Almost 20 years ago, Mark Noll’s The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind critiqued evangelicalism, quite simply, for not having much of a mind. In this short video, three leading evangelical, all presidents of key evangelical institutions, discuss whether we can now talk about “the maturing of the evangelical mind.” Al Mohler (Southern Seminar), Phil Ryken (Wheaton College), and Michael Lindsey (Gordon College) all argue that we’ve come a long way in the last two decades.
In the video, they specifically highlight the following as evidence of evangelicalism’s increased intellectual vigor:
- The quality of people applying for teaching jobs at evangelical institutions
- A new sense that we’re no long “trying to prove ourselves” intellectually
- Evangelical students interacting and researching with students for secular institutions
- Younger evangelicals being “acculturated into the life of the mind” in ways that were not true of prior generations
- The rise of Christian higher education globally
- Increased freedom on Christian campuses to pursue the life of the mind
At the same time, they identified a few key challenges for evangelical intellectual growth in the future:
- Rampant biblical illiteracy
- Christian scholars in some fields who have not been cultivated as deeply in Christian theology as they will need to be for long-term growth and leadership in those fields
- Lack of leadership in law, particularly a lack of Christian law professors
- Shortage of explicitly evangelical minds in the humanities and the arts
Watch the video below, and let us know what you think. Do you think there’s been as much intellectual growth in evangelicalism as these three men argue? Do you see any other challenging areas that we’ll need to address moving forward?