January 28, 2015
The Life of the Mind
The history of evangelicalism and the life of the mind is both well-chronicled and checkered. While Jonathan Edwards is hailed by some as the greatest intellect (not just evangelical intellect) in American history, suspicion and anger has often boiled over from within evangelicalism against the university world. The 1925 Scopes Trial, for example, set off decades of distrust that affected generations of Bible-believing Christians.
Richard Mouw, former president of Fuller Seminary, is one such believer. He admired those who voiced simple faith in the face of intellectual challenges. Today Mouw is still sympathetic to those who think that being educated can draw one away from being holy. But he knows too that this is a false choice. One can also be a godly thinker or a sinful dimwit.
In the winsome reflections found in Called to the Life of the Mind, Mouw chronicles the influences which helped him--Frank Gaebelein, Houghton College, mentors on the faculty at Calvin College and more. They helped him see that our minds are gifts from God, and we disparage the Giver if we disparage the gift. The issue is not a choice between faith or reason. It is one of embracing faith infused reason and reason infused faith.
This brief and gentle book offers wise and supportive counsel to anyone affected by certain strains of Christian anti-intellectualism. It is well worth its modest price.