Noll’s book at times rings of the most strident and elitist forms of evangelical condescension. I’ll admit that as a Southern Baptist I easily grow weary of constant screeds against my denomination’s supposed pervasive intellectual backwardness and disinterest in developing anything even close to a respectable life of the mind. With all the respect to Noll I can muster, these caricatures are not only unhelpful but also tired and inaccurate. The last 20 years have seen the recovery of a number of Baptist institutions in the South for traditional evangelicalism, including the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Union University, and Houston Baptist University. These institutions evidence vital signs of life and suggest that Southern Baptists may indeed be better prepared to invest in serious and sustained Christian intellectual engagement than Noll is willing to concede.
Read the rest of Hall’s excellent review here.