Some readers will feel that he errs by being too charitable toward the secular academic world. If George Marsden, Bradley Longfield, and other historians are right about the growing hegemony of secular assumptions in the modern research university, it may be difficult for orthodox voices of any kind to be heard since they are excluded from the conversation to begin with. Yet Noll seems not to think so, or at least he seems to think that evangelicals do well first to focus upon their own shortcomings rather than outsiders’ prejudices.
Evangelicals’ anti-intellectualism is no laughing matter. “The scandal of the evangelical mind,” he laments, “is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” Since the movement’s birth in the transatlantic revivals of the early eighteenth century, it has brought millions to deep and lasting Christian faith. Even today, polls tell us, a solid majority of the folk who regularly attend and participate in the life of local churches are evangelical in belief and behavior. But in the process, Noll argues, they have paid a terrible price, for they have “abandoned the universities, the arts, and other realms of ‘high’ culture.”
Warfield, like other conservative Princetonians, had no objection to biological evolution being taught in science classes, since that could be reconciled as a mode of divine providence. He objected, however, to theories of social evolution of religion and particularly higher critical theories of the social evolution of Judaism and Christianity because they threatened the foundational claims of biblical Protestantism (p. 223).
The public school is a substitute institution for the Holy Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages and is a thoroughly medieval concept. A single culture is demanded, and the public school must create it. Hence, every group believing in and seeking to control that new Leviathan and grand monolith seeks control of the public school. But a free and pluralistic society requires the abolition of the public school and the tax support of the school in favor of a pluralistic education. The competitive aspect will ensure the quality of education, and the cultural implications of various faiths, philosophies and opinions can be given freedom to develop and make their contribution. Our society today, despite its pretensions, is not pluralistic except with regard to religion, which it considers a matter of indifference. In all else, it is monolithic. The Orthodox Christian can face a pluralistic society in the confidence that his faith can, given such freedom, establish its power and superiority culturally and religiously. He must realize that today agnosticism has secured the status of an established church by means of the institution of the public school, and this new religion must be disestablished.
More could be said to indicate the important contributions of the Enlightenment and its cultural development, one of whose great monuments is the modern school. It has been a movement of tremendous power, sweeping across every continent in only a few centuries. Nevertheless, while in many respects a great liberating force, it has been also the source of the greatest actual and potential slavery history has yet known. By its agnostic secularism, it has become the fountainhead of tyranny. The vast dividing line between God’s absolute legislative authority and man’s delegated and ministerial power has been dissolved, and the secular state made steadily the source of an absolutism exceeding God’s own exercise of power.
Government figures indicate that in the middle and late 1940's the state schools and 90% of the pupil population, with 10% in “private schools” of all classes. By 1959, the figures stood at 84% in state schools, and 16% in “private” schools. According to R. L. Hunt, "You can no longer take the public schools for granted” and he cites eight trends militating against such schools.