Synopses & Reviews
"The scandal of the evangelical mind, " says historian Mark Noll, "is that there is not much of an evangelical mind." This critical yet constructive book explains the decline of evangelical thought in North America and seeks to find, within evangelicalism itself, resources for turning the situation around. According to Noll, evangelical Protestants make up the largest single group of religious Americans; they also enjoy increasing wealth, status political influence, and educational achievement. Yet, despite its size and considerable intellectual potential, evangelical Protestantism makes only a slight contribution to first-order public discourse in North America: it neither sponsors a single research university, nor supports a single periodical devoted to in-depth interaction with modern culture, nor cultivates attitudes that treat the worlds of science, the arts, politics, and social analysis with the seriousness that God intends. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind explains how this situation developed by tracing the history of evangelical thinking in America. Noll's analysis shows how Protestants successfully aligned themselves with national ideals and with the particular expressions of an American Enlightenment in the decades before the Civil War; explains how fundamentalists at the start of the twentieth century preserved essential elements of the faith, but only by grievously damaging the life of the mind; gives specific attention to evangelical thought on politics and science; and discusses what some have called an "evangelical intellectual renaissance" in recent decades and shows why it is more apparent than real. Written to encourage reform as well as to inform, this book endswith an outline of some preliminary steps by which evangelicals might yet come to love the Lord more thoroughly with the mind.
Mark Noll has written a major indictment of American evangelicalism. Reading this book, one wonders if the evangelical movement has pandered so much to American culture and tried to be so popular only to lose not only it's mind but it's soul as well. For evangelical pastors and parishoners alike, this is a must read! --Robert Wuthnow.
-The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.- So begins this award-winning intellectual history and critique of the evangelical movement by one of evangelicalism's most respected historians.
Unsparing in his judgment, Mark Noll ask why the largest single group of religious Americans--who enjoy increasing wealth, status, and political influence--have contributed so little to rigorous intellectual scholarship in North America. In nourishing believers in the simple truths of the gospel, why have evangelicals failed at sustaining a serious intellectual life and abandoned the universities, the arts, and other realms of -high- culture?
Noll is probing and forthright in his analysis of how this situation came about, but he doesn't end there. Challenging the evangelical community, he sets out to find, within evangelicalism itself, resources for turning the situation around.
Table of Contents
The contemporary scandal -- Why the scandal matters -- The evangelical mind takes shape: Revival, revolution, and a cultural synthesis -- The evangelical enlightenment -- The intellectual disaster of fundamentalism -- Political reflection -- Thinking about science -- Is an evangelical intellectual renaissance underway? -- Can the scandal be scandalized?