Archives For The Forgotten Henry

Previous on The Quotable Henry:
* On Civic Engagement
* The Calling of the Church
* Having An Evangelical Worldview

“The believer’s personal debt of love to God and his passion for the lost impel him, so that Christian activity transcends the antithesis of spiritual and social service.”

– Carl F. H. Henry, “Perspective for Social Action Part II,” Christianity Today 3 (February 2, 1959): 16.

“Whenever love triumphs at the expense of holiness, whenever love takes the priority over righteousness, we have moved outside the scriptural orbit.”

– Carl F. H. Henry, Aspects of Christian Social Ethics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 169.

“Christian holiness issues no license for the ecstatic enjoyment of the vision of God as a merely private option; rather, it insists that love of God reflects itself in love for neighbor, and enlists men of piety as sacrificial servants of their fellows.”

– Carl F. H. Henry, “Perspective for Social Action Part II,” Christianity Today 3 (February 2, 1959): 16.

“He who withholds love from another because he considers him unworthy removes himself from the love God manifests to us in the gift and death of Christ while we were yet sinners, yea, actually enemies of God.”

– Carl F. H. Henry, “Perspective for Social Action Part II,” Christianity Today 3 (February 2, 1959): 16.

“The compassionate factor in the Christian social thrust, with its eye on the value of the individual, delivers social service from its impersonal tendency to deal with the people as merely so many cases or illustrations of a given complex of circumstances. Social compassion thus holds status as a prime motive and duty of the Church.”

– Carl F. H. Henry, “Perspective for Social Action Part II,” Christianity Today 3 (February 2, 1959): 16.

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Previously:
* On Civic Engagement

The Calling of the Church

“If the new man is eclipsed in present daily life, and the new society is but a future vision, then contemporary alternatives to the Truth will rush in to fill the yawning gap of a plummeting world. Like a street corner observer, the church will be only watching the passing parade instead of leading and directing the rescue.”

– Carl F. H. Henry, “The New Man and the New Society” in God, Revelation, and Authority: God Who Speaks and Shows. vol. IV (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1979), 541.

“The church which bears his name is already called, now, to challenge and contain powers of evil: as the living Body of its living head the church is now to resist the Evil One, not to indict rampant injustices and support the afflicted and oppressed, now to sensitize moral conscience against wrong and for the right, now to exhibit the purpose of God in a new life and a new community while it proclaims the revealed truth and will of God.”

– Carl F. H. Henry, “Good News for the Oppressed” in God, Revelation, and Authority: God Who Speaks and Shows. vol. IV (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1979), 545-46.

“As never before the church needs to exercise her total witness to the world in the context of the truth of revelation and of the reality of redemption.”

– Carl F. H. Henry, A Plea for Evangelical Demonstration (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1971), 123.

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Carl HenryToday marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Carl F.H. Henry. While in seminary, I don’t think there was another theologian who influenced me more. In my free time, I spent dozens of hours collecting all of Henry’s work in journals, magazines, and books in hopes of one day doing advanced studies on his uneasy conscience for the 21st century.

In one of my classes, Fundamentalism & Evangelicalism, I wrote a paper called “Surgeon for Social Change: Carl F.H. Henry and the New Evangelical Conscience. It was the beginning of my exploration of this man’s legacy of thought. I thought in honor of his 100th birthday, I’d post it here on my blog for those interested in reading it.

Thanks, Carl Henry, for your incredible mind, and even more, your uneasy conscience.

» Surgeon for Social Change – Carl F. H. Henry and the New Evangelical Conscience

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In his book, Knowing the Holy Spirit Through the Old Testament, Christopher J.H. Wright writes about the mission of the Spirit-anointed Messiah being the mission of the church. Wright explains (emphasis mine):

“Historically the church has indeed seen its mission in these broad terms. It is not a matter of engaging in both the gospel and social action, as if Christian social action was something separate from the gospel itself. The gospel has to be demonstrated in word and deed. Biblically, the gospel includes the totality of all that is good news from God for all that is bad news in human life–in every sphere. So like Jesus, authentic Christian mission has included good news for the poor, compassion for the sick and suffering justice for the oppressed, liberation for the enslaved. The gospel of the Servant of God in the power of the Spirit of God addresses every area of human need and every area that has been broken and twisted by sin and evil. And the heart of the gospel, in all of these areas, is the cross of Christ.”

