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The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind

Narrated by: Trevor Thompson
Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (71 ratings)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Explains the Evangelical World.

Second "read." It explains so much about what has happened to evangelical Christianity. Worth listening to again. Solid narration by Trevor Thompson. Recommended!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Still Relevant. Wonderful narration.

I read this book years ago in seminary. It was compelling then... and now. I loved the chance to revisit old themes and ideas. Mark Noll has captured so much in this book. A classic! It is amazing how ideas transcend time. The narration was spot-on. Trevor Thompson did a great job.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Classic text! Great in audio.

I read this book years ago in seminary. My old copy still has coffee stains on the pages. I found it on audio and listened on my commute to the church every day. Still relevant... and accurate. The narrate read at a great pace. What a voice! I will listen again.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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interesting perspective

this should get people thinking about the lack of thought and connection Evangelicals have with the Christian Church let by the Apostles

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Mind That Thinks Like a Christian

My experience with Mark Noll’s clever argument began with hope, slid briefly into skepticism, then rose to agreement. Initially, I expected a set of true witticisms floating in a sea of supporting facts, which was an entertaining prospect. As Noll’s case rolled out in the opening chapters, I worried that this promising work was destined to turn into a call to “make evangelicalism great again” - but I was reassured by several aspects of what I have concluded is a sober and fair assessment of the state of evangelical intellectualism, if indeed such a thing truly exists.

The first is that for Noll, the call to evangelical intellectualism is also the call to participate in the global and historical church, not as a persuasive voice to turn the masses to the current habits of what he cleverly terms “populist” evangelical habits of the mind, but as a mutually educative presence: to be transformed by the careful conclusions of legitimate research and contemplation, as well as to flavor new discoveries with core historic Christian convictions. I am a fan of this nuanced hope.

The second is that he rightly points out what many have failed to effectively articulate, namely the features of belief and practice which have become central to evangelicalism (and consequently are harmful to the life of the mind and participation in the world) but are not central to historic Christian belief, and have their roots in social phenomena of the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly in America. As an evangelical tempted to leave this tradition by the very points he raises, it was refreshing to hear Noll state that they have to go for the movement to continue in a healthy way.

In the end, I appreciate Noll’s perspective, regardless of specific details I myself or others may differ on concerning his argument. My hope now is that others will find the value in what he is saying.

As for the performance, Trevor Thompson spoke clearly and at a good pace, which is all I ask for in a reader.

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Find the commas already!!!

It is so hard listening to this book because the reader is committed to his sing-songy cadence with absolutely no regard to what a sentence is actually saying!!! I can generally tell - not always- when a sentence begins, but the end of a phrase is only rarely detectable. Often I've thought an entire sentence to be over only to find that the next word actually went with the last one and there should have been no break. So exasperating!! I feel for the author and hope he is spared ever having to hear his work so executed (and never has the obvious play on that word been more appropriate!!!).

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Insightful critique of evangelicalism

This book has much to commend it. It is correct in much of its critique, however it reads with a condescending tone and misdiagnoses the main problems.

The reader of this performance mispronounces Keswick and sounds very condescending.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Still a valuable book for Evangelicals to read

Did Trevor Thompson do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Reader was so-so. He certainly mispronounced some names, at least as far as I could tell.

Any additional comments?

Many of Noll's criticisms of Evangelical (stipulated components of Evangelicalism: biblicism, conversionism, & activism) thought life are spot on. This book is plenty convicting (and, I think, inspiring/encouraging) even if there are quibbles with some of his criticisms. Particularly powerful are Noll's thoughts on the ways Evangelicalism has "teamed up with" or drawn on Enlightenment goals and methods and Americanism. Specifically, he describes the Evangelical dependence upon 19th-century Enlightenment thought (Scottish Common Sense Realism) and shows some of the limitations of that dependence. Noll demonstrates Jonathan Edwards's Christian stand against the overwhelming tide of Enlightement thought (though not so much in method). Finally, to quote James Brown, on the good foot, his criticisms about the "inductive" method of Bible study were shown to have roots in Enlightenment empiricism. I've long been dubious about "inductive" methods. All this was quite helpful and clarifying to me. Thanks, Dr. Noll.

Interestingly, Noll notes many contributions to Evangelical thought from outside Evangelicalism. Dutch Calvinism, Lutheranism, Anabaptism, Roman Catholicism, mainline Protestantism, and a little bit of Eastern Orthodoxy. He mentions Theonomy / Reconstructionism, noting that it tends toward Libertarianism. He hardly notices Francis Schaeffer, but then again, Schaeffer is was self-consciously dedicated to Christian intellectual enterprise.

Less edifying were Noll's criticisms about Evangelicals and scientific thought. He's death on creation science, seeing it as little more than an enterprise to poke some holes in the enormous bubble of over-confident and expansive evolutionary assumptions. He rightly admonishes his readers that the Book of special revelation (Bible) cannot be rightly understood without a faithful reading of the book of natural revelation. True enough, but Noll gives precious little guidance as to the divine purpose for the Bible. He says that what's essential is that God reveals himself and his incarnate, saving Son through the Bible (Jn. 20:31). However, when it comes to creation, cosmogony, the Flood and some other issues, Noll seems simply to check his Bible at the door, opting for a "Christian mind" in the realm of science. Sadly, at this point, one can indeed perceive some of Noll's mind, but precious little of any Christianity. His thoughts, especially in regard to science, make me think about my own intellectual deficiencies, but they do not make me think he's got the "Christian mind" quite dialed in.

'Nother thought: Upon reflexion, I think that Noll would have done well to interact with sin's noetic effects more consistently throughout the book. That facet (bearing so heavily on topic of the book) gets scant attention, and - as I recall - mostly when his historical subjects made much of it, most notably in the Reformation and in Jonathan Edwards.

1 of 12 people found this review helpful