March 21, 2006

Evangelical historian Mark Noll, longtime professor at Wheaton College in Illinois, will leave for the University of Notre Dame at the end of this academic year. Noll’s books include The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, which criticizes evangelicalism’s tendency toward anti-intellectualism, and America’s God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln. In recent years, Notre Dame has attracted evangelical scholars, and it is believed that Noll was hired in light of the possible retirement in a few years of evangelical historian George Marsden.

Earl Stallings, 89, former pastor of First Baptist Church of Birmingham, Alabama, and one of the eight white clergy Martin Luther King Jr. addressed in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” died February 23 in Lakeland, Florida. Stallings was pastor of First Baptist Church between 1961 and 1965 and angered many in his all-white congregation by allowing blacks to attend a Sunday worship service. He gained a lasting place in history from the 1963 letter, which set forth King’s argument for racial equality and the immediate need for social justice. It was directed at and chastised white moderate clergy who had been urging King to delay his 1963 demonstrations in Birmingham. The Century was the first publication to run the full text of the King letter.

Henry Morris, best known for writings that challenge naturalistic and evolutionary theories of origins, died February 25 in San Diego at 87 after a brief illness. Morris is regarded as the person most responsible for the modern creation-science movement. The author and educator founded the Institute for Creation Research, a graduate school and research organization established to articulate a creationist point of view. Morris cofounded Christian Heritage College (now San Diego Christian College) along with Tim LaHaye, who later gained fame as coauthor of the best-selling Left Behind apocalyptic novels.