When dealing with the Scandal of the Evangelical Mind it is important to take note of how the scandal had come to pass. Mark Noll in his book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, walks through certain elements of how this mind was shaped in early American history.
Noll quotes Canadian historian Michael Gauvreau from his book, The Evangelical Century: College and Creed in English Canada from the Great Revival to the Great Depression. What Gauvreau wrote about Canadian evangelicals, Noll contends has also described the United States, “The evangelical creed was forged in the transatlantic crucible of revival, revolution, and Enlightenment.”
Noll then expands on that:
As modern American evangelicals, we are first, the product of revivalism; second, we are the beneficiaries of the American separation of church and state, which for all its blessings in other respects, did not do as much for the intellect; we are third, the heirs of a Christian-American cultural synthesis created in the wake of the War for Independence; finally our mental habits are profoundly influenced by the fundamentalist movement at the start of the twentieth century. Each of these influences is ambiguous – each preserved something essential in the Christian faith, but each also undercut the hereditary Protestant conviction that is was a good thing to love the Lord with our minds, (pg. 59-60).
What I would like to do in a series of short posts is to bring these different elements that Noll highlights so we can explore how our history has shaped the problem that we face today.