Christopher J.H. Wright, Knowing the Holy Spirit Through the Old Testament (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2006), 118-19.

I think we need to look at this paragraph closely, especially in how Wright considers the relationship of evangelism and social action. If I understand him correctly, social action is in itself an expression of the gospel which is grounded in the mission of Jesus as the Spirit-anointed Servant. Contrary to Wright, I have heard others, including Mark Dever in recent talks, argue that social action are not aspects of the gospel in itself but rather implications of the gospel. I know this sounds like splitting hairs, but this is an important distinction that divides evangelicals on how they understand the relationship evangelism and social action.

So what are your thoughts?

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Papers and Projects

Tim Brister —  September 16, 2007 — 3 Comments

Things are really starting to pile up this semester in school.  Attempting to finish strong, I am taking five classes this semester which also includes four papers.  As you can expect, blog frequency will likely taper of a little, although I do plan on sharing some of my research and everyday thoughts.  Right now, I am averaging 12-15 posts a week, which will decrease to around 7-10 posts a week.  Blue Collar Theology, book previews, and the other staple posts such as quick hits and potw, should remain consistent.

I thought I share some of the papers and projects I am working on, given that I will be posting excerpts and aspects of my research.  Here are my four papers:

PAPERS 

1.  Church Planting Case Study – This is a paper dedicated to my research and analysis of a recent church plant.  Because I have not received confirmation from the church which I will be studying, I will not comment further. (Intro to Church Planting)

2.  Edwards v. Finney on Revival – This is a thesis-driven paper where I will argue that both Edwards means and ends of revival are true to the nature of God and salvation and biblically faithful.  As you might expect, this is a somewhat polemical paper.  In addition to their understanding of revival, I hope to examine in particular detail how each counsel sinners and follow-up on new converts.  (Intro to Church History II)

3. Exegetical Study of Zechariah’s Night Visions – Some of you might recall that I taught through some of Zechariah 1-8 earlier this past summer.  It was a really enjoyable study, and I am hoping to build on that by writing an exegetical paper focusing on a redemptive/historical framework and hermeneutical horizons of these eight visions which carry several biblical themes.  (Biblical Hermeneutics)

4. The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Unevangelized –  This will by far be the paper I devote most of my attention to this semester (see projects for reason why).  This is a position paper where I will be examining Clark Pinnock’s pneumatological inclusivism (Arminian/Open Theist), Terrance Tiessen’s accessibilism (Calvinist), and Amos Yong’s pneumatological theology of religion (Pentecostal/Charismatic).  I will offer my critiques of each position and present the exclusivist/particularist case for the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation.  Issues involved include are Trinitarian (especially economic/immanent Trinity, filioque, perichoresis, and Spirit-Anointed Christology [kenosis]), soteriological (covenant, atonement, revelation, regeneration, grace, and calling), interreligious (cosmic spirit, imago dei, universal presence/salvation, church/kingdom identity, and missio dei), and biblical (theological method, Spirit in OT/NT, continuity/discontinuity, and already/not yet).  Obviously, I will not be able to cover these issues in a short position paper, which leads me to my projects. (Systematic Theology III)

PROJECTS

1. Systematic Analysis of Inclusivism – During the course of my time at seminary, I have been researching the issues which I believe are “first-order” or greatest threats to orthodoxy and/or the gospel.  This has lead me to take up the issues of pluralism, universalism, and inclusivism.  I have written several papers on inclusivism, focusing on revelation, saving faith, theological method, and now Holy Spirit.  My goal is to write a paper on every major area of systematic theology (e.g. theology proper, revelation, saalvation, eschatology, et al) on inclusivism and compile them into a book-length project.  This project is rather long-term, but I believe the time and work invested is certainly warranted.  I hope to have it completed in 2-3 years.

