Mark Noll on the Foundation of the Evangelical Mind
Image: William Koechling

In 1994, Wheaton College historian Mark Noll published The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind—"an epistle from a wounded lover" that decried the anti-intellectualism of evangelical religious culture. Noll's newest book, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind (Eerdmans, released in August), devotes far less space to criticism and offers instead a foundational vision: The basic truths of Christian faith are the key to Christian scholarship. Christianity Today editor in chief David Neff recently spoke with Noll (now teaching at the University of Notre Dame) about the book.

Although it's not the main subject of Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind, most people will want to know: Are you more optimistic today about the state of the evangelical mind than you were 17 years ago?

I am more optimistic, though not overwhelmingly so. The problems endemic to modern Western culture undercut Christian thinking the same way they undercut every other kind of serious intellectual life. The tendencies among evangelicals that undercut serious reflection are also still pretty strong—for example, the populism and the immediatism, the idea that if there is a problem, we have to solve it right away.

Those are strengths in other contexts.

Exactly. That's very important to say. Almost everything in the evangelical world that undercuts serious and sober thinking actually plays a productive role in some other aspect of evangelical life. I never wanted to make a categorical statement that thinking is the most important thing. But it is important.

There are a lot of factors that show commendable and very serious improvement. The trajectory is moving in a positive direction. Christian philosophers have done ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

June
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
From Issue:
Read These Next
Also in this IssueKing James and Queen Victoria: John Wilson Reviews Timothy Larsen's Latest
King James and Queen Victoria: John Wilson Reviews Timothy Larsen's Latest Subscriber Access Only
Even among the skeptics of 19th-century England, the Bible loomed large. A review of 'A People of One Book.'
RecommendedThe Real History of the Crusades
The Real History of the CrusadesSubscriber Access Only
A series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics? Think again.
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickSasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
Ben Sasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
The Nebraska senator wants parents to get serious about shepherding kids into responsible adulthood.
Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind
Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind
Eerdmans
2011-07-22
196 pp., $25.00
Buy Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind from Amazon
Christianity Today
Mark Noll on the Foundation of the Evangelical Mind
hide thisAugust August

In the Magazine

August 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.