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The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind [Paperback]

Trueman Carl
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 44 pages
  • Publisher: Moody (1 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802405746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802405746
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.5 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 120,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stimulating read! 22 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Carl Trueman's writing is always thought provoking, and in this case very insightful into the reasons for the lack of cohesion in the evangelical movement (particularly reflecting on North America, but applicable everywhere). An easy read, well written, but a book that will be most effective if we take time to reflect on the author's observations and take his warnings to heart.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Scandal 20 Mar 2013
By Dr. David Steele - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In 1994, Mark Noll dropped a land mine on the ecclesiastical world with his excellent work, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Noll argued persuasively that "the scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind." Noll's conclusion appears to be in agreement with the thesis of Harry Blamires who said, "There is no longer a Christian mind." Carl Trueman picks up where Noll and Blamires left off with the publication of his little book, The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.

Trueman questions the functionality of the term "evangelical" which according to David Bebbington is marked by four characteristics:

A high regard for the Bible as the primary source of truth
A focus on the cross work of Christ
A belief in the necessity of personal conversion
A public display of the gospel
Trueman is rightly concerned that the doctrinal boundaries which define an evangelical are too broad. He wisely states, "Ironically, the minimal doctrinal confessions of some evangelical institutions can exacerbate, rather than mitigate the problem of boundary drawing." Trueman continues, "A movement that cannot or will not draw boundaries, or that allows the modern cultural fear of exclusion to set its theological agenda, is doomed to lose its doctrinal identity." Indeed, the propensity of evangelicals to be inclusive and draw blurry boundaries will in the final analysis, harm the evangelical mind. Ignoring Trueman's counsel will prove detrimental to evangelicalism as a movement.

The author identifies a trend in the evangelical world that is growing increasingly more tolerant with subjects such as universalism or homosexuality. Some might agree that this broadens the appeal but this brazen compromise does not come without a steep price. Truly, this is weak-kneed, spineless, and tepid. And it bears no resemblance to the robust faith of the Puritans and Protestant Reformers. This is not a "faith" to die for. This is a "faith" that is marginalized and ineffective.Trueman argues that the net result of this theological compromise will come under "huge strain" in the days ahead. The author posits, "The impact of this wider cultural shift on evangelical institutions and organizations will be dramatic." Simply put, Christ-followers who stand for the truth will not be tolerated. Christ-followers who think Christianly (to borrow Schaeffer's language) will be marginalized. Christ-followers who refuse to compromise the truth will pay a heavy price in the marketplace of ideas.

Trueman gives a brilliant example of where the scandal of the evangelical mind is heading. He challenges evangelical leaders to weigh in on the matter of homosexuality. Is it a legitimate lifestyle or not? "All Christians" says Trueman, "evangelical and otherwise, will face the question, and their answer to it will determine whether they have credibility in the wider culture." Evangelicals have not and will not be unified in answering this question because the evangelical world is not "defined by doctrinal commitments." One recalls the strong and vigorous challenges of the 20th century from Carl Henry and Francis Schaeffer; calls to maintain fidelity to biblical authority. Since those calls have gone largely unheeded, the evangelical mind is in trouble.

Here is the rub: "Do we want to be culturally credible, and how much ground are we willing to surrender in order to do so?" The author reminds anyone tempted by such a tantalizing thought, "Cultural relevance can be a cruel mistress." So will Christians leaders stand up and risk being marginalized at best and scorned and persecuted at worst. That remains a question that has yet to be answered.

Trueman goes one step beyond Mark Noll and his conclusion is not as half-baked as it appears on the surface. He maintains, "It is not that there is no mind, but rather that there is no evangelical." He predicts that Christianity will be viewed as a cult, much like the 1st century believers in Rome.

The cure, according to Trueman comes not in cultural concession or compromise but in narrowing the boundaries and refining our doctrinal distinctives. A return to the historic creeds (what the author refers in another work as the Creedal Imperative) may be in order. Minimizing doctrine never helps combat theological error - it only exacerbates it!

Trueman concludes on a somber note: "The real scandal of the evangelical mind currently is not that it lacks a mind, but that it lacks any agreed-upon evangel." The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind is a timely book that should be placed in the hands of as many Christ-followers as possible. It is a warning; it is a call to arms; it is a wake-up call! May this book spur church leaders to refuse to loosen up (which is the trend in so many circles today). The real call is to tighten up! The real call involves courage in order to rebuild the Christian mind that values orthodoxy, cherishes the historic creeds and confessions, and elevates the gospel in a way that magnifies and glorifies Christ.

Semper Reformanda!
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Succinct look at what's really going on in "evangelicalism" 29 Mar 2011
By John Grasty - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Bam! That's what I've got to say.

Carl Trueman shows that the doctrinal shallowness, or maybe fear of boundaries would be more accurate, of the evangelical movement has doomed it to dispersion. While he is not endorsing a neo-sectarianism, he does demonstrate that truth is what unites people, and there is little truth at the heart of the current beast.

He masterfully demonstrates this using Biblical inerrancy, the historicity of Adam, and homosexuality as case studies. It is hard to argue against his logic. He does not leave us in despair even though the reign of Christendom is over, but instead we are reminded that the church that Christ founded has always been a counter cultural movement.

Highly recommended!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite What it Should Have Been 26 Feb 2013
By DELA - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my Kindle and was somewhat disappointed with Dr. Trueman's thesis. Previously, I have read Mark Noll's Scandal of the Evangelical Mind and found myself in full agreement with his assessment of the lack of intellectual engagement on the behalf of Christians in increasingly secular academic settings. Even Trueman himself has been kept walled off, away in the seminary. In fact, it seems that Trueman is unaware of Mark Noll's follow up work in 2011 -- Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind. There, Noll provides his optimistic vision for the Church, in response to the problem of the Evangelical Mind, presented in Scandal. He writes, "If, as Christians believe, 'all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge' are hid in Christ (Col. 2:3), the time is always past for talking about treasure hunting. The time is always now to unearth treasure, offer it to others for critique or affirmation, and above all find in it new occasions to glorify the one who gives the treasure and is the treasure himself."

From my perspective, Noll offers a grander view of the Evangelical Mind in his later book, which I'm quite surprised that Trueman neglects in this work. I would recommend passing on this short rant and then rather buy Noll's originals which are more in-depth on the subject (The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind and Jesus and the Life of the Mind).
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't we all get along? No! 9 May 2011
By Scott Place - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind outlines in stark and precise terms the real war going on. Do we as evangelicals stand for anything or will we compromise everything to be part of the cool kids as represented by the current wave of moral relativists?

Are we willing to stand up even if pushed and marignalized? The answer from Trueman is yes!

Read this book if you want clarity on the dangers of cultural compromise.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Evangelicalism Is Imploding 20 May 2011
By Rocky Hill Gal - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Dr. Trueman addresses the fallacy and weakness of the "Evangelical" identifier for a movement whose core doctrines either don't exist or are intentionally vague. With unity based on a presumed, subjective experience, the rejection or underdevelopment of a doctrinal core has created a boundary-less amalgam of odd bedfellows that have no authority over theological and moral issues.

"If the church as a whole is losing its ability to be "salt and light" in this culture, it is not because its members have no opinion of the films of Bernardo Bertolucci, no appreciation for the poetry of Emily Dickenson, and no regular slot on The Charlie Rose Show. More likely, it is because they do not have a solid grasp of the basic elements of the faith, as taught in Scripture and affirmed by the confessions and catechisms of the church." (p. 35-36)

I found Dr. Trueman's provocative and clearly written essays to articulately capture the root cause of the current tension within evangelicalism over wildly popular, published teachings that reject core orthodoxy and moral values. This fundamentally anti-intellectual movement is now imploding due to its own structural weaknesses. Encouragement can be found in that many sincere Christians are beginning to understand that doctrine matters. I appreciated Dr. Trueman's sharp insight, well-constructed arguments and gifted writing.
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