2. The Forgotten Henry – I already gave you the heads up on this project, so I will not say much here.  I am really looking forward to tackling this study in the next 1-2 years as I have already completed 75% of the research, bibliography, and organized an outline of the project.

3. 2008 Band of Bloggers – Some of you may remember that I organized a fellowship called “Band of Bloggers” in 2006 which was in conjunction with the first Together for the Gospel conference.  This is the first time I have publicly mentioned next year’s fellowship.  I and a small team of others have been planning for about six weeks and are really excited about it.  Last time I had only three weeks to put it together, so it is nice having eight months instead!  Stay tuned for more info on this project.

4. Miscellaneous (Smaller Projects) – Some other projects I am working on is posting my other drafts on “Dortian Calvinism” in response to Dr. James Leo Garrett’s articles in The Alabama Baptist.  I have a total of 12 in the series.  Another project is a study of the various church planting models (Acts 29, Sovereign Grace, NAMB, etc.) and developing a church planting strategy.  Lastly, I am hoping to juxtapose and examine the latest statements/confessions focused on the gospel, viz. The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration (1999), Together for the Gospel Statement (2006), and the Gospel Coalition Confession (2007).

Any of these particularly interest you?  Discuss on the blog?

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The Forgotten Henry

Tim Brister —  September 6, 2007 — 8 Comments

It was in 1966 when Iain Murray’s book The Forgotten Spurgeon was first published. Murray explains that one of the main reasons why he decided to write this book was to “throw light on the reasons which have given rise to the superficial image of Spurgeon as a genial Victorian pulpiteer.” Murray argued that what was central to Spurgeon’s life was often ignored in biographies of him–namely that of his commitment to Calvinism. Throughout his book, Murray elaborates on three main controversies–Hyper-Calvinism/Arminianism (1850s), Baptismal Regeneration (1864), and the Down-Grade (1887-91). As a result of the efforts of Murray, Spurgeon was cast in a different light than had been seen before.

I believe that there could be a case for The Forgotten Henry–Carl F. H. Henry, that is. Henry is without a doubt one of the greatest evangelical minds of the 20th century. He is rightly to be remembered for his magnificent work, God, Revelation & Authority, and of course his influence on neo-Evangelicalism (and founding editor of Christianity Today). Today, Henry’s mind is being remembered in a number of ways, not the least of which are three centers names after him, namely The Henry Institute (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), The Carl F.H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), and the Carl F.H. Henry Center for Christian Leadership (Union University). It is widely argued from the likes of scholars such as David Wells that Carl Henry is probably the most under-appreciated theologians in recent church history, and having the opportunity to read through some of his massive works, I believe his assessment is quite right. It has been three and a half years since Henry left us, and in this short period of time, I fear as a young evangelical, his life and legacy is going largely unnoticed and unappreciated among my generation.

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“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.”
Ecclesiastes 9:10

In recent years, there has been some good articles, essays, and books on developing a theology of work. Both Justin Taylor and Steve McCoy point us to some excellent resources, including Piper’s “Making Much of 8 to 5” (or in my case 11:00 p.m.-4:00 a.m.) in Don’t Waste Your Life and Redeemer’s Center for Faith and Work. Others such as Tullian Tchividjian and Matt Harmon have also addressed the topic nicely. One of the recent works not mentioned was Gene Edward Veith’s book God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life (Crossway, 2002).

I would like to offer my contribution to the excellent articles by submitting a portion of my research on Carl F.H. Henry. Below are eight selected quotes I grabbed from my studies in which Henry addresses the Christian in the workplace (the sources are footnoted below). Henry believed that one of the most fundamental ways for Christians to influence society was through “the doctrine of vocation” through which Christians glorify God and embody the evangelical social ethic of loving their neighbor and doing them good.

Do you consider your job the way Henry describes it below? A “divinely appointed realm”, “doctrine of Christian vocation,” “divine calling,” “priestly nature of daily work,” “divinely entrusted stewardship,” and “a consecrating of energy”? Man, this is but one of the many reasons I love me some Henry!

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