Israel is the key to all end-time prophecy.

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Aug 18

The Scandal of the Arrogant Evangelical Mind

By Jim Fletcher

I just checked on Amazon, and Mark Noll’s 1995 book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, is listed in the top 20,000 books. This is remarkable, since most books are in, say, the top 800,000.

It is remarkable and tragic.

Noll’s book is a hatchet-job on the Bible, and Bible-believing Christians. The former Wheaton College history professor — now enthroned in a similar position at Notre Dame — claims the book is “an epistle from a wounded lover.” He recounts his struggle reconciling intellectual pursuits with living in the evangelical community. In other words, in general, Christians are not usually smart, but rather led by the nose when it comes to “simplistic” Bible teaching and preaching.

The “wounded lover” analogy is particularly nauseating, in my opinion. Noll is a player in the community of “careful” Christian “thinkers.” Whenever you see these words pasted together, know that Bible-believing Christians are about to be bashed. This is the domain of Phillip Yancey, Noll, the editorial staff at Christianity Today, and the Emergent community.

A careful Christian thinker, you see, will accept that the early books of the Bible could have been influenced by surrounding cultures, rather than the other way around. For example, the flood of Noah’s day couldn’t have been global, because we don’t see the geology to support that. Therefore it must have been local, or even a product of the myth/creation stories of the Sumerians. And, might I add, the careful Christian thinker will generally question the claims modern Jews have on their ancient land. Why is this a problem?

Because it’s blasphemy. The Bible was not influenced by the creation stories of the pagan cultures of the ancient Near East. I hope Bible-believers understand the implications of that.

It is one of the reasons support for Israel isn’t stronger in the U.S. Once you buy into the idea that the Bible isn’t history, nothing is sacred. The Exodus didn’t happen; David wasn’t real; Abraham was an early Hebrew memory of an Akkadian myth-figure.

On and on.

The Nolls of the world move in the circles that believe such things. Quite predictably, they are usually sympathetic to the Palestinians and call on Israel to make “painful” concessions for peace. They’re the guys who write and sign letters to the president urging him to make the Israelis play nice.

This has harmed Israel in myriad ways. Ironically, the Palestinians claim to be descendants of the Canaanites. The international community accepts this and considers that the land belongs to the Arabs. But the citizens of the Jewish state today are clearly descended from the ancient Hebrews, yet that reality is mocked.

Truth turned perfectly on its head.

The real scandal of the evangelical mind is that we put up with this.

Interestingly, in his scandalous book, Noll lets it be known that he has little patience for Christians who believe in “creationism” and those who hold to Bible prophecy. This is not surprising. If you can cast doubt about one, you can cast doubt about the other. I know people in both camps who do not exactly agree with this, but I stand by it.

If the whole Bible is not true, none of it is true. This is the mindset of atheists and even “careful” Christian thinkers.

Careful Christian thinkers talk a lot about the Gospels, the Pauline letters, and certain Old Testament books such as Proverbs. They talk about peace and justice and following Jesus.

But what does that mean? Jesus was a Jew, and if you decide (like Phillip Yancey has) that Jesus was a Palestinian rabbi, who are you in fact following? I believe that would be the god of Yasser Arafat, who loathed the truth about the Jews and often called Jesus a Palestinian.

So, we now have a generation of young people who think Jesus was a Palestinian. And Hanan Ashrawi, the clever Palestinian spokesperson who lives in Ramallah, claims that she is a direct descendent of the first Christians in the Holy Land. Which, of course, would have made her Jewish, as the late, great David Bar Illan pointed out.

The Bible tells us that teachers will be held accountable to God in specific ways; they have great authority and power in this life. They will indeed be held accountable.

That will be interesting.