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
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
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