Leveraging The Christian Faith To Create More Impact In Society.
Having resources, position or knowledge is one thing and maximizing their usage for better results is quite another thing. Leadership is about mobilizing people and other resources to achieve the set objectives and maximizing the results. The measure of one’s leadership ability is the results that you produce. Mark Knoll, in analyzing the Evangelical churches, highlights some very interesting statistics that inform his concern for harnessing the Christian mind. It is clear that Mark Noll feels that the Evangelicals form the largest single group of religious Americans with immense wealth, status and political influence but have contributed so little to rigorous intellectual scholarship in North America.
Mark Noll is Francis A McAnaney Professor of History at the university of Notre Dame and also the McManis professor of Christian thought in Wheaton College. In the words of Mark Noll, “he grew up in a Christian movement where, because God had to be given pre-eminence, nothing else was allowed to be important. He says that he has broken through to the position that because God exists, anything else has significance”. God created all thing through Christ and in studying created things they are studying the works of Christ and is therefore what Evangelicals should do. If God created all things, it follows that as believers and followers of Christ, there is nothing wrong with studying his creation and influencing His creation to create more impact. As a way of influencing God’s creation, Mark Noll sees the intellectual process as a key way of increasing influence and should not be shunned or ignored by evangelicals. The scandal of the Evangelical Mind is that there’s not much of the evangelical mind. It is clear that Noll feels that the existence of an evangelical mind would have created more influence in the North American society than was the case and is challenging the evangelical community to turn around the situation. He is probing and unsparing in his judgement of the evangelicals in his first book, The scandal of The Evangelicalism Mind but is sparing and more positive in his second book, Jesus Christ and The Life of The mind.
As Mark Noll highlights the failure of the Evangelical Group to develop the Evangelical mind to create more influence and impact on the North American society, this is sobering and affirming for the step I have taken to pursue my doctoral studies. I am persuaded that Christianity has had a great influence on the Western civilization and informs the economic prosperity and dominance of Northern Europe and North American economies. As I seek to empower Christians economically in the vulnerable communities in Kenya and beyond, I appreciate the fact that adding intellectual knowledge will give me more leverage. By acquiring more intellectual knowledge, will give me not only knowledge but also a better platform as a Doctor of ministry, to disseminate that knowledge. The fact is that people respect intellectual knowledge and the title Doctor that go with it. As a responsible Christian leader, I have the choice of expanding my sphere of influence and creating more positive impact which choice, I feel obligated to take a good steward.
 Mark Noll, The Scandal of The Evangelical Mind ( Grand Rapids, MI: William B Eardman’s Publishing Company, 1994).
 Mark Noll, Jesus Christ And The Life Of The mind (Grand Rapids, MI: William B Eardman’s Publishing Company, 2011), Loc 349.
 Ibid., Loc 338.
2 responses to “Leveraging The Christian Faith To Create More Impact In Society.”
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I appreciate your observations around your connections between education and economic flourishing Wallace. You point to your pursuit of education as being motivated to help improve your influence on lifting people out of poverty. Would you see the regard for education coming from within your context, that is from those with considerably less education or is the value more cross cultural whereas you are better positioned for conversations with potential international partners? I have found that relatively few people from contexts with less education actually value higher education. There seems to be some disdain and suspicion of those who have undertaken such pursuits. Perhaps you have a considerably different experience? Bless you as you continue your important work!
Hi Wallace. I recognise that higher education gives leverage in your setting, and probably in any other settings too. How we manage that leverage is important too. I took Noll’s second book and the admonition to scholarly humility to be a serious injunction. I guess he is saying that despite having higher education, the ongoing need to be critiqued and to question ones own position is a constant if we are to allow our academic positions to breathe the life of Christ. What might academic humility look like i your context?