Why Christians slide into spiritual apathy, and how they can recover.
Believers often describe the Christian life as a series of peaks and valleys, with periods of joyful discipleship followed by seasons of spiritual listlessness. Uche Anizor, a professor at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology, writes for those trudging through the valley in Overcoming Apathy: Gospel Hope for Those Who Struggle to Care. Matthew LaPine, a pastor and author on topics of theology and human psychology, spoke with Anizor about the causes of spiritual apathy and the pathway back to a passionate pursuit of God.
What motivated you to write a book on apathy among Christians?
There are two motivations. One comes from experiences early on in my Christian life, particularly when I worked with Campus Crusade for Christ. Basically, my job was to mentor students and do regular evangelism. However, there were many days when I would dread facing these monumental spiritual tasks. It troubled me: I had raised support to do this, but when it came time to do it, I didn’t really want to. Fear of evangelism was probably a factor. But overall, there was a general “blahness” in my attitude. During that time, I told people over and over that my main vice as a Christian was being an apathetic person. So I wanted to get my mind around why that was.
My other motivation comes from having mentored lots of students during my years at Biola. They struggle with typical stuff, but I think the main thing is just not caring about their spiritual life. Intellectually, they know the importance of knowing theology, loving Jesus, and living the Christian life. But they can’t get themselves to care the way they know, deep down, they should.