Gordon in the News: last updated 10/04/2009

Gordon Hosts Anniversary Conference Exploring The Scandal of The Evangelical Mind

August 24, 2009

Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA-- Fifteen years after history professor Mark Noll first claimed that “the scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind,” many still consider his landmark book a wake-up call. Scholars who hold to the Christian faith, especially those in higher education, view Noll’s work as a seminal guide to academic excellence within the evangelical tradition.

“He challenges Christians to take the life of the mind more seriously,” said Thomas Albert Howard, associate professor of history at Gordon College and director of the Jerusalem and Athens Forum. “Noll’s book has inspired a new generation of young people to give themselves to rigorous study and to understand the vocation of scholarship as a way to honor God.”

Consequently, on Thursday, October 1 and Friday, October 2 Gordon College will host the country’s only 15-year anniversary conference of Noll’s book with the same title: The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Co-sponsored with Eastern Nazarene College and the Gordon College Center for Christian Studies and partially funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind: Fifteen Years Later will be held on the Gordon campus, located on Boston’s North Shore. It will include presentations and responses by Noll himself, who is the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame and was named one of Time Magazine’s top 25 most influential evangelicals in 2005.

The two-day event—which is free and open to the public—will also feature lectures, panel discussions and book signings from 10 other notable authors and academics, including Jon Roberts of Boston University, Karl Giberson of the BioLogos Foundation and Randall Stephens of Eastern Nazarene College. Maura Jane Farrelly, assistant professor of American Studies at Brandeis University, will conduct a public interview with Noll on Thursday evening. David Hempton of Harvard Divinity School will discuss “Minds and Mentalities in the Evangelical Tradition.” And Noll will give a keynote address, “The Evangelical Imperative for Evangelical Intellectual Life,” Friday morning in the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel. A complete schedule of events and speakers can be found at www.gordon.edu/download/pages/EvangelicalMind.pdf.

“Noll’s book still calls attention to how shoddy, second-rate thinking and publishing (within evangelicalism) not only does not serve the faith but is a deviation from some of historic Christianity’s own established traditions of contemplative and intellectual excellence,” said Howard. “Gordon College’s own Critical Loyalty grant from the Lilly Endowment was designed in part to put Noll’s challenge into action in a specific institutional setting. It’s fitting that 15 years after his book was published we would host a conference where we’re still very interested in discussing how evangelicals can pursue academic excellence.”

For more information, contact the Office of College Communications, 978.867.4752, the Center for Christian Studies, CCS@gordon.edu, or visit www.gordon.edu.


Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston’s North Shore. The College offers majors in 37 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation’s top Christian colleges.


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