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The Christian Scholar

"The point of Christian scholarship is not recognition by standards established in the wider culture. The point is to praise God with the mind. Such efforts will lead to a kind of intellectual integrity that sometimes receives recognition. But for the Christian that recognition is only a fairly inconsequential by-product. The real point is valuing what God has made, believing that the creation is as "good" as he said it was, and exploring the fullest dimensions of what it meant for the Son of God to "become flesh and dwell among us." Ultimately, intellectual work of this sort is its own reward, becuase it is focused on the only One whose recognition is important, the One before whom all hearts are open."

-Mark Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind

These are encouraging words to read in the midst of the stress of my last semester, and as I think about what it means to become a Christian scholar.

Problem: I'd rather read this book than work on my thesis. You can expect more quotations from and thoughts about the book in the near future.

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I had to read this book for one of my classes, along with another book by Noll. Another good one is The Life of the Mind by Clifford Williams, and at 90 pages, it doesn't take a lot of time.

Good quote. I'd also recommend "Habits of the Mind" by James W. Sire, who wrote The Universe Next Door (and also happens to be a UNL alumnus!) I look forward to discussion about the book at some point.

I haven't read the book... but just thought I'd throw a thought out there: it seems like part of scholarship really is communication with other people. Here's what I'm saying, being amazed with God and producing works out of that amazement is awesome, but it's only half of what we're built for (love God with all your heart, AND your neighbor as myself). So we're set free from producing scholarship to impress, or get ahead, but I think in some sense there can and should be a genuine longing to communicate something powerful, useful or truthful to people who need to hear it... What say you?


I'd agree with that point. The work of communicating something with scholarship should help free us from being motivated to publish just to get published and get ahead in "the game."

I think Noll doesn't make this point too strongly because he wants to emphasize the point that scholarship, or more broadly, learning and the quest for knowledge is good in itself because it is discovering more about God through his creation. American evangelicalism has often failed to grasp this truth, and has thus often been highly suspicious of intellectual pursuits, or anything else dealing with the material/temporal world, and has seen these things as a waste of time when we could be doing things "of eternal value."

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