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Some twenty years after he published The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Mark Noll wrote a follow-up, of sorts: Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind. In it he hopes to offer a way forward out of the pragmatism of 19th and 20th century evangelicalism, while still remaining rooted in the evangelical stream: “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 openminded advocates of general human learning” (Kindle location 22).

For this, Noll looks to early Christian creeds as a lens through which evangelicals might develop a distinctly Christian mind. He writes, “If evangelicals are to make a genuine Christian contribution to intellectual life, they must ground faith in the great traditions of classical Christian theology, for these are the traditions that reveal the heights and depths of Jesus Christ. Intellectually, there is no other way” (loc. 307).


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In this short video, I ask whether or not there’s any truth to the assertion that evangelicals are lazy thinkers. Weigh in below!


Several years ago I read Harry Blamires’ The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think? Written in 1963, the Englishman describes with penetrating clarity the lack of applied Christian reasoning in the church. For me, this was the first cogent treatment I’d read of the disparity that exists between modern academic scholarship and modern Christian life. 

Blamires calls the reader to a life of the mind marked by distinctive Christian reasoning in all areas of life. His challenge to the church is to do the hard work of thinking “Christianly” about all things intellectual. He laments the sea of secularity which exists in the life of the Academy and argues for a “Christian Romanticism” which sees everything that is good, including the ability to reason and apply reason, as creations of God, pointing to Him.

Some 30 years later, Mark Noll published The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Noll’s “scandal” is that there is no evangelical mind. Extending Blamires’ thesis, Noll paints a bleak picture of Christian scholarship and academic engagement in the closing decade of the twentieth century. He writes, “American evangelicals are not exemplary for their thinking, and they have not been so for several generations” (Noll, Kindle loc. 101, emphasis mine). Continue Reading…