Carl Trueman, Moody, 2011, 41 pages, 3 of 5 pages
The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind is a rejoinder to Mark Noll’s 1994 book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. In the latter work, Noll argued the “scandal” was that evangelicals have no mind, especially on doctrines of intellectual suicide such as dispensationalism and six-day creationism. Noll censures evangelicals for their lack of cultural and theological engagement.
Trueman argues the opposite. The “real” scandal is evangelicalism’s lack of clear doctrinal definition within the wider Christian community. It’s not that there is no mind–there is no Evangel.
The only time problems arise…is when the term ‘evangelical’ is used as if it has doctrinal meaning, when in fact it does not. (19)
Trueman, with his characteristic sass and wit, comes out swinging. He calls out seminaries like Fuller and Wheaton, the latter so earnest to be the “evangelical Harvard” that it fails miserably to draw narrow theological lines. Even Dallas and TEDS meets Trueman’s ire for recently downplaying their historic distinctives.
Is the term “evangelical” of any value when claimed by polar opposites like Joel Osteen and John MacArthur? Is the Evangelical Theological Society wise in making the Trinity and inerrancy the only ground for membership, both of which are compatible with Roman Catholicism? And don’t Catholics who have been removed from ETS have a legitimate beef for being mistreated? Trueman would answer no, no, and yes.
Truman’s little book is valuable not only in proving the moniker “evangelical” doesn’t mean much any more but showing the catastrophic consequences of those who want to be culturally relevant on matters such as homosexuality and evolution.