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Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind Hardcover – July 22, 2011
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David F. Wells
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
"It is odd that so much modern theology has treated Christology as just another doctrinal topic. Mark Noll shows us Jesus right where St. Paul left him in Colossians as the one 'in whom all things hold together.' Now that we have a christological clarion call for scholarship of all kinds, it's hard to believe we had none before. This is the ideal bookend for Noll's Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, sketching out a way for intellectual pilgrims to follow Jesus into academic fields of all kinds. May many take up that way."
Duke Divinity School
"Mark Noll resolves the Scandal of the Evangelical Mind with the scandal of Christ crucified."
Gene Edward Veith
Patrick Henry College
"In this wise and eloquent book Mark Noll draws on four decades of experience serving Christ in the academy. Many evangelical colleges and universities claim to be Christ-centered, but Noll shows the depth of meaning that phrase can convey. He offers a rich theological base for a life of learning, rooted in 'all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge' that are in Jesus Christ."
Nagel Institute, Calvin College
"More than a sequel to his Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Mark Noll's thoughtful new book offers at least the beginnings of a constructive christocentric theology for evangelical intellectual life. Rooted in the classic Christian creeds, Noll shows how a thoroughgoing Christocentrism can and should shape Christian engagement with such arenas as history, science, and biblical studies. . . . Though modest in length, this may be one of Noll's most important scholarly contributions."
David P. Gushee
"Without retreating from his principles, Noll in this book offers a mature, nuanced, and wide-ranging reprise of his Scandal of the Evangelical Mind but that is not all. By drawing constructively on poets, theologians, philosophers and especially on the great historic creeds and confessions of the faith he has crafted a challenging, inspiring christological philosophy of Christian education for the twenty-first century. This is a major contribution."
David Lyle Jeffrey
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Top Customer Reviews
A Place to Stand
Noll assures readers of the firm foundation the Christian worldview provides. The creeds of the early church serve as concrete blocks in this foundation: "The creed ... offers full cause for taking seriously the fact of the physical world as created by God, but also the dramas of redemption that relativizes all terrestrial realities in eternal perspective. It offers, in short, an ideal place from which to approach the tasks of Christian learning."
Noll reminds readers that this world is uniquely christological. As such, all learning should begin and end with Christ: "The light of Christ illuminates the laboratory, his speech is the fount of communication, he makes possible the study of humans in all their interactions, he is the source of all life, he provides the wherewithal for every achievement of human civilization, he is the telos of all that is beautiful. He is, among his many other titles, the Christ of the academic road." Indeed, this is much needed oxygen for the evangelical mind.
Motives for Learning
The author challenges the misplaced notion that a commitment to the Christian worldview necessarily derails a serious pursuit of scholarship.Read more ›
I also belong to the Evangelical sub-culture of Northern Ireland. This sub-culture is not known for emphasising learning and the intellectual life as important. At the most extreme this sub-culture tolerates learning and the intellectual life as a means to get a job. In some churches it is not uncommon to hear further education and a life a scholarship viewed with extreme suspicion, especially if that education and scholarship is in Theology and related disciplines. Odd, I know. So it is refreshing to read Noll:
"The message in this book for my fellow evangelicals can be put simply: if what we claim about Jesus Christ is true, then evangelicals should be among the most active, most serious, and most open-minded advocates of general human learning. Evangelical hesitation about scholarship in general or about pursuing learning wholeheartedly is, in other words, antithetical to the Christ-centered basis of evangelical faith." (p. x)
Noll is a historian and therefore he is adept at drawing out the significance of the times.Read more ›
He sets the tone early for the book when he writes that .."The greatest hope for Christian learning..means learning more of Jesus Christ." (pg.22) I love how he refers to Christ as the "Christ of the Academic Road."
Throughout the book Noll encourages the Christian to make serious use of their minds, and how all learning in fact, leads back to Christ. Some of the book is highly academic, especially the middle chapters, and a bit hard to follow.. "By holding to traditional Christianity, historians can steer between the Scylla of relativistic postmodernism and the Charybdis of naive enlightenment positivism." (pg.77)
For me, the best chapter in the book is the Postscript, entitled "HOW FARES THE EVANGELICAL MIND?" In it, the author gives 10 reasons to be hopeful for intellectual life in Evangelical theology.
Overall, a fairly easy read and well worth the time and effort. A much needed message for current Christendom.
In his new book, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind, Noll demonstrates how it is precisely these deeply held convictions that provide the rationale for unapologetic engagement with the academic disciplines. Once again, regardless of its intended audience, this is a book that deserves a wide reading.
Noll, formerly a professor of history at Wheaton College and now at the University of Notre Dame, is straightforward about the reason he believes evangelically-minded people should care deeply about learning.
"Thus, the greatest hope for Christian learning in our age, or in any age, lies not primarily in heightened activity, in better funding, or in strategizing for the tasks at hand - though all these matters play an important part. Rather, the great hope for Christian learning is to delve deeper into the Christian faith itself. And going deeper into Christian faith means, in the end, learning more about Jesus Christ."
And a few pages later, "Put most simply, for believers to be studying created things is to be studying the works of Christ."
Christology, according to the author, is the hope and rationale for all Christian learning.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a solid if rather unexciting book - unexciting just because Noll's suggestions as to what evangelical Christians should do seem, in terms of science, to involve a 'wait and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by J F G Shearmur
WE HAVE LOST OUR MINDS WITH OURSELVES.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO THINK ABOUT?
So often, I hear fellow Christians say that the local congregation no longer provides the necessary spiritual sustenance for our minds. I have felt that way for years. Read morePublished 23 months ago by William C.
Quote: "to promote careful study of Scripture that stresses the life-altering glories of Jesus Christ, rather than the whims of private eurekas;• to promote thoughtful... Read morePublished on February 15, 2014 by K Cummings Pipes
I absolutely loved Noll's "Scandal of the Evangelical Mind", but this one doesn't pack the punch or really evoke much passion. Read morePublished on December 6, 2013 by Dr. Zircon
Mark Noll's "Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind" was a thoroughly enjoyable read for me with much scholarly perspective on the historic development of contemporary Christian... Read morePublished on May 14, 2012 by TomE
The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (1994) was a powerful critique of evangelicalism from an evangelical, beginning with its initial words: "The scandal of the evangelical mind is... Read morePublished on February 28, 2012 by Greg Smith (aka sowhatfaith)
Mark Noll introduces this book by stating that "if what we claim about Jesus Christ is true, then evangelicals should be among the most active, most serious, and most open-minded... Read morePublished on February 22, 2012 by Paul R. Bruggink