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The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind Paperback – October 19, 1995
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The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, by Mark Noll, is "an epistle from a wounded lover." Noll loves God and he loves academics, but he is wounded because many of his colleagues deny the possibility of maintaining the integrity of both loves. Noll's epistle is a memoir, a historical study, and a wide-ranging piece of cultural criticism that argues, "The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind." Noll considers the effects of evangelical intellectual atrophy on American politics, science, and the arts, and he ultimately offers wise and practical advice for readers who want to explore the full intellectual implications of the incarnation of Christ. --Michael Joseph Gross
From Publishers Weekly
Claiming that "the scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind," historian Noll sets out to trace the reasons for what he sees as the great divorce between intellect and piety in North American Evangelical Christianity. In a breathtaking panorama of evangelical history from the Great Awakenings to the present, Noll shows that early Evangelicals like Jonathan Edwards embraced the use of reason as an expression of faith in the Creator of the natural world. The advent of Fundamentalism and Pentecostalism, Noll contends, with their emphases on dispensationalism and other-worldliness, fostered anti-intellectualism. Since politics and science, in the form of the religious right and creationism, have been the secular arenas in which the Evangelical mind has most publicly expressed itself, Noll focuses on them to explore ways in which the mindlessness "scandal" has created a lack of adequate Christian thinking about the world. Finally, Noll is hopeful that the work of contemporary Evangelical scholars will recover a respect for intellect. Required reading for those seeking to understand the often peculiar relationship between Evangelical religion and secular culture, this is a brilliant study by--yes--a first-rate Evangelical mind.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Noll does not totally acknowledge the larger social context moved similarly because he seems to be believe that evangelicals should have known better, and Noll finds more hope when he wrote the book than the next decade or two of American religious life has born out. Evangelicals pulling from mainline and Catholic intellectuals did not completely revive their thinking, and evangelical political thinking has declined some dramatically even in the US's current right-wing mood.
As a non-evangelical and a non-Christian, I find this book indicates trends in American life that have religious orients but have manifested in secular populist movements left and right. The trend of activism and actionism moves people to shut down their mind and opportunistically reply the sentiment of a public at a particular time; however, the public learns and moves on and the true believers believe in capitulation as a gospel truth. The scandal of the evangelical mind is that isn't one, but this is not remotely unique to the evangelical, or Protestant, or Christian, or even religious, mind.
I had been wanting to read some church history for a while and have investigated a lot of the books available on amazon. This is the one I happened on though, by accident. Church history made personal.
I've read some complaints here that it's very hard to read - well it is kind of. I found it fascinating enough that I struggled through. Some things I probably missed - not sure if it was because of his lack of clarity or my own ineptitude. Would have appreciated a little more clarity early on in the book about what was meant by baconian science. This figured big in Noll's description of the evangelical mind - it wasn't until late in the book that I got a bit more clarity on what was meant by baconian science - still not sure I understand it 100%. I have enough experience with evangelicalism though, that I think I have a pretty good intuitive feel for what he was talking about.
Another thing I will say regarding how difficult the book is - he did dedicate it to the faculty and trustees of Wheaton College. Those were the people he wanted to have front row seats for this - the rest of us may have to struggle a bit. But it was fascinating and worth the struggle.
I have a list now of people and ideas mentioned that I want to do further reading on. It really was a good read.
I had Dr. Noll as a history professor many years back.
If evangelicalism is a part of your life and you want to do some thinking - this is a book for you - I think you'll like it.