Yesterday I finished Carl Trueman’s, The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Moody, 2011). It is only available on Kindle for $1.59. It is worth the investment of pocket change. Trueman’s work is very important to the current discussion on homosexuality within evangelicalism, and to evangelical identity in general. Also, it has significance to the identities of evangelicalism’s confessional institutions, and evangelical students and scholars’ place in the future academic world.
I have recommended the work – only 41pp. – to all of my colleagues and students, my church leaders, and to several friends in the SBC. If I had access to the work prior to establishing my syllabi for this semester, I would had made it part of my required reading for my Pauline course and for my Historical Books course’s readings related to postmodernism.
Many of you probably are aware that you do not need a Kindle device in order to receive Kindle-formatted works. Kindle has an app for many smartphones and handheld wireless devices. I would encourage you to download the work. You also might wish to recommend the work to your pastor and elders.
What is an evangelical . . . and has he lost his mind? Carl Trueman wrestles with those two provocative questions and concludes that modern evangelicals emphasize experience and activism at the expense of theology. Their minds go fuzzy as they downplay doctrine. The result is “a world in which everyone from Joel Osteen to Brian McLaren to John MacArthur may be called an evangelical.”
Fifteen years ago in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, historian Mark Noll warned that evangelical Christians had abandoned the intellectual aspects of their faith. Christians were neither prepared nor inclined to enter the intellectual debate, and had become marginalized. Today Trueman argues, “Religious beliefs are more scandalous than they have been for many years”-but for different reasons than Noll foresaw. In fact, the real problem now is exactly the opposite of what Noll diagnosed―evangelicals don’t lack a mind, but rather an agreed upon evangel. Although known as gospel people, evangelicals no longer share any consensus on the gospel’s meaning.
Provocative and persuasive, Trueman’s indictment of evangelicalism also suggests a better way forward for those theologically conservative Protestants once and formerly known as evangelicals.