Thinking is not terminal, although one might get the impression that Evangelicals think it is. Mark Noll opens his book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind with a scandalous statement. “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” He states,
“Notwithstanding all their other virtues, however, American evangelicals are not exemplary for their thinking, and they have not been so for several generations.”  Noll offers three arenas of the Scandal of the Evangelical Mind: Cultural, Institutional, and Theological. 
Noll helps the reader to understand his thesis by defining important terms. “By an evangelical ‘life of the mind’ I mean more the effort to think like a Christian – to think within a specifically Christian framework – across the whole spectrum of modern learning, including economics and political science, literary criticism and imaginative writing, historical inquiry and philosophical studies, linguistics and the history of science, social theory and the arts.” 
As in Global Evangelicalism,  which shows the multi-discipline nature of globalization, Noll’s words, give a functional constitution of the Leadership and Global Perspectives Doctor of Ministry program. We in LGP D Min are being given the gift of learning to think “Christianly” about many of these academic disciplines. It is truly intriguing to think about what it means to “think like a Christian about the nature and workings of the physical world.” 
When asking why the scandal matters, in Chapter Two, Noll outlines the rich life of the mind in the reformation movement. Not to engage the mind fully is to abandon our own heritage. “The condition of the evangelical mind in contemporary America could not be described as a scandal unless an earlier history existed to show that serious intellectual labor had been the norm for at least many Protestants in the evangelical tradition.” 
As a Presbyterian pastor I am happy to read, “Perhaps the most significant of the Protestant efforts to encourage Christian thinking took place in the Geneva of John Calvin.” (For twenty five years I pastored Calvin Presbyterian Church.) Our heritage is, “From his earliest days in that city, Calvin worked to instruct the mind and inspire the heart together.” 
Tracing history in the United States Noll says, “Evangelicals were successful in the early United States because they successfully adapted their Christian convictions to American ideals… But at the same time, the formal thought of evangelicals…weakened throughout the early history of the United States because evangelicals adapted their Christian convictions uncritically to American ideas.” 
This draws me into why I am so troubled by how Christians seemingly engage, uncritically, in American politics. My deep concern is that Americans don’t distinguish Kingdom-of-God values from American values. In fact it seems at times like these two sets of values are conflated.
Dr. Noll spends a number of pages showing the thinking and value of William Jennings Bryan. His life as a Presbyterian layman finds expression in his work and speeches. A helpful insight, reflected in current politics is, “Although evangelicals favored prohibition, and so gave tacit support ot increasing the authority of the federal government, they have tended more generally to argue against the growth of centralized power.”  We hear this today in political rhetoric calling for “less government.”
Of Bryan’s era Noll says, “Although the political party of choice for restoring Christian morality was now the GOP, evangelicals beyond doubt had returned to the fray… An intriguing variant to this main story was the rise of a ‘New Christian Left,’ which, with nearly the same stock of evangelical phrases and emotions, promoted a public agenda almost completely opposed to the platforms of the Christian Right.” 
In modern-day American politics I hear most people articulate that they make voting decisions primarily from a base of either “policy focus” or “character focus.” Placing policy over character radically affects how Christians vote. What I never heard in any public forum was an honest analysis of how to critique and think about the balancing of loyalty to policy and/or individual character.
According to Pew research 81% of white, born-again/evangelical Christians supported Donald Trump who is arguably the most immoral person ever to be elected U. S. President.  I must think that this is the result of placing policy over leadership character.
Today I hear from most Evangelical Christian Republicans an assumption that the Republican party is intrinsically more Christian (and conversely that the Democratic party is un-Christian). I never hear Christian Republicans critique their own party for underestimating the corrupting influence of selfish human nature, when it comes to philosophies and practices of free enterprise. In other words, I would like to see more critical thinking about what seems to be a neglect of the poor (which is close to the heart of Jesus and the Old Testament prophets). I hear a dominant theme in the Republican’s head-long commitment to lowering taxes and the goal of removing all constraints as to how money and businesses are regulated, or not regulated. On the other hand, I wish I heard more Democratic Christians critique their party for wanting to remove constraints regarding sexuality and its expressions.
Love of money and sexual liberality are both morally corrupting. But I never hear that discussed in any calm and objective manner. Where is the hard thinking within the Christian community in America regarding political practices?
A danger I see with the Scandal of the Evangelical Mind in America is that without thorough theological thinking it is too easy for us to make our voting decisions based on our politics and not on our theology. Theology should overrule politics (and sociology) but the practices seem to be the opposite. I would hope for a more thoughtful Christianity that demonstrates seeing sociology and politics through a Biblical Theological lens.
 Mark A. Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994) 3.  Ibid., 12.
 Ibid., 7.
 Donald M. Lewis and Richard V. Pierard, eds. Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History and Culture in Regional Perspective ( Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 2014)
 Noll, 7.Ibid.
 Ibid., 35.
 Ibid., 37.
 Ibid., 67.
 Ibid., 161
 http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/09/how-the-faithful-voted-a-preliminary-2016-analysis/] Accessed February 2, 2017