Document Type Doctoral Thesis Author King, Kevin Lebel firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-04022009-184205 Document Title The crisis of truth and word : a defense of revelational epistemology in the theology of Carl F. H. Heny Degree PhD Department Church History and Church Polity Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof G A Duncan Supervisor Keywords
- legacy of Carl F H Henry
- theological landscape
Date 2009-04-18 Availability unrestricted AbstractThere are times when a confluence of events, individual talent, preparation and strategic timing all meet at the same point in time which result in a historic period on the larger scale of history. Such is the life and legacy of Carl F. H. Henry. Henry was born at a strategic time in the history of the Protestant church in the United States. He possessed and developed intellectual gifts that far surpassed most of his contemporaries. He also possessed an ability to be at the momentous shifts in Christian history in the United States. This study examines, in historical context, the surrounding circumstances and the developments from those circumstances that gave rise to “the dean of evangelical theologians,” Carl Henry.
Henry burst onto the theological scene while the ambers were still burning from World War II. While the world was recovering from war, Protestantism, both in the U.S. and in Europe, was recovering from a battle of its own. In the United States, the conflict between liberals and conservatives had provided deep divides in the county’s denominations. With liberals having assumed seats of power in denominational structures and institutions of higher learning, the conservatives had withdrawn both culturally and theologically. Across Europe, two world wars within one generation had significantly damaged the cardinal doctrines of liberalism. In its place, came the rise of neo-orthodoxy. While on the surface the renewed emphasis on the Bible seemed to offer great promise, the philosophical underpinnings of neo-orthodoxy would soon erode the short lived hope that a return to the foundation of scriptural authority, as expressed by the Reformers, was in the making.
It was into the this milieu that Carl Henry emerged onto the scene, with the publishing of The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, as a major theological voice calling for a renunciation of the obscurantism of the fundamentalists, and a re-engagement with culture both in terms of social ministries and a renewed commitment to academic excellence. In addition to The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, which received much more recognition that the preceding volume, Remaking the Modern Mind and then the later work, The Protestant Dilemma, these two books laid out the basic theological method that Henry would follow throughout his career resulting in his magnum opus, God, Revelation and Authority. It is here that evangelicalism finds its most definitive defense of biblical authority, inspiration and inerrancy, grounded in Henry’s theological methodology—revelational epistemology.
In addition to Henry’s prodigious theological output, he was instrumental in changing the theological landscape in America. Having called for the re-engagement of the culture and the mind, Henry was pivotal in the forming of several key evangelical institutions. Henry actively took part in the founding of the NAE, ETS, Fuller Seminary and Christianity Today.
Henry’s legacy is cemented in his ability to articulate and formulate viable contemporary expressions to fulfill the Great Commission. His contributions to the Kingdom of God are as monumental in their breadth and scope as the King he served.
© University of Pretoria 2008
Please cite as follows:
King, KL 2008, The crisis of truth and word : a defense of revelational epistemology in the theology of Carl F. H. Heny, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-04022009-184205/>
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