This address is entitled “The (True) Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.”
The text for consideration is 1 Corinthians 1:18ff. The story of Jesus is our story. His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming is our story, for we are one people, His body. This story is foolishness to those outside the church.
The first great scandal is that the scandal of the cross scandalizes us. We complain when other people complain about Christianity. We try to insist that non-believers regard us well. But Paul tells us that the world sees us as stupid. This is, quite simply, the way it is. But we start to reshape ourselves and our story to remove the scandal and diminish the stumbling-block. The emergents try to emphasize narrative, but they do it in a postmodern way. The seeker-sensitive approach sets aside the scandalous part of the story. Theological liberalism doesn’t believe our story. As confessional people, we don’t change our story, but rather we preach the cross.
The second great scandal of the evangelical mind is that we are not really evangelical. Of course, we believe the gospel. But do we have a passion for lost souls? We critique supposedly bad ways of evangelism, while we don’t do it at all. We are not evangelically minded. We like to bring that little island of our own genius to the table. This is actually semi-Pelagianism. The idea of education is not to join the great conversation, but rather the great confrontation. We should not add the wisdom of the world to the Bible, like Aquinas did in the Summa Theologica. The Bible does not need human cooperation, or anything added to it. To think so is again semi-Pelagianism. Boethius (like Philo) tried to add the wisdom of Plato to the Bible. Nowadays, it is the idea of getting psychology or Madison Avenue to the Bible. He asserts (I would disagree here) that Warfield tried to add the wisdom of science to the Bible (LK, this is highly disputed in Warfield scholarship). Are we willing to trust God and believe what He tells us.
Another scandal is not that we are not smart enough, but that we are not good enough. And then, when God tells us something, we wind up looking at our circumstances, and then twist what God says to fit our experience. We then use our brains for rationalization. How do we know when we are really putting our mind into submission to the Bible. Are we willing to accept these accusations from the world? We were rescued from foolishness. We didn’t “smart” our way out of it. Are you willing to be thought a fool for Christ’s sake? We always lie to ourselves. We are not repentant about our minds.