What is an evangelical . . . and has he lost his mind? Carl Trueman wrestles with those two provocative questions and concludes that modern evangelicals emphasize experience and activism at the expense of theology. Their minds go fuzzy as they downplay doctrine. The result is “a world in which everyone from Joel Osteen to Brian McLaren to John MacArthur may be called an evangelical.”
Fifteen years ago in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, historian Mark Noll warned that evangelical Christians had abandoned the intellectual aspects of their faith. Christians were neither prepared nor inclined to enter into intellectual debates, and had become culturally marginalized. Trueman argues that today “religious beliefs are more scandalous than they have been for many years”—but for different reasons than Noll foresaw. In fact, the real problem now is exactly the opposite of what Noll diagnosed: evangelicals don’t lack a mind, but rather an agreed upon evangel. Although known as gospel people, evangelicals no longer share any consensus on the gospel’s meaning.
Provocative and persuasive, Trueman’s indictment of evangelicalism also suggests a better way forward for those theologically conservative Protestants famously known as evangelicals.
Praises for The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind-
What is the state of the evangelical mind? Carl Trueman intends to reshape
that entire question, and he does so by questioning the very existence
of evangelicalism. In this clever book, Trueman forces us all to
think about themost basic issues of evangelical identity, integrity, and
credibility. This work comes froma first-rate evangelical scholar. Read
it at your own risk.
—R. ALBERT MOHLER JR. President and Joseph Emerson Brown,
Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Professor Trueman offers a clear and sober assessment of contemporary
evangelicalism and how its doctrinal neglect as well as its ecclesial
and institutional practices continue to sever its intellectual and
moral life from its biblical and theological roots. As a Catholic, I part
ways with Professor Trueman on several doctrinal questions. But
when it comes to our common heritage as Christians—and our shared
understanding of the good, the true, and the beautiful—I stand with
him against a spirit of the age that will not rest until all the vestiges
of Christian civilization are vanquished from the face of the Earth.
What is truly tragic—as Professor Trueman forcefully argues—
is that some who claim to be allies of that civilization, as well as
friends of all things “evangelical,” embrace and propagate ideas that
aid and abet its destruction. Although he may not agree with me on
this, perhaps it is time for evangelicals (as well as Catholics) to consider
what Alasdair MacIntyre has called “the Benedict Option.”
—FRANCIS J. BECKWITH Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies, Baylor University