Evangelical Identity & Academic Success

Jenell Williams Paris, an anthropologist at Messiah College, has a very interesting response in Christianity Today to Mark Noll’s book, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind.

She notes that evangelical scholars’ commitment to holistic formation in students and the health of evangelical institutions may undermine Noll’s call for the development of an evangelical mind.

Her point is worth considering.  “Success” as an individual research scholar often demands that one negelect family responsibilities, refuse to mentor students, and shirk participation in local church life.  It just may be that an academic ethos shaped by a serious evangelical commitment runs counter to the kind of life that produces success as measured by certain academic standards. 

Because active participation in and for the world is such a strong evangelical impulse, is Noll’s admonition realistic?

2 thoughts on “Evangelical Identity & Academic Success

  1. athanasius96

    You can’t “have it all” if that’s what you’re asking. I agree with Jenell that it is difficult and choices need to be made. I gave a talk on “Christians in Academia” years ago along the same lines. However, there are some that do a good job with a lot of prayer and struggle.

  2. Oliver Crisp

    Thanks for posting this, Tim. It is an interesting response. Though my own sensibilities are with Noll, the realism she injects into the discussion is helpful.

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