In his most recent book, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2011), historian Mark Noll follows up on his lamentations about “the scandal of the evangelical mind’ and casts a vision for a sweeping renewal of Christian intellectual life. In his earlier book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1994), Noll sounded a call for evangelicals to develop one of their higher educational institutions into a full-fledged evangelical research university. While Baylor has made significant steps in that direction in recent years, they still have a ways to go, and Noll’s suggested goal has not yet been met. But, Noll says, there is an evangelical research university of a sort out there. He writes:
At pluralistic colleges and universities, campus ministries of many sorts also encourage evangelical spiritual life, without which there would be no evangelical intellectual life. Especially with its major commitment to graduate and faculty ministry, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has played an especially important role. By providing Christian nurture and networks for evangelical (and other) students and teachers who might otherwise feel isolated as believing scholars, the Grad-Faculty IVCF may be doing as much in its low-key way to improve evangelical intellectual life as any other ongoing national program. Such local efforts, which are sponsored by other campus ministries as well, are particularly important for enhancing networking, which is now absolutely essential for Christian learning. In the relative absence of comprehensive evangelical universities, one can almost say that informal networks are the evangelical research universities. (p. 157, my italics)
This is what we’re doing: standing in the gap. Please, pray for us. To become a part of the movement by supporting my work with InterVarsity here in Raleigh, just go to https://donate.intervarsity.org/donate/to/David_Williams.