Saturday, July 08, 2006

Some context for Blamire's The Christian Mind

Interesting to note Blamires's The Christian Mind in its larger context as noted in this article in The New Pantagruel:

Anti-Intellectualism: Parallel to the above concerns, many of these authors further object to an anti-intellectual mindset they perceive behind the popular evangelical distrust of theology. And this anti-intellectualism finds additional critique from the pen of evangelical historian Mark Noll in his 1994 Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.36 Describing his perspective as that of a “wounded lover,”37 Noll opens his volume with a powerful accusation, “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”38 While evangelicals have been strong on piety and evangelism, zealous in missions and mercy ministries and activism, they have neglected the serious life of the mind, a charge he repeatedly demonstrates by appeal to the continued lack of an evangelical research university fifty years into the movement’s modern incarnation. Indeed, evangelicals “have nourished millions of believers in the simple verities of the gospel but have largely abandoned the universities, the arts, and other realms of ‘high’ culture.”39
Also in 1994, Os Guinness accused evangelicals of anti-intellectualism in Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What to Do About It.40 Blaming the eight “P”s of polarization, pietism, primitivism, populism, pluralism, pragmatism, philistinism and premillenialism—alongside what he terms the “idiot culture” of postmodern America—Guiness calls on evangelicals to think critically about all of life from a biblically-defined perspective. Both Guiness’ and Noll’s critiques find precedent in Harry Blamires’ 1963 classic The Christian Mind, in which Blamires disparages the Christian mind for succumbing to the secular drift of western culture at large.41 Indeed, the evangelical movement’s modern incarnation began with a self-critique book accusing fundamentalism of anti-intellectualism and cultural obscurantism, Carl F. H. Henry’s 1947 book, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism.42
But in all of these contemporary criticisms of American evangelicalism, personal ethics and morality are nowhere targeted. Nor are evangelicals in these volumes called to new moral or political crusades in the culture at large. No new activism is called for. Rather, the focus is on reforming the theology of the churches with a renewed vision of God’s greatness, holiness, grace and sovereign power. And behind this emphasis on the highness of God stands a concern for the ultimacy of biblical authority, an authority these authors see attacked on every front, not from the outside, but from within the evangelical movement itself.

2 comments:

G.J. said...

The proper link is here:
http://www.newpantagruel.com/issues/2.2/evangelicalisms_insecure_calv.php?page=1
ALl pages version:
http://www.newpantagruel.com/issues/2.2/evangelicalisms_insecure_calv.php?page=all

You might also enjoy this related review:
http://www.newpantagruel.com/issues/2.1/so_what_theology_and_american.php?page=1

Raskolnikov said...

Thank you g.j.,

I am going to change my post to reflect your comment.