The glowing Chronicle of Higher Education review of Mark Noll’s God and Race in American Politics: A Short History, see Martin E. Marty’s God-Talk: Good, Bad, and Ugly, A new book on religion and race in politics should give us pause, places the recent Princeton University Press release on my American Religious Tradition shelf. I hope it does the same for you 😉
In his review, Martin E. Marty briefly comments on evangelical scholars:
When I first began to write about religious history 50 years ago, fundamentalism, evangelicalism, and Pentecostalism were seen as fringe elements. As evangelicalism has since prospered, it has attracted first-rate scholars, many of them influential professors at first-rate universities and writers published by the most prestigious presses.
Provoking. Yes, to some degree evangelicalism has engaged what Noll termed The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, i.e., the evangelical abandonment of higher education (and more broadly thinking) due to a lack of mature interaction with the intellectual conventions conventions of the modern university and an improper focus/application (or one might even say lack of appreciation) of God’s gift of the intellect as a community. May InterVarsity Christian Fellowship continue to intentionally dedicate and develop people, energy, conferencing (e.g., Following Christ 2008), and resources to take part in the revival of thinking God’s thoughts after Him. … to the praise of His glory and the advance of the Kingdom of God!
Question: When you read Marty’s quote, what first-rate evangelical scholars come to your mind as influential/inspirational in your field?
For myself, two scholars which immediately come to mind:
- Cal DeWitt, Professor, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin – Madison, from my undergrad biology studies. If you’re beginnning to have an interest in Creation Care, check out Earth Wise, Second Edition: A Biblical Response to Environmental Issues.
- George Marsden, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame, from my masters in higher education. Must read books include: The Soul of the American University From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief and The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship.
Update: George Marsden has retired from Notre Dame.
About the author:
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the Northeast Regional Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). For a number of years, the Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine was the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!
Micheal Hickerson says
In philosophy, you have a number of first rate scholars, including Alvin Plantinga, Dallas Willard, and Nicholas Wolterstorff.
In literature, Roger Lundin comes to mind.
Jeff Hardin says
I agree on the philosophers. Regarding scientists, I’d put Francis Collins, author of “The Language of God” in the “top shelf” category in human genetics. Fritz (Henry) Schaeffer, a quantum chemist, and Owen Gingerich, an astronomer, are often mentioned in physical science. There are quite a few others. Your categorization seems to place a premium on writing “at the interface” of faith and profession, whereas many scholars don’t do this.
Mike Hickerson says
Your point about “writing at the interface” is a good one. Too often, we in ministries like InterVarsity don’t do enough to value scholarship that doesn’t touch on the interface, even when (maybe especially when) the scholar is a Christian. Any thoughts about how we can lift up scholars who do solid work, but aren’t working in the interface?