (e.g., company newsletter, class syllabus, church newsletter, etc.), provided you include this copyright notice: “© 2017 Chris Green. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.ministrynutsandbolts.com.”

Please do not do the following without written consent: Re-post one of my posts in its entirety anywhere else on the Internet, use this content for commercial purposes, including selling or licensing printed or digital versions of my content, or alter, transform, or build upon this work.

If you have some use for my content that is not covered here, please contact me. If you would like me to do a guest post on your blog, email me at ministrynutsandbolts@gmail.com

Copyright does not apply to the titles of books, but transparency means I should own that the title of the blog is taken from the excellent ‘Ministry Nuts and Bolts: What They Don’t Teach Pastors in Seminary ‘ by Aubrey Malphurs (Kregel: 2nd edn. 2009)

© 2018 Chris Green

%d bloggers like this: