I started my project about Christians of different Myers Briggs types because of comments I’ve received from INTP Christians. INTPs are often stereotyped as the “least religious type” and hearing from so many INTPs made me curious about how different types approach their faith. And so I’m very excited to share this post where we dive-into the perspective of INTP Christians.
This is the fourth post in a series talking with Christians of different personality types. When you start discussing faith with different people of different types, you notice not all the personalities feel equally valued and understood in Christian churches. If Christianity is a faith meant for all people why aren’t we doing a better job of connecting with all personality types?
Our walks with God don’t all look the same. We’re influenced by our backgrounds, variations in beliefs, and individual personalities. And even though the goal is for us all to become “like God,” that doesn’t mean we become indistinguishable from each other. God created great variety in people and I believe He did that for a reason. So let’s spend today’s post hearing from and talking about the unique perspectives of INTP Christians. I also want to take a moment to thank the five INTPs who got in touch with me, shared their perspectives, and let me quote them.
Identifying With Bible Characters
The first question I asked people was which Bible characters and/or stories they identified with most. The INTPs’ choices reflect highly individual thought processes and ways of relating to the Bible. The only overlap is that several INTPs explain their choices by saying they personally identify with an aspect of their chosen character’s story.
Meredith says she relates to Moses not wanting to confront Pharaoh “probably because he didn’t want to come across as stupid and weak,” “to Asa, doing good stuff and being devoted for a while, and then pouting at God’s disciplinary measures when I messed up,” and to Solomon, who “was a very intellectual person.” Anonymous commenter kittyess also mentioned Solomon, but in her case it’s because he was “struggling with the apparent meaninglessness of life yet trying to find joy and contentment in life through God.” The fact that two INTPs mentioned Solomon, together with this type’s interest in digging down to the truth of the matter, is the reason I chose a quote from Ecclesiastes for this post’s title.
Apryl is another INTP who resonates with a character because of how she interprets his motivations. She writes, “My favorite Bible character has to be Samson. … Most people look at him as though he was a mindless brute, but I think he was sorely misunderstood. He was a Nazarite from birth, and so had no say in the matter. And by the time he met Delilah, he was probably tired of his own reputation. He wanted … to have someone admire and love him for who he was, instead of for what he was.”
Ralph said, “I love the story of Nathanael, the story of Nicodemus. I love the creation story. And then of course I love the letters of Paul.” And one INTP who responded under the name ms4runr said, “have never identified with any biblical character that I can think of. Sometimes lately, I think of Peter and his tendency to blurt out things before he has completely engaged his mind.”
Frustrated Gifts and Talents
Most of the INTPs I heard from know they have gifts. They’re just frustrated trying to use them. For Apryl, the frustration is largely rooted in gender expectations (a common problem for Thinking-type women). She writes, “While I can cook a mean casserole, I would much rather be discussing apologetics or doctrine, so the women’s duties in the church as well as women’s Bible studies are not particularly interesting or challenging to me.” Not only is she frustrated because she isn’t encouraged to use her knowledge and gifts, but she’s also frustrated because she doesn’t “have the aptitude for service or the natural gift for nurturing and comforting” that’s expected from women in her church.
Meredith also mentioned this problem. She writes that “as a woman, people expect me to be able to listen to problems and react compassionately but I tend to either try to solve their problems, or feel like a jerk for talking about myself when I try to relate and explain that I understand how they feel.” She also writes that people have stopped asking her to get involved because, in her words, “I haven’t delivered very good results in the past.”
Other INTPs have found a way to use some of their talents. Kittyess enjoys mentoring others and “talking one-on-one about life, faith, challenges, etc.” She does find it difficult to make those connections, though, and wishes the church would support a mentorship program. When she is in a situation where she can teach it goes very well and she says, “Many people have told me that my writing has encouraged, challenged, or otherwise benefited them in their walk with God.” (Meredith also mentions writing as a gift, though she wasn’t sure how to use her talent in the church directly.)
Ralph also mentions that he’s “considered a good teacher.” However, he adds that he is “dying a slow death” as he holds himself back from using all his gifts. In particular, he says, “I find it very hard to use my intuition in church.” He finds that people do not respond well to his ideas and insights into the “concepts and principles of in the bible” because “my ideas and my views are not of the typical Christian type” and they’re seen as impractical.
As made clear by the fact that I heard from five INTPs when writing this post and know at least three others in-person who are Christians, the INTP personality isn’t necessarily anti-religious. It does, however, seem that they are unconventional in the way they approach their faith. We touched on this when talking about their gifts and talents, but it merits a closer look. INTPs are a fairly rare personality type and on top of that they don’t tend to blend into social situations as easily as the more rare INFJs (for example). It’s very likely they’ll be misinterpreted and stand-out among their fellow believers. This can frustrate the people around them as well as the INTPs.
Kittyess struggles with certain tasks seen as “normal” for Christians to do. She wants “other people to know the Gospel and to believe it as true,” but has “a hard time determining when and how to share it.” She goes on to say, “I don’t want to force my beliefs on someone, I want them to follow Jesus because they have experienced His love and desire to know Him. So I’m usually better in encouraging people who are seeking or new believers, rather than convincing people to consider Christ.”
On a more personal level, kittyess shares, “while I can understand and believe in deep theological/spiritual truths, and communicate about them in unique ways, I struggle with living them out in daily life/in a practical way.” She thinks this has to do with being an intuitive type rather than one that’s more in touch with the sensory world. Ms4runr also mentioned she’s had struggles with learning how to follow God. She writes, “My biggest challenge as a Christian is to follow God in true relationship, doing what I hear from the Father, rather than another’s agenda. Separating from this has been traumatic yet freeing.”
Search For The Right Fellowship
The biggest struggles for INTP Christians seem to revolve around their relationships with other believers. One INTP woman who has been a Christian for 35 years (screen name ms4runr) says that even though she returned to church “strictly for fellowship” after leaving for several years, she still has difficulty connecting with people. In the past, she has tried to start small home groups to fill her craving for “in-depth conversation about God” but the people weren’t interested. Her brethren are being friendly in their own way, but not in the way that connects with an INTP. She writes, “I am not comfortable engaging in small talk with people. I do not feel connected until I have had meaningful and usually intense spiritual discussions. I need to connect through my head first, then heart.”
Connecting at a heart level doesn’t come natural for Apryl either. She struggles “to like others and enjoy their company, to help others and ask for the help of others. It’s difficult to ‘not forsake the gathering of the believers’ because I don’t particularly enjoy the groups of people with whom I’m encouraged to associate. Being social is difficult enough as it is, and because I can’t find many people that I can connect with in the way that is satisfying, substantive, and meaningful, it’s easier for me to go to church, listen to the sermon, and exit stage left as quickly as possible.”
Because Apryl isn’t comfortably social in the way other people expect, she says, “I’m then seen as cold and aloof (which I’m totally not!), instead of a soul tortured by small talk and disappointed by the lack of connection.” Similarly, Meredith says she feels like she’s not taken seriously because, “I think I can come across as cold and unfeeling when I should come across as compassionate, and I come across as too impractical for more direct people. … I think it would be a bit better if I were a man, but since I’m not, I’m more like the wrong side of a magnet and people avoid me and my awkwardness after a couple interactions.”
The expectation to socialize is hard on Ralph as well. He’s a teacher in his local church and part of the international apostolic network, yet struggles with expectations that go along with those roles. He writes, “People expect me to feel something in worship, get excited by examples and testimonies, [and] spend time with as many people as possible after church so nobody feels neglected.” But those things don’t come naturally to him.
Ralph also said the church today doesn’t seem to be for people of his personality type. He says “The church today is for extroverts, as it focuses on meetings.” It’s also “sensory, as 75% of the people will not understand principles or concepts and need examples, need to be shown down to walking them through.” And it is “feeling, as experience is valued higher than knowing. Yet still, the church is not relational, as we are superficial and private.” No wonder INTPs find their experiences in today’s churches frustrating.
Connecting With Logic
Though all the INTPs who commented expressed frustrations with connecting to other Christians, they aren’t all dissatisfied with their churches. In fact, two said they’re very happy with their current congregations. So what are these two churches doing right that catches the attention of an INTP type?
Meredith says her church is good at connecting with INTPs and explains, “I’m pretty sure our head pastor is an INTP, and we live in a college town, so most are highly educated, and the one or two that aren’t formally educated are very wise and I appreciate that even more.” Apryl also says, “I love systematic theology. I love apologetics. I need logic and reason and facts and evidence. Luckily, my pastor is an INTP as well, and so he preaches exactly the way I learn. I could listen to him for hours!”
It’s not that every church who wants to connect with INTPs should do go out an hire an INTP pastor, though. Like most of us, INTPs are simply looking for people who speak their language. They’re hungry for information and they want to listen to teachers who aren’t afraid of getting deep in to analytical discussions. In fact, they’ve much happier to listen to logical teaching than something that resonates on an emotional level.
This is very different than the direction many churches have taken toward encouraging an emotional faith experience. Feel-good platitudes, emotional music, and shallow sermons aren’t going to fly with an INTP. As Apryl says, “So many people approach their faith as an emotional endeavor, and that isn’t how I operate. … God is found in the systems He created, and his imagination and creativity and intellect is where I feel the deepest emotions of connection with Him.”
In much the same way, kittyess says that “Logical teaching with uniquely insightful perspectives into the text connect with me best.” She also says, “I struggle with a lot of modern preaching (and worship styles) that cater to SFs–they are loud, overly emotional, and surface-level. I don’t mind some emotional appeal, but it’s difficult for me to appreciate a sermon based solely on a pastor preaching with a fiery passion but not actually teaching me something.”
A Small-Group Suggestion
Apryl writes, “I’ve sat in churches where they delved into things in such a cursory way at such a shallow level, that they weren’t telling me anything I didn’t already know. Depth is key, and that’s hard to find. That doesn’t appeal to most people.” Because most people aren’t looking for what INTPs want, it’s tough for churches to cater specifically to INTPs in messages to the whole congregation. Kittyness suggests that teachers “could find a balance between logic and emotional appeals in sermons and worship. They could be intentional about welcoming and connecting new people, and provide a way for introverts to connect to a small group of people more easily than having to find someone in a large crowd at church to engage with in small talk.”
Her suggestion about small groups seems a good one. Ralph says he loves “to dialog in a small group of thinkers, books all around us, with breaks alone to refocus and go deeper.” If they can get the right kind of small group together, there won’t be as much pressure for whoever’s leading the group to appeal to a wide range of people and interests. In groups like that, INTPs can get into the sort of things that interest ms4runr, who says, “at this point in my life I am interested in understanding God’s design for community both historically and relationally. I am also drawn to studying the true meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words. I am amazed at how many of the standard evangelical doctrines are based on misinterpretations of verses and history.”
Ralph is the INTP who got into the most specifics about what an ideal sort of church would look like for him. He says it “would be small, but networked heavily to other groups. It would be gift oriented. It would be lead by a diverse team of fivefold ministers. It would reach all people and not settle for the ones low on the Maslow pyramid of needs, traditional in thinking, and middle to lower class. And even after conversion, it would not try to make people fit into those categories.” He says this church “would be known as the place of answers for all challenges of the world, because we knew the God of all answers – that includes global warming, food and water supply, premature death, and many more. And it would be known as the place we love each other, just as Jesus said. And we love our enemies.”
Why Are Some INTPs Christians?
Most INTPs I’ve talked with say they are Christians for one or both of these two basic reasons: 1) it makes sense to them, and/or 2) there’s something about this faith that touches them at a deep heart-level. And now, as I’ve done in the last three posts, I’m going to get out of the way and let the INTPs who shared their stories tell you in their own words why they believe the Christian faith is the right one:
- Meredith: I really love Christianity because it actually makes logical sense while also touching the heart. …
As I got older, I figured as long as there is a God to pray to, if he is the Christian God, then he will lead me to the truth if I ask him (a father would not give his son a stone when he asked for bread, right?), so I did. Most of my proof since then has been small invisible things; primarily understanding things that non-Christians simply can’t see. A couple years ago I had my first personal supernatural experience, that unfortunately had to do with demons rather than anything cool and exciting like my imagination had always been carried away with. …
What I really like about Christianity is that rather than trying to do something impossible and achieve perfection to reach God, I want to do my best simply because he has already reached me. Similarly, I like that where I fail to feel close to other human beings, there is always God, so I’m not really alone. It is this sense of having him around that was my first proof of his existence.
- Apryl: I’m a Christian because I can’t not be. It doesn’t make sense. There is order in the universe, the system is complex, and because of this, there must be an Author. I want to know that Author, to tap into his creative intellect, to know the whys and the hows of it all. I have to know! I believe that Christianity is the right faith because it puts me into the most proper position in relation to the Author and His creation. It makes sense to me, and when my intellect is satisfied, I’m at peace.
- ms4runr: As for why I am a Christian, I answered a call, one that went straight to my heart and soul, one that changed my life dramatically and permanently. There have been challenges, but the experience of knowing the true God leaves any other belief in the dark. I see a big picture of how God is working. Nothing else answers the dilemma, nor solution, for mankind.
- kittyess: When I look at the world around me and ponder what I’ve learned in my advanced studies in science, I can only conclude that there must be a Creator. The ways God has reached out to me and shown His love and faithfulness in my life are what draws my heart to Him, and are why I believe that the Creator is a loving God who wants to know me and be known in return.
- Ralph: When I compare Christian faith with Islam: Allah cannot love, but love himself, because he had no object to love before creation. God Father, Son and Holy Spirit is love from the beginning.
Comparing it to Hinduism and Buddhism: God believes in his creation. There is a possibility to grow, not just to strive for nihilation and nirvana. We are allowed to and encouraged to think, to create, to love, because we are made in the image of God. Thus, there is hope and relationship, and there is meaning.
Comparing with humanism: humanism without God provides no reason to live. With enough time past, nobody will remember you. So why even bother keeping the species alive? Christian faith gives me a reason to live for: eternal fellowship with God, never ending creating.
Your turn! If you want to share your Christian INTP story or talk about INTPs in the churches, comment below. You can also check out the other posts in this series here:
- INFJ: Mercy And Truth Meet Together
- ENFJ: I Have Become All Things To All People
- ENFP: All Your Heart, Mind, and Soul
- INFP: That Which Every Joint Supplies
- INTJ: As For Me, I Will Serve The Lord
If you’re a different personality type looking to contribute an upcoming blog post in this series contact me or head over to the original post. I’d love to feature you! Please note: unless you tell me otherwise, I’ll assume that by getting in touch you agree I can quote you directly and credit you by first name (or screen name) and Myers-Briggs type in future projects.
38 thoughts on “To Seek And Search Out By Wisdom: INTP Christians”
Christian ENTP here. Thanks so much for this post. I knew there were Christian xNTPs in existence, but you never really hear much from them or about them. The automatic assumption in discussion groups is that a Christian xNTP must somehow be “mistyped” and must be an ISTP, ESTP, INFP, ENFP…
Thanks particularly to the INTPs who shared *why* they believe. I see my own experience in all responses, and that feels really validating and encouraging.
I don’t go to church, sadly, and I don’t plan to. I livestream/download sermons from a couple of churches online that have teachings that resonate with me and feed me, and I consider that going to church.
The fellowship component, which is the only reason to attend a brick-and-mortar building, is always lacking. Phony people, pretending to be spiritual, pretending to care, prying into everyone else’s personal life… it just doesn’t work for me. In those settings, I end up being standoffish and quiet, which probably comes off as cold and aloof.
I was actually quite surprised that all 5 of your interviewees attend regularly. Props to them for the effort. Trying quite hard not to be jealous of the one with the INTP pastor, lol! 🙂
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Thank you for commenting! I’m glad you like the post and that it was encouraging for you. I really wanted to help give NTP Christians a voice and show they actually do exist. Part of me wondered if anyone would be envious of the people with INTP pastors — it does seem like an ideal situation for NT type Christians!
Also, I’m still looking for ENTP contributors for a future post. Eventually, I’d like to write a post on each of the intuitive types and hopefully turn it into a book that goes more in-depth. If you’re interested in sharing your perspective you can check out this link: https://marissabaker.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/send-me-your-stories-christianity-and-mbti-types/
Hey, As an intp I get the feeling of not always wanting to go to church; I used to feel that way too at times. But I know that it is good for me to go. When I stopped being prideful and started appreciating other people and their uniqueness, I found I had a lot to learn from them. You are sinning by not going to church. You are, to be blunt, trusting your own understanding before God’s commands. The word of God says, “Do not forsake the assembling together of yourselves.” and “To obey is better than sacrifice”. It doesn’t say “but only if you want to.” Your pride and judgemental attitude is keeping you from following God’s word, and that is not ok. You need to repent and go find a church. It might not make sense at first, but if you obey, and then if you ask God to show you why, I believe he’ll help you understand. But faith comes before seeing.
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Love this post!! I stumbled upon your “Here’s what your MBTI type can and can’t tell you” from SPASIGMA”s FB page, and I’m so glad I did. I’m also a Christian INTP!
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Glad you like this post so much! Thanks for commenting 🙂
I have been a Christian for a while and a leader in churches for most of that time (mainly because it is hard to follow poor leaders). But I am currently out of church and struggling because I want more than an intellectual relationship with God and others. I know that sounds strange coming from an INTP, but I’m becoming aware that a lot of my relationships fail because I get stuck in my head, and my heart never engages. Others feel neglected or hurt, and all I have is regrets when they pull away, and I can’t follow. I also struggle from that subtle INTP flaw of decision paralysis. Unless I can make perfect choices or speak ideal words (and time doesn’t usually allow for enough analysis to get there), then I do nothing (lack initiative) or say nothing (lack sociability). I want my relationship with the Lord to be so intimate that He can whisper in my ear what to do or to say that will bless and love people. But even with Him, I am stuck in my head, when He wants to abide in my heart–and my heart is a foreign, unfamiliar, unapproachable stranger to me.
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I don’t think it sounds too strange. I believe many (most? all?) of us who are really seeking to follow Jesus desire a complete relationship with Him, which would include both the head and heart aspects of ourselves. So if we feel part of that is missing of course we’ll go looking for it because we want that intimacy you’re talking about. I’m praying for God’s blessing on you as you seek a deeper relationship with Him 🙂
I loved this! Unfortunately, I read this too late to submit my story, but then so many of what they said actually fits what I’ve experienced. I have a hard time going to, or finding a church, that preaches at my preferred depth. Most of what I find its not very deep, but emotionally driven or surface theology. Things that I’ve already researched on my own. Than it gets harder when they start saying, ‘you need to get involved in the church’, but I often think to myself ‘how can I get involved if you are not meeting my needs?’ I get most of what I need from podcasts and stuff, and the fellowship I often struggle with because I prefer to get to know someone one on one and intimately, not surface things and oh, now we are hugging and telling each other the life stories….eeek. It’s been a struggle going to church, because I do want to get involved, but finding that one that speaks to me is almost impossible. I identified a lot with Apryl’s comment, that I can cook and love to, but would rather talk about doctrine and apologetics. Most women’s Bible Studies don’t interest me because it isn’t focused so much on that but how to be a good helpmeet (or something similar). And the expectation to teach is often at a kid’s level, which kids do exhaust me. I can do it, but prefer to teach at an older level where people can understand the doctrine. Unfortunately most churches, not all though, I would have to be there for a while in order to even start teaching at that level. And with the level they preach at, and how they meet my needs, I know I am not going to be there that long. I will admit that I have been drawn more and more to the Reformed tradition because they are so academically minded, and have already explored the things I have been looking into, and at a depth that I can appreciate. And they do seem to appreciate my desire to teach theology, and can understand the level of theology I am teaching.
I wanted to say that the Bible person I most connected with was the Apostle John. I love his gospel and the things shared through it, how deep the theology is. (and now that I learned Greek I appreciate it more for its easy Greek) Yet I also love the connection he has with Jesus. He is not as often in the limelight as Peter, but you always see him close to Jesus. He is even there leaning, or sitting, next to Jesus at the Last Supper. He was the only one that went and watched the crucifixion close up. John speaks to me, because he does have those moments when he acts up, but yet I find that close one on one connection with Jesus compelling. And the cool thing is that Jesus meets him on that connection and shares it! I sometimes wonder if Jesus and John spent some time alone and just speaking together on deeper issues, or just spent alone time enjoying the solitude and recharging from their day. I was told once that John is able to balance theology and love, and it is hard to find that balance when believers tend to focus too much on one and leave out the other. Or vice-versa. I know that is a struggle for myself, and it is something that I strive to do.
As far as why I believe, they matched pretty spot on. Why wouldn’t I believe? Jesus says he is the truth, and that’s the start of Christianity. Its not based on some mystical and mysterious spiritual experience, or because someone told you and you must obey, but it is based on facts and logic, and even better a close one on one relationship with the supreme rational being. It’s true that I had a personal, spiritual experience to start with where God touched me and I came alive, but the more I dig into it I find such rationality and wonder that I can’t help but dig deeper and deeper. And one thing for certain, because God has such a depth and richness, that I won’t ever feel bored, or finished with seeking.
Sorry for such a long post, but I really wanted to share my story, and how much this touched me. So, thank you!
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Don’t apologize — we like long posts here 🙂 I’m glad you commented! The Apostle John is one of my favorite Biblical writers/people as well. I love how deep his theology goes while staying very relatable and “real.”
Thanks so much for compiling the information and writing this insightful article! I forgot I had commented with my perspective on your earlier post, and just found this article today. 😛
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I’m glad you liked the article! And thanks again for contributing 🙂
This is outstanding! I grew up in a fundamental church environment and reviled the groupthink mentality that seems pervasive in most churches. At 8 years old, I asked my Sunday school teacher “why do you believe what you believe?” Her response was “the bible says it’s true.” The other kids laughed at my question and agreed with her “obvious” answer. At 8 years old, I just want to fit in so I shut up for 10 years, never asking another question. The questions I had became even more penetrating and I began observing more than engaging, trying to answer questions like “How do we know the bible is true?” or “Why are we here in the first place?” When I started college, I tried defending my “faith” on the grounds of what I was raised to believe, but the people I “witnessed” to had the same questions I did! It was time for me to start asking real questions to those more learned than myself about our faith. I spoke with 10 pastors of different denominations through those years and came to the conclusion that no one really knows anything about their faith other than the platitude: the bible tells me so. At 22, I was a professing Buddhist after reading “The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Thic Nat Han. I walked away defeated by reason and logic that no Christian could reasonably argue against. For 13 years, I “played” church to appease my family, but I never stopped learning and debating the ideas. I took a history of Christianity class, studied apologetics, read numerous atheists and Christian authors to gain a better understanding of the subject. I’m far from an expert in the field. I couldn’t connect with anyone for the very same reasons my fellow INTPs mention here. My existential crisis at 36 compelled me to make a decision, so I chose Jesus, based on the evidence I see about the authenticity of the 4 gospels. Nihilism doesn’t explain our existence, if it were true however, we have absolutely no reason to continue existing and procreation is an exercise in futility. Kierkegaard has been instrumental with my building a real faith. Delving into philosophy and reason, I started to learn why Christianity has made such an impact on the world. God makes sense, Jesus makes sense, existence makes sense!
There is nothing wrong with how God made me! I am equally valuable to Him as everyone else. God wants us to ask questions. These revelations have ignited my heart!
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Thank you so much for sharing your story! I agree God wants us to ask questions. He’s certainly capable of answering them. Plus, He created us as inquisitive people and there’s nothing wrong with that
Wow! I have fellow INTP brothers and sisters! I echo most, if not all, of the experiences mentioned in the article and the comments.
But let me share to you my recent experience. I stopped attending worship services because whenever I attended, I felt like I have only sinned instead of being refreshed. Because I was judging everyone — most specially the music team, dance ministry and the preachers. I felt like I was just wasting my time. I mean I took an effort to go to church, give my time and these preachers had the gall to preach shallow bordering to unbiblical teachings. So I had to stop attending their worship service and get my feeding from the books I see online and from sermon videos. I asked the Lord to deal with my heart. And he did speak. He said, not in an audible voice, but something like a thought, “You have always complained about everything and everyone but have you prayed for them?” So I said, “Lord, give me genuine love for my brothers and sisters.”
God has taught me a lot of things. I am attending worship services now because God has showed me that the verse in Hebrews 10:25 telling us not to neglect meeting together is not merely for socialization, but its more on our accountability for our brothers and sisters in Christ. I have now a genuine concern for the spiritual growth of my brothers and sisters, not merely on my own. I still hear shallow preachings every now and then, but now, instead of complaining about it, I lay it down to the Lord in prayer. And I see that God is moving. Like God is putting me into situations where I could express my thoughts and tell what God has taught me. And they’re listening!
So to my fellow INTP’s, please do not lose heart. We can be the source of encouragement to others. I know it’s hard because, in the past, I have experienced to voice out my thoughts against something, but it was taken as an attack. But what we really want is just to express the truth. So I prayed that God would lead me to the right person that could effect change, where I could voice out my thoughts and not be taken as an attack. God does answer prayers.
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Thank you so much for your comment! I love your testimony about how praying instead of complaining transformed your church experience. That’s a perception/attitude shift I’ve been trying to work on lately when I feel irritated about something in the church. Prayer is so much better than grumbling
Carizz, what beautiful words of wisdom! Your experience as an INTP really mirrors mine. I see shallow teaching, and I witness people preaching the truth, but then not living it in their own lives. It doesn’t make me skeptical of Christianity, because we should be putting our faith in and following Christ, not other Christians, but it does make it hard to connect to others because of these sometimes glaring inconsistencies. But, you are right! We should be praying for these people, that they will see and understand Christ and His truths, and we have a responsibility as believers, not to shut ourselves away from these harmful inconsistencies, but to point them out in love! We all have moments when we are askew, and need to be redirected back onto the good and beautiful path.
Thank you so much for sharing your story of insight and growth. It is wonderful to know that there are other “logicians” out there who stand boldly for Christ!
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I am a female Christian INTP and I find Reformed Baptist or Presbyterian pastors tend to preach the best sermons. However, even with a thinking-type pastor, the fellowship isn’t there for me among the members. INTP’s are responding types, not initiating types…I do try to initiate out of necessity and it doesn’t go well. I’m so terribly lonely. This article meant a lot. Thanks
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I’m an INTP and a follower of Christ. I am baffled to hear that INTPs are stereotyped to be the least religious personality type. Why is this so? Evidence of intelligent design is everywhere (Psalm 19:1)! The more I learn of science, the more I’m convinced that the universe did not spontaneously arise out of nothingness. To me, the existence of an all-powerful, benevolent God is the only rational conclusion. One can make a logical case for the veracity of the Bible and the Christian faith as well. It is heartening to hear the testimonials on this page from people who agree with this assessment. Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal (both INTP’s) reached the same conclusion.
Like many of the posters on this site, I struggle with the superficiality and small talk that comprises many Christian
gatherings. I care deeply about people, but I don’t like chit chat. I find that most people don’t like to analyze or question their own beliefs. For that reason, I do not talk about certain things with other believers. I believe that the Bible is the word of God. I also believe that the universe is billions of years old. These propositions are not mutually exclusive. You don’t have to give up your rational mind to become a Christian.
A great resource for the technical-minded Christian is the website Reasons to Believe.
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I’ve never seen anyone give actual statistics or research to back-up their claim that INTPs are less religious than other types. I assume the idea comes from an assumption that faith can’t be rational (which, as you pointed out, is inaccurate).
Thank you so much for commenting 🙂 I love hearing from people who agree that you don’t have to give up your rational mind to be a Christian.
I sparsely ever contribute to online platforms of conversation, however, I found “Like An Anchor” (and particularly the pertinent post, “To Seek And Search Out By Wisdom: INTP Christians”) uncommonly edifying amidst the virtual milieu of Christian platforms of conversation; thus, in quite untypical fashion relative to my natural disposition, I felt enthusiastically obligated to contribute to the ongoing conversation herein. Moreover, and for sake of relevance, I am a Christian that is also incidentally identifiable with the INTP type; though I am given to a certain degree of reluctance (and perhaps even resistance) to be categorically designated as relatively anything else other than “Christian”. Nevertheless, I do currently perceive use of the framework of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as somewhat beneficial within reason- though slightly the more beneficial: referencing the more technically oriented cognitive/psychological functions that form the conceptual basis of MBTI. Therefore, to a reasonable degree, do I refer to MBTI and the concomitant cognitive/psychological functions, and involve myself thus. Indeed, I implore all Christ followers to ultimately, always find their respective identities within Christ Jesus; furthermore, conceptual frameworks outside of The Holy Bible are not necessarily automatically anathema, but ever should they be considered in light of scripture, and in accordance with my own observation thus far, “Like An Anchor” has faithfully and inspirationally done such.
For the majority of my life, I was invariably an atheistic, scientific materialist and a nihilist, even though I had been raised in a Christian domicile the entirety of my life; inasmuch as by my Christian parents was I also made by compulsion to attend church weekly and to abide by the teachings of the church. I simply never believed in any authoritatively, principally powerful being, nor did I ever perceive within the incarcerating marges of my undeviating philosophical inquiries and ruminations of any rational substantiation to evince such a being (of which inquiries and ruminations being the natural predilection of the cognition of my mind since toddlerhood). Within the summer of 2015 (at 16 years of age), in accord with my worldview, I had fittingly resolved that I would either discover whether there is a God or not via philosophical inquiry and rumination, or I would take my own life. This ultimatum upon my life was intended to be a deliberately formal, imperious challenge to whatever higher being(s), I thought at the time perhaps could possibly exist; thus, ironically superseding my worldview with agnosticism. That summer I eventually experienced a direct encounter with Jesus Christ on a bed of suicide, and gave Him my heart, mind, soul, and life that was no longer my own to take. Faith in Jesus Christ is not exclusively a willful engagement of just emotion (as is speciously promoted and proffered), but primarily a product of the rationality and will of the human mind humbly surrendering to the true Creator (not that emotions are disregarded), “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…” (Rom. 1.20)
Personally, I have considerably analyzed many of the various religions, philosophies, and sundry other modes of belief available within this current age of history, and I have found the logical eventuations of said distinct formulations of belief (as certain of which truly “boil down to” no matter how purportedly atheistic or agnostic)- to be utterly internally inconsistent, and such cannot possibly be veridical. Christianity is the only systematic of belief that is veridical: categorically, in accordance with my personal (near death) empirical encounter with God and likewise my considerably recurrent personal encounters with God’s voice and presence through the Holy Spirit- also, a few years of intense, frequent, and intellectually honest philosophical and theological rumination on the principles and outworkings of Christianity, and finally my objective observation of the unchanging historical, scientific, and philosophical veridicality thereof. No other systematic of belief (completely) withstands intellectually honest and intense analytical scrutiny relative to the categorically pertinent historical, scientific, and philosophical methodologies as Christianity does. Besides, one need not consider any other systematic of belief if they have discovered one (Christianity) that is veridical and logically flawless throughout even an approx. 2,000 year span; further, incredulous as a skeptic may be to, for instance, assert that there may yet be another systematic of belief that is veridical, that said individual would be guilty of faulty reasoning- for the truth is inherently singular and thus exclusive- truly, any certain systematic of belief is either true or false. If such a skeptic were to also then assert that the systematic of belief of Christianity is simply false, they would then be obligated to provide intellectually honest justification to prove the veridicality of such a claim, yet intellectually honest and logically consistent justification of the aforesaid claim has never been offered; throughout hundreds of arguments against Christianity, of which I have intensely observed and ruminated upon, none withstand logical, intellectually honest scrutiny. For instance, I have personally observed and ruminated upon many arguments and debates proffered by and participated within respectively, by the “New Atheists”: Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett; and they have thus individually and collectively evinced their philosophical and logical ineptitude by their incoherent and/or intellectually dishonest arguments. Even the more “sophisticated” atheistic thinkers throughout the history of philosophy, such as Bertrand Russell, Friedrich Nietzsche, or David Hume (sometimes rather considered such as a “religious naturalist” or agnostic, though nonetheless a pertinacious skeptic)- utterly failed to provide any logically coherent, definitive evidence of the supposed falsity of Christian belief; indeed, many such atheistic philosophers openly admitted to being completely unable to disprove Christianity. “When belief in God becomes difficult, the tendency is to turn away from Him; but in heaven’s name to what?” (G.K. Chesterton) For all of the anteceding reasons, and yet much abundantly more (of which I will not elucidate upon for sake of brevity- thus it is that this post a mere, minute snippet of my philosophical and theological thoughts and views)- do I intransigently believe and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the one true God.
Anyhow, and perhaps all the more relevant to the conversation at hand (I do earnestly apologize for my tangential proclivities)- I emphatically agree to the common points of observation and experience within this conversation; which seem to me to be (relative to Christian INTP’s): generally socially (and dispositionally) biased church culture, interpersonal superficiality within church fellowship; superficial, cursory, and perfunctory teaching, and finally certain “INTP-esque” struggles that (perhaps mostly, if not considerably) manifest by reason of the foregoing and to other related though less common points of observation and experience. Throughout all of the INTP responses within this conversation hitherto (to the point of my own response), when considered collectively, do I emphatically agree on almost every point offered forth; which, might I add, is exceptionally aberrant of me- perhaps a testament to a sort of empirical commonality inherent to Christians that are respectively categorically identified as INTP. Honestly, the aforementioned agreeance and mutuality of thought that I share with almost every other INTP herein, is the case to the point that I really have nothing fresh to offer relative to the “common points of observation and experience” categories I delineated above (which is, indeed, not intended to be extensive by any means). That being said, I shall hereafter simply comment on a few statements made, that for various reasons appealed to me to so comment on.
Regarding the different comments made on Reformed churches, pastors, teaching, etc. The poster, “Mercy” said within her post: “I am a female Christian INTP and I find Reformed Baptist or Presbyterian pastors tend to preach the best sermons.” Honestly, from the hundreds of sermons I have witnessed in person and via other communicative means of viewing a sermon- I would have to agree: and for what justification thereof I currently do not know. Ironically, I am, in particular, neither Reformed Baptist nor Presbyterian in my theological stance; though, the number if things I am inclined to disagree with them about respectively is, overall theologically, very minimal. Moreover, Reformed Baptists theologically adhere to Calvinism (since they are theologically derivative of Particular Baptists); and I myself currently find Calvinism soteriologically incoherent in relation to scripture, chiefly because Calvinistic soteriology logically eventuates into theological/philosophical concepts such as determinism and double-predestination, of which in particular I find to be completely logically incompatible with scripture, as well as sound doctrine and theology. Presbyterians, on the other hand, may or may not necessarily theologically adhere to Reformed Theology depending upon the specific Presbyterian individual thereof within consideration (even though it is typically historically accepted that Presbyterians adhere to Reformed Theology), this definitively relates to whether the particular Presbyterian individual in question holds to the standards within the Westminster Confession of Faith (after The Holy Bible of course); which if they indeed do, they are essentially Reformed in their theology. It is crucial to indicate that there is significant discourse pertaining to: if one may actually be legitimately regarded as a Presbyterian if they reject the standards within the Westminster Confession of Faith, obviously given how fundamental the document is to Presbyterianism. The latest “season” of my life, I had engaged in a considerable study on the theological principles of Calvinism, endeavoring to determinately discover whether the theological systematic is true or not, and eventually did I (as I previously stated) stumble upon such theological/philosophical discrepancies relative to scripture, sound doctrine, and sound theology- such as determinism and double-predestination; as such, I am extremely skeptical of Calvinism, though I am always open to discussion and to being possibly convinced: admittedly, however, do I surmise that it would require strong logical substantiation (with likewise strong appeals to scripture and concomitantly theology) to convince me of donning the theological vesture of Calvinism.
Slightly related to the previous matter, the poster “Elizabeth” said within her post: “I will admit that I have been drawn more and more to the Reformed tradition because they are so academically minded, and have already explored the things I have been looking into, and at a depth that I can appreciate. And they do seem to appreciate my desire to teach theology, and can understand the level of theology I am teaching.” Honestly, I agree wholeheartedly (and “whole-mindedly” of course); in fact, the academic mindedness of the Reformed tradition is basically exactly what compelled me to engage in research on Calvinism, as I was earnestly seeking to find good reason to become Reformed in my theology, even simply due to that academically minded nature typical of Reformed tradition. Now, whether the foregoing academic mindedness is universal to Reformed tradition (conflicting Arminianism pun intended- no, I am in fact not Arminian), I must say, it convincingly seems the case that it is. I must also clarify, that I have nothing personally against any Reformed individual or group thereof, in fact, I have been edified by the sermons of different pastors/teachers that identify as Reformed which I listen to frequently, such as John Piper (my favorite Reformed pastor/teacher)- I simply ignore the markedly Calvinistic information.
Effectively, the conclusion of my post has finally come to fruition. Once more, I apologize for my tangential proclivities, and the Homeric proportions of my post; also once more, thank you very much “Like An Anchor” and Marissa for the great, edifying content. May the Lord’s face shine upon you all.
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Thank you Paul. I really enjoyed reading all your comments and I’m glad you’ve found this post, and my blog, edifying 🙂
I loved reading through this whole thing and I really appreciate you taking the time to compile all the data. It was very insightful and gave me some great ideas on how to care spiritually for the INTP’s in my life.
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Hi Marissa! Late to the game here, but as an INTP pastor in a small Congregational church, I really, really appreciated your insights. I especially resonated with that quote from Meredith. Guiding people through their emotional struggles is consistently the hardest part of pastoring as my own tendency would be just to turn that feeling off and move on.
In the context of the progressive mainline church I serve , I find that my INTPness lends itself well to sermon writing (figuring out the “problem” at the heart of a text in a creative/unconventional ways) and strategizing for growth (thinking deeply about who we are, who we’re trying to reach, and how best to do it).
It’s definitely a mixed bag and if I had a mostly F leaning congregation I’d be dunzo. But God seems to have led me to the just the right people at just the right time – hallelujah!
Thanks again for the great read.
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Thank you so much for your comment! I’m glad you liked this post 🙂
Like Tom, I am late coming to this conversation. I am an INTP pastor. I’ve been in church ministry for close to 40 years. I retire in 2 months. My theology could be best described as reformed evangelical or maybe confessional evangelical. When I have more time, I may return to this site to throw in my perspectives and experience. For now, let me say that I find no peculiar incompatibility between the Christian faith and the INTP temperament. However, though I feel the Lord put me and kept me in pastoral ministry, it has not always been a good fit. I have concluded that the Lord is more interested in molding people into the image of Christ than he is in fitting them into the perfect career. I suspect that being an INTP pastor, in some ways a fish out of water, has been more transformative for me than a better career fit would have been.
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Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, Christopher! I always enjoy hearing from INTP Christians 🙂
Thanks for your post. I’ve very rarely (if ever) come across anything for christian INTPs. Many Christians seem dismissive of personality analysis altogether. So it was refreshing to see people’s various experiences here. In the past I was less aware of my personality type and it’s only in the past 5 years maybe that I’ve really embraced it. Previously I acted the way I felt I should but often was frustrated and wondering why. In a church context I was leader of a worship group (!) in a small church until about three years ago. It was difficult sometimes as I liked songs/hymns increasingly with meaning while there’s a movement within modern evangelicalism towards worship that’s very bland musically/poetically.
When I was younger I too wanted more modern songs and to see change of course as young people do but now I feel that modern evangelical churches have lost something of the reverent place that church once was. I’m sure other introverts may relate to wishing we could go into a large building where people sing deep poetic hymns while sitting in pews in a reverent hush, then listen as a deep-thinking pastor expounds a text. Finally leave quietly while politely nodding with a few other members. “See you next week!”
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I’m glad you like this post! Thanks so much for commenting 🙂
I recently found out that I am an INTP, and this post describes my relationship with God and the church so perfectly. I can’t really find my place in the church because not only am I a teenager INTP, but I am also female. My family and friends don’t really understand me either, because none of them are christians, (I came to christ at about 12 years old) and because I can seem rude or distant because of my personality traits. I am so glad that other people find the emotional part of Christianity a bit uncomforable. I always just thought something was wrong with me! I also really want to bring people to christ, but I don’t know where to start.
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Thanks for your comment Hailey! I’m glad you found this blog post 🙂
As a Christian INTP I have a question – does your mind ever wander to imagining during prayer? Is that just me?
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I hope some INTPs will weigh-in on this as well, but I can tell you this happens to me as an INFJ. Focus is one of my biggest struggles in prayer. My mind likes to wander off onto daydreams or things I’m worried about.
When I catch my thoughts wandering, I try to see if there’s something in what I was thinking about that I need to bring before God as part of my prayer. Sometimes, though, it’s just that I’m too easily distracted. Thankfully He’s patient with us as well all learn and grow!
Yes! But, I have found there are definite instances when it wanders. Like, when the sermon has been really good and has my mind going and then suddenly ends and goes to prayer I can’t just let that train of thought go. Or when the pastor has one of those prayers that are more of a sermon than a prayer. Or, you can tell the person is grandstanding or showing off how good of a prayer they are. In my own personal life I have found that writing down my prayers helps keep me focused on it. Otherwise I can’t focus for more than a few minutes. But, I have also found that short and to the point prayers also work throughout the day. Lately, I have been trying to find times when I can quiet my mind and just focus on the moment. The sound of the wind, or waves, or maybe have some quiet, peaceful piano music in the background and let my mind wander on the grandeur of God, or his mercy, or wherever aspect of God the mind wants to explore without constraint or structure. It doesn’t have to go anywhere, or be intellectual in any way. A moment to just dwell and be in God’s presence with no words.
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I am an INTP, and I certainly deal with distractions and uninvited images when I pray. I am appalled by the stuff that sometimes comes to mind when I pray. I’ve realized that prayer is spiritual warfare. The evil one tries to distract us from praying and distract us when praying. My greatest challenge is usually just to get started with prayer. I’ve found it helpful over the years to write my prayer in my journal. Praying out loud helps. Praying the Psalms and using other written prayers helps me stay focused. I’ve used “The Valley of Vision,” and Scotty Smith’s “Everyday Prayers, among others.
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Another INTP here.
I’ve became a Christian not through rational analysis, but through a very stressful event in my life. Still an agnostic, I had an experience that can only be described as demonic attack. I somehow realized that, and I reached out to Christ because I’ve read somewhere that demons are scared of Christ and His name. Instantaneously, the demonic attack stopped and the awful, awful feeling I had disappeared. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression – and still am – and I can assure you that this was not it. They feel different. I realized that evil forces, something I never believed in, not only exist, but are actively trying to hurt us.
We tend to doubt a lot but that’s okay. God doesn’t judge you for doubting. God judges you for evil deeds and sins. I know that feelings are not my strong side, and I dislike long prayers because my mind wanders off and that is disrespectful, so I made a promise to myself, to simply tell God “I love you” every day. Whether I feel like it or not. The important thing is that I MEAN it. And I do. I mean it, every time. We INTPs don’t say things we don’t mean.
And the effects, the blessings since I’ve started doing that have been enormous. Little by little, God is transforming my life for the better. There is peace in my mind now, something that has been rare before. A peace because I know that one day, my relentless mind will finally have all the answers it’s looking for.
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Thank you so much for sharing your story of how Christ rescued you and the way God is transforming your life. This is so inspiring 🙂
I am an INTP personality. I met the Lord in a salvation experience of power beyond all human comprehension.
I was called by the Lord to be a systematic theologian in direct pursuit of restoration of full miracle working power. Specifically, the benchmark was set to restore full miracle working power to heal all at meetings.
I was persecuted viciously and relentlessly for my vocation as the direct disciple of the Lord and for reading the Bible incessantly.
I attained my goal.
Due to the great persecution, I now refuse to share my gifts with basically “dark ages” believers who lack spiritual discernment of apologetics and systematic theology and so demand my conformity to a false institutional, cultural vision, image, and role.
I will soon release my first theological book condemning slavery and slavery codes as apostacy.
Only when believers respect my mind and stop trying to coercively control me to force my conformity to their own religiously derived slave codes of apostacy will I share my gifts.
People who “say they want miracles” no longer can pull me in. What they want is a religion of conformity that demands blood from a turnip – insisting conformity to failed systematic theology should produce what only sound systematic theology can: restored miracle working power.
It’s a trap they lure me into to persecute me.
Believers will correct their foundational doctrine to reject slave codes as apostacy if they want me to share my gifts.
Invitations to persecutions no longer accepted here.
I will break the box.
To break the glass ceiling.
I am a priest in charge of a small Anglican church in New Zealand. About the only thing I am any good at is preaching sermons. They seem to be popular because they are recorded each week and sent out to people who can’t come, and others who have moved away. I am a retired high school physics teacher, and I like to spice up my sermons with analogies from the sciences. I became a Christian at the age of fifteen, and I have spent allmy life understanding what it means to be a follower of Jesus.