When I read John Piper’s book Think I enjoyed the forward by Mark Noll, an evangelical Christian who teaches history at Notre Dame, and decided to pick up Noll’s book on a similar topic to Piper’s, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind.
Although the books are similar, there are a few differences in focus. While it seemed Piper’s book was addressed to Christians broadly, exhorting believers not to disdain scholarship, Noll’s book is more narrowly written to Christians who are already engaged in intellectual pursuits, exhorting them to keep their faith central to their scholarship, and describing how to do so in a pluralistic culture.
What I appreciated about both books was the foundational observation that Christians can and should be active in academia without compromising their beliefs. As Noll writes, “There is simply nothing humanly possible to study about the created realm that, in principle, leads us away from Jesus Christ.”
Having established that framework, Noll’s book provides a valuable outline for the ways that various disciplines could be approached by Christian scholars, areas of inquiry that Christians are particularly well-equipped to study, and exhortation for Christians to lead in intellectual work. I found Noll’s goals for Christian scholarship helpful and insightful. Also helpful was the list of additional resources and books on related topics.
Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind is an interesting and thought-provoking book and I’d recommend it if you are interested in scholarship, or are currently a student. If you have time to read both Noll’s book and Piper’s, I think they dovetail nicely together.
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