In 1995, Mark Noll opened his The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind with an unflattering observation: "The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind."
Now, almost two decades later, has anything changed? In a new roundtable video, three Christian higher education presidents—Michael Lindsay, Albert Mohler, and Philip Ryken—consider evidences of a recovered and maturing evangelical mind in the years since Noll's landmark work.
"We're no longer trying to prove ourselves, trying to get a seat at the table," observes Lindsay, president of Gordon College in Massachusetts. "I think evangelicals have demonstrated they can do the highest level of scholarship in fields like history, philosophy, and sociology." As Mohler adds, it's important to recognize the number of fields deeply indebted to evangelical contribution. Evangelicals are "more acculturated into the life of the mind than earlier generations were," the president of Southern Seminary in Louisville says.
There's an irony in all this too, Ryken points out. Given the reigning secularism in many elite institutions, you'll often find more freedom on Christ-centered campuses to pursue the life of the mind. Far from being restrictive and parochial, the president of Wheaton College outside Chicago contends, Christian institutions are positioned to provide unique latitude for pursuing rigorous intellectual engagement and debate.
Watch the full five-minute video to see these three leaders discuss the state of Christian higher education globally, concerns about biblical illiteracy, and more.
Evangelical Mind from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.
Matt Smethurst serves as associate editor for The Gospel Coalition. He and his wife Maghan have two children and live in Louisville, Kentucky, where they belong to Third Avenue Baptist Church. You can follow him on Twitter.