Mark Noll gives a scathing review of Evangelical intellectualism in his 1994 book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. The first sentence give the reader the tone, ” The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”  He goes on to discuss the lack of intellectual integrity within not only evangelical church members but all of their centers of higher learning. When Noll says there is not much of an evangelical mind he is not talking about theological issues. In fact, he writes, “North American evangelicals enjoy a rich theological harvest.”  He means “the effort to think like a Christian.”  The problem is within all other disciplines, such as science, economics, political science, history and the arts.
When I was in seminary I took a class on Christians in the culture. We mainly discussed the idea of Christians in the arts and how they were influencing the world around them. The one topic that interested me the most was the discussions of Christian artists versus artists that were Christian. His favorite band was U2, the question was, is Bono influencing the world for Christ better than say, the biggest Christian band at the time, Casting Crowns or Toby Mac , not that I remember succinctly who was the most popular at the time. We all agreed that a band like U2 and Bono could do much more because they appealed to the main stream audience with a message of influence for Christ. In 2016 Bono said in an interview, ““I would love if this conversation would inspire people who are writing these beautiful… gospel songs, write a song about their bad marriage. Write a song about how they’re pissed off at the government. Because that’s what God wants from you,” Bono said. “Why I am suspicious of Christians is because of this lack of realism.” While there is obviously always a place for songs of worship, what Bono is asking is for artists to let the Christian mind inform their art.
I have had discussions with people about Christian movies like Facing the Giants and God’s Not Dead and while they have a good message and a positive view of God they are not always done well. Take for example the Left Behind series of movies, they look like they were made by a high school A/V class and not by a studio. There is a problem with this, you cannot be taken seriously if your product does not have the value it needs to be seen. For too long, Christians have abdicated the public market place to those who are not Christian and then complain about a lack of morals in society. Noll asks the question “Who will be our tutors, the ones who teach us and our children about life?” If we leave the institutions of higher learning to make our own colleges we have left behind the ability to affect society for Christ. To me it is akin to cloistering ones self away from the world to meditate solely on God, then one day emerging and finding out God has been removed from societal life. If there is no one to tell of Christ, then who is to blame. There is nothing wrong to meditating on God, but to remove ourselves from the world is to remove our influence. In John 17:14 Jesus says “they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (ESV) and follows it up in verse 18 with “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. ” (ESV). As Christians, we do a good job most of the time of not of the world, but I fear we may have missed being in the world. This does not just mean being a missionary, but in all walks of life, being the light and mind of Christ.
In his review of Noll’s work, Martin Marty states,
“For all the attacks Noll makes, this is a positive book. In evangelical terms, it is a call for mindless sinners to repent, to recover the mind for God and their movement. They are to delight in the world which God will take action to end, and from which Christ saves sinners, but also the cosmos which God created good and in which God is incarnate in Christ. Noll is a more incarnational thinker than most evangelical leaders have been. He uses his view of God’s love of the earth and involvement in its travail and as it moves toward its destiny to inspire fellow evangelicals. They are to contemplate the wonders of creation, science, human invention, politics, the academy, letters, arts, and more.” 
I agree that calling for those who identify as Evangelical do need to be a part of the whole of society. To think like a Christian, not as just one who wants to complain but as one who loves those who God has created. In the postscript to his book Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind, Noll sees hope for the evangelical mind. Written fifteen years later, his hope is laid out as stirrings at Christian colleges and universities to strive towards being better, not only that but a growing Christian presence in secular universities as well. He lines out several others but the ending is what brings me hope as well “To steal Charles Dicken’s oft-borrowed line: when considering all the impediments that evangelicals bring to intellectual life, once can conclude that it must be the worst of times; but when considering positive developments in recent decades, and even more the unmatched treasures in Jesus Christ, one might conclude that it is also the best of times.”
 Noll, Mark A. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994. 3.
 Ibid. 7.
 Ibid. 7.
 Top Hits Of The 1980’s. Accessed February 22, 2019. http://www.topchristianhits.org/top_christian_music_hits_2007.html.
 Zauzmer, Julie. “Bonos Advice to Christian Musicians: Get Real.” The Washington Post. April 27, 2016. Accessed February 20, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/04/27/bonos-advice-to-christian-musicians-get-real/?utm_term=.066870b575fb.
 Noll, Mark A. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994. 33.
 Marty, Martin. “A Shot across the Brow — The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark A. Noll.” Commonweal 121, no. 19 (1994): 22.
 Noll, Mark A. Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind. Grand Rapids, MI, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2013. 167.