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The Mod | “The State of the Evangelical Mind: Reflections on the Past, Prospects For the Future”
Thirty years on from the publication of The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, author Mark Noll and other interested parties reflect on how things have and haven’t changed. The result—The State of the Evangelical Mind: Reflections on the Past, Prospects for the Future—provides an assortment of essays that do not so much assess evangelicalism as provide a snapshot of the current mood of evangelical intellectuals.
Noll - Chapter - End-of-career - Address - Humor
Noll’s chapter reads very much as an end-of-career address, complete with mild humor and thanks to the academy (quite literally). His attempt to wrest some larger meaning from what are ultimately reminiscences about projects he’s worked on does not entirely succeed. The most telling reflections come at the end, when he acknowledges that, after all, there is not much distinctively evangelical about the efforts he’s described. They are, rather, the involvement of self-identified evangelicals in more broadly Christian intellectual activity.
Jo Ann Lyon’s history of evangelicalism is a deliberately idealized look at what she argues is evangelicalism at its best, meant to encourage those downcast by recent political developments. The evangelical experiment has not failed, she argues; it has always been a mixed bag, but by drawing inspiration from its best moments we can chart a way forward towards new successes. This style of history has its strengths, but the benefits are experiential rather than analytical, and it strikes an odd note here.
Contrast - David - Mahan - Donald - Smedley
By contrast, David Mahan and Donald Smedley offer a spirited defense of the value of parachurch campus ministry, which they argue has been neglected in discussions of the “evangelical mind.” Smedley, in particular, takes issue with Noll’s original Scandal, constructing an elaborate philosophical argument that first of all, there is no scandal because Noll has not properly handled his...
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