Check out my op-ed piece for the “Houses of Worship” column in the Wall Street Journal today. It’s in the paper but it’s also available for free online.

Here’s an excerpt:

This feeling of intellectual distance from grass-roots Christianity is not new. It’s been almost 30 years since Charles Malik, a former president of the United Nations General Assembly and a devout Christian, gave a speech at Wheaton College called “The Two Tasks.” To the audience assembled for the dedication of Wheaton’s Billy Graham Center, he said: “The greatest danger besetting American evangelical Christianity is the danger of anti-intellectualism.” This idea was picked up by historian Mark A. Noll 14 years later in his 1994 book “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.” The “scandal” of the title, he said, was “that there is not much of an evangelical mind,” despite what he sees as a biblical mandate to better understand creation. Mr. Noll asserts that this lack is reinforced by the historical experience of evangelicals in America, whose churches and ministries have gained more adherents at the cost of fostering anti-intellectualism and bad theology.

Give it a read if you have a moment and feel free to comment either here, or over at the WSJ site.

About The Author

Jonathan D. Fitzgerald

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0 Responses to Patrol in the Wall Street Journal

  1. HARRIS says:

    Saw it at breakfast; you’re poking at some important issues. I’m not sure however, that a return to Christendom is a desirable feature — this has been an area of fruitful critique by such folks as Stanley Hauerwas and William Willamon among other centrists.

  2. Todd says:

    Good article. Now I have found a good web site for like-minded people. As a Biola grad it is not surprising to see Reynolds’ comments regarding a return to Christendom. I am not sure that Biola really does encourage people to explore the margins, but I must applaud their efforts to completely engage the mind. Another Biola-linked source of information on this topic is J.P. Moreland. Moreland has effectively addressed the topic in books and articles.

  3. I found the article interesting but am curious as to what “experience” you are talking about in the last two paragraphs. Is it belief in Jesus as the true representative of God on earth? Or are you speaking solely about the “seeker sensitive movement?” I am using this article in my sermon this Sunday. Your panelists would have fit in well with the Athenians of Paul’s time and I am fairly certain they would have considered him to not be and intellectual.

  4. Drew says:

    “Experience” movement likely refers to the large majority of believer who know the gospel is true because “it’s in my heart.” This applies to both the seeker-sensitive movement along with a lot of people in the pews of any so-called orthodox-believing church. Most Christians (evangelicals) today do not know the basics of the deity of Christ, the internal relations of the Godhead, basic evidence for the truth of Scripture and the Resurrection, and why the church even exists. This is why evangelicals appear irrational and anti-intellectual.

    In addition to JP Moreland, Michael Horton has also explored these issues quite well.

  5. Pastor Mike says:

    Thank you Drew, as an associate pastor of a Bible church and the pastor of its sister church I and the others on staff strive to help people understand the basics of the subjects you mentioned and more if they are willing. The need for all of us is a deeper understanding of the Bible. Paul tells us that“the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.” In light of statements of the panel and Mr. Fitzgeral’s assessment they had to choose between being “intellectuals” or evangelicals. I would be curious what beliefs they could no longer hold in order to be called “intellectual.”

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