What I Just Read . . .

November 20, 2008, 10:57 pm; posted by
Filed under Books, Bwog, Steve  | No Comments

(first in a series)

The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Mark Noll

Its First Words — “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”

In Ten Words — Evangelical Christians must again think seriously — or risk cultural irrelevance.

In Fifty Words — Fourteen is usually an awkward age, for human beings and non-fiction books, so it’s a bad sign indeed that Noll’s indictment of the intellectual impotence of the evangelical church has aged so well. 10 years later, he largely stood by its conclusions, seeing any improvements as exceptions, not the rule.

In Its Own Words — “Fidelity to Jesus Christ demands from evangelicals a more responsible intellectual existence than we have practiced throughout much of our history.”

Fighting Words — Young-earth creationism and dispensationalism come in for some serious and well-leveled criticism. In one particularly blunt passage at the end, Noll compares evangelicalism to the deuce in the card deck of Christianity. Really? Not even the four or five, Prof?

Well-Chosen Words — A juxtaposition of the 19th-century Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart with the 20th-century Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus is cherry-picked but interesting. “Under the influence of fundamentalism, evangelicals turned their eyes to Jesus, and the world grew very dim indeed.”

As an Aside — Mike Huckabee is the new William Jennings Bryan: populist, activist, and Christian progressive. (I do not think this is a good thing.)

Closing Words — Christians must obey the mandate to love God with our minds, wherever that leads. Learning matters — our habits of thinking matter — because the world and its people matter. “The search for a Christian mind is not, in the end, a search for mind but a search for God.”


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