Nov 18

The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, by Carl Trueman ★★★★

This is a short but sweet little book that can easily be read in one setting. It consists of three talks that Trueman gave regarding the status of evangelicalism. This was read on my iPad while on vacation to Israel.

The first chapter delineates the problem of defining evangelicalism. The issue is focused around a Wheaton professor who declared that he was returning to the Catholic church, yet still was able to sign the evangelical creed of Wheaton college. Chapter 2 focuses on several problem points for evangelical scholars. One is maintaining doctrinal intregity while competing for excellence in academia against liberals who tend to denigrate a strict biblical approach. Another issue is the weakening stance of evangelicals on morality, caving in on issues such as homosexuality and abortion. The third chapter concludes that with the loss of doctrinal basis, there really is no such thing any more as an evangelical. To quote the last sentence, ”

The real scandal of the evangelical mind currently is not that it lacks a mind, but that it lacks any agreed-upon evangel. Until we acknowledge that this is the case—until we can agree on what exactly it is that constitutes the evangel—all talk about evangelicalism as a real, coherent movement is likely to be little more than a chimera, or a trick with smoke and mirrors.”

Trueman offers nothing new in what many other conservative scholars have been saying about the crisis in conservative evangleical Christendom. His style of writing is enjoyable, yet the content is weighty and holds serious concerns. I can’t recommend this book among the many others with a similar topic out there, with authors such as Os Guinness, DA Carson, and even Francis Schaeffer.

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3 Responses to “The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind”

  1. Onkel Dennis says:

    The question I would pose is: if evangelicals have minds, where are they? The author does not go outside the box of familiar American evangelical assumptions to propose anything close to a root solution but appears to hack at the same branches as others. To really get to the root of the matter requires a radical (“to the root) solution, and few American Christians want to go in for anything that uncomfortable. So it is not a question of mind but of will and willingness to act outside the box of familiar habits.

  2. Bright minds with faulty presuppositions end up in the wrong place. The evangelical mind often has faulty presuppositions. The “scandal” of the evangelical mind has become a favor topic of evangelical professors in seminary, and it becomes slightly wearisome to read book after book on the topic. David Wells in his series of books has essentially identified the problem with current evangelical thinking, and nobody needs to re-labor the points Wells makes.

  3. Onkel Dennis says:

    I agree that Wells completed the job from a certain perspective. In The Grand Deception, and similar works by others, a quite different and totally missed aspect of the current social order that is too much off the usual mental tracks of most evangelical scholars (and which would be too uncomfortable for them to want to pursue – and I have had experience with this) is fundamental in scripture yet is a gaping black hole in the mental fabric of American Christian awareness. Aber schade, Ich denke.

    Happily however, people like North and Rushdoony and Ludwig (and maybe even The Grand Deception) fill in the missing region, though few there be who find it. And finding it is becoming more important – nay, critical – as America collapses into a police state.

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