*Please note, this blog was written while in the middle of the flu. Not just any flu, THE flu. The one that hit hard this week, spiking my fever to 103 and then took my entire body down to the depths of depravity with it. While I have been fever-free for 24 hours, it’s only been in the last 12 hours or so that I have started to feel human again. Bear with me and thanks for the grace this week.
Noll starts out with a bang, “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” He makes sure to delineate that it is actually American evangelicals who are generations behind in their thinking, for the graciousness of our global counterparts, lest they believe themselves to be caught up in sustaining a serious academic life as well. Of all people, Mark Noll, should know, right?
Mark Noll is currently a research professor at Regent College, and prior to that, was on faculty at both Notre Dame and Wheaton College. As a student, Noll attended Wheaton, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Vanderbilt University. Noll holds a bend towards teaching and writing on American church history, the Reformation, and most things related to American evangelicalism. What strikes me as odd about all this is that he is a product of the American education system, yet lambasts it in the very next breath. Noll really critiques higher education, yet says that we have to think “like a Christian” across the whole spectrum of learning, including everything from economics to the arts. Noll believes that it was fundraising and money that changed the American Education system. It was the high influx of money that changed seats on boards, changed Presidential foci, and lost the orthodoxy of faculty all around. “The effort to integrate religious faith with learning was either given up entirely, under the assumption that the pursuit of science carried with it no antecedent commitments to a worldview – or it was greatly modified, under the felt need to align religion with the certainties of modern thought.”
Interestingly, the defense of a Christian Liberal Arts education is making a strong contemporary comeback. In fact, the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities have the tagline, “Advancing Faith and Intellect for the Common Good.” A Christian liberal arts education has the ability to prepare students, not just for the vocation they might enter into, but the broader sense of the world. “Christians desperately need deep learning, not only in theology but in the wonder of God’s creation. What a gift it is to the church and to the world when a Christian liberal arts college graduates students who are not simply interested in a job or a career but who see their work as a calling.” It’s not just Christians who are saying this either. President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia recently stated, “And I believe that I am a better scholar because of my liberal arts education, because it was intentionally diverse and heterogeneous, because it made me move outside of my comfort zone into areas of thought and discussion that were uncomfortable to me… it broadened my mind, it exercised my mind.”
I would argue that our mind is only part of what makes us human. While it is a vital part, our mind is not the only thing that people should recognize as Christian in the world. I would hope that a university teaches students how to use their mind, and challenges us to integrate our thoughts into the advancement of the greater good for all people. Noll, who taught for many years at his own liberal arts alma mater, must know that it’s not just thought that fixes all things, but instead of a love of learning and a recognition of the world all being intertwined together by a deeper sense of vocation – doing what we were made to do.
 Mark Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994), 3.
 Ibid., 3.
 “Mark Noll, Ph.D.” Wheaton College Website: https://www.wheaton.edu/academics/school-of-biblical-and-theological-studies/faculty/faculty-emeriti/mark-noll-phd/
 Mark Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994), 7.
 Ibid., 110.
 Ibid.,, 112.
 “About” Council for Christian Colleges & Universities Website: https://www.cccu.org/about/
 Kelly Kapic, “Why We Still Need Christian Colleges,” Christianity Today. September 18, 2019. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/october/kapic-we-need-christian-liberal-arts-colleges.html?share=5uoi1uOzKCnPHCc1kMMm283gNNQrEvVK
 “Education Without Liberal Arts is a Threat to Humanity Argues UBC President”, CBC Radio Canada Website, January 14, 2020. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/education-without-liberal-arts-is-a-threat-to-humanity-argues-ubc-president-1.5426112?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar&fbclid=IwAR04b731pRmZ45bhcEDrMBkPW9mMa4GhPsq06si81RWutxAiHkBrk7WQmAc