Published on September 21, 2023 by Eugene Ho

Eerdmans, 1995 | 274 pages

A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance

by Steve West


About the Author

Mark A. Noll is the Francis A. McAnaney Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Notre Dame. He has written many influential books and articles and is a leading Christian thinker.


Table of Contents

Preface (2022)
Preface (1994)
1 The Contemporary Scandal
2 Why the Scandal Matters
3 The Evangelical Mind Takes Shape—Revival, Revolution, and a Cultural Synthesis
4 The Evangelical Enlightenment
5 The Intellectual Disaster of Fundamentalism
6 Political Reflection
7 Thinking about Science
8 Is an Evangelical Intellectual Renaissance Underway?
9 Can the Scandal be Scandalized?
Afterword (2022)




Chapter 1: The Contemporary Scandal

“The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” Evangelicals have many virtues, but deep thinking is not one of them. The truth of the gospel is being shared, and many activist mercy ministries are being engaged in, but there is no attempt to shape the realms of the intellect and higher culture. Currently, there is some excellent evangelical scholarship in biblical studies and theology, but the scandal of the evangelical mind is that evangelicals are failing to apply the mind of Christ and Christian thinking to every academic subject. Although there are various definitions of evangelical, it is a common designation in America and generally includes belief in the necessity of the new birth, a high view of Scripture, a focus on the cross and resurrection, and an imperative to evangelize. Evangelicals represent the most active Christians in terms of participation, and although they represent a sizeable percentage of the population, their influence on culture and thinking is negligible.

The contemporary scandal has three dimensions: cultural, institutional, and theological. Evangelicals have a pragmatic, utilitarian approach to culture that emphasizes activism and is populist in orientation. It focuses on immediate concerns and tends towards oversimplification rather than deep reflection. Evangelicals eschew careful analysis of complex global issues in favor of populist science and the application of a historically novel and simplistic interpretation of apocalyptic Bible passages. Institutionally, evangelical publishing is extremely skewed to popular-level content; there is not a single periodical that engages in critical analysis of the world, society, and the arts. Colleges are designed for general and introductory training, and seminaries have had some excellent professors, but seminaries in America are isolated from secular research universities and therefore do not have cross-pollination with other faculties. There are not enough Christian scholars who can work outside of theology in the subjects that are taught in university departments. Theologically, we need to recognize that it is sinful for Christians to neglect the study of the mind, world, society, and the arts. It is a scandal to have neglected our responsibility to love God with all of our mind and to neglect his good gifts to us. Faithfulness to Christ demands much greater work and responsibility in the life of the mind. . . .

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Eerdmans, 1995 | 274 pages